Monday, 1 March 2021

Reading Round Up 2021 #9

 Hey there fellow readers. How are you all?

I have to admit that I felt the pressure to read last week, instead of purely doing it for pleasure. My own fault, I get caught up in the joy of reading a new book, not paying attention to how many reviews and blog tours I'm committing myself to. 

Must slow down.

Does anyone else find they have the problem of too many books not enough time? Now I've written that down I feel like there is only one answer to that question!




Anyway with that rant over, let me tell you about the books that I did manage to peruse last week (and yes they are all that awesome):

Dangerous Women by Hope Adams 5 out of 5 stars

London, 1841.

The Rajah sails for Australia.

On board are 180 women convicted of petty crimes, sentenced to start a new life half way across the world.

Daughters, sisters, mothers - they'll never see home or family again. Despised and damned, all they have now is each other.

Until the murder.

As the fearful hunt for a killer begins, everyone on board is a suspect.

The investigation risks tearing their friendships apart . . . But if the killer isn't found, could it cost them their last chance of freedom?

                                                                                                                                                                           

Although fictional, this story is based on true events.

There are plenty of secrets being kept as they sail.

This felt real, the details the emotions. I was invested in these women.

They didn't have an easy time, it was a daily struggle for them to stay alive, to be positive, to find happiness amongst the miserable, cramped conditions of The Rajah.

I admire their determination.

In a world dominated by men it was inspiring to read about these independent women.


The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel 5 out of 5 stars

This is the story of a young woman being slowly poisoned by her mother for 18 years who makes a calculated decision to take her in after her prison sentence, an exploration of the aftermath of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

                                                                                                                                                                          

Patty Watts was sent to prison for aggravated child abuse to her own daughter.

The testimony in court from Rose Gold (her daughter) was just the evidence that they needed to put this woman away.

5 years later and Patty is being released.

Her daughter is there to pick her up from the gates, could reconciliation be so easy?

What happens after is dark, dangerous and destructive.

The front cover of the book says 'Mothers never forget. Daughters never forgive.'

Told from both Patty and Rose Gold's points of view, Stephanie paints a picture of two women who feel both wronged and a need to be in control.

A refreshing thing with this novel is that actually neither character is particularly likeable. I didn't empathise/sympathise with either of them. I did however having a pressing need to find out just where their actions would lead them.

And let me tell you, I did not think their journey would end up where it did.

Explosive!

Devious.

The author has delivered a story that psychologically complex, as the reader I was trying to get into the mind of both protagonists, attempting to work out what they could be thinking and feeling.

Obsessive behaviours lead to disastrous consequences, taking the saying dysfunctional family to another level.

The Recovery of Rose Gold is an unpredictably, intelligent novel.

A unique tale of revenge!


The Wife Who Got a Life by Tracy Bloom 5 out of 5 stars

Can Cathy Collins Ditch Cooking by spring?

Or Get a Life Outside the Family by summer?

Will her husband still be listening in October when it’s time to have a Really Important Chat?

And can she FALL IN LOVE AGAIN by December?

Cathy is left open-mouthed when her husband hijacks the family’s New Year resolutions and throws in a midlife bombshell, so after years of school drop-offs and housework, Cathy decides it’s time to take control of life before it takes control of her. She makes a list of monthly goals that she hopes will set her up for the coming of middle age.

Cathy soon realises that nailing the list isn’t quite as easy as it seems, but she’s a mum on a mission and nothing’s going to stop her now…

                                                                                                                                                                       

This story is hilarious and positively up-lifting.

Written as a sort of diary, we are introduced to Cathy Collins, a 48 year old wife and mother, who after being gifted a motivational diary from one of her sisters, is looking to make a few changes in her life. Her decision was also spurred on by the fact that her husband, Mike, had decided he'd like to change careers and become a teacher. Well what's good for one ....

Setting herself one goal per month, what happens along the way, well you couldn't make it up, unless you were Tracy Bloom that is.

The goals themselves were mostly sensible, with a bit of humour added in.

Tracy writes in a way that anyone can relate to at least part of what is being said. She manages to cover all sorts of topics from friendships, grief and cancer to depression, relationships and our ever changing bodies, all done in a way that is sensitive to the subject but without making the reader feel down. There is always a sense of hope and determination attached to it all.

Everything about The Wife Who Got a Life feels authentic and amusing.


The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex 5 out of 5 stars

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

                                                                                                                                                                         

Blending the realities with the conceptualised, creating a tale that reads as true. Making it intelligent, informative and insightful.

It depicted everything with such detail.

This was a story that was so much more than just the loss of those lighthouse keepers. It is a book about love, loss and longing. A tale about deceit, distress and dilemmas. All mixed in with an undercurrent of the supernatural.

Vivid descriptions and heartfelt dialogue makes The Lamplighters an atmospheric and almost poetic novel.

I was intrigued in the beginning and chilled to the bone when I finished.


The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintanna 4 out of 5 stars

Abandoned as a baby in the hallway of a shared house in London, Marina has never known her parents, and the circumstances of her birth still remain a mystery.

Now an adult, Marina has returned to the house where it all started, determined to find out who she really is. But the walls of this house hold more than memories, and Marina’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other tenants.

Someone is watching Marina. Someone who knows the truth . . .

                                                                                                                                                                          

I knocked a star off of this one not because the story wasn't good but because the where the story was headed was fairly obvious.

What kept it going was the how and whys of it all.

Told from two points of view, delving from past to present, it was a crafted well, even though I'd guessed certain bits, there was still an air of mystery throughout.


Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde 5 out 5 stars


Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.

                                                                                                                                                                           

Short, smart stimulus for the mind.

Backstories is a unique set of short stories that will have you really thinking. As the reader you become the detective, working out who is actually the protagonists for these tales.

I found myself whole heartedly engaged and I will admit to hitting Google to try and help me come up with the answers.

This is a book, that although short you can read multiple times and gain more answers with each read.


A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas 5+stars out of 5

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.

                                                                                                                                                                           

If you haven't read any books from this series yet then I'm telling you that your really need to.

Sarah J Maas has not disappointed me yet with any of her books and this novel is no different.

I just adore the world she has created and the characters that are contained inside of it. A Court of Silver Flames is explosive and sensual.

Do not be put off by the size of it either because I can guarantee that once you start reading it, it won't take you long at all to finish it (there may be a lack of sleep when you begin). I'm already desperate for another book.

Feeling slightly bereft and may now have to re-read the hold set.


I'm starting the week half way through The Favour by Laura Vaughan - come and tell me what you've read recently, does anything that I've shared tickle your fancy?

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