A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden is the first installment of The Outlands Pentology.

I was very lucky to have been sent a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.

A Touch of Death is a science fiction, dystopian fantasy novel and when I first read about it I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it but I was wrong. I really enjoyed reading the book as it featured many aspects that I really like. Including good character development, crime, drama and anticipation.

I have said in many posts before, one thing I really enjoy in a book is good character development and I found that this book really had that. I really liked the main characters of Nate and Catherine and found their growing relationship to be very interesting. There was something very realistic about how it naturally grew from hatred to friendship. They work together as a team and you can see how each of their strengths and weaknesses work to complement each other.

I tend to stay clear of science fiction fantasy novels as many book are not believable and that comes with the territory but I felt that even although their world is nothing like reality it somehow felt as though it could have been. As I continued to read I felt completely immersed in their world and felt as though I was on the journey alongside them. This I would put down to the writing and the concept. The writing in this book is excellent and really made this book as good as it is.

The book does feature many tough ‘scenes’ as the title suggests and is full of twists and turns which kept me engaged and wanting to see how the characters responded and reacted.

One thing I would say however is the last section of the book I felt to be rushed on a little and having spent so long on the rest of the adventure this result could have been explored further. in saying this there were some real tear jerking moments in the ending which added some real depth to the book

Overall, I would recommend this book and I will definitely be adding the rest of the books to my TBR pile.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share x)

Author Q&A: Claudia Rowe

This weeks post features another author Q&A, this time with author of the Spider and the Fly, Claudia Rowe.

I reached out to Claudia after reading her book the spider and the fly, a non-fiction book which I thoroughly enjoyed! ( I have written a previous port on it, check it out here!) . Claudia kindly answered some questions for myself and this blog and I hope you will like to read the answers as much as I did!

1. What made you want to become a writer, primarily non-fiction?

As a kid, books truly were my friends. Very often my best friends. Novels kept me company when I was alone, made me feel safe when I was frightened. I remember my grandmother looking over a book report I’d written in the 3rd grade and announcing, “You will be a writer.” It stuck in my head. But I didn’t consider nonfiction until college. I’d been piddling around, torturing myself over short stories, until I took a class in Writing the Personal Essay. It was a revelation. Suddenly, my work had an energy to it, a pulse. After that, the die was cast. I was going to make my living as a writer, and true stories were the way.

2. When having conversations with Kendall was it always the plan to write a book, and in a memoir/true crime genre?

I knew I wanted to write a book that stemmed from the place where I was living, a small city in upstate New York, and there were aspects of Kendall Francois’s story that mirrored themes I wanted to explore – particularly denial. That part was clear from the start. But only after we began talking did I realize how much my own past was part of our dynamic. I wanted to be honest about this with readers, so I needed to explain what had brought me to a place in life where I was corresponding with a murderer. Hence, the memoir.

3. I felt this book was more about the relationship between yourself and Kendall and the concept of human behaviour, was it always the intention to focus on this rather than the actual crimes?

My intention was to try and understand Kendall Francois as a person, not some sort of nightmare creature. I’d spent many years reading about crime, and at a certain point it felt like there wasn’t a great deal more to be gained from depicting yet another gruesome act – just, why? But I had not read much nonfiction that explored the humanity embedded within these stories. Novels, of course, have tackled this terrain extensively. But nonfiction, not as much, which is understandable. It brings you to some rather dark places.

4. What was your process for writing this book like, was it a book that took a while to write?

It took an insanely long time – 18 years from the moment I started to when it was published – with a long break in the middle. I began reporting this story as traditional journalism, or true crime if you like. But after five years, it became increasingly clear that there was something running underneath – the chess match between Francois and me – that I needed to explore. At the time, I just wasn’t equipped to sit with that kind of material, let alone write about it. So I stepped away. I told myself the book was too hard, and I tried to move on with my life. But I never put away my notes. For eight years, they sat in boxes, stacked around my desk – until one night I absentmindedly began flipping through an old draft. And here we are.

5. When you first started writing this book, did you have a goal for it?

My original goal was a book that would answer the question we all have: how does a person become someone who does things like this?

6. After writing this book do you have a different outlook on crime and the meaning of the word evil?

Yes. I believe most of what we label “evil” can be more accurately understood as evidence of mental illness. Is hatred a sign of mental illness? Maybe not. But sadism is.

7. Do you plan to write any more books, potentially a fiction novel?

Right after The Spider and the Fly, I published an e-book called Time Out that looks at the true case of a 13-year-old who was sentenced to 23 years in prison. And I’m at work on a new book now, also nonfiction, about foster care. But I do have a novel percolating. It’s about friendship and betrayal, and what happens to a tight group of girls as they grow up.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers and authors?

Ignore the disapproval of others. Read everything. Know that writing is work, often exhausting and sometimes humiliating. And if you think you’re a genius, you’re probably wrong.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share on ‘The Spider and the Fly’?

I am grateful to every person who reads this book and sits with the thoughts it brings up. Thank you for these excellent questions.

I again would love to thank Claudia for answering these questions, it is much appreciated!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(ps please feel free to like, comment and share )

Author Q&A: Douglas Lindsay

This weeks author Q&A features Douglas Lindsay, author of ‘Song of the Dead’ (the first in the DI Westphall series).

I reached out to Douglas Lindsay to see if he would possibly be able to answer a few of my questions, which he said yes to. Thank you very much for doing so Douglas Lindsay, much apprecieted! my questions and his answers are as follows;

1. What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve always been a daydreamer, a fantasist. I remember reading Walter Mitty in school, and thinking, isn’t everyone like this? Why is this even a character in a story? So, I’d always thought about writing, but I hit my twenties and got a job in an office. Time passed. Then I married a diplomat, we moved to French-speaking Africa, I didn’t speak French, I mentioned to Kathryn that I could become a writer, she foolishly agreed, and that was twenty-five years ago. Kathryn’s still a diplomat, still waiting for the pay-off of me being a writer. On the plus side, I just made butternut squash, chili and crème fraiche soup for lunch, which I wouldn’t have done if I was working in an office.

2. Did you have any specific inspiration to write ‘Song of the Dead’?

Not in terms of story. I decided to write a new, first-person detective series, so the main influence, or non-influence, was my other first-person detective series, DS Hutton. Hutton is an alcoholic, foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, opinionated, melancholic, PTSD-afflicted reprobate. I try to make him roguishly attractive, but I suspect plenty of readers just think he’s a bit of a dick. So, my basic starting point for Westphall was that he wasn’t Hutton. He doesn’t swear, he doesn’t sleep around, he’s calm, he’s reflective. He is melancholic, but all my leading characters are melancholic. The way the narrative develops then really stems from the character. Slow, measured, stopping to think on a regular basis.

The idea of the fellow turning up having been declared dead twelve years previously just came to me out of nowhere. Sounded intriguing, and that was all I had when I started writing the book, trusting myself to come up with a decent explanation along the way.

3. What did the process for writing this book look like? Did it involve much research?

Zero research. We’d just arrived in Estonia, where Kathryn was posted to the British embassy. I loved Tallinn. Straight off the bat, felt at home. We were there three years, and I’d move back in a shot if circumstances allowed.

I wanted to set the book there, but was aware that I really didn’t know the place. So, I used the narrative of an outsider arriving fresh in the country, and we see it through his eyes. It allowed me to be unfamiliar. It did get picked up and translated into Estonian, so hopefully I did a decent job in not offending anyone, or sounding naïve about the local culture.

4. This book has a lot of tough subjects (inc. loss, grief, suicide, crime), were these difficult to write about? And did you find it difficult balancing these within the book?

I find the melancholia really easy to access, very natural to write. There’s no reason for it. No childhood trauma, no PTSD. We all are the way we are, I guess, whatever that is. The story of Dorothy, which is really a small, sad, standalone tale detached from the main narrative, comes from me imagining what I’d do differently with my life if I was suddenly tossed back to university, and thinking through logically how bad that has the potential to be.

It’s interesting though that in the main narrative, there’s not a huge amount of grief, or sense of loss. We don’t really care about the victims, as we don’t particularly get to know them. That’s fairly common in my books. I like the detachment from real life, which is why the narrative is infused with the fantastical.

5. The book has two main settings, Scotland and Estonia, why did you choose to write with two setting and why these specifically?

Well, I’ve explained Estonia. It just felt like home. And the other place that feels like home is Scotland, of course. Since 1992, I’ve only lived there for two years, but the sense of place never leaves you. Those two years were spent living in Dingwall, and I have a lot of family up in that area, so I know it well. Not being a big reader of my fellows’ crime novels, I’ve no idea if there are any other detective series set in Ross-shire. I decided not to be bother checking. Just in case. The Highlands in general are such an extraordinary area to use in literature, and being based in Dingwall, does give scope to use such a huge swathe of the country. Again, no research, so I’ve no idea what area of the Highlands detectives out of Dingwall would cover. Maybe there aren’t even detectives in Dingwall…

6. This book is written in first person, was this a conscious decision?

It’s limiting, of course, in the sense of reporting the narrative of the story. You only ever know what the main detective knows. You can’t have things happening over there, somewhere else, where the detective isn’t. (Unless you cheat, and have third-person chapters, which in fact I do with DS Hutton, but decided not to do with Westphall.)

I do find first person very easy to write, however. Hutton, actually, is much easier than Westphall, because he’s so unfiltered. So, that was partly it, but it was also the issue I referred to previously. Setting the book somewhere with which I was so unfamiliar, if it had been written in the third person, I really would’ve had to get to know my town and the country a lot better. But I enjoyed the first person, stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect, so I didn’t feel like I was cheating in not researching. The narrative felt very natural.

7. I found DI Westphall really interesting, refreshing to have a character who isn’t perfect (eg fear of flying), did you find it important that he had flaws?

The flaws are the interesting bits. I also don’t see fear of flying as a flaw, by the way. It’s common sense! That was the downside of living in Estonia, the three-hour flight, which always seemed to last so much longer, back to the UK. I’d’ve driven every time if it had been practical.

The early Bond novels were a big influence on my writing. I remember always being more interested in Bond, his character and his flaws, than in whatever international espionage story he ended up involved in. I could’ve read three hundred pages of Bond being bored in London. And the man in those novels was so much more flawed that Connery or Moore ever were. I guess, now with Daniel Craig, they make him a little more human. But I remember a scene where Bond’s in the Caribbean, flying through a storm in a passenger plane, and he’s terrified, and I thought, that’s more like it.

8. Was ‘Song of the Dead’ always going to be part of a series?

That was always going to be publisher driven. Could I find one in the first place, and what would they like to do with it? I publish a lot of books myself through Amazon, but I wrote this one with intent of finding someone else to do it. It was initially picked up by Freight Books, and when they folded just before they were due to publish the second in the series, it was taken on by Mulholland/Hodder. They wanted three off the bat, but sadly it doesn’t look like they want any more. Unless something happens (in terms of sales or TV rights, neither of which seems likely at the moment), Westphall is probably done.

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Get on with it. It’s very easy to get bogged down in detail, to find reasons why you end up not writing much, or to give in to not feeling it on any particular day. I always think you should try to write through the bad days, hope that something comes out of it. You can always rewrite, and if ultimately you have to bin something because it’s bad, then it’s no different from not writing it in the first place. Better to get something down. The story will always grow and develop in the writing.

When you’re done, always, always, always print the book off and read it out loud. And try to do it in a day or two. It doesn’t just help with dialogue, but it really helps spot repetition, general typos, and even plot holes.

Then repeat at least once more, if not a couple of times. It gets boring, but it really helps the final polish.

10. Would you like to share anything else about ‘Song of the Dead’?

I like it. That isn’t always the case. I’m not, for example, particularly fond of the second Westphall book, BOY IN THE WELL. It was unusually a struggle to write, and I never really lost the sense of it not working. If I ever see a good review for it, I think, wow, dodged a bullet there. On the other hand, the third book, THE ART OF DYING, is my favourite of my own crime novels. Think it works really well.

I took the title of Book 2 from the REM song, and for Book 3 from the George Harrison song. Neither book is in any way related to the songs. I have no idea where the title for Book 1 came from. Must just’ve appeared in my head one day.

I loved reading this so I hope you have too! Thanks again to Douglas for taking the time to answer them! I would highly recommend reading this book for yourself but if you want to see my thoughts on this book I have written a previous blog post on it (check it out here!)

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share x)

Author Q&A: Julie Cohen

This weeks author Q&A features author of ‘The two lives of Louis and Louise’ Julie Cohen

I have previously written a blog post about this book (Check it out here) and if you have read you will know I absolutely loved this book.

I reached out to Julie to see if she could possibly answer a few questions for this blog and she said YES! (thank you again !). I loved reading all her answers and I hope you do to.

  1. What made you want to become a writer, and have you always wanted to be an author?

I’ve always been a reader, and reading great books make me want to write them. It was my dream as a little girl to write a book that would have a place on the shelves of the Rumford Public Library, where I grew up.

  1. Did you have any specific inspiration, or influence to start writing in general, or specific to Louis and Louise ?

The idea for this particular book seemed to come out of the blue, but as a matter of fact I think it was a response to the #MeToo movement, and associated conversations about gender and power. I wondered, ‘What would it be like to write a book with one protagonist but in two separate realities—one where they were born male and one where they were born female?’ It gave me the opportunity to examine how gender and personality is shaped by how other people treat you, even before birth.

  1. What research or process did you follow in order to write ‘Louis and Louise’?

I did some research on gender theory, specifically around the concept that gender, a social construction, is distinct from sex, which is biological. I was aided very much in this by the sensitivity reader I hired, who helped me with various ways of avoiding falling into the binary gender trap. I also did a lot of reading about toxic masculinity. Because the paper mill strike was based on a real life event, I spoke to several people who were involved in the strike. 

  1.  This book is written from two different viewpoints of the same life, as Louis and Louise, as well as in two different timelines. Did you find this difficult when writing the novel and do you have any tips of anyone writing with multiple timelines and viewpoints?

I planned the two timelines separately, though I knew that some events had to happen in both stories. First I worked out what was the same in both realities, and then worked out how they would be different just because of Lou’s gender. I started with the Louise timeline, because as a woman I felt more sure of her actions and feelings and voice, but by the time I got to the midpoint of the book I was writing both Lous alternately. When I plan something difficult like this, I generally use different colour Post-its to help me keep track—I’ve got a course online to show you how to do it! https://novel-gazing-with-julie-cohen.teachable.com/p/using-post-its-to-transform-your-writing

  1. I found this book beautiful, moving and at times dramatic. It also features the themes of gender, sexuality and stereotyping and how this affects people’s lives. Were you always planning on writing a book with these themes?

Thank you! Yes, I think once I’d come up with the concept of a book exploring how other people’s conceptions of our gender affects our entire lives, all of those topics became inevitable. They’re themes that I’m really interested in anyway and which crop up again and again in my novels.

  1.  The book features some tough topics, including loss, did you find this difficult to write about?

There are a few scenes that I found incredibly difficult to write and in fact I have trouble now reading both scenes with Lou and Benny in the basement because I find them both upsetting. 

  1. You have previously said that the hometown of Lou was based off of your own hometown in Maine, was this a conscious decision~? and do you think that this aided or hindered you when writing this book? 

Casablanca was very deliberately based on my home town in Maine. It’s almost identical in a lot of ways, including history and geography, and I based several incidents on things that really happened in or near the town—for example, the strike and what happens to Benny in Louis’s timeline. When I was growing up, my town was very homophobic (fortunately that has improved over the years) and that is an important part of the book, too. 

  1. Do you plan to write any more novels and if so, do you think they will feature some of the themes that Louis and Louise did?

My latest novel, SPIRITED, is a historical novel about ghost photography, and although the story is completely different, it also looks at gender roles, sexuality, sexual assault, loss, guilt, violent death, class, and the nature of love. These are things that interest me so they tend to keep cropping up. SPIRITED is out now in hardback, ebook and audio.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors and writers?

Read a lot, and write a lot, and never give up.

I hope you enjoyed reading those and if you haven’t already read the book (GO READ IT) I hope it inspires you to do so.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share 🙂 )

Author Q&A: Erica Waters

Erica Waters, author of ‘Ghost Wood Song’, has kindly answered some questions about being an author and her book.

I reached out to Erica Waters, after reading her book ‘Ghost Wood Song‘, to see if she could possibly answer a few questions for my blog. Amazingly she responded and answered them (very much appreciated) so here are her answers;

1. What made you want to become a writer, primarily YA novels?

I have loved writing since early elementary school and have always thought of myself as a writer, from angsty middle school poetry to creative nonfiction in college. But when I was getting my M.A. in English, I took a creative writing class and fell in love with writing fiction. Soon after, I read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and realized I would love to write books like those.

2. Did you have any specific inspiration or influence to write ‘Ghost Wood Song’?

One day, I was upstairs writing in my attic office when I heard someone playing a banjo. We have a few banjos in our house, but I was the only one home. When I went downstairs, the music stopped. So that got me to thinking about a connection between ghosts and bluegrass instruments, and Shady’s ghost-raising fiddle was born!

3. What did your process for writing this book look like? Did it require a lot of research?

I wrote this book fairly quickly, within about three months, but it took years of revision to get it to the form it’s in today. My research largely involved listening to music, especially bluegrass and folk. The book grew out of my connection to that music.

4. This book features a lot of big topics such as loss and love, did you find that the book required a balance between these?

Yes, it was often difficult to balance between the heavier aspects of the novel and the more lighthearted ones. Shady is dealing with tremendous grief for her father, as well as with a difficult home life, plus the scary supernatural stuff. But I also wanted to let her have some of the ordinary teen experiences, thus her relationships with Sarah and Cedar and all that drama! It was challenging to keep all those plates in the air without dropping one. I hope I succeeded.

5. An LGBTQ+ love triange is present in the book, was this a conscious decision to include different sexualities?

I’m bisexual and tend to write characters who share my sexual orientation. I do think it’s important for readers to see representations of bisexual characters written by bisexual people because public perception of bisexuals is often negative. It felt important to allow Shady to be herself, which is a sweet, determined, bighearted girl who also happens to be attracted to more than one gender.

6. At the core of this book is music, even Shady Groves name, is this something that was always the plan and with this genre of music?

Yes! In fact, the first line of this book I ever wrote was “My daddy named me Shady Grove, after the old Appalachian song.” This book is twined with bluegrass and folk and americana music in general. There’s no Ghost Wood Song without this music.

7. There are many great characters in ‘Ghost Wood Song’, do you have a favourite?

My favorite character to write was Orlando, Shady’s friend and bandmate. He’s a budding entomologist, a peacemaker, and a joker. I always felt happy when Orlando was in a scene. I find myself thinking about him a lot, wondering what he might be up to after the end of GHOST WOOD SONG.

8. Do you plan to write any more books?

Yes! I have another YA contemporary fantasy coming out in July 2021 called THE RIVER HAS TEETH, and I’m hard at work on new projects.

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My best advice is to let other people into your writing life. We love the romantic idea of the lone writer typing away on their masterpiece, but the reality involves a lot more community. Sure, the writer comes up with the idea and writes it, but there are so many other people who touch a book— critique partners, beta readers, literary agents, editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, and everyone else involved in the book’s production. If you want a book to be successful, you have to welcome those people in and let them have some ownership of the book too. Even though your books feel like a part of you, you can’t cling too tightly to them or else they’ll never make it—and you won’t either. My critique partners, agent, and editor have shaped my work so much and made me a much better writer. I’m endlessly grateful for them

I loved reading Erica’s answers and I hope you did too! I again would like to that Erica for taking the time to answer my questions, its greatly appreciated.

I have a previous post on ‘Ghost Wood Song’ if you want to hear my thoughts on the book (check it out here), but I would highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already. And if you have read this book already and loved it like I did, you probably can’t wait to read ‘The River has Teeth’ (much like me !)

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share x)

The Magpie Society by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch

The Magpie Society is a YA mystery novel written by Zoe Sugg and ‘Jinxed’ author Amy McCulloch.

First of all, I was really excited to read this book as I have previously loved some of Amy McCulloch’s other books and I will say I enjoyed reading it. I did find myself eagerly reading on but I will say I didn’t love how the book ended which kind of hindered the reading experience.

I liked the writing style and the switch between Ivy and Audrey viewpoint throughout the book. I feel it gave both characters depth and time to develop within the story. The use of the podcast transcripts is something I really liked, almost as if I was listening to it myself and allowing you to know exactly what the characters are reacting to. It was also interesting to learn after reading that the two authors were Audrey and Ivy in the sense that their viewpoints were written by one of the authors throughout.

I thought that a lot of the characters in the book are interesting and suited to a YA novel. The introduction of someone as new to the school as the readers are so we get to learn about the school through a character who has been there for years and one only a few weeks.

The book ended on a cliffhanger, which suggests a book will follow however I feel that the book itself didn’t answer any of the questions it set out. It was almost as if I read the full book for nothing. I like a cliffhanger but I felt like too much of the story resulted in this. For example, who the magpie Society is? This I can understand being a cliffhanger but the full premise of the story, what happened to Lola?, I feel that this should have been explained more. The book was leading up to this answer as we see Audrey and Ivy investigate and explore but we don’t learn anything else as it seemed to end right in the middle of a scene. In my opinion, I don’t think the book answered enough of its questions. Maybe if the second book was out already and I could have immediately read on it would have been ok, but I don’t think a book should rely on another that much even if it is a series.

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the process of reading it and will likely read the second once released to find out all the answers from this book but I was left frustrated at the lack of resolution in this one. I would maybe recommend waiting for the second one to be released so you can find out more without the disappointment of waiting.

 Many thanks, Caitlin Dermidy

(PS please feel free to like, comment, follow and share 🙂 )

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters is a YA fantasy novel that centres around a character named Shady Grove and ghosts risen through a fiddle.

“If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing. “

I was unsure whether I would like this book when I first received it in a Book Box Club subscription but I am glad to say I was wrong. I did really enjoy this novel. It was filled with mystery, paranormal and great characters. It is a book filled with an eerie atmosphere with sprinkles of romance intertwined. I felt like I constantly had to see what was happening. The book also featured a crime that was committed and Shady Grove using the fiddle to try to find out the truth. I really liked this aspect as it is part of the typical genre I would choose of a crime and the investigators but it looked at it in a unique way. Having a teenage girl look for the truth which lay with ghosts of those lost to her world.

One thing I really liked about this book is that it dealt with some great and occasionally tough topics. It didn’t shy away. It featured an LGBTQ+ storyline with a love triangle, the topic of loss was prominent in this book, friendship was a big topic also. Loss being one of the main topic in this book as it features both with the living and with the ghosts brought to the front with Shady Grove fathers fiddle. I think the writing in the book dealt with this really well and it showed how different people can react to loss in different ways and that is ok.

I really enjoyed the writing style of Erica Waters, it allowed the reader to really feel apart of the story and feel themselves become lost in the atmosphere and setting of the book itself.

The characters in this book were charming and added to the story well. Shady Grove was a well developed character who I loved learning about and following her on her ‘quest’. However, I would say even although I liked the other characters, they didn’t have a whole ot of depth. What I mean by that is that we knew who they are but not how they became to be that. I still liked them but I love characters with backstory. But that is a personal opinion and I may think that, but you might not. So I recommend reading it and seeing what you think.

Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it. I think a lot of readers would enjoy it as it features topics from many genres (crime, mystery, fantasy, romance etc)

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(Ps please feel free to like, comment and share)

Book Box Club – October 2020

This months theme was ‘From Afar’ and featured a book by Ayesha Harruna Attah.

This month, as per usual, featured some great bookish goodies! Those goodies were as follows; a beautiful Readers of South Korea mug with artwork by Cindy Kang and to go along with that a Chai Hot Chocolate by The Spice Kitchen. A Kingdom of Arawiya Room Spray by Bookish Bazaar to transform your rooms into a desert-scape. A tea towel with artwork by Helen Crawford-White based off of this months book was also included. Also include was some reading samples from Grown by Tiffany D.Jackson and The Once and Future Witches by Alix E.Harrow.

This months featured book was The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah. Just from the title and cover this book has caught my attention, it is a beautiful cover. This book follows twin sisters Hassana and Husseina who were torn apart after a raid on their hometown. As they face dangers, forge families and discover new cultures, their differences become evident. But their dreams offer lucid insight into each others lives and they can stay connected through this. Will they ever be reunited ?

The Deep Blue Between is a moving story of the bonds that can endure even the most dramatic change

I am excited to read this book and upon reading some (spoiler-free) reviews it looks like something I will enjoy immersing myself into. I had not heard of this book or author before receiving it in this book box and this is one of the reasons I love this subscription service and would recommend !!! So keep your eyes peeled for a future post on this book!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share 🙂 )

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Happy Halloween !!!!

Illustration by Eva Crawford-McKee, found on Instagram @eva_c_mckee_

Halloween is the perfect time of year to read some classic novels, mystery, thriller and horror!! And with halloween being celebrated a little differently this year its a great time to delve into some other realities!.

Some great Halloween reads include;

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. (You have probably dressed up at Dracula at some point but have you ever read the book?)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (another classic that should be on your tbr list!)
  • Monsters by Sharon Doger (a book based on the life of the above author Shelley, check out th)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (A popular series of the same name was based on this novel)
  • The Shining by Stephen King (or the majority of Stephen Kings books)
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (a dark fantasy childrens novella)
  • The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (A gothic novella)
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl (Childrens fantasy novel)
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (Horror novel with a film of the same name)

Any of these books are a great choice and can be classed as classics or popular fiction. I would say that even if you don;t have/want to read these options any horror, mystery or crime books isn’t a bad choice!

Have a great halloween and stay safe !

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like, comment and share! Don’t forget to check out Eva’s Instagram !)

SLEEP NO MORE by P.D James

SLEEP NO MORE by P.D James is a collection of 6 murderous short stories with a foreword by Peter Kemp.

I picked this book up at a local bookstore/café, The Book Nook, which sells preloved books. As I looked through the shelves I stumbled upon this book, and after having read another collection of P.D James Short Stories (The Mistletoe Murder and other stories) I had to read it.

I loved every one of the stories in this book, all 6 featured mystery, twists and turns and although only short feature some great developed characters.

As the six murderous tales unfold, bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution.

https://pdjames.co.uk/book/sleep-no-more-2/

I really like the format of the book, I like having the 6 short stories so I can read a full story, start to finish, in one sitting with no need to wonder what is going to happen next. Saying that the books are full of twists and turns and keeps you engaged but no need to stop reading mid story.

I would highly recommend these books for someone who is wanting a quick read with the same suspense and mystery as a full novel. Perfect for the month of Halloween!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment, like and share)