Black Water ARC Review


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GoodReads:
I killed the boy…

Jig loves football and his dog, hates school, misses his granda and knows to lie low when his ma’s blitzed on the vodka and tablets.

He’s just an ordinary boy on the mean streets alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Streets that are ruled by Ghost and his crew. And now Ghost- inked, vicious, unprincipled- has a job for Jig.

A job that no one can afford to go wrong- not the gangs, the police, the locals, and least of all not Jig.

First off, thank you to BW Publishing for sending me a copy to read, I’ve been in a thriller mood the past couple of months so this fit right into my ‘mood.’ I’m giving an honest review in exchange for this gifted copy!

I would say comparing it to ‘The Wire set in Dublin’ was a really accurate comparison and if you love shows like ‘Law and Order’ or movies like ‘The Departed’ then you’ll probably really enjoy reading this, I know I did!

The pacing was great the whole way through, nothing was stretched out too long and the chapters were kept short and concise as to allow O’Keeffe to give us the whole picture of what was going on. You get the inside of Gangland feel, a great look at the Garda and those whose lives are affected by the gang violence, whether by contributing to it or being witnesses of information.

Jig was certainly my favorite character, the boy was only a product of his habitat and ‘nurture’ and I really just hated thinking about how many kids may have to deal with situations like that, ones they shouldn’t be in. But I also really liked how O’Keeffe didn’t handle Jig with ‘kid gloves’ as a kid growing up in that situation wouldn’t have many innocent tendencies that others might in other types of homes.

Shay was also a favorite of mine, I loved his story arc most probably.

This wasn’t really a character-driven novel, and that’s great considering the plot of this would have been bogged down otherwise, but, O’Keeffe is impressive and gives you a connection to the characters in a limited amount of time and does it so that it doesn’t feel rushed.

I wasn’t always a fan when the chapters might change part-way in, to another character’s situation but I thought it was done well enough that it didn’t end up bothering me and I got used to it but fair warning it could feel a bit jumpy if you’re not used to that.

The last 100 pages were just hard to put down, I needed to know what was going to happen, I felt like the clock was ticking and I was on the edge of my seat! Who was going to make it, who wasn’t, it was just making me push forward to know all the answers about the endgame.

There is extensive violence, and mention of drugs and alcohol given this is a book quite focused on at least a couple of gang members and so please remember that before jumping into reading this amazing book if this would be an issue.

Definitely 4/5 Cups of Coffee from me and would recommend to any crime or thriller fan! A great debut novel for the genre.

The Summer Shift

Hey all!

Yesterday was so exhausting I just couldn’t summon a post, we saw five properties and a vet appointment, juggled the sleepover with it and having not slept great the night before…..it was just a household of grumpiness and naps after we were done running around.

Also

We had to chase my dog down and try and get her pee.

I/We did it.

I’m also down a Tupperware container.

That dog needs to appreciate my love for her.

But that’s not what this post is about, it’s about a shift in my posting frequency with the impending loom of summer over us. I have a friend coming to visit for a couple of weeks in June and I’ll have prewritten posts for book tours, one of the reasons I’m participating in so many over June is because of her coming so this keeps me on track, and you can expect maybe 5 posts a week for June and July and August, but sometimes it may be as low as 3 for a week or two if we are moving house.

I would rather cut down posting amount than to make myself get into a slump because I pushed myself too hard. I’m still just starting out compared to a lot so I’d like to be in this longer than like six months haha I intend to stick around and bother you all for a long while.

Tomorrow I’ll put up my review for The Favorite Daughter which has totally been one of my favorite reads of the year and at least two more reviews this coming week!

But enough about me, how are you all doing? Any summer plans? Are you ready for the heat?

Gotta Get Down on Friday

As always, the infamous Rebecca Black song is stuck in my head so I invite it to be stuck in yours!

Late post today, we were doing adult things like looking at a house viewing and groceries. And the mini me is having a friend stay over [Seriously, I regret it every time I say yes, they stay up way later than this old lady and I can’t just let them go hay crazy so I have to stay up too.]

Oh that’s right, looking at buying our first place.

But as we house hunt we have to keep some important things in mind:

  • Bedroom that isn’t a broom closet for the daughter
  • Areas to walk the dog
  • That it can accommodate the necessary kitchen appliances (I’m not asking for a dishwasher, but I am asking for room for the fridge and freezer.
  • Carpet not from the 60s if it’s already at the top end of our budget
  • double glazing

And most importantly

ROOM FOR BOOKSHELVES

Obviously this last one is a serious issue, we are book hoarders of a sort and even though we regularly go through our books we still have so many that we cling onto.  There may be some un-hauling in our near future lol.

Homeownership has never been big on my priorities but as we get older we don’t really care to keep paying rent that’s higher than a mortgage, and we’ve been able to have enough to have a deposit otherwise we wouldn’t have much choice. This feels like a good step but I am seriously worried about having space for the books AND you know, us too hahaha.

Am I looking forward to moving?

A little.

We have to remember, I lugged those damn novels from Texas to Scotland and though I didn’t have to unload the boxes, I did pack them and move them from upstairs to downstairs in the house in Texas and then carried them about and emptied them here and there were so many.

So many.

And I hate the process of moving

I mean really dislike it with a burning passion. It’s so overwhelming. We have so much crap.

Anyway if we find a place to fit all our books, I’ll let you guys know, in the mean time expect some more non-review content tomorrow!

I Will Find You Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
I Will Find You, a tale of mystery and intrigue which starts in wartime Fenland near Ely and then moves halfway across the globe to Australia. John Taylor’s story is colourful, poignant and moving as it charts the journey of young Robbie Spalding and his path from a Dr. Barnardos Home in Cambridge to a new life on the other side of the world. Robbie becomes Nick Thorne and this account of his arrival into adulthood is more than a little tragic and filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Touching, funny, sad and filled with drama, I will find you is an authentic and pacey read, gripping and compelling, and will certainly keep the readers’ attention until the last page is turned. Expect to shed a tear for the casualties of war.
First off I would like to thank the Author, John M. Taylor for sending me a copy of his book to read and review, this was done so with the intent that I would give an honest review in exchange. And that’s what you all will find here, my honest review!

I will say I was intrigued from the description of the book alone and historical fiction especially one based on true stories. Taylor did seven years of research for this and the child migrant stories deeply resonated, the horrible truths of history are at the heart of this novel.

Some may not know but Aboriginal children were once taken by Australia’s white and western government, this was done so that they could be better integrated into Western society including the healthcare and education systems which were considered a cut above what was offered from the homes of the children. Of course doing this destroyed families and a cultural system that had been in place long before Western civilization touched Australia.

[And no matter what we do now I’m afraid it will always be a ‘too little, too late’ scenario…truly heartbreaking.]

This is spoken about in this novel but another issue was that of migrant children who were taken from their homes in say England as the boy in this novel and sent to Australia to be adopted. I would go into it more, gladly but the author does a brilliant job himself and I’m not going to spoil it for you all.

Taylor really sets you up for a story that takes you on quite an emotional ride. It’s a story that shoes not only what people did to the natives of Australia but to their own children and how one boy’s journey to figure out his history leads him through the lives of others. As said before, Taylor really did his research for this novel and not just with the darker parts of history but he made sure to do justice when writing about Aboriginal villages and ways of life and he never presumes to know more than he does about the culture or to write about things that are too culturally sensitive which is a great relief in this day and age.

The story is really well paced and extremely well written, I mean I barely wanted to put this book down the whole time. I needed to read more about Australia or Robert or find out what was going to happen in the Outback. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or even just looking for a book to really tug on the heartstrings.

If you have ever read The Thorn Birds this book spans the same sort of saga/epic story the only difference being this is the story and saga of one boy versus a family though he is not alone, and his journey will bring the story of others as he travels. Robert is on one quest, and that is to find his Mother.

While chatting with the Author and thanking him again, John sent me this great magazine article in relation to his research and his book and I’m sharing it below because I just think it’s such a good read and might sway those on the fence about the book.

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This was certainly a five star read for me.

Charity Shop Finds!

We actually had like two HUGE hauls but it was so ridiculous I didn’t even bother sharing because we deserved to be in timeout after those sprees.

But it looks like we kinda mostly got it out of our system, slowly I’ll update the list on the Charity shop page to less publicly shame myself and my spending habits lol but today I’ll share with you what I bought this weekend.

It was the one store we tend to frequent where it was 2 for .99P so I just ended up taking two instead of one.

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2 for .99P!

I’ve really been wanting to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and not to mention as much as I love reading history books I couldn’t just leave The Holocaust The Jewish Tragedy behind, especially because most books are about WWII itself, the battles and the like and of course we do have books about the horrors of it all from the concentration camps to the battles but I liked that this one was focused on the people persecuted the most in that tragic time in history.

I’ve finished reading I Will Find You by John M. Taylor and will have the review up tomorrow but feel free to click on the link to the GoodReads page to learn more about it if you’re curious.

I know this is a  short post but it’s Sunday and I’ve spent the day at the beach and just want to sit here and pay Dragon Age II but I actually have to go read more now lolol, go see my book reviewing, a process post to find out which part of the never ending cycle I’m at!

Book Reviewing: A Process

Hey all, it’s Saturday, you know what that means?

I revel in being lazy lol.

But also it’s the weekend for most of us, so yay for that.

Today’s post is more of a way to hopefully give you a laugh than an in-depth look at my process as my process is really…having none lol.

Step 1. Pick Which Book to Read Next

I look through my list to see which one is next to come out chronologically but sometimes it’s not that easy, there’ll be multiple ones coming out within like a two day span of each other. And so it’s just mostly a lot of me being overwhelmed.

 

Step 2. Read the Book I’ve picked

This is so much harder than it seems, the less time I have to read, the more pressured I feel. But pressured by who you may ask? Me. Myself. Oh, and I. Even though I can read most books in a day, I choose to worry over it until like 10PM and then I settle in to the actual act of reading.

 

Step 3. In Between Reading Take Copious Notes

I take notes to help me be more critical when writing my review. At least that’s what I’m telling myself I’ll accomplish by taking notes. More often than not I just suck at taking notes as well as writing up reviews.

 

Step 4. Finally Finish Reading!

I’m pretty good at this step haha, once I finally get into a groove with a book I’ll break it up over one to three days into a few sittings just so I don’t get too bored or distracted unless the book is really gripping.

 

Step 5. Writing up the Review

At this point I begin to sit there and look over my notes and stare at the laptop. It’s a hard process for me who really just is like ‘I liked it. It was good.’ I never feel I’m qualified enough to write up a review for you all lol.

 

Step 5A. Forget Everyone’s Names and Have to Look Them up

I don’t know why this happens to me, I’ll remember like one person’s name and it probably won’t be the person I’m actually wanting to write about at the moment so then I have to go back and look.

 

Step 6. Finish Writing Review and Publish it

I sit there, proud enough of it to just throw it at you all, knowing I finished.

 

Step 7. JK. It’s Never Done. Pick Another Book

 

And there you have it, book reviewing, a process!

 

Toodles guys!

Mini Reviews

**Thanks to Kelly from BookGlow for sending me these two copies to read and review, in exchange for my honest review**


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GoodReads Blurb:
From USA Today featured novelist and Western Writers of America Spur award finalist Milana Marsenich, The Swan Keeperis an historical, coming-of-age novel set in 1920s Montana.

On her eleventh birthday, Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun. Lilly sees him kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans. The sheriff, her mother, sister, and best friend all think Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident by blaming Drake. But Lilly knows the truth. Left alone she must bring him to justice. 

“Author Milana Marsenich has penned a dramatic page-turner brimming with authentic detail. She knows this Montana countryside inside and out, her vivid descriptions capturing the spirit of the craggy Mission Mountains.”—Maggie Plummer, author of Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish and Daring Passage: Book Two of the Spirited Away Saga

Lily’s 11th birthday was supposed to be one filled with the magic turning 11, after all  Nell, Pa, and sister Anna told her it was a magical age to be. Instead she witnesses her father and mother shot along with the swans her family loved so much. Her sister too far to witness the shooting or Lily trying to save the swans and no one believes her when she says she saw who shot them.

Using a bit of mysticism in the form of swans and a bit of spirituality, Marsenich brings to the table a rather beautiful coming of age tale. The story makes you feel as if you’re there breathing the air with Lily, soaking in Montana and the beauty of the trumpeter swans. I really enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would after reading the first chapter.

With no one believing her, her Pa dead, and her mother unavailable to the world let alone her daughters, Lily finds strength in taking care of Pearl a trumpeter swan. Along the way though she doesn’t give up in her determination to catch the man who killed her father, taking the matter of the law into her own hands.

Along the way Lily does get a little help but being 11 means that the adults just will not listen, and the magic of 11 seems like a thing of the past when her family was still whole, and unfortunately 12 doesn’t look any brighter with Dean Drake the murderer still on the loose. Why he’s killed her Pa and why her mother survived is a tale as old as time: jealousy.

Lily searches for clues, protects swans, and battles with the stubbornness of the Sheriff and the right just to be heard.

I did enjoy this but do remember that this had an element of spirituality that may not be to your liking. I wouldn’t say it was overpowering but I just want to to make sure it’s mentioned.

 


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GoodReads Blurb:
The Ballet Lover exposes the beauty and cruelty of ballet, the performances, the back stage moments, and the personal dramas of the famous ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova as seen through the eyes of an American female journalist.

Paris, 1970s: the orchestra plays the first ominous note of Swan Lake. In the audience sits Geneva, an American journalist and ballet lover, waiting for the heart-stopping beauty and seduction of the romantic duet to start, but instead she witnesses Rudolf Nureyev failing to catch his Russian partner Natalia Makarova, allowing her to fall with a crash upon the stage. 

Geneva interprets the fall as an act of cruelty, a man with all the fame and power in the world brutally letting fall his delicate, wraith-like artistic partner. When other critics defend Nureyev and accuse Makarova of causing her own tumble, Geneva vows revenge on the page, creating havoc in her own career and discovering surprising parallels between herself and the fallen ballerina.

The Ballet Lover is a refined, mesmerizing, fictional account of two of the most celebrated dancers in the dance world, how one compromised the other, and how the drama on the stage often mirrors those played out in real life.

Geneva’s dedication to her writing is great and I love that this turn into a grand love story, her focus is writing about dancing. She holds fast to her opinion even when others disagree and I think that the ending of the story was perfect for her considering the bond she has with her Aunt.Baer mixes in tidbits of historical ballet facts with a novella that focuses on two ballet dancers in particular. Nureyev and Makarova.

The MC is the journalist who captures the feeling of the dancers on stage, watching the progress of the two dancers through out their careers. At the beginning of each chapter Baer gives us a snippet of a performance and though it doesn’t seem to add to the story itself as far as plot I feel it helps set the stage each time and those little snippets were my favorite part!

This is novella and not a fully fleshed out book, so that expectation could be kept in mind before diving in. It can easily be read in one or two sittings and if you enjoy ballet history I would recommend this.