Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sunday Wrap Up - 19th February 2016

 
Woohoo...on Friday I finished work for half term, and although I really love my job, the last few weeks have been intense for various reasons. I was also pretty ill over the Christmas holidays so didn't feel I'd had a proper wind down before going back in January. So for the next week my plans are to read, sort some stuff around the house, read, catch up with some TV and read some more. I've also started doing a bit of blog organising...making some small tweaks to the template, adding in links and general tidying. I need to work out the best way to organise my review A-Z. There's so many reviews here now, I don't think the long list works. I'm thinking of maybe separating by genre also...what do you think? Last night I also began jotting in ideas, plans and schedules in my diary. I'm going to keep this organised this time. Promise!  


Last Week On The Blog 

I reviewed these two fantastic but very different books (you can read my reviews by clicking the images) 


New Books This Week 

I got some fantastic book post this week. 
(clicking on the titles will take you to Goodreads for a summery)

 


Currently Reading  




Hope you all have a wonderful week 

I'm linking this post to the Caffeinated Book reviewers Sunday Post Meme


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Book Review: Sealskin by Su Bristow

Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous, and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives—not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies—seals who can transform into people—evokes the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. ( From Goodreads.com)  

Published 15th February 2017 by Orenda Books (UK)

I knew, as soon as I read the synopsis for Sealskin, that this was going to be my kind of book. I love re-tellings of old legends and myths and a hint of magic realism. Having read some wonderful reviews and followed the author's fascinatingly interesting blog tour, I couldn't wait to read it for myself.   

Sealskin is set on a Scottish Island in a small fishing village and Su Bristow captures the essence of the rugged landscape and sea beautifully - harsh, raw and at times violent combined with a breathtaking beauty, purity and etherealness. And it's those same qualities which transcend into this exquisite story and the lives of its characters. 

The story begins with Donald, a lonely and often ostracised member of this close knit community, who while out fishing late at night witnesses something magical, something only a few humans have ever seen. His reaction is shocking and uncomfortable, a violent act in contrast the purity of the magic he has just seen. It was difficult here to accept Donald's actions, and I worried that my distaste and anger at what Donald does was so great, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of the book. 

But this where Su Bristow's skill as a master story teller shines. Sealskin is a fairytale-not the watered down, happy ever after ones we're accustomed to nowadays, but of the traditional variety. Dark themes, flawed characters, naivety and wisdom mixing together with a message of hope, learning and overcoming both real and personal demons. I could imagine this story being told by candlelight hundreds of years ago, while remaining as enchanting and relevant to a modern reader.  

I loved the character of Mairhi. She is written with such care that the feelings of calmness and healing she shares with those in the book seep from the page. She doesn't speak, but the lyricism of her aura and eyes expressing her needs and feelings is written so evocatively, I could feel and imagine it myself. Indeed, Su Bristow's prose throughout, from her depictions of characters to descriptions of the stunning scenery and nature, are so mesmerising and vivid, that I truly became lost in the story. While reading, my own surroundings blurred away and I had a feeling of coming out of a dream when looking up from the pages, needing a few seconds to anchor myself back in my own world.  

I went into Sealskin hoping that I would love it, and I did. Every word of it. For me, reading Sealskin was reminiscent of my experience of reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. There aren't many books I can think of that have had this all encompassing effect on me while transporting me to another world, which stays with me so vividly for years to come, but I'm adding Sealskin to that list. 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Don’t trust this book. Don’t trust this story. Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He's a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David's new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can't guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage's secrets. (From Goodreads.com) 

Published 26th January 2017 by Hapercollins 

If you have any interest in books whatsoever, it would have been pretty difficult to miss Behind Her Eyes recently. It's hit No.1 in several best seller lists since its release. The buzz on social media, including it's very own hashtag #WTFThatEnding has been overwhelming and with recommendations from some of the biggest names in crime and thriller fiction shouting about its brilliance, Behind Her Eyes is a book that's been on everyone's radar. I couldn't wait to read it. 

Behind Her Eyes tells the tangled story of three people, from the view point of two of them - Louise and Adele. Louise is a single mother, who on a rare night out meets and connects with David - a good looking and successful doctor. When David turns out to be not only her new boss, but also married, Louise is disappointed. But when a chance encounter with Adele, David's wife, leads to friendship, Louise finds herself ever drawn into this strange and captivating couple's world. But all is not as it seems, it soon becomes clear that there's a huge, toxic secret shadowing this seemingly perfect marriage. As Louise becomes closer to both Adele and David, she finds it more and more difficult to know just who to believe.   

Sarah Pinborough knows just how to keep her readers hooked. Behind Her Eyes is compulsive reading, with switching narratives and tendrils of suspense and suggestion careful dropped into each chapter, meaning that "just one more" quickly becomes a massive chunk of book. Her characters are crafted so well that, just like Louise, as a reader it's difficult to know who to trust. There's just the right amount of chilling, especially from Adele, to send shivers down your spine and keep you holding your breath, desperate to know what's going to happen next. 

The ending of this book has created a massive stir, and you really do need to go into it not knowing what it could be to get the full impact. Because of all the hype surrounding it, I was second guessing it all the way through. I'm going to be honest and say I half guessed, which for me probably did soften the impact. I'd read a book over twenty-five years ago by a popular teen author of the time with a similar theme, and could see exactly where things were going. Yet, even when I smugly thought I'd worked this book out, the author still managed to throw a curveball that made me go "OH" - it turned out to not be exactly what I thought it was after all. 

Behind Her Eyes is very different to most psychological thrillers around at the moment, in that it throws in a slightly paranormal element. Now I'm all for suspending belief and love twists like this, so in my opinion this was only a good thing. But if you are someone who struggles with anything other than reality, then this book isn't for you. Personally, although I wasn't quite as shocked and surprised by the ending as some other reviewers, I thought Behind Her Eyes was a very good book and I enjoyed it immensely. I'll be looking out for more of this authors work in the future. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sunday Wrap Up - 12th February 2017

 

I've only managed to read one book this week, it's been really busy both at work and with my daughter needing ferrying about to after school sport activities. Anyway, it was THIS book 

 

But you'll have to wait and read my review tomorrow to find out what I thought about #wtfTHAT ending 

I'm currently reading Sealskin by Su Bristow. I've read so many wonderful reviews of this book and I do love a bit of folklore and magical realism. I only managed a few lines last night before I nodded off...tiredness after a hectic week won out. I am looking forward to getting completely lost in this story though. 

 

Last week on the blog I reviewed two very different but equally great books. If you'd like to check out my reviews, just click on the images. 

Her Husband's Lover 

I also had a couple of new books make their way to me.  

 

And finally, some exciting news was that Katherine at BibliomaniacUK nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award, which was very much appreciated. It's always really lovely to have acceptance from other bloggers and to know they like what you do. It really is what I missed most about the book blogging community while I was away from it. Thanks Katherine, I'll be reciprocating next week with a post and some nominations of my own.  


I'm linking my post to The Caffeinated Book Reviewer's Sunday Post meme 








Thursday, 9 February 2017

Book Review: If Ever I Fall by S.D Robertson

Is holding on harder than letting go?

Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. All he’s ever wanted is to keep his family together, but everything seems beyond repair and, try as he might, he can’t turn back time.

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered, unable to connect with the real world.

In the face of real tragedy, can this couple find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through? (From Goodreads.com)

Published 9th February 2017, by Avon, UK

If Ever I Fall is boldly recommended for fans of Jojo Moyes -an author I really enjoy. And it was that claim which first drew me to the book. Well ok, the cover too, because yeah. I'm a sucker for a pretty cover. Anyway, after investigating further I was convinced, this did indeed sound like a book that would be right up my street.

I picked it up to read last Saturday morning. Typically, I had woken up early on my day off (why does that always happen?) and even though I had a list as long as my arm of things to do, it was early enough to have a relaxing morning and squeeze in a bit of reading first. BIG mistake. I ended up glued and pretty much lost my entire morning, and some of the afternoon. But it was worth it.

If Ever I Fall is a story told from three perspectives. Dan is struggling with the break up of his family, living alone in a flat he hates and missing his wife and daughter. Maria, Dan's wife, writes letters to someone who she know's will never answer, in an attempt to make sense of events which have devastated her family's life. Then there's Jack. He doesn't know who he is....he's suffering from amnesia. One thing's for sure though...something is certainly not right about his surroundings. How can he find out the truth when he can't even remember who he is?

Wow! When I thought this was a book that would be right up my street I was right. I quickly became engrossed in all three character's lives and felt I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster alongside them. I loved the way that Dan and Maria's story unfolded throughout the book, so that as a reader, when realisation about their situation slowly dawned and pieces of the jigsaw were put together in my mind, I could really understand and empathise with them. I especially loved the addition of Jack....I had absolutely no idea how he related to the story at first and was intrigued by his situation. When I did realise, I was blown away. It's not something I've come across in this way before and gives the whole book an interesting and unique twist.

If Ever I Fall is an emotional read which had me wiping away tears and holding my breath. It's a tale of grief, loss and despair-but there's also hope and the underlying sense that strength comes from those we love, if only we can realise this and reach out. I finished this book feeling that I'd been on a real journey with the characters and thought about it for hours after. It is a beautifully written, engrossing and unique story, and I loved it.

(I read an advanced readers copy from the Amazon Vine program)