Book Reviews

Book Lover’s Tag #SundayBlogShare

 

Thank you so much to Brigid Gallagher for nominating me in the Book Lover’s Tag. It’s a long while since I’ve participated in a tag. I’ve been so busy doing my own book promotion that this is a welcome change.

https://watchingthedaisies.com/2017/09/06/book-lovers-tag/

Do you have a specific place for writing? I write at my desk in my office at home. One blissful year I went away to Brighton for a few days and wrote in my hotel room, in cafes and in the library. That was wonderful.

Book mark or random pieces of paper? Mainly a book mark but I have been known to use anything that comes to hand!

Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? Always at the end of a chapter unless I’m reading on the bus (and I do this often on the way to work,) and then I’ll make a mental note of where I stopped!

Do you eat or drink whilst reading? No, I don’t  unless I’m in a cafe. Otherwise, I tend to focus 100% on the book.

Music or TV whilst reading? Do people do this? Shock, horror, no I never listen to music or watch TV. I’d find that too distracting. My husband reads in the bath which I find equally odd. How can you turn the pages with soap bubbles everywhere?

One book at a time or several? Oh, I rarely read more than one at a time but occasionally I might read a paperback and a kindle. I don’t like to do this but time pressures sometimes mean that I do.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere? I’ll read at home, on the bus, travelling by train, in the library, in cafes, anywhere!

Read out loud or silently? Silently, but I have been known to cry whilst reading a book in public places!

Do you read ahead or skip pages? I never skip pages, ever.

Break the spine or keep it like new? I keep it like new.

Do you write in your book? Ouch, never!

What books are you reading now? I have been reading Malala Yousafzai’s biography, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up to the Taliban and defended her right to an education. It’s an amazing book, about halfway through. I recommend everyone reads this, very inspiring, educational and moving too.

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Other than that I read anything I can get my hands on. I found another little gem recently in the same independent bookshop in Ely,  Topping Books – Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast.

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It’s a tiny black penguin classic with ‘Wildes’s celebrated witticisms on the dangers of sincerity, duplicitous biographers, the stupidity of the English – and his own genius.’

Some of my favourite witticisms from the book:

‘We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.’
‘One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.’
‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease, Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching’
‘Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.’
‘Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.’
‘The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.’
‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’
‘Time is waste of money.’
‘I love acting. It is so much more real than life.’
‘The tragedy of old age is not that one is old. but that one is young.’
‘Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.’
“Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure. It gives it to us, with bitterness and disappointment in its train. ‘

(more…)

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Mini Reviews, Bookish Photos and my TBR pile.

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I’ve been so busy recently with editing my manuscript, gathering promotional ideas, etc, that I have neglected my much-loved book reviewing. So, to remedy this a little I’m doing a few mini reviews:

Starting off with….

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

My review: 4.5 stars. This debut novel surprised me. I started off not being too sure about it and then loved it! Sometimes I’m like that, I can be a bit slow on the uptake! I need a little convincing and then kapow – it hits me full force. Great idea, fantastic characters, particularly the main protagonist Aaron Soto, thought provoking questions about his emerging sexuality, and interesting setting – the Bronx. Have added to my favourites list. Read? Yes, yes, yes.. !!!

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

My review: 4 stars. I discovered this book via my good blogging friend Annika Perry. She had written a detailed review and it piqued my interest: https://annikaperry.com/2016/07/15/a-boy-made-of-blocks-a-book-review/.

Annika enjoyed this novel but didn’t love it, and I enjoyed it too but it didn’t quite make my favourite list either. Author Keith Stuart used his own experiences with his son to write A Boy Made Of Books, and reveals the complexities of coping with day to day activities with a child on the autistic spectrum. Even going to the park can become a major worry particularly if you meet a dog who might set off your child’s anxieties. In my experience, I found it to be well written throughout but the latter part of the novel was more emotionally engaging. Read? Yes, particularly if you are interested in novels about autism, and family/son relationships.

Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My review: 4 stars. This deserves all the hype. It is an entertaining, sweet read, a must read YA novel… grab a copy! Read? Yes, most definitely Read!!!

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

My review: 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this a lot.  I grabbed it off my mum’s bookshelf in Edinburgh… I’m always pinching books… beware! A fascinating tale of how the most unlikely of women could end up having such a wild and crazy affair, (I kid you not!) leading to such dire consequences.  Highly recommended. Read?  Yes, Read!!!

Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.

Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).

The fabulously festive fifth mystery from the bestselling, award-winning author of Murder Most Unladylike.

My review: 4 stars. A very fun murder mystery set at Christmas in the colleges of Cambridge. Particularly enjoyed reading this as I live in Cambridge and it was nice to recognise some of the familiar settings. Read: Yes, particularly if you like an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read.

Following on from this I am currently reading Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl so more about soon…

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And after that I have various beauties on my TBR pile including The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd, (Costa book awards shortlisted author,) who I met in person at a recent inspiring event held by Cambridge Writers.

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Bye for now,

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Twitter: @marjorie_mallon
My New Facebook club: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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Welcome to my new book love group for authors and dedicated book bloggers who wish to support authors by writing reviews, or featuring authors on their blogs. Initially, I intended to write one long list and then I thought better of it. Small and personal works better – featuring a few bloggers/writers and then following it up with further lists on a fairly regular basis.

If you’d like to join in the next list please get in touch via my email: marjma2014@gmail.com, or leaving a comment at the end of the post. Thanks.

Of course Kyrosmagica blog continues to support authors in whatever way I can by writing reviews, author/blogger spotlights and interviews, so please don’t be shy, do get in touch if you’d like to be featured on Kyrosmagica.  

Here’s my first list:

Shelley Wilson: First up Shelley went all hunger games on me, dashing to the front of the queue to feature on my post!   So, many thanks to Shelley for kicking this off with a flourish! Author/Reviewer Blog is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com. She is pretty clear in her interests: ‘I write, I read, I review,’ she prefers YA fantasy, but also reads some historical fiction, non-fiction, horror, dystopian, sci-fi, and will take a look at book blurbs for most genres to see if she’d be interested but she doesn’t do romantic fiction.

Elouise De Sousa:  ‘Books, Poems, Stories…and a cup of coffee, or two!’ She has a Book Tuesday feature reviewing books from fellow authors and books she’s read. She covers most genres, depending on what has been sent to her. Her site is http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com

Debby Gies: A Canadian author who I have had the pleasure of following for some time. She is  a very friendly and supportive lady who runs a series on authors with new books https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-authors-at-d-g-kayes-blog/ and also does her Sunday reviews on books she’s read and reviewed. Because of time constraints, she is unable to have an open invitation, rather she promotes authors she knows and invites them as her schedule permits.

Loretta Milan: Literary Lightbox supports authors from all backgrounds and most genres. ‘Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes inspiring articles featuring New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors as well as emerging and indie authors.’

It’s our special space of the Internet where we writers can inspire each other, lend support and encouragement.

: http://www.literarylightbox.com/submissions/

Sally G. Cronin: ‘Blog with a view – on books, music, humour and health.’ Sally is a massive supporter of authors hosting so many on her blog that at times it makes me dizzy just seeing what she is up to. At the moment Sally is on a well deserved holiday! Sally also writes excellent and informative articles about nutrition and health, has published several books and has an on-line bookstore: Sallys Cafe and Bookstore and offers free author and blogger promotion: Sally’s Author and Blogger Promotion 2017

Jenny Marston:  Blogs at www.jennyinneverland.com and enjoys reading Thriller, Mystery, Crime, YA, and Fiction. She is a busy lady with diverse interests: blogging about anxiety, books, blogging tips and advice, days out, lifestyle, travel, Disney, etc, and has a monthly meet my sponsor slot, which I had the pleasure of being part of. As well as this she manages a ‘privately run online book touring service for authors.’ In which she covers, ‘Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Romance, Chick-Lit, Young Adult and many sub-genres of those and offer a range of different length tours and services for you to choose from to get the best possible publicity for your book.’  Neverland Blog Tours

Heena Rathore Pardeshi:  Has a book review blog but has stopped reviewing for another 6-7 months. No doubt as she’s snowed under with her debut mystery and thriller novel, Deceived which she will be releasing soon – www.thereadingbud.com. But do keep an eye out for Heena and support her book release. She reviews all fiction genre except erotica. She doesn’t do non-fiction.

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie: Like to review books and invite guest posts on their website. But be prepared sister writing team Anita & Jay are: ‘two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…’ Eek, that sounds scary… dare if you will!  Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

Contributors Who Prefer to Host Guest Blogs

Seumas Gallacher: Fellow Scot doesn’t actively do ‘cold’ reviews other than books he’s downloaded on his Kindle, but he does have an open blog policy on Guest Blogs from anyone, but particularly from fellow writers who can include anything they wish, except gratuitously offensive material… book buying links, bio, cover pages, any wee back story or element to their writing… the page for promo is theirs… all at their choice… cheeeeeeers ..https://seumasgallacher.com/ 🙂

Carol Hedges: Is more than happy to showcase other writers and let them loose on her Pink Sofa. ‘I write, I sleep, I try to resist cake.’ Yes, her pink sofa is very edible, pink and sugary! https://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/…/ten-ways-im-just… Recently I came across a very interesting article on her blog: Carol Hedges Blogspot – The Importance of Publicity

Tina Frisco: Happy to feature authors/artists/photographers/ musicians/etc. as time permits.  ❤ https://tinafrisco.com/  ‘Nature is my go-to tonic.  Aside from music and animals, I love dancing and getting lost in working crossword puzzles.’ She blogs under the categories: inspiration, spiritual, guests, quotes, books, chronic illness and self-acceptance.

Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget if you would like join my next list do get in touch by leaving a comment below or contacting me via my email: marjma2014@gmail.com

Bye for now,

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