A Pearl for my Mistress by Annabel Fielding #BookReview #BlogTour

y450-293A Pearl for my Mistress is a sensual and tense historical novel set in England in 1934. Old ways and ideas are changing rapidly as the world itself begins to turn on it’s head.

I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely piece of LGBTQ historical fiction and felt a slight homage to Sarah Waters, although the writing is completely different. The settings and description of the era and liquid and dreamy and I really felt as if I was there with Hester, a young maid girl, and Lucy, a daughter in an aristocratic family, fighting the social ideals of relationships, money and power.

Hester comes down from a small northern town with high hopes of exciting times in the big smoke of London. Finding a job with the Fitzmartin family she is drawn to the unmarried daughter who is reckless and wild, compared to her rigid family. As they grow closer and closer, both of them realise that there is no going back to the way they used to be before they met.

Tackling issues such as class, same-sex relationships and social ideals, this didn’t feel like your classic historical novel. I was swept up in the romance and the story and while I didn’t feel it was life-changing, it was a very pleasant way to escape for a few hours.

Would definitely recommend for reading groups and friends who like historical fiction.

 

About the Author

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Annabel Fielding is a novelist, a history geek and an international woman of mystery.

She has long since pledged her allegiance to travel, tea and books. On her blog you will find travel posts, lesser-known facts, some photography and (mostly) historical fiction-related book reviews. To check out her blog click here.

To buy your copy now click here

Thank you to Annabel & HQ Digital for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading!

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Incest by Christine Angot #BookReview

I see this book as a work of art, it is not something that I enjoyed reading. Yet, I feel that books like this HAVE to be written to keep the landscape of modern literature fresh, live and moving forward.
Angot here handles the taboo of incest in shocking prose and there were times when I did feel physically sick. This is the first time I have come across “autofiction”, which I gather is very popular in French literature and I find it hard to understand.
The book itself starts off with the narrator just coming out of a tumultuous relationship with a woman. She describes herself as “homosexual for three months”. We first enter the narrators mind as she is deep in a period of self-claimed insanity. Her writing reflects this absolutely. There are times when the sentences make no sense, she repeats words at random and flits between certain characters, such as her ex-lover, her daughter, her husband and her friends so quickly you can’t tell who is who. While this was very difficult to read, I thought it an effective tool for understanding the mental and emotional turmoil she was going through.

You eventually reach a clearing in her writing where things start to make a little more sense, she recognises that she has been or is insane or experienced periods of insanity and as she reflects on what has made her like this you delve deeper and deeper into her psyche. Until finally you reach the centre and start of everything – an incestuous relationship with her father from ages fourteen to sixteen.
Now this was not incest, this was sexual abuse by her father. The scenes described are shocking, sickening and heart-breaking. The worst thing is that the narrator has actually managed to convince herself that what happened WAS incest – that she is some way seduced her father, that she was an equal part of what happened. Which just isn’t true. It can’t be true. My interpretation of the novel is that this belief has shaped the rest of her life and relationships.

Now, when I think of “autofiction” in these terms. If what happened with her father is actually true, I don’t know what or how things hadn’t been dealt with differently. The narrator tells all her sexual partners what happened with her father and somehow they manage to be OK with this, some even talk to and have their own relationships with her father. There was even one scene where she actually gives a hand job to her boyfriend and her father in the cinema at the same time!

While I appreciate the raw awfulness in this art form, I just don’t think I can stomach it enough to say I liked it. Although, maybe this says more about me than the book itself.

Kudos to the translator who was able to convert this into English.

About the Author

Christine Angot is one of the most controversial authors writing today in France. Born in 1958 in Châteauroux, Angot studied law at the University of Reims and began writing at the age of 25. After six years of rejections, Angot published her first novel, Vu du ciel, the story of woman named Christine told from the perspective of an angel who died after being raped as a little girl. Her subsequent novels have dealt with a variety of taboo topics, including homosexuality, incest, and sexual violence, and have continually blurred the line between autobiography and fiction. Ever since gaining widespread notoriety with the 1999 publication of Incest, Angot has remained at the centre of public debate and has continued to push the boundaries of what society allows an author to express.

Incest is released by Archipelago Books on 9th November 2017.

To pre-order your own copy of Incest click here. Or if you would prefer to read the French version you can buy it & read now by clicking here.

Thank you to @NetGalley & @archipelagobks for sending me an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading.

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Dating Daisy by Daisy Mae #BookReview #BlogTour

eBook Daisy Mae - 9.6.17 - v6A quirky romance story about finding love on the internet, while working in a sexual health clinic and being in your mid-fifties.

What do you do when you’re a newly divorced 52 year old mother, keen for a second chance of romance? Why internet dating of course! Daisy Mae_224 embarks on the internet dating process with trepidation. Having not been on the dating scene for nearly 30 years, and with fairly rudimentary computer skills, she finds herself embroiled in a series of haphazard and hilarious situations. Daisy keeps a diary of her internet dating life and reveals detail by detail, the ups and downs of her midlife dating extravaganza. Soon after starting out, Daisy realises her true mission. With no past experience and no-one/nothing to guide her, she needs to produce – Internet Dating lessons. Read on to find out about PLONKERS, muppets and MAWDs, and a whole host of amusing anecdotes, tips and ideas. Working by day as a Sexual Health doctor, the story as it unfolds contains accounts of Daisy’s clinical experiences with patients in the Sexual Health clinic.

This is a heartfelt story that will ring bells with anyone who has ended a long term relationship and now wants to find somebody new. It is humorously written, full of emails, poems, limericks, and even a recipe!

Perfect beach read for the summer.

 

About the author

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Living in the South of England Daisy_234 shares many similar professional, life, and dating, experiences as her protagonist; for this reason she has chosen to write under a pen name.

 

 

 

 

Follow them on twitter .

To purchase your copy on kindle or as a paperback click here.

Big thanks to  &  for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and organising it.

Thanks for reading!

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Dying to Live by Michael Stanley #BookReview #BlogTour

An insight into Africa’s crimes, death and mysteries. “Sunshine Noir” of the highest order.

DYING-TO-LIVE-cover13978Whatever you do, do not judge this book by its cover (which, I found slightly off-putting) there is a thrilling and very unique murder mystery inside.

This is the 6th book in the Dectective Kubu series and the very first one that I have read. It is not compulsory to have read them all to enjoy them, but now I am eager to go back and see what I have missed previously.

I myself am a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith,  Mma Ramotswe as well as the beautiful country of Botswana & feel this book has not outdone McCall Smith or is competing with him in any way; but is a creepy & slightly grittier compliment to his novels.

Detective Kubu, is a good, happy man who likes his food. His family is good & the sun is shining, but he does not take this for granted or forget about the dark underbelly that he protects his family from. While he seems jolly & lighthearted, to me, it seems that he has an inner steel that comes to play when he is dealing with some very very dark shit (for lack of of better word).

In a case that deals with witch doctors, a dead body that should be old but the internal organs are young, slightly shady Chinese officials & more… It could get slightly ridiculous, even bordering on silly, but the Stanley pairing manages to make everything believable.  The plot moves steadily along and keeps your attention. I actually like the fact that while facts and resolutions do come together in the end, there is no MASSIVE TWIST…I’m beginning to tire of those.

Overall, an enjoyable romp of a mystery, much less dark than other popular such books, in an intriguing setting that will have you searching online for holiday in Botswana. Highly recommended.

 

About the Authors

Michael-Stanley-photo13980Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book Death of the Mantis, won a Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award.

Follow them on twitter @detectivekubu

Dying to Live is the sixth novel in the ‘Detective Kubu’ series, which was released on 12th July 2017 – published by . To purchase your copy click here.

Big thanks to  &  for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and organising it.

Thanks for reading!

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Two Cousins of Azov by Andrea Bennett #BookReview #BlogTour

9780008159573This warm and engaging read caught me by surprise. I read this right after reading The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce and was struck by the similar relatable and comforting prose.

The story is about two men in their twilight years who have to work through darkness in their past to come to a peaceful resolution in their present.

Along with the pleasant and winding narrative that happily pulls you along, are some darker and gritty passages that I, personally, found gave the story and characters more resonance and depth.

Set against a post Soviet-Russian backdrop, Bennett definitely is familiar with her setting and weaves her story around it in a really interesting way. I must admit I did learn a lot about Russia, Siberia and the surrounding areas throughout this story.

Quirky characters, heart-warming relationships and Russian myths…this is one you will remember for a long time.

Definitely worth reading.

 

About the Author

3af9fde0Andrea Bennett graduated from the University of Sheffield in History & Russian and then spent a good part of the “Yeltsin years” living and working in Russia. On her return to the UK she joined the Civil Service – first at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, then the Department for International Development. A stint in local government followed, and she now works in the charity sector. She lives in Ramsgate, Kent, with her family and dog. Her first novel was Galina Petrovna’s Three-Legged Dog Story. Two Cousins of Avoz , her second novel was released on 13th July 2017. To purchase your own copy click here.

Follow Andrea on twitter here @andreawiderword 

Big thanks to Harper Collins for offering me an advance copy to read and review.

Thanks for reading!

Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes #BookReview #BooksAndTheCity

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This book is such an enjoyable read!

I love feel-good book with substance and Penny Parkes has proved that she really knows what she’s writing about, with her writing style, medical terms and treatments. This is a village story with a romance, rather than a romance fitted around a village.

The characters were great, really believable, they all had their own stories and background, life experience. Holly and Taffy’s new relationship, balancing work and very active twins was hard and realistic. I adored to see the couple both at work and at home, as you could really see that they are made to measure and it was so visible that Taffy loves Holly and her family above all.

Practice Makes Perfect was light – hearted and warm and I’ve finished reading it with a warm feeling. I adored the writing style and characters. It was full with drama,  conflict, twists and turns through the entire narrative and it was easy to completely lose yourself in the story while reading it. It also dealt with some important issues in sensitive and  comfortable ways. I really enjoyed this book – it had all you need in a good, engaging story. Highly recommended!

About the author

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Penny Parkes lives in the Cotswolds. She has appeared at literary festivals around the country and has written for The Telegraph as well as extensively in her local media. She is very active on social media. Follow her on twitter
Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan #BookReview

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A political and riveting read!

James is a public servant and family man accused of rape.

He was having an affair with Olivia and ended it, then something happens between the two of them and whether it’s consensual or not is at the decision of a jury.  Olivia gives a believable account of the story, but so does James on the witness stand. Told through the eyes of his wife, who will you believe?

When does consensual sex cross the line into rape?

Initially  Sophie is confident he is innocent and vows to stand by him. The prosecuting barrister, Kate is determined to prove his guilt but what makes her so sure he actually committed the crime? Secrets from the past are slowly revealed as past and present come together. Raising several moral dilemmas, the novel will make you question what you know and believe about the people you love. Lovely prose with a raw and poignant tone made this a one-sitting read

About the Author

Sarah Vaughan 192x181Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to be a journalist. After training with the Press Association, she worked for The Guardian for 11 years as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent. She started writing fiction after deciding to freelance. The Art of Baking Blind – published by Hodder (UK and Canada), St Martin’s Press (US) and translated into eight languages – is the result. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two young children and is currently writing her second novel.

Thanks for Reading!!