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  1. Currently Reading

    Just started Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness, Luna messaged me privately and pointed out that the ebook version was at that point in time just 99p and considering the last time I looked at it it was £9.99, I had decided (albeit reluctantly) to wait till it came out in paperback as if I was going to pay that kind of money I wanted something physical to show for it (plus I had the All Souls Trilogy in book book form), but with a deal like that I didn't think twice about getting it, it immediately leaped to the top of my TBR list and I started reading it on Tuesday and so far I am loving it.
  2. How do you choose your books?

    Back in the day, I got the majority of my books from charity shops, so I would just go in and mooch around the books browsing what they had, initially it would be if the title jumped out at me or if the cover attracted my attention, then I would read the blurb and if that heightened my interest I would read the first page and if I wanted to continue then I would buy it, if it was a subject which interested me (in the case of non-fiction books) was another factor. Now I tend to browse Amazon instead, I get a number of emails offering deals and the like and I will always have a look at what's on offer and I pretty much go by the same plan, title and cover, then I read the blurb and at that point I make the decision, sometimes I will download a free sample of the book if I am not totally convinced before buying. Very occasionally I will seek out a book if I have enjoyed a TV adaptation of it but more often than not it is the other way around and I watch the TV adaption after reading the book. If I have read something else by a particular author and enjoyed it I will gravitate towards another book by them, and have a little look. Another interesting point - I have also bought books from recommendations and reviews on here, yet funnily enough I don't take any notice of Amazon/Goodreads reviews, partly as I'm never sure if they are genuine or not, and I will only read these reviews after I have read a book and made my own mind up about it.
  3. I just bought/borrowed/received...

    I have bought the ebook version of Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones which is the 13th and final installment in the fabulous long running Charley Davidson series, which I found and 'binge read' last year, I pre-ordered it to arrive as soon as it was released which it just has been, earlier this week. I am currently reading something else but this has immediately been bumped to the top of my TBR list. Also recently bought: (all ebooks) The Black Mile by Mark Dawson, Doll House by John Hunt, Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes, Marking Time by April White (This was actually a free ebook so not holding my breath as to how good it is)
  4. Book Lists 2019

    Book List - Completed Books read in 2019, all first time reads, list does not include re-reads. Rating: *****5 stars - Brilliant, highly recommended, read it, read it now! ****4 stars - Very good, recommended, ***3 stars - A good enjoyable read, read it if you want to, **2 stars - It was ok, not totally sure about it so don't blame me if you think its rubbish *1 star - Not good, just about readable but not recommended No stars - Utter crap, don't bother - should never have been published! Fiction: The Liars Wife by Samantha Hayes*** Damien by J Kenner The Mitchells & O’Haras Trilogy by Kimberley Chambers - overall rating : ** (and that is being generous) The Feud by Kimberley Chambers**** The Traitor by Kimberley Chambers ** The Victim by Kimberley Chambers *
  5. The Mitchells & O Hara’s Trilogy by Kimberley Chambers This is a trilogy of stories which follows the feud of two families and their mutual hatred for each other over a number of years and how that feud gets passed on from one generation to the next. The story is overflowing with sometimes over the top stereotypes and there aren’t many characters in this story who are particularly likeable in any way. In fact the whole story itself is a stereotype, and so as such, for me personally, on paper it should be rubbish… but to begin with it wasn’t, it was oddly compelling, at times very funny and others quite shocking. Some of the characters are so absurd you can’t help but be drawn in to discover what they are going to do next, but as the books progressed the quality of the writing deteriorated to such an extent that what was once compelling became just irritating and in some parts ridiculous. On one side you have the Mitchells an underworld gangland family ruled by Harry Mitchell and his three sons Ronnie, Paulie and Eddie, Harry has morals, slightly skewed morals as he thinks nothing of killing someone in cold blood but at the same time he looks after those around him. Paulie is a yes man he does as he is told but he's not the brightest spark and he follows orders, Ronnie is a complete moron and a loose canon. Eddie despite being the youngest of the three appears to be the one who Harry favours as being the smart one. Then on the other is the O’Hara family a family of English Travellers who arrive on the scene, led by their patriarch Butch O Hara. The bad blood centres around an incident between Butch’s middle son Jimmy O’Hara and Harry’s son Eddie Mitchell. Book 1 – The Feud The Feud starts in the summer of 1970 and The O Hara family have arrived in London and are muscling in on the Mitchells who run protection rackets and other less than legal businesses and during an altercation in the pub where the Mitchells are sending the O’Hara’s a warning to back off, Eddie Mitchell gets his face slashed by Jimmy O’Hara. After this, Butch and Harry come to an agreement that the O’Hara’s will leave the area to stop any further escalation of the violence but a year down the line Butch’s sons return and start to cause trouble once more on Mitchell turf, this culminates in Harry shooting and wounding Butch in the foot for breaking the deal that they made. Despite the fact he has been wounded Butch orders his family not to retaliate to avoid a bloodbath. They agree but tensions, resentment and anger simmer under the surface. The story then shifts to Eddie, Harry’s youngest son who at 30 takes up with Jessica a naive 17 year old. He falls in love with her and to keep her he purposely gets her pregnant and then marries her and she has his twins (a boy and a girl) and their story becomes entwined with the undercurrent of the feud between the two families and also the other less than legal aspects of the Mitchell family. As the years pass there are several meetings between Jimmy O Hara and Eddie Mitchell and Jimmy always seems keen to goad Eddie. Harry Mitchell is violently murdered and despite the O’Hara’s firm denials of involvement and cast iron alibi’s Eddie remains convinced they are involved somehow. Eddie and Jessica’s twins grow up and we move into the early 80’s and the feud is reignited once more when the girl – Frankie Mitchell falls in love with Jimmy O Hara’s son Jed and he gets her pregnant which has jaw dropping shocking consequences for the Mitchell family. As I previously said none of the characters are particularly likeable, Eddie Mitchell is a violent thug plain and simple, he professes that he adores his wife Jessica which you can see to some extent he does, but he also manipulates and tries to control her and he does have a very dark side when he has been drinking, and she is a complete drip who you want to shake but then you do have remember that this is set in the 1970s when attitudes to what was acceptable in family life were very different, but I will say the feel of it the attitudes and the whole gangland theme it feels as though the story is set much further back in the 60’s rather than the 70’s. Jessica’s parents are just absurd, her mother - Joyce is a shallow, materialistic, brainless woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage with Stanley a less than dynamic man, and through her resentment for being persuaded to marry a man she didn’t love by her own parents she totally dominates him and is quite cruel to him. She is also immediately taken in by Eddie and she is blinded by his charm, charisma and wealth and encourages the relationship with Jessica practically throwing her young daughter at him. Stanley is about the most likable person in the story, he can see Eddie for what he is and tries to warn Jessica but he is a weak man and years of being stamped on by his wife have taken its toll. The twins Frankie and Joey are completely self-centred brats, although you do have an element of sympathy for Joey who is gay and who spends his life in fear of his macho father Eddie finding this out. The story appears to be completely over the top, but when you compare it to real life stories of underworld London and gangland killings you think maybe it’s not so outlandish after all. It is complex as there are moments of humour which do make you laugh out loud but equally there are also moments where your jaw is literally hanging open and it riveted me enough to pull an all nighter to find out what happened. Book 2: The Traitor The Traitor starts off where the first book ended and from the start it has a totally different feel to it, it is written in a different way. The first book felt solid and although you moved from character to character significant parts were dedicated to that particular character, this is different, it flits about offering only a paragraph to each character what they are all doing at a particular time, it doesn’t flow and it feels disjointed and you are on edge all the while not totally able to get into it as the character being talked about keeps changing and moving on to someone else and what they are doing and whilst that makes it quite hard to read I think that was the authors intention, you see, at the end of the first book the Mitchell family which was a solid force and dependable throughout becomes broken and disjointed after Eddie Mitchell does something horrifyingly bad, and all its members scatter and they are left confused and on edge as they have no idea what their future holds or what is going to happen next. I was hoping the third book would go back to how the first book was written as I wasn’t as enraptured by this book as I was the first, that one completely blew me away, but this one felt a little forced at times and the big incident felt a bit contrived and towards the end I found myself skimming pages rather than reading them just to finish it. Book 3: The Victim The Victim starts where The Traitor ended and once again it had that same disjointed feel to it, and I was now at the point where certain characters were annoying me as they are so caricatured and stereotypical and when I was reading parts about them I found myself skipping and skimming to move on to the bits I did want to read about which were essential to the main story. I don’t know whether it is me or not but the strong writing, and the depth and the humour of the first book had totally gone now and I found it to be quite flat and uninspiring and quite frankly a chore to read for the most part. It was only my stubbornness at never giving up on a book that kept me going. About ¾ of the way through the book there is another time jump and then the story just ended, there was no conclusion it just stopped as there was this final massive showdown between Eddie Mitchell (now in his late 50’s/early 60’s) and his family and Jimmy and Jed O’ Hara and then the story just finished with no real conclusion to the multitude of questions that showdown had produced and believe me there were many so that was a massive let down and I was really disappointed how it all turned out considering how much potential that this story had to be totally sensational after how good the first book was. So, in conclusion would I recommend it, well probably not as the disappointment increased with each installment and in the end you are left with questions as to how the story did finally conclude but equally you don't really care and considering how good the first book was I think that was a real shame.
  6. Ok... so now I am more confused than ever, I just looked up the All Souls Trilogy on Amazon and it said The Discovery of Witches was 610 pages long, you have just said it was 656 pages long I have picked up my book book copy and the story ends on page 688??? So that led me to look at the other two Shadow of Night - Amazon says it is 592 pages long, you say its 656, my book book copy the story ends on page 630 The Book of Life - Amazon says it is 594 pages long, you say 656, my book book copy the story ends on page 637 Now having taken all that into consideration here is something else quite interesting... We have established that Amazon says Discovery of Witches is 610 pages long - but that is for the kindle version they say the paperback version is 704 pages long Shadow of Night Amazon kindle version 592 yet they say paperback version is 656 pages long Book of Life Amazon kindle version 594 pages long yet they say paperback version is 656 pages long So I picked a few books at random which I have read: Amazon says Weirdo - 417 pages long my book book the story ends on page 404 Amazon says The Good Liar is 277 pages long my book book the story ends on page 360 Amazon says American Gods is 674 pages long by book book copy the story ends on page 635 BUT Deliver Me kindle version Amazon says it is 400 pages long in kindle version I have kindle version and it is indeed 400 pages long The Girl from the sea Amazon says it is 306 pages long in kindle version I have the kindle version and it is indeed 306 pages long Into the Darkest corner Amazon says 417 pages long in kindle version I have the kindle version and ... yep it is indeed 417 pages long So not sure what to think, I am obviously missing something here as there really can't be this much variation? (Also apologies for sounding a bit anal about it all)
  7. I might go and research some of my average reads see if my hunch was correct or the fact I am reading more on kindle and therefore reading quicker is the reason - or it could be a combination of both!
  8. Time's Convert

    I'll try to keep it within the realms of sanity!
  9. Currently Reading

    2019 has started fairly inauspiciously for me, I started the year with The Liars Wife (review in 21st century literature) which i liked but wasn't totally bowled over with, then I read the completely dire and dreadful Damien by J Kenner (review available in the Stark Series review I posted). So now I am reading a trilogy of books which I picked up dirt cheap as a deal of the day thingy off of Amazon and it is something I have never really read before, organised crime and underworld series by Kimberly Chambers which follows the lives of two London families who despise each other. The Series begins with The Feud (which I have just completed) and I am now on book 2 The Traitor and the trilogy ends with The Victim. So far I have been pretty blown away by it and The Feud was the first book of 2019 which inspired me to pull an 'all nighter', I will of course post a full review when I have completed the series.
  10. Time's Convert

    This is going to be my next read after the series of books I am currently reading, trying not to get too excited about it if I'm honest as it does have a lot to live up considering how I felt about The All Souls Trilogy.
  11. Damien by J Kenner After the last installment in this series which I was totally underwhelmed with, I had decided enough was enough and I wasn’t going to read any more offerings in this long running series of novels and novellas. BUT, this showed up in my recommended bit on Amazon and I clicked on it - just to see what angle Ms Kenner was going with this time, I would like to stress at this point I had no intention of getting it as, as I previously said in my lengthy review about this series, I believe this story has run its course and is now just being over milked to squeeze a bit more cash out of it. The first thing I noticed that was different though, was that this story is written from Damien’s point of view, you allegedly get an insight into the mind of Damien Stark. My reaction to this, Pff – still not interested, already been done with Grey, but then I stopped and thought about it, hang on, what did I love about this story at the beginning? I loved the fact both characters were different, it was darker and far better written than FSOG and The Crossfire series (in the beginning) and I wondered, maybe…??? I have no willpower (or sense!) it seems, as curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on it… and I read it… and to cut a long story short and to put it politely I was disappointed! I actually started to question about half way through if this was even written by the same author who wrote those initial stories as it was truly appalling, it was repetitive in the extreme, the same phrases used over and over, and the storyline (what little there was) literally just going round in circles and going nowhere. The sex scenes were crass and unnecessary, everything about it was just wrong, even the bit of jeopardy thrown in towards the end felt forced and contrived almost as though the writer thought I'd better put in a bit of peril, it was bad, really, really bad, and in an odd way that upset me a little as I did genuinely like these stories back at the beginning and they offered a flicker of hope that books of this type weren’t all just unadulterated drivel, but all this story has done is kill any lasting affection I had for this series.
  12. The Liars Wife

    The Liars Wife by Samantha Hayes Well now, where do I start! After a fairly dodgy start with this book I finally got into it and then it was over before I realised where I was. This book has a claustrophobic feel to it, you feel for the woman who has essentially been kidnapped and taken prisoner by this weirdo who is posing as her husband and the way it reads you are right there with her in her living nightmare . The jist of the story is, there is a young woman who obsessively keeps herself to herself avoiding all social interaction with anyone, she has an accident on her way home from work – she is involved in a hit and run and ends up waking up in hospital with a broken leg and the nurse tells her that her husband has not left her side while she was unconscious, now that’s all very nice except she isn’t married and never has been. The ‘husband’ shows up and she recognises him immediately and is shocked because she assumed he was dead but the reader isn’t let into the knowledge of who he really is. He produces a video tape which stops her from raising the alarm so the scene is set and you know that she knows what is on that tape and it is clearly something incriminating her in some way. The story then starts skipping backwards and forwards through time explaining the reasons why the woman is such a hermit and what happened to her when she was at university and eventually what is on that video tape. The ‘husband’ literally takes her over, he takes her from the hospital to house which he has turned into a fortress and essentially holds her hostage. He becomes more and more unhinged when he steals a baby to build his ideal vision of a family. He makes her call her work and tell them that she is resigning. When she calls she speaks to a person who she has worked on projects with and who unbeknown to her has been trying to track her down after her accident. It all slowly comes together and there is a big reveal and twist at the end as to who the husband really is. Who he really is, is quite shocking but as I had actually figured it out about half way through, not such a huge twist for me. It is very twisted and very disturbing especially when you realise who the ‘husband’ is and what he has previously done. I enjoyed it as I do like sick and twisted psychological thrillers, but I also feel slightly disappointed as I managed to figure out the plot before the end, as I do prefer to be bowled over by the big twist and reveal, but sadly this isn’t the first time I have worked out the plot before the reveal in a book.
  13. That is actually a good point, I do tend to get engrossed when I start reading and shut myself off and I have been known to get a bit obsessive when it is something which has captured my attention and I am reluctant to put it down, but with a physical book I'll look and think, come on stop being obsessive your're nearly half way through it time for a break, but there is no physical marker of your progress with an ebook apart from the little percentage number at the bottom (which you can ignore) and you do just keep going. Plus ebooks are easier to read, as with a print book you are stuck with whatever print size the publisher chose and in some instances that can be quite small and takes some effort to read if your eyesight is a bit dodgy (like mine) whereas an ebook you can change the font size, and make the book easier to read.
  14. I have, in recent times become a convert to the ebook thing, and as a result of this I have been having questions about the length of books. Just that some ebooks I have read don't seem to be that long. When you have a physical book in your hand you know what you're getting, you know if its going to be a quick read or something which is going to take days or even weeks to finish. Now I don't expect every book to be War & Peace length but I have recently read the All Souls Trilogy and to me they are a decent length book, Weirdo by Cathy Unsworth is another, a nice chunky book which keeps you entertained for a period of time. Now, I have been reading some books, which seem to be over before I've finished my cup of tea, ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration but when I set time aside to read a book I don't intend to actually finish the book in one sitting and yet on many occasions recently that has happened, I have been reading and suddenly I glance at the percentage at the bottom and I'm in the 80/90% area and the book is nearly done and I feel a bit shortchanged. A prime example of this was Girl from the Sea I started it mid afternoon one day and it was complete by about 8pm that night. Has anyone else noticed this or am I just being picky and reading quicker than I previously did?
  15. What's next on Mt TBR

    A few years ago I set myself a reading challenge when I turned 40 years old 40 for 40 challenge, my aim was to read 40 books in the year I turned 40. in that year I managed to clear my TBR pile as I was frankly a bit of an amateur and didn't have a very extensive one, and since then I have tried hard not to rebuild another one, however since then with the advent of ebooks which I initially shied away from but have now embraced I seem to have a number of books sitting on there waiting to be read, as I seem to have no self control when Amazon send me special offer notifications on my phone (I have a kindle app on my phone) also since my daughter finished uni and moved away she seemed to offload all her extensive book collection back here and there are a number of her books which have taken my interest and I intend to read at some point, before she returns and reclaims them. But my books waiting to be read at this point in time are (in no particular order): 1. Perfect Family by Shalini Boland 2. Love You Gone by Rona Halsall 3. The Diary by Vikki Patis 4. The Other Woman by Sandie Jones 5. The Memory by Lucy Dawson 6. What She Left by T R Richmond 7. Witness by Caroline Mitchell 8. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 9. The Letter by Katheryn Hughes 10 In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards 11. While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt 12, 13 and 14 The Feud, The Victim & The Traitor A trilogy by Kimberly Chambers Fourteen books in total isn't totally outrageous, in fact its probably quite pathetic when compared to other peoples TBR lists/piles bearing in mind I also have another book on pre-order which is due to be released some time in January - that is the final book in the Charley Davidson series of books.