[REVIEW] A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley @QuercusBooks

I first heard of this book from Instagram and Twitter but mostly from Ana [who works at Quercus] who loved this book a lot. What I found amazing is that Quercus gave a copy of A Different Drummer to their employees and gave them a morning off to read it which shows how they feel about it. I am so glad and grateful I had this book sent to me.

‘I mean it seems horrible that the most you can do for people you love is leave them alone.’

In a fictional town called Sutton, one black man, Tucker Caliban, throws salt on his fields, shoots his horse and cow, sets fire to his house and departs Sutton. Along with him other black towns folk follow. From this point the story is told from white towns folk perspective – whether it be male, female, adult or child.

‘It was that gradually, going back as far as I can remember, they kept saying less and less to each other until the time came – this is the time I’m talking about – that they didn’t say anything at all to each other . . . except maybe at night when I guess married people feel most alone, when they realize how little they have in common, and how much they’ve lost.’

I don’t tend to read these stories often but when I do I really appreciate them because I love learning something new from them. When I say ‘these stories’ I mean stories tackling race issues – where I live there are not many black people and it’s predominantly white but I have always been raised to view everyone as equal which I’m grateful for. I found A Different Drummer to be such an interesting read that I teared up a few times while reading it. The ending of the book left me broken because of how people can be cruel and selfish.  I love the idea of telling the story from white people’s POV because it is very fascinating. I have actually raced through at least 200+ pages in a day and finished the book because I found it to be so compelling and the story-telling to be excellent. William Melvin Kelley shows great writing skills and I would absolutely love to read the rest of his works. The story felt and is relevant today and I think more people should get to know this author better by reading A Different Drummer. This is the kind of book that makes you dissect it after you’ve finished it. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book except that I found it to be so well written considering that the author was 23 at the time.

Read it.

I would like to thank the publisher Quercus Books (Riverrun) and Ana for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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William Melvin Kelley was a prominent African-American novelist and short-story writer. He was educated at the Fieldston School in New York and later attended Harvard University (class of 1960), where he won the Dana Reed Prize for creative writing. William Melvin Kelley has been a writer in residence at the State University of New York at Geneseo and has taught at the New School for Social Research. He currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. In 2008, he won the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award.

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[REVIEW] The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton @BloomsburyRaven

I have seen this book all over social media and when I say all over I truly mean all over – Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Youtube and book blogs. What first attracted me to it was the synopsis because it sounds so good and unique. I’m sure that the synopsis of Seven Deaths will intrigue every lover of mystery books (if one could classify it as such).

The story revolves around one woman called Evelyn Hardcastle who upon attending a party thrown for her by her parents gets murdered. This happens every night and the quest of saving Evelyn falls upon one man called Aiden Bishop. Aiden re-lives this whole day through the eyes of different guests and what he’s tasked with is solving the mystery around Evelyn’s death. But solving her death is very tricky and Aiden must give his all in order to find out the truth behind her death[s].

I have kept this synopsis short and sweet because it’s all you need before going in. The first question that pops into my mind is – is Seven Deaths worth the hype it got and still gets? I would say that it is because it offers something unique and something I haven’t read before. The story is complex and interesting and very rich in terms of characters and happenings. Because I’ve been busy with tests/exams I’ve been reading it for a longer period than usual but I have to note that I’ve read around 400 pages in two days which says something about the book as well as Turton’s writing. I found the characters as well as different timelines to be confusing at times because a lot of stuff happens in it. I enjoyed the mystery around Evelyn as well as Aiden’s attempts at trying to figure out what exactly happens every night. The last one-hundred pages were so good and fast-paced that I couldn’t look away so even though I was in class at one point I just kept reading instead of paying attention [sorry professor]. I love the complexity of the story Turton has created because even when I was trying to guess what Aiden was missing, Turton managed to add a new layer to the story and point to a different direction. I found the conclusion to the book to be very interesting and wanted at least twenty more pages just so I could see what happened! What bothered me the most and what I mentioned at the beginning are the characters and switching timelines but other than that I found the book to be such a strong mystery.

If you’re someone who gets sort of distanced when it comes to hyped-up books I can assure you that with this one you won’t be disappointed because it will thrill you, mislead you and entertain you. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle stands as a strong mystery book and one of the most interesting ones I’ve read in a while.

I would like to thank the publisher Bloomsbury UK (Raven Books) for providing me with a copy 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 this book free from the publisher.

My rating: 

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Stuart Turton lives in London with his amazing wife and daughter. He drinks lots of tea.

What else?

​When he left university he went travelling for three months and stayed away for five years. Every time his parents asked when he’d be back he told them next week, and meant it.

Stuart is not to be trusted. In the nicest possible way.

He’s got a degree in English and Philosophy, which makes him excellent at arguing and terrible at choosing degrees.

Having trained for no particular career, he has dabbled in most of them. He stocked shelves in a Darwin bookshop, taught English in Shanghai, worked for a technology magazine in London, wrote travel articles in Dubai, and now he’s a freelance journalist. None of this was planned, he just kept getting lost on his way to other places…

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[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

[REVIEW] The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker @PenguinRHUK

What attracted me to this book was the plot – Trojan War, Achilles! – but most of all the promise of it being told from the point of women and being centered around them. I also have to say that the cover is so beautiful and it just suits the book so well.

‘I was immediately aware of a new desire, to be part of it, to dissolve into it: the sea that feels nothing and can never be hurt.’

The book begins with Briseis, who upon taking shelter as the war rages on in her city decides to check on her mother-in-law because she’s sick. Making sure her mother-in-law got what she needed she returns back to the place where women and children hide and await their doom. When the Greeks enter Lyrnessus, Briseis is standing on the roof of a building of the shelter and what she witnesses is very horrific – Achilles killing her brothers and husband – but if that’s not enough to cause chills down her spine, Achilles looks up and stares at her and then continues his quest in conquering the city. What she feared happens and once fighting’s over the men turn their attention to women and children. Most of the women become imprisoned as slaves to certain kings. Briseis becomes awarded to Achilles who happens to have killed every person she loved. She’s put in this horrifying situation where she has to be brave in order to survive and although she hates Achilles and all the men who destroyed her city – she must not show it. From this point on our story begins and what we as readers witness is the ugliness of war.

The way Pat Barker told this story brought shivers down my spine at times because I felt like I was witnessing the horrors the women in it went through – from being raped to preparing men’s bodies for cremation. Barker is a fantastic writer and her skills to make you feel like you were there are something to admire. Briseis was such a fascinating character and I loved her strength. Barker showed that it’s not just the men who fight in the war that have strength but the women whose roles are so important. The ‘godlike’ Achilles was wonderfully written as well as Patroclus who I loved throughout the novel as well as the portrayal of their ‘friendship’. What I found annoying was the use of certain words that made me cringe e.g. ‘mate’ because they didn’t fit this story. I mean it is a retelling of an important event in Greek mythology so that’s why I found it cringey. I loved how women were portrayed in this novel because of their strength but not so much when it came to the raping and using of the women – the author including the brutality of it made the story richer in a way because that’s how women were treated. I liked that the author didn’t shy away from gory scenes and described certain scenes in detail. The Silence of the Girls came at a perfect time in my life because I spent many hours lost in it.

The Silence of the Girls is a fascinating look into the Trojan War from the perspective of a queen turned Achilles’ slave, Briseis. Inside this book you’ll find the brutality of war and pain women had to endure in order to secure their survival. More often in these tales women are cast aside but their roles are much greater whenever a war rages.

I would like to thank the publisher Penguin Random House UK (Hamish Hamilton) for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she has published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK’s highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. She lives in Durham and her new novel, The Silence of the Girls, will be published by Hamish Hamilton in August 2018.

Find her on: Goodreads

[REVIEW] The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman @EccoBooks @sarahw

Prior to reading The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman I was familiar with Nabokov’s Lolita but haven’t read it so keep in mind that these thoughts come form someone who hasn’t read Lolita. What initially drew me to The Real Lolita was the true-crime aspect of it and the parallel between the Sally Horner case and Lolita was a big plus as well.

The Real Lolita is a true-crime book focused on the kidnapping of an eleven year old girl named Sally Horner in 1948 by a man who posed as an FBI agent in order to deceive Sally into going with him. The happenings in Lolita as well as the kidnapping are connected and Weinman [the author] within this book explains the connection between the two. From the first few chapters we are introduced to the story of Sally’s kidnapping which is quite chilling and disturbing. It reads like fiction and it’s hard to believe it’s not. When you pass one hundred pages you will notice that a lot of research went into this book and I really appreciated that while reading. The book feels like an essay or a thesis defending the subject matter at hand since we do not have actual proof [in verbal form or written] that the Sally Horner case inspired Lolita. I have seen some reviews complaining that the book mainly focuses on Nabokov and his life but I would disagree and say that fair amount of chapters discuss both subjects presented to the reader. As the book title clearly says ‘The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World’ you should expect Nabokov’s origin story and analysis of early influences prior to the writing of Lolita. Weinman discusses many things and focuses on certain characters whose stories I found unnecessary although some were interesting. I want to go back to the book ‘feeling like a thesis’, Weinman discusses and shows [in a form of a handwritten note] that Nabokov knew about the Sally Horner case before the publication of Lolita but there is mystery around what exactly inspired his master novel Lolita. I would also like to discuss the cover of the book which is absolutely brilliant and showcases the book in the most perfect way. The picture is of Sally Horner on the phone with her family after being rescued – you can see the excitement in her eyes because after twenty-one months of being apart from her family she’s talking to them – and the butterflies which are a connection to Nabokov who had a passion for butterflies. In the book, Weinman points that she’s not the first person to discover the connection between Sally and Lolita because before her we had Peter Welding who wrote an article about it in a paper called Nuggets and we have a Nabokovian scholar called Alexander Dolinin who discussed the parallel between the two as well. Weinman also points out where both went wrong and corrects their mistakes by shining light on Sally Horner who, first, was a victim of a lunatic called Frank La Salle and then an inspiration for the well-known novel by Vladimir Nabokov. What particularly fascinated me was the fact that after several decades people didn’t realise that the character Dolores Haze aka Lolita is a victim of abuse and not someone to be blamed for it. I honestly wish I read Lolita before reading this book because I might’ve seen it as something that it’s not. Now, there are many things I didn’t discuss that are in this book because this review would’ve been very long but I tried my best to share key points.

Although I was familiar with Lolita and what it dealt with [a relationship between an older man and an underage girl] I did get spoiled when it came to certain happenings in the book so if you are someone who doesn’t like to get spoiled I suggest you pick up a copy of Lolita and then get The Real Lolita so you can compare both.

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

My rating: 

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Sarah Weinman is the editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s(Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin). She covers book publishing for Publishers Marketplace, and has written for the New York Timesthe Washington Postthe New Republicthe Guardian, and Buzzfeed, among other outlets. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon @ViragoBooks

What caught my attention to The Incendiaries was the hype around it which was huge and everyone seemed to be talking about it. I wanted to check what all the hype was about, of course.

The Incendiaries is told from three voices although it mainly focuses on Will Kendall, who is a scholarship student who juggles both work and studying and whose life is quite hectic. Our second ‘narrator’ is Phoebe Lin, who we get to meet but no in the same amount as Will. Third person is the cult leader called John Leal whose craziness we get to read in half-page chapters. The story revolves around Will and Phoebe and their relationship which begins like any other but it changes when she becomes acquainted with John Leal. Phoebe has a tragic past which she’s secretive about even to her boyfriend Will, but as she joins the enigmatic John Leal she begins to open up  – not to Will – but to Leal and other cult members. Will begins to see changes in Phoebe and decides to find out what is making Phoebe distracted and distanced from him. When bombings of several abortion clinics happen and Phoebe vanishes he refuses to believe that she’s the one responsible.

I have to say that I enjoyed Kwon’s writing in this novel the most. I just liked the way she crafted sentences because they felt magical at times. Now, since this novel is about two-hundred and ten pages long I have to say that I felt some of the characters weren’t developed fully and I would’ve liked to see their POV deepend – e.g. Leal and Phoebe. The characters weren’t likable to me at all but I did feel for Will towards the end of the novel. The beginning of the book confused me because the author shifted from first person to third person but once I got used to it I didn’t mind it much. Onto what I liked in The Incendiaries – the way Kwon described Leal and his manipulation effects on Phoebe is something I liked because you can see how easily a wounded and broken person can fall under someone else’s power.  The psychology behind that was point on because it often happens that way – lost souls are always in need of guidance and light. There wasn’t an appeal to Phoebe’s character for me nor did I feel sympathy for her because of the way she was crafted although I wish we got to see more from her POV in the book –  that would’ve given her more dimension [if that makes sense] and depth. I liked Will’s willingness to save Phoebe from the dangerous world she was entering because that shows how far a person will go to save someone he/she loves.

I found The Incendiaries to be a well written debut novel with quite an interesting story but it did fail when it comes to other characters in it – whether it was intentional or not I found it to be something missing. I would recommend reading this book because it will make you think as well as get you out of a reading slump if you’re in one because of the great writing.

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

My rating: 

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R.O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead (U.S.) and forthcoming from Virago (U.K.) in September 2018. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, BuzzFeed, Time, Noon, Electric Literature, Playboy, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony. Born in South Korea, she’s mostly lived in the United States.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett @JoFletcherBooks @robertjbennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is an author I’m familiar with because I bought his first novel City of Stairs two years ago for my birthday so when I saw that he had a new trilogy coming out I jumped at a chance to see what his writing is all about. I’ve yet to read City of Stairs but after Foundryside I am sure I’ll be reading more of him.

I don’t usually read fantasy books but I am always interested in trying new genres and seeing how I’ll like them so this since this is my first fantasy in a long time. Read the synopsis below:

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Considering that this is my first fantasy book in a while I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed being lost in the world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created. What I liked the most is how skilled the author is at world-building and how he describes certain things. I find the author to be hugely creative and loved reading his descriptions but at times I did feel like they were long and tiring. Our main character Sancia Grado is such a good one because of her strength and resilience – what I loved most about her character is her intelligence. Oh I have to mention Clef! Oh how much I adored Clef (Mr. Clef :D)! He was so funny and I loved the bond that Sancia and he made because it added more depth to the story. I loved the whole magic system that Bennett has created and its complexity. There are also many other characters in this book who are smart, brave, crafty, some who are pure evil! who will enrich your reading experience. The beginning of the book grabbed me because it started off with a heist and it was so action packed that you couldn’t look away. There were parts where I felt the book dragged and that made me frustrated at times but the last two-hundred pages were very fast-paced and action packed. This is the first book in a trilogy called Founders and the book leaves a satisfying ending and also leaves us with something more to look forward and discover in the second book.

What can one say? Foundryside is a very good action-packed, cleverly written and thought out book that every fantasy lover should read.

I would like to thank the publisher Jo Fletcher Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and haven’t been influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[REVIEW] The Aladdin Trial: A Burton and Lamb Thriller by Abi Silver @EyeAndLightning

I was contacted by the publisher to review this book and when I read the synopsis it immediately made me want to read it. I love reading thriller/mystery genre and what stood out with this one for me is the setting and a very interesting murder case – a hospital cleaner gets blamed for the murder of an artist who happens to be a patient there! How exciting!

The Aladdin Trial begins with a, you guessed it, murder of an old woman who went in for  an operation and was recovering at the hospital. Her death is very mysterious because where her body was found doesn’t make sense if you try and explain it with suicide – she couldn’t have jumped from a balcony because of her condition as well as age so there must be something more to it. Ahmad – the cleaner – gets thrown into jail and is awaiting trial for the murder of Mrs. Hennessy – the old woman – but there is something more to it. Mrs. Hennessy had children to whom she left an inheritance of two million pounds which could give one of the children the motive for her murder or the doctors might have something to do with it since one of them is trying to cover something up. To help us find the truth we have Constance Lamb and Judith Burton – two brilliant and flawed characters – who are trying to prove that Ahmad is innocent and there’s something more to Mrs. Hennessy’s death.

I have to apologize for my bad synopsis summary but you can always check out the Goodreads page for this book and get the better version of the synopsis. The chapters in this book are short and very readable. I found The Aladdin Trial to be such a thrilling read that after about 50% made me want to read on and don’t stop until I find out what exactly happened to Mrs. Hennessy. At times The Aladdin Trial fails with chapters finishing abruptly or being out of place which some people might find annoying. I found Ahmad to be so interesting as well as the mystery around his wife and sometimes I wanted to yell at him because I wanted him to tell more to Constance and Judith about his life and events that happened that night. The resolution of this book was very good and I found it satisfying.

The Aladdin Trial is a thrilling book that will make you want to read and read so you can find out the truth behind the mysterious death of one of Hampstead hospitals patients.

I would like to thank the publisher Eye/Lightning Books 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: 

Add ‘The Aladdin Trial‘ to your TBR:  

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Yorkshire-bred, Abi Silver is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk.

Find her on: Twitter and Facebook.

[REVIEW] The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @MantleBooks

If you haven’t heard of Kate Morton then what you need to do is: Open a new tab in your browser -> type in: goodreads.com -> in the search box type: Kate Morton -> voilla you can now investigate every book of hers and see which one you like the best and pick it up ASAP. I’m sure most people have heard of Kate Morton but this is written to save a life in case someone hasn’t. You can imagine my delight when I got an early copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, the newest book from Kate Morton.

‘They remain, as they age, the people that they were when they were young, only frailer and sadder.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter has a great synopsis on its Goodreads page so I am going to copy it here:

‘In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?’

I honestly couldn’t write a better synopsis because I would spoil the book and reveal too much – with reading only the synopsis above I believe that the reader will get enough information before they dive into The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

‘All human beings crave connection, even the introverts, it is too frightening for them to think themselves alone.’

Kate Morton is someone whose books are an excellent escape into a world filled with mystery and wonderful settings. I loved reading about the Birchwood Manor and Morton has managed to capture this place in a magical way which made you picture it vividly. The story is told from multiple perspectives – we have Elodie, Birdie, Juliet, Tip, Lucy etc. – which give the reader a complete picture on all happenings in the book. The writing is what you can expect – lyrical, gorgeous – from Kate Morton. I have noticed that Morton is a great psychologist when it comes to human nature as well as perception. The way Morton writes makes you want to read more and get lost in the world her imagination has created.  The characters in this novel were wonderfully crafted and I especially liked Lucy and well as Lily (Birdie). Although I’ve enjoyed this book it a lot, this isn’t her best one – you still feel that satisfaction of going back into her world and getting lost in it but the story, for me, didn’t have a ‘wow’ factor. I have expected more of the magic that she puts in it but sadly I didn’t feel it with The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The first one-hundred pages were very slow and I couldn’t wait to get past them because I knew it would pick up. I believe that other Kate Morton fans will relate with me about these issues but who knows I might be the only one.. If anyone is on the edge about reading this book just know that after I read half of the book I couldn’t put it down and read more than three-hundred pages in a day.

‘..And so she avoided love. That is, she avoided the complication of locking hearts with another human being.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is nothing short of a great summer read which will transport you to a beautiful world of mystery, art, love and into the amazing place called Birchwood Manor.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter will be out on September 20th 2018 published by Mantle.

I would like to thank the publisher Mantle Books 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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Kate Morton was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim…

Find her on: WebsiteInstagram, Facebook and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks

I have seen this book on Twitter and saw that it’s LGBTQ+ so I immediately had to get a copy of it and read it! I found the synopsis of the book to sound very interesting because of different settings the story takes place in.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about two people, Ben and Andrew, who seem to meet each other in unusual circumstances and quite often. From the moment Ben sets eyes of Andrew [in a library] he falls for him and something gives him courage to leave his number in a book Andrew was reading. Fast forward to some more coincidence-meetings and they start a relationship with each other. They spent much of their time together, hanging out at Ben’s place, going to the circus etc. Ben’s father is a peculiar being who drinks a lot, Ben is afraid that his father wouldn’t accept his sexuality so he keeps it quiet. During their relationship Ben and Andrew learn a lot about each other, Ben shares that he always wanted to travel to Africa and take care of lions while Andrew shows Ben a wish box he believes is magical. Ben goes to Africa, but why has he gone? What happened between Ben and Andrew?

I love that this book is LGBTQ+ because I feel like it would’ve been boring if it wasn’t. I found The Lion Tamer Who Lost to be an interesting read filled with heart and great writing but I did have some issues with it. My issues with it are based on my tastes (of course) and some may disagree with me but this bothered me: I found the book to be predictable at times and felt that there were cliches in it. I have to keep this review spoiler free so I can’t get into exactly what bothered me but I can say that the tragedy in the book was something I found to be okay for this story [meaning it compels you to read on] even though I didn’t find it necessary. Ben and Andrew’s love story is something I loved reading about and the author made them come to life with her writing. The chapters alternate between past and present and we have a number of parts which are titled BEN and ANDREW. Out of both main characters in this book I found Andrew to be most likable and so sweet. I loved Andrew and enjoyed reading his parts the most. Aside from my issues with it I believe that many people will enjoy picking this book up and I salute Louise for writing an LGBTQ+ book because we need more of them in the world.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story between Ben and Andrew that  begins as a series of meet-cutes which eventually forms into a love story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very end.

I would like to thank the publisher Orenda Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions mentioned here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost‘ here:

*Purchase ‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost‘ with free international delivery here: 

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

Louise Beech knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ Pick for 2015. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.