Wednesday 31 August 2022

Audiobook Review - The Bone Garden

Tess Gerritsen is one of the first crime/thriller authors I tried when I was in my late teens/early twenties that I enjoyed (same goes for Kathy Reichs, not so much for Patricia Cornwell but THAT'S a different story!) and I have always dipped in and out of her books. I first read Body Double, then dipping in and out of her Rizzoli and Isles series.

Tess's stand-alone were very hit and miss with me. I really enjoyed Harvest when I read it YEARS ago, I DNFed Life Support & Playing with Fire and The Shape of Night was a bit meh for me (review for that is here, if you're curious on my thoughts when I first read it in 2019

But I have always, ALWAYS wanted to read Bone Garden. It just sounded creepy with how it looks at early medicine in Boston 1830s.

Title and Author:
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: Transworld
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought eBook and borrowed audiobook from library via BorrowBox app.

In the present day, Julia impulsively bought a house to get over her divorce. As she is digging up the garden, she discovers a skull. The skeleton, it seems, was buried over a hundred years ago. But who is she, and how did she die?

In 1830s Boston, an impoverished medical student and a young Irish immigrant who suddenly becomes guardian of her baby niece find their paths keep crossing as a terrifying serial killer. Something sinister is happening in Boston, and it has nothing to do with the grave robbing or body snatching...

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Blog Tour Review - With Fire In Their Blood

I think am out of my reading slump! Good grief, I hope so! And with a book to read for a blog tour that I dived into because I loved the cover! It looks weird and gothic and with that title, how could I not say yes to being involved in this blog tour when I was asked by the lovely folks at Write Reads on behalf of Penguin (thank you Write Reads for allowing me to be involved in this tour)!

The hidden, crumbling Italian city of Castello was at war with itself. Two families were involved ed in a brutal clan war, spanning generations, till a mysterious leader survived a church fire, killing all but him, determined unity against a common, hidden enemy. 

When Lilly moves to town from the US due to her father's new job, she finds herself drawn to the rebellious Liza, the brooding Nico and sensitive Christian. But with her emotions pulling her in different directions with this strange love square, she finds that Castello is a city that will lead everyone to ruin because no one can be trusted. Not even herself. 

Because sins of the past are close to destroying and consuming the present and future. Because Lilly, unknowingly, has broken Castello's most sacred rule: when your blood is tested, you better be damn sure you not anything more than human...

Sunday 21 August 2022

From The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys

I have an extract from you! And it's from a book I'm actually reading at the time of writing this (I'm not far in, but so far, I'm enjoying myself). 

The diaries of Samuel Pepys have been read for centuries due to their detail account of the Great Fire of London, his racy assignments and his detail and wit. But, at the age of 36, he stopped writing. Or did he?

It's the summer of 1669 and England is in dire straits. The treasury has very limited funds and tensions with the powerful Dutch Republic are beginning to boil over. An investigator for the Crown was sent to look into corruption in the Royal Navy, only for him to be murdered. Samuel Pepys has been asked to look into the corruption and the possible murder. 

As he begins to look into this, his health is on the turn and his marriage is very close to collapsing. Can Pepys discover the sinister truth and make sure England doesn't get into a war...

Like I said earlier, I am currently reading The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys by Jack Jewers and I'm enjoying myself, though I am not always the biggest fan of historical thrillers, but I am intrigued where this is going to go. 

So when I was asked by Midas PR if I wanted to share an extract, I jumped at it. I always like to share extracts from books that don't always fit my typical reading, but this caught my attention and as I am now (hopefully) out of a reading slump, this felt like the perfect time to try something new!

So, before I hand you over to the extract, just wanna thank Funmi from Midas for asking if I wanted a copy of Lost Diary and if you wanna know more about the book (or just wanna say hi to the author), you can go visit or @jackjewers on Twitter!

Now, ONTO THE EXTRACT (and yes, I picked this because this is, so far, one of my fave scenes! But it's so long, I picked this little scene, just because!)

Friday 5 August 2022

More Short Stories Read During Reading Slump

I think I said in an earlier blog post that I was out of my reading slump. I hope I'm out of my reading slump (goodness helps me if I'm not) and last week, my company went on its annual summer shutdown so my partner and I went away for a free days to Alton Towers and, while there, I decided to read some more short stories from Amazon's Black Stars collection, 

Black Stars is a collection for short sci-fi stories, written by black authors, which can be read within 30-odd minutes. (There are other short story collections on Amazon, ranging from sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, and others. All of which I will have to investigate)

Now, in an earlier post, I read one of the stories within Black Stars - The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I did like reading this short, but it's hard to explain this. I keep thinking of it as a gender-flipped Handmaid's Tale told from the point of view of Mrs Dalloway. Plus, it did hit close to the bone as I read within weeks of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, making safe abortions illegal in certain states, so that was very much on my mind as I read this. 

After that, I wanted to go back into a novel so I tried to read another Diana Wynne Jones: The Many Lives of Christopher Chant. But I only got to chapter five. It wasn't holding my attention and though I wanted to, I knew I couldn't go on at the current moment. So, I decided to go back on my myself and read some more shorts from Black Stars collection: Clap Back by Nalo Hopkinson, The Black Pages by Nnedi Okorafor and These Alien Skies by C.T. Rwizi. 

Clap Back follows Wenda, a protest performance artist, who doesn't believe the stories about fashion designer and biochemistry, Burra, who's new clothing line will have nanotech weaved into the fabric to tell the wearer about African history and forgiveness. The Black Pages follows Issaka as he returns home to Timbouctou from his studies in the US, only for his family home to be attacked by al-Qaeda. And These Alien Skies follows Msizi as he pilots a spaceship to test a new wormhole jump that could lead to unsettled yet possible habitable planets, but when an explosion causes the ship to go off course, he and his co-pilot fear the worse... 

I'm not going to write full-blown reports on each of these, but I will touch on them in quick summaries of my thoughts. I had high hopes for Clap Back, and it didn't quite hit the right notes for me. I liked the story when it was being told in media reports. But when it switched out of that, I didn't warm to the story. It had potential, but it didn't high the sweet spot for me. 

Black Pages, out of the three, felt the strongest. Maybe because it felt more fantasy than sci-fi, but this felt like a story I could sink into. Plus, it felt like this could be the start of something: a prologue of introduction short story to a novel with these characters and I would have enjoyed seeing more of them.

And These Alien Skies. Sadly, this didn't work for me. It felt as if it was trying to tackle too many things in a short time-frame. Maybe I read this at the wrong time, but it just didn't work for me. 

But collection of short stories are going to be hit and miss. Some stories you are going to love, other stories not so much. I have a few collections that I want to read in the coming months, and we'll see where we go from there. 

But, my reading slump has ruined my reading and I have several novels that I am desperate to read (and I can't wait!). So, might take a week or two off my blog and come back swinging! Wish me luck!

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Short Reads I Read During Reading Slump

After finally (hopefully) killing my reading slump with Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week, I decided that I was going to slowly ease myself back into read. I'm not going to throw self into the deep end. I wanted to take my time and, hell, maybe even read some short stories or novella. A gentle getting back to normal with my reading (not my life. Still trying to figure how to get back to normal on that one!). And, at the same time, I wanted to try something new. But ease of reading. 

So, while snooping on my Amazon's Prime Reading, I discovered some short stories as part of their Short Stories collections and, after having a quick snoop, I downloaded a few (as I have Prime, the stories were free under their Prime Reading). I downloaded a few under the Forward collection (sci-fi about the future), Trepass collection (unsettling stories about nature) and Black Stars (sci-fi stories written by black authors), I dipped my toe in. 

My first was The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the first short story in the Black Stars collection. In this, gender roles have been flipped and it shows how easy we are conditioned to see the world. Plus, this kinda hits close to current events as the law banning men from masturbating in US and in Lagos are in force with no plans to remove or change, dangerously similar to recent Roe vs Wade events in the US and certain states planning to ban abortions (which won't work. They're banning safe abortions). And while I did like this short as I found the ideas interesting, creepy and frighteningly real, I didn't warm to this. It felt like a cross over between Mrs Dalloway and The Handmaid's Tale. This could have so easily been longer. 

My second was The Tiger Came To The Mountain by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the first short in the Trepass collection. Set in Mexico 1917, at the height of the revolution, two children hide in a cave to stay safe. But a threat is close to them, prowling, waiting... Now, I have tried to read one of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's novel, Mexican Gothic, and I didn't like it. But this shirt fitted my mood wonderfully. I just clicked with this story and it felt delicious to read in almost one sitting. I might need to try this author again in future...

I audiobooked a short audiobook from may local library - Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now, I'm not going to write a review about this as it feels wrong to that, but this is a short collection of essays about Chimamanda processing her grief over the death of her father in the high of the COVID pandemic. Now, grief is a complex creature and no two people's grief is the same. But oh, there were moments in this collection that hurt. The last essay/chapter is short and kicks you in the feels (I think every person who has lost someone will get what I mean when you read/hear it!)