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31 January 2014

I See You
Gregg Hurwitz
Publication Date
11 June 2009
Thriller, Suspense, Crime

Drew wakes up in a hospital bed. A detective is standing over him with a crime scene photo - a particularly gruesome photo, showing the blooding dead body of a woman. And than his world falls to pieces, as the detective tells him that he is in hospital recovering from a brain haemorrhage, and that whilst suffering a seizure brought on by the haemorrhage he murdered his ex-finacee.  His current girlfriend does not want to know him any more. Drew does not know any more what to believe, and cannot even trust himself. Did he or didn't he do it? He sets out to solve himself what 's happened by writing everything down in a story. But whatever he tries to find out more information, he gets the feeling that someone is trying to frame him. 

In retrospect, this was the first book I ever received for review (knowing nothing about book reviews at the time0. My husband was working in a big chain books store at the time, and this book was given to the employees as a 'new author's book'. DH is not too much into crime fiction, so gave it to me. Well, I really did enjoy it. Some of the reviews on Amazon are not too good, stating it is too confusing, but I did not think this to be the case. I did find it an engaging read, and yes, it drags a bit at the beginning and speeds up towards the middle/end,but isn't that true for many books. As with many of my favourite books, the main protagonist is , once again, a writer. Writers write about what they know best - writing. But here we have a good plot and also a surprise ending. What more could I want from a good, entertaining read. 

30 January 2014

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted Coffee Addicted Writer
Every week a different question is posted for you to answer. Come in and join us.

This is how it works:

1. Answer the question on your blog

2. Go to Coffee Addicted Writer and put your link to your post on the Linky list.

3. Now have a look at the other blogs who have posted their links. Maybe comment on their answers (on their blogs), spend some time on their blogs and maybe join / become a member.

Perfect way really to get to know other bloggers :) I love this meme because it is so simple.

Here is today's question:

When you receive new books in the mail, do the older ones get moved to the bottom of your list or do go strictly "by the book" and keep your list with older books first and then the new ones?

and here is my answer: 

I read strictly first received - first read. I've made an Excel list so I don't get lost with the books I've received since being a book blogger. 

For my hardbacks/paperbacks, they are in my bookcase and I will have a fit if anyone changes the order arrrrgh :) The whole system got a bit messed up since I've now got a Kindle. And I did allow myself to pick a book which I was really looking forward to reading ---wait for it-- from the back of the shelf (!!)--- for a holiday.

As a new book blogger, I have not yet taken place in book / author tours, but hopefully will do soon. If I do, than I can obviously see the need that a book will need to be read at a certain time. Also, if I ever get to the stage to receive ARC, I think they would be obviously to a certain time constraint? Don't' know. Haven't thought about this one yet. 

Lust, Money & Murder
Mike Wells
Mike Wells
Publication Date
18 Jan 2014
Thriller, Suspense

I have read Book 1, first part 'Lust' of this series.

We meet Elaine, how is brought up by her doting dad who puts her through private school. Elaine only learns later that he's been involved in a bit of crime to be able to afford the expensive fees for the school. As a naive teenager, Elaine becomes the victim of a scrupulous model agency who fleece her of all her money. They return her money when she complains, but it's all fake money. This has tragic consequences for Elaine and her beloved dad and eventually leads Elaine to join the secret service. She soon makes a name for herself as an expert in counterfeit money. 

One of the passages I would like to pick out for this review is when Elaine decides that it is time to lose her virginity:

Elaine's first three sexual encounters were like the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The first one was too hot, the second one was too cold, and the third was just right

Made me smile…What happens next for Elaine is probably what many of us have experienced one way or another :) 

One character to look out for (even if only in a very minor role) IMHO is Luna Faye, who is Elaine's martial arts instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre. Luna is feisty ( I like feisty women), harsh but with a heart of gold and plenty of good advice for Elaine.

It is obvious that a lot of research has gone into this book in regards of the operations of the secret service and money printing.This is a very fast-paced book, it goes straight in there and continues fast with the story being told without ever stalling or without laborious descriptions of scenes/peoples which are not necessary and in some cases, so I feel, only added as padding. Not here. Not needed. We still get a very good picture of the people involved, the author has a knack for building and showing a character without having to resort to lengthy descriptions. 

I did at this stage not get the subsequent books but the only reason is that I still have a lot of book to be reviewed at the moment. It was a very enjoyable read. As of today, Book 1 is still free on Amazon:

29 January 2014

The Costa Book Award is an award recognising UK and Irish  - based authors. It is one of the UK's most prestigious literary prices.

There are five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. One of those is than chosen as the overall winner.

Last night, the 2013 winner was announced, and the overall winner is: 

Nathan Filer with his debut novel 'The Shock of the Fall'

The author is a mental health nurse and the book tells the story of Matthew from aged 5 to his early 20's. Matthew experiences the death of his brother, and is diagnosed with schizophrenia, eventually being detained in a mental health institution. 

I have not read the book, so cannot offer a full review here, but this definitely sounds like a book which would interest me. Mental health issues still have a big stigma attached in society, and anything which can help understanding I think can only be a good thing. 

                                      Nathan Filer with his Costa award-winning book. Photograph: Tal Cohen/EPA

Costa winner Nathan Filer: 'This is huge, isn't it?' Nathan Filer, surprise winner of the Costa prize, talks to Kira Cochrane about sol

Stephen King
Publication Date
2007 - ebook

Stephen King is one of my favourite authors, and I have very much read all his books. I will slowly review all of them and create my reading log of them, maybe one a week or so.

As with many King books, Misery has been turned into a movie. And this one was actually well-made and I love Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in it. I'm not a movie buff, but apparently this is the only King adaptation with an Oscar (for Kathy Bates as best actress). 

As so often with King, this story features an author as the main protagonist, and not just that ,but also the subject of 'writing' is the major topic here. Paul Sheldon is a commercial successful writer. He grew to detest his most famous creation - Misery Chastain - heroine of rather corny romance stories. She made him rich but turned him - in his opinion, in a writer without creative juices flowing, boring samey work. But Misery Chaistain has a big fan base .... So when Paul has a car accident during a fierce snow storm, his number one fan Annie Wilkes rescues him and takes him to her remote house. Annie starts to nurse him back to health, and even though Annie used to be a nurse, the word doesn't seem appropriate for her, indeed she has quite a few secrets which Paul will eventually discover. And Annie's motive is not entirely humanitarian.

When Annie finds out that Paul has killed of Misery Chastain in his latest novel in order to finally escape her, Annie is not at all pleased, indeed, she forces Paul to change the story to 'resurrect' Misery. And Annie certainly has her ways to make sure Paul does exactly what she wants - it's not at all Florence Nightingale at all. Paul finally realises that there is only one way he can come out of this alive - he needs to escape by any means, broken/  missing limbs or not.

28 January 2014

Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss
Hope Edelman
Da Capo Press
Publication Date
21 March  2006 (2nd Edition)
Family, Social, Death and Dying

From the blurp:
' For all women who have lost their mohers and who have looked for comfort and understanding, here at last is a brave and powerful book offering experience and insight. Ask any women who has lost her mother at an early (or any) age and she will tell you that her life is irrevocably altered: that this one fact forever changes who she is and who she will be. This is the first book that examines the profound effects of this loss on a woman's identity, personality, family, and life choices both immediately and as her life goes on.
Hope Edelman lost her own mother when she was seventeen. Her own story is interwoven with those of many others keen to share their common experience. In their own words they express how growing up without a mother continues to affect them in so many ways. Powerful and illuminating, it is a book which helps motherless women everywhere understand they are not alone'.

I got this book out of the library and had planned to read it in connection with my job, as I am dealing with bereaved people on a daily basis. I found this book often too emotional to read and found it very hard to detach myself, couldn't help but think that one day I will have to face this. (Luckily, I still have my mum). While I usually find it easy to detach myself from the subject at work, it was harder here, and I'm not sure it helped me a lot with my work, as I found it just upsetting. We usually get taught 'Show empathy, not pity', and that's what I try to do. I suppose if you are a bereaved daughter the book might help you  to see that you are not alone and many others feel in a similar way.

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intro is hosted by 

Write down either the first paragraph of a book your are currently reading / intending to read or read in the past and share with us. I do like a good opening!

My choice today is Lust, Money and Murder by Mike Wells. You can currently download part 1 for free (there are 3 parts). It's - well, what it says really - lust, money and murder. The heroine is Elaine who is a secret agent with a very personal agenda.

This is the opening paragraph:

The man picked her up in Vernazza, a picturesque village perched along the rugged coastline of the Italian Riviera. 
From his salt-and-pepper hair, and his lined face, Maria guessed he was in his early 50s. He bought her a drink, then dinner, then a new dress and a pair of pumps and a few other things, spending lavishly on her in a quaint village shop.
There were no pretences. They went to his plush villa, which afforded a breathtaking view of the sea. When she asked his name, he looked at her with his brooding dark eyes and said, "Are names important, cara?" 

The book goes straight in and within the first page, things are happening straight away. There is no longish introduction and none is needed. This sets the pace for the following chapters. 

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should be reading. 

These are the rules  (taken directly from MizB's blog:)

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Again, it is the same book I've chosen here by Mike Wells Lust, Money and Murder:
  1. His face was read, but not with embarrassment. "Do you think the law enforcement computers are here for your personal amusement?"
  2. She remembered Luna's words. You'll end up working for at least one first-class asshole, maybe more.

I'm currently reading the free download Part 1 of this book. Happy reading everyone!

27 January 2014

Fifth revised edition

If you are starting out as a freelance translator or would like a career as such and got no idea where to begin or would like advice on certain areas - this is the book to get. It is the best one I've found on the market for this purpose and I can't praise it enough.

A Practical Guide for Translators
Geoffrey Samuelsson-Brown
 Multilingual Matters
Publication Date
2010 (5th Edition)
languages, business

The book is all about the business side of setting up and being a freelance translator.The author covers the following:

  1. How to become a translator
  2. Bilingualism - the myths and the truth
  3. The client's viewpoint
  4. Running a translation business
  5. Your working environment and the tools of the trade
  6. Machine translation and computer-aided translation
  7. Sources of reference, date retrieval and file management
  8. Quality control and accountability
  9. Presentation and delivery of translations
  10. What to do if things go wrong
  11. Professional organisations for translators
  12. Planning your exit strategy
An appendix further gives Translators organisations, and links. The advice can obviously applied to any language combination. Samuelsson-Brown's writing is very clear, with plenty of relevant examples from real life settings whilst never being unnecessarily academic. 

This book has given me the confidence to be able to tackle the business side of being a Freelance Translator right from the first step (where do I even start with this…) and to make sure that you don't forget anything with such a big undertaking (i.e. do I need insurance and what type, what equipment do I really need and what will be a luxury). I have referred it again and again and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting to break into Freelance Translations. All advice is UK-relevant. 

26 January 2014
The Sunday Post

This is is Meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and here are the rules.

It is your chance to re-cap your bookish week, what did your review last week, any new purchases, what will be coming up in your blog next week or generally anything you feel you would like to share with the blogging community.

So, what did I do last week

Work was very busy last week. I will have 10 cases in court next week who all needed the 'last minute' prep treatment (usually I have 1-2 per week), so lots of overtime. Unfortunately, since the beginning of this year, we don't get paid any more for overtime, but can take 'time in lieu' - so I took Friday off. I went to my local shopping mall which is one of the biggest in the UK. Yep, you've guessed it, they have a huge Waterstones with a lovely Coffee shop, and that's where I spend about 3 hours. Simple pleasures. My daughter joined me after school as well. She has a very different task in books to me. She likes romance, classical literature and also non-fiction history. Yesterday she earmarked for herself Sherlock Holmes and a history book on World War 2.

What I reviewed last week 

What I'm planning to review next week
  • Motherless daughters by Hope Edlemann (non-fiction)

  • Misery by Stephen King (he is one of my favourite writers and I read almost all of his books and plan to included reviews for his books on a regular basis

  • I see you by Gregg Hurwitz

  • Sickened by Julie Gregory

  • Can you keep a secret by Sophie Kinsella

And this is one of the ebooks I received a few weeks ago which I'm reading at the moment and will most likely post a review by next weekend:

  •  Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells

Yesterday, I also received my copy of the magazine Newbooks  (you know I love bookish magazines!) and I'm hoping to write up a review of this magazine. 


To get an idea of the treats in store, take a look at the contents of this issue.
Kerry Fowler meets award-winning author Val McDermid

Sue Monk Kidd is back with a new novel, The Invention of Wings

The best of the first-time authors

Ta Da and see you soon. 

Packshot of

Issue 79

25 January 2014

I've mentioned this book in one of my earlier posts this week, this is a book I received.

Casting Shadows Everywhere
L.T. Vargus
Swarmy Press
Publication Date
11 May 2013
This is a YA novel and clearly intended for the YA / teenage market. Both the title and the cover appealed to me straight away. 

The main protagonist is Jake, a 15 year old American teenager, living with his mother. By his own admission, he is a pussy who gets pushed about by school bullies and can only dream about the lovely Beth from his school. But then there is Nick, his cousin, who takes Jake under his wing to teach him to be able to stand up for himself. Only, Nick is not a very desirable character and has a unique style of teaching. He makes Jake his 'apprentice burglar companion' and tries to teach him 'what life is all about'. Jake does learn, and discovers an aggressive side in him which he didn't know was there. The story than takes a much more sinister turn and things will change for Jake.

The story is written in 1st person by Jake and uses his language, so I had to get used to this first. But the author has got it just right without being cringy. Jake is quite a deep thinker but there is also a fine and somewhat tragic humour within him. I liked about him how he befriends the 'not so popular' kids in school (an autistic boy for example). My perception of him changed throughout the story. Whereas first I felt a bit sorry for him, towards the end I was surprised by the changes in him. (Without giving too much away): Poor Beth! 

Here are some extracts which I highlighted:

The truth is that I am nothing like him. Nick, I mean. I am the one who froze up. The one that will never get the girl. The one that wet the bed up until the age of 14. The one who gets picked on and pushed around. I mean, come on. Nobody would fuck with Nick.


At this point I have probably spend more time in my life watching McDonald's and Wal-Mart commercials than i have spend talking to my own father. Kinda weird, you know?


(And yeah, I did choose King Cobra primarily because of the cool cobra on the bottle. It's also very reasonably priced. Bonus).


In any case, I am not scared now. That is the truth. I don't want to say that I feel powerful, cause that sounds weird, but I feel in control of myself. Like before I didn't know how to protect myself and now I somehow do.  I thought I would need to learn like fighting techniques or something, but it's not like that. It's like some animal thing just clicked into place, and everything makes sense now or something.


Like the goddamn idiots that line up around the block to get whatever new Apple gadget. They have this fervour about them like it's a religious experience, you know? Like they want it to be that. Desperately. They want to be so excited about this gadget, because maybe this time it will give heir life meaning. But it doesn't.  It just means you can watch episodes of Top Chef on a small pad instead of on TV. So congratulations. 


or Why aren't there more Book Magazines (printed) in the UK? 
Isn't there a big enough market for it? Or am I not looking in the right places? Or have I discovered a gap in the market here?

I am a sucker for a good magazine, with its many feature articles, interviews, pictures, readers letters, and and sometimes I even find relevant adverts useful. I hear you… there is so much available online now, from author's and publisher's websites, the big and not so big book shops, and of course we bloggers / reviewers to mention a few. But hey, I actually still like to sit in a cafe or on my sofa or at my desk in my lunchtime and read a good magazine.

I'm not into celebrity magazines (i.e. Hello, OK) at all - no value added to this statement, I know they are hugely popular, but just not for me. Maybe because I hardly know any of the celebrities any more (I must be getting old!). I'm not doing much better with the so-called 'Women's Interest' magazines. I know some of them publish stories as well, but most of the contents in them does not interest me too much. I read the other day that there are 6 magazines dedicated to Woodworking! So why aren't there more print magazines for book lovers? I mean the sort who talks about books, new ones out, reviews of course, maybe authors interviews, reading groups, etc. I could even feature a 'blogger of the month' (giggles here). It can't be because of lack of interest - reading is one of the most popular past times. 

Today my copy of Newbooks arrived, and once I've read it, I will post a review here. It is geared towards Reading Groups, and usually introduces a few books with extracts etc, and you can also get the books free (have to pay P&P) from them. It comes out 6x a year, but I had to subscribe - I never found it in any of the newsagents I know. Even in the bigger ones, national chain stores like WH Smith. I know there is another one called The Bookseller, and the subscription is a bit too pricey for me and from the title, I would think it is more geared towards the retailers in this business (Their website is quite informative though). I know that Waterstones used to have a bimonthly magazine which featured reviews of course from readers and from their book sellers, advertised their book signings etc. I have no affiliation with them, just liked this as a magazine about books. But sadly this also has closed down. They wouldn't have done away with it if it would have given them any profit for sure. 

Whilst writing this, it just occurred to me…maybe the majority of book lovers just want to read books rather than reading about books / authors in a magazine? How about the other countries, do you have any magazines dedicated to book lovers? 

Jilly Cooper
Arlington Books
Publication Date
Todays fiction review bPublished by Arlington Books in 1975.

This is the blurp from Jilly Cooper's website:

If Emily hadn't gone to Annie Richmond's party, she would never have met the impossible irresistible Rory Balniel - never have married him and been carried off to the wild Scottish Island of Irasa to live in his ancestral home along with his eccentric mother, Coco and the dog, Walter Scott. She'd never have met the wild and mysterious Marina, a wraith from Rory's past, nor her brother, the disagreeable Finn Maclean; never have spend a night in a haunted highland castle, or been caught stealing roses in a see-through nightie... Yes, it all started at Annie Richmond's party.

This is Jilly Cooper's first published book, and here she starts a trend of book titles with female names. This is an enjoyable read, you don't have to think to hard, there are a few twists (unexpected ones). I think though that Cooper still had to find her distinctive style (racy but never gross) which we will find in her following books. I love her books for that style. This book reminds me more of the usual short romance stories and I miss the Copper 'kick'. Saying all this, I understand from Wikipedia, Riders was written in 1970. Emily was written for a teenage magazine which may explain it.

24 January 2014
Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted Coffee Addicted Writer
Every week a different question is posted for you to answer. Come in and join us.

This is how it works:

1. Answer the question on your blog

2. Go to Coffee Addicted Writer and put your link to your post on the Linky list.

3. Now have a look at the other blogs who have posted their links. Maybe comment on their answers (on their blogs), spend some time on their blogs and maybe join / become a member.

Perfect way really to get to know other bloggers :)

Here is today's question:

Do you think you will ever read every book in your TBR stack? 

And my answer is: 

For all the bogs which are (physically) at the moment on my TBR book shelf and on my Kindle - yes, I am getting through them. I usually even make an effort to put the newest purchases to the back ( I can be really disciplined if I want to!) and so they slowly inch their way forward - book by book. Well, I hope one day all of them will be read. Of course, new once's are being added all the time.

If I'm reviewing books, that usually will go to the front of the pile though.

However, the 'what I still would like to read in my lifetime' pile (not yet purchased), oh dear, that is never ever going to be done. And with so many new and good books/authors joining all the time… I need more holidays, that's what it is!