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 not...read 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.
TheFinancial 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 FT.com.
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 FT.com, 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
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.
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 travelLove it!
Romance and suspense, with a heavy dose of Italian culturePress Association
To celebrate I am giving a way a gorgeous hardback copy of The Echoes of Love for you to enjoy!
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!
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!
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 www.everydaysexism.com) 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.
Published: June 2014
Format: ebook (ARC)
Elizabeth is missing was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review
How do you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues? Elizabeth is missing, yet no one will listen to her. Why?
This is a story of loss on many levels. Loss of self, loss of family and loss of friends.
Maud is an elderly woman in her eighties who suffers from Alzheimers. One minute she may remember why she out in the garden and in the next moment wonder why she is out digging in the soil. It was just so utterly sad to see her go through this. It really pulls on the heart strings.
The story is told in both the past and the present. In the present Maud is desperately looking for Elizabeth. She keeps notes in her pocket to remind herself that she is missing. She becomes increasingly frustrated as it seems that no one actually believes her. She makes several visits to Elizabeth's house. She's not there either and her son is no help at all. At this point as a reader I found myself sympathizing with Maud. I couldn't understand why her family were not listening to her. Why were they just fobbing off her concerns.
There were times I found myself really angry with her daughter. She would get angry and roll her eyes if Maud asked the same question more the once. I understand how hard it would be to look after a family member suffering from Alzheimers but for god's sake she's your mother. She gave birth to you and raised you! If she gets confused then help her. If she asks you a question more than once just answer it like it's the first time she has asked it! At times Maud seems to be nothing more than a burden to her.
However the tension and curiosity regarding Elizabeth really drove me to keep reading this during every free moment I had.
We are also taken back to the past. To just after the second world war. We learn about Maud's relationship with her sister Sukey and Sukeys rollercoaster relationships with some of the local men. Mauds preoccupation with loss begins to make sense as we learn that Sukey also disappeared without a trace.
Past and present become muddled as she finds remnants of her old life. Who exactly is missing? Elizabeth? Sukey? Why can she not remember and why will no one listen?
The threads of past and present slowly come together in a very satisfying ending. It's hard to believe that this is debut novel. The skill in the writing and composition would normally be associated with more experienced writers.
She may not have handled the topic of Mental Health as well as Lisa Genova did in Still Alice but non the less it was a very engaging and worthy read.
The Ozark landscape is darkly beautiful, with stunning vistas of unpopulated wilderness featuring caves, cliffs, rivers, and ravines.
For those willing to travel the long, winding roads to get there, it’s a popular spot for fishing, hiking, and canoeing. In the summertime, the Ozarks are blanketed with stifling humidity and the threat of tornadoes. The remoteness of the area lends an ominous feeling; it’s a place where someone could disappear and never be found, and for that reason it has been home to various groups who wish to remain hidden from the rest of the world—communes, religious
orders and extremist militias.
Most of the families who inhabit the small mountain towns have lived there for generations, and they are not always welcoming to outsiders. Blood bonds and loyalties weigh heavily, with the laws of kin held in highest regard. The culture is also rich with folk wisdom and home remedies and a deep knowledge of the land.
In the novel, I aimed to bring out the darker side of the Ozarks, the way these isolated, tight-knit communities make their own rules and keep the worst kind of secrets.
A Huge thank you to Laura McHugh for taking the time out to write this guest post!
Laura McHugh grew up in small towns in Iowa and southern Missouri. She holds degrees in English, computer science, and library & information science, and spent ten years working as a software developer. She started writing her first novel after being laid off while pregnant with her second child. Her short fiction has appeared in Confrontation and Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley. As a full-time mom, most of her time is spent doing laundry and playing My Little Pony, but she also likes to garden, sew, and watch zombie movies. McHugh lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband, two daughters, and dog
To celebrate the release of touched , Go Book yourself is honored to bring you a Q&A with the author Joanna Briscoe!
A huge thanks you goes to Joanna for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions.
- Can you tell us a little about the quaint English town in Touched, was it inspired by a real location?
Yes, Crowsley Beck is loosely based on Letchmore Heath, which is very near London but is a 'proper' picture perfect English village. So it's now a very rich commuter village, as far as I can see, but it wasn't like that when I lived there. I was born in London, but my parents moved to the village until I was four. Though I moved then, I had an almost photographic memory of the village, of every little lane, of the lay-out of our house. When I returned for the first time a couple of years ago, I was somewhat spooked to see that the memories were correct. The basics in the novel are the same - the green, the war memorial, the pretty cottages - but then I had a worrying outlying house, a nuclear power station, a school for disabled children, and other touches that are just invention. 'The Village of the Damned' was also filmed in this village, and the Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw grew up there and I remember him when we were very young children. I thought this very very pretty village would be a good setting for a ghost story.
- Compared with your previous novels, touched seems quite dark. Did you enjoy the change? Did you find it challenging to write with a paranormal twist?
You know, I actually think all my novels are dark at heart. I just go very deep and dark and into the psyche and discover things I had no idea were there. Skin and Sleep With Me, and in fact You, are all really quite disturbing at some level, while having lighter touches. Perhaps my first novel, Mothers and Other Lovers, is less so. The paranormal twist came quite naturally to me, but I was keeping it too subtle at first, and had to really bring that element out. It's something I enjoyed exploring and can imagine returning to.
- Rowena seems very indifferent towards Eva compared to her other children. Can you elaborate on how her feelings seem to differ for each child.
Rowena loves Eva but finds her very difficult, and is mystified by her. I think parents' feelings do differ for each child, but that doesn't mean the level of love does. The beautiful child Jennifer is favoured by the world, simply for her beauty, and even her own mother is somewhat under its spell. Her twin Rosemary is pretty much in the background - overshadowed by Jennifer's astonishing looks. Eva is the most complex character, the most challenging, but I do think her mother loves her - though her reaction to her disappearance is worryingly casual. I sense a kind of giving up on Rowena's part, and certainly Rowena's husband gives Eva a very hard time. Then there is Bob, the only boy, who is seen as somewhat special within the family merely for being a boy. And Caroline, who is always just 'baby Caroline'. I think Rowena loves them all but feels utterly overwhelmed as a mother of so many, with a husband who has his own problems. I have sympathy with Rowena as a character, as I like her, but she is very troubled.
- Touched has many different themes that run throughout. Did you find it difficult to manage all of these different threads to create a satisfying ending?
Yes, I packed quite a lot into a shortish novel. I think it's vital to tie up plot threads. The main difficulty was the order in which the revelations should come. My editor Selina Walker helped a lot with the ending, and suggested timing changes. I wrote the novel so intensely that I could keep on top of the strands as I was writing them, whereas usually it's harder to keep everything in the air.
- What's next for you as an author?
Well I'm in the middle of a longer novel. Actually, further along than that. It is set in London, in a particularly gloomy location that has lots of potential... and features someone who is not as she seems... and there's much agony, big love and strangeness going on. If I spell it out more than that, the danger is I won't write it! But today is Touched's day, so apart from doing this, I'm pretty much taking the day off.... I feel proud of this novel, and the publishers did a really lovely job with the look of it.
Joanna Briscoe was born in London but grew up in various villages in the West Country, attending six different schools. When she was ten, her family settled on Dartmoor, where she started to write. She had completed two children’s novels and one adult novel and collected dozens of publishers’ rejection letters in a scrapbook by the time she left school.
Rebelling against an excessively rural childhood, she went to University College London to read English, and then lived in Bloomsbury, central London, for most of her adult life. On graduating, she got a job writing and editing on Girl About Town magazine, and went freelance after a year.