Book Tag – Shelfie by Shelfie #7

Published June 13, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

Here are the other Shelfies I’ve done: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

For other Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere, please see:

Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads FAVOURITES shelfie HERE and her Shelfie by Shelfie 2 HERE.

Sarah @ The Aroma Of Books Shelfie 1A HERE and Shelfie 1B HERE.

Dee @ Dees Rad Reads And Reviews Shelfie HERE

Thank you so much to Chrissi, Sarah and Dee for participating in Shelfie by Shelfie, it really means the world to me. Hugs!

Anyway – on with the tag, here is the fifth shelf of my first bookshelf (I’ve chosen to split it up into two separate shelfies because of the sheer number of books, oops!). Here is the back shelf and we’re looking at the middle part of this image.

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

This is another really random one (do you sense a pattern here, like I am the worst library organiser in the world?!). I have got some authors grouped together like my two Kate Morton’s, all my Ian McEwans and a few Jodi Picoults but apart from that it’s incredibly random.

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I think I’m going to mention Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. I always think of my boyfriend when I see it. He read this exact copy from my collection years ago, loved it and still begs me to read it. You’ve guessed it, I still haven’t!

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

This is so very hard. I think I would choose The Apothecary’s Daughter by Patricia Schonstein. I haven’t read it yet so I can’t comment on the story but it’s probably the book on this shelf I’m the least excited about. 😦

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

I think that would be The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and I think my sister, Chrissi Reads is also eager to read it so I had better keep it safe for her at least! Plus I love the cover, really simple and effective.

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. I can’t even remember how long this book has been on my shelves!

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

I think it’s The Glass Books Of The Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist. I saw it in a Waterstones when browsing with my sister and the title and synopsis really appealed to me.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

There’s a lot of books on this shelf I’m excited for but if I had to choose it would be The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry. Set in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation, it sounds right up my street!

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There’s no room for any object on this shelf unfortunately, it’s double stacked as a lot of my shelves are!

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Like other shelfies I’ve done, I think it demonstrates the variety of genres I enjoy – historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy, literary fiction and contemporary fiction amongst others.

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I won’t tag anyone but if anyone wants to do this tag, I’d be delighted and I’d love to see your shelfie.

 

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #8

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Blog Tour – A Dead American In Paris (Salazar Book 2) by Seth Lynch

Published June 12, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter. He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

A Dead American in Paris places Salazar in the midst of an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder. It’s enough to make you want to chuck it all in and take a job cleaning out the sewers. But Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to Emma Welton, amazing blogger extraordinaire at damppebbles, all round good egg and now blog tour organiser who invited me to take part in this blog tour via email. Thank you also to Fahrenheit Press who provided me with a copy of A Dead American In Paris in exchange for an honest review. I have a great love for crime fiction although I sadly, I don’t read it half as much as I used to as I felt that what I was reading was getting a bit “samey.” I tend to reserve reading the genre for books my fellow bloggers have got me really excited about, something out of the box and a bit different where I’m not going to predict the outcome halfway through. That’s why I’m so pleased that I read this book. Although it’s the second in the series and I haven’t read the first, A Citizen Of Nowhere, I genuinely believe that it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone. A Dead American In Paris is different in that it reads like a classic book in the genre. This is not only because of the time period it is set in, the early thirties in Paris but the writing style feels vintage, almost as if the author had placed himself directly within the 1930’s and is writing about it as he sees it at that moment – if that makes any sense?

Seth Lynch, author of A Dead American In Paris, the second book in The Salazar Mysteries.

Our male lead for the narrative is private detective, Salazar who has become embroiled in a very interesting case that looks remarkably like a murder carried out in a fit of jealous rage. The victim is Arty Homebrook, a rather shady character who sleeps around with a number of married women and appears to live quite a meagre existence in a shady, dirty flat. One of the aggrieved husbands, Harry Fulton is the main suspect in this case and is currently in jail pending trial. However, Fulton’s father has recently employed Salazar to find out the truth about what happened that night and of course, the real story behind the murder, is much murkier and more convoluted than anyone directly or indirectly involved in the case could ever have suspected.

An image of 1930’s Paris, where our story is set.

A Dead American In Paris was such a pleasant surprise. As I read the synopsis, I instantly knew that I was interested but I still wasn’t prepared for the journey that Seth Lynch would take me on. Not only were the characters wonderfully drawn but they felt incredibly authentic and after a very short time of reading, I wanted to know everything and anything about them. We have a wonderful and intriguing male lead in Salazar who is sarcastic, determined, impulsive but also tormented by his experiences during the First World War and by other, more individual worries and mental issues which plague him from time to time. In my eyes, this made him both a delight to read (in the way of his snide comments and that you never knew what he was going to try next!) and that he was undeniably human, with all the anxieties we all suffer at certain points in our lives.

I completely fell in love with this story. The plot, the characters, the way it moved steadily and slowly, each reveal happening methodically and intelligently. However, my favourite part had to be how it ended. As I alluded to in the first paragraph of my review, I hate the predictable and it’s a relief to know that Seth Lynch isn’t just going to rest easy on his laurels with a cliche….that’s all I’m saying!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor/

Buy Seth Lynch’s book direct from Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

 

Thank you once again to Emma Welton and Fahrenheit Press for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. A Dead American In Paris was published in August 2017 and will be available as a e-book. If you fancy some more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

 

Link to book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39788613-a-dead-american-in-paris?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-American-Paris-Salazar-Book-ebook/dp/B07BSB9KBB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528650141&sr=8-1&keywords=a+dead+american+in+paris

Daughter Of Smoke And Bone – Laini Taylor

Published June 11, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

What did I think?:

Unpopular opinion time! Okay, if you liked Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, you might want to give my review a miss. Just putting it out there. I really wanted to like this book. I mean, REALLY wanted to. It had so much hype when it first came out, I love a great fantasy story with angels and monsters – what was there not to like? Well….I’ll get round to that in more depth a bit later but unfortunately this series is definitely not for me. I should have listened to my sister Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads, (Note to self: I should ALWAYS listen to my sister!). She told me: “I don’t think you’re going to like this book!” and I still put it on one of my Chrissi Cupboard Months determined that the Goodreads average rating of 4.03 meant that of course I would like it. She was right, I was wrong. Obviously I never like to write a more critical review without mentioning the positive aspects but generally, this was a really disappointing read for me. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, the romance made me cross and it all just felt a bit too vague and airy-fairy for me personally. Nope, sorry. Just can’t do it.

Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter Of Smoke And Bone series. Who will become my best friend after this review. Or er…probably not. I’m sorry Laini!

The story follows our seventeen year old female protagonist, Karou, an art student in Prague and errand girl for her demon foster parent called Brimstone. Her main responsibilities consist of collecting teeth for some strange, unknown purpose although Karou is aware of their potential to grant wishes. Meanwhile, in this odd other world called Elsewhere where Karou completes her tasks, scorched hand-prints are appearing on the portals which Karou uses to travel back to Brimstone, effectively closing her means of returning home. Then she meets a strange young man called Akiva and not only do they fall dangerously in love but it unlocks certain secrets about Karou’s own life that will have a staggering impact on the rest of her life.

The Chimera, a creature from Greek mythology that also lends its name to some of the half human/half animal creatures in Daughter Of Smoke And Bone.

Oh, this book should have been right up my street and that’s why I was so desperate to read it in the first place! Angels and demons, creatures taken from Greek mythology….it really should have worked and I’m genuinely surprised that for me, it just didn’t. The weird thing is, it had so much promise in the beginning. I loved the author’s descriptions of Prague, her lyrical writing style, the mystery of Karou’s parentage, the strange lands and the enemies that Karou has to face and what on earth is the teeth thing all about?! I was intrigued, I read it and prepared to get completely invested and then…..well then, it just fell apart a little bit with the introduction of our male lead, Akiva.

I didn’t enjoy the romance in this novel at all. Okay, so one minute, Karou is a brave, fiesty female who goes on dangerous missions just to retrieve some teeth (yes, I know how odd this sounds!) and the minute she meets Akiva she turns to molten lava. I mean, really? I was just starting to get interested in her character and then she has to go and do something like that and thoroughly disappoint me. Insta-love, star-crossed lovers that shouldn’t be together, you get the whole she-bang and I’m sorry, it just didn’t work for me. It reminded me far too much of the typical, cliched YA novel with a sickly-sweet immediate romance that wasn’t believable in the slightest (even for a fantasy novel!) and frankly, doesn’t cut the mustard with me anymore. I’m afraid from that instant I was resolved to dislike this story and unfortunately, it didn’t get much better from there.

Insta-Love, exit right left here if you please!

The sign of a good novel for me is when you can remember specific scenes/events, even quotes if you form a deep connection with the characters or the writing. Well, I’ve been musing about writing this review for a while as I’ve been a bit worried about exactly what I’m going to say but I can barely remember any scene in detail in Daughter Of Smoke And Bone. I have a very vague outline of characters, people flying and half-human and half-animal creatures but as to what happened in the end? I’m a bit ashamed to say I can’t remember. Unfortunately, this novel hasn’t left its mark on me and sadly, I won’t be continuing on with the series.

However, I would love to hear from you if you’ve read this novel and loved it or if you felt the same way as me. I may not have enjoyed this story but I’m sure other people will do. Why else would it have such a strong rating on Goodreads? As a good friend once told me – different strokes for different folks!!  😀

Would I recommend it?:

Probably not.

Star rating (out of 5):

1194984978279254934two_star_rating_saurabh__01.svg

 

Happily – Chauncey Rogers

Published June 10, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, 
make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS

What did I think?:

First of all, thank you so much to the author, Chauncey Rogers for getting in touch via email and asking me if I’d like to read a copy of Happily in exchange for an honest review. I’ve been very selective recently about the books I accept, as some of you might know I have an enormous backlog/TBR and I’m trying to only say “yes” to those novels that I’m genuinely excited about. Apologies as well to Chauncey for getting this review out so late, I’m afraid that life kind of got in the way as it tends to do! Anyway, why was I initially so excited about Happily? Well, as a huge fan of fairy-tale retellings, Happily is an alternate version of that classic fairy tale, Cinderella so getting round to reading this was kind of a no brainer – it HAD to happen. The actual experience of reading it was thoroughly enjoyable, I adored the main characters, particularly our female lead, Laure and the plot itself was so compelling that I whizzed through it in merely a couple of hours on an otherwise very dull long haul flight!

Chauncey Rogers, author of the YA novel, Happily.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said in that short but remarkably adequate synopsis above? This is the story of Laure, independent and a little bit wild, who survives on her wits and from stealing what she needs from market stalls. She lives her life day by day, perfectly happy in her own company but haunted by an event in her past which has led her to be isolated and very distrustful of others. This is until one of her jaunts to the market leads to a meeting with a young man called Luc which in turn, leads to her being very much in his debt. Ever the chameleon, Laure ends up convincing Luc to join her in the ultimate heist to fool the royal family which involves, you guessed it, becoming the girl who the glass slipper fits and marrying the prince.

Disney’s Cinderella – the image which some of us may connect to this story.

So as you might have guessed by now, Happily is ever so slightly different from the original fairy-tale of Cinderella! Obviously, it does have something in common – a poor girl in search of a better life and the hunt for a mysterious woman at a ball who left behind a glass slipper as the only means of identifying her. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends however there are a few other themes that run in parallel that I can’t really talk about for fear of spoiling Chauncey’s brilliant story. The massive, glaring difference here is that our heroine, Laure was never at the ball in the first place, she is a street urchin and thief with a sassy, fiery personality and she doesn’t take any nonsense whatsoever! She strikes up an endearing relationship with Luc where they butt heads considerably during their adventures but grow to develop a deep admiration and respect for one another by what they go through together.

I adored both Laure and Luc individually and as a couple, they were both relatable personalities that readers could empathise with and despite each of their own hardships, they both had hearts of gold and would never intentionally hurt anyone else. I was especially enamoured with Laure – what a fantastic, hot-headed and brave girl she was! I was fascinated by her attitude to life and was constantly intrigued to discover what had happened in her life to make her heart so seemingly impenetrable at the beginning of the story. As a piece of young adult fiction, I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the genre, fairy tale re-tellings with a difference and dynamic, very readable characters.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

My Sweet Friend – H.A. Leuschel

Published June 6, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to the author, H.A. Leuschel for getting in touch with me via email and asking if I would like to read her new novella, My Sweet Friend after thoroughly enjoying her short story collection, Manipulated Lives last year. Of course I jumped at the chance. Manipulated Lives really spoke to me personally as a past victim of psychological and emotional abuse/manipulation and I was intrigued to read more of Helene’s work where the theme of manipulation is once again explored. Unfortunately, I’ve been unlucky enough to experience these kind of problems with an ex-boyfriend and with friends and once again, so many parts of this novella resonated with my own personal experience. I saw so much of myself in the character of Rosie and I recognised other people I have known in Alexa – in short, it brought so many memories back and made me thank my lucky stars that I’m a stronger person in a much better stage of my life.

Helene Leuschel, author of the novella, My Sweet Friend.

So in a nutshell, this novella focuses on two female leads, Alexa who has had to take leave from a job she has only recently started as a result of stress and she is off sunning herself on a beach in Bairritz. Then we have Rosie who has been with the company for a long time when Alexa joins the team and they strike up a friendship. It is not long before Rosie begins to feel uneasy about the nature of their relationship however. There are the snide comments, the unrealistic expectations and the way Rosie is slowly made to feel as if she is going crazy. There are particular incidents where Alexa denies saying or doing a certain thing putting Rosie in serious financial and emotional difficulties and Rosie is constantly covering for her mistakes at work. Is Alexa a real, honest friend that is just misunderstood? Does Rosie really know the real Alexa at all? Finally, is their relationship a genuine friendship with all the ups and downs that a regular friendship suffers or is it something toxic that needs to be extinguished as soon as possible?

The town of Bairritz, France where Alexa travels to after taking leave from her job.

I was utterly gripped by this short story and quite frankly, appalled by the ever so subtle manipulation carried out which sadly, works all too well on vulnerable people. The author has dug remarkably deep into the human psyche and the ways in which we can affect another human being’s emotions, even by the tiniest little act. Things like this may seem insignificant and in Rosie’s case, are very difficult to prove that they are happening but when it builds up gradually over time, it can destroy a person’s self-esteem which from personal experience, can be very difficult to recover from, if you ever really fully recover. This is a fascinating tale which draws on psychology to illustrate how a person’s thoughts and emotions can be disassembled, piece by piece until the affected victim becomes almost a shadow of themselves, questioning everything, even their own sanity.

My Sweet Friend is another brilliant outing from H.A. Leuschel and I’m incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience her writing style once more. This is a tale to make you think, reflect and consider people you may have met in your own life, especially if you recognise having been manipulated in the past.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Blog Tour – The Log House by Baylea Hart

Published June 5, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The forest is a deadly place.

Nobody knows this better than Penny. She has spent her whole life hiding in the darkness, shielding herself from the terrors that watch and wait within the trees.

When Penny is abandoned and left for dead in the forest, she is forced to navigate this terrifying labyrinth in order to return home to her son and take revenge on the woman who tried to kill her.

But the murderous creatures with the false smiles aren’t the only monsters to lurk in the forest, and some demons may be closer than she thinks.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Unbound Publishers for sending me a copy of this astonishing novel in exchange for an honest review. I haven’t read any horror stories for a little while now and as it’s one of my favourite genres, it was about time that I re-visited it once more! So when the email from Anne flew in and I read the synopsis, I couldn’t have be quicker in replying to her with an ardent: “Yes please!” Horror can be a bit hit and miss sometimes. For me, an author has to really get under my skin, build up that tension and drama and the terrifying moments have to be convincing and genuinely scare me. I mentioned in a review recently that events in a horror novel or film are often a lot more frightening if the creature/monster/villain is not completely seen, in other words – if it is only hinted at and left in shadow.

Has anyone seen the film Jeepers Creepers? As soon as I saw the monster in all its glory, I wasn’t scared anymore. (To be perfectly honest, I found it quite funny and not in the least scary but that says more about my sense of humour than the creature in the film, I think!!). Anyway, I digress – back to The Log House. What I’m trying to say is that Baylea Hart pulled off the scary moments in her novel wonderfully well. She doesn’t completely unearth the creature, there’s mention of the colour grey, and long, claw like hands but we don’t ever get the full detail about what it looks like. For me, this made it MORE frightening and definitely ensured my thorough enjoyment of the novel as a whole.

Jeepers Creepers – you don’t scare ME! The Log House? Umm…. you do!

So, the synopsis above already does a wonderful job of explaining what this novel explores and I don’t think I could do much better. Basically, we follow a young mother called Penelope who lives in a safe house with a number of other residents, including Mary whom she has had a bit of history with. Penny ends up in the forest on her own because of the bad blood between Mary and herself. She has a head and ankle injury and is quite far away from home but that’s the least of her problems. A safe house is necessary for the inhabitants of this world because of the creatures that stalk around, attracted by light and invoke instant death if you’re unlucky enough to come across one. Penny must fight to avoid these creatures as she treks through the forest to get back to her son and to avenge herself upon Mary. It’s not long though before she discovers that there may be worse things out in the woods then these monsters.

Baylea Hart, author of The Log House.

I had a sneaking suspicion that I might enjoy this book just from the dedication alone, where I felt a certain kinship with the author as soon as I read: “To my family, for giving me Stephen King books to read as a child. This is all your fault.” I thought to myself if the author of this novel has taken any inspiration from the Master Of Horror himself, (who just happens to be my all-time favourite author), I’m in for quite the ride and I was certainly correct in my initial assessment! This book is disturbing, graphic, horrifying and tense in equal measures and I was absolutely gripped by both the character of Penny and the electrifying plot. Penny is not a particularly likeable character and has made a couple of shady decisions in her past which has led to her fractured relationship with Mary but I couldn’t help but admire her gutsy, determined nature. She goes through absolute hell in those woods, not only in hiding/avoiding these awful monsters but struggling through the pain of a horrific injury combined with how she deals with several dangerous situations with some very different kinds of monsters along the way.

This is a richly imaginative tale of horror from a talented writer that made me catch my breath and provoked multiple shivers down my spine. I was particularly unnerved by the fact that Penny realises that when everything goes deathly silent, the creatures are near and she has no other option but to hide. No bird song, no leaves rustling – just utter silence.

“Watch for the silence, said the voice in her head. It’s the only warning you’ll get.”

Personally, I found this incredibly frightening and I could instantly see this being played very well in a film. As the narrative continues, we learn much more about Penny and her past, the creatures themselves and how one simple, distorted sound: “Haaaaa,” has the potential to chill your blood.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Baylea Hart is an IT Technician by day, horror writer by night and a reader everywhere in between. In 2013 she wrote, directed and edited the short film Behind the Door, which won a Top 50 spot in the Bloody Cuts “Who’s There?” competition and as of 2015 has over 410,000 views on YouTube. In October 2015 she won the Bristol Horror Writing Competition with her short story Jack in the Box, and her short story Eyes Open was published in the 12th issue of 9Tales Told in the Dark. Baylea’s debut novel The Log House was published by Unbound in 2018.

She can be found on Twitter @bayleahart and on her website http://www.bayleahart.com/

Thank you once again to Anne Cater and Unbound Publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. The Log House was published in January 2018 and will be available as a paperback and e-book. If you fancy some more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to The Log House on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36502696-the-log-house

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Log-House-Baylea-Hart/dp/1911586467/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528041732&sr=8-1&keywords=the+log+house

Blog Tour – Days Of Wonder by Keith Stuart

Published June 4, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A story about family, love and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you’ll read all year.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Days of Wonder is the stunning follow-up to Keith Stuart’s much-loved debut A Boy Made of Blocks – and a book to fall in love with.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to Clara Diaz and Sphere Publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I first came across Keith Stuart when I read his incredible debut novel, A Boy Made Of Blocks which completely captured my heart. So, it’s safe to say not only was I stupidly excited when I received my copy of Days Of Wonder but my expectations for the novel were astronomically high. Luckily, I was in no way disappointed. Keith Stuart writes with passion and intelligence but most importantly of all, with real heart and this novel was a touching, beautifully realised piece of contemporary fiction with an emotional edge that had me laughing and tearing up in equal measure.

Keith Stuart, author of Days Of Wonder.

This novel explores the special relationship between single dad, Tom and his fifteen year old daughter, Hannah. His wife and Hannah’s mother, Elizabeth left when her daughter was quite young and since then, it has been them against the world. This is particularly poignant when Hannah begins to get ill and heart-breakingly, is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. In other words, her heart just isn’t strong enough to pump blood around her body. The cold, hard reality of this condition is that she could die at any time and more recently, her normal, teenage exertions have caused her to black out, indicating that she could be getting worse. Tom, manager of the local Willow Tree Theatre, has been trying to keep her spirits up ever since she was diagnosed, by introducing her to the theatre and encouraging the troupe of actors he employs to put on small plays for her each year on her birthday – these he calls “days of wonder.” The rest of the narrative follows Hannah and Tom as they struggle with her condition and the potential closure of the place that they love the best. They learn the importance of leaning on their friends within and out of the theatre and explores the beautiful bond between father and daughter as they deal with the terrifying situation where they never know whether one day may be her last.

This picture illustrates the thin walls of Hannah’s heart compared to a “normal” heart.

Oh my goodness, this book. It was so moving and brilliantly written, by the end I felt as if I knew all the characters intimately, as if they were in my own life. Keith Stuart expertly blends the happy and devastating moments of Hannah’s life with wonderful, laugh-out-loud humour and painful, gut-wrenching moments so that one moment you can be smiling and by the next page you’re horribly upset. My favourite part of the whole novel has to be the characterisation which is simply fantastic but in particular, that father-daughter relationship between Tom and Hannah which filled me with a sort of aching longing for a relationship I sadly have not experienced myself. Besides this, there are multiple other characters, like fiesty pensioner Margaret and their close friends at the theatre: Sally, Ted and James amongst others who are all beautifully drawn and all feel startlingly authentic. Additionally, all these characters have their own problems in their lives, for example, Callum’s struggles with mental illness, Sally and Ted’s independent marital issues, James’ private and internal battle with his own feelings….. I could go on.

Told in alternate chapters between both Hannah and Tom’s point of view, this is a stunning story of a father and daughter who forge a stronger and more meaningful relationship through their tough times. It highlights the importance of family and friends and the magical consequences of fighting for something you desperately believe in. As the saying goes – read it and weep. I certainly did.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Keith Stuart is an author and journalist. His heartwarming debut novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a major bestseller, and was inspired by Keith’s real-life relationship with his autistic son. Keith has written for publications including Empire, Red and Esquire magazine, and is the former games editor of the Guardian. He lives with his wife and two sons in Frome, Somerset.

Find Keith on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/441866.Keith_Stuart

on Twitter at: @keefstuart

Thank you once again to Clara Diaz and Sphere publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Days Of Wonder is published on the 7th June 2018 and will be available as a paperback and e-book. If you fancy some more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour for some amazing reviews!

Link to book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34460802-days-of-wonder?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Days-Wonder-most-magical-moving/dp/0751563315/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528039280&sr=8-1&keywords=days+of+wonder+keith+stuart