On the move…

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In a long and complicated story (or at least that’s how it feels to me), I have moved from being hosted by wordpress to self-hosting.  My website address hasn’t changed – in theory – but, in moving my domain, my posts managed to stay on my old wordpress site. All is now fixed, and everyone who was signed up to follow me should be but just in case, if you are wondering where I am, you can find me here…

www.onereadersthoughts.com

See you soon!

Emma x

 

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Tuesday intro: The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

This week, I’m reading The Pocket Wife, which more than one person has said they really enjoyed when I posted I had picked this up from the library earlier this week – how can a girl resist?  Here’s what it’s about…Read More »

Close to Home by Robert Dugoni

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While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

When I pick up a Robert Dugoni book I always feel like I have to say thank you to Bibliophile Book Club for introducing me to the Tracy Crosswhite series.  That was back with book one, My Sister’s Grave, and now I’m on book five but I still can’t get enough of Tracy.  Read More »

Book blogger hop: advance reading

book-blogger-hop-finalThis week, I’m once again joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

How far in advance do you read the books you have scheduled for review?

And the answer is it really depends.  I don’t read a huge amount of review books compared to other bloggers I don’t think, generally sticking to requesting those I am pretty sure I will like (given the author or subject/genre), which means I’m often quite keen to read them and so do as soon as the opportunity arises.

Often, this is months before publication and where I used to fall down is that I wouldn’t review them straight away.  I would make some notes and there they would sit, waiting to be fully written up until close to the release date…by which point the book was no longer clear in my mind and I’m sure I missed much of what I might originally wanted to say.

Now, I review a book as soon as I’ve read it.  I have a personal goal of within 24 hours and am usually quite good at sticking to it.  It’s then scheduled for whenever it needs to be scheduled for.  I’m even organised enough now to have a calendar which shows if I’ve got something posted on a particular day so I can plan when other books with similar review dates can go up (*pats self on back as it’s only taken two years to get this far!).

There is another benefit to this and that’s that I can post the reviews on netgalley earlier than the release date and keep my % up above 80, the magic number and (hopefully) then get approved for more of the books I request (so really want).

What about you, do you read in advance or wait till close to the release date?  If you do, how do you plan your time so you have enough of it to read and review the book without going over (a big fear of mine if I leave things)?

Emma x

Tuesday Intro: Human Acts by Han Kang

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I’m reading Human Acts by Han Kang, whose book The Vegetarian was one of my favourite books of last year and still haunts me now.  Here’s what Human Acts is about…

30091914In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

And here’s how it starts

The Boy, 1980

Looks like rain,” you mutter to yourself.

What’ll we do if it really chucks it down?

You open your eyes so that only a slender chink of light seeps in, and peer at the gingko trees in front of the Provincial Office. As though there, between those branches, the wind is about to take on visible form. As though the raindrops suspended in the air, held breath before the plunge, are on the cusp of trembling down, glittering like jewels.

When you open your eyes properly, the trees’ outlines dim and blur. You’re going to need glasses before long. This thought gets briefly disturbed by the whooping and applause that breaks out from the direction of the fountain. Perhaps your sight’s as bad now as it’s going to get, and you’ll be able to get away without glasses after all?

What do you think – I appreciate this book might not be for everyone but would you keep on reading?

Emma

Simplifying my blog following ways

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Many moons ago, when I first started following blogs, I didn’t follow many at all – you could probably count them on the fingers of one hand (o.k., maybe two). Depending on how I came across them would depend how I ended up following them.  So, if I had seen a link on Facebook, I followed them on Facebook, if I saw them on twitter, it was twitter and, if I came across them whilst randomly surfing the web, I usually subscribed by email, possibly following them on twitter and / or Facebook too.

Over time, the number of social media sites I signed up for grew, as did the number of ways I might follow someone (see Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram …).  Then, as I started to blog myself and because I was using WordPress, I started following people through their Reader feature, occasionally automatically signing up for email following as well without necessarily meaning to but also never unsubscribing.

By now, my inbox was starting to get a little full, so I tried Bloglovin’ which kind of worked only I didn’t always remember to go on it for days.  The same could be said for Facebook, which I am rubbish at, and Google+, which I got because I got a gmail account and rather randomly started following people through to.

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As you can probably tell from my rambling paragraphs above, the way I follow blogs is pretty messy as well as confusing (at times) and time consuming at others – with me often seeing the same post two or three times in two or three different ways whilst at the same time completely missing other posts I wish I had read when I eventually happen to see them in an update post or someone else does me the favour of retweeting them and I realise what I was missing.

 

Recently, I tried to add up all the blogs I follow and I couldn’t keep track.  It wasn’t necessarily a huge amount but so much duplication.  Along the way I discovered blogs that no longer blogged and blogs I no longer read or comment on.  So, I’ve decided to do something about it.  Starting this week I am going to reform my messy ways and get a system in place that works for me.  I did ask about what other people do on twitter but it seems there are as many ways as there are bloggers so (to quote Frank Sinatra) I’m going to have to do it my way.

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My plan is to use Bloglovin’ as my primary following “tool” and stop using WordPress or Google+.  Everything will be in one place and if I get the settings right I think I should be able to get alerts when people post, which is what I need.  I’m going to go through each site and stop following anyone who hasn’t posted in six months (sorry!) and also stop following anyone whose site I haven’t visited in six months (sorry again!).  The number should be much more manageable then and I’m less likely to miss things.  For the blogs I just can’t miss I’ll use email too, just to be on the safe side till I know my system works.

Along the way, I’m going to use it as an excuse to make sure I’m following everyone on twitter and liking their pages on Facebook (if they have accounts); I might useless at Facebook but I do find it’s a good way to talk to people during challenges and things so I don’t want to get rid of it entirely and Twitter is such a good way of sharing people’s posts but I don’t always know their twitter names when I click on the icon on their post and if it doesn’t come up, I don’t end up tweeting it.

And that’s it, my plan of action.  I hope it works – if it does, you might hear from me more (possibly not a good thing but sorry about that).  What do you think – will it, or is it a flawed plan? What do you do that I might want to steal instead or do you have the same problems I do?

Emma

I am linking this post to Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight’s Discussion Challenge – clink on the button below to find out what other bloggers have had on their mind this month.

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The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

25079833‘Mummy dead.’ The child’s pure treble was uncomfortably clear. It was the last thing Brynjar – and doubtless the others – wanted to hear at that moment. ‘Daddy dead.’ It got worse. ‘Adda dead. Bygga dead.’ The child sighed and clutched her grandmother’s leg. ‘All dead.’

A luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik harbour with nobody on board. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon?

Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by the young father’s parents to investigate, and is soon drawn deeper into the mystery. What should she make of the rumours saying that the vessel was cursed, especially given that when she boards the yacht she thinks she sees one of the missing twins? Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht’s former owner? And whose is the body that has washed up further along the shore?

The Silence of the Sea was my first read of 2017 (though obviously not my first review, I’m not that efficient) and I have to say I’m really glad that I chose it.  It was a good start to my reading year and has convinced me I need to read more books by an author who writes chilling tales but has a name I will never be able to pronounce.

Much like the first book I read by Sigurdardottir, Why Did You Lie? there is a slightly spooky element to The Silence of the Sea which sets it apart from other books of the genre and leaves you with plenty to figure out and make best guesses at.  And how much spookier could a ship with new crew and passengers running aground be, especially on a dark, cold and rainy night in Iceland.  Add to that the ships reputation as being cursed and bringing those who own it nothing but bad luck and you have a real page turner.

The bad luck in this case starts with a rich man and his beautiful wife who end up not so rich and unable to pay for their luxury yacht, leaving it stranded in Lisbon. It’s the job of Aegir to make sure it makes it back to it’s new owners (and also the bank he works for) safely.  Unfortunately, things don’t quite go to plan when a member of the crew breaks their leg.  To make sure they can set off on time, he volunteers to take the crew members place, setting off with his family on what will be a fatal voyage.

In Iceland, Thora is a lawyer hired by Aegir’s parents to help them keep their granddaughter and make claim on any insurance money.  Slowly, she begins to try to unpick just what happened to Aegir, his family and – as a result – the rest of the crew, convinced it isn’t possible for everyone to be lost at sea but also not sure she wants to think of the consequences – including that Aegir is on the run for reasons unknown.

I say slowly because that’s the pace of this book.  It doesn’t throw things at you but reveals them bit by bit, lulling you into a false sense of security at times before throwing a curve ball and making you sit up and take notice.  The pace might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I didn’t mind it.  It made me feel like I was getting to think through what was happening and come to my own (wrong) conclusions.

As Thora works in the present to find answers, revealing secrets and unearthing red herrings, the past is revealed in alternating chapters, telling just what happened to everyone on board.  Again, there are twists, turns and plenty of suspects.  Nothing is as it seems, which for a reader is great.  Every time I thought I’d figured it out, I found I hadn’t.  Plus the setting was good, lots to make it seem creepy and you feel that danger lurked around every corner and behind every wave.

Thora is a great character, tenacious and caring and I liked her and her slightly annoying but still interesting secretary Bella who helped her in her investigation.  It was hard to say with Aegir and his family, though the captain of the ship I did think was really well written. I could picture him, hardened by years at sea and experienced enough to take on most things. Aegir I was up and down with, liking him one minute, not the next and finding him quite weak and frustrating in others – but then he is at sea with a bunch of strangers, potentially murderous ones, and has a family to protect so maybe I’m being a bit picky here.

This uncertainty about Aegir certainly didn’t stop me enjoying the book, which I most certainly did.  I thought it was a clever idea, well executed and well written.  I found I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t stop turning pages and – as a result – have to say I liked it a lot.

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Library
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 26th March, 2015 (first published 2011)
Pages: 388
Format: paperback

 

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

25365530‘NEW N A M E .
NEW F A M I L Y.
S H I N Y.
NEW.
ME . ‘

Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

Good Me, Bad Me is one of those books that seems to have gotten a lot of hype.  They’re the type of books I normally stay away from – at least when they are first released, frightened I’ll be disappointed.  In this case, though, I couldn’t resist.  The description sounded right up my street and also a little different from my usual reads.  I have to say I’m glad I took the plunge because it was different and just what I needed after a string of not so hot books.

It starts with Milly (or Annie as she was) turning her mother into the police for child abuse and murder.  It’s a shocking opening and grabs you immediately, presenting you with an image that isn’t graphic in any way but still stays with you throughout the book.  You are left in no doubt Milly’s mom is guilty and a monster, someone who should go to prison for a very long time.

What you aren’t so sure about is Milly, who is the only voice you hear in the book, as she tries to settle with her new foster family and prepare for the court case where she will be the “star” witness.  Starting a new life isn’t easy and her foster sister, Phoebe, isn’t happy to have her around, especially as Milly takes up too much of her parents’ time.  Phoebe goes out of her way to make life difficult for Milly, who only seems to want to be friends – well, just make friends in general, she is a lonely girl.

Or at least that’s what it seems like at first because there is a darker side to Milly and, after being drawn in by her story and feeling a lot of sympathy for her, I started to feel unsure.  Slowly, secrets from her past are revealed and she does things that maybe aren’t as nice as she would want you to believe. I couldn’t tell if I was being played, if Milly was maybe a chip of the old block, or if her behaviour was a result of her wanting to fit in and be loved.

It made for a compelling read and I found Milly a compelling character, one I wanted to understand but was also maybe a little afraid of, very much like the people around her.  They wanted to be sympathetic, wanted to believe she was an innocent victim, but wondered – was she really?  Or at least I think that’s what they thought because the only voice you hear is Milly’s so you only get her take on what is said and done.  It’s her version – and the question is whether it’s the true one.

I thought Ali Land did a really good job with Milly, of creating someone you didn’t know if you liked but felt you should give a chance to because of what had happened to her.  By making her 15, going on 16, it did feel like there was a grey area there – that nagging question of why Milly maybe hadn’t done something sooner to speak out.  Some of these things are answered in the book but I won’t say because of spoilers but there are a few times when I had “lightbulb” moments, where Milly would reveal something or do something that completely changed my opinion of her.

Of course, because this is Milly’s story, you don’t get to know the other characters that well and the foster family are somewhat two dimensional as a result.  Then again, as Milly’s character starts to emerge, maybe this was on purpose, because in a way they weren’t necessarily real to her but people to be manipulated to reach an end.  Her mother was much more real, or at least a very real monster.

Seen through the eyes of Milly you see confusion, this is a woman who she loved but also hated.  You never meet her or hear from her directly but she dominates a lot of the pages.  And you see through Milly’s memories and nightmares of her just what type of woman her daughter might become.  I liked this about the book, that I kept second guessing myself about Milly.

In fact, there wasn’t much I didn’t like if I’m honest, other than maybe the final twist.  I am not sure I needed that.  I felt I had a good ending, a slightly ambiguous one that seemed to go with the Milly I knew.  So, although I was proved right in the final chapter, I would have liked to have been left with a bit of a question mark.  It’s a small thing and didn’t stop me liking the book though, which I did – a lot (if you can like a book about a child murderer, which I guess is another post entirely!).

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 12th January, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: eBook (Kindle)

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.