Fractured by Dani Atkins

18:34

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                                                                               Amazon | Goodreads


A review copy was provided by Head of Zeus in return for an honest review

You're heartstrings will be pulled like never before.

Fractured starts with new beginnings. Rachel and her friends will soon be leaving for university. They meet at a local restaurant for what may be, their last meal together. Wine is drank, memories are shared and tears are shed. For some this meal will be a final goodbye.

As the party are set to leave a terrible tragedy occurs which will change their lives forever. Rachel is scarred, both physically and mentally. She doesn't live, she merely exists. In an attempt to come to terms with the past she visits her home town, not knowing that this visit will change the entire course of her future.

Rachel awakes in hospital to a life that isn't her own. Her best friend is alive. She has apparently landed a dream job and is engaged to her very successful ex boyfriend. Here dani does an incredible job of portraying Rachel's confusion and apparent insanity. Family members talk about her as though she's not in the room. The more she insists that she's not crazy, the crazier seems.

Rachel spirals into her own shutter island like insanity. Why can she remember the names and places of where she worked if that life never existed? How can she recall minute details such as security codes and hidden house keys?

All sorts of theories are thrown around from paranormal activity to disturbances in the space time continuum, whatever that is. Rachel soon learns that this world is not as ideal as it seems. People who were untrustworthy before are untrustworthy now. It was easy as a reader to have empathy for those memories that she just can't shake. A past she can't just leave behind.

The unfortunate truth about Rachel's new life is heartbreakingly simpler than all her theories. It is so completely unexpected that you will stare blankly at the last page and you'll re read the last few pages over and over as you come to terms with what happening all along.

The real emotions in Fractured are left until the big finish but this was one of the best fictions of the year for me. I don't think I'll ever forget he ending. It felt like someone punched me in the stomach.

Rating

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The Rising of Bella Casey by Mary Morrissy

08:57

the_rising_of_bella_casey_mary_morrissy
                                              Amazon | Goodreads


A review copy was provided by Brandon in return for an honest review

A beautiful, enigmatic and harrowing story.

Using a blend of fact and fiction, Sean O Casey, the acclaimed playwright attempts to rise the memory of his sister Bella from the ashes of her past. 

Bella is a clever character but her circumstances in life never seem to allow her to use her brain to its full potential. She excels as a teacher. Nurturing impoverished young minds into believing that they can be more than what they are. That your background doesn't have to define who you are in life. 

Her life is rapidly thrown into disaray by the aptly named reverend Leeper. Her constant refusal of his advances do nothing to extinguish his desire for her. If anything it her "disobedience" fuels his rage and leads him to assaulting her. Bella learns she is with child and eventually looses her beloved position at the school.

Raising a "bastard" child is something that couldn't happen in Ireland. It was the ultimate shame that any girl could bring upon her family. Bella needed someone to take the fall. That someone comes in the form of the handsome Nicholas Beaver. Bella lures him into bed and no questions are asked 9 months latter when Susie is born.

I was so completely engrossed in the story that it came as a shock to be pulled from Bella's world and into Sean's. It was easy to feel his despair. No matter how much we love someone, as time fades so do our memories of them. Bella had such an impact on his life and he struggles to portray this in his writing.

As we continue to follow Bella through numerous child births and evictions it becomes hard to feel for her as person. She is so selfless yet life takes every chance it gets to make life unbearable for her.

This book will stay with you for days after finishing the final page. It would have been so easy to walk past it in the bookshop. It was certainly my historical fiction of the year. I would highly recommend it.

Rating:

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Joyland by Stephen King

15:00

Joyland_Stephen King
                                        Amazon | Goodreads


This was an audio book read by Michael Kelly. 

First I feel I should say that I've only read one novel by Stephen King novel before this. "IT". It took me two weeks to read and I felt like poking my own eyes out several times. Soooo much needless filler! I had avoided his books like the plague since. Then I stumbled upon an audio book of Joyland. I am ashamed to say I had never listened to an audio book either! Joy land is quite a short novel so I thought it would be a good audio book to start with.

All I can say is...wow. There is nothing about this that I didn't love. Michael Kelly was the perfect narrator for this coming of age story. He really sucks you in to the story. 

 Devon Jones Takes up a summer job at Joyland. He is charged with upkeep of the rides, crowd control and most importantly, wearing the fur for his daily stints as Howie the happy hound. 

For Devon, this was his summer. We all have that one perfect summer that defines a point in our lives that we never forget. Behind him is the girl he loves, slipping ever further away. Ahead of him on Joyland avenue are the Hollywood girls, puppylicious dogs, Rube's, Carnies from Carnies and the mysterious murder at Horror House.

The mysteries of that summer are solved with the help of Aaron, Tom and a young boy named Mike who has the sight. 

Joyland has everything you want in a story. Endearing characters, mystery and nostalgia. I would highly recommend the audio version. 

My only qualm with audio books is the length of time it takes to get through them. Joyland is a short story and it took me days to listen to it all. It was definitely time well spent, though I can't imagine how long it would take me to listen to a 400 page novel!

Rating:


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Feature & Follow Friday 22nd November

14:42



This is a weekly blog hop hosted by the wonderful Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This weeks Question:

You Are It! We are playing #FF tag this week. Comment on as many blogs as you can, even if they aren’t participating in #FF. Just say Happy #FF! At the end of your comment. Keep a running total if you want and update your post with it. The bigger the number the more impressed we will be!


Comment number so far: 50

Ok I'm off to do some commenting! As usual I am happy to follow back anyone who follows me through this meme. Just let me know how/where you followed so I can return the favor :)

Have a good weekend :)


The House of Gold & Bones by Corey Taylor

16:00

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                                                                    Amazon | Goodreads

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

I can't say I'm a fan of slipknot but I was still drawn to the idea behind this graphic novel.

The character lives what seems to be a shallow life full of late night parties. A life full of fun but with seemingly very little substance. When attempting to save the life of someone drowning he is dragged feet first into another world full with hordes of monsters and demons.

This graphic novel is meant to tie in with the album and Corey's life. Not knowing much about either meant this felt very flat to me. It's very short and the story has no real structure. The illustrations also left a lot to be desired with some of the facial anatomy being way way off. 

The beautiful impressionistic paintings between each chapter are what earned the extra star for me. they were so fluid and emotional. 


Just look at the amazing structural detail that was achieved with a muted palate and such loose broad strokes. 

Fans of Slipknot and Corey Taylor will probably enjoy this more than I did. However if, like me , you don't then I'd probably give this one a miss.

Rating:


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Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser

18:34

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                          Amazon | Goodreads


I could write paragraphs about the subjects covered in this book but im not going to. It would be too tedious and long winded. Long story short: If you try and fuck with nature. It will fuck with you .


The truth is its going to take an E.coli epidemic before the American government and multinational corporations wake up to the fact that its not OK to grind up dead cattle, and feed it to... cattle. They're called herbivores for a reason. Researchers spend so much time figuring out what they can do but they never step back and if they should do it. That would take time...and time is money.



While people choose to eat this trash ( I refuse to call it food) the problems (along with our waistbands) will only get bigger. You cant sell a hamburger for 99 cents without someone, somewhere suffering the price. That suffering may land on the farmer, the animal or on you and me. Hell it's raining down on all 3. Chicken farmers get mere cents from the birds they raise. I'm lucky to live in a country where cattle are aloud free grazing for most of the year. In the U.S they are shoved into factory farms and force fed corn. They are mass fed antibiotics which in turn is leading to wide spread resistance in humans. It's a domino effect
Not as thoroughly researched as Salt Sugar Fat but well written and it gets its point across well. You may just think twice about what is in that burger the next time you unwrap it.



I took a star off as I thought Eric could have gotten to certain points a little quicker than he did in some chapters, but that's just my opinion.




Rating:

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Feature & Follow Friday 15th November

10:50


Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs! This week’s question is…


Are there any book to movie adaptations where you think the movie is better than the book?

This was tough. I don't think there are any films that I've seen that are better but one or two were just as good as the books. 

One being The Lovely Bones. I loved this book and I love the movie just as much.


Here is the trailer



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I am happy to follow back anyone who follows me through this meme. Just let me know how/where you followed so I can return the favor.

Have a good weekend!


Once Upon A Secret: My Hidden Affair with JFK by Mimi Alford

19:01

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                  Amazon | Goodreads
A review copy was provided by Arrow in return for an honest review

I've never really understood the fascination women had with JFK. It must have been the attraction of power because I've never seen him as a good looking man. Not in the slightest!

Mimi is young and naive and takes a a place as an intern in the white house. Having lived a sheltered life up until this point Mimi is, naturally very excited.

After only 3 days in the white house Mimi finds herself face to face with man himself. He is friendly and relaxed and makes a good impression on her.  To her surprise she finds herself being invited on a tour of the residence. Alone. This tour included a visit to the bedrooms. I would not call the events that happened next an affair. What happened, in my opinion was nothing more than an abuse of power.

Yes the sex was consensual but I found the whole thing a little revolting. He thought nothing of belittling her in front of male friends and demonstrating the kind of "power" he held over her .  This was not a romance. It was almost like he was having sex with her just to prove he could. Like a male lion mating with all the female members of his pride.

Frankly I think JFK ruined her life. Even after his death their encounters continued to haunt her.  This secret destroyed her first marriage and led her not being able to find real happiness until much later in life. 

Even after finishing I am a little confused regarding the motivation for writing this book. She seemed to find solace in revealing her secret to her friends and family. It seemed like by writing this book she was trying to validate her actions. She says she hardly ever thinks of JFK now but I think the very existence of this book proves otherwise?

The one thing in the whole book that really irked me was how blasé she was towards his wife. She never seemed to think how any of this would affect her and their children. If she was guilty it certainly didn't come across in her writing. I think they at least deserved an apology.

This was certainly an interesting read and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in JFK's love life(s)!

Rating:

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Tour Announcement: Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding

10:46


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I am very excited to announce that I will be hosting a stop on The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding blog tour. As a surprise to precede the tour kick off I can give you a first look at the book Trailer.




Below are all the stops Echoes of Love will be visiting. Stay tuned for some great reviews!


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Put the Kettle on: The Irish Love Affair With Tea by Juanita Browne

16:17

put_the _kettle_on_juanita_browne       Amazon | Goodreads

A review copy was provided by Collins Press in return for an honest review

This book should come with a warning:

Have kettle boiled before opening! 

This book will make you want drink copious amounts of tea. Every time you pick it up you'll want a cup! 

I've often wondered why we have become the nation of tea drinkers that we are. Then I realised that, tea itself is the perfect "excuse".  I live in the land of saints and scholars and boy do we love the chat. We are after all, home to the most famous tea maker of them all:
"Tea Father?"
The tea provides the all important foundation and excuse for that chat. Example:

"Have you time for a cup of tea and a chat, a sure you do"
"Will ya come in and have a cup of tea? (and a chat, that goes without saying) 
"I've some news for ya, stick on the kettle"

I love how this book interview's people from all walks of life. From builders to teachers and psychologists. They all have their own favourite brand cup and method for making the best brew.

Now we come down to the most important part, the tea making itself *Dramatic Music*.
We seem to be one of the few countries who can get this right. English Tea is tasteless and weak. The same goes for the U.S and Australia. So below are some basic tea making rules.

When you enter someones home they may ask if you want tea but its not really a question. Having a cup is not optional. 
The teabag goes in first, none of this dipping in and out nonsense
Let each person add their own milk and sugar. Getting it wrong is akin to murder.
Full fat milk only! None of that watery low fat stuff!

This book will thoroughly prepare you for the art of brew making. It would make the perfect gift for any tea loving family member or friend.

Rating:


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This Child of Mine by Sinead Moriarty

20:46

                                                                    Amazon | Goodreads


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

Warning this review may contain spoilers!

This child of Mine started off really well. Anna was a content women, infants with colourful backgrounds in the suburbs of Dublin. I had to actually stop reading this on the train because I was laughing out loud at the "Dublin Jackeen" humour. The kids were true to life and extremely funny. The nativity play is priceless and the writing, brilliant.

However I found that once Anna left Ireland that the humour slowly faded away. I understand that this was due to circumstances but I felt the novel would have benefited from a further injections of the same humour throughout. 

For me the situation on the ferry was a little unrealistic and predicable. I really can't see how anyone could take a child from a boat and not be spotted on any camera either on the ship or afterwards as she left the both. She would have been caught within 24 hours. However this is fiction and so I didn't dwell on it too much.

The real problem is that the characters were, for me, unappealing. Anna never once sees any wrong in her actions. She ruined the lives of so many people. She judged a person based on one incident and decided to play God. Joan pretty much forces her daughter to go through with a pregnancy she clearly didn't want. I think adoption would have been the best option. As for Mandy, she is the typical clichéd teen. Dark and depressing.

Some real suspense would have been great. It would have been a lot more exciting if there was a risk of Anna getting caught at least once throughout the 17 years! 

If you are a long time fan of Sinead then you'll probably enjoy this novel. Others may find it a little flat after the initial humorous few chapters.

Rating:
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Feature and Follow Friday the 8th November

10:30


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has a blog that they feature each week!

Q: VLOG CONTEST! VLOG ABOUT WHY YOU WANT TO BE NEXT WEEKS FEATURE! IF YOU ARE TOO SHY TO PUT YOURSELF ON CAMERA – TELL US WHY YOU ARE SOOO SHY. 


I could never imagine myself vlogging. I just can't put my opinions across on video as well as I can in text. I'd end up having to re shoot it a million times and then spend hours editing it! I also hate the sound of my own voice, it makes me cringe. Also blogging is something I do when comfortable and looking sloppy. I certainly wouldn't want to be on camera. 

I will however be watching all of your vlogs ;)

Happy Friday! Have a good weekend.

I am happy to follow back anyone who follows me through this meme. Just let me know how/where you followed and I will return the favor :)

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Salt Sugar Fat - How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

18:30

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                                                                   Amazon | Goodreads


I have been reading this book since June! Juuuune! My god that's crazy. In my defence, this was the sort of book that couldn't be skimmed through. Each chapter needed to be taken in and slowly digested. The amount of research that went into this book is astounding. No stone is left unturned. No giant left un-slayed.  This is what I've learned:

Food is not baked, boiled or fried. It is engineered. 

I was always of the opinion that if you're fat, its your fault. No one else's. Harsh, I know. I have been lucky enough to have stayed slim my entire life. I was always the "skinny one". However as my thirties loom ever closer I have noticed that I am finding it harder to stay slim, no matter how much I exercise. The truth is that food is no longer the same as it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.


When it comes to food, the evolution of science is one area which is harming instead of helping us. Food scientists spend hours juggling levels of salt sugar and fat to reach the ultimate "bliss point" and to create the perfect "mouth feel". Food production is so much more than a product on a shelf.

Moss makes it pretty clear that these companies do not care about the consequences of these unhealthy foods. More than two-thirds of the sugar in an American's diet is now coming from processed food! Another worrying fact is that it's more expensive to pump clean water into a factory than it is to deliver salt.

We are only human beings and we only have a certain amount of will power. These companies have devoted millions of dollars to break through that will power. Frito-Lay invested $40,000 in a mechanical mouth that simulates chewing. They are using it to formulate the perfect breaking point and mouth feel of their chips/crisps.

Michael some up the whole situation perfectly in this quote:

"We are hooked on inexpensive food just like we're hooked on cheap energy"

I count myself lucky that here, in Ireland fast food is still relatively expensive. You won't get much change out of 10 euro for a meal. With that 10 Euro you could easily buy plenty of meat and veg to feed to a family in a supermarket. It doesn't seem to be that way in the U.S and the only viable solution would be to subsidise healthy food and tax food high in sugar and fat. That's not going to happen any time soon though.


A lot of people seemed p'eed off that this book provided no answer, solution or conclusion. I have taken the liberty of drafting an answer:


If it comes in a box or packet, don't eat it

If it has more than 3 ingredients, don't eat it
if you can pronounce an ingredient, don't eat it
If it proclaims to be low in salt, sugar or fat, don't eat it (it will replace one with the other)
If it says in bright bold letters that it's a source of vitamins, don't eat it

Good luck with that.

This was definitely the book of the year for me. If I could buy a copy for every single person in the English speaking world, I would. Everyone needs to read this.

Rating: 

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Hunting Shadows by Sheila Bugler

10:02

Hunting_Shadows_Sheila Bulger
                                                                       Amazon | Goodreads


A copy was provided by Brandon publishing in return for an honest review.

Hunting Shadows is a different breed of crime thriller. Life doesn't begin at the start of this novel. The reader is thrown into turmoil. Ellen has had a hard childhood, her husband is dead and she is only now returning to work after suffering from a breakdown. 

The story itself is not original (disturbed child kidnapper) but the appeal here lies in the authenticity of the characters. Ellen is gritty. A killer obsessed with her work, sometimes to a fault. Baxter, her boss is determined that he be the one to find Jodie and will lay the blame at any doorstep he sees fit. 

The Story is skilfully paced and drags the reader along for the ride. More than once I thought I had the story figured out, only to be drip fed  fragments of information that proved me wrong.  As the narrative accelerates to heart wrenching finish I was left hungry for more.

Fans of Karin Slaughter will love the gritty realism and imperfection that is sometimes lacking in her novels.

Detective Jack Taylor...you may step down now. 

This is a thrilling début. I predict a bright future for Sheila Bugler and Detective Ellen Kelly. 

Rating:


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Alice in Tumblr-land by Tim Manley

12:28

                                                                 Amazon | Goodreads

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

"The ugly duckling still felt gross compared with everyone else. but then she got instagram and there's this one filter that makes her look awesome."

I had never heard of Tim Manley's Tumblr page before so when I saw this book I thought it was a brilliant idea. I was expecting witty and funny but unfortunately, that's not what I got. 

Manley takes the fairy tales we loved as children and re writes them for the social media generation. for example, the ugly duckling is now taking selfies with instagram and  Pinochio is emailing his college lecturer (using his nose) to lie about how he cannot submit his work on time. Its just so hipster-ish. I didn't really find it funny at all. I think a dry humour would have worked better.

This comic seems to be another case of the blog to book epidemic. I say epidemic because I'm not really convinced that it works. There is a reason why these topics makes successful blogs. They suit that format. If it's not broke don't fix it! 

If you can borrow this book from a library it might be worth a one time flick through but I wouldn't recommend it as a purchase for the bookshelf. 

Rating: 


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Feature & Follow Friday 1st Nov

19:15


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has a blog that they feature each week!

Q: WHAT BOOK ARE YOU EMBARRASSED TO ADMIT YOU LOVED?


This was a tricky one. I really had to think about it because I am never embarrassed about what I read! If I had to pick I would say I am a little embarrassed to read controversial books that deal with sensitive topics in public. Thank God for the kindle! ;) . Some examples:





I am happy to Follow back anyone who follows me through this Meme. Just let me know how/where you followed! :)

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