Blog Tour – All In Her Head

Book Title: All In Her Head

Author: Nikki Smith

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Orion

Year: 2020

Pages: 328

Format: ARC

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS

“Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.

She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.

Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in.

Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.”

Credit – https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/titles/nikki-smith/all-in-her-head/9781409192992/

MY THOUGHTS

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I knew that I had to read it. It sounded like everything that I would look for in a psychological thriller, gripping, twisty and emotionally charged, and I have to say, I was not wrong about my first impressions!

I can’t say too much as I will give the plot away, but when we first meet Alison, it is quite clear that something is troubling her. She is alone, she spends her days working in the library, eats her lunch in the canteen and then goes home to her immaculate flat in the evening. This all sounds like a simple life, but Alison is deeply troubled by thoughts and memories of her husband, she is sure that there is something going on and that he is following and playing mind games with her. As the story goes on, we find out the heartbreaking truth and as the story unraveled, so did my emotions!!!

The writing style was phenomenal, I swear that my heart was beating so fast throughout the entirety of part one! The story flowed incredibly well, the plot was brilliant and the twists were unexpected, impactful and at times heartbreaking.

I loved the dynamic, with alternating paragraphs being everything from Alison’s point of view and then from Jack’s perspective. I also found that there were just the right amount of characters, with just the right amount of back story. Too often I find that there are either too many character or not enough!

This book did cover some very difficult to talk about topics, such as postpartum psychosis. So if you are sensitive to that topic, I would be mindful of this when picking this up to read.

All in all I have to say this was an absolutely brilliant, fast paced, gripping and twisty debut! I would wholeheartedly recommend that you pick this one up!

Thank you so much to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours, Orion Books and Nikki Smith for sending me an advanced readers copy of All In Her Head, in exchange for an honest review.

All In Her Head is available now to buy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Nikki Smith’s about me, taken directly from https://nikkismithauthor.com/about-nikki/

“I’d wanted to write a novel for many years, (I actually wrote one when I was much younger but it was pretty dreadful!) and despite getting an English degree I ended up working in finance which doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity.

Years went by, I got married to my husband and had two daughters – then one day someone I’d been at school with, and hadn’t seen since I left, contacted me via Facebook. She asked if I’d ever done anything with my writing as she still remembered the stories I’d written at school. 

It was one of those ‘now or never’ moments which prompted me to take that first step. I signed up to an online creative writing course with Curtis Brown, bought as a birthday present for me by my husband. I loved it so much I applied for one of their longer 3 month courses, which I was accepted onto and where I wrote the first (very, very rough!) draft of my novel, but still didn’t really have any idea if it could end up being any good.

I then spotted a competition that the author Amanda Reynolds was running on twitter – I sent her the first three chapters of my book and she agreed to mentor me. I was absolutely thrilled. Amanda helped me edit my first three chapters before I submitted them to agents. 

I was incredibly fortunate to be offered representation by Sophie Lambert at C+W and together we worked on the manuscript for a few months before she submitted it to publishers. Ten days later I accepted a pre-empt offer from Orion for a two-book deal.

I live near Guildford with my family and a Burmese cat called Saffi who thinks she’s a dog.”

Credit – https://nikkismithauthor.com/

WHERE TO BUY

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Nikki-Smith/All-in-Her-Head/24616947

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/all-in-her-head/nikki-smith/9781409192978

Foyles – https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/all-in-her-head,nikki-smith-9781409192978

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Her-Head-Nikki-Smith-ebook/dp/B07XT69ZXM/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=all+in+her+head&qid=1585758346&sr=8-1

Book Review – Queenie

Book Title: Queenie

Author: Candice Carty-Williams

Genre: Novel

Publisher: Orion

Year: 2019

Pages: 400

Format: Kindle

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS

“Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.”

MY THOUGHTS

There are really not enough words to explain how I feel about Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, but I will try my very best!

I honestly do not feel like I have connected so much to a fictional character before in my life, I really was not expecting this. I sit here writing this review after finishing two other books, and I am still thinking about Queenie. I miss Queenie, I want to read more Queenie. To be honest, I will probably just re read it in the next few months anyway!

I instantly just wanted to be Queenie’s friend and part of “The Corgis”, I felt everything she went through, heartbreak, denial and pain. I also did feel a little bit of frustration seeing her go through the cycles that she was unable to break away from. She just felt totally real. There was no sugarcoating, the writing was just real. I LOVED Queenie’s family, their undeniable love and support for her, but shown in their own way and also her friends Darcy and Kyazike (especially Kyazike!!). I thought Kyazike’s dating stories were HILARIOUS!

Candice’s writing style was absolutely brilliant. I didn’t even realise how quickly I read the book until I was 70% of the way through. I really did not want the book to end! I loved how connected I felt to Queenie, even though we a totally different people.

Thank you Candice, fro writing Queenie and making this isolation period a lot more bearable.

I highly recommend reading Queenie if you haven’t done so already, or even if you have read it already!!

P.S. take a shot for each time I said Queenie (yes, that one counts 😉).

P.P.S. I’m sorry that this review does not do this book justice.

Author Details

Candice Carty-Williams is a writer and author of the Sunday Times bestselling QueenieQueenie has been described as ‘vital’,’disarmingly honest’, and ‘boldly political’, and has been shortlisted for the Waterstones, Foyles and Goodreads Book of 2019, as well as selected as the Blackwell’s Debut of the Year. In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, the first inclusive initiative of its kind in book publishing. Candice has written for Guardian, i-D, Vogue International, every iteration of the Sunday Times, BEAT Magazine, Black Ballad and more. She will probably always live in South London.

Credit – http://www.candicecartywilliams.com

Buy Queenie!

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Candice-Carty-Williams/Queenie–Longlisted-for-the-Womens-Prize-for-Fiction-2020/24546409

Foyles – https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/queenie-longlisted-for-the-womens-priz,candice-cartywilliams-9781409180050

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/queenie/candice-carty-williams/9781409199373

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Queenie-Longlisted-Womens-Prize-Fiction/dp/1409180077/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=queenie&qid=1585391867&sr=8-1

Blog Tour – The Operator by Gretchen Berg

Book Title: The Operator

Author: Gretchen Berg

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Headline Books

Year: 2020

Pages: 342

Format: Hardback

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS

From the inside of the cover…

In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business . . .

Nobody knows the people of Wooster, Ohio, better than switchboard operator Vivian Dalton, and she’d be the first to tell you that. She calls it intuition. Her teenage daughter, Charlotte, calls it eavesdropping.

Vivian and the other women who work at Bell on East Liberty Street connect lines and lives. They aren’t supposed to listen in on conversations, but they do, and they all have opinions on what they hear—especially Vivian. She knows that Mrs. Butler’s ungrateful daughter, Maxine, still hasn’t thanked her mother for the quilt she made, and that Ginny Frazier turned down yet another invitation to go to the A&W with Clyde Walsh.

Then, one cold December night, Vivian listens in on a call between that snob Betty Miller and someone whose voice she can’t quite place and hears something shocking. Betty Miller’s mystery friend has news that, if true, will shatter Vivian’s tidy life in Wooster, humiliating her and making her the laughingstock of the town.

Vivian may be mortified, but she isn’t going to take this lying down. She’s going to get to the bottom of that rumor—get into it, get under it, poke around in the corners. Find every last bit. Vivian wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be.

But as Vivian is about to be reminded, in a small town like Wooster, one secret usually leads to another. . . “

MY THOUGHTS

When I first saw this book being promoted a few months ago, I was instantly intrigued about it. I loved the plot, I mean who isn’t drawn in by a theme of gossip and mystery?!

So, when I was sent an email to ask if I would like to participate in the blog tour for The Operator, I jumped at the chance.

The story starts off strong, getting to know Vivian and her family, how she likes to listen into the phone calls, and pretty much how she believes that she knows everything that there is to now about everyone else’s life and business. However, this all changes when she finds herself litening into a phone call about her private life. I can’t say much more on that without giving everything away!

I did find it a little bit difficult to keep up with all of the different characters at first however, I did get used to this as the story went on. I especially enjoyed Flora’s storyline, after finding about her involvement in the scanda, and the twists that unfold after!

I have to say I also really liked Vivian’s character development, I found that throughout the book she really did grow and start to realise her own potential and started to care a little bit less about what people thought about her in the small town of Wooster.

The writing style did take a little bit of getting used to but, it did not take too long to get into the flow of the story. The pace was fast start with, and then it slowed up a little until the last 100 or so pages, when all of the twists and turns came out, which I loved!

The Operator is a fantastic debut and I highly recommend reading this if you love the 1950’s era, gossipy tales with a little bit of comedy and a little bit of mystery with a few twists and turns that you may not see coming.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater, Gretchen Berg and Headline Books for gifting me a copy of The Operator in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Operator by Gretchen Berg is available to buy now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

“Gretchen Berg was born on the East Coast, raised in the Midwest, and spent a number of years in the Pacific Northwest. She has taught English in South Korea and in Northern Iraq and has traveled to all the other continents. A graduate of Iowa State University, she lives in Chicago, Illinois. The Operator is her first novel.”

Available in your local, independent book shop or you can buy it online, using the links below (no links are in any way affiliated)

Blackwells – https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Operator-by-Gretchen-Berg-author/9781472264107

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-operator-gossip-secrets-and-lies-in-a-small-1950s-town-in-this-deliciously-warm-hearted-read/gretchen-berg/9781472264107

Wordery – https://wordery.com/the-operator-gossip-secrets-and-lies-in-a-small-1950s-town-in-this-deliciously-warm-hearted-read-gretchen-berg-9781472264107?cTrk=MTcwNDI2MDc2fDVlNmMyMjMxYWEyOGQ6MToxOjVlNmMyMjFiYTgzYTM2LjYyNTMxNjE1OjAxZjU4ODg2

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operator-Gossip-secrets-deliciously-warm-hearted-ebook/dp/B07SD4ZZT7/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+operator&qid=1584144990&sr=8-1

Book Review – Woman on the Edge

Book Title: Woman on the Edge

Author: Samantha M. Bailey

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Headline Books

Year: 2019

Pages: 267

Format: Paperback (Library)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS

A moment on the platform changes two lives for ever. But nothing is as it seems…

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes for ever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or is something much darker going on?

MY THOUGHTS

So, I was just having a little wander around my local library, looking for something interesting and different to read, and this immediately caught my eye.

Now it really is not that different to the things I usually read. It’s not secret that I love a good thriller. There really is nothing like a fast paced page turner to get you out of a reading slump. Well, that’s my opinion anyway!

So, when I read the synopsis, I knew that this was exactly what I needed. Right away the blurb grips you in and makes you want to read why someone gives a stranger her baby. Fast paced, check. Unbelievable, check. Suspenseful, check. It really did have everything I wanted.

Going in, the first line “Take my baby”grabs you, just as I predicted it would dafter reading the blurb. However, I am not sure if it just took me a little while to get used to the characters or to get into the book but I wasn’t as gripped as I hoped I would be when I first started.

I think that perhaps I didn’t really feel a great connection to Morgan at first. This did change throughout the book and I did start to feel sad for the way that she had been treated by her late husband, the police and everyone around her. However, I feel that I needed a little bit more character building around her as I did want to know a lot more. Ultimately I think that the Morgan character was slightly underdeveloped in a few areas.

However, in saying that, I really did feel the Nicole character was very well developed, I felt empathy for her and I really felt what she was going through and what she was battling in her head.

The storyline was twisty and fast paced, as predicted, and I really liked the format of the writing and the way that it went from Morgan to Nicole was really good. I also think that the transitions between characters was great. I really liked how the chapter on one character would end on a cliffhanger of sorts, it really quickened the pace of the book and made you want to read more.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, there were some character development issues in my opinion on Morgan but that was just how I felt. Perhaps that was just me.

If you are looking for a fast paced, heart racing, twisty thriller then pick this one up! I would recommend!

Woman on the edge is available now, you can purchase using the below links (not affiliated at all!), or better still, borrow from your local library!

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/woman-on-the-edge/samantha-m-bailey/9781472264640

Foyles – https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/woman-on-the-edge,samantha-m-bailey-9781472264640

Wordery – https://wordery.com/woman-on-the-edge-samantha-m-bailey-9781472264640?cTrk=MTY5Njc5MjcxfDVlNTExODJmMTYyYTc6MToxMjo1ZTUxMTgyMTM3YWRkNy4wMzMxNjY1Mjo5MzJhMWIwNQ%3D%3D

My Year of Books – 2019

Firstly, I would like to thank all of you so much for your warm welcome when I posted my first blog last week. It has really meant a lot to me.

2019 has been such a fantastic, eye-opening year for me. I have rekindled my love of reading and have made some wonderful friends along the way.

Here is my slightly different, highlights and firsts 2019 wrap up, in no particular order…

Goodreads Challenge 2019

Around March/April I decided to try and read 50 books in 2019. At the time, I thought that I was being a little bit ambitious, considering I had only read about six or seven at that point. However, once started the challenge I really tried to rise to the challenge.

I have to admit, in 2018 I must have read about three books, so going from this to 50 was a real challenge! However, I am so pleased to say that I managed to reach 50 books read in 2019!

Reading really has helped me cope with a few issues this year, and I really feel like I would not have been able to do it without the goodreads challenge being in the back of my mind.

Here’s to 2020, where I aim to read 60 books!

2019 Firsts

First Stephen King Book

In 2019, I read my first Stephen King book, The Outsider. If I am honest, it was very different to what I had expected! However, that being said, I am looking forward to reading some more of his works. The next King books on my list are The Institute and Misery.

I have watched the film Misery a few times and I really like it, so I am looking forward to seeing how the book has been translated on to the screen.

First NetGalley

When I joined this wonderful bookish community, I did not know that free books and advance reader copies of books were available to people like me. I then came across NetGalley through bookstagram and I was totally intrigued!

My first approved book was Twenty-One Truths About Love – A Novel by Matthew Dicks.

I got so excited about my first approval, I read it immediately. The book was so different to anything I had read before as the whole book is written in lists. It was such a great story of the inner workings of the main character’s mind and the lengths he goes for his family.

I am so grateful for NetGalley and I am looking forward to reading more NetGalley books in 2020.

First Physical Proof

I will start with this… I LOVE Lisa Jewell books. I love her writing style, I love her plots and I just really love how easy her books are to read. So when I saw people on bookstagram receiving copies off her new book, The Family Upstairs , I knew that I had to at least try to get a copy!

So I asked around a bit about how to word an email to request a proof copy from a publisher, and so many people were more than happy to help!

Eventually I worked up the courage to ask and a lovely girl at Penguin responded to say that she had sent a copy.

I could not believe that I had actually managed to get my hands on a copy of this incredible book. I read it in about two sittings, I could not put it down. I have to say, that this was one of my favourite books this year, and it also holds a very dear place in my heart!

Thank you so much to the team and Penguin who sent me a copy and were so kind a generous. This definitely was a big highlight of my 2019!

2020 Goals

Now is the time for moving forward. 2019 was such a great reading year for me and I am excited to carry this forward into the new year.

In 2020, I plan to do the following:

  • Read at least 60 books
  • Engage with the bookish community more – not be scared to comment and share opinions with like-minded people
  • Borrow more books from the library
  • Start reviewing audiobooks
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Be more consistent with bookstagram
  • Read more of the books that I already own
  • Work on my book ratings – not every book is going to be a winner

I honestly can’t thank this community enough for everything this year, it’s more than I can put into words.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and fantastic 2020!

Andrea

My First Blog Post

Hey everyone!

Thank you so much for stopping by and checking my blog out!

I have been thinking about creating a blog for a long time and I have finally done it!

With 2020 fast approaching, I thought that I would make a start now and create my blog. I have made it one of my new year resolutions to make a blog post for every book that I read in 2020.

So, a little bit about me:

My name is Andrea and I am 28. I currently live in Essex, UK, with my partner, Ed.

I haven’t always been such an avid reader, only in the last couple of years have I really started to read a lot. I find that it calms me and is always there when I need a pick me up.

Social interaction is not one of my strong points. Unfortunately, I do struggle with conversation and what to say most of the time! When I joined bookstagram, I was scared to even comment on someone’s post, let alone talk to someone who I had never met before! Here I am now, not 100% confident still, but openly writing my own blog for the world to see (who am I kidding, I will be lucky if five people read this!). Even though social media is not the healthiest of things, it really has helped me come out of my shell and, even though I have a long way to go with regards to confidence, I have really come a long way in such a short amount of time!

My favourite book genres are, Psychological Thriller, Thriller/Mystery, Crime, Chick-Lit/Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction and Non-Fiction (Biographies, Medical Non-Fic, Crime non-Fic). I am usually open to other genres however, I am not really a big fan of Historical Fiction (sorry).

I would really love a Miniature Dachshund, I have already given him a name too… Percy! One day, when we are not in a flat, my dreams will hopefully come true!

I think that is enough rambling from me for my first blog post! I am very excited to get started.

P.S. Sorry about the layout, I am a complete rookie when it comes to any web based design, tech etc. Hopefully things will improve with time.

Andrea x