Monthly Archives: March 2017

Review Wednesday – Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

This is the first book in the series about Scottish policeman   DCI Jim Daley and is a great start. I read several reviews prior to purchasing the book that refer to the way the Scottish accents are written phonetically and that it made the story a little more difficult to get into. I listened to the book on Audible and can highly recommend the excellent narrator who brought the characters to life for me.

As for the story, Jim Daley is sent away to the remote Scottish town (fictional) of Kinloch where a body has been found in the water. At first it seems that the case will be straightforward and Jim’s biggest headache is the grumpy local police chief. That’s not his only problem though, simmering in the background is his shaky relationship with his wayward wife who, in the midst of everything decides to pay Jim a visit at Kinloch and whilst trying to deal with this development the case suddenly becomes more complex and nasty.

I was lulled at first by the narrator’s dulcet tones and the descriptions of Scottish life into a kind of cosy mystery feel where the murderer would be the last person anyone expected; the vicar or the librarian but actually this turned out to be quite a red herring in itself. The story becomes very dark with more murder, drugs and smuggling at its heart and though not peppered with violence when it does come it is quite graphic and shocking.

This was a good introduction to Jim Daley, his personal life and I really loved the ending!

 

Children’s Corner – The Great Jumperee by Julia Donaldson

This gorgeous new book by Julia Donaldson is sure to delight little children, perfect to cuddle up with!

Rabbit is on his way home one day when he hears an alarming voice coming from his burrow,

‘I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m as scary as can be!’

Rabbit is understandably reticent to go into the burrow and cries for help. Along comes Cat who is sure she won’t be scared… she goes to the burrow and…

So it goes on, Bear and Elephant also being frightened off by the terrible voice. But then Mummy Frog comes along and all is revealed.

This is a familiar and winning format with the repetition that little ones love so much. A lovely story and most beautifully and finely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

*Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s, Netgalley and the author and illustrator for an advance copy of this book*

Review Wednesday-Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton

I finished reading  this book today just in time for its publication and, I must say, it’s a great read.

The story revolves around Mags whose brother had fallen from a bannister and is in a coma. Very quickly the questions around ‘the fall’ come rushing in. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Or was it just a terrible accident? Mags is determined to find out what happened to Abe and her first port of call is his fiancée Jody who was with him moments before the fall.

Nothing in this book is what it seems, however and as we read from several viewpoints the mystery deepens.

After a pull-you-in start Tattletale was a little difficult to settle in to. The viewpoints chop and change and there are also flashbacks which made me backtrack a couple of times to establish who was who. But ultimately I was hooked and ready for the ride. None of the characters are wholly likeable but I think that is because, like Mags, I was suspicious of all of them and their motives. The converted church which is the main setting for the book and where Abe lived is a great, atmospheric location.

If anything, for me, the ending was a little drawn out with the author, perhaps too eager to tie up every loose end but as she had created a very convoluted plot better that than to leave questions unanswered.

With more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing, Tattletale is a good story and a satisfying read.

*Many thanks go to Orion Publishing Group, Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book*

A typical day in the life of a #BookBlogger (in this instance ME!)

A very interesting post on a day in the life of a book blogger. All I can say is – thank goodness for them, please keep up the good work!

mychestnutreadingtree

I have found myself a little shocked recently at how much book bloggers are seen as people who gain in some way from what they do. So I thought I’d do something a little different today with this post and try to explain what I do as a blogger and how it is for me personally, Mrs Typical Book Blogger.

BUT YOU ONLY DO IT FOR THE FREE BOOKS, DON’T YOU?!?

Eh……NO!! And I probably don’t get as many books as you think. I’m a member of netgalley and get the majority of my review books from there. I’m not autoapproved by lots of publishers on there either-only two major ones Bookouture and Penguin Michael Joseph. And I only got the MJ one due to an email asking them what I could do to my profile to improve my chances of approval as they always declined my requests. And I…

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ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP? ( 2 minute read)

A useful reminder to all writers ( and anyone else) who is tempted to ‘just keep going’ Get some rest!

Don Cormier

In our culture, sleep is not respected very much at all. We are programmed with the idea that to be successful, we need to sleep less, and we can catch up on all the sleep we want when we’re dead. Getting enough sleep is just as important as good nutrition and physical activity. It’s our most underrated health habit.

Today much of our society is still operating under the delusion that sleep is simply time lost to other pursuits. The big challenge is that in our fast paced world today, millions of people are chronically sleep deprived and suffering the effects of getting low sleep quality. Most people don’t realize that their continuous sleep problems are also a stimulant for diseases and appearance issues they’re experiencing. In a society that’s overworked and under-rested, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to issues associated with not getting the sleep that…

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Children’s Corner- Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens

Do not under rate the power of magic… or this book!

This is a five star read and more; I loved it.

Emily is a twelve year old with all the familiar problems;  parents that don’t understand her, an over-bearing older sister and an annoying younger brother. Her parents don’t listen to her and the school bully does everything she can to make Emily’s life unbearable. To  top it all, the weird new girl at school wants to make friends.

Emily is disappointed that her parents won’t buy her a phone for her twelfth birthday but, walking on the beach, finds something that shouldn’t be more interesting than a phone but actually turns out far more interesting. It’s a stone – with magical powers.

Make no mistake this is a great, adventurous, funny read. The stone contains not a genie but a monster whose sole purpose in life is to eat Emily and yet… it must do as she commands. Then there is the ferocious Dogg- never to be confused with the much more dangerous Doggg,

I don’t have any twelve year olds or even ten year olds to gift this book to at the moment but I will be saving this one for my grandchildren. The author has perfectly combined good, old fashioned adventure with so many great up-to-the-minute twists that modern readers will relate to. The stone has ‘apths’ and behaves like a phone, there are ichildren involved and computer games that can suck you in.

If I have any criticism at all it’s that at the beginning, ( before the adventure begins), Emily’s parents seem to very unfairly single her out amongst her siblings as the one who is always in trouble, rather than just being rather rubbish at parenting in general. I’m not sure if that added anything useful to the story, but I was soon lost in the wider narrative and all comes right in the end!

A highly recommend book due to be published in June 2017

*Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Netgalley for an ARC of this book*

Review Wednesday – Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Annie grows up in a truly nightmarish situation. Her mother is a serial killer, her young victims brought to the family home where they are murdered. When Annie can stand by no more she takes the most decisive step of her life and goes to the police. This is where the story starts.

Whilst waiting to attend her mother’s trial Annie is protected with a new identity, a foster family and a new name, Millie. But nothing is easy for Millie, her new school, the well-meaning though already dysfunctional family who take her in and her past, never very far from her thoughts.

As the date of the trial draws nears tensions arise, at home, at school, even with the one new friend Annie has made. Her ‘step’- sister, Phoebe is certainly not her friend, making life at school and at home almost intolerable with her name calling and taunts.

The title of the book, Good Me Bad Me, is a tantalising one. Has Annie/Millie told the entire truth about what happened in that house of horrors? Perhaps not. Having shown her strength in going to the police, is she her own person or a chip off the old block?

After reading the book I have concluded a little of each. Surely we are all a product of our upbringing to some extent? When that upbringing is bad an individual may be consumed by that badness and become part of it but many break away, taking with them the scars, perhaps even benefiting from them as a reminder of what they do not wish to be.

At the heart of the story is a young teenager desperately seeking the stability of family life. moral dilemmas and extreme actions scream to be justified but, of course, they can’t be.

The writing style of this addictive read is short and choppy, sometimes effective, sometimes not so for me, but I always wanted to read on and the ending, the way paved throughout the narrative, was expected but surprisingly executed. 

A fast and effective read!