Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

img_0290[1]Sometimes I feel like my life is a constant battle between wanting to watch a new film or tv adaptation but needing to read the book first. I know that theoretically I could always read the book afterwards, and I have done so on occasion, but I just prefer the excitement of doing it the other way around! Today’s review is just one such example of when the release of the film adaptation quickly encouraged me to finally get around to picking up the book. It’s probably not going to be a shocker to many of you, with what seems like the whole world currently talking about it. I’ll give you one clue – Netflix. Have you guessed it yet? I’m talking, of course, about Netflix’s version of Bird Box!

Originally written by Josh Malerman, Bird Box is described as a psychological horror. All the blurb tells us is that something horrifying is outside, something that cannot be seen. If that something is glimpsed, whoever saw it will be driven to terrifying and grisly violence, destroying those around them as well as themselves. No one knows where it came from, but whatever the cause it now means that society is blind, only able to enter the word outside their houses if they are firmly blindfolded. Set amongst this gripping world we first meet the central character of Malorie, a woman who must defy the odds to survive in this newly horrific world.

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Best Books of 2018!

img_0266[1]So I’m not getting this post up quite as soon as I would have liked, but it’s still one that I was determined to do.  I love seeing or hearing what people’s best books of the year were, often discovering many new reads that immediately make their way to my TBR. Knowing that they’ve stood the test of time against many other books always reassures me that there must be something worth discovering inside their pages. Plus its always very refreshing and exciting at the start of a new year to reflect back upon the reading year as a whole.

With all of the above in mind, I’m really excited today to be able to share my top ten books that I read in 2018! Narrowing it down is always hard, but I’m confident that the books I’ve selected are all worthy contenders that I not only thoroughly enjoyed reading, but have also stayed firmly in my mind months after finishing them! I also want to stress that these are placed in the order that I originally read them in, as having to further rank these ten was just too difficult of a task!

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Review: Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

img_0265[1]Deciding what book to read first in a whole new reading year is always a half dreaded half loved experience. Thankfully this year I already had one of my next reads lined up, and despite having many exciting new books for Christmas I managed to stick to my initial reading plan. This was mostly because of the curiosity and anticipation I felt when I was very kindly gifted Ruth Hogan’s latest novel which is due to come out in February; Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel. I’m a huge lover of Ruth Hogan’s writing, despite the books not necessarily being my usual kind of read. I’ve reviewed her previous two novels (The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes), so if you’re curious as to what kind of writing she has then I would definitely recommend having a browse through those reviews.

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel tells the story of the central character of Tilly. As a child Tilly was clever and enthusiastic. The blurb tell show she ‘loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers’, as well as ‘playing with ghosts and matches’. She also adored her father and the time they spent together in the garden, but perhaps most of all she loved living in Brighton at Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel. Tilly comes to love the hotel with its mismatched staff and guests, so when her mother abruptly sends her away to boarding school, without any sort of real explanation, Tilly’s life is shattered beyond repair. Now, as an adult, Tilda is wary of people, still suffering terrible from her mother’s decisions in her childhood. She looks to her dog, Eli, as her only support, but when her mother’s death calls her back to Brighton, Tilda must face everything that she cannot forget from her past. As she begins to unravel the mysteries of her childhood, she begins to see that nothing was ever really as she thought it was.

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Review: Still Lives by Maria Hummel

img_0242[1]Gifted books are the best kind of thing to receive, no matter whether it’s an expected gift or a pleasant surprise. Of course, it’s made all the better when its a book you’ve been wanting to read, as well as one that’s been pretty hyped up since its release! Naturally when Quercus very kindly sent over a new mystery book for me to read and review I was thrilled, especially when the book in question was one of the books selected for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club!

The book I’m talking about is Still Lives, the latest book by author Maria Hummel. As the blurb tells us, the revered artist Kim Lord is about to unveil her most shocking show to date. ‘Still Lives’ is a series of self portraits of the artist in which she impersonates female victims of some of the most well known murders from across America. With the elite flocking to the Rocque Museum in L.A. to attend the opening, all are waiting eagerly for the artists arrival. That is, except, for Maggie Ritcher, the museums editor whose ex-boyfriend is now dating none other than artist Kim Lord herself. When Kim doesn’t show up to her own show, suspicion starts to mount. Has Kim suffered the same horrific fate as one of the women in her paintings?

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Review: A Step So Grave by Catriona McPherson (Dandy Gilver Series #13)

img_0241[1]A few weeks ago I was very kindly sent an unexpected book in the post ; A Step So Grave  by Catriona McPherson. This new novel is the next instalment in the Dandy Gilver series, a collection of books which follow the detective Dandy Gilver and the various mysteries and crimes she finds herself involved in. I’d already ventured into the world of Dandy Gilver, having read one other previous book in the series (Dandy Gilver and a Spot of Toil and Trouble). I enjoyed the read, finding it quite refreshing to have a strong female lead in a crime novel. Likewise, the Dandy Gilver series is set across the 1930’s and as such adds an extra touch of historical fiction – a favoured genre of mine!

In A Step So Grave we see Dandy and the rest of the Gilver family arriving in Wester Ross, Scotland. They’re there to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Lady Lavina, but more than that, they are eager to vet out her daughter, Mallory, a potential bride to be for Dandy’s son, Donald. With the weather rapidly turning and the snow starting to fall, the two families are forced into close confides, but when Lady Lavinia’s body is found dead in the grounds, suspicion begins to run rife. With strange superstitions and local folklore running wild in the minds of the locals, Dandy must work harder than ever to find the truth and uncover the killer.

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Review: Witches; James I and the English Witch Hunts by Tracy Borman

IMG_0218[1]It’s no secret that my favourite period of history is the Victorian one, closely followed by that of the Tudors. I’ve read quite a lot already surrounding these times, in both fictional and non-fiction books. Even so, I still like to read as widely as possible, and as an all round history buff I’m always eager to learn more about our history in general. One of the periods that I’ve come to learn much more about lately, and to find equally as fascinating, is that of the Jacobean period. King James VI was already the ruling monarch of Scotland, but this man also became King James I of England after inheriting the throne from Queen Elizabeth I (the last of the Tudor monarchy).

King James’s reign was an extremely eventful one, mostly because of the legacy of religious uncertainty initially started by Henry VIII when deciding to break from Rome and the Catholic faith. We’re all heard of Guy Fawkes, and hopefully we understand the meaning behind the Gunpowder plot and its aims. Yet as fascinating as this infamous event is, there is another event which King James has also become synonymous with; witch hunting. I find the idea of the persecution of normal people under the charge of witchcraft equally fascinating and disturbing, so when I saw that Tracy Borman had previously written a non-fiction book about this I was incredibly excited.

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