Monday, 8 February 2021

Reading Round Up 2021 #6

 Hello there fellow book worms.

Welcome to this weeks Reading Round Up, and the first in February for this year. Lets hope this month doesn't drag as much as the last!




I've come to realise that I read a lot quicker when holding a physical book, for some reason when I read books on my Kindle my reading speed seems to decrease significantly. Does anyone else find this too, or am I just rather strange?

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, her's what I read in the last week ...

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny 5 out of 5 stars

Jane easily falls in love with Duncan: he's charming, good-natured, and handsome. He has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere--at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away. While she may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she didn't have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, still has Duncan mow her lawn. And his coworker Jimmy comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Jane wonders how the relationship is supposed to work with all these people in it. Not to mention most of the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices. But any notion Jane has of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Now her life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and she knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But is it possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of her eyes? 

                                                                                                                                                                           

I was very grateful when 4th Estate approved me to read Early Morning Riser.

Having not read anything from the author before, the blurb intrigued me and the front cover sealed it for me.

The story tells us about a small town in the US, about the goings on in every day life in this inconsequential place.

This is a tale of friendship, of relationships, of hardships.

I said to someone when they asked how I was finding it enjoyable but it was quite a change of pace to the books I've read recently. I guess I'd say it is relaxed in its approach but really makes you pause to think about certain things.

We follow Jane and her journey to essentially being happy with her lot. Not all is plan sailing, her relationship with Duncan’s which also happened to involve his Ex wife and her new husband, as well as all of his previous girlfriends who they couldn't seem to avoid.

My favourite character had to be Duncan’s work colleague Jimmy, he was misunderstood but loved by all and I really adored how people cared for him and how he (in his own way) cared for them right back.

This novel is quietly comedic. Filled with wit and real hearty feels.

Not a typical love story but no less heartwarming.

Gentle, tender and loveable is how I'd describe Early Morning Riser. Funnily enough I did read a lot of this in the early hours and it was comforting at that time of the day. 


This Nowhere Place by Natasha Bell 4 out 5 stars

One grey afternoon, high on the cliffs of Dover, two girls agree to help a stranger.

Within months, two of the three girls are dead.

In the years that follow, local legend grows around the events of that summer - and, with the one survivor refusing to speak, it seems the truth will never emerge. Until a documentary-maker arrives, determined to solve the mystery of the Dover Girls.

But some will stop at nothing to keep this town's secrets...

                                                                                                                                                                          

I was very lucky to be gifted a proof copy of this novel and let me tell you it did not disappoint. A full review is coming when I join the blog tour next month but for now this is what you need to know..

Set in my hometown of Dover, Kent, This Nowhere Place is a tale of lies, secrets and deceit.

Written in a brilliant format, we follow the lives of 'The Dover Girls' through a series of interviews for a documentary and a brilliant twisting of past and present.

Presented with multiple layers, this is a crime thriller like no other.

One girl dies, two more follow. Suicide? Murder? Or perhaps something in-between.

This is Dover in the future. 2026 to be precise. 10 years after unknown tragic events led to two girls losing their lives and one other being left without the use of her legs. What was unknown all those years ago was what precisely happened.

Previous investigations came up with nothing. Conspiracy theorists had plenty of ideas but no evidence to back it up. But now that so much time has passed, an investigative journalist, Tarek, is determined to uncover the truth.

But the reasons why are more personal than he lets on.

This Nowhere Place is immersive and intelligent.


Mountain Road, Late at Night by Alan Rossi 5 out of 5 stars

Nicholas and his wife April live in a remote cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains with their four-year-old son, Jack. They keep their families at a distance, rejecting what their loved ones think of as 'normal'. In the early hours of a Wednesday morning, they are driving home from a party when their car crashes on a deserted road and they are killed.

This is the story of what happens after the tragedy.As the couple's grieving relatives descend on the family home, they are forced to decide who will care for the child Nicholas and April left behind. Nicholas's brother, Nathaniel, and his wife Stefanie aren't ready to be parents but his mother and father have issues of their own. And April's mother, Tammy, is driving across the country to claim her grandson.

Experiencing a few traumatic days in the minds of each family member, Alan Rossi's debut, Mountain Road, Late at Night is a taut, nuanced and breathtaking look at what we do when everything goes wrong, and the frightening fact that life carries on, regardless. A gripping, affecting and extremely accomplished debut.

                                                                                                                                                                           

Cleverly powerful.

That is what I'd describe this novel as. 

A young couple, Nicholas and April, are tragically killed in a car accident on their way home from a party, left behind is their four year old son, Jack.

Who will become his guardian and set him on the right path now?

Split into four parts, this is a story that is poetically meaningful.

We get an insight how certain family members think and feel after such a loss. Those moments of uncertainty, guilt and grief.

First there is Nicholas’s brother, Nathaniel and his wife Stefanie, they don't have children of their own but are more than willing to step up.

Then there is Nicholas and Nathaniel’s parents, Katherine and David. Told more from Katherine's POV, have the resources to provide for their grandson but their marriage isn't as stable as it appears from to those looking in.

And finally we have Tammy - April's mum -she now wants the chance to change her past mistakes that she unfortunately made when she was a young, single mother to her now deceased story.

Each party have their reasons for why they should be the ones to take charge, to be the ones to make Jack's life as good as it can be.

There was such a realism to each part. The conversations, the thoughts and processes of each character. It was all so well observed.

Both logical and philosophical.

It was the last part of the story that really got me. I won't tell you who that part belongs to but just know that I cried, it was beyond emotional.

Simple in its delivery but intimate in the way it was worded. This is a detailed account of a family struggling, trying to come to terms with a different, unexpected way of life.

I felt so much. Sadness. Tragedy. But it was all wrapped up in words of regret and hope.

Thought provoking. Mountain Road, Late at Night is a unique and powerful novel. 


the dare by Lesley Kara 4.5 star out of 5

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find traumatic memories and paranoia suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

                                                                                                                                                                           

Told from dual points of view and broken down into three parts, each one giving us glimpses into the past and present, this is a story that will make your head spin.

I read the dare in under three hours. The need to know just how it would end was strong. And with all the twists and turns, I could have never of guessed those last few words. In my head I screamed nnnnoooooo. Well played Lesley, well played.

The character that had me on the edge of my seat was Ross. Complicated was how I'd describe him. With each part of the book, my mind changed and my feelings towards him differed. Clever writing as I think it took my focus away from guessing just where the plot was leading.

Mystery and manipulation make this book what it is. 

Look out for my full review which will pop up on the blog at the start of next month.


I'm currently finishing off Country Cat Blues by Alison O'Leary. Let me know what books you're recommended for February below.

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