[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] Overdrawn by N.J. Crosskey @NJCROSSKEY @legend_press #Overdrawn

I’m a bit late with the blog tour but better late than never! I believe it was Laura Pearson raving about Overdrawn that attracted my attention towards it so I googled it and requested a copy from the publisher. Luckily I’ve been sent a copy to read! Ahh what a story!

Overdrawn is set in a society where when you reach a certain age (which puts you into the old category) there’s a program called Moving On where you can go die peacefully and leave your children with a better future. The system works by using EPs (earning potential) which is determined by your education, health etc. In this society lives Henry Morris whose wife shows signs of advanced dementia which can be controlled with medication but the medication costs and Henry does everything he can to secure that she has her medication but he’s running out of options. Kaitlyn is a young woman who works as a waitress in order to keep her brother, who’s in a coma, plugged on life support for as long as he needs until he wakes up. The chances of him waking up are very slim but Kaitlyn is determined to do whatever to keep him in hospital because there’s still a chance he’ll wake up. One day Henry and Kaitlyn meet in a very awkward kind of way and from then on their lives become linked.

What to say!? Overdrawn is such a touching book. The whole idea of the book is something I’ve thought about myself but not to this sort of extreme where the government has the power to force you to move on. The society in which our characters live in is scary and cruel – a place where in order for your children to have a better future you are praised if you decide to literally sacrifice your own. Both Henry and Kaitlyn are such real and raw characters and their stories resonate with the reader. I loved Henry and Kaitlyn’s first encounter especially the part where he left her the tip and sort of woke up something in her. The whole friendship between these two characters was something I loved reading about as well as finding out more about them as a dynamic. I was initially into the idea both Henry and Kaitlyn had but as the story progressed and Kaitlyn got to meet Chloe (Henry’s wife) I got scared about how they’d do what they planned. I loved Chloe as a character so much – such a wonderful intelligent woman who has so much love in her heart. I loved reading parts with Chloe and laughing with her. The couple of chapters towards the end were a bit rushed to me but they were so emotional! I felt such sadness towards the end but also joy [people who’ve read the book will understand]. Crosskey is a wonderful storyteller!

Overdrawn is for readers who enjoy reading stories that have a heart to them, stories that leave you thinking.

I would like to thank the publisher Legend Press for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating:

Add ‘Overdrawn‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Overdrawn‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

N.J. Crosskey is the author of Poster Boy (coming April 2019) 20180428_220837and Overdrawn  (September 2019)

A mother of two crazy children, N.J has worked in the care sector for almost twenty years and is now fulfilling her life-long dream of becoming a novelist.

Both titles will be published in 2019 by Legend Press.

N. J. Crosskey is represented by Emily Sweet Associates

Find her on: Website and Twitter.

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[BLOG TOUR: EXTRACT] Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby #ThreeDaysinFlorence @HodderBooks

I’m very pleased to share an extract of Chrissie Manby’s Three Days in Florence with you today!

SYNOPSIS:

When a mini-break becomes make or break…

Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

BOOK EXTRACT

Thoughts?

Follow other amazing book bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘Three Days in Florence‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘ Three Days in Florence‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty five romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on http://www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can’t walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website http://www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

[BLOG TOUR: EXTRACT] Careless Whisper by T.S. Hunter @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir

I’m so excited to share an extract of T.S. Hunter’s new Soho Noir thriller – Careless Whisper – as part of my blog tour stop with you all!

SYNOPSIS:

LOOSE LIPS COST LIVES.

It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of the pop sensation Loose Lips, is struggling to stay in the closet, especially as his group is going through a messy split, and media speculation about the reasons behind it are high.

Joe Stone is assigned to Adam as a runner for the behind-the-scenes, warts and all expose of the recording of the bands last album, and an unlikely friendship begins to form.

But when Adam’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead in Adam’s hotel room, in what looks like a sex game gone wrong, Joe turns to his flatmate, Russell, to help him clear the pop star’s name, and keep his secret.

Russell, meanwhile, has a secret of his own. He’s just been for a test, the results of which may change his life forever

BOOK EXTRACT

Thoughts?

Follow other amazing book bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘Careless Whisper‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘ Careless Whisper‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Claiming to be at least half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media.

Find him on: Goodreads and Twitter.

[BLOG TOUR: EXTRACT] Wanderers by Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig @RebellionPub @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheWanderers

I’m so excited to share an excerpt from Wanderers by Chuck Wendig with you all! Ahh! I am so in love with it so far and I cannot wait to share my review with you soon as well! Thank you so much to Tracy Fenton at CompulsiveReaders for organising the blog tour!

BOOK EXTRACT

1

The First Sleepwalker

Last night’s amateur astronomers got a treat in the form of clear skies, a new moon, and Comet Sakamoto. The last three Great Comets were Lovejoy in 2011, McNaught in 2007, and the famous—­or infamous?—­Hale-­Bopp in 1997, which of course spawned the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members committed mass suicide in the belief it would allow them to hitch a ride with an extraterrestrial spaceship following that comet. You’re listening to Tom Stonekettle of Stonekettle Radio, 970 BRG.

—­Stonekettle Radio Show, 970AM WBRG, Pittsburgh

June 3

Maker’s Bell, Pennsylvania

Shana stood there looking at her little sister’s empty bed, and her first thought was: Nessie ran away again.

She called to her a few times. Honestly, after Nessie had stayed up late last night to watch the comet through Dad’s shitty telescope, Shana figured the younger girl would still be in bed, snoring up little earthquakes. She wasn’t sure where the hell else Nessie could be—­Shana had been up for an hour already, making their lunches, finishing the laundry, putting the trash and recycling together so she could haul it up the long driveway for tomorrow’s pickup. So she knew Nessie wasn’t in the kitchen. Maybe she was in the upstairs bathroom.

“Nessie?” She paused. Listened. “Nessie, c’mon.”

But nothing.

Again the thought: Nessie ran away again.

It didn’t make much sense. First time Nessie ran away, that made sense. They’d just lost their mother—­lost her in a very literal way. The four of them went to the grocery store, and only three of them came back. They feared Mom had been taken and hurt, but eventually security cameras from the Giant Eagle showed that nobody kidnapped her; she strolled out the automatic doors like nothing was wrong and then walked out of their lives
for good. Mom became a big question mark stuck in their cheeks like a fishhook.

But it was clear that their mother didn’t want to be a part of their lives anymore. That, Shana knew even then, had been a long time coming, but the realization did not hit Nessie—­and still had not reached her, even now. Nessie believed then that it was Dad’s fault. And maybe Shana’s, too. So two years ago almost to the day, after school was done for the year, Nessie packed a backpack full of canned goods and bottled water (plus a couple of candy bars), and ran away.

They found Nessie four hours later at the wooden bus shelter on Granger, hiding from a sudden rain squall. Shivering like a stray puppy. When Dad picked her up she kicked and thrashed, and it was like watching a wrestler try to pin a tornado. But then he gave up, said to her, “You want to run away, you run away, but if you’re thinking of going after your mother, I don’t think she wants to be found.”

It was like watching a glass of water tip in slow motion. Nessie collapsed in his arms and wept so hard she could only catch her breath in these keening, air-­sucking hitches. Her shoulders shook and she pressed both hands under her armpits as if hugging herself. They got her home. She slept for two days and then, slowly but surely, came back to life.

That was two years ago.

Today, though, Shana could not figure out why Nessie would want to run away again. Girl was fifteen now and hadn’t hit the wall like Shana had at that age—­as Dad put it, Shana “went full teenager.” Mopey and mad and hormones like a kicking horse. Shana was almost eighteen, now. She was better these days. Mostly.

Nessie was still all right, hadn’t turned into a werewolf. Still happy. Still optimistic. Eyes bright like new nickels. She had a little notebook, in which she wrote all the things she wanted to do (scuba dive with sharks, study bats, knit her own slippers like Mom-­Mom used to do), all the places she wanted to go (Edinburgh, Tibet, San Diego), all the people she wanted to meet (the president, an astronaut, her future husband). She said to Shana one day, “I heard that if you complain it reprograms your brain like a computer virus and it just makes you more and more unhappy, so I’m going to stay positive because I bet the opposite is true, too.”

That notebook sat there on her empty bed. Next to the bed was an open box—­Nessie had gotten some package in the mail, some science thing she must’ve ordered. (Shana borrowed a part of it, a little test tube, to hold weed.) Her daffodil-­yellow sheets looked rumpled and slept-­in. Her pink pillow still showed her head-­dent.

Shana peeked at the notebook. Nessie had started a new list: jobs i might like?? Included: zookeeper, beekeeper, alpaca farmer, photographer. Photographer? Shana thought. That’s my bag. A weird flare of anger lanced through her. Nessie was good at everything. If she decided to do the thing that Shana wanted to do, she’d do it better and that would suck and they’d hate each other forever. (Well, no. Shana would hate Nessie. Nessie would love her unconditionally because that was Nessie.)

Shana called out for her again. “Ness? Nessie?” Her voice echoed and nothing but the echo answered. Shit.

Dad was probably already in the so-­called milking parlor (he said if they’re going to be part of the artisanal cheese movement here in Pennsylvania they needed to start talking like it, damnit), and he would be expecting Ness and Shana to staff the little shop up by the road. Then eventually he’d come get one of them to head into the cheese barn to check the curds on that Gouda or get the blues draining—­then mix the silage and feed the cows and ah, hell, the vet was coming today to look at poor Belinda’s red, crusty udders and—­

Maybe that’s why Nessie ran away. School was out already and summer vacation wasn’t much of one: Everything was work, work, work. (Shana wondered if Nessie had the right idea. She could run away, too. Even for the day. Call up her buddy Zig in his Honda, smoke some weed, read comic books, talk shit about the seniors who just graduated . . .)

(God, she had to get out of here.)

(If she didn’t get out of here soon, she’d stay here forever. This place felt like quicksand.)

Of course, Nessie was too good a girl to have run away again, so maybe she got the jump on Shana and was already out in the shop. Little worker bee, that one. What was the song on Dad’s old REM album? “Shiny Happy People”? That was Nessie.

Shana’d already eaten, so she went in search of the little clip-­on macro lens she used over her phone’s camera to let her take photos of things real close-­up, magnified. Little worlds revealed, the micro made macro. She didn’t have a proper camera, but she was saving up to get a DSLR one day. In the meantime, that meant using the phone. Maybe she’d find something in the stable or in the cheesemaking room that would look cool up close: flaking rust, the red needle in the thermometer, the bubbles or crystals in the cheese itself.

It hit her where she’d left the lens last time—­she was taking pictures of a house spider hanging in her window, and she left the lens on the sill. So she went there to grab it—­

Something outside caught her eye. Movement up the driveway. One of the cows loose was her first thought.

Shana headed to the window.

Someone was out there, walking.

No. Not someone.

Little dum-­dum was halfway up the driveway in her PJ pants and pink T-­shirt. Barefoot, too, by the look of it. Oh, what the hell, Nessie?

Shana ran to the kitchen, forgetting her lens. She hurriedly popped on her sneakers and ran out the door to the back porch, nearly tripping on the one sneaker that wasn’t all the way on yet, but she quick smashed her heel down into the shoe and kept on running.

She thought to yell to her little sister, but decided against it. No need to draw Dad’s attention. He’d see they weren’t out in the shop yet and give them a ration of hot shit about it, and Shana didn’t want to hear it. This was not a morning for nonsense, and already the nonsense was mounting.

Instead she ran up along the driveway, the red gravel crunching underneath her sneaks. The Holsteins on the left bleated and mooed. A young calf—­she thought it was Moo Radley—­stood there on knock-­knees watching her hurry to catch up to her tweedledum sister. “Nessie,” she hissed. “Nessie, hey!”

But Nessie didn’t turn around. She just kept on walking.

What a little asshole.

Shana jogged up ahead of her and planted her feet like roots.

“God, Nessie, what the hell are you—­”

It was then she saw the girl’s eyes. They were open. Her sister’s gaze stood fixed at nothing, like she was looking through Shana or staring around her.

Dead eyes, dead like the flat tops of fat nails. Gone was the luster of wonder, that spark.

Barefoot, Nessie continued on. Shana didn’t know what to do—­move out of her way? Stand planted like a telephone pole? Her indecision forced her to do a little of both—­she shifted left just a little, but still in her sister’s inevitable path.

The girl’s shoulder clipped her hard. Shana staggered left, taking the hit. The laugh that came up out of her was one of surprise. It was a pissed-­off laugh, a bark of incredulity.

“That hurt, dummy,” she said, and then grabbed for the girl’s shoulder and shook her.

Nothing. Nessie just pulled away and kept going.

“Nessie. Nessie.”

Shana waved her hand in front of Nessie’s eyes. Wave, wave, wave. She had the thought then, a stray thought she pretended could be true even though she knew deep down it couldn’t be, She’s just playing a joke on me. Even though Shana was the prankster and Nessie’s only real joke was a cabinet of knock-­knock jokes so bad it made their bad-­joke-­loving father wince. Still, just in case, she took her finger and poked Nessie’s nose as if it were a button.

“Boop,” she said. “Power down, little robot.”

Nessie registered nothing. Didn’t even blink.

Had she blinked the whole time? Shana didn’t think so.

Then she saw, ahead, a big rain puddle. She warned her sister: “Nessie, watch out, there’s a—­”

Too late. Nessie plodded right through it. Splish. Splash. Feet in the water almost up to the ankles. Still going and going. Like a windup toy set to beeline in one direction.

Still staring ahead.

Still moving forward.

Arms stiff by her sides. Her gait sure and steady.

Something’s wrong.

The thought hit Shana in the heart like a fist. Her guts went cold, her blood to slush. She couldn’t hold back the chills. But she tried anyway and said to herself, Maybe she’s just sleepwalking. That’s probably what this is. Okay, no, Nessie had never done that before, but maybe this was how her brain chose to handle those hormones running through her like a pack of racehorses right now.

The question was: Go get Dad?

Ahead, the end of their driveway stretched out. There, the cheese and dairy shop made to look like a little red barn. There, the mailbox made to also look like a little barn, this one blue (and with a cow silhouette cut out of tin and stuck on top). And there, too, the road.

The road.

God, if Nessie walked to the road and a car came by . . .

She yelled for her dad. Screamed for him. “Dad! Dad!” But nothing. No response. He might’ve been out in the pasture or in the barn. Going to get him meant leaving Nessie alone . . .

In her head she could hear the make-­believe sound of a truck grille hitting her sister, knocking her forward. The crunch of bones under tires. The thought made her queasy.

I can’t get Dad. I’ll stay with her.

This can’t go on for long.

Sleepwalkers eventually wake up.

Don’t they?

Thoughts?

Follow other amazing book bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘Wanderers‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).
He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.
Chuck’s novel Double Dead will be out in November, 2011.
He’s written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[REVIEW] Enigma Variations by André Aciman @FaberBooks @aaciman

Aciman’s short story collection Enigma Variations title comes from Edward Elgar’s piece called Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma), Op. 36 (1898), better known as Enigma Variations. I wasn’t aware of this connection until I finished the book and googled the title. I’ve spent about 40 minutes listening to Elgar’s piece and I just love it! It’s so beautiful!

I honestly don’t wish to butcher the synopsis of this short story collection so I’ll post the synopsis I found on Goodreads: “From a youthful infatuation with a cabinet maker in a small Italian fishing village, to a passionate yet sporadic affair with a woman in New York, to an obsession with a man he meets at a tennis court, Enigma Variations charts one man’s path through the great loves of his life. Paul’s intense desires, losses and longings draw him closer, not to a defined orientation, but to an understanding that ‘heartache, like love, like low-grade fevers, like the longing to reach out and touch a hand across the table, is easy enough to live down’.” I feel like this synopsis sums up the book wonderfully and if I tried to do it I’d ruin its magic.

Enigma Variations consists of five short stories dealing with love, loss, infatuation and more. Aciman has the ability to masterfully showcase human emotion through words. In reading Call Me by Your Name  I’ve noticed that Aciman’s so skilled in entering the human psyche and making the reader infatuated with words they’re reading. Although his stories are often sad Aciman writes with such precision that it feels as if he’s softening the ‘blow’. I have to say that the first two stories were my favourite because I loved Aciman’s writing in them the most and the way he described the village as well as the tennis court were perfection to me! By reading this review you’ve probably guessed that I adore Aciman’s writing style and the way he has with words so I’ll bore you no more with that. If I dive deeper into the analysis of each story I feel like I’ll ruin it for future readers so I won’t be sharing anything further but I have to say that Enigma Variations was a phenomenal read where although each story has about 50 (or more) pages it contains everything that satisfies the reader – from wonderful writing to a brilliantly crafted main character.

Fans of Aciman will definitely enjoy reading this short story collection and even if you’re not familiar with Aciman, you’ll fall in love with his writing in Enigma Variations.

Many thanks to the publisher Faber&Faber for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got the book from the publisher.

My rating: 

Add ‘Enigma Variations‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Enigma Variations‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

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André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Condé Nast Traveler as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays. Aciman received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, has taught at Princeton and Bard and is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at The CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently chair of the Ph. D. Program in Comparative Literature and founder and director of The Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center.

Find him on:  Twitter and Goodreads

[BLOG TOUR: Q&A] The Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker #BodyInTheCastleWell @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11

I’m very pleased to share with you a Q&A with Martin Walker, the author of The Body in the Castle, the newest book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series!

SYNOPSIS:

A rich American art student is found dead at the bottom of a well in an ancient hilltop castle. The young woman, Claudia, had been working in the archives of an eminent French art historian, a crippled Resistance war hero, at his art-filled chateau.

As Claudia’s White House connections get the US Embassy and the FBI involved, Bruno traces the people and events that led to her death – or was it murder?

Bruno learns that Claudia had been trying to buy the chateau and art collection of her tutor, even while her researches led her to suspect that some of his attributions may have been forged. This takes Bruno down a trail that leads him from the ruins of Berlin in 1945, to France’s colonial war in Algeria.

The long arm of French history has reached out to find a new victim, but can Bruno identify the killer – and prove his case?

Q&A 

Q: How long did it take you to write this book and was the writing process hard compared to your previous works?

A: The first draft took about 4 months, after 2 or 3 months planning and research which is about the usual pattern. This was a little easier than most books because I knew the site of Limeuil so well.

Q: How often do you write?

A: Every day, either a wine column or or some other journalism and for the new cookbook or a non-Bruno novel. As a journalist most of my life I am accustomed to writing every day.

Q: Did you always know you were going to write a book (become a writer) or was it something that came spontaneously?

A: I already knew from childhood that I wanted to write. I used to follow my mum around the house reading out to her poems or little stories I had written.

Q: Do you relate to the main character Bruno?

A: I wish I could cook and play tennis as well as he does. But although he was inspired by my village policeman, who is also my tennis partner, Bruno is an invention but I always liked the idea of a friendly and helpful policemen who see himself as a good neighbour as well as a cop.

Q: I love the title The Body in the Castle Well – were there any alternatives or were you set on this title from the beginning?

A: I’m never good with titles so my UK editor chose it, my working title was ‘the girl in the castle well’.

Q: What are some of your favourite books and what are you reading at the moment?

A: I always love Sherlock Holmes and Maigret, I am currently reading Adam Roberts on Napoleon and Gegard Fayolle’s ‘Les Trentes Glorieuses’.

Q: Do you have a routine of writing at a certain time for a couple of hours or do you do it spontaneously?

A: Once I start writing a book I have to write 3 pages – or 1000 words – every day until I am done.

Q: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing books?

A: Conan Doyle, Chandler, le Carre, Carlyle, Dickens, Mailer, Saul Bellow and Trollope.

Thank you s much to Martin as well as the publisher for making this Q&A possible!

Make sure to follow other book bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘The Body in the Castle Well‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Body in the Castle Well‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Martin Walker is the U.S. bureau chief for The Guardian (London), a regular commentator for CNN, and a columnist for newspapers in the United States, Europe, and Moscow. A published novelist and poet, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the novelist Julia Watson, and their two daughters.

Find him on: Website and Goodreads.

[BOOK REVIEW] Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James #BlackLeopardRedWolf

First of all I’d like to note that I’m not a fantasy reader and this book was out of my comfort zone and that’s why I chose to read it. I pride myself on writing honest reviews that reflect my experience with each book I read so this one will be no exception.

As I’ve mentioned above I’m not a huge fantasy buff but I do like to include a few fantasy books into my TBR and read more ‘widely’ because I like expanding my mind with different genres. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a novel which I’m sure every person who’s familiar with the book world will have heard of. The novel is book one of a trilogy called The Dark Star trilogy which will include two more books written from different perspectives on the same happenings. The first book Black Leopard, Red Wolf follows Tracker, a hunter known for his excellent sense of smell which has given him quite a reputation. Tracker is put on a quest to find a missing boy and along this quest he’s got many creatures much different than him, one of them being a shape-shifting creature called Leopard. Tracker’s quest to find the missing boy leads him to many ancient cities, forests and many dark places with much darker creatures who are not so welcome. What Tracker must do is find out who exactly is the boy and why do so many people want to find him?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is such a unique book in every sense of the world. As I’ve said – I’m not that big on fantasy but of all the fantasy I’ve read this book has to be the most unique with its world-building and characters as well as the language. What I found interesting in this book were James’ characters and how peculiar they were. I have to admit that the first two-hundred pages were the most fun for me and then the rest kind of lost me. There are some very memorable scenes which stayed with me still – little background: I’ve been reading it since the beginning of March and have paused quite a few times because of Uni – and I actually really liked that because it shows that James has amazing skills as a writer. I found myself lost at times while reading, perhaps because it was a bit ‘too fantasy’ for me? I’m used to reading books that are quickly engaging and where the story flows but BLRW is one complex behemoth of a book. In order to successfully get through it you need to take your time with it and follow it slowly. I would very much like to read/hear the experience of a well-read fantasy genre lover when it comes to this book because I’m sure they would appreciate it more and find more meaning in it. I’ve been pondering for a while on how I should rate this book and I honestly don’t know because I feel like my experience with it wasn’t full.. I wouldn’t say it’s a book you should definitely avoid because you’ll be missing out but I’m also not intent on saying it’s the best of the best and you should grab a copy immediately. What I’ll say about Black Leopard, Red Wolf is that if you wish to experience something unique and have the time to solely focus on it then go ahead and get it from your local bookshop, online or from your library and enter the world that the mind of Marlon James has created.

I would love to hear other people’s opinion on Black Leopard, Red Wolf so if you’ve read it please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on it with me!

I would like to thank the publisher Hamish Hamilton for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer. He has published three novels: John Crow’s Devil(2005), The Book of Night Women (2009) and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were both in the Jamaican police: his mother (who gave him his first prose book, a collection of stories by O. Henry) became a detective and his father (from whom James took a love of Shakespeare and Coleridge) a lawyer. James is a 1991 graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he read Language and Literature. He received a master’s degree in creative writing from Wilkes University (2006).

Find him on: Goodreads

[SOCIAL MEDIA BLAST: BOOK EXTRACT] The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary @QuercusBooks #TheFlatshare @OLearyBeth

Today is the publication day of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary! As part of my social media tour stop I’m sharing the first chapter with you! Yay!

BOOK EXTRACT

This tour involves many book bloggers! Make sure to check them out!

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Beth O’Leary studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).
Find her on: Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] Wanderer by Sarah Léon, translated by John Cullen @OtherPress

Other Press is one of those publishers you love because of their ability to choose and publish brilliant new voices in fiction as well as non-fiction. Wanderer by Sarah Leon was such an interesting and thought-provoking read but not a perfect one.

Wanderer by Sarah Leon is set in France, in a small territory near Bourbonnais Mountains, where we are introduced to Hermin Peyre, a composer who has decided to isolate himself in order to spend his time composing a piece dedicated to Schubert. One wintry night Leonard Wieck, Lenny, shows up on his doorstep after ten years of not having any contact with him. This event will put years of unspoken words and frustrations out in the open for both Hermin and Lenny. They must revisit their past together in order to better understand what happened between them and what kind of damage has been done. What happened between the two? What lies behind their silence?

‘’The fabric of his life had slowly worn itself out during those years of virtual solitude.’’

Leon having written this book at the age of twenty-one amazes me. Not only because of the fact that she was twenty-one but because of the way she crafts sentences and how she perceives certain things. The way music and certain musical pieces were intertwined within the story was beautiful and Leon combining music with winter made me feel like I was right there with Hermin and Lenny. Both characters are very flawed and interesting. Our story is told from Hermin’s POV which revisits the past and the present in each chapter so we get almost a full picture of what happened. Since the book is told from Hermin’s POV and since Lenny is his guest, Leon makes us a part of Hermin because we experience everything from his perspective – it feels as though we have welcomed a long lost friend into our home and are experiencing all of the consequences that this brings. What I found most enjoyable was the language in the story and the way Leon creates them which are all wonderfully translated from French by John Cullen. The translator did a fantastic job! The story is something I found to be weak – although the ‘ghosts of the past’ came to haunt both characters I felt as though the story could’ve been thought-out better. I get the decision behind bringing Lenny back after ten years of silence but I felt dissatisfied in a way because of the way the story went. I hope this makes sense to people who have read it but the story felt predictable to me. Wanderer being Leon’s debut novel shows to me that she has a lot of skill and I’m excited to see what she comes up with in the future. I feel like what Leon fell short on [for me] she made up by the way she wrote this novel.

‘’I’d looked at him helplessly. I’d never had any gift for consoling people – I could listen to them talk about their trouble, sure, but then how to find the right words? And this particular case seemd to be precisely the sort about which there was nothing to say; no phrases would have the power to cushion the blow that had just struck him. But in spite of all that, I was required to say something…’’

Wanderer explores the psychological effects of what long periods of silence do to a friendship and what damage they may cause.

If you’re someone who likes their reads to be more on the psychological side then I definitely recommend this book.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press (NY) for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book from the publisher.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Gérard Cambon-Éditions Héloïse

Sarah Léon was born in 1995 and studied literature and musicology at the École normale supérieure in Paris. She won the 2012 Prix Clara for her novella, Mon Alban.

Find her on: Publisher’s website and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Parting Gift by Evan Fallenberg @OtherPress

When it comes to books that feature LGBTQ+ themes I’m all ears so getting a chance to read The Parting Gift was very exciting for me. Oh boy, was this book brilliant! I have to mention the hardcover copy and how brilliantly it was designed. Wow, just wow. Well done Other Press!

The story centers around an unknown narrator who upon coming back from Israel crashes in his friend’s apartment and the book is written in a form of one long letter addressed to that friend, Adam. Since our narrator has found a new location to live in he decides to leave an explanation as to why he came to crash at his place for four months. Our narrator tells Adam the story of Uzi, a spice merchant he met during his trip as well as meeting Uzi’s family, of love, of obsession, of dedication and more.

I think that my summary is enough to read before going in and that’s why I kept it short. I’ve no idea what’s happening lately because I’ve been reading fantastic books – let’s not jinx this because I want to read more fantastic books in the future. I read The Parting Gift in a day because it was so fast-paced and so good that I couldn’t look away. I just made breaks to make more cups of tea. Fallenberg writes so masterfully and keeps your attention at all times and the way he crafted this tale was fantastic. I love how he created the characters in it especially our unknown narrator who is so fascinating and whose psyche I loved examining throughout the book. Unknown narrator is so interesting and his actions made me question many things about him. The story is developed very well and there’s no dull moment in it. If I was to compare this book to other ones I would definitely say that it reminded me of Gone Girl in a way – now I know everything is compared to Gone Girl nowadays but this book really left me with that impression. When I reached the end of The Parting Gift I found myself wanting more and exactly this ability the author has to make the reader want more is what amazes me. I honestly don’t know what else to say because I fear I’ll ruin your experience with this book so just do yourself a favour and pick this book up.

The Parting Gift is a fascinating tale of love, paranoia, jealousy and deviance set in a in a small town north of Tel Aviv.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Fallenberg is a graduate of Georgetown University and the MFA program in creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has lived in Israel since 1985. He is coordinator of fiction for the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University; coordinator of literary translation in the Department of English Literature at Bar-Ilan University; and an instructor in the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at City University of Hong Kong. The recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, Fallenberg serves as an advisor to several literary prizes, including the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. He is the father of two sons.

Find him on: Goodreads