The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown
Today is my stop on the Witchfinder’s Sister blog tour and I have for you all a review of this fascinating book!
Before you hear my thoughts though, here is some information on the book.
About the Book
1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she has no choice but to return to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.
But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names.
To what lengths will her brother’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?
Generally speaking I am one of those readers that loves a variety of genres but I have always struggled with historical fiction. And thus you may be wondering why I then decided to review this book. The answer is quite simple. The book just sounded so very interesting and I had to see what it was all about. I am very glad that I took that leap of faith with this book because I ended up really enjoying the book. There were a few parts that I struggled with due to my distaste of historical fiction but fortunately this did not ruin my overall opinion of the book.
What initially drew me to this book was the storyline being about witches and the witch trials that happened in the 1600s. It is one of those odd periods of history that I actually find quite fascinating. Horrible and disheartening to realise women were treated so awfully but it is also a nice reminder of just how far we have come. Thus I am pleased to report that the plot of this book was compelling and addictive. I found myself turning the pages as quickly as I could just to find out how it was all going to end. And what an ending! Very, very clever.
There was a vast array of characters in the novel, some of whom I felt for, some of whom I vehemently detested. Beth Underdown did a fantastic job of creating realistic characters throughout the novel, and did a marvellous job of describing them all as well. By far my favourite character was Grace. Although only a side character, she was so sweet and lovely, hardworking and also shy. I wanted everything to go okay for her in the end. She is definitely a character that I would love to read more about. Alice is also a fascinating character to read about and she had a very distinctive and interesting voice.
While this book is not one that I would ordinarily pick up, it was one that I found myself enthralled by. It was an emotional, heart-breaking and fascinating book to read that I would recommend to others easily. There were some fictional historical texts interspersed which I struggled with and some other moments within the narrative that I found hard to understand but fortunately this did not ruin my enjoyment of the book. So if you’re looking to read an entertaining and intriguing book about the witch hunting that happened in the 1600s, you should definitely give this book a read.
About the Author
The Witchfinder’s Sister is her debut novel, and is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins.
She first came across him while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. As you do.
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The Jungle by Pooja Puri
Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Jungle and I have for you all my review of this book that gripped me from the very first page.
First though, here’s some information about the book.
About the Book
Mico has left his family, his home, his future. Setting out in search of a better life, he instead finds himself navigating one of the world’s most inhospitable environments the Jungle. For Mico, just one of many ‘unaccompanied children’, the Calais refugee camp has a wildness, a brutality all of its own.
A melting pot of characters, cultures, and stories, the Jungle often seems like its own strange world. But despite his ambitions to escape, Mico is unable to buy his way out from the ‘Ghost Men’ the dangerous men with magic who can cross borders unnoticed. Alone, desperate, and running out of options, the idea of jumping onto a speeding train to the UK begins to feel worryingly appealing.
But when Leila arrives at the camp one day, everything starts to change. Outspoken, gutsy, and fearless, she shows Mico that hope and friendship can grow in the most unusual places, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll show you the way out as well.
There is a lot going on in the world today. Yesterday something awful happened in London. Every day awful things happen in third world countries and this is what this book really gets you thinking about. Set in the migrant camp in Calais it allows you to take a step out of modern world comforts and into the thoughts of those who suffer and seek asylum every single day. Often in the media, refugees and migrants are not looked upon as humans who just want a better life than the one they had, they’re portrayed as vermin who are trying to steal our jobs and homes. This book is powerful in portraying just how human refugees and migrants are.
Pooja Puri has picked a very sensitive topic to write about but in my opinion has written a book that really works and automatically pulls at your heart and emotions. This book is different to other YA books out there as it doesn’t follow a traditional plotline but it also doesn’t need to. This is a book about hope. It is a book about desperation and despair. A book about friendship and family and a book about dealing with life the best way you can. And Pooja has managed to do this incredibly well.
There was a vast array of characters in this book and it really shows the differences between people and how we can all come together, no matter our backgrounds. Our main protagonist is Mico who goes on a very interesting journey in the book. I found him to be a unique character to read about. My favourite character though is Leila. She is fierce and strong but also weak and vulnerable. She has been through a lot and goes through a lot but still has a fiery passion underneath. A marvellous character to read about.
Safe and Alive
All in all this book is powerful and unique. I would definitely be interested in reading more books like it. It’s a relevant topic and a book that can make people more empathetic towards refugees and migrants. This book gives them a story and it makes them real and human. It reminds us that they are not bad people, they are just people trying to live a better life. This book is one that I would highly recommend. It is a book that will really make you think.
About the Author
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Harper and the Night Forest by Cerrie Burnell
Today is my stop on the Harper and the Night Forest blog tour and I am here with a brilliant guest post by Cerrie! First though, here’s some info on the book.
About the Book
by Cerrie Burnell
It’s a curious thing writing with dyslexia, a combination of something completely unexpected but perfectly natural. And the act of writing is the very last thing to happen. Before a single word is scribbled on a page, the world of the book must begin. The landscape your characters inhabit can come from anywhere, a single drop of grey rain can trigger a memory of when you were ten and you got caught in thunderstorm and suddenly you have a colour scheme for the sky of your world.
When I sat down to begin writing, I had Harper’s universe mapped out, from the clouds and stars, down to the white tipped tale of her cat Midnight. The wonderful thing about dyslexia is that the world of the book is very real; it springs up around you without having to try, so the writing can be like keeping a diary or a dream journal where you recount an adventure.
That doesn’t mean to say it always comes easily or that it’s not confusing or frustrating. Sometimes different parts of the story exist in your mind simultaneously and your job as the writer is to make sense of it all. Choosing the right language to try and reflect the books landscape and let the story unfold is key. It wasn’t until I began typing that I discovered the umbrella was scarlet, not red, or burgundy, but scarlet.
About the Author
About the Illustrator
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Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane by Caroline Baxter
Today is my stop on the Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane blog tour and I am here today to tell you all about this marvellous book and if you head on over to my twitter, you can also win a copy of the book too!
And that’s not all! Pop on over to Big Book Little Book today and you’ll see my review of the book as well!
About the Book
About the Author
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Recently Released Diverse Books I Want to Read
So the past few months have been fairly busy for me. At the beginning of the year I was ill and it put me behind on a lot of things and I have since been playing a very vicarious game of catch up. What all of this means is that my reading time has almost completely disappeared and I’ve been struggling to finish books. Thus, I have missed out on some amazing releases so in this post and two other posts coming to you in the next few days, I wanted to share with you some books I really want to read so that you can find out about them too!
For this I have come up with four categories, YA Mental Health Releases, YA LGBTQIA Releases, General YA Releases and Adult Books.
YA Mental Health Releases
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
I’ve had this one on my reading pile for far too long and I’ve been wanting to read it for even longer than that as well. I loved Sara’s first book, Beautiful Broken Things and I have heard some good things about this one so I am itching to dig into it! If you haven’t heard of it before, do click on the link to see what I mean.
Damage by Eve Ainsworth
This is yet another book that I was drawn to as soon as I heard about it. It sounds incredible. Dark, emotional, powerful and full of strength. What more could one possibly want? I will definitely be diving into this one as soon as I can!
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
I’ve actually only just heard about this book but now that I know about it, I really want to read it. While it doesn’t officially deal with mental health on the surface, it does sound like it brings up anxiety and panic attacks and I’m definitely intrigued to see how this is dealt with in the book.
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I will put my hands up here and say that I did not read Adam’s first book but this book sounds just the right kind of book for me. Aside from a brilliant blurb that really hooked me, this also has a protagonist with OCD written by an author who suffers from OCD. So I definitely want to see how it all gets handled!
Optimists Die First by Susie Nelson
Yes another book that I’ve only just heard about but that doesn’t make me want to read it any less. It sounds like such a fascinating read and I’d be really curious to see how it all comes together in the end!
YA LGBTQIA Releasea
Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Robin Talley is one of those authors that has a knack for writing about sensitive but powerful topics and this is no different in her newest release. I have been itching to read this one and it has come highly recommended by one of my friends too so I cannot wait to see what it is all about.
Birdy Flynn by Helen Donohoe
This is a title that I am slightly cheating with (*shhh*). It’s not out until May but it is one that I have been dying to read for so long that I feel like it’s already out! I’ve been meaning to read it for ages. I will get to it eventually because I think it’s going to be one incredible read!
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I fell hard for Benjamin’s first book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and so the minute I found out he was writing another book, I knew that I was going to have to read it. This, of course, has not happened yet but it will at some point. It will.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Admittedly I did not finish Becky’s first book – or I haven’t yet – but I am really excited by the premise of her second book! I have already heard good things too so my hands and eyes are itching to sink into her words. It’ll be good to see what the story is all about and how Becky deals with it.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have We Are Okay. I have never actually read anything by Nina – eeek – but the blurb of this one just sounds amazing. And, once again, I have heard wonderful things about the book from fellow readers which all has me waiting impatiently to find the time to give this book a whirl!
And that’s all for today! Did you read any books recently released with these themes that I might have missed?
Dead Embers by Matt Brolly
Today is my stop on the Dead Embers tour and I am here for you all with my review of this very addictive read!
Before I tell you how much I liked the book, here is some information on it.
About the Book
When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer.
Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.
But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…
Trust no one.
Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling.
I’ve been struggling to keep on top of my reading for a while because of illness and being busy at work, etc, but when it came to picking up Dead Embers, all of that fell away. I read this at every spare moment I had because it was incredibly addictive. There are not enough words to really describe how deep I fell into the world of this book. It instantly took me out of the real world and into book world just with a few words. Everything was described so well and there was so much going on at all times that it was just such an easy, wonderful read – everything that you want in a crime thriller book!
Have To Be
What really kept my interest in this novel was the plot, or I should say the case. I was riveted. This is the kind of case that I can imagine being a huge hit as a TV series, and the case itself could probably have occurred across three or four episodes too. It was intense and well-thought out with lots of different things all coming together to form a whole. The best part about it all was that I really had no idea how it was all going to end up. There was no way to guess as it was only slightly hinted at in different parts of the text. I found this to be such a captivating narrative style!
Careful About Who
I am not shy about shouting out about books with strong characters as I love reading them. Unfortunately this is one of the places where I feel the book falls a little short. I really liked DCI Michael Lambert but there were also parts of his lifestyle that were hinted at but not really explored and it made it harder to get a full grip on who he is as a character. I feel that some of this may have been explained in the previous two books and as such I will be making sure I read them but it felt like there was little to no character development in the book which was a shame but certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the case! I would definitely read another book with DCI Michael Lambert and would be interested to see what happens next for him.
You Can Trust
Overall this book was a very gripping, addictive and captivating read from start to finish. The case was very interesting, disturbing and intriguing all at once. There was so much going on and it was so difficult to know who to trust which I thought was really good. I also liked how one case was all wrapped up but I felt there were still some ties left loose by the end of the book so I’d be very interested in reading further books to see where it goes! I would recommend this book to any reader who loves crime books, especially those that twist and turn as you go along until your left just waiting for the mystery to be solved.
About the Author
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The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett
Today is my stop on the The Mercury Travel Club blog tour and I have for you all my review of this addictive and wonderful book! (And I finished the whole thing!!)
First though, here’s some information on the book!
About the Book
Meet Angie Shepherd who, after 24 years and 11 months of marriage, finds herself divorced and driven by friends and family to move on. From hangover to makeover, Angie steps firmly away from the sensible knitwear, and launches into every adventure on offer – from baking classes and book groups, to speed dating, and even ‘The Granny-Okes’, a 1980s tribute act and YouTube sensation.
But Angie needs more than a bar of galaxy and a night in with Murder She Wrote… what she dreams of is entrepreneurial success. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, the light bulb moment happens: it’s time to take the plunge and invest her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, an exciting new business venture. But as the Travel Club gets going, things never go according to plan, and in this digital age a little chaos brings the fame she’s been looking for.
Set in present-day Manchester, this classic mid-life journey features the 1980s soundtrack from Angie’s youth, and sees her travel the world whilst coping with life after the Ex. Angie’s journey is the catalyst her friends need to examine their own lives; as they start to find their true callings, will Angie find hers? Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good debut novel shows it’s never too late for a second chance.
Sometimes you pick up a book and you realise that it is going to be a good one. I had that feeling when I opened the first page of The Mercury Travel Club. I was instantly swept away by the writing and the characters on the page and before I even really knew what had happened, I had read a third of the book. And then a half… and then two thirds and then I was, very sadly indeed, finishing the last page in the book. This book is one of those amazing feel-good, pick me up kind of reads that fills you with a scent of hope and happiness as you finish the last sentence. It is a book that made me laugh out loud and a book that had me reading passages out loud too. It also got me teary-eyed and sad. It was wonderful.
I no longer know what initially drew me to this book but I am so grateful that I decided to give it a go because I very much enjoyed reading it. From the outset, I was certain that it wasn’t going to be a “me” book. I loved the main protagonist and all of the characters in her life too. You’re thrown into her life as it all turns upside down and the story follows her as she re-builds it. And what a way to re-build it! I have always loved character-driven books and this does it by the shedload! This book had every single main character in the book go on a journey – literally and figuratively – as it progressed and I really, really loved that about the book. It made me feel so close and protective of everyone – just as I always want to feel. I love the way that Helen Bridgett made her characters rise from the ashes – so to speak.
All of the characters were vibrant and marvellous, all of them playing a very vital part in the story – both in their own journeys and for the main protagonist too. My favourite character by far was Angie. I loved how much she overcame during the book and how independent she became. This is a book that truly celebrates not just life after love but also women being independent and making a life of their own and being successful while they do it! Angie was such a strong, witty and self-sufficient character and I just loved her so much and was incredibly happy with the outcome of her journey. Second character that has to get a mention is Charlie. He was just such a loveable and wonderful character. He brought so much to the story and I very much enjoyed reading about his own journey. Lastly, but certainly not least, we have the hidden star – Patty. She was a magnificent character who brought so much entertainment to the book and the lives of the characters as well. I thought she was a brilliant addition to the book!
This is a book that I have already recommended to my mother because I know she will love it. I am also going to be pushing into the hands of a few other people that I know too. It is just a wonderful, fun and lovely read that kept me hooked from the first page to the last. It all starts off with a book club – which is amazing, right? – and the book literally takes you across the world as you read about a travel agent overcoming the pain and loss of a divorce. All of it written with a lovely hint of humour that will keep you smiling and hopefully laughing every now and again too. It is a divine read that I really think you do not want to miss!
About the Author
Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series.
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Summary Justice by John Fairfax
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Summary Justice and I am here to give you all some thoughts on the book! I, sadly, did not get a chance to finish the book but I did get over halfway through so I am going to do a little mini-review of the book based on what I have read so far because the book is so compelling and I do want to let you all know how brilliant it is!
First, here’s some more information about the book!
About the Book
Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He’s an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he’s subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It’s a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson’s first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she’s innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.
True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.
One of the first things I loved about this book was how easy it was not just to read but to also fall into the world that John Fairfax has created. Each and every time I opened the book, I was transported back to that world and everything that is happening within it. The narration is simple but vivid, complex but not complicated. It was definitely the reason that I kept going back to it and really makes it stand out to me. I read a lot of crime and detective novels and I just found this one was that little bit different and unique. It reminds me a lot of Children Act by Ian McEwan.
Moving away from the narrative, what also makes this book so very compelling and addictive are the characters. John has created some very interesting and fascinating characters that have full backgrounds and really bring that something extra to the world. William Bensen is one such character. He is intense, driven, passionate and strong but he is also vulnerable, weak and secretive. All the things that keep you reading as you try and find out more about his character and what actually happened to him. Then there is Tess who is a vibrant character and also a very strong-willed one too but there’s something about her that I was very intrigued by. They both definitely had me turning the pages faster to see where the story would take me.
Lastly there was the case. The main reason that Bensen and Tess have re-acquainted themselves. The case is difficult. It’s not a clean cut case and there are some many facets in play. John really keeps all of his characters and his reader guessing as it all goes on. I found this was just another reason that I kept going back to the book and the reason that I will be finishing this book as soon as I can. I have to know how it all turns out. Where all the links that have been set up will take us and whether or not it will all be resolved in this book or not.
Overall, John has created a very unique, compelling and intriguing book that I would highly recommend and I haven’t even finished it yet! So if you love books that are a little bit different, or if you love TV shows like Suits, then you should definitely pick up this book and give it a go. I am certain that you will not regret the decision!
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Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell
Today is my stop on the Because I Was Lonely blog tour and I should have for you all my review of this incredible book, however life has gotten in the way and thus I have only managed to read a quarter of the book – it is so good so far – so instead I am going to share you all the amazing details about the book and add in my review ASAP.
First though, some information on the novel.
About the Book
Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.
So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.
Four lonely people . Two unhappy marriages . One dangerous, but inevitable climax.
TO BE ADDED SOON