Archive for Netgalley

Book review – Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

Posted in Books, review with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Penguin Books [Publication date 28.03.19]

The blurb –

‘When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn’t shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all’

So begins a young woman’s journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

The verdict –

After reading a fair few crime novels and the odd non-fiction title, it is always nice to read a bit of everyday life fiction. Nina Sibbe has an easy going writing style, with the main character Lizzie, one may readers of a certain age many identify with, or at least the time she was growing up in, namely the 80’s.

There is plenty of dental work description, often quite graphic for those who don’t like going to the dentist! The plot is a coming of age as Lizzie really sees what a messed up world adult life is and her mother is one of the better characters, as she continues her quest to have a book published by her favourite publisher Faber & Faber.

An easy going read, with some genuinely funny moments and perfect for a bit of escapist fiction.

Book review – Jog On by Bella Mackie

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Publication date 27.12.18

The book is part memoir, as Bella Mackie opens up honestly about her anxiety and personal troubles, and part motivational book as you certainly want to go running after reading it. She has an easy writing style, drawing upon published works and studies on depression & anxiety, along with interviews she has conducted with people with anxiety and depression.

A book that is recommended not only for those with anxiety and related issues, but those with a general interest in metal health and the benefits of running. The book does contain useful tips on starting out on your jogging/running journey, although don’t go expecting this to be a beginner’s guide to running as it is much more than this.

Book review: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley, News with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Hodder & Stoughton [Publication date 09.08.18]

The blurb on this book certainly tweaks your interest –

“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

The author, poet Claire Askew was the subject of four way bid for this book, part of a two book deal with Hodder, and it is easy to see why as this is one of the best crime debuts I have read in a good while.

Askew tells the story from the three main characters and she delves into each character’s emotions and how they are reacting to events unfolding around them. It is a classic page turner which although you know the outcome and there is no culprit to find, the book raises lots of questions about the shooting and how it affects the victims’ families and that of the shooter in the aftermath. The other key character a member of the press who will try anything to get a story and he is a certainly a character you will love to hate!

Highly recommended read, not just for fans of crime writing but anyone who enjoys a good read that makes you think after reading it.

Book review: THE GUILTY DEAD by P.J. TRACY

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Publication date 23.08.18]

Book number 9 in the Twin Cities series and the blurb on this one says…

“Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.”

It is very fast paced like previous books in the series, although this one sees a little less of the Monkeewrench crew in the story. It starts off as what appears to be a suicide, which quickly escalates into a murder enquiry and then add in a domestic terror plot and it all starts spiralling in terms of action and plot. Perhaps not the best book in the series as some of the plot you could second guess, still enjoyable and one of the better US crime writers currently out there.

The P.J. Tracy series of books are highly readable and perfect for lovers of page turners from the likes of Harlan Coben.

 

 

Book review: Body & Soul by John Harvey

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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William Heinemann [Published 19th April 2018]

“When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong. Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her. But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct. The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.”

So the blurb goes on the final of the Frank Elder novels (I have only read ‘Flesh & Blood’ in this series to date and intend to read the rest of the Elder novels), which I have to say was even more enjoyable than ‘Flesh & Blood’ and that takes some doing. Why? Because John Harvey has the knack of drawing you into the various subplots – here we have Elder’s daughter Katherine caught up in the murder of an artist, an escaped convict and how Elder himself is coping with being of the force and trying to connect with his daughter – and rounding out his characters to make you believe the story even more. Elder is quick to temper and wade into situations, but for all his faults he has a sense of justice. Even though retired from the force, he seems to be involved in his local police force.

It is a real shame the Elder series is finished now but it finishes with one of Harvey’s best books to date. If you have yet to try John Harvey you won’t be disappointed, if like me you enjoy the novels of Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham.

 

Book review – Bring Me Back by BA Paris

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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HQ [Publication date 08.03.18]

BA Paris had a hit with her last novel ‘Behind Closed Doors’ and now we have her new novel, ‘Bring Me Back’.

This one is based around Finn McQuaid who is still getting over the disappearance of his girlfriend Layla twelve years ago when they stopped in a lay-by. The chapters flit to the past and present day, where Finn is now engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen (that in itself may sound slightly weird to some readers!). BA Paris is good at building the tension as various parts of Finn’s present day life start to unravel and it is a classic ‘page turner’. You may however guess one of the twists towards the end of the novel.

It certainly won’t disappoint her existing fans and will doubtless make her some new ones.

Betrayal by Stewart Binns

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Penguin [Publication date 08.02.18]

I have read the Crusades series by Stewart Binns and enjoyed those. ‘Betrayal’ is a stand-alone novel by him set in Belfast in 1981. It focuses on Jim Dowd and Maureen O’Brien, special forces soldiers, who are ordered to go undercover, infiltrate one of the city’s most dangerous Catholic neighbourhoods the Ardoyne, and carry out orders that will pit them against not only the IRA but members of their own forces and spymasters.

It is a fast paced read, with plenty of action and although it lacks the subtlety of say Le Carre or Deighton, Binns has a decent go at a spy/espionage thriller. The description of Belfast at the height of the Troubles are graphically described, particularly the effects on the day to day life of its citizens. Binns also pops in bits of history throughout the novel to give the reader some background and the glossary gives further details on various organisations and events involved in Northern Ireland.

Another highly readable novel by an author now on my ‘must read’ list.