Book Review- How to Stop Time

Thursday, 13 July 2017
Title: How to Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig
Published: 6th July 2017
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction, Historical

Rating: 5/5 stars

I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.
He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.
The only thing Tom mustn't do is fall in love.
How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live. -Goodreads

My thanks for the review copy I received from Net Galley and Canongate Books in return for an honest review.
This novel has already been snatched up to be a movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, and having read it I can absolutely see why it would make a great movie!
You can get an idea what the novel is about from the blurb above, but basically it involves a 439 year old called Tom, who ages extremely slowly, meaning he only looks to be in his 40s due to a condition called Anageria.
I absolutely loved this novel, and one of the big reasons was the different historical times and figures that Tom meets and experiences, and the way that Haig brings them to life on the page. Tom's meeting with a certain famous 1920s author was a particular favourite of mine!!
This novel has moments of serious action, but there are also long periods where there is limited action because this novel also spends a great deal of time pondering life and death, and what it really means to live. So, if you're looking for an action packed and fast paced novel this probably won't fit the bill. But, this novel will make you think. It's a powerful and deep narrative about life and living, and the inherent differences between the two. 
I felt a lot of sympathy for Tom, to see everyone around you grow old and die when you remain young would be emotionally and mentally very tough. I also hadn't really considered the difficulties that not ageing would pose in general life, but of course if you don't age people would grow suspicious. Tom has to move every 8 years so people don't grow suspicious, and this sounded like a very lonely and isolated existence, and Haig conveys this loneliness and sadness well in his writing, I could really feel it through the pages.
I have never read any of Haig's writing before, but after reading this novel I am definitely going to get my hands on some more. Haig's writing is some of the most powerful and touching I have ever read, he seems to understand human emotions, and be able to put them onto paper with a skill that is almost unbelievable. I gave this novel 5/5 stars, and I would highly recommend it to everyone! 

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 10 July 2017
This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

I've been working a lot the past week, which is good for my book buying bank balance, but not so good for my actual reading!! So I only managed to get through 2 books for review, which means I'm still on schedule for reviews this month, but I would like to be reading a little bit more. Hopefully this week will be better!

What I Read Last Week:

How to Stop Time- Matt Haig
I really enjoyed this novel, Haig has a beautiful way of writing, and it really made me think about the difference between being alive and really living. I gave it 5/5 stars.

Waste of Space- Gina DamicoThis was the other July release that I read this month, about a reality show featuring teenagers in space. I thought this was an enjoyable read, but the ending let it down for me, 4/5 stars.

What I'm Currently Reading: 

The Late Show- Michael Connelly

Up Next:

Kid Normal- Greg James and Chris Smith

Happy reading everyone!

Book Review- The Child

Thursday, 6 July 2017
Title: The Child
Author: Fiona Barton
Published: June 29th 2017
Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4/5 stars

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell… -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Transworld Digital in return for an honest review.
This is a mystery thriller novel about a baby's skeleton that is found buried in a garden. We follow Kate a journalist investigating the story, Angela a woman who's baby daughter was stolen from the hospital, Jude and her daughter Emma. 
This novel is fast paced, and the 4 perspectives definitely helps to keep this pace up. The chapters are short and snappy, and this adds to the pacing, and keeps the mystery flowing. This novel is a quick read, but the overall narrative stayed with me, I found myself thinking about it after I put the book down.
My favourite part of the story, and the part that really makes the novel for me is the relationship between Emma and Jude. Seeing the ways their relationship has been strained and stretched, and how well the author manages to do this with so little showing of particular instances. I wanted to keep reading to see whether they could patch up their relationship throughout the novel, or whether past events made any reconciliation impossible. 
I also really enjoyed reading a novel from 4 women's point of views, and although men were slightly involved in the story, they didn't feature heavily in the novel at all. All the women were strong in their own ways, and Kate was facing quite a lot of gender prejudices in her role in journalism, but she fought them, and proved her worth as a journalist many times. This was reassuring and great to read all these strong women, all different, but all strong, well developed and well rounded characters.
This is a well crafted mystery/thriller novel, there were plenty of twists, and although some were a little predictable, these didn't dampen my overall enjoyment, and this definitely rates highly in thrillers that I have read. 
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, I gave it 4/5 stars and it would be a great beach read which is perfect for this time of year!!  

Book Review- The Fourth Monkey

Thursday, 29 June 2017
Title: The Fourth Monkey
Author: J.D Barker
Published: June 27th 2017
Pages: 416
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 4.5/5

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Harper Collins UK in return for an honest review.
I don't really know how to begin reviewing this novel, and I mean that in a good way! Every time I begin a review for this book I end up writing a spoiler! There were so many twists and surprises in this novel it's hard to talk about it without giving something away. This novel is a detective crime thriller but it seems to take every trope of that genre and turn it on its head. Every time I thought I had caught a predictable moment, the author twisted it so I had no idea what was going to happen next.
A warning however if you are squeamish in any way, this novel is quite graphic in its descriptions of bloody violence and injuries, and I did cringe at times with the graphic nature of what was being described. If this is an issue for you I would recommend caution before jumping straight into the novel.
This plot is a very clever cat and mouse game between the lead detective and the serial killer. There are plenty of clues and twists to keep the reader enthralled the whole way through. This novel would definitely be a good holiday read as its very difficult to put down, and would definitely be best digested in one or two sittings!!
The narrative is cleverly created, we have differing P.O.Vs; from the lead detective, from other Officers on the case, from the latest girl kidnapped by the killer, and we get chapters from the serial killer's childhood diary. These differing chapters enhance the mystery by making the reader wait for the conclusion to different storylines, and make the novel a well rounded and well crafted book. The chapters that feature the killer's diary allowed us as readers to discover more about the killer in the past, and the reasons for his actions in the present. This definitely makes the character seem more realistic, and gave him more depth.
I had so many 'ah-ha!' moments while reading this novel, there were so many little clues that started to make sense later on, and it was really fun to read a novel and not have figured out the twists before the characters themselves had!
My only slight criticism of the novel was that we don't learn a great deal about the other characters that are helping the lead detective solve the case, I would've liked to read more about their personalities and back stories to help develop their character, but I understand that perhaps that would have made the novel extremely lengthy!!
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, I gave it 4.5/5 stars. It's one of the best thriller-crime novels I have read in a long time, and I will definitely be reading some of his other work as soon as possible.

Happy reading!!

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 26 June 2017

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

I've had a week off work, but I disappointingly didn't get a huge amount of reading done. I did get through a couple of books for review, so I'm not behind with reviews anymore!

What I Read Last Week:

The Fourth Monkey- J.D Barker
This was the first of 2 books I read for review, I gave it 4.5/5 stars, review to come!

City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare
This is the final book in The Mortal Instruments Series, I feel like I've been reading this series for my whole life, so I'm glad to get through it. I gave it 4/5 stars, and it's better than some of the previous books in the series, but The Infernal Devices Series is definitely better!

The Child- Fiona Barton
This is the second book that I read for review last week. I enjoyed this, it was a mystery thriller with some good twists in it. I gave it 4/5 stars, my review is to come!

What I'm Currently Reading: 

Pretties- Scott Westerfeld

Up Next:

How to Stop Time- Matt Haig

The Miniaturist- Jessie Burton

I hope you've all had a wonderful week, let me know!
Happy reading!

2017 Big Book Summer Challenge

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

This challenge is hosted by Sue at Book By Book. The challenge is simply to read 1 or more books over 400 pages long between May 26th and September 4th. I need this challenge, I have way too many books lying around that I never pick up because they're so huge! Hopefully this challenge will encourage me to get through them!
I haven't chosen a definite list for summer, so these are just a number of books I own that I could read for this.


It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 5 June 2017

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

Now I'm officially on my summer break it's great to finally get back into reading and blogging! I've got quite a few books to read for review over the next few months, so I'm hopeful that I'll manage to get quite a few books read!

What I Read Last Week:

The Space Between the Stars- Anne Corlett
I only managed to read 1 book last week, but it was a review book, so I don't feel too disappointed about it. I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars and you can read my review of it here.

What I'm Currently Reading: 

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness- Arundhati Roy

City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare

Up Next:

The Fourth Monkey- J.D. Barker

Uglies- Scott Westerfeld

On The Blog: 
June 2017 Anticipated Releases

May Wrap Up

Book Review- The Space Between the Stars

Let me know how your week went.
Happy reading guys!! 

Book Review- The Space Between the Stars

Friday, 2 June 2017
Title: The Space Between the Stars
Author: Anne Corlett
Published: June 1st 2017
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fiction, Space, Fantasy 

 Rating: 3.5/5

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive. 
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be... -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review.
This novel follows Jamie, who awakens to find that she has survived a deadly plague that has ripped through Earth, and the other planets that humans have colonised. She discovers other survivors, and together they try to make their way to Earth, which they have chosen as some sort of 'safe haven' to begin again.
 This novel really wasn't what I was expecting, the blurb suggested a dystopian style novel with end of the world style action, with rebuilding and re-inhabiting of the decimated Earth, and other planets. Instead, there is very little action in this novel, the characters travel through space a lot, but other than this interstellar travel the action is minimal. The majority of the narrative is filled with Jamie's philosophical wonderings on the purpose and meaning of life and the existence of God among other 'big topics'. I'm not sure how I feel about this, some elements of the narrative were quite interesting, and did encourage me to think about how it would be to be one of the last human survivors on a planet. But at the same time it sometimes felt too much. It felt too preachy and it got exhausting to read her constant meandering thoughts.
The above mentioned lack of action made the novel a little slow going, but it did mean that when periods of action took place, I appreciated the change of pace more. In actual fact, the action scenes that Corlett wrote were well done, especially when considered that the novel is written from a first persons P.O.V.
The novel is written completely from Jamie's point of view, and I must admit that I tend to find the 1st person narrative difficult to read if the character isn't intriguing enough. This was the problem I had in this novel, Jamie is not an interesting enough character to warrant my enthusiasm to continue the novel, and I really had to drag myself through it at times. She's a particularly negative person, and she whines for approximately 80% of her narration, which is exhausting to read constantly!! She is also constantly suspicious and thinks the worst of everyone she meets, making the novel quite a dark and moody read, with very little happiness or positivity to lighten it. I can understand that experiencing most of humanity being wiped out by a plague would be a pretty negative experience, but the narrator didn't seem able to think positively about anything, and for me personally this made the novel slow and difficult to get through, and certainly reduced my enjoyment of it.
This novel is set in a fascinating world, with humans inhabiting other planets, and space travel is a totally normal thing. I would've liked more background information about the world; things like how the Government ruled and number of planets inhabited would have been interesting to read about, but obviously I realise that that was not the purpose of the novel. 
One element of this novel that I really enjoyed was the romantic element that ran through it. This was well created by Corlett, it had enough back story to make it believable, and the foundations for their relationship were built gradually but felt stable and realistic throughout. I was really glad these two characters got together, and the whole atmosphere of the book was definitely lightened by the romance.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars. I thought it was an interesting take on science fiction and the end of the world narratives, and placing the focus on the human side of it, and how a human would psychologically cope was an interesting take. However, I felt that the whiny narrator paired with a fairly slow meandering narration did not hook me the way I was hoping it would.

Happy reading!!

May Wrap Up

Wednesday, 31 May 2017
I honestly cannot believe that May has come to an end. I know everyone says it, but this year, and particularly this month has gone by so quick!! I'm glad it's finished, I had my Uni exams this month, and I'm just super glad that they're finished. Also the end of May signals the beginning of my summer so that's always welcome!
I read a few books this month, not too many because of exams etc, here's what I read, watched, listened to, and what featured on the blog.



Goodbye Days: Jeff Zentner
I received this novel for review this month, and I thought it was ok, although it did have some problematic elements. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

Hamilton: The Revolution- Lin-Manuel Miranda
I'm obsessed with Hamilton, and so this was a wonderful addition to my obsession! 5/5 stars.

At the Going Down of the Sun- Elizabeth Darrell
This is a great novel, set in WWI, with interesting characters, and a well written plot. I gave it 4.5/5 stars.

The Keeper of Lost Things- Ruth Hogan
I read this novel for review too, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! 5/5 stars.

City of Lost Souls- Cassandra Clare
I feel like I have been reading this series for years and years, but this summer I am determined to finish it. This is book 5 of 6, so I'm close to the finishing line! I gave it 3/5 stars.


The Night Shift- this is a series set in a hospital during night shifts. It reminds me of ER or Grey's Anatomy, but I like these characters more! Series 1-3 are on Netflix UK, and I highly recommend them!

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Season 3- The complete 3 seasons of this Australian detective show set in the 1920s is on Netflix UK, and I highly recommend it. The costumes, the characters and the plots are entertaining and fun!

Listened To:

May I Have This Dance- Francis and the Lights

Moana Soundtrack

You're the One That I Want- Lo Fang

On the Blog: 

Happy reading!!

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