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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton #BookReview #perfect

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You’ve never read a love story as twisted as this.

This must read thriller of 2018. Perfect for fans of The Woman in the Window, Anatomy of a Scandal and The Girl Before.

Meet Juliette. She’s intelligent, driven, committed – and in love.

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.

Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.

And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain……..

 

My Review

A riotous, obsessive psychological thriller that will have you questioning who’s behind you…..

Juliette is this story is obsessive, psychotic and slightly vindictive but I just couldn’t help liking her! Who hasn’t been played around by a douchebag guy and wanted to make them feel that way you feel? Juliette goes about this in a roundabout way, but I can relate to her pain.

One of my highlights about the books is that it has one of the best lines that I’ve ever come across. When Nate, after some pretty intense obsessing by Juliette, breaking up with her numerous times and moving on to someone else, tries to be as blunt as he can and states as clearly as he can that he “does not love her anymore!” – Juliette retorts (in a genius move) “Well try harder!” – AMAZING! I must admit I have used this technique on a number of people since.

Fast-paced narrative that is over far too quickly and I adored the ending! Not what I expected at all.

All in all, great thriller with a really interesting and engaging protagonist.

Highly recommend.

 

 

About the Author

Image result for karen hamilton authorKaren Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy (which seems to have the magic touch!) and having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing.

The Perfect Girlfriend is her first novel. The book is rooted in her work experience, but not autobiographical. The novel explores themes of guilt, envy and revenge.

Follow Karen on Twitter @KJHAuthor

 

The Perfect Girlfriend is out on 13th March 2018 and publish by Wildfire Books.

Pre-order your copy here.

Big thanks for Headline/Wildfire for sending me an advance proof copy to read & review.

Thanks for reading!

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Mystery Tour Edited by Martin Edwards #CWAAnthology #BookReview #BlogTour

The #CWA Anthology #Mystery Tour Review! Thanks to @the_cwa @Orenda Books & @medwardsbooks

CWA HB AW.inddA fabulous collection of short stories from the biggest and most exciting names in crime fiction!

Publishers Description

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood.

Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:

Ann Cleeves ~ C.L. Taylor ~ Susi Holliday ~ Martin Edwards ~ Anna Mazzola ~ Carol Anne Davis ~ Cath Staincliffe ~ Chris Simms ~ Christine Poulson ~ Ed James ~ Gordon Brown ~ J.M. Hewitt ~ Judith Cutler ~ Julia Crouch ~ Kate Ellis ~ Kate Rhodes ~ Martine Bailey ~ Michael Stanley ~ Maxim Jakubowski ~ Paul Charles ~ Paul Gitsham ~ Peter Lovesey ~ Ragnar Jónasson ~ Sarah Rayne ~ Shawn Reilly Simmons ~ Vaseem Khan ~ William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

 

My Review

This unique anthology really grabbed my attention and was delighted to be asked to me a part of the blog tour.

I have a great love for short story anthologies. They make for quick reading as you inhale each of the stories, and you can read them in whatever order you want! This freedom makes them incredibly appealing to me. However, there was a few times that I was desperate for the story to continue.

Each author (some were incredibly well-known and others starting their career) was given the task of writing a short story that employed the theme of “Mystery Tour” or a more general “travel” theme. The different ideas, devices and stories that  eventually made it into the anthology were remarkable.

While I can honestly say that I enjoyed all of the stories in this anthology, there were of course, a few that really stood out to me.

“Return to the Lake” by Anna Mazzola – in this  story about a grown woman who goes back to the scene of a horrific family tragedy and finally discovers that things aren’t as she always thought they were. Hugely atmospheric and an honest insight into how people deal with trauma.

“Accounting for Murder” by Christine Poulson – as has been mentioned in other blog reviews, this story is so uniquely told! With receipts, invoices, emails and absolutely no narrative, you are lead through an intriguing tale of love, betrayal and murder.

Then finally,  “Three on a Trail” by Michael Stanley – I have only recently come across Michael Stanley and am a huge fan of his Detective Kubu series. This tale is of one of the darkest and f*cked up. Needless to say, loved it!

I have never read an Orenda book that I didn’t enjoy and this one didn’t disappoint! Would recommend to all crime fans.

 

About the Editor  

Martin EdwardsMartin Edwards was educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and become a partner in the firm of Mace and Jones in 1984.

He is married to Helena with two children (Jonathan and Catherine) and lives in Lymm. Martin is a member of the Murder Squad collective of crime writers, and is chairman of the nominations sub-committee for the CWA Diamond Dagger (crime writing’s most prestigious award). In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers Association.

Information above courtesy of GoodReads – more info here.

Massive thanks to Anne Cater – Blogger Extraordinaire (@annecater) and Orenda Books (@orendabooks) for an advance copy of this brilliant anthology!

You can purchase your own copy from amazon here.

Thanks for reading!

Lots of bookish love❣

Honeybee by Trista Mateer #BookReview #Poetry

You will meet people in your lifetime who demand to have poems written about them. It’s not something they say. It’s something about their hands, the shape of their mouths, the way they look walking away from you. 

Honeybee is an honest take on walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from. It’s about cutting love loose like a kite string and praying the wind has the decency to carry it away from you. It’s an ode to the back and forth, the process of letting something go but not knowing where to put it down. Honeybee is putting it down. It’s small town girls and plane tickets, a taste of tenderness and honey, the bandage on the bee sting. It’s a reminder that you are not defined by the people you walk away from or the people who walk away from you.
Consider Honeybee a memoir in verse, or at the very least, a story written by one of today’s most confessional poets.

Having been previously described as an “aggressively personal poet”, Trista Mateer takes this to heart and then to paper in her first collection. Presented more or less in the order it was written, the poetry in Honeybee is in turns bitter, tender, and messy. Following the course of a little more than a year, the poems showcased in Honeybee chronicle the on-again off-again process of letting go.

Review

Reading Mateer’s poems feels like coming home.

It wasn’t until I was half way down the rabbit hole of her incredible heart-break, that I realised the poems where in chronological order and when that hit me, it made the whole premise so much sadder. This encouraged me to connect and relate to the poems more.

For anyone who has had to leave someone that they love or been pushed aside, these poems perfectly quantify and describe those feelings that so often cannot be put into words.

I personally love confessional poetry, whenever I write, it always seems to be in a confessional tone and there is always something special and raw in free verse confessional poetry. There are always certain lines that strike you with blistering honesty and bring your own feelings into clarity.

In a world when poetry is often ridiculed and ignored, I admire poets like Mateer, who has made poetry “cool” again. She reminds me of Amanda Lovelace, Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur. I look forward to reading more of her work.

 

About the Poet

Picture​Trista Mateer is a poet from outside of Baltimore, who could be living anywhere by the time you read this. She moves too much to remember to update her bios!

Mateer is known for her eponymous blog, started in 2013, which primarily chronicles her romantic endeavours in the form of free-verse poetry. This has seen her branded as an “aggressively personal poet,” but her confessional style has also made her writing relatable to thousands of readers worldwide.

In 2015 she won the Goodreads Choice Award for poetry with her self-published edition of The Dogs I Have Kissed.

She is currently working as a freelance editor but still manages to spend most of her time Googling cheap air fare and writing poetry about things that don’t matter anymore.

Big thanks to NetGalley and Central Avenue Publishing for allowing my to read and review this anthology.

Thanks for reading!

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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

Annabel-Fielding

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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