Book Review: Thin Air by Michelle Paver

thin-airWhat’s it about?

The Himalayas, 1935.

Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.

And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.

My thoughts

This was our book club read for December and as we hadn’t read a ghost story I was strangely looking forward to being scared.

mmm well in that sense it was a tadge disappointing as it wasn’t scary at all.  I’d had expectations of it keeping me awake at night or playing on my mind at other times of the day but it’s not that kind of ghost story.  It is however very atmospheric and haunting in a sense that any place that that’s so white, silent, dangerous and desolate would be.

I appreciated the time that must have been spent on the research and the authenticity the book has, the historical aspects of climbing, the pain, the endurance, the equipment they had as this was all really interesting stuff.  Some parts were even a little humourous; there’s a scene where they’re all taking tea at something like 15,000ft which seems somewhat absurd but so very British and of its time.

As I was reading I couldn’t stop picturing the movie Vertical Limit throughout even though that’s set in modern times but it just helped me visualise the difficulties and extremeness of the task they had set themselves.

Overall a good historical novel based on climbing but don’t go into it expecting to not be able to turn out the light at night – you’ll be fine!

As a side note, all the others in the group enjoyed the book also but comments were passed about the cost of the book (which was £10 on Amazon and someone paid £13 in Waterstones at the time of purchase in late November 2016).

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 240
Publisher: Orion


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Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live HereWhat’s it about?

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

My thoughts

While the Indie Kids or Chosen Ones are battling forces of evil ‘the rest of us just live here’ and get on with our lives.

Like in a horror movie the popular kids get hunted, stalked and murdered but think of all the other kids that are on the outside; this is their story. This book is all about those kids that are in the background, making up the numbers, they know the shit is going down but are not meant to be involved or have no control. It’s a very cleverly structured book having the chapter openings explain briefly what’s happening to the Indie Kids, this makes it feel like 2 stories in 1 that interact on the periphery.

You have to applaud Ness for his diverse characters and the issues that they’re dealing with; anorexia, OCD, mental health, their sexuality…oh and being a God, all this coupled with normal teenage worries, insecurities and relationships. But I do wonder whether trying to tick all the boxes to include so much diversity was a little overkill?

I don’t read a lot of this genre, a kind of mix up of fantasy and paranormal realism so don’t have anything to compare it too but it’s intelligently written even though aimed at young adult readers. I enjoyed the book although it took me probably a third to understand what was going on, and it didn’t take me long to read (just the weekend) but I preferred More Than This!

Oh and the beautiful blue pages…..

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Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author, Patrick Ness

Twitter | Website | Facebook

Book Review: Take Me Home by Daniela Sacerdoti

I’m delighted to be one of the first stops on this Fiction Addiction blog tour for Daniela Sacerdoti’s Take Me Home. Do read on to the bottom and enter the giveaway for a paperback copy. Here’s the review:

Take Me HomeWhat’s it about?

Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. After a stolen night with her close friend Alex, she’s just broken his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake. Then she has to rush home from London to the Scottish Highlands when her little sister’s illness suddenly worsens – and in returning she must confront the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape.

Back home, things become more complicated than she could ever have imagined. There’s her sister’s illness, her hostile brother, a smug ex she never wants to see again and her conflicted feelings about Alex in London and a handsome American she meets in Glen Avich. On top of that, she mysteriously loses her voice but regains a strange gift from her childhood – a sixth sense that runs in her family. And when a voice from the past keeps repeating, ‘Take me home’, she discovers a mystery that she knows she must unlock to set herself free.

Take Me Home is a beautiful story of love, loss, discovering one’s true abilities and, above all, never forgetting who you really are.

Publisher: Black & White Publishing

Paperback publishing 10th April 2014

My thoughts

So not having previously read any of Daniela Sacerdoti’s books before I was keen to read as part of the book tour as I do like a good mystery. I’ve had Watch Over Me on my Kindle for ages which I now know is the first of Daniela’s Glen Avich set novels – you don’t need to have read it though to follow this story.

The prologue introduces us to Inary as a child and her Sight or gift when she ‘sees’ her recently passed neighbour in her garden so we know there is going to be a supernatural kind of theme.

We then move on to Inary as an adult and living her dream in London but who is then forced to return to her childhood home in order to spend time with her sister in her final weeks. She’s also using this as an opportunity to avoid Alex, one of her closest friends with whom things have now become a little more complicated. With the story being told in turn by Inary, Logan and Alex they each give us a different perspective of the events and their feelings which I quite liked and thought that the author had managed to give them their own voice.

Without trying to give too much away the plot moves on and Inary’s visions or Sight returns and present her with a mystery that haunted her as a child. This underlying story of what happened to Inary isn’t revealed till the last third of the novel and I was eager to find out what was going to happen and so it did hold my interest throughout.

Unfortunately for Inary grief manifests itself in many ways and for Inary it’s the loss of her voice leaving her forced to write down all her conversations. I’m not sure I felt this added anything really….and I actually felt Inary to be somewhat selfish in her treatment of Alex with her constant shut downs and pick ups, a little whimsical!

Once the mystery is revealed, I thought more could have been developed from this. I thought Inary would have had more of a physical involvement of Rose’s discovery and would have been at the actual site.

I loved this quote from the book from one of the supporting characters – I just hope it bears some truth!

“What’s for you, won’t go past you”

I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads because I really enjoyed it, got totally swept along with the story, the characters and that’s good enough for me.  Whilst reading I felt it was reminiscent of that Scottish soap Take The High Road :), in its descriptions of the area, the people and the local dialect used. Overall, a suspensful read about grief, loss and coming out the other side.

Buy the book Kindle | Paperback

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About the author Daniela Sacerdoti

Daniela SacertdotiDaniela Sacerdoti is a mother and a writer. Born in Naples, but brought up in a small village in the Italian Alps, she lives near Glasgow with her husband and sons. She calls herself a thief of time – she steals time to write when everyone has gone to bed, or before they wake up. She’s a Primary teacher, but she chose to be at home with her children. She loves being with her boys, doing art with them, reading anything she can get her hands on and chatting with her girlfriends. But she also adores being on her own, free to daydream and make up stories.

Connect with Daniela via Twitter | Website| Facebook

**Giveaway**

The giveaway is for a paperback copy of Take Me Home which is open internationally.

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Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

The HumansWhat’s it about?2012 WBN Logo

It’s hardest to belong when you’re closest to home . . .

One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world’s greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears.

When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he’s a dog.

Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife’s eyes?

My thoughts

I came across this author and novel on Twitter. It had such good comments and reviews I chose it for our October book club meeting.

Written from the alien imposter’s perspective and as a guide of how to be a human for other aliens this book ultimately questions what it is to be human.

The alien has been sent to Earth to remove all evidence (including people!) that a particular mathematical theory has been proven. Apparently we humans don’t handle change well! I didn’t particularly like the part where a colleague was murdered, this was really sad and a bit brutal!

The sci-fi / alien element wasn’t as prolific as I thought it would be and I was glad. I’m not really into sci fi so this was just enough for me.

I must admit I did prefer the first half with the fake alien Andrew discovering human firsts, such as coffee and peanut butter sandwiches! The chapters are also really short so I got through it really quickly.

There are some great one liners and passages in this book that made me chuckle; here’s my favourites:

…history if full of depressing things…inventions of things which they have no idea how to handle (the atomic bomb, the internet, the semi-colon)

Humans as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead.

Your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.

This is simple yet funny but totally honest and a must read for anyone who loves maths!

Available as Paperback | Kindle

Connect with the author

Twitter | Website | Facebook


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Book Review: The Second Life of Amy Archer by R.S Pateman

the-second-life-of-amy-archerWhat’s it about?

Ten years ago she disappeared without a trace…now she’s back.

On 31st December 1999, ten-year-old Amy Archer went missing from her local playground. Her body was never found and the lives of her parents, Beth and Brian, were torn apart.

On the tenth anniversary of the disappearance, Beth is alone, still struggling with the enormity of her grief and the horror of not knowing the fate of her only child. But the fear and confusion have only just begun, and Beth’s world is turned upside down when a stranger knocks on her door, claiming to know what happened to Amy.

Beth is introduced to a little girl who is the uncanny double of her missing daughter, who knows things that only Amy would remember; the name of her favourite toy, the place where she scratched her initials, what Beth likes for breakfast. But this can’t be Amy, she hasn’t aged a day…

Now Beth is forced to question everything she has ever believed in, and push her faith and her sanity to the limits, if she is to find out the truth about what happened to Amy.

My thoughts

Whether you believe in reincarnation or not this is a gripping psychological thriller which I really enjoyed. This debut novel by a male author is written from a woman’s perspective but also a mother’s and I think it comes across very well.

Beth is indecisive in what she believes but I think that only makes her more of a believable character. Let’s face it, the majority of people would think she was nuts and not give her the time of day if she started spouting off about her daughter being reincarnated and I could only empathise with her.

It keeps you guessing right up until the end – is she / isn’t she Amy and even after you’re still not 100% convinced either way. These are the best books – the ones you’re still thinking about days after!

I wasn’t quite sure about the past life regression session, I didn’t know if it would be that easy but all will be revealed. I can’t say too much without spoiling! There are so many twists and turns in this book and one point I suspected Beth’s friend and confidante Gill had something to do it but I was going up one of the many garden paths there!

There are some difficult subjects in this book as well as the disappearance of Amy, such as paedophiles, child abuse and the effects this has on families and their victims so probably not for the faint hearted!

Overall it’s an excellent first novel and is one of my favourite reads for this year, if you enjoyed SJ Watson’s Before I Got To Sleep you should enjoy this.

Available from Amazon Kindle | Paperback