Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel

Published: 2006
Publisher: Quercus
Format: eBook

Murder Farm was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review

Warning: I can't make up my mind as to whether this review is spoilery or with caution

It was the blurb that mainly drew me to The Murder Farm. The first line is a real hook:

"A whole family has been murdered by a pick-axe"

That will certainly provoke an interest in most crime / horror fans.

Unfortunately this book is really better described as a novella. Its short. Really short. I don't mind a short read as long as it can keep me turning the pages. I kept waiting for a big reveal but it just never happened. This book has been translated from German so I wonder if perhaps something was lost in translation?

Apparently the book is based on a murder that took place in Bavaria in the 1920's.  The book is written in a matter fact interview style (There's probably a better word for that but 6pm after a long work day so brain no work no good). The police are interviewing members of the community so we get a good picture of the family and their standing in the community. 

My main problem is that it was just too one dimensional. Everyone was murdered....the end. This is what led to the spoiler confusion. I mean the author tells the reader in the first line of the blurb that everyone is dead! Does lack of a conclusion count as a spoiler? I just know I felt a bit deflated after reading it. I hate that "oh is that it" feeling when you finish a book.

Seriously this wasn't even a real review but anyway I can't really say I'd recommend this one. 


★ ☆ ☆ 

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Attention Writers: You could win £15,000 !

The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company, organisers of the Business Book of the Year Award, want to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes. They hope to unearth new talent and encourage writers to research ideas that could fill future business books of the year. A prize of £15,000 will be given for the best book proposal.

The Bracken Bower Prize is named after Brendan Bracken who was chairman of the FT from 1945 to 1958 and Marvin Bower, managing director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967, who were instrumental in laying the foundations for the present day success of the two institutions. This prize honours their legacy but also opens a new chapter by encouraging young writers and researchers to identify and analyse the business trends of the future.

The inaugural prize will be awarded to the best proposal for a book about the challenges and opportunities of growth. The main theme of the proposed work should be forward-looking. In the spirit of the Business Book of the Year, the proposed book should aim to provide a compelling and enjoyable insight into future trends in business, economics, finance or management. The judges will favour authors who write with knowledge, creativity, originality and style and whose proposed books promise to break new ground, or examine pressing business challenges in original ways.

Only writers who are under 35 on November 11 2014 (the day the prize will be awarded) are eligible. They can be a published author, but the proposal itself must be original and must not have been previously submitted to a publisher.

The judging panel for 2014 comprises

Vindi Banga, partner, Clayton Dubilier & Rice
Lynda Gratton, professor, London Business School
Jorma Ollila, chairman, Royal Dutch Shell and Outokumpu
Dame Gail Rebuck, chair, Penguin Random House, UK

The proposal should be no longer than 5,000 words – an essay or an article that conveys the argument, scope and style of the proposed book – and must include a description of how the finished work would be structured, for example, a list of chapter headings and a short bullet-point description of each chapter. In addition entrants should submit a biography, emphasising why they are qualified to write a book on this topic. The best proposals will be published on

The organisers cannot guarantee publication of any book by the winners or runners-up. The finalists will be invited to the November 11 dinner where the Bracken Bower Prize will be awarded alongside the Business Book of the Year Award, in front of an audience of publishers, agents, authors and business figures. Once the finalists’ entries appear on, authors will be free to solicit or accept offers from publishers. The closing date for entries is 5pm (BST) on September 30th 2014.

You can read the terms and conditions by clicking HERE

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The truth is a Black Cave in the Mountains by Neil Gaiman

Published: June 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: Hardback Graphic novel

A copy was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

This review will be short as I didn't really know what to expect from this. Apparently this is an award winning story but I honestly have never heard of it before and fell really flat for me.

It's a short, one sitting read. More of a fable/ fairy tell. A dark one albeit. A dwarf sets out on an adventure to a dark mountain in search of the treasure within. As with all things they're's a catch. Within this cave lives a demon who protects this treasure. In return for taking his gold he will take a piece of your soul. This has different effects on different people. For some it means that they can never gain any happiness from any purchases or events that have resulted from said gold.

Some of the events in the book sort of disturbed me. They take place in a cottage that they stop to stay in along the way. I really don't think this added anything to the story.

The artwork is a result of a live reading that Gaiman took part. Eddie Campbell painted as Neil told the story. Obviously this meant that the illustrations were going to look loose ad fairly unfinished. To expect the artist to render fully finished oil paintings as fast as Neil was reading would be ridiculous. Some of the work is beautifully impressionistic and a pleasure it look at. 

Eddie Campbell is an extremely talented artist. I think this graphic novel does him no favors. I have seen a lot of people judge him as an artist based on this book when the quality of the work really comes nowhere near to his best. 

Hardcore Gaiman fans will probably want to add this to their collection but there isn't much in it for readers who just happen upon this graphic novel unfortunately. 


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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Monday, 21 July 2014

The Echoes of Love by @fieldinghannah : Award News and Giveaway

Great news for Hannah Fielding.  The Echoes of Love has won a gold medal at the Independent publishing awards!

The Echoes of Love competed with titles by authors from over 33 different countries to win Gold medal in the Romance category at the 18th Independent Publisher Book Awards held in New York. The publisher crossed the Atlantic to accept this hugely respected and well-deserved prize. The award organizers credited the publisher with the ability to “take chances and break new ground” in the Romance genre.

I would like to say a huge congratulations to Hannah. I cannot think of anyone who deserves it more!

Here is just a small selection of praise The Echoes of Love has been showered with:

An epic love story that is beautifully told, one of the most romantic works of fiction ever written The Sun
Fans of romance will devour this in one sitting The Lady
The book is the perfect read for anyone with a passion for love, life and travel Love it!
Romance and suspense, with a heavy dose of Italian culture Press Association

To celebrate I am giving a way a gorgeous hardback copy of The Echoes of Love for you to enjoy! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author 

Hannah Fielding was born and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. Her family home was a large rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean where she lived with her parents and grandmother, Esther Fanous, who had been a revolutionary feminist and writer in Egypt during the early 1900s.

Fluent in French, English and Arabic, Hannah’s first experience of the world outside of Egypt was attending finishing school in Switzerland aged 18, after which she travelled extensively throughout Europe and England where she met her husband Nicholas. It was love at first sight.

Hannah and her husband divide their time between their home in Kent and their house in the South of France, which Hannah has beautifully restored. Hannah’s first novel Burning Embers was published in 2012.

A huge thank you to Midas PR for sponsoring this giveaway!

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter


Published: July 2014
Publisher: Century
Format: Paperback (advanced readers copy)

Cop Town was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review 

Well this was a really welcoming change from Sarah longingly staring at Will over and over ha! This was just what the doctor ordered!

Its 1975 in Atlanta. A shooter is on the loose and he is gunning down policemen. Right excellent start. We all know from dee mooovies and dee booooks that there ain't nothin that cops hate more than cops gettin killed!

Kate Murphy is fresh out of training and it's her first day as a police officer. She soon learns that the men rule the roost. The think nothing of commenting on her breasts, rubbing up against her or pinching her rear end. Were immediately painted a picture of "us" and "them". This isn't just limited to sex. The officers are segregated by race too. The colored girls lay claim to the back of the changing room and as a white girl you risk your life being in there when they come in.

The start of the novel sets the pace for the chapters to come with race and segregation being the main themes that flow throughout. Like CT ( colored town) where the dregs of society were shoved into the one area and then forgotten about or the area of the city where the cops go to beat up "faggots" for fun.

For the most part Kate is taken under the wings of Maggie and Gail, her fellow officers. They're crass and racist (Gail especially) like the rest but she is experienced and knows the job inside out. Even though  some of the characters being homophobic or racist I found myself rooting for them. I know I should have detested them for their opinions but I just couldn't. 

 Only Karin Slaughter could manage to make such people likable!

The trio are determined to be the ones to break open the case. This time it will be the women who are the hero's and they won't be pushed aside by the men. This decision leads them into unimaginable dangers and situations that will test them to the very limit.

The characters themselves don't grow or change much during the course of the novel. Not that we see anyway. Even at the end the Atlanta Police force remains a pit of racism and sexism. It's a novel that sort of lives in the moment and unfortunately that was reality in the 70's. 

I have found that I'm so used to Karin's writing style that I could easily figure out who the shooter was about halfway through the novel. This didn't really effect my ability to enjoy the novel as it's so character driven.

For all my raving about how great this is as a stand alone I really want to read more about Kate and Maggie! I'm hoping this could be the start of an Atlanta series!?

If you find long series of books daunting but have been wanting to get into Karin Slaughter then this is the perfect starting point. Cop Town is gritty and like it's characters it doesn't give a damn about what you think of it. It's just there to tell it's story, and a damn fine story it is!



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Monday, 14 July 2014

Sounds of Summer Giveaway

Were just over half way through summer (sad I know). The sun is out, holidays are planned so what next?

Holiday reading of course! However I find there's always a catch with summer reading. Just to name a few:

The glare of the sun. More so with an e-reader
Struggling to hold your book over your head to block out the sun
Books falling in your face!
Sun cream stained pages and screens
Weight restrictions on planes so no heavy paperbacks

So how do we deal with these problems? The answer is simple: Audiobooks! No mess and no fuss. Just sit back, relax and listen to your favorite novels. Below is my Summer listening round up and a chance to win any book of your 
choice from Audible!

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: Her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Gina is starting her life again, after a difficult few years she'd rather forget. But the belongings she's treasured for so long just don't seem to fit who she is now. So Gina makes a resolution. She'll keep just a hundred items - the rest can go. But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring...

With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to.... Jess' gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess' teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking.... Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future.

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed...On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Poppy Day is an ordinary woman. She's a 32-year-old stay-at-home mum with two gorgeous children, while her husband Mart tours with the army. Her simplest pleasure is having her family together in a happy home. But Poppy is too busy to notice the fatigue in her body and the menacing lump growing on her breast. If there's anyone strong enough to defeat cancer it's Poppy. But does life really work like that?

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic, and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her.....

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe. There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world. The message is a warning.

Meet Don. Don is a genetics professor who just might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. He looks a little like Gregory Peck and is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. And it's definitely not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not .Rosie, meanwhile, isn't looking for love; she's looking for her biological father. Sometimes, though, you don't find love: love finds you...

Women are standing up and #shoutingback. In a culture that's driven by social media, for the first time women are using this online space (@EverydaySexism to come together, share their stories, and encourage a new generation to recognise the problems that women face. This book is a call to arms in a new wave of feminism and it proves sexism is endemic - socially, politically, and economically. But women won't stand for it.

The House of Farrell - home of The Cream, an iconic face product that has seen women flocking to its bijoux flagship store in the Berkeley Arcade since 1953. At Farrell, you can rely on the personal touch. The legendary Athina Farrell remains the company's figurehead and in her kingdom at the Berkeley Arcade, Florence Hamilton plies their cosmetics with the utmost discretion. She is sales advisor - and holder of secrets - extraordinaire. But of course the world of cosmetics is changing and the once glorious House of Farrell is now in decline.


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Terms and Conditions

~Please click here to read audible's terms and conditions before entering.
~I reserve the right to delete any entries if entrant is found to be cheating

A huge thank you to Midas PR for sponsoring this giveaway
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