Book review: Letters to the Pianist by S.D Mayes

Book review for Letters to the Pianist

It is ages since I delved into some historical fiction so I was looking forward to reading Letters to the Pianist by S.D Mayes.  It has been on my radar for a while with its intriguing blurb and atmospheric cover.

Book review for Letters to the Pianist
Letters to the Pianist by S.D Mayes

Title: Letters to a Pianist

Author: S.D Mayes

Publisher: BHC Press/Gelan

Release date: 19th September 2017

Available from Amazonhttps://amzn.to/2Hn5OkX

Connect with Author: Author Page http://authormayes.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorMayes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorMayes/

Blurb

 

 A FAMILY TORN APART … A PAST THEY CAN’T ESCAPE 


In war-torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?


My Thoughts

 

This debut instantly transported me back in time to the Second World War and I remained there until I reached the end. I loved the premise of a missing father and how the characters came to life on the page. It is about the love of family,  the bond they share and survival in the dark times of war. The plot took me on a journey to places I wasn’t expecting to go with emotional,  heart-stopping moments making me want to share this book among friends so can be discussed more.  I can not wait to read more from this author. 

I am now off to have some fish and chips by the sea because this is another book that made my taste buds tingle.

Would I recommend?

I love this book and would recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction and family sagas. It is worthy to be on my bookshelf to be reread and would be wonderful as a book club read.

Have you read it? Let me know what you think below.

Happy reading!

Book review: Alive by Sharon Bolton

I love Sharon Bolton’s books and I am counting down the days until the release of her latest novel The Craftsman on 3rd May 2018. I was excited to find Alive for free on Kindle.

 

Alive book cover.jpg
Alive book cover

 

Title: Alive

Author: Sharon Bolton

Release date: 1st March 2018

Blurb

For fans of Val McDermid, Elly Griffiths and Peter May, prepare to delve into the dark world of The Craftsman with Alive, the ghostly short story thriller by Sunday Times bestseller Sharon Bolton.

A dark moon is rising. A perfect black circle, barely visible in the night sky, the dark moon casts its void over the wind-scorched moor, over the soaring mass of a great limestone hill, and over the town that cowers in its shadow. The dark moon is the absence of moon before the slender silver crescent of the new moon appears again and people can breath a little easier.

The month is March and the night is clear and cold, black as pitch. The full moon in March is known as the Worm Moon, welcome despite its ominous name, marking as it does the end of winter and the emergence of earthworms from the thawing ground. Dark moons have never been named, although they are sometimes called the dead moons. The dark moons reign over nights when people stoke up their fires, draw their curtains tighter and try to think happy thoughts. In the town of Sabden at the foot of Pendle Hill in Lancashire they usually fail.

In Sabden’s soot-blackened terraced houses, the sleepers’ dreams darken when the moon leaves the sky. Infants wake up cold, mothers tremble with elusive fears for their children and old folks slip a little closer to death. Only the Craftsman welcomes the dark moon. Alone in the town, he is awake, and ready to start work.

Alive is a nail-biting, heart-racing, page-turning thriller that will have you up all night and includes an extract of Sharon’s upcoming novel The Craftsman.

Alive is the perfect appetiser to wet your appetite for Sharon’s crime-fiction reads – a gripping tale that will leave you terrified to turn the lights off!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alive-Sharon-Bolton-ebook

My Thoughts

This is a quick short story based in the 1960s but is spooky and sends shivers down your spine.Sharon Bolton excels at creating an atmosphere that makes you dread turning the lights out or go out at night and this is no exception.  This is perfect to tempt you to read  The Craftsman. It is going to be a long wait. I may have to delve into my favourite book of hers Blood Harvest in the mean time.

 

Have you read any of her books? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

In love with The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – Book Review

The Toymakers book review

Some books make you stop reading,  unable to pick up a new one up while you recover from the awe of storytelling, love of characters and powerful emotion the book has evoked.  As a writer, it makes me want to put your pen and notebook away as it puts it puts my work to shame.  The Toymakers is one such book and it makes me want to grab a copy for all my friends and demand they read it – mainly so I can talk obsessively about it with someone. As I consider you my friends and finances dictate I can not go on a shopping spree*, I am sharing a post originally published on Duvet Dwellers Books instead.

Hope you enjoy.

What book has given you a book hangover?

* Maybe a giveaway will be needed in the future

 

Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

 

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale caught my eye before it was published because the blurb instantly reminding me of my favourite film,  Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

I had high expectations as I placed a reservation on it at the library and that was before my friends who were lucky to receive an ARC raved about it including Mai Musings. A copy is now in my hands and the last page has been turned — blimely what a book!

The Toymakers
The Toymakers

 
Title: The Toymakers

Author: Robert Dinsdale

Publisher: Del Ray

Release date: 8th Feb 2018

Blurb:

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! 

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

My thoughts

This book was magical, stunning, and beyond my high expectations. The premise of a magical toyshop where toys are brought to life is one of childhood stories and movies but Robert Dinsdale with his superb imagination, writing style and the backdrop of the first World War has turned it into an amazing work of adult fantasy fiction.

From the moment I entered the shop with Cathy Wray, I was enchanted and captivated by the store, toys, and the relationship that evolves between herself and the two brothers, Kaspar and Emil. It is hard to say anything about the book without giving any of the magic away because discovering it for yourself part of the joy of this book but it takes you on a journey of emotions from childish delight and wonder to heartbreaking sobs. The main characters and toys will stay with me forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is a book that I could get passionate about, demanding all my friends read so I can talk about it for hours. It is on my Kindle and will soon be on my forever shelf so I can dip into it at any time. Buy it (no excuse as this month it is 99p on Kindle Monthly), borrow it and delve into its magic then let me know what you think.

Kindle version available now: https://amzn.to/2GJBzoG

Happy reading!

 

Originally posted in Duvet Dwellers Book Club

 

Book review: Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble

Book cover for Letters to Iris

 

Taking a break from writing, I have had the pleasure to read Elizabeth Noble’s new release Letters to Iris

Book cover for Letters to Iris
Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble

 

Title: Letters to Iris

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Genre: Women’s fiction

Publisher: Penguin UK Michael Joseph

Release date: 5th April 2018

Blurb

A gloriously uplifting story about love in all its forms from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Reading Group and Things I Want My Daughters to Know Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time. The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day. Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life. Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud. As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up. But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared. Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever? An uplifting, unforgettable story about keeping secrets, taking chances and finding happiness where you least expect it. Praise for Elizabeth Noble ‘A great writer. You’ll be rooting for Noble’s protagonists as soon as you meet them’ Daily Mail ‘Noble is the mistress of the tearjerking message of love’ Express ‘Deliciously readable’ Times

My thoughts

I loved the depth and soul of this book as it delves into the complex bond of grandmothers, mothers and daughters. Iris is the connecting thread between all of the female characters who are all facing challenges related to their time of life whether it is becoming a mother, facing an empty nest or dementia and end of life. It is emotional on all levels but left me feeling uplifted by the strength these women showed.

I instantly felt a bond with all the main characters especially Gigi and this made me read into the night because I needed to know a little bit more as the story developed and Iris’ history was uncovered.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you love women’s fiction with believable characters. It is an exploration of the strength of women wherever they are on their life journey.

Thank you NetGalley and Michael Joseph for allowing me to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

Happy reading!

Book Review: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

I read Rhiannon Navin’s debut Only Child last month but when news of the terrible news of the shooting in Florida came in as I was about to press publish I postponed it. As arguments rage on both sides about gun control in America, it is apt that Zach’s voice is waiting to be heard.

 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin cover

Title: Only Child

Author: Rhiannon Navin

Publisher: Pan MacMillan Mantle

Release date: 8th March 2018

Blurb

Rhiannon Navin’s Only Child is the most powerful book you’ll read this year . . .


“We went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home . . .” Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives. In the aftermath of the shooting, the close-knit community and its families are devastated.

Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing. Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can

My Thoughts

I read this book in a night,and sleep was put on hold until I reached the end. Rhiannon Navin has taken a difficult subject of the grief, anger, and consequences of a school shooting in America with sensitivity and care. Told through the eyes of 7-year-old Zach, his innocence, and black and white view of the disintegrating world are heartbreaking to read. If I could have reached inside the story to hug him I would have.

It is a book that pulls at the heartstrings and makes you appreciate every moment you have with loved ones. The devastating news from Florida makes this book topical and adds a viewpoint to the important discussions gripping America.

Would I recommend?

Yes but make sure you have hankies with you and be prepared to want to hold those you love tight.

Thank you, NetGalley and Pan MacMillan Mantle for giving me the opportunity to read this debut in exchange for an honest review.