This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

Synopsis

The dazzling new novel from bestselling, award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life.

A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

Published by Tinder Press

Published in May 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Hardback
My Thoughts
Wow, where do i begin with this review.  Its the first Maggie O’Farrell book i’ve read so i had no idea what to expect.
What I got though was a rip roaring, yet still gently paced, walk through time with some of the most wonderful characters i’ve ever met in a book.
There is Daniel, whose life is complicated, who has had a busy past and a rather confused present.  His wife Claudette, a film star who no longer wants to be one.
Secrets and lies, intrigue, love, tears and happiness are all here.
Maggie’s style of writing is to sweet talk you with her slow, measured and clever writing, hook you in like a hopeless fish on a line and then make you fall in love with the characters and never want to leave them.
I adored it very much.
Thank you to Tinder Press for sending me a most beautiful ARC and allowing me to meet such an amazing cast of characters.

***** UK ONLY GIVEAWAY ***** All The Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

I have an exciting GIVEAWAY on the blog today!

I managed to receive 2 copies of this:

1st copy got lost in post, they kindly sent me another and then 1st copy finally turned up! You know how it goes…

So, I thought i’d offer one of them as a giveaway.

I know, i’m just too kind you’re so right.

So, simply follow instructions in the Rafflecopter below and GOOD LUCK!

Comp ends at midnight on 12th February and is only open to UK residents.

Sorry rest of the world but i’m not a millionaire, Yet!

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Mini Book Review – All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders

I was sent this early ARC by Titan Books

Synopsis

Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths… When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world and live up to his reputation in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repair the earth’s ever growing ailments. As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia’s shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.

Review

So much wonderful things are being said about this book right now and I was thrilled to get an early copy. Charlie Jane has a definite streak of originality in her writing as well as a similarity to the likes of Catherynne M. Valente and Jandy Nelson.
I adored both Patricia and Laurence (not Larry, never Larry!) and their individual stories. There are some classic quotes which I’m sure will go down in YA history in time.
However, It really is a unique and quirky tale and as it went on it became so strange that i just couldnt follow it anymore. I can handle magical realism but after a while i didnt know which way was up.
Sadly i could not finish this despite trying several times.
I am certain though that it will be universally loved but it just wasnt for me.

Mini book review – The second love of my life by Victoria Walters

This was sent to me by Headline Books

Synopsis

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.
Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.
But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.
Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?
Get lost in Victoria Walters’ immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.

Review

I was so excited to get this and began reading right away. Initially I was enjoying it, its a nice, gentle, easy read. I liked the characters of Rose and Robert they are well drawn and make a sweet couple.
But, about 1/6th of the way in to the book I began to guess the plot and sadly i was spot on!  I was disappointed that the storyline was so easy to work out.
I’m afraid I DNF’d this book!  (did not finish)
Again, its another book with a good message but I like something with a bit more mystery surrounding the plot so it was just not for me.

Mini book review – Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan

Thank you to Rock The Boat publications for this ARC

Synopsis

When Johnny moves house and starts a new school he has to deal with a bully who can’t leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny’s growing power soon puts him in a very special place.
A chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. His teacher wants him to live the role, and when feathers start sprouting on his chest, Johnny begins to understand his true potential. But will he be strong or brave enough to beat his bullies, take care of his brother, support his mother and find a place for himself amongst all the chaos that is prevailing in his life.

Review

I sadly just didnt like this very much. I guess you could say it has magical realism and it is nicely written but I just couldnt get on board with the storyline. I found it disjointed and messy in places.
I liked the characters of Johnny and his little brother Mojo and it has a good meaning and message but it just wasnt for me.

Proof of the week – The Sleeping Prince

This is a new feature i’m trialing on the ol’ blog

Each week I will share with you the proof I have been most excited, honoured and thrilled to receive. I want to big up the wonderful publishers and publicity assistants (and bosses) who send me fabulous books. Because I find it such a buzz to get an early copy of a book to read and review long before it reaches the shops.

And first one up is this beauty

Its only Melinda Salisbury’s new one, The Sleeping Prince!!

*Excited gasps*

Considering I adored her first book, The Sin Eaters Daughter I think i can safely say this will be amazing!

So its a huge shout out to Scholastic Books and a lovely lady called Olivia for sending me this review copy.

It’s out on 4th February so dont miss it!

*hugs book tightly and sings to it*

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Well, I actually dont know what I think about this book really!

Its humorous, black humour though, quite dark in places. It’s very lyrical, and also extremely sad.

I loved Merricat though, she is the narrator of the book.

But, I really don’t enjoy books that dont seem to get anywhere. I was expecting some kind of surprise ending or at least a resolution to the story.

Its beautifully written and very poetical almost and I’m glad i read it but it wont be making any top 10 or 20 lists i’m afraid.

My 7 anticipated reads of 2016 – so far

I’ve been a book blogger for almost two years now and each year the amount and quality of books coming out is just astounding.

How can it get any better I hear you cry?

Well it can and it has!

2016 is gonna be a spectacular year for new books, new authors and plenty of thrilling sequels.

Here are just 7 of my most anticipated reads of this brand new year. In no particular order mind. These are mostly all paperbacks (my favourite type) and some of them may already be available in hardback form but lets face it who has strong enough arms to read a hardback

           ***********************************************************************
Remember by Eileen Cook

 
A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protestors. Her father runs the company that trademarked the “Memtex” procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn’t be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

Published by Simon Pulse on 2nd February

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore’s The Siege will be totally absorbed.
Published by Puffin on 4th February

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”
Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.

Published by Faber & Faber on 4th February

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified …and desperate for more. Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep. When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help Errin, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds splits the world as she knows it apart, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom…

Published by Scholastic on 4th February

How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.
Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby…Then Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery – Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future…
Non Pratt’s Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss’ remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.

Published by Simon & Schuster on 14th July

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…

Published by Orion on 14th January

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine-self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson-from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine-Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. Dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked …until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

Published by Harper Collins on 28th January

My favourite books of 2015

First off let me wish you all a very Happy New Year!

I hope that 2016 will be full of amazing books and talented authors.

Now, this was meant to be my top 10 books but it was impossible as i’d read so many great books this year but i have managed to round it down to 16!

I have my very favourite which i will reveal at the end however.

These are the authors concerned and if you are new to reading or fancy trying someone new then i would highly recommend all these wonderful people. They have a skill like no other. Just read them!


And here are the books I adored reading the most last year.

The Sin Eater’s daughter by Melinda Salisbury – A fab tale of magic, mystery and passion with a real sting in the tail. I’m looking forward to the sequel this year.

One by Sarah Crossan – Gorgeous and cleverly written story about conjoined twins. Will warm your heart and make you cry.

Every Day by David Levithan – This is such an original story which works really well and of course its beautifully written too.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – A gripping psychological thriller that kept me guessing until the end.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – How clever is this book, another sting in the tail that you just wouldnt guess in a million years. I loved it!

How I Lost you by Jenny Blackhurst – Instantly this book drew me in and twisted its tale around me. A fab psychological thriller of the best kind.

The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley – A brilliant story based on A Christmas Carol and using some of its characters to make a brand new and unforgettable story of Christmas. This is one I will be re-reading each year.

Forget Me Not by Luana Lewis – A thrilling story which will keep you on your toes and wondering the outcome. Clever plot twists guaranteed.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Wow! just wow! A simple enough but beautifully written little book which has THE best twist I have ever read.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – Jandy’s writing is sublime, manic, excitable and passionate. I adored this book and fell in love with its characters because she paints them all so clearly.

Regeneration by Pat Barker – A wonderful book about WW1, madness and the poets Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen among others. Hard to read in parts but always skillfully written.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – Such a smoothly written, sweet, loving, life affirming story that i hated to say goodbye to when it ended.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – Absolutely bloomin’ love this idea of a book NOT about the ‘chosen one’ as so many books have been over time. Told with Patrick’s trademark style and wit, this has to be read!

The Island by Olivia Levez – A fantastic debut novel which just gets better and better page by page. I got an early copy of this but you have to buy it when its released in March. Its simply awesome!

Seed by Lisa Heathfield – A very unusual setting for this book which works so well and a cast of characters you wont want to say goodbye to. This is a very special book!

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – I have come very late to this book, first published in 1973, but i’m glad i know it now and its another Christmas book i will re-read each year. Gorgeously descriptive and atmospheric.

As I said I couldnt list these in any order as i loved them all so much but my stand out book has to be!

Pause for excitement!

We were Liars! *fanfare*

This just has not been beaten all year by anything else i’ve read. its also the only book apart from A Christmas Carol that i have wanted to re-read just to be with the characters again.

What were your best books of 2015?

mini reviews of books I did not like (1)

I get sent quite a few books each month to review from wonderful publishing companies and its still such a thrill for me to receive them.  It doesnt automatically mean however that I will like those books. Majority of them are debut novels which means i have no idea how the author writes or if its to my taste before i receive the book so its inevitable that some will never get read. I simply can’t waste time reading a book i dislike when there are so many fab titles out there waiting for me, sorry.

So, I have decided to do a post of Mini reviews of the books i have been sent recently that didnt gel with me, that i just couldnt love.

Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

This is just too childish for words. Its one whole cliche about boys and girls and skiing trips and first kisses.
Sorry, but it has no substance whatsoever and the best character in it is the hamster.

We’ll always have Paris by Emma Beddington

This was hyped up to be so much more than just a memoir of someone who is not remotely famous but just fell in love with all things French and moved there.
Its not even very funny, shame.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

I cant believe it but I seem to be the only person in the world who just couldnt get on with this book.
Its the format that drives me mad. It was a fab idea but I find it impossible to read and concentrate on. The pages are just too busy with all the headers, documents etc. I have tried 4 times to read this but each time i get to the same part, barely 30 pages in and i get stuck and lose the plot.
A clever concept but it just didnt work for me.

Finding Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace

This appears to be set in an airport where the main character lives and she is waiting there to one day find out who her real mother is? Hmm i know, weird!

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

I’m not sure what i was expecting with this one but it was weird! People in a lunatic asylum going to a dance! Hmm sorry not for me.

Five Rivers met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

This is another over hyped book which left me cold. It began okay but then just as you were getting comfortable with the narrator, it changed to someone else and i found it disconcerting.
It took a long while to get anywhere too, sadly.

Shtum by Jem Lester

This sounds great in the blurb they send but I found it left me cold and i didnt enjoy the story much.
I was told i could only have a copy if i passed it on which i was happy to do. Sadly i passed it on very quickly.

Anna and the SwallowMan by Gavriel Savit

Weirdly written and not as fascinating as i’d imagined it would be.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I thought this book was something else completely. It is just another YA book about friendships, falling out, school etc etc. Its not even written that well either.

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