How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt (Blog Tour)

How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt

 

37806850Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 28th June 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 4384

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 20.09.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of bestselling phenomenon Daughter comes a thrilling exploration of a marriage consumed by ambition and revenge . . .

The perfect couple

Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.

The perfect marriage

Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.

The perfect storm

So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .

She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.

But how far will the fall take them?

 

My Review

 

Albie and Beth are married. Unknown to Albie, Beth has had a relationship with Albie’s boss, Ted, that ended rather dramatically. Between Albie and Ted, they have potentially found a cure for a fatal children brainstem tumour, however Albie doesn’t know what to think when Ted starts to take credits for his development, discoveries and hard work – Ted is more than a boss to Albie, he’s his mentor and friend, so he’s really hurt. This is where Beth senses her chance for a revenge – but is this going to change her and Albie’s lives for ever? How far will they fall?

The characters in this book were not the most likeable ones. They were all full of flaws, keeping secrets and telling lies and in fact not a single one of them would hesitate to bring the others down in the name of their career or revenge. But I think that Ted was the most obstinate of them all, being at the top of his game and being able to do anything to remain there. The story is mostly told from Beth and Albie’s points of view. Right from the beginning we know that something happened to Beth and she’s seeking revenge. We can also have a guess what it was that happened and with whom, and all my suspicions were confirmed. Beth was dreaming of a career as a surgeon but she’s a theatre nurse, however right now she’s enjoying her life, spending most of her time in her garden. Albie is a surgeon, working hard on finding a cure for cancer. Meeting him was like a fresh start for her – however here, guys, I am still not sure if Beth truly loved Albie from the beginning, or was it only the awareness that he was Ted’s best friend that made Albie interesting for her? Nevertheless, their characters were not too straightforward and it was so very well described how they affect each other. However, she brilliantly showed how human her main characters are – how lost they are, how helpless in the world and angry, but also how calculating they can be. Shemilt captured in an incredibly great way the conflicts of the characters, how tangled they felt, how important loyalty was to them and how far would they go to not inflict problems.
However, I think I’ve never warmed to any of them. They might have been in relationships and had feeling to each other but somehow they came across as clinical and without emotions, without conscience. I just didn’t get them fully – as well as the end, that didn’t sit with me at all.

But I don’t know guys, I can’t put my finger on what it was but I just felt confused by this story. However, it was a read with a difference and I can certainly say that never before have I read a story like this. It was confusing for me, yes, but it also was intense and interesting. It was dark and mysterious, and there were many moments that it was too medical for my liking, with many, many very detailed descriptions of procedures. There was also the case of the rats, like in animal testing, and while it felt really uncomfortable, hats off to the author for pulling it off like this, giving all the options and presenting both points of view, those of the researchers and those of the petitioners, without judging them. But back to this medical stuff – it was very literal and especially some of the descriptions of operations were really realistic. and I mean, really.

“How Far We Fall” was a thought – provoking story about ethics, morals and how far we – yes – fall to get our revenge. About power and revenge and ambition. It wasn’t predictable, oh no, on the contrary, I had no idea how it will proceed and in which direction it’s going to take us. The author has incredible way with words, the story is written in simple, short sentences but they’re exceptionally eloquent and she easily brings to life all the things she writes about. You’re going to feel hate, uncertainty, repulsion, anger and compassion. It was slow – burning but multi – layered. Tense and taut, and full of provocative questions about ethics and the author has created a claustrophobic, dark and heavy atmosphere and complex, multi – layered story. Recommended!

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Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by

Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen

 

38885462Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 3rd May 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘There aren’t enough words for how much I love it’ Marian Keyes

Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is.

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

Rating: five-stars

Apparently there exists a Facebook book called Oh My God What a Complete Aisling and it is so popular that the creators of this group, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen have decided to write a book about Aisling – and I salute them for doing this, because this novel was one of the warmest, funniest and poignant stories ever – thanks girls for bringing Aisling to my life. I’m not Irish, and have never been to Ireland (yet! I promise!) and the closest I’ve ever been to an Irishman were probably Marian Keyes’s books, and it is thanks to her novels that I truly fell in love with Irish style of life and humour, and yes guys, Aisling was the best that could happen to me right now – I completely adored this book and the characters.

For all the uninitiated, Aisling is apparently a typical Irish country girl who never skips hotel breakfasts (well, she paid for them!), loves her Daddy, going Out and Out Out, and her boyfriend of seven years, John. As far as Aisling is concerned, they will get married soon, build a big house and have children. However, it turns out, John has other ideas. Ouch.
Aisling soon finds herself moving in with her glamorous colleague from work, Sadhbh in Dublin city centre and is being introduced to a very different life – glamorous and hedonistic. With the help of her new – and old – friends Aisling starts to realise what she really wants from her life.

Aisling, and also all of the background characters, were so very well developed and there was so much depth to them that I really did care about them and what happened to them. I kept my fingers crossed for them, I had fun with them at the pubs and bars and I cried with them, and believe me guys, it doesn’t happen often that I feel so much invested in characters’ lives, so it’s a sign of truly brilliant characters. Aisling’s personality and life approach was brilliantly captured and the authors brought her so easily to life!
I really liked the friendship between Aisling and Sadhbh and Elaine. I must admit that I was all the time worrying the girls want to make fun out of her, that there is something very bad going to happen but it turned out I was wrong and it was a real friendship, no matter what, through thick and thin. They were always there for the fragile Aisling, they helped her to face family dramas and crises, they wiped away the tears as she struggled to get over John. I can’t, to be totally honest, understand some of the reviews saying the characters in this book were under – developed because in my opinion they were brilliantly drawn and Aisling, even though not changing, was still broadening her horizons. And well, I never wanted her to change – she was just my kind of a girl and well, some of her antics were very familiar to me. Oh yes! What I absolutely adored was her family and her relationship with her parents – it made me laugh out loud and it made me cry crocodile tears, it was beautifully written and I simply loved it. She was so open and friendly and I loved the way she embraced her new friendships and how – maybe not exactly voluntarily and with some scepticism – she danced to techno music and went on a Berlin city break.

The only thing that bothered me a little was the various number of Irish words, phrases and references but it was only a minor blip and oh well, if I was so bothered than I could look it up, right.

“Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling” was completely my kind of read, blending humour with poignant moments, light and fluffy but also with some hidden messages, with this brilliant, clever Irish humour. I absolutely loved that there was no meanness in this story and that people took Aisling as she was – because why shouldn’t they? It was affectionate and with a grain of salt, kind, funny, genuine and honest, and with character that I think we can all relate to on some level. Under the cover – up of light – heartedness there was much, much more to this story, it was full of depth and emotions and be prepared to drop a tear or two as well. Sharply observed, tackling so many topics that are close to our own hearts – I simply loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough!

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The Stranger by Kate Riordan / #BlogTour

The Stranger by Kate Riordan

 

36476410Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 22nd March 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

ONE OF RED MAGAZINE’S TOP TEN BOOKS . . .

———-

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of the night a woman is taken by the sea.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

Rating: four-stars

“The Stranger” was my first novel by Kate Riordan and I was incredibly excited to finally, eventually get her novel in my greedy mittens – I’ve heard tons of great things about this author and it’s not a wonder that I wanted to see for myself what’s so special in her books. And I think that this story is a great start if you, like me, haven’t read Ms Riordan’s novels before.
The story follows three women of different ages, billeted in a house on Cornish coast in the 1940’s in Penhallow Hall, a house perched up on the cliffs. They were land girls, helping feed Britain during the Second World War when young farmers were away fighting. Jane is the youngest and she joined Rose and Diana as last, and it turns out she’s the member of the family owning the house, and it quickly becomes clear that there are some misunderstandings between her and the owners Ms Fox and her daughter Eleanor. Rose was married but her first loved lived at the island. And last but not least, Diana. The girl who’s meddling and stirring and doesn’t let sleeping dogs lie.

The book starts with Diana going missing and then takes us back in time, several weeks, and with each chapter that takes us closer to her disappearance, in a kind of a count – down, we get to know the characters, their backgrounds and history, and start to like or dislike them. I think the author painted Diana in such a way on purpose – a girl with two faces, a girl with a very vulnerable side to her and a girl who wanted everything to be about her, who wormed her way to a friendship, who meddled and used everybody and everything for her own ends. A girl who longed to be liked and accepted but also a girl that pushed people away. Very complex and complicated character and the author really well captured this diversity in her. However, I didn’t like her. I didn’t have compassion on her. I did get when she was coming from but the way she went through life just made me feel antipathy.

It was an incredibly descriptive novel – and I must admit, even though it was beautifully written, in such a gentle way with love to the smallest details, it made reading for me a little bit difficult. It has hidden all the action, put it in the background in my opinion, and it’s a pity, because it was a story with a brilliantly interesting storyline. However, it was also a novel that was hard to put down, guys.

“The Stranger” was a slow burner, but with brilliant descriptions and wonderfully developed characters with a depth and distinctive voices, a story that intertwined lives of different women. The author has managed to easily and effortlessly put all the frustrations, hopes and anger into words. This was a story full of secrets, some of them very dark, with a complex and ambitious storyline. The author had so beautifully captured the atmosphere of the uncertainty and mendacity. She also brought to life the beauty of Cornwall and the setting was one of the best things in this novel, you could so easily picture the sea, the village, the lighthouse. There were many turns on the way and the final twists were really interesting, though I’d say that, in comparison to the tense built – up, it felt too rushed. But altogether, this novel was very interesting and different and I highly recommend it to you all.

 

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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Tuesday. Today I have something very special for you. As you can see, I am a part of a blog tour, and you can say, yes, well, that’s great but what is so special in being a part of a blog tour? Ha! Being a part of every blog tour is brilliant but this one is exceptional. Some time ago I was being asked if I want to try something new, something fresh, something different – an experimental blog tour! The Marriage Pact Challenge! If I dare – well, I am always up for trying new things!

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The rules of this blog tour are simple. As it is to do with the psychological thriller “The Marriage Pact” by Michelle Richmond, we are supposed to take part in the “marriage contract” featured in the novel. I must admit, I haven’t read the book yet as it arrived only few days ago so I was not sure what I’m agreeing to, nevertheless I decided to give it a go. I myself was intrigued what the outcome is going to be! And well, perhaps hoped that it’s going to refresh my marriage? So, for two weeks I lived by the rules – did they impact my relationship? For better or worse?

So here are the rules of a perfect relationship:

Always answer when your partner calls

Exchange at least two thoughtful gifts every month

Cook your partner dinner twice a week

Unfollow your ex on social media

Never spend more than two nights apart

Tell your partner all your passwords

Only wear clothes your partner deems attractive or appropriate.

Enable the ‘find my phone’ feature so your partner always knows where you are

Have no secrets from each other (and confess any old ones!)

Don’t even think about trying to escape…

OK, guys. So here it is. We are married for 7 years and together for 12, almost 13, this year. I really don’t know where to start, so maybe with the easiest one – my husband is not on social media. Not a single one. Heck, he even doesn’t have internet in his mobile phone and still doesn’t get the idea of WhatsApp. I didn’t have to unfollow him then. And of course didn’t have to enable the “find my phone” feature because it wouldn’t work on his mobile… However, just to ease your mind, he really always knows where I am – either at work, or at home, or chauffeuring our daughter to her “free time” activities… Yes. I know. My rock’ n’ roll life. Don’t judge me.

And well, usually I call him. It is always me that needs something 🙂

My husband doesn’t believe in gifts, grrrr. However, I’ve bullied him into buying me an early pre – Valentine gift and into giving me flowers, just because I like them. This eye – rolling! This whingeing! Really, guys, the things I have to bear up with! I, on the other hand, love buying gifts, and so he got a book (of course! What else! And his favourite series!) and his favourite chocolate, though, of course, there were comments that he doesn’t need anything. I think this rule of buying two gifts every month would kill me.

Cooking a meal is easy – peasy, as I cook every single night as my husband doesn’t cook. It was such a surprise to me when he told me lately that he doesn’t know how to peel the potatoes. God help me.

And well, we really don’t spend nights apart. Only when he’s away on business. Or I go on holidays with our daughter and somebody has to stay at home to look after the dogs. But believe me, after spending all nights together not spending them together is a kind of … I don’t want to say relief 🙂 But it’s not so bad. And spending them again together is even better.

One evening, to prove that I don’t have any secrets (rule number 9), I asked him if he wants to know my passwords. He looked at me strangely and asked if I want to know his passwords as well.

Let’s stay at rule number 9. Oh guys, I have secrets, I do! One evening, when he was very deep into searching for a new car in the internet I told him, haha, you know what, I’ve hidden a huge jar of Nutella behind my books, haha. He shrugged and said he’s not surprised. So now I have to look for a new hiding place for my huge jar of Nutella.

The rule about wearing clothes he likes. I let him to buy me a T – shirt. I won’t let him buy a T – shirt anymore.

Escaping? Thanks God there is no – one hounding me if I break the rules so there is no need to escape.  However, I would never ever sign such contract in my real, it would make me go crazy. But it was interesting two weeks, guys, that made me look and see things through different perspective, to see them sharper.

 

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

 

36048240Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 25th January 2018

Series: Me Before You #3

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Rating: five-stars

I absolutely loved “Me Before You” and “After You”, I didn’t have any problems with the second books like many others seem to have, and I was incredibly excited that Jojo Moyes is bringing Louisa back to us in a book number 3. I think that it’s the same with Louisa Clark as with Becky Bloomwood – haters will hate, lovers will love. I personally belong to the latest category and Jojo Moyes could write another three or more books about Lou and I would inhale them – I love Lou, and after finishing “Still Me” there is potential for another book for me there. And reading about Ms Clark is already like meeting an old friend – a brilliant feeling.
I’ve read this book few weeks ago so theoretically I could have posted my review then but it took me till today to really write it because I was scared – that I won’t do this book a justice with my words. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t but one thing is certain, guys – it was a gorgeous, perfect read and for me personally there is really a room left for another Lou’s story.

This time Louisa embarks on a new journey to New York, where she’s supposed to work as an assistant to a very rich and very influential family. Before she’s even unpacked, she finds herself jogging through Central Park, shopping for her employer and attending social events. To say that it is a totally different life style to the one she knows from England would be an understatement. Then she gets to know Josh Ryan, who looks exactly like… well, you can guess who, and their friendship grows. Is it going to jeopardize her relationship with Sam? Is Sam going to accept the changes in Lou?

Already the first chapter had me hooked – meeting Louisa at the airport was a brilliant experience and made me laugh so much! Be prepared to see her taking New York by storm, guys. She felt like the old Louisa, but also she seemed like a new one, with her new approach with her year of saying yes, taking Will’s words and lessons to heart. I loved seeing her meeting new characters – they were all larger than life, more or less likeable, real people made of flesh and blood. They were full of flaws and faults but that made them closer to life and more real.
Lou is still Lou, lovable and quirky, and she has this ability to see things with a pinch of salt, and she also doesn’t take herself seriously. She tries to balance her personal life with her new job, which of course is not so easy, as she’s on the other side of the world. It’s almost a shock for her to find herself in the company of the Gopniks, this influential family, and her life is now so very different to the one she has left behind in England. I loved the fact that Louisa was so normal, she has made mistakes and sometimes you could question her choices, but I think this makes her even more real and relatable.

What I also adored was discovering New York together with Louisa. You could think, with so many books set in The Big Apple, what could be so exciting and fresh, but Jojo Moyes had done here an incredible job. Seeing this city through Lou’s fresh eyes was like seeing it by myself for the first time. The descriptions of the city deserve a standing ovation, it was brought to life so easily, they were vivid and full of colours and flavours.

The hidden motto of this story are Will’s words “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live as fully as possible” – they are beautiful, pure words and I probably should have them tattooed on my forehead to finally start appreciate life just like Lou’s has done in this book. Because for me she did this – she’s come out of her comfort zones, she was taking chances and put all her eggs in one basket. Sometimes it paid off for her to be her own person, sometimes it didn’t but she didn’t give up and this is why wanted to hug her so much and tell her she’s doing so well.

I love Jojo Moyes’s writing style. It flows so easily and effortlessly, it’s chatty. It is witty, with a great dose of super humour, it’s elegant and incredibly engaging. It has immediately drawn me in and I felt like a part of the characters’ world, and I loved them like my own friends. From the word go I wanted to know what’s going to happen, I was intrigued with the Gopnik family, I wanted to know more about Agnes and see the developing relationship between Lou and Dean Martin. This is not a romance but it introduces us to so many shades of love – unconditional, honest love and what we’re capable of doing to preserve this love.

“Still Me” is a story of misunderstandings, lies, secrets, new and old friendships, broken hearts, forgiveness. It’s a real roller – coaster ride full of laughs, tears, frustrations and determination, disappointment and hope. For me this was a firm five – stars read and I would give it ten if I could – for me Jojo Moyes has done it again – written a beautiful, emotional, comforting story about brilliant characters. A story that shows that life goes on. That we don’t have to forget to live and be happy, we can live with happy and fond memories. That moving on is painful and can hurt but in the end it is worth it. That we have choices and that we can’t give up because the remedy or help can come in the most unexpected moment. It’s full of charm and kindness, but this is also Louisa’s way. She is not perfect, our Lou, but she’s relatable in the way she acts. She’s genuine, as well as the other characters in the story.

So let’s live boldly, people.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor / #BlogTour

Guys. I have another blog tour stop for you today. Have you heard about “The Chalk Man” yet? I’m sure you have. This is one of the most amazing and unpredictable books I have ever read and I am incredibly excited to be sharing my thoughts on this novel with you today. BTW, it was published yesterday, so whatever you do, drop it and make sure you’ve ordered it!

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

 

36355177Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

Rating: five-stars

So guys,  “The Chalk Man”. One of the most talked about books right now, I am sure you’ve heard about it, it’s impossible to miss all the buzz. But you know what? There are books that are being incredibly advertised and after reading them you’re left thinking “and that was it?”. With “The Chalk Man” it’s not going to happen. No way. Nada. Because this book is going to blow your mind and you won’t be able to put it down. Have my word.

 The first thing that not only took me immediately by surprise but also shocked me a little was the opening – a gruesome discovery in the woods, and right then the scene at the fair. To say it started with a kick would be an understatement, guys. And so the story continued, full of scenes out of this world, and me, sitting there intrigued and my jaw dropping, thinking nothing more intriguing won’t come and being totally wrong. What a bloody brilliant story!

I still can’t believe that it’s C.J. Tudor’s debut novel because the writing style was amazingly good. It was easy to follow and there was not a single moment that I felt confused, even with this complex storyline, it was very descriptive – yes, guys, all the gory details are there, the almost chopped – off  leg, the severed heads and a lot of blood – and while there were moments that I wanted to close my eyes to stop seeing those things, it also somehow worked for me, and I loved this chatty, easy writing style.

There was really much going on, alternating between 1986 and 2016, but in the end everything comes neatly together. The author has a way with describing her characters – she gets into their heads and as a result they don’t have any secrets from us, they were really vivid and alive. Ed was laid – back, scruffy 40 – something, living in a house he grew up in, a teacher, with neither girlfriend, nor wife, nor children. He smoked like a dragon and drank much too much and yes, I know, he may sound not too promising, but Ed was really okay. He seemed so uncomplicated, so straightforward and, in a way, honest and naive, and he was the same 30 years ago – because the story is splitting between past and present. Ed, and all the other characters, his little group of friends, his family, Mr Halloran were exceptionally interesting and with very well developed personalities and well, I personally was hooked when reading about them. They were not straightforward, there was some kind of secrecy around them all and I always had a feeling I’m one step behind them, that I know everything about them but also nothing because in the next moment they were going to say or do something that would totally change my mind or open my eyes.

 The setting was very suitable, the town of Anderbury full of some nasty characters, full of secrets, lies and hypocrisy, violence and bullying. The atmosphere was so dark and this darkness and uncertainty was palpable through the pages. There was just this feeling of authenticity in this book.

I really didn’t know where the story is going to take me or what to expect from it, but that’s okay and it was really great for once to just let the book to take me on a real journey. It was full of questions and what ifs, full of coincidence and hazards. It dealt with many heavy issues, such as dementia or bullying for example. It was totally unpredictable and it kept you guessing all the time because it was so twisty and turny. While we can expect that the story is going to focus on the one thing, on the chalk man, there is much, much more to it and the reveals go on all the way through this novel – amazing! It was complex, it was clever, it was full not only of drama but also of a dark humour and it was really worth all of the buzz, guys. It was unique, a read with a difference, really something that I haven’t read before, and I read really many books. “The Chalk Man” was a multi – layered thriller, full of suspense and elements of mystery that took its time to unravel all the secrets and I can’t recommend it highly enough – no matter if it’s the genre you like or not, give this sharp – observed novel a try, I’m sure you’re going to be totally hooked!

PS. And have you noticed the cover? It’s gawesome!

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On the Bright Side by Hendrik Groen / #BlogTour

Hi guys! Not so long ago, because it was July 2017, I read and incredibly enjoyed “The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old” – you can read my review here. When I heard that there is going to be a second diary, I really couldn’t wait to reconnect with the lovely, full of chutzpah and life characters and there really was no question if I’d like to be a part of the blog tour – of course! For Hendrik – anytime!

On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

 

35997475Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Biographical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

Synopsis:

The new diary from one of literature’s most beloved octogenarians.

On The Bright Side picks up where The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen left off, at the care home of the anarchic Old-But-Not-Dead Club where Hendrik and his friends are determined to enjoy their autumn years full of optimism. Written with his characteristic charm and humour Hendrik proves, yet again, that age is simply a number.

Rating: four-stars

 

Oh, it was a real joy to read book 2 in the Hendrik Groen’s Secret Diary series – I had no idea that I missed him, his octogenarian club and their antics so much! I love Hendrik’s spirit, his plans for the future and his dark humour. If you don’t know Hendrik yet, he’s 85 years old and lives in a care home in Amsterdam. He and some of his cronies founded the Old But Not Dead club, arranging day trips and also visiting differently themed restaurants for food sampling. And they are not as innocent as they might seem, they are causing a lot of troubles in their care home – they really have a spirit!

This is a real diary, as Hendrik writes about his days and the things that happened in the care home. He’s the first to cause a mayhem but there is also this gentle, vulnerable side to him – he has experienced so many things in his life, also some of the most sad ones, and he really knows what he’s talking about. He may be old but he has a spirit and reading about him is like reading more about a school boy. His friend Evert complete him in a perfect way, as he’s the more naughty one, and they both together are unstoppable duo – whenever they appear, there is a mischief and laughter. But there is also a great depth to all the characters, they have experience, they have souls, they have great personalities.

I think this time the books speaks even more loudly to you because you like the characters so much, you keep your fingers crossed for them, and there is now the more serious case of declining health, the looming presence of death. It may sound darker, and it is darker, and more sorrowful read, but there is still a lot of charm to it and it tugs at the heart – strings.

This book is full of dark and intelligent humour but there is also the more serious and poignant side to it, perfectly hidden under all this humour but not to overlooked. It deals with things that we often choose to ignore with humour, wit and gentleness, and the author really does a great job with describing the older age in such a forthcoming and entertaining way (kudos to the translator here as well, as the translation is absolutely brilliant!). I think I enjoyed this second part in Hendrik’s memories better, even though it was a little more on the darker, more serious side but still it was a great entertainment.

It is a story about enjoying life, full of emotions and feelings, filled to brims with outrageous escapades and poignant moments. It’s about not giving up, about dignity of old age, about friendship. Touching and very up – to – date, mentioning events and issues that are our present, it was a great pleasure to read. Recommended!

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