The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Follow him on – Facebook Instagram Twitter

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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My Week In Books (w/e 11th September 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly update of books I have read over the past week. What a week we have had, a new Prime Minister and a New King.

I am not a huge royalist, but Queen Elizabeth has been Queen for many people’s lives, she is the only Monarch we have had in our lives. I did find, the same as many others, that the news of the late Queen was quite emotional. When she first came to the throne there wasn’t the media coverage there is now. My thoughts go out to the family as their every move, facial expression and their body language are put under the spotlight. In this time of sorrow, they are meeting and thanking people, they are accessible and this must be so hard for them. I do not know how they are managing to keep their emotions under control as they grieve the passing of their beloved matriarch.

The news is constant, no matter where you look there are posts on social media, the internet, in shops, and in conversations as you would expect. In Cornwall, we are inundated with visitors through the summer months, so I decided to take time out and go to a huge beach that I haven’t been to for years. Gwithian is rammed in the summer holidays and now that the children are back to school it is the ideal time to visit. I wanted somewhere open, wild and relaxing and Gwithian Beach is all that. There are families, dogs and surfers but sitting on the beach they are drowned out by the rolling of the waves. It was easy to just shut out the noise and listen to the waves. I soon discovered I had spent 3 hours perfectly relaxed and suitably chilled out.

Here are the books I have read –

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Sunny Skies & Summer Kisses by Eliza J Scott – this is book 7 in the Life on the moors series. I have read a few of them and this latest one is fabulous. Great reading for those who love stories about friendships, families and communities with a good romance woven in. Full review as part of tyhe Blog Tour.

6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten – this is the auhtors first stand alone and it was a cracking read. A mix of crime, mystery and some tense thriller vibes. I adored this one and the full review is part of the Blog Tour in a couple of weeks.

The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whitely – a fabulous foray into the fungal world, told via anecdotes, observations and connections. I do love my science and nature reads and this one is perfect for non-science minded foll like me. Full review later this month.

The Temple House by Rachel Donahue – I had seen mixed reviews about this book and I decided to give it a go and I am so glad I did. It is a slower-paced boook that falls mroe towrd the literary fiction style more expressive, lyrical and I did begin this one while sat on the beach. I do think it has a Du Maurier feel to it. I really enjoyed this one and I soon devoured it over two sittings. Full review to follow soon.

There we have it, a four week book week this week! I have spent the last few weeks managing just the three.

I don’t have a many reviews to post over the rrest of this month so I am not going to be around posting much. It is actually a good time for me to step away from social media and my Blog. I will still update and write posts but not as much. I am actually looking forward to this more random schedule for a couple of weeks. It will give me the chance to catch up with some reading for Ocvtober Blog TOurs and for some of the books I want to read from my oiwn TBR.

I wisah everyone a great week ahead

Happy Reading

All the best, Yvonne xx

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#20booksofsummer2022 – It’s a wrap! #readingchallenge

Today I am delighted to share my completed list of the books I read for the #20booksofsummer reading challenge. I had decided on reading 20 books and yes I did change some. I usually just get my final book read by the skin of my teeth in this challenge, but this year not only have I read them all with time to spare… I have also got them all reviewed as well! The challenge runs over three months and is organised by Cathy at 746books

Here are the 20 books I read…

I did also manage to read another 20 books on top of this list, these were a mix of books that were on my NetGalley shelf, for Blog tours and ARCs sent via authors. There were also a few audiobooks as well. I am quite pleased with the reading over the past three months.

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The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty #20booksofsummer #fantasy #adventure #trilogy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. This is the 2nd book in the Daevabad Trilogy and yes, you really do need to read the first book, The Kingdom of Brass (review HERE) first.

This is the final book on my list for the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid-the unpredictable water spirits-have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in The Daevabad Trilogy and I would say that yes you do need to read this trilogy in order. It is quite complex as there is magic, tribes, politics, religions and various other things that were laid out so well in the first book.

There are quite a few characters in this trilogy and the author does make them quite distinctive. Especially in their beliefs, mannerisms and lifestyles. I am going to pick out just a few of the main ones, Nahri is a healer and also a political pawn, married to the Kings son, she is supposed to be seen and not heard, do as she is told and bear an heir for her husband. Dara is a djinn and has been alive for centuries, although has died a couple of times. Hs is being manipulated, but for what ends? Ali, he is brother-in-law of Nahri, has been exiled but has plans.

The author has created a magical world that is hidden from the world that we live in, there are mentions of it and especially as this is where Nahri originally comes from. Now that Nahri is in Daevabad she tries to do what is best, she heals the sick, but not all those who are sick will receive her help. Politics and beliefs are something that is one of the key topics throughout this book, it is what the wars, the assassinations and the power struggles are all about.

There is however something stirring, the author builds up a wonderful tense sense of foreboding. Quite when and how this will come about is tantalising on the edge of conversations from different sides and camps. I really enjoy this almost teasing air and it adds to the addictiveness of this amazing story.

This book continues the story that started with the first book, it elaborates and expands, it fills in more history and it is made evermore intriguing. I liked how the author used social structures within the city, its suburbs and the surrounding countryside. Pitting one tribe against another and also trying to find compromises while all the while having this ever-present sense of fate looming.

While this is a complex story, as there are many sides, perspectives and characters, the author does keep everything under control so well. I admit that initially, it took me a while to get back up to speed with this second book as it has been quite a while since I read the first. Gradually though things started to come back to me and it wasn’t long before I was back in full swing and following this action-packed adventure.

The story is one about power, ruling, control and rule. It has demons, magic, healers, and other unmentionable creatures from the deep. I adored this book as much as I did the first one. It is a fantasy novel that I would definitely recommend, and I am looking forward to the final instalment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S. A. Chakraborty is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling The Daevabad Trilogy. Her work has been nominated for the Locus, World Fantasy, Crawford, and Astounding awards. When not buried in books about thirteen-century con artists and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and re-creating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals. You can find her online at www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @SAChakrabooks, where she likes to talk about history, politics, and Islamic art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and an ever-increasing number of cats.

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The Dark by Sharon Bolton #20booksofsummer #crime #thriller #NetGalley #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Dark by Sharon Bolton. This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works very well as a stand-alone.

This is one I have had on my TBR for a while now and is why it featured on my #20booksofsummer list. This is 18/20 on my challenge.

ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE…
NOW, HE’LL TAKE HERS.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark websites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

MY REVIEW

This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works exceptionally well as a stand-alone. The synopsis for this book doesn’t really give much away but it does take a route that has an almost dystopian feel to it, it is an amazing psychological thriller that I absolutely adored.

Lacey Flint, a police officer for the Thames River Police. She lives, works, plays and essentially breathes on the Thames. It isn’t a shock when she happens to be on hand while off-duty with fellow work colleagues when a baby is snatched. The full repercussions of this crime are not known at this point and an elaborate search for the hidden and secretive members of a male-only group. The group is organised on the dark web, it takes experts within the department to try to uncover who they are, what their motives are and how they organise themselves. The limelight is on Lacey though as she is the one responsible for rescuing the baby.

As the investigation proceeds, it becomes more twisted and Lacey, DCI Mark Joesbury and the rest of the team are up to their eyeballs in trying to work out what is going to happen next. The threat is real, they have already proved their intentions. The online group are going viral, their message is heard and it is being acted upon by many. They are men that hate women, they are happy to threaten and scare women, and they are getting bolder. Women should be at home, they should support the men and be subservient, and they should not hold responsible jobs!

the author has taken a brilliant approach with this storyline, actually, it is more than one story and these have been brilliantly twisted and incorporated into each other to provide a thrilling and addictive story.

As I have not read any other books in this series I found this particular book to be a good one to start with as it does take the reader back in time to the main protagonist, Lacey. An event in her past provides something that the author has linked and connected to the present-day setting.

There is a large psychological aspect to this story as the theme of males hating females and then acting upon it and being led by online content becomes very believable. As the group gains momentum it becomes even more believable and the sad thing is that there are occurrences of this type of violence in the news on a regular basis along with many other forms of hate crime.

This is a thriller that is fast-paced, following Lacey’s story, the investigation, the increased threats and how things progress are brilliant. Everything is linked but how that eventually plays out took me by surprise. There are subtle hints along the way, but I didn’t realise this until I had been led to the fabulous conclusion.

Brilliant read, addictive, thought-provoking and with some great plot twists. I really enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

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Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly #Audible #audiobook #toplisten #audioreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly. I grew up and was aware of this comedian and over the years I have then watched his travelogue shows.

When I saw this on Audible I knew straight away that this was the book I was going to spend my credit on this month. It was a brilliant choice and exceptional audio and one that will be on my Top Books of the Year list!

In his first full-length autobiography, comedy legend and national treasure Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life.

Born in a tenement flat in Glasgow in 1942, orphaned by the age of 4, and a survivor of appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Billy’s life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds.

Billy found his escape first as an apprentice welder in the shipyards of the River Clyde. Later he became a folk musician – a ‘rambling man’ – with a genuine talent for playing the banjo. But it was his ability to spin stories, tell jokes and hold an audience in the palm of his hand that truly set him apart.

As a young comedian, Billy broke all the rules. He was fearless and outspoken – willing to call out hypocrisy wherever he saw it. But his stand-up was full of warmth, humility and silliness too. His startling, hairy ‘glam-rock’ stage appearance – wearing leotards, scissor suits and banana boots – only added to his appeal.

It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show in 1975 – and one outrageous story in particular – that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star. TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed. Billy’s pitch-perfect stand-up comedy kept coming too – for over 50 years, in fact – until a double diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson’s Disease brought his remarkable live performances to an end. Since then he has continued making TV shows, creating extraordinary drawings… and writing.

Windswept and Interesting is Billy’s story in his own words. It is joyfully funny – stuffed full of hard-earned wisdom as well as countless digressions on fishing, farting and the joys of dancing naked. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming story of a true comedy legend.

‘I didn’t know I was Windswept and Interesting until somebody told me. It was a friend who was startlingly exotic himself. He’d just come back from Kashmir and was all billowy shirt and Indian beads. I had long hair and a beard and was swishing around in electric blue flairs.
He said: “Look at you – all windswept and interesting!”
I just said: “Exactly!”
After that, I simply had to maintain my reputation…’ 

MY REVIEW

Billy Connolly is a voice I have known of since childhood when Mum and Dad listened to his vinyl LPs, a voice I have known but at the time I didn’t really understand, probably just as well really.

Over the years Billy has been on TV chatshows, radio, Top of the Pops, in film and to be fair in most of the entertainment genres. I have read one of his previous books, it was years ago and it was one that I lent to someone who never returned it!

I decided to listen to the audiobook of this autobiography and I have to say, compared to when I heard his voice as a child, I can understand every word. I mentioned listening to this book to my mum, and the first thing she said was “could you understand him”, yes she still remembers trying to decipher the LPs, not easy especially when Billy starts laughing!

This is a man who has had an interesting life, he has travelled the world and met so many people. He is an observer of people and has taken risks and chances. Some worked some didn’t. But he is a unique man.

Listening to this book had me laughing to a point where I had to pause the book so I could compose myself and also hear what Billy was saying! He sees life slightly differently and this is what makes his improvised stand-up routines so unique.

If you want to listen to an autobiography that gets under the skin of what makes a person tick, then this one is fabulous. Billy doesn’t hide his past, he is open about his mistakes and how he has done things as well as what has affected him over the years.

This is entertaining and funny but it is also honest and a bit of an eye-opener at times. It isn’t all humour and anecdotes, as he discusses the abuse he suffered as a child. It is something that had taken many, many years for him to come to terms with and also to understand. I did also get the hardback of this and read some sections as well as listened. And yes, as I read it I could hear Billy’s voice.

Excellent listening, honest and very addictive. I would absolutely recommend it. 

Here are a couple of quotes from the book that I found on Goodreads –

“Blessed are those who yodel – for they shall never be troubled by offers of work.”
― Billy Connolly, Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography

“I hope I’ve shown a few disbelievers that they should never discount those they think are different, disorganised or distractible.”
― Billy Connolly, Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography

ABOUT BILLY CONNOLLY

Image is taken from Goodreads

William “Billy” Connolly, Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin (The Big One). His first trade, in the early 1960s, was as a welder (specifically a boilermaker) in the Glasgow shipyards, but he gave it up towards the end of the decade to pursue a career as a folk singer in the Humblebums and subsequently as a soloist. In the early 1970s he made the transition from folk-singer with a comedic persona to fully-fledged comedian, a role in which he continues. He also became an actor, and has appeared in such films as Mrs. Brown (1997), for which he was nominated for a BAFTA; The Boondock Saints (1999); The Last Samurai (2003); Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004); and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).

It is as a stand-up comedian that Connolly is best known. His observational comedy is idiosyncratic and often off-the-cuff. He has outraged certain sectors of audiences, critics and the media with his free use of the word “fuck”. He has made jokes relating to masturbation, blasphemy, defecation, flatulence, haemorrhoids, sex, his father’s illness, his aunts’ cruelty and, in the latter stages of his career, old age (specifically his experiences of growing old). In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.

Connolly has been married to comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson since 1989. In the book Billy, and in a December 2008 online interview, Connolly states he was sexually abused by his father between the ages of 10 and 15. He believes this was a result of the Catholic Church not allowing his father to divorce after his mother left the family. Due to this, Connolly has a “deep distrust and dislike of the Catholic church and any other organization that brainwashes people”. In a 1999 interview with “The Sunday Herald” Connolly condemned the SNP as “racist” and the new Scottish parliament as a “joke”.

In November 1998, Connolly was the subject of a two-hour retrospective entitled Billy Connolly: Erect for 30 Years, which included tributes from Judi Dench, Sean Connery, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Eddie Izzard. 

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The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey @dianefjeffrey #publicationday #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my book review today for The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey. The author contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I wanted to read her latest book, it was an easy decision and an immediate Yes Please!

I would like to wish Diane a happy Publication Day for this book 🙂

Kat and Mark move to an island off the Northern Irish coast for a new beginning. Far away from their frantic life in London, it’s the perfect place to bring up the family they’re longing to start.

But as soon as they arrive, cracks begin to appear in their marriage. Mark is still texting his ex-wife. Kat is lying about a new friendship. And one of them is keeping an explosive secret about the past.

The couple in Causeway Cottage are hiding something – and the truth can be deadly…

MY REVIEW

I do like a story that has a good mystery behind it, The Couple at Causeway Cottage is a story that has a mystery and is atmospheric and completely addictive reading.

Kat and Mark have moved to a small island off Ireland, the cottage is ideal as it is close enough for Mark to be able to visit his ailing mother. For Kat, the location is the opportunity to take photos and build her website sales. The land is rugged and wild, windswept and alluring. But there is a feeling that lurks around the periphery of the story. A secret and a lie that is not fully known until much later in the story.

Unbeknown to her husband, Kat is aware of one of the residents of the island, it is around an event when Kat was in her teens. This is tentatively approached through the story for those involved, and it adds a wonderful vibe to the story.

While Kat does come across as trustworthy, this little secret of hers means she starts to be elusive about things. This distrust is added to when she starts to doubt her husband, this is an easy thing to accept given that he does work away quite often.

The island is isolated, Kat has left her friends behind and it seems that the friends she meets on the island have hidden messages or meanings behind their conversations. This does leave Kat feeling alone and it is a chance for her mind to work overtime.

The ending of this story shocked me, there were little things hinted at but it wasn’t until the final chapters that I suddenly got the whole thing. The secrets of the past are the foundation for the present and I do think they were very well woven together.

I do like this style of story, it has brooding darkness to it that mirrors the location, it works very well and it gives the overall mysterious atmosphere to it. A fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Image and info from Author Website

I was born in 1973 and grew up in the UK: in North Devon and Northern Ireland. I spent a lot of my childhood in the water: either in the swimming pool or the Atlantic Ocean, as I swam competitively and also did surf life saving for several years. I was actually the first female lifeguard to work on the beaches in the UK. This is probably my main claim to fame!

After obtaining a BA joint honours degree in French and German from the University of Nottingham, I decided to become a teacher. As I felt that I wasn’t fluent enough in French or German to teach either subject, I moved to France, where I became an English teacher. I now live in Lyon with my husband and our three children, black Labrador and cat.

I’ve always wanted to be an author and I started writing poems and short stories at about five years of age. After lots of rejection letters and emails over the years from agents and editors, my debut novel was published when I was 43, which just goes to show: you should never give up!

I have written five psychological thrillers, all published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, and all bestselling ebooks: Those Who Lie (2017), He Will Find You (2018), The Guilty Mother (2019), a USA Today bestseller, The Silent Friend (2020), A Karin Slaughter Killer Reads pick for ASDA, and The Couple at Causeway Cottage (2022). I am currently working on my sixth novel.

When I’m not teaching or writing, I run (a little) and swim (a lot). I devour chocolate, books and beer. I love holidays and travelling. Above all, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Social Media – Website Twitter Facebook

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Crushed by Kate Hamer @kate_hamer #20booksofsummer #mystery #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crushed by Kate Hamer. I won this book in a giveaway run by the author and it has taken me far too long to pick it up to read it. This is why it has featured on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, it is 17/20.

‘Mesmerising, compulsive, deliciously dark – and so good on the complex and thorny bond between friends. Kate Hamer’s writing is incandescent.’ Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party


Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences. 

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I have to say I really enjoyed this one. I also think it is going to be quite a difficult one to review. It is a slow-based book that crosses genres, there is a mystery to it as well as a sense of dread giving it an almost psychological thriller style to it. It is also about families, teens and coming of age along with the feeling they are going through.

So, how to review this one… it is the story of three girls, each unique and each with their own set of problems. Growing up and going to school, it is about Pheobie but the other two, Grace and Orla share the story from their own perspectives.

Being teens the girls are at that crossroads in life between being children and adults. Trying to make sense of the world and people around them. They are still naive about certain things, but they are also trying to work out what life is and what they are going to do.

There are times when this story does show their adolescent side and also a more grown-up and devious side. It shows their fears and anxieties as well as gives a look into each other’s individual lives. Some of the scenes oozed fear as well as despair. I suppose this is quite a dark and gloomy story given what the girls go through, but I think this adds more realism. That being said though, the author definitely has a way with her words and writing style. The mystery about each girl becomes very addictive and makes this a difficult book to put down.

I have gone through various reviews from other readers with this book and it does seem to be one that divides readers. For me, though I really enjoyed it. It is dark, mysterious and at times riddled with fear. It has a good psychological aspect to it as the teens are in the limbo of becoming adults.

A very good and captivating read and I will be looking to read more by this author. It is a book I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Hamer’s third novel CRUSHED is published in May 2019 (Faber & Faber). She is the author of THE DOLL FUNERAL (Faber & Faber 2017) which was a Bookseller book of the month and an editor’s pick for Radio 4’s Open Book. Her first novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT has been translated into 18 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. She grew up in the west country and rural Pembrokeshire and now lives with her husband in Cardiff. 

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The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig #20booksofsummer #crime #horror #fantasy #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. I came across this author when I took part in a Blog Tour for The Wanderers, it is an amazing book btw. So when I saw this one I knew I wanted to read more by him, and this one did not disappoint.

This is 15/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.

And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another. 

MY REVIEW

When I read Wanderers by Chuck Wendig in 2019 it became my Top Book of the year. Why then has it taken me so long to pick up The Book of Accidents!

This is a fabulous story and one that is a mix of horror, mystery, murder, supernatural and a whole lot of other stuff. The focus is on the Graves family, Father Carl, Mother Maddie and Son Oliver. They have just moved into Carl’s father’s house after his father had died. Carl didn’t have a good relationship with his father, there is bitterness and anger, and even a feeling of being glad that his father had passed away.

Starting a new life away from Philly and being a cop, Nate is hoping for a more relaxed life. One that will allow Maddie to create her art and for Oliver to find some piece from the trauma of being at school. Oliver is a sensitive child, he picks up on others’ feelings and finds it all overwhelming.

The feeling is something that runs deep in this novel, the feeling of something sinister lurking waiting for the author to unleash it. The feeling that there is more to this story than meets the eye. Then there is the feeling of unfinished business and events that are unfolding in the town.

There was a series of murders in the area, and the man was caught, imprisoned and electrocuted. Then the mystery of why the boulder-strewn park is so notorious and why the tunnel is officially a no-go area.

There is a lot going on in this book and the author lays it out in a way that allows you to get to grips with some of the characters before introducing more. There isn’t an over-abundance of characters, instead, there are a lot of subplots, and plots within sub-plots. Again brilliantly executed and allows the reader to keep up to speed even though not necessarily know where the author is planning on going.

This is a horror, and while there are some gory moments, I didn’t find it scary. I was more intrigued by the mysteries and wanted to know what the outcomes would be. The tense and intriguing nature of the story makes this such an addictive read. Mysteries deepen, more questions form and the story goes on a wonderful rollercoaster of a journey.

The synopsis is good to tempt but comes nowhere near to giving anything much away, which is why this is such a vague review. The family concerned is one that I was rooting for, nothing however is guaranteed and I was on tenterhooks for a large part of the story as to what eventualities they would find themselves in.

This is a brilliant story and at 500+ pages it is one that you can really get your teeth into, so to speak. I think this is one that would interest a good many readers as it does span several genres. I thought it was a cracking read and I would absolutely recommend it.

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The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean #20booksofsummer #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean. I have read some of this authors books and they have been great, this one is very different and fabulous reading.

This is 13/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

A dark and brilliant new standalone thriller from a rising star in the crime genre.

He is her husband. She is his captive.

Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.

She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.

Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.

For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him and waiting …

MY REVIEW

I bought this book when it came out last year after reading many great reviews. I have finally now read it and Oh my goodness! What a story this is!

It is set mainly within the isolated farmhouse on The Fens, and as I know the Fens I can see how and why this setting works so well. The Fens are flat, they can be desolate, but they are also ideal for hiding out of the way.

The story focuses on Jane, a woman who lives in the farmhouse. There is a reason she is there and there is a reason she tries her hardest to keep her head down, prepare the meals, clean the house and do all that is required of her.

The synopsis does not give away much, but what it does give is a terrible sense of fear and atmosphere. The author has done such a wonderful job of making Jane a character that the reader can care about, as I was reading this story I wanted her to escape to get away from her life. Knowing the reasons why she remains is heartbreaking though.

When there is a change at the cottage things do appear to get slightly better, if that’s possible, but better for one doesn’t mean better for all. Jane has to change her focus and needs to know how far she will risk things.

This is such a wonderful story but one that is also an incredibly heartbreaking read. It isn’t a story I want to say I enjoyed due to the horrific situation and circumstances, but it is a very addictive one. I needed to know what happened to Jane and get the answers to all the questions I had.

This is a brutal, dark story but one that shows how circumstances can change and how events can shape your life. This is a story that will get under your skin and one that I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx