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The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer

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‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name is Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

The Shock of the Fall is the debut novel by Nathan Filer. It has won the Costa book award for best first book 2013 and that kinda tells you how brilliant this book is going to be!

The book is written from the view point of Matthew Homes, who after losing his brother Simon in a tragic accident, is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The story is set out and told in a series of flashbacks and incomplete fragments of memory coupled with occasional drawings and official letters.

I loved the fact that although Simon is killed off pretty early on in the book, the circumstances of his death are not apparent straight away and Nathan Filer has done an excellent job in teasing us with little snippets until **BOOM**, there it is!

There are some truly wonderful characters throughout the book and my favourite has to be Nanny Noo, she has her own secrets but is 100% supportive of Matt, popping round once a week to see how he’s getting on, cook and clean for him and smoking one of her illicit menthol cigarettes in the kitchen. She never lets Matt’s illness faze her, and their relationship is beautifully portrayed throughout.

Don’t worry the book isn’t all doom and gloom, there are some lovely laugh out loud moments despite the fact that it focuses on the spiral Matt faces into mental illness.

It’s hard to believe that this is the authors first novel and I for one cannot wait for his next one!

My rating:   – definitely not one to miss!!

The Shock of the Fall is available here

 

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The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult

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the storyteller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sage Singer is a baker, a loner, until she befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses—and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die because he had been a Nazi SS guard. And Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. How do you react to evil living next door? Can someone who’s committed truly heinous acts ever atone with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And, if Sage even considers the request, is it revenge…or justice?

Right from the first page this book grabbed me, sucked me in and held me captive until the very end! It truly was THAT good!

The book follows the two main characters, Sage Singer, and Josef Weber, with a cleverly interwoven story of Ania.

Sage doesn’t describe herself as a Jew, although she comes from a Jewish family. She doesn’t have things easy, her mother has passed away and she’s struggling with her confidence due to a recent accident, which left her scarred, both mentally and physically. Becoming a bit of a recluse, she avoids the outside world and submerges herself in her baking, working through the night and sleeping through the day, emerging only to see her married lover and to attend her Grief group, where she meets Josef.

Josef Weber is your typically friendly old neighbour. A retired teacher and Little League coach, what’s not to love about him? Except Josef has a little secret of his own, he was a Nazi SS guard and Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

The book is harrowingly, and yet beautifully written with the descriptions of the camps and the people making you almost feel as if you were there, staying with you long after the book has ended.

Jodi Picoult has never been one to shy away from taboo subjects and this book does not disappoint. It’s a story of survival and heroism, unimaginable evil and the search for redemption, but for who?

If you only read one book this year, make it this one!

My rating:   – definitely not one to miss!!

The Storyteller is available in both physical and digital copies  here

Witch Hunt – Syd Moore

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A chilling, haunting ghost story that delves into the dark past of the 16th century Essex witch trials.

Sadie Asquith has been fascinated by the dark past of Essex’s witch hunts for as long as she can remember. And for good reason: between 1560 and 1680, over 500 women were tried for witchcraft in the county of Essex. But as she researches a book on the subject, Sadie experiences strange, ghostly visions. She hears noises at night, a sobbing sound that follows her, and black moths appear from nowhere. It’s as if, by digging up the truth about the witch hunts, she has opened an unearthly connection to the women treated so cruelly and killed centuries before.

And something else in the modern world is after her too: Sadie is sure she’s being followed, her flat is burgled and she finds clues that reveal her own past isn’t all that she believed. Can she find peace for the witches of Essex’s history and can she find a safe path for herself?

Sadie Asquith is a freelance journalist who decides she is going to write a book about the Essex Witch Hunts, in which 500 women were tried and many of whom lost their lives.

Throughout the book we learn the appalling ways in which women were treated by power hungry men who lorded it over young girls, exploiting them in the most horrific ways in order to get them to confess to witchcraft, sometimes against themselves and in some cases against their loved ones. Once they had confessed to this ‘crime’, they were either hung in front of a heckling crowd, or ‘swum’.

Sadie’s research brings some shocking details to light and she knows that she’s on to something highly explosive! Will Sadie live to tell the tale?

This book had me hooked from the very beginning, so much so I was unable to put it down and finished it in just over 2 days! I loved how the characters literally came to life throughout the book. Any horror fans out there will LOVE this book!

Love ghost stories? Then this is definitely the book for you! The PERFECT Halloween read.

Witch Hunt is available here and a bargain at only 99p for the Kindle edition!

My rating:  

All She Wants – Jonathan Harvey

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There are some things in life you can always rely on. Living in the shadow of your ‘perfect’ brother Joey, getting the flu over Christmas, and your Mother showing you up in the supermarket. Then there are some things you really don’t count on happening: a good dose of fame, getting completely trashed at an awards ceremony, and catching your fella doing something unmentionable on your wedding day. This is my story, it’s dead tragic. You have been warned… Jodie Xx

All She Wants is the first book I have read by Jonathan Harvey and I have to tell you I was not disappointed! This book is literally filled with laugh out loud moments so beware of people giving you strange looks if reading this in public!!

The book follows the life of the main character Jodie McGee, a normal girl from a ‘normal’ family. When her mother takes her and her brother on a ‘trip’ during the school holidays, to camp outside the studios where Acacia Avenue is filmed Jodie is far from pleased, after all the studios are a mere bus ride away and whilst her class mates go on holiday her mother takes her there! However when she is met at the gates by a famous actress in Acacia Avenue, she is hooked and soon declares that when she grows up she will join the cast of Acacia Avenue.

In the meantime life doesn’t exactly go as planned for Jodie. She meets the love of her life at school and they go on to get married, but all is not well and I was literally shocked at the following events that took place!

There are many twists and turns in Jodie’s life before her eventual rise to fame and some of the scenarios are quite cringey, but equally hilarious! I couldn’t help but feel for this character and I did feel myself really wanting things to finally go her way and for her to be happy.

This book was brilliantly written with comedy in all the right places. I have never laughed so much when reading a book!!

If you are looking for a book to cheer you up and totally lift your spirits then this is definitely the book for you!

My rating:  

All She wants is available both in digital and physical copies here

Picture Perfect – Lucie Simone

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For Lauren Tate, a high-powered TV producer, sex, lies, and scandal make for a great movie-of-the-week, but when she becomes the target of a smear campaign, even the most salacious of Hollywood’s tales can’t compare to her real life drama. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband leading the effort to sully her reputation, and her former assistant threatening to snatch her hard-earned position at Timeless Television out of her hands, Lauren’s perfectly planned life quickly begins to unravel at the seams. Clawing her way back to the top of the TV food chain is no easy task, especially in an industry where backstabbing is a sport and gossip is a full time business. But Lauren learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart is missing in action. Can she salvage her career, her reputation, and her love life? Or will Hollywood be the death of her?

I was casually browsing Facebook, as you do, and came across this author who was talking about her book Picture Perfect. First of all I have to say the cover of the book blew me away, it’s sooooo pink! That itself was enough reason for me to request to review the book!

The book focuses on Lauren Tate, a TV producer in Hollywood. She’s married, soon to be divorced, to a husband who quite frankly doesn’t deserve her. His jealousy of her earning more money than him really grated on me, and I was glad when he made the decision to leave her – although it wasn’t very nice for Lauren! I couldn’t help but warm to Lauren, she’s funny, sassy and smart, she certainly isn’t about to roll over crying (well not for long) because her husband is leaving her!

Events begin to spiral and this book takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride from fast paced Hollywood, to a more muted occasion in a New York Bookstore, throw a murder into the mix and you’re in for a fun night and a fabulous whodunit that will certainly keep you on your toes!

I love how Lucie has written the book, it’s fast paced, sexy and fun! What more could a girl want, right?

My rating:  

Picture Perfect is available here

One Hundred Names – Cecelia Ahern

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Journalist Kitty Logan’s career is being destroyed by scandal – and now she faces losing the woman who guided and taught her everything she knew. At her terminally ill friend’s bedside, Kitty asks – what is the one story she always wanted to write?

The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late.

With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life: to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty not only has to track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she starts to understand her own.

When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped – no leaped at the chance! Cecelia Ahern is one of my all time favourite authors and I can honestly say I have LOVED every single one of her books, although my favourite P.S I Love You has to be one of my all time favourites!

This book focuses on the main character Kitty Logan, a journalist who has just committed career suicide and ruined the life of Colin McGuire and his family. To make matters worse, one of Kitty’s best friends, who truly believes in her both personally and professionally, who taught her everything she knows, is losing her battle with a terminal illness.

I have to say I felt really sorry for Kitty throughout the book, she’s made a terrible mistake, one that will surely kill her career, and she’s at a loss at how to figure out the solution to put things right.

When Constance guides Kitty to a list of one hundred names hidden in her office, Kitty is determined to discover who these people are, what their story is and how they are all linked together. Kitty needs to prove she can do this, not only for her own piece of mind, but to try and save her flailing career. Unable to speak to Constance further about the names of these people, Kitty embarks on a journey of a life time – to write the story of all stories.

The journey Kitty embarks on had me hooked! I, as much as Kitty wanted to track these people down and hear their stories. Although only six characters are used of the one hundred names I thought this was more than enough to keep the book flowing at an exciting pace, any more and the plot would have become lost. The six characters we meet are brilliant, their stories have a broad range from sipping brandy laced tea in a nursing home, to trying to break a world record! And of course there is the journey and story of Kitty, who faces some pretty tough times along the way. These characters, and their shenanigans, will have you hooting with laughter (especially the marriage proposals!)

Will these one hundred names lead Kitty to redemption? There’s only one way to find out and that is to read this beautifully written, heart warming book!

One Hundred Names is released on the 11th October 2012. Pre-order your copy now!

My Rating:  

One Hundred Names is available here

Catching The Sun – Tony Parsons

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Just how badly do you want to find paradise?

When Tom Finn is almost jailed for confronting two burglars in his own home, this taxi driver takes his young family to live on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand.

Phuket is all the Finn family dreamed of – a tropical paradise where the children swim with elephants, the gibbons sing love songs in the jungle, the Andaman Sea is like turquoise glass and this young family is free to grow.

But both man-made disaster and the unleashed forces of nature shatter this tropical idyll for Tom Finn’s family.

CATCHING THE SUN is a gripping, moving story of a family who go in search of Paradise – and end up discovering themselves.

When I was asked to review this book I jumped at the chance. My grandad lives in Thailand and so I don’t get to see him often, in fact I can’t remember the last time I saw him (thank God for Skype!). I wanted to review/read this book as I felt it would help me feel just that little bit closer to my grandad.

Catching the sun centres on the Finn family who haven’t had the easiest of times in the UK. Tom Finn will do anything to protect his young family and when two burglars choose his house to target, he doesn’t think twice in taking matters into his own hands and protecting his family.

A lot of people will have different views on this matter, but I for one found myself applauding and sympathising with Tom when faced with the two burglars. I didn’t think he was a bad person for his actions and felt he was further penalised for his actions when convicted at Court, he loses his job and only source of income for his family.

However before he is forced to quit his job of driving wealthy clients to and from their many destinations, he is propositioned by one of his clients who offers him and his family the chance of a lifetime, to move to Thailand and start again.

However Tom’s new life comes at a cost, which almost tears his family apart.

I have to say that I did feel a bit sorry for Tom, his choice to move to Thailand was an amazing opportunity for him and his family, however nothing in life is free as he soon finds out.

My favourite characters throughout the book have to be Tess, Tom’s adoring wife. She is a teacher desperate for her children to have the kind of life she never had growing up. I loved her genteel nature and her ability to never let a tough situation overcome her. She is a tough cookie and balances out Tom perfectly. I also loved Tom and Tess’ neighbours, Mr and Mrs Botan. Mrs Botan welcomes her neighbours with open arms, helping out with food and the like, whilst Mr Botan reserves judgement until he has fully assessed the young family. He does come around and the two families start to bond and when tragedy strikes at Mr and Mrs Botan’s family business down on the beach, Tom doesn’t hesitate before lending a helping hand to the old couple.

Like any book this has its fair share of dark and evil people with funny, serious, tender and honest moments.

This book is definitely one to read and I don’t want to give too much detail away, you will have to find out for yourself how Tom’s story unfolds. Will he and his family survive on the island or will his family be torn apart?!

Tony Parsons has an amazing ability to set the scenes perfectly within the pages and I soon found myself lost within the story, desperate to find out what happens next and reluctant to leave the searingly hot sands of Hat Nai Yang beach! Grab your copy and be prepared to be catapulted into paradise!

My Rating:  

Catching the sun is available both in digital and physical copies here