Book Review – The Couple Next Door By Shari Lapena

This was a book I bought purely based on the blurb…

As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb…

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing. You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

****

‘How well do we ever know those around us? THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR will keep you glued to the pages in search of the answer. Even then, you’ll never guess the truth…until it’s too late’ LISA GARDNER

‘I thought the read-it-in-one-sitting thing was a cliche. Not any more’ LINWOOD BARCLAY

‘Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR lingers long after you turn the final page’ HARLAN COBEN

***The Sunday Times bestseller***

PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF ALMOST ANYTHING.

‘2016’s most talked-about new thriller’ Stylist

‘A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman’ TESS GERRITSEN

As you can see this book sounds amazing and has some high profile writers championing it, the blurb fascinated me, but I was dubious, generally I find very few books live up to their hype.

I am going to confess half a dozen pages in I nearly ditched the book. It was something about the style it was written in, if felt a little stilted, disjointed but I was intrigued enough to give it a little longer and I am so glad I did. The style fits the story perfectly, as the storyline unfolds you understand more why the disconnect and slight disjointedness is completely appropriate. I hate spoiling stories so I am going to be really careful here because the plot twists are a total delight, but if you just go from the blurb as I did when I decided to read it the whole idea of worrying about what could be found in your own home is something I have considered before. Okay, I amy have been joking when I have said previously that if anyone ever checks my google search history I would be in trouble but think about it, if something tragic happened what do you have on yours or what books and films do you have in your house that someone could read a different meaning into? Scary isn’t it.

I read this book in a few days, a very rare thing for me these days, so you can tell how much I enjoyed it, I whole heartedly give this book 5 out of 5 stars and say if you pick it up, and struggle in those first few pages as I did, stick at it!

Live Event Catch Up!!!!

Hi guys, so I decided today I would post a quick round up of the events I am signed up for over the next couple of years so far! Now I know with a few of these it might seem like they are so far away but people have to book time off work, save up and lets face it find the perfect dress for the evening do lol. Even if you cannot make it to an event then I highly recommend joining the FB groups, there are loads of cool things and giveaways going on in these groups so it is worth the time to pop in and visit them.

First before I start a couple of weeks ago I did the Thirty question challenge you can read my answers here but the wonderful #Darker author Joey Paul has taken up the gauntlet and you can read her answers to the question by clicking here.

So let’s begin and take the events in order…

The Darker Side of Fiction

Hosted by the wonderful Hourglass Events Ladies Jo & Rachel

There is a promotion running at the minute on remaining tickets…

***Summer Mayhem Competition ***

Do you want to win an Amazon Gift Card?!

This is our last offer before the Darker Side of Fiction Event on the 7th October!!
So we KNOW you love reading crime, horror, fantasy, thriller, sci-fi , paranormal and dystopian books which means you’ll want to win the £15 Amazon voucher we are giving away!!!
All you need to do is buy your Darker ticket before midnight on Tuesday 29th August and be entered into this fabulous prize draw.
You know there’s always room for a few more signed books 😈

Just click the Ticket Link
https://thedarkersideoffiction2017.eventbrite.co.uk/

You can join the FB group here and I am going to be hosting a takeover there on Wednesday evening 19th July from 9pm BST

The End of Year Indie Masquerade Party

This one is not a signing but a party to celebrate all things Indie, it is open for readers, authors and bloggers and has been organised by the amazing C.A. Bell you can find out more here in the FB group and apply for tickets, I would say if you want to come book sooner rather than later it is being held in Birmingham on 25th November 2017

Leeds Author Event 2018

Again hosted by the lovely Hourglass Events ladies on Saturday, 3 March 2018 from 10:00 to 23:30

You can get tickets and find details of the evening event here  

The FB group can be found here  I will be doing a page takeover there this Thursday 20th July at 10pm

Shenanigans West Midlands Signing 2018

Hosted by the delightful Maria Lazarou This event will be held in Telford on 14th April 2018, tickets go on sale later this month and if you would like to find out more then the place to find out more is the FB group here

The Heart Of Sheffield Signing Event 2019

Hosted by the fabulous Yvonne and Helen this is a new new signing event and the first they have hosted though it is lining up to be a fantastic event. You can find out more booking details here and keep track of things at the FB group here and there is a prize draw running until the end of this month for people buying tickets

 

There maybe one or two more things in the pipeline that I cannot talk about yet and I prmoise to go into events in a lot more detail in weeks to come.

 

Book Review – Hallowe’en Party By Agatha Christie

I have to be honest I struggled to find a copy of the cover to my edition but finally…

Let’s begin as normal with the Goodreads blurb…

A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…

This book is a little darker than some of the other Agatha Christie books, it also is one of the few that breaks from her formulaic narratives and places the characters in a slightly different position to the normal you would expect. I confess Agatha Christie is a master at blindsiding you at times not always keeping the villain hidden but sometimes the motive or the people who are in collusion are the twists that come unexpectedly. This is one of those cases, you think you have a good idea about half way through about the guilty parties you are right to a point but it is the extra layers that make this a stand out for me in terms of her books. I make no secret of the fact I love Poirot but I also appreciate that for some the books are too quaint and tame, they lack the sex, gore and violence of modern books (my own included)  but they are nonetheless still wonderfully crafted tales and still worthy of reading.

So onto a score well it has to be 5 out of 5 stars for this one.

Lazy Sunday #41

Good Morning!

Well it is morning as I begin posting this whether I get through it all is a different matter, it has been quite a stressful week here in the UK due to politics and people being determined to fall out with each other because of it. It has been a week many have felt the need to dive into something stronger than coffee to get through it. On the plus side, there was the fantastic benefit concert put together by Ariana Grande, my rugby team have won again, and hopefully have turned a corner for the season, that will get them away from the dreaded bottom four. So let’s get on with things and this week I have picked things that have a feel good factor…

 

  1. I love this first post because it imparts wisdom passed down through generations and in this world where so much emphasis is placed on material possessions it reminds us what is important, my dad’s car advice to me was similar, he was talking about speeding and pointed out ‘there is nowhere you need to be so badly it is worth dying for!’ https://lifewithblondie.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/its-just-a-car-baby-girl/
  2. The second post today I also love but this time is it is because this fantastic lady has taken a chance, turned her life upside down, taken the risk to turn her back on the normal jobs and do something physically harder but ultimately more rewarding I hope she will keep posting and share her journey in her new job, I want piglet pics  https://terahvandusen.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/farm-her-new-job-new-life/
  3. A special shout out to all those who attended this year’s Annual bloggers bash, I had hoped to get there but childcare issues made it a no-no, however, I am determined to be there next year http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/06/10/winners-of-the-2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/
  4. There are some blogs you know when you visit they are going to make you smile and that happens every time I pop over to this one, I especially love the emoticons bit  https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/06/10/bookish-delights-13-memes/
  5. My final post for today is a photo blog but these guys really go out of their way to make sure you know exactly what you are seeing and as a result you experience the places they see on a whole new level as well as learn something new, they also make me want to visit places I had never considered before https://sartenada.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/hanami-in-helsinki-hanami-en-helsinki-hanami-a-helsinki-hanami-em-helsinquia/

As I suspected we are now into the afternoon and it is time for me to head off to the kitchen and stuff the chicken.

 

Book Review – The Surgeon By Tess Gerritson

Confession this was a reread…

Sorry for the quality of the picture, I always try to find a picture of the cover I have on my book, so on with the Goodreads blurb…

In Boston, there’s a killer on the loose. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician – a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.

But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful medic with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and attempted murder but she shot her attacker dead. Now she is being targeted by the new killer who seems to know all about her past, her work, and where she lives.

The man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her…

The fact I decided to reread this does give you a clue I enjoyed it, though to be fair my book piles are all messed up so I may reread a lot over the coming months. This is the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series though we do not actually meet Isles at this point. I had forgotten how little we actually get to know about Rizzoli in this book and went into it with knowledge gained from the rest of the series and influenced by the TV series and I have to say it does actually change the reading. This first meeting with Rizzoli she is brash, reactive and a little bit of a stereotype, she reminds me of Cagney from the Cagney & Lacey TV series, I think this is in part because other than the victims she is the only female character and is made to look harder as a result. I really did believe when I picked this book up I would award it a five, I am sure that is what I would have probably done after the initial read but in this read through there were issues.

The book is supposed to be the first in a series centred around two characters, yet we only meet one of them, I can forgive this because I would assume when the author first wrote this she possibly did not know she would make it a series and involved the second female character, however for the first part of this book Rizzoli is almost a secondary character and almost treated like the bitchy woman scorned in some places. The interactions with Rizzoli and many of her colleagues are quite clichéd, though I appreciate it is realistic that a woman cop has to work harder to prove herself  certain aspects such as the tampax in the water bottle I would hope would be outdated with improvements to workplace equal rights laws, but to be fair I cannot comment to whether this would be factually true. Overall I still enjoyed it and I know I loved it the first time round, I cannot decide if you would enjoy this more going into it with the knowledge from the TV series or not, I think it may spoil the story but give the character more depth.

I had to stop to think about the score I would give this and decided that I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars, it will be interesting to reread more of this series.

Looking towards the future!

Over the last couple of months while I have been suffering from lethargy in terms of posting I have been working away behind the scenes and I thought today I would take the chance to fill you in on some of what is going on in the background.

The first thing is I have signed up for a course on Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry it is a free 4 week course, just 3 hours a week. you might wonder why I would take on doing extra study when I am already snowed under and I am not gaining a qualification from it but I am looking at it as a chance to gain knowledge which may be useful going forward. We all know in this Internet age that cyber-piracy is something many authors are coming up against, work plagiarised or republished on pirate sites where they are given away for free, and while some will argue that gaining readers this way is a counterbalance to the loss of earning on that book, for others it is a loss they cannot afford. We all write the copyright notice at the front of our books but how much of it do we understand, what actual rights we have and protections are offered by it. If you are interested you can find more details here.

The other thing I have been looking into is publishing options, it was brought up on FB a couple of weeks ago that there were other options for print on demand other than KDP and Createspace, so I took a little time to look into it. The most popular way is the use Createspace however I have found a suggestion that long term it may be best to use a combination of Createspace and Ingram Sparks, you can read the article I found helpful here. The trilogy I am working on at the minute will remain on Createspace as setting up the other requires money to invest in buying ISBN numbers but I have begun the process of getting ready for this for future series. When you buy the block of numbers you register them to an imprint name and I have decided to go with Raven’s Rest Press, I have set up an email, FB and Twitter to grab the name there, I will be adding the logo to my other books and I would not be averse to perhaps collaborating with other indie authors who want to publish under the name and help promote each others work. I am not going to  go too much into things here as obviously I am still setting it all up but I will keep you up to date with my experiences. Right off to the day job now after all until the books start selling I have to fund the present as well as investing in my future.

March/April Resolutions 2017

Okay you might notice the title is for two months together, and you will also see the lack of form compared to how I normally do these posts, the fact is the last couple of months life has got in the way. That doesn’t mean I have done nothing just that what I have been doing does not necessarily relate to things that can be shared at this point. I have a grandchild on the way, have helped my daughter move, have been researching swag, exploring new possibilities to take advantage of moving forward (really excited about that bit but not something you will hear about until the back end of the year).

My priorities for the next couple of months is the Queen of Ages trilogy, losing the extra pounds I have regained and getting ready for #Darker2017. It is so easy to buckle under pressure, I have a couple of times in fact I have come close recently to throwing my arms up in the air and claiming I cannot do this any more. May will see my resolutions posts take their normal structure once more but part of my resolutions for this year was to not let everything get on top of me and stress over things I cannot change so in that aspect I succeeded at least, I recognised that I lost my way, rather than spending time and energy backtracking I have simply focused on moving forward.

It is also worth noting I failed the A – Z Challenge but I am going to do a separate post on that. Not much more I want to say here really I have book reviews to write Glossybox reviews random posts and a trilogy to complete.

H is for – #AtoZChallenge

hoard

[hawrd, hohrd]
noun

1.

a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.:

a vast hoard of silver.
verb (used with object)

2.

to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place:

to hoard food during a shortage.
verb (used without object)

3.

to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.
Starting the timer now…
It is strange when you read a definition yet the most commonly thought of use of the word is not included, once upon a time to hoard things was seen as a positive but these days because of certain types of Tv programmes we thing of hoarding in negative terms, you think of houses piled with newspapers, a labyrinth of junk to squeeze between. I guess the question that I am pondering is where is the line between positive and negative hoarding?
My dad has shed in the garden full of what my mother classes as junk, broken electronics, motor parts, things he intended fixing or things he thought would come in useful, my son thinks it is a treasure trove, he wants to be an engineer at the minute (palaeontologist has been replaced at the top of his career choices for now) so he sees a hoard of treasures he could create fantastical inventions from. On the other hand my mum is a crafter, she has reams of paper, card, jars of glitter, paints and a million other items for creating cards, doing cross stitch, all of which my dad thinks are junk and take up too much space in the house. In my house I have too much stuff for the size of my house, I know this, but the majority of what is packed in boxes were gifts, my collection of elephants packed away so the cats, and, let’s just say, people that blamed the cats, could not damage any more of them, my Pop Funko’s which I love but are patiently waiting for a bigger house with an office where they can live and the biggest hoard, books!
I know there are books I should probably get rid of, I have so many still to read that re-reading others makes no sense yet I still do it, I do not just keep sets by my favourite authors, I pretty much keep all the books I buy, the only I clear out are kids books as they become to babyish for them though again classics such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books remain. My ex frequently threatened a trip to a car boot sale with my books but then to be honest he frequently saw things by their monetary value rather than the pleasure they could give, even checking to see if the oil paintings I possessed were worth anything, the are of course worth only what someone would pay for them the Ebay going rate for the is between £50 – 200 to me they are priceless they are not just paintings they are the story behind their acquisition, books are the same, they are not the paper upon which they are printed, they are the worlds created within the cover.
Am I a book hoarder? Maybe! Am I a collector of stories, a traveller to a thousand lands? Hell yeah!
The timer has gone so tell me what could you be accused of hoarding?

Lazy Sunday #37

I should have posted this yesterday but there was sun and I got distracted, also no vlog as I forgot to pick up batteries at the supermarket on Saturday

No coffee today as it is already lunch time but the weather has been so lovely here this weekend that I spent yesterday in the garden and this morning doing laundry.  I love being able put the washing out on the line rather than having it strewn over radiators and clothes horses around the house. Of course this does mean I have got even further behind with my A – Z but hopefully if I do two posts a day I will be caught up by this time next week.  I am still waiting for that bloody giraffe to give birth, seriously I have reached the conclusion that part of the reason they are becoming endangered in the wild is that this last couple of months of pregnancy makes them so vulnerable to predators, every time she goes to lie down I worry her slender legs will snap.

Any way let’s get on with this weeks blog shares…

  1. First up I am sharing a blog which has been created on WP to allow readers to keep track and find A – Z posts on various blogs I have already added a couple of blogs to my reading list during this A – Z but hope to find time to visit a few more https://atozchallenge.wordpress.com/
  2.  Next up something a little different, I have mixed feelings about books being re-appropriated for other things, but if it is an book that has already fallen to pieces that is okay, in this case the words are blacked out to leave a few that create a poem, which I believe I have featured before, however this goes one step further adding colour and art work https://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/fire-3/
  3. Next up tickets are on sale for the Annual bloggers bash, I had really hoped to be able to get there this year however at the minute it is looking doubtful but hey it’s annual so if I don’t I will be sure to make sure I get there next years http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/04/06/bloggersbash-tickets-selling-fast-buy-yours-now-bloggersbash/
  4. I confess I am also a big fan of this show or I was until this year, I have to be honest I did not like the way with the move to ITV they have stopped turning round and offering constructive criticism, the fact they are left there maybe not understanding why they were considered not good enough seems a little cruel to me, especially in the later stages where judges may already have full teams  http://www.tmupchurch.com/2017/04/01/on-watching-the-voice-uk/
  5. Finally a quandary my friend finds herself in, if anyone has any idea of a way to fix this or a way the solved the problem am sure she would be thrilled to hear https://hnsieverding.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/prequel-or-book-1/

Book Review – Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination By Helen Fielding

I think this is actually an interesting contrast to my last book review…

As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb…

At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era…Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s “J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy”) and she’s ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.

It may seen ironic that the last book I reviewed I complained about the plot being too far fetched but while the other die so within the thriller genre here in Rom-Com/Chick-Lit it works perfectly, the author mocks the very absurdity of the plots within the actual title, but here mixed with comedy it works brilliantly. The Bridget Jones author manages to create another cast of characters that grab the imagination though I have to say the lesser characters are less rounded than in the first Bridget Jones book, however it is not really an issue, as unlike those others, these are not likely to feature again. I did really enjoy this book, it is fun and an easy read which provides perfect escapism, it is definitely the perfect holiday read, there is a but though!

I was happily engrossed in this book until I noticed that I was running out of pages and seemed a long way from the story being resolved. The action in the last section of the book seems a little hurried and lacking in the detail and atmosphere building of the earlier sections, it is almost as if she was busy writing a great book and then it was pointed out she was reaching her word quota and had to finish it off quickly. I am not sure if the answer would have been to leave the last section for a next book and build up the previous action to the climax of this one or to just have risked making this one longer, I certainly would be happy to see Olivia have more adventures but only the author knows what her intentions are in that regard.

So to scores up until that last bit this would have had the perfect score but because I felt the last bit was on diet rations it gets 4.5 starts out of 5.