[Q&A with the author] In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis Rieder @TNREthx @HarperBooks

I’m very pleased to share a Q&A with Travis Rieder, the author of In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids which came out yesterday (18th of June; Harper Books). Let’s get to the Q&A!

Q&A with Travis Rieder

BTP: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions of mine! As you already know, I’ve very much enjoyed reading In Pain and found it to be well-researched as well as written and engaging. I’ve come up with a few questions that I find to be interesting and may relate to the book as well as some general ones.

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

A: That’s a hard question. I’ve loved to write since I was a kid, and I always kind of daydreamed about having something I wrote read by the general public. I idolize good writers, and have longed to publish a trade book for years. As a scholar, though, I’m not exactly trained for that. I spent many (many!) years in graduate school learning precision and rigor in writing, which can often lead to prose that is, well, boring. So I’ve successfully published for years, but I still didn’t consider myself a writer.

After my motorcycle accident, I slowly came around to the idea of writing a popular book. I didn’t go straight there, though. I wrote a well-regarded scholarly article, and eventually pitched the book to an academic press. They told me that I really should find an agent and pitch to a trade press, because my story—which I wanted to use to push along some important lessons about pain and opioids—was compelling enough to warrant wider distribution. So I ended up giving it a try.

To be honest, though, I was totally unsure it would ever happen. It seemed too far and too foreign. I’m completely thrilled that I eventually found my way and am getting to share this book with a bigger audience than academic publishing affords.

Q: How long did it take you to write this book? Did you find anything particularly challenging while writing it?

A: In some sense, I began writing In Pain while still in the hospital. Family and friends told me to record what was happening—maybe for pragmatic reasons (remembering facts that might be necessary when dealing with insurance, for example) and maybe for therapeutic reasons (it would help me to process my trauma). I’m very glad they did, as both were true. I would have forgotten nearly everything if I hadn’t done the writing, as both drugs and trauma are very good for erasing memories. It also did make me feel better to put on paper how I saw the events unfolding; it gave me a sense of control.

So if you date it from the hospital, it took about three years. The most active period, though, after I found an agent and then once we sold the book to HarperCollins, lasted about 15 months.

Q: I’m interesting in the process of writing In Pain, did you write it every day or did you take breaks?

A: Related to my previous answer: there were lots of breaks in the beginning, when I didn’t know who I was writing for (or even whether I would ever be willing to publicly share my story). Once I knew that the book would happen, and then even more when I negotiated deadlines with the publisher, I tended to write on a schedule. During the school year, when I was teaching and mentoring my graduate students, I wrote about 3-4 days per week—always at night, typically after my daughter and partner went to bed. 9pm-12pm was the time slot when the vast majority of the book was drafted. During the summer, I wrote every weekday—still at night, but adding early morning writing if I could carve it out from my other research.

Q: How did you find the research process for In Pain? Was it fun and interesting?

A: I absolutely adored every aspect of writing a book. It’s the most satisfying thing I’ve done in my professional life. The writing of my story was profoundly therapeutic; I feel like I took this pain and suffering, pulled it out of myself, and locked it into the pages. Turning in the final revisions felt like saying goodbye to self-pity. And the research aspect was just delightful fun. I got to think of how best to tell stories about the ideas I wanted to convey, which is not how academic writing happens. I would run drafts past my agent or editor, and they’d constantly say, “Travis, you’re being an academic in this section.” Looking to where they pointed, I’d immediately understand, and go back to the drawing board. I loved this process of finding the best way to communicate a complex idea, and every time I got feedback, I felt like I got closer to really being a writer.

Q: While reading In Pain I stumbled upon something – when you write examples for certain situations you use ‘she’ while generally people use ‘he’ when they write something like the following: If he goes to the clinic to take meds…Was this something that was intentional?

A: Yup. It’s a habit from my feminist intellectual upbringing. There’s absolutely no reason to use ‘he’ exclusively except for an invisible cultural framework that allows ‘man’ to stand in for ‘human’. In the very near future, I expect it will be nearly universally acceptable to use ‘they’ as a non-gendered singular pronoun, and then I won’t have to make a point of using the feminine. But until then, if the rules of writing require picking a gender, I’ll choose to counter the backdrop of patriarchal influence.

Q: I’m sure there are people who will be left with wanting more after reading In Pain, could you recommend some books with a similar topic?

A: Absolutely! In no particular order, and on various themes that my book deals with: Beth Macy’s Dopesick, Sam Quinones’s Dreamland, Maia Szalavitz’s Unbroken Brain, Barry Meier’s Pain Killer, Carl Hart’s High Price, Johann Hari’s Chasing the Scream.

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

A: Favorite books—what a hard question! I’d have to say Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (along with most anything else he writes), everything David Sedaris, and on the fiction side, every single one of Kurt Vonnegut’s books.

At the moment, I’m reading Lloyd I. Sederer’s The Addiction Solution, Jonathan Metzl’s Dying of Whiteness, David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth, and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. All very different books, and all good and interesting.

BTP: Thank you very much, Travis!

Travis: Thanks so much for reading and reviewing the book, and for inviting this Q&A—it’s been a real joy!

As I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this post – Travis’ book came out yesterday and it’s such a fascinating and well-researched one! I will leave a link to my review of his book here.

Add ‘In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids‘ 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.

Travis Rieder was born and raised in Indiana, after which he has slowly and steadily moved eastward. After completing his BA at Hanover College in southern Indiana, he moved to South Carolina to do an MA in philosophy. He then did a PhD in philosophy at Georgetown University before taking a faculty position at Johns Hopkins, where he currently teaches.

Travis’s writing is wide-ranging, but took a sharp turn in 2015 after a motorcycle accident and a traumatic experience with pain and pain management that resulted. Since that experience, he has worked to turn his intimate struggle with opioid painkillers into a research program and a mission to reduce harm from irresponsible prescribing. IN PAIN, published by HarperCollins in June 2019, combines his personal story with fascinating and disturbing facts about the history of pain and opioid use, the American healthcare system, and suggestions for how the tide can be turned on the interlocking epidemics of pain, opioids, and addiction.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

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[BOOK REVIEW] Naturally Tan: A Memoir by Tan France @tanfrance #NaturallyTan @EllieCrisp

Queer Eye is one of those shows you just adore watching and whilst watching you start falling in love with the cast. For me, Tan is the one I immediately fell in love and whose story I was interested in learning more about – and I got the chance to do that because of the awesome publisher! If you haven’t seen Queer Eye on Netflix yet then I highly recommend it because it’s so good and because of the brilliant cast –Tan, Antoni, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan.

Naturally Tan is Tan France’s memoir where he tells us many stories – from his upbringing to him being cast as the fashion expert on QE. The UK hardcover is so gorgeous because underneath the jacket you also get illustrated Tan as well as on the inside of the book you get a lot of drawings [for each chapter] which are amazing!  In Naturally Tan, Tan talks about many things he’s gone through in his life – from racism to stardom. One thing I especially like is that Tan is someone who, when a situation asks for it, doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is – we get many instances where Tan speaks up described in the book e.g. Tan had to deal with an awful boss. Besides Tan’s life story we get some fashion advice from him as well as do’s and don’ts. Tan doesn’t shy away from talking about real issues e.g. racism where he [since he was a child] went through a lot of mental analysis on what to do, how to act when faced with racism. Whilst on the subject of race issues – Tan tells the reader that in his life he’s had twenty-four incidents where he had to stay longer at the airport to answer a few more questions such as when’s the last time you’ve visited Pakistan? when’s the last time you held a gun? [I’m paraphrasing these questions]. I’m glad that in his memoir Tan deals with those tough questions because they are issues still! This book made me feel so happy while reading because of many lovely stories Tan shared about his life. We also get more info on how the whole casting process of Queer Eye went and how Tan met Antoni, Bobby, Karamo and Jonathan! I also wanted more of Tan – more from his stories because I felt like some were very short and ended abruptly. I would’ve loved to know more about his childhood and him and his family [yes, he provides this information but I wish it was done more in-depth].

If you’re a Queer Eye and/or a Tan France fan then this is definitely a must read! I honestly think that every reader will find something interesting in this book. Some life lessons and a lot of lovely stories that will warm your heart! [I’m now obsessed with Tan and his husband – so cute!]

I would like to thank the publisher Virgin Books (Ebury Publishing-Penguin Random House UK) for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got a free copy from the publisher.

My rating:

Add ‘Naturally Tan: A Memoir‘ to your TBR:  

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Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years, and now steps into the spotlight as the star of Emmy-winning makeover hit, and Netflix re-boot, Queer Eye. Surrounded by an all new cast, France is the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department and is ready to make America fabulous again one makeover at a time. This experience is so much more than just new clothes to the British born fashion advisor however, it’s about real-life issues, changes and acceptance on all sides. The epitome of style and class, Tan is the creative mind behind successful brands including the popular ladies clothing lines Kingdom & State and Rachel Parcell, Inc. Prior to his personal success as a designer, he spent his summers working in his grandfather’s denim factory while he secretly enrolled in fashion college in preparation to start a new chapter as a fabulous design star.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram.

[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!

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Add ‘The Body in the Castle Well‘ 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.

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] Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy #SuspiciousMinds

When I saw this book on Twitter I just fanboyed so hard and had to request a copy! My wish was granted which I’m so grateful for! I love Stranger Things as a TV show and was very excited to read Suspicious Minds because of that reason.

Suspicious Minds is set in Hawkins, Indiana, in the summer of 1969. We are introduced to Terry Ives, who finds out that her friend Stacey is going to a mysterious lab to be a subject in an experiment. Stacey doesn’t want to do it anymore because it’s very weird and she doesn’t like it so Terry volunteers to do it in her place and see what it’s about. The experiment she’s taking part in pays enough for her to be even more motivated to join in. Terry gets signed into the experiment and has the privilege of being a part of something great but that ‘something great’ has a cost she’ll soon find out about. In Hawkins Laboratory she’ll meet people who will become very important part of her life:  Alice, Gloria, Ken, Kali (008) and Dr. Martin Brenner. Each of the named characters play an important role in this experiment. Soon, Terry finds out that this experiment isn’t what it seems and she begins questioning why has Dr. Brenner said almost nothing about the experiment. Terry with the cast of her new friends will have to find out what secrets Hawkins Lab and Dr. Brenner are hiding.

This story isn’t completely linked to Stranger Things [it doesn’t follow the original cast] but it does feature a well-known character Dr. Martin Brenner. Suspicious Minds could be described as a prequel to the whole Stranger Things franchise. I’m honestly very surprised that this book has a 3.50 rating on Goodreads because it’s actually quite an enjoyable and quick read. The chapters are not that long and keep your attention as well as the story. I found myself feeling very attached to Terry, Ken, Gloria and Alice and found their friendship to be quite awesome. My only critique would be that although chapters were short and quick to read, there could’ve been more to them. I appreciated the shortness of the chapters but wanted to stay longer on certain parts of the book. Bond makes a great story-teller and I enjoyed her writing. I especially loved how towards the end Bond linked Suspicious Minds to Stranger Things [I fanboyed!]. Being a Stranger Things fan I must say that this was a good read – although different from the original. I was reading this book a week before exam chaos started and it provided me an amazing escape and my mind was racing through it because I was so invested in the characters’ lives.

If you’re a fan of Stranger Things then it’s a no-brainer that this one should be on your TBR!

I would like to thank the publisher Century (Penguin Random House UK) for providing me with a review 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 ‘Suspicious Minds‘ 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.

Gwenda Bond is the author of many novels, primarily for young adults. Among others, they include the Lois Lane trilogy, which brings the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American trilogy, about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe also co-write a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service. Her first mystery project for adults, Dead Air, a novel and podcast written with Carrie Ryan and Rachel Caine, is out now, and in 2019 she’ll release a Stranger Things prequel. She co-hosts the weekly podcast Cult Faves.…more.
Find her on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter

[BOOK REVIEW] In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis Rieder @TNREthx @HarperBooks

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I tend to read non-fiction books on a variety of different topics. I genuinely enjoy reading non-fiction because I learn a lot of new things about e.g. science, biology, personal struggles of memoir writers etc. What first attracted me to In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids was the cover – it’s just so powerful and bang on in showing what the book is mainly about. I just love that! Of course, a reader mustn’t judge a book by its cover but…. it helps when a book has a cool cover you can stare at for hours. Now, for all of you who like short reviews…. well…. this won’t be one BUT I’ll try and make it as on-point as possible.

Let’s begin with what the book is about – In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis Rieder is about [you guessed it] Travis Rieder, who winds up getting in a motorcycle accident which lands him in a hospital having to endure a number of surgeries to fix his foot. While staying in hospital he has to take medication to keep his pain away – the medication is a blessing but after several months of being under their influence he realises that something’s not right. Following his doctor’s order he begins to get off the medication – most of us would think ‘Great, now I’m off the meds and I’ll be able to function better’ but that’s not what happened. Rieder went under opioid withdrawal  which caused him a lot of pain and suffering. Rieder and his family try every door to get help but every single one seems to be shut. What most doctors suggest to  him is that he should go back to the medication and try to get off them later but having endured what he has Rieder knows that it’s not a good idea to go back, instead what he does is something that’s very brave and something that made him a stronger person. What this painful and exhausting experience sets off in Rieder is the search for answers and loopholes in the American healthcare system.  What he does in this book is a result of meticulous research on history of opioids, the production of opioids, the effects of opioids, healthcare system and how it’s failing when it comes to prescribing medication and giving needed information to its users and more.

What I loved a lot in this book was that even before writing about his experience and other things the author writes a note to the reader saying that he asks of the reader to go into his book with an open mind because some people won’t like what he states in the following pages and some might even disagree.What’s most important is that you go into In Pain without any prejudice because while reading the book you’ll see in what way Rieder presents the subject matter he discusses in each chapter.

You can find some talks about his book here and Travis’ TED Talk here.

In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids will be out on June 18th 2019. I’ve put links where to pre-order it and add it to your TBR below in the Get the book section.

So, this is my review in short for those of you who don’t like long reviews – if you wish to know more in the following I’ll be discussing the chapter structure and what each chapters deals with. Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts on whether you think you’ll add this one to your TBR!

My rating:

I’ll be getting into more detail about the book below. Continue reading

[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.

Add ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf‘ 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.

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

[BOOK REVIEW] Women by Mihail Sebastian transl. by Philip Ó Ceallaigh @OtherPress

Women follows Stefan Valeriu who has just finished his medical studies in Paris and who has decided to go to the Alps on a vacation. The reader follows Stefan’s life in which three very different women enter – some as lovers, some merely as, so called, subjects whom Stefan observes. The story is often told from the point of view of Stefan and through him we get a glimpse of divergent relationships.

What initially attracted me when it comes to Women was how the reader who embarks on the journey of reading this novel will experience many stories told by the same man. The stories presented to the reader are about a variety of things – love, passion, regret and most of all life. I especially enjoyed the feel that this novel has because I often read more ‘modern’ fiction and I feel like people [including me] should go back to classics at one point just to cleanse their palette. Women by Mihail Sebastian was such a refreshing read – from the writing to the wonderful translation by Philip Ó Ceallaigh – which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. As I’ve said earlier the novel weaves many themes [empathy, passion etc] and that’s exactly what I found most enjoyable as well as fascinating. The writing is so gorgeous and I found many wonderful quotes about different things that this novel discusses. I especially enjoyed the chapter narrated by/titled Maria as well as the last chapter titled Arabela. The last chapter although short amazed me by how much it actually had in itself – especially the transition from having something in terms of wealth to having nothing and making something out of a bad situation.

‘It terrifies me to think that something can be completely obliterated, that a thing or a person or a feeling or even just something familiar can disappear overnight.’

Women by Mihail Sebastian is truly a rediscovered classic because it offers a gorgeous glimpse of 1930s life and one man’s take on different women who passed through his.

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 the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

My rating:

Add ‘Women‘ 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.

Mihail Sebastian was born in Romania in 1907 as Iosif Mendel Hechter. He worked as a lawyer and writer until anti-Semitic legislation forced him to abandon his public career. Having survived the war and the Holocaust, he was killed in a road accident in early 1945 as he was crossing the street to teach his first class. His long-lost diary, Journal 1935-1944: The Fascist Years, was published to great acclaim in the late 1990s. His novel For Two Thousand Years was published in English in 2016.

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor @MichaelJBooks

I haven’t read C.J. Tudor’s first book The Chalk Man but I have seen her book around so when an invitation to join the blog tour for her newest book arrived in my inbox I emailed said yes because that synopsis was so damn good!

The Taking of Annie Thorne follows our main character Joe Thorne, who’s a strange one! Joe comes back to Arnhill which is a town he grew up in for a teaching position. Joe has had a rough past – he’s been a part of a school gang that did awful things and his sister went missing for 48 hours and came back. There’s a lot of mystery around his sister’s disappearance and only he knows what happened. The past events are happening again where a child went missing and came back and a horrible crime happened afterwards. Joe’s return isn’t welcomed by the townspeople nor his former friends but he’s on a mission to find out what happened.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is a book I found thoroughly enjoyable and so interesting that I couldn’t take my eyes away from the pages. Our main character, Joe Thorne, is so fascinating because of the choices he makes and how he lies to get to the school. In the beginning his character was so unlikable but towards the end I was more warmed up to him. The whole premise of the book is something I loved – a small town, a once local coming back and being viewed as an outsider – and something that made me so interested in finding out more about what exactly took/takes place in Arnhill. Tudor’s writing is brilliant and fits so perfectly with the whole mystery/crime genre. She has a talent for sure when it comes to story-telling. The events that were taking place towards the end were a bit confusing to me and I couldn’t wrap my mind around some things but the few pages at the end blew my mind [especially the epilogue]! I have to compliment the book cover designer because even though I read a proof copy I couldn’t take my eyes of the cover and the details on it. Well done! I love how Tudor didn’t force things when it comes to the relationships between Joe and the female teacher at the school. I found some scenes to be very gory e.g. the opening of the book but that made for such a promising start!

If you’re a crime/mystery/suspense book lover you will absolutely devour The Taking of Annie Thorne – it has everything : from interesting characters to a mysterious plot which will keep you turning pages until you’ve reached the end.

I would like to thank the publisher Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) for providing me with a review 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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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter. She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover. In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest….more.

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea @MichaelJBooks @CarolineleaLea

I couldn’t resist joining the blog tour for The Glass Woman when I read the synopsis of it. I just felt like it’s my kind of book – it has all the elements I like: historical fiction, mystery and intriguing plot.

The Glass Woman takes place in Iceland in the year 1686 where we meet Rósa, a young woman who lives in poverty with her mother in a small community where life is hard. Rósa becomes spoken for by Jón who’s a powerful figure and who can help Rósa and her mother live a better life. Rósa begins her new life with her husband but something’s not right.. There is talk of Jón’s first wife’s mysterious death and talk of witchcraft. What secrets lie in the village of Stykkishólmur? Will Rósa be able to uncover them?

I love reading historical fiction books a lot so whenever I get the chance to read these I get very excited. The setting of this novel is in Iceland which is very cool because it’s a great setting for a book especially this one. Caroline Lea transported me to the 1686 Iceland and I couldn’t put the book down. The characters in this book are very interesting and getting into their psyche was something I loved because they had many flaws and many desires, wishes etc. At first Jón was an unlikable character and I couldn’t stand him but I love how we saw more of him and my opinion completely changed. I loved Rósa’s commentary because she’s a smart one and I absolutely understood her position and felt sad for her. I read the book in two days because of how compelling it was and that’s what a good book does. I liked the plot but getting deeper into it I wanted more to be realised from the story but the way story went was still entertaining and kept me reading on. I feel like saying anything further will spoil your experience with the book so I won’t say a word.

The Glass Woman is a book I’d definitely recommend to historical fiction lovers because it’s compelling, the setting is fantastic and it will keep you at the edge of your seat.

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

My rating:

Add ‘The Glass Woman‘ 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.

Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University and has had poetry published in The Phoenix Anthology and An Aston Anthology, which she also co-edited. When the Sky Fell Apart is her first novel.
Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea @MichaelJBooks @CarolineleaLea

BOOK EXTRACT – PROLOGUE

I am delighted to share an excerpt of The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea with you today! I hope you like it – let me know your thoughts below. A review will follow shortly!

Add ‘The Glass Woman‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Glass Woman‘ here:

*Purchase ‘The Glass Woman‘ 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.

Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University and has had poetry published in The Phoenix Anthology and An Aston Anthology, which she also co-edited. When the Sky Fell Apart is her first novel.
Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter