Confessions of a Reader

'Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.' – Mason Cooley


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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors

I actually found this weeks TTT really difficult. I am a mood reader, so only pick up books when I fancy reading them. This means that although I may have really enjoyed a book by an author, I may not read another one by them for a few months, or even sometimes a year!

When the following authors release books, or I see one in a bookstore, charity shop or at the library I know that I am going to enjoy it. Although I may not have read all of their works – the ones that I have read I loved!

  1. Sophie Kinsella – my go-to chick lit author. I have such good memories of reading I’ve Got your Number whilst sipping a cocktail in Mexico. All of her books are fun and make perfect beach/holiday reads!
  2. Sarah J Maas – only discovered in the last year or so. I love the Throne of Glass series, it really got me back into fantasy. I need to get on to Heir of Fire now.
  3. M J Arlidge – also writes Silent Witness (a UK crime drama). His books are just so easy to read, gripping from the first page. I have The Doll’s House on my kindle waiting for me to read it.
  4. J K Rowling – do I need to explain?! I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read The Casual Vacancy or The Robert Galbraith books.
  5. Louise O’Neill – a relatively new addition. I read Only Ever Yours this year and loved it, seriously loved it. Even though this was a debut novel I’m really excited to see what Asking for It is like, due to be published in September 2015.
  6. Roald Dahl – a childhood favourite. I still love all of his books now, I hope Parker will one day too.
  7. Sara Gruen – I have only read Water for Elephants but it has stuck with me since I read it a few years back. I am desperate to read some more of her work as I am sure I will love it.
  8. Lucy Diamond – I picked up one of Lucy’s books in January this year. Again, the perfect chick lit author and perfect for reading at the beach. I am so pleased that there are so many more books to read.
  9. Neil Gaiman – Now, I have only read three books by Neil Gaiman. Two children’s books and a YA/Adult Novel. I enjoyed all three of them, and I’m sure that when I manage to pick up some more I will feel the same.
  10. Brandon Sanderson – I read Steelheart last year and really, really loved it! A fantastic fantasy book that I read in a few sittings. I have Book 1 in the Mistborn Trilogy on my kindle and am yet to read it, but I am sure that I will love it.

Happy Reading!

Stacie 🙂

 


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Book Review // The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

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Format: Paperback
Published: 12th March 2015
Publisher: Phoenix (Orion Publishing Group Ltd)
Pages: 238

This is a non-spoiler review.

Blurb:

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.”

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

First Sentence:
This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it but I do.

My Thoughts:
I just absolutely adored this book. It was – for me – absolutely beautiful. Dark, poetic, intense and thought-provoking. I’ve not read a book quite like this in a long time, if ever.

Firstly, this is Rene Denfeld’s non fiction debut – which astounds me. The way this book is written suggests an author with many, many previous works. I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, it took me a few pages to really get sucked into the story. It has a writing style that I’m not used to, you need to savour the words. The prose is so beautifully written, every single word flowed with such ease. It is truly stunning.

The Enchanted explores many different themes. Here are just a few that I picked up on whilst reading – identity, loss, love, crime, reality of prison and death row, imagination, redemption, longing, understanding and being accepted. 

I really enjoyed the POV the story is told from. Choosing a death row inmate to tell the story, as opposed to an outsider, was a brave and brilliant decision. It is unlike anything I’ve read before. I found my feelings and values completely contrasting throughout the book because of this narrator. I felt absolutely horrified in some respects, and then I found myself feeling sorry for him – even though I knew that morally he had done something wrong. This, in my eyes, is the work of a great author.

The character ‘stories’ were so intriguing. Each of them were like real people, they have been created and moulded into people that I felt I knew. The pain, heartache and suffering in all of them was so heartbreakingly raw – it mustered up so many different emotions in me.  

I researched Rene Denfeld and found out that she is in fact a death-penalty investigator herself. What an amazing insight into the world of crime, death row and the people who are considered monsters. It really gave the book that extra ‘edge’ for me.

A deep and beautifully written book, that has so many underlying messages. Raw, real and edgy. I will definitely be adding this to my favourites shelf.

StarRating5 out of 5 stars

Website: renedenfeld.com
Twitter: @renedenfeld


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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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Top Ten Books that I’ve added to my TBR recently

Again, this Top Ten Tuesday has been a little rushed this week. I’ve been so busy that I actually forgot all about it. I’ve simply picked the last ten books that I’ve added to my TBR pile via Goodreads.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Liar Liar by M J Arlidge
The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge
The Asylum for Fairytale Creatures by Sebastian Gregory
The Boy in the Cemetery by Sebastian Gregory
This Book is Gay by James Dawson
Say Her Name by James Dawson

Sorry for the short and sweet post, but it has been a manic few days!

Happy Reading!

 


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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

Top10

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List

This isn’t based on spring or 2015 releases, but it is a list of books I really want to get to within the next few months.

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The Death House – Sarah Pinborough // A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas // The Doll’s House by M J Arlidge // Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier // All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

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I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith // Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas // Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson // Stolen – Lucy Christopher // Half a King – Joe Abercrombie

Have you read any of these? Are there any that you think I need to read immediately?

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Reading!


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Book Review // Confessions of a Murder Suspect – James Patterson

Confessionsofamurdersuspect

Format: Paperback
Published: 1st Jan 2012
Publisher: Arrow (Young)
Pages: 400
Series/Standalone?: Series
Genre: YA Mystery

BUY: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, their daughter, Tandy, knows just three things: 1. She was one of the last people to see her parents alive. 2. She and her brothers are the only suspects. 3. She can’t trust anyone – maybe not even herself. Having grown up under their parents’ intense perfectionist demands, none of the Angel children have come away undamaged.

Tandy decides that she will have to solve the crime on her own, but digging deeper into her powerful parents’ affairs is a dangerous game. As she uncovers haunting secrets and slowly begins to remember flashes of disturbing past events buried in her memory, Tandy is forced to ask: What is the Angel family truly capable of?

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up on a whim, spotting it on the shelf in the library. I have never read a book by James Patterson, so thought I’d give this one a go.

Firstly, this book is odd. I have taken a while to write this review purely because I have found it difficult to bring together my thoughts.

The writing style is very easy to read (maybe a little too easy?) and the short, punchy chapters help to move the plot along. I found myself want to read ‘just one more chapter’ each time, being only 4 pages or so each. The plot takes a while to really get going, but I did feel satisfied with how it progressed.

Although the novel deals with a double murder first and foremost, it also delves deeper into the trials and tribulations of life with the Angel family. The family are high flying, wealthy citizens. There are four living children (an older sister died a few years ago), all with their own talents and flaws. Therefore there are many suspects in the case of Maud & Malcolm’s murder, including all four Angel children. The story explores all the different options and I enjoyed making up my own theories, trying to guess who did it based on a possible motive. The ending didn’t actually come as much of a surprise – I was a little disappointed in it, considering the build up beforehand. Looking back it makes perfect sense and I cannot believe I didn’t see it coming! The book did well to lead me on a completely different path.

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The novel is narrated by Tandy – a high-flying, smart girl who tries to play detective. I really enjoyed how she spoke to me, the reader. It was very personal, addressed to me I felt like I got to know her character better. I trusted her, she was more reliable. I understood her more than I ever would have because of this, she is somewhat ‘different’. Her full name – Tandoori – I mean, come on?!

The family are somewhat….how can I say it? Special? Their parents, Maud & Malcolm have extremely high expectations of all their children, each having their own special skill or talent. They administer severe punishments also known as ‘Big Chops’. One involved Tandy standing on her head, reciting landmarks in Bhutan. In the Dzongha national language —- exactly. Severe! The other siblings are talented, intelligent, mature and a little robotic. I really didn’t know who had committed the crime – each one of them could have easily done it.

A variety of characters, mixed with unusual family dynamics, suspense and mystery created a quick page turner. I enjoyed this one in the end and will probably pick up the second instalment, at some point.

StarRating4 out of 5 stars

Website: www.jamespatterson.com
Twitter: @JP_books

 

 


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Hotel K – Kathryn Bonella

Hotel K

Format: eBook
Published: 3rd February 2011
Publisher: Quercus UK
Pages: 337
Series/Standalone?: Standalone
Genre: Non Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

 Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Welcome to Hotel Kerobokan, or Hotel K, Bali’s most notorious jail. Its walls touch paradise: sparkling oceans, surf beaches and palm trees on one side, while on the other it’s a dark, bizarre and truly frightening underworld of sex, drugs, violence and squalor. Hotel K’s filthy and disease ridden cells have been home to the infamous and the tragic: a Balinese King, Gordon Ramsay’s brother, Muslim terror bombers, beautiful women tourists and surfers from across the globe. Petty thieves share cells with killers, rapists, and gangsters. Hardened drug traffickers sleep alongside unlucky tourists, who’ve seen their holiday turn from paradise to hell over one ecstasy pill. Hotel K is the shocking inside story of the jail and its inmates, revealing the wild ‘sex nights’ organised by corrupt guards for the prisoners who have cash to pay, the jail’s ecstasy factory, the killings made to look like suicides, the days out at the beach, the escapes and the corruption that means anything is for sale – including a fully catered Italian jail wedding, or a luxury cell upgrade with a Bose sound system. The truth about the dark heart of Bali explodes off the page.

My Thoughts:

I don’t usually read non-fiction, purchasing this as an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal a few months ago. I was really glad I read this!

Bonella provides a great insight into life in Bali’s most notorious jail, Hotel K. It is gritty and real – the sources, facts and opinions have been thoroughly researched and painstakingly pieced together, this is evident throughout. The circumstances surrounding these prisoners is unbelievable, considering our prison system here in the UK. It was shocking to read about some of the events that happened to prisoners and guards within this institution, making you realise how much is taken for granted here.

The author gives a totally uncensored story, using real POV’s to really give the gory, grim details of life inside. Bonella also has a really interesting way of writing about all of these prisoners humanely. I desperately hoped for better lives for some of them despite their despicable and torturous crimes. I also researched some of the inmates further following this read, to find out more information about their cases – namely Schapelle Corby, an Australian and Ronnie Ramsay, brother of celebrity chef Gordon.

The detail given in this novel is astounding – from rapists, murderers and drug smugglers to people simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, there is a little bit of everything. It is particularly graphic and quite disturbing at times – but I found it to be a really interesting, thought-provoking and insightful read.

www.kathrynbonella.com

 


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Eeny Meeny – M.J. Arlidge

EenyMeeny

Format: Paperback
Published: 8th May 2014
Publisher: Penguin UK
Pages: 364
Series/Standalone?: Series
Score: 5 out of 5

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

 Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Eeny Meeny is the rocket-paced serial-killer thriller debut from M. J. Arlidge.

The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found – and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind?

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die . . .

My Thoughts:

I loved this novel! I was craving a crime novel, packed full of action and suspense – this one did not disappoint! I am so glad that the second instalment is due to be published in September, I have already pre-ordered.

This book was a good, strong thriller novel. I powered through this in two days, whilst working full time and putting on a summer production – I just couldn’t put it down. I read it every spare minute I had.

The plot kept me guessing throughout the whole novel, I didn’t know who the true murderer was until all was revealed. The storyline incorporates an element of the ‘Saw’ movies, the idea of victims making the ultimate decisions on who dies and who survives. Some of the circumstances were truly horrific, I loved the detail of some of the gory scenes.

There were a lot of characters to follow. Some likeable, some not so much – just how I like it. Each character was so well developed and thought out that I had no problems at all following who was who and their back story. The plot all tied together perfectly, with bits of the ‘jigsaw’ matching up logically. Character motives were always thought through and believable. The novel is split into short chapters, usually switching between multiple POV’s – easy to follow, I didn’t find any flaws or issues with this.

Like I said I have already pre-ordered the next one. If you love crime/thriller novels, this one is definitely for you!

A fantastic, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, thriller novel, packed full of suspense, action and mystery. A fast paced, unputdownable read that I didn’t want to end! Cannot wait for the next instalment.