Reading Round-up: July 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t get the full review treatment. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There were a few books that I didn’t get round to reviewing in July…

The Horse With My Name ~ Colin Bateman

thehorseDan Starkey – international man of inaction – rides again. How far can he fall this time?

Ex-journalist Dan Starkey is stuck in a grimy Belfast bedsit. His life is a disaster, and his only solace is the pub round the corner. He needs to get out more, particularly since the sessions at Relate with his wife Patricia have been cancelled and she’s hooked up with new man Clive. Fellow ex-journalist Mark Corkery, whose secret persona is The Horse Whisperer, an internet horse-racing gossip, wants him to investigate Geordie McClean, the man behind Irish American Racing. Simple enough for a man with Dan’s experience, surely? But Trouble is Dan’s middle name. And trouble is what he finds…

The fifth book in Bateman’s Dan Starkey series is another mad-cap investigation by the loveable sarcastic, cynical, journalist. It had been a long time since I’d caught up with Starkey and it was a welcome return. It made me laugh out loud and I finished it just a couple of sittings. If you haven’t read any Bateman’s books, I highly recommend you do!

unicorn rating 4

White Cat ~ Holly Black

whitecatCassel comes from a family of curse workers: people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider; the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

I love Holly Black’s writing, and her imagination. White Cat was no exception. I’ve wanted to read it for years and it was totally worth the wait. Cassel was an interesting protagonist, with a complicated family and I was rooting for him the whole way through. I definitely want to read the next book in the series ASAP. 

unicorn rating 4

thehauntingSome curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…


A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.
 

I’m loving this Red Eye series of books which is a YA Horror imprint. I don’t think there’s enough YA Horror out there. The Haunting was a fun, quick read incorporated lots of old Cornish myths and ghost stories which I thought set it apart from other ghost stories I’ve read. It was quite clichéd in places but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it. It’s a very traditional horror but the unique characters, especially protagonist Emma who is a wheelchair user, made it more interesting and diverse. A great read. 

unicorn rating 4

 

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

Well, that’s a wrap on July, folks! How did you get on?

Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit #BookReview #Thriller

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Title: Fear
Author: Dirk Kurbjuweit
Series: n/a
Format: Digital ARC, 303 pages
Publication Details: Jan 25th 2018 by Orion Publishing Group
Genre(s): Thriller/Mystery;
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

 

‘YOU’D DIE FOR YOUR FAMILY. BUT WOULD YOU KILL FOR THEM?

***

Family is everything.

So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.

You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.

Is there?


Review

Fear is psychological thriller with a difference.

At the beginning of the novel we learn that the protagonist’s elderly dad is in prison for shooting a neighbour who was terrorising his family. What follows is the build-up to how and why he took those measures.

Translated from German, the writing style of this book has a distinct Germanic feel to it which I enjoyed. It’s written from the protagonist Randolph’s sole perspective with a stream of consciousness narration. I’ve enjoyed this style in the past, but I did find Randolph a slightly strange,  monosyllabic narrator which made it hard for me to truly get on his side. I don’t know if this was the intention to create further intrigue (didn’t work for me) or if it was something lost in translation.

It did create suspense though, and I felt for Randolph every time the police and lawyers failed to help him. His complaint was that his neighbour was sending abusive notes to him and his wife, claiming that he knew they were sexually abusing their two children. This is obviously a terrible thing to be accused of if innocent, as we believe them to be.

However, I didn’t understand some of Randolph’s reaction. He basically went into a meltdown and started wondering if it was true. Had he ever touched them inappropriately when bathing them etc. Has his wife? Now, I don’t have children but I’m pretty sure if I did I would know if I’d touched them inappropriately. I mean, WTF.

Also the fact that him and his wife were slightly estranged and didn’t trust each other either made me question them more, added to the weirdness of his childhood stories about his gun-mad dad and always thinking he might shoot someone – I found it hard to relate to any of them. That being said, this all created a lot of intrigue, and along with some very dark, compelling moments, kept me reading.

it wasn’t a quick read, however. I found it a little slow with all the backstory and a bit too long. However, if you enjoyed We Need to Talk About Kevin, and/or want something a little different than your average psychological thriller then definitely give Fear a go! Bit of wait until it’s released though, soz!

unicorn rating 3

Fear is out 25th January 2018, but you can pre-order it now!

Reading Round-up: June 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t get the full review treatment. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There was only one book I read this month that I didn’t feel like reviewing in full…

The Winter King ~ Bernard Cornwell

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I never would have picked up a Bernard Cornwell book before I watched and enjoyed the TV adaptation of The Last Kingdom, but it made me think that maybe it’s my kind of thing after all. I also wasn’t aware that he’d written a trilogy based on King Arthur until I stumbled across this reissue at work, so I couldn’t resist picking it up.

I enjoyed a lot about this story of war in the time of Arthur, Mordred, Merlin and Guinevere, but for some reason it never fully grabbed my attention. I found Cornwell’s writing surprisingly beautiful, and I usually love most things Arthurian so I’m not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I did manage to struggle through, and was glad that I did but I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the other two books.

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

Well, that’s a wrap on June, folks! How did you get on?

This Month in Books: June 2017 #TMIB #BookoftheMonth

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June. Hmm…June actually felt like a lonnnng old month for once. We had the hottest June on record, although the heatwave only really lasted about 5 days. It did me in. I’m not made for hot climates and once again declared that I need to move to Iceland, as I do every year when it gets hot. LOL.

At the beginning of the month I went to visit my friend in Germany for her 30th, which was short but sweet. And I also finally went to Shakespeare’s Globe after over 15 years in London (shocking, I know) to see Tristan & Yseult which is one of my favourite stories ever. They certainly made it their own but I really enjoyed it.

June 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 9 (-4 from previous month)

Books Read: 4 (-2)
The Winter King ~ Bernard Cronwell
One of Us is Lying ~ Karen M. McManus
Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee
Fear ~ Dirk Kurbjuweit

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (1/4); Historical Fiction (1/4); Crime/Thriller (3/4)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/4); Digital (2/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (2/4) // Owned (0/4); Borrowed (1/4); For Review/proofs (3/4)

Most Surprising: Broken Branches
Most Disappointing: The Winter King
Most Exciting: Broken Branches
Most Swoon-worthy: One of Us is Lying
Most Beautifully Written: The Winter King

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 14.06.17
  2. This Month in Books: May
  3. Review: Broken Branches

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

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TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 85

Books Added: 0!!! 🙂 

Books Read: 1

Remaining: 84

That was my month, how was yours?

This Week in Books 28.06.17 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, blog friends! I’ve had a really nice chilled-out week so far (probably jinxed it now), hope yours has been good too. Here’s what my week in books has looked like…

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Now: The Horse with My Name ~ Colin Bateman

It’s been a long time since I read any of Bateman’s books and it’s like having a reunion with an old friend. I still prefer the Mystery Man books, but the Dan Starkey series is great too. This is the 5th Starkey novel.

Then:  Fear ~ Dirk Kurbjuweit 

This was a really interesting and tense thriller but I found it a little on the slow side. Definitely worth a read though. My review will up next week.

Next: ???

Definitely White Cat by Holly Black. Promise.

New on the Shelves

I didn’t buy or borrow any books this week. Well done, me! 🙂

 

I’m Waiting On…

…The Silent Companion, because… it sounds great. Susan Hill, check. Gothic ghost story, check. Crumbling estate, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

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Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

Expected Publication:  October 5th 2017 by Raven Books

 So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

This Week in Books 21.06.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, blog friends! It’s been a scorcher of a week over here. I’m looking forward to Winter already, LOL. I don’t deal well in the heat! Anyway, I hope you’ve all had a good week.

Here’s what mine has looked like…

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Now: Fear ~ Dirk Kurbjuweit 

I’ve only just started this thriller; so far, so good!

Then:  Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee

I really enjoyed this creepy tale about a family curse. My review will be up ASAP.

Next: ???

I’ve been saying White Cat by Holly Black for ages but still haven’t picked it up, so hopefully that!

New on the Shelves

Borrowed from the Library: 

We just bought all of Bateman’s Dan Starkey and Mystery Man books at work, on my recommendation (yay!) and I haven’t read this one yet so had to borrow it!

thehorseDan Starkey – international man of inaction – rides again. How far can he fall this time?

Ex-journalist Dan Starkey is stuck in a grimy Belfast bedsit. His life is a disaster, and his only solace is the pub round the corner. He needs to get out more, particularly since the sessions at Relate with his wife Patricia have been cancelled and she’s hooked up with new man Clive.

Fellow ex-journalist Mark Corkery, whose secret persona is The Horse Whisperer, an internet horse-racing gossip, wants him to investigate Geordie McClean, the man behind Irish American Racing.

Simple enough for a man with Dan’s experience, surely? But Trouble is Dan’s middle name. And trouble is what he finds…

I’m Waiting On…

…Shadowsong, because uhmmm… I’m not sure really. Wintersong was strange but I’m not sure how enjoyable it was. I think I need to give the second book a go though. Goblin Kinnnnng!

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The conclusion to the gorgeous and lush Wintersong duology.

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

Expected Publication: January 30th 2018 by Wednesday Books

 So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

This Week in Books 17.05.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I barely got any reading done last weekend/this week so my answers are the same. Fail. I blame Eurovision for giving me a 3-day hangover -LOL! My WoW and and New on the Shelf  answers are different though, so read on…

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Now: The Marsh King’s Daughter  ~ Karen Dionne // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I haven’t got stuck into this yet, but I have a good feeling about it. And I’m almost, finally, done with The Time Machine which I’ve been trying to read at lunch times.

Then:  Release ~ Patrick Ness

I think because I went to the book launch and listened to Patrick speak so passionately about his book that I had very high expectations and so I was a little disappointed by Release – but only a little. It was a beautiful book, I just got slapped by the hype-monster. Gah! My review will be up soon.

Next: ???

I’m really not sure this time. I’m going to let my mood decide at the time.

New on the Shelves

Netgalley: 

Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit was my WoW last week so I was pleased to get approved!

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I’m Waiting On…

I saw this on a few blogs last week and seem to be on a bit of a thriller kick so I’d like to give it a go!

thehoneymoon

There’s trouble in paradise. . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

 Expected Publication: June 1st 2017 by Penguin

 So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?