POSTS

‘Hands Up’ by Stephen Clark

Hands Up’ by Stephen Clark is a crime/police procedural novel that deals with domestic storylines. It is a book that focuses on the death of a young, unarmed black male who was killed by a white police officer. When I was sent this book by the author to read and share my opinion I was very happy as this sounded like the very type of book I would like to read. All of these opinions are my own!
This is a serious topic that many people can feel effected by. This book is emotive, powerful and gripping. From the moment I was sent it I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know more and find out the conclusions to the storylines.
I found the writing itself engaging as it used language that matched the story and it was not filled with complex words. Occasionally authors will use big complex words to seem more professor but it effects the impact of Thier sorry if you have to read the same thing multiple times to be able to understand it. I did not have that issue with this book and I was able to engage and be fully present with the story.

I liked the fact it dealt with a thought provoking issue and didn’t shy away from the realities. It is not only about unlawful brutality by police but faces issues such as racial divide, police corruption, self harm, drug use and gang culture. Due to this the book can be intense but that isn’t a negative, these are serious topics that need to have a platform and if that is in a fictional book then so be it. I felt it was authentic and could be a real event.
It sharesa story, although fictional, that is similar to those we have all heard of on the news. It was structured in a way that we heard from three main viewpoints throughout the event, the aftermath and the conclusion. We hear from Jade (the sister of the young male (Tyrell) killed), Ryan (the cop who killed him) and Kelly (the parent of Tyrell and jade who has come back after leaving his family years ago).
I liked this as you saw the views from very different views which helped to build reasoning to your own thoughts as you read. It was also nice to hear from Ryan’s pint of view and not just the victim family as it shows that he didn’t just kill. There was a reason and influence by others and we also get the chance to see how he is coping with the events and that it didn’t just happen and that’s that.

The main characters whose viewpoints we hear are strong characters. They all provide different aspects of the event and I really like the way in which Clark has written this book. I think the characters are well developed and realistic. Jade I liked. She was a sister hurt by her brothers death and I felt that anger and upset through Clarks words. Although not necessarily to me I feel that she could be relatable to a large amount of people. She dealt with huge loss. I feel like saying that Ryan is likeable is wrong as he is the culprit in this book, but I did think he was. He was a man that, yes commited a horrible crime that cannot be condoned, was influenced by his corrupt partner and from the outset knew and took responsibilities for his accent. Kelly is a character is did not particularly like. I however do not think this is a bad thing. You need to have character you don’t connect with to add the tension to the book. He had previously left his family after being involved in gangs and when he comes back he claimed he had changed but had he really?. The other characters in the book are all vital parts who we get to meet through these three and although their views are not used as a voice for the story they are just as important to convey the realistic and thought provoking aspect of the book.

One thing I would say is that I’m not sure how I felt about the way thing went in part two between certain characters (you will know once you read it). I mean it’s not a negative thing and maybe it’s just because I wasn’t expecting it but still I felt it lessened the impact of the story just a little. There are other benefits to it however with it bringing the two ”sides” together but I still not 100% how I felt. I’m not sure if it was a real connection or if it was all part of a scheme and that could be completely what the author intended for the reader to feel. So they can make thier own mind up.

Overall ,I would rate this book highly and would recommend that you read this! Even if you don’t like police procedural books this is one that isn’t solely about that. I don’t think you can easily categorise this and there is almost something for everyone!
Again thanks again to Stephen Clark for sending me the book for this honest review. Again everything in this review is my honest opinion.

Codename Villanelle

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

The first installment of Luke Jennings Killing Eve series introduces us to one of the world’s most skilled assassin’s, Villanelle. Villanelle is a codename for the assassin who lives a luxurious life thanks to her special skills murdering the worlds richest and most powerful. Eve Polastri is a former MI6 operative who is hired to track and find the assassin responsible for the murder of an influential Russian politition. Eve lives a quiet and fairly unextraordinary life accepts the job and her life changes forever as a game of cat and mouse plays out between Villanelle and Eve.

This book is the basis of the hit TV series of the same name; Killing Eve. If I’m being honest I feel as though the TV series was actually better than the book and this surprised me. Don’t get me wrong I liked the book but it didn’t seem to provide the same sort of tension or excitement as the TV series and I usually find it the opposite.

I didn’t feel as though I was on the edge of my seat the same as other novels I have read and maybe it was because I have already seen the TV show (definitely did it in the wrong order) I felt as though I had no input on the characters.

I like the characters of the book and feel they are really interesting however I do feel they have some flaws. Villanelle is described as someone who cares for no-one and only mimics feelings yet she has a companian throughout.

The end of the book I found frustrating and that’s only because I don’t particularly like big cliffhangers which this book definitely has. That is completely a personal opinion and some people really like the tension of a cliffhanger but I just get annoyed.

Overall, I think that the book was good but I did prefer the TV series.

Many thanks, Caitlin X

The Book of Hidden Things

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri is his debute English novel.

It is a fantasy novel which follows 4 childhood friends as they discover more and more about the town they lived in and themselves. They have a pact where every year they meet at a restaurant in their childhood town and when Art (one of the friends) doesn’t turn up events start to mirror those of 20 years ago. He is the one member who insisted on this pact and when he doesn’t show it is worrying. The 3 friends stay in town and investigate his disappearance.

I really enjoyed this book and I loved the mystery to it. As I read I continued to wonder what was going to happen next which I think is great in a book. Although this is a fantasy book it isn’t really heavy on fantasy element. Towards the end there is more of those elements however there is more of a focus on the characters.

I thought the characters were realistic and well written but at times they are not all likeable. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. In life there are people that you like and those not so much and therefore having this in the book almost makes it more realistic. It looks at the relationship between the character in depth which is something I really enjoyed. They are not perfect and they all have flaws and do things we really hate about them. I also like this about the characters as it adds dimension to the book.

I really like this book and would recommend it to those who not only like fantasy novels but also phycological thriller and mysteries.

Many thanks, Caitlin X
(Ps please comment if you have read this book or are going to)

Libraries

Libraries are places where I generally don’t go to but there isn’t really a specific reason as to why not. I think libraries are a great opportunity to let people read without paying the prices for individual books.

Wills Memorial Library

I remember being in primary school and taking a class trip to the local library. I was always to excited to choose a book and look at all the options. Even if someone in my class didn’t like to read they generally liked to go through the books and choose one. Whether that be a comic style book or a novel style book. I think at that age libraries are great as not only do the kids get out of class they also choose a book that they want to read and can start to see a style that suits them.

I think libraries should be used more often and I am someone who should use one more as well. I admit I should use them more! Not only is there a variety of books there is also staff there to help you. If you’re looking for a specific book and you can help it or you just want some advice on books there is someone there to help you and answer your questions. If you’re not sure how the library organised then just ask and the staff can explain everything you need to know.

However, they are not always up to date with new releases so if you’re looking for a newly published book then this might not be your best option. It also depends the size of the library whether they have as many books on offer. There is also the issue of the book your wanting already having been taken out by someone else.

I would say that overall libraries are a great service and should be used more to allow more people to enjoy reading. It provides books alongside a quiet place to enjoy them. So I hope that more people use them and I will be!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on libraries or any alternatives)

Travel Books – Lonely Planet

The amount of travel books available to read is huge however in this post I am going to talk about Lonely Planets releases.

I love to read and browse Lonely Planets travel books and see all the different destinations I would want to go to. I think most of these books give you the best photos and the idealistic travels however it does often provide inspiration for your travels.

There are also many different types of books that Lonely Planet has released such as; specific destinations, types of travel and round ups. These can all provide different information and depending what your after can help you whilst at your destination by giving you tips for your travels.

  On  Lonely Planets website you can get loads of information on destinations however nothing compares to having actual pages to flip through and write notes on or bookmark. I think for travel books it is fun to go through and mark your favourite destinations or activities and write notes next to articles. It allows you to be involved and plan your own journey with all you need in one book that’s right infront of you. It is also ideal when you are travelling to carry one with you as you won’t always have access to the internet ad can still get all the information you require.

Books such as ‘Packing List’ and ‘Travel tips’ are also very helpful. I always find that when I go on holiday I write constant lists of what I need to pack to ensure I don’t forget anything so having a specific book for that is great. To ensure you have all the necessities before you make a trip. Tips to help you travel also helps as sometimes you don’t know everything you need to before you travel (which is fine) however they can often make your trip goes smoother.

Due to the vast amount of different travel books I would highly recommend getting one for your chosen destination. Not only will it give you a bit on insight on what to expect but could give you ideas and hints for travelling there.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(Ps please comment if you use travel books at all!)

Yes Please

Yes Please is a non-fiction book written by American comedian and actress Amy Poehler which was released in 2014. In this book Amy shares stories from her life about how she became the well known comedian/actress she is today. It features personal, funny stories on everything from relationships, to working and parenthood. It is part-memoir, part self help where she offers her advice on things such as anxiety and self doubt.

As a fan of her work on SNL and Parks and Recreation as well as watching her comedy at UCB (on youtube!) I couldn’t wait to read this!

The book is very honest and open with Amy sharing a lot of her life. It follows her professional journey through her comedy in Chicago, her time on SNL and her experiences on Parks and Recreation. We hear about how she help found the Upright Citizens Brigade that is a vital part of many comedians career. It is inspirational as you see that she didn’t become famous overnight and she has worked hard throughout her life. She is incredibly talented but she also shares her personal stories of relationships and parenthood. She is honest and that is something I admire. I loved this book and I loved Amy Poehler even more after reading this!

I personally listened to the audio book where Amy herself narrated alongside guests such as Seth Myers, Mike Schur and her parents. I also have both the hardback and paperback versions (which is definitely overkill but I just couldn’t not have them!) I really liked listening to the audiobook for this as it adds more of her personality into the words she has written. There are even a few extra anecdotes you can enjoy! I found that I couldn’t stop listening to the audio book as it is not only a great book but full of personality. It is themed and easy to follow. It is well written and although throughout the book she declares that she hated writing it, I feel it paid off. She was honest about the difficulties of writing a book which I liked. It’s not always easy to write.

I loved this book and would highly recommend (especially to those who like Amy Poehlers work). She is honest and open whilst sharing this with humour intertwined. I love the book but I would highly recommend that you listen to the audio book. It is a perfect example of when the audio book may be better than the printed copy!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion of this book!)

The Lincoln Rhyme Series

Recently on twitter @LoveBooksGroup ran a competition to win two books from the Lincoln Rhyme Series and one from the Katheryn Dance Series by Jeffery Deaver, alongside different teas and a cute notebook, and I was lucky enough to win. (Many thanks to @LoveBooksGroup).

I had never heard of this author or this series before seeing this competition and once I had read a little about them I was very interested.

Jeffery Deaver is a former journalist and attorney who is an international best seller and has released over 35 novels. He mainly writes mystery/crime novels but he has also released a non-fiction book that looks at law.

The Lincoln Rhyme series is focused on the central character of Lincoln Rhyme who is a former NYPD homicide detective who is now a forensic consultant with the department. This change of role was due to an accident which resulted in Rhyme becoming a quadriplegic. He is partnered with Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through the crime scene.

Personally, I really liked the concept of these books as I love crime novels but having the main character as a quadriplegic is not only a great way to show disability is not something to shy away from when writing and having the main character quadriplegic hightens this but also it lets you see the stories and crime scenes from a different view as he uses his partner as his eyes.

I have not yet read them but I can’t wait! The two books from this series are; The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector.

The third book I was lucky enough to win was Roadside Crosses which is an installment in Deavers Kathryn Dance series. Kathryn Dance is a Special Agent in the Central Bureau of Investigation of the state of California. This character was originally introduced in one of the Lincoln Rhyme novels before Deaver went and dedicated a new series to her. Kathryn Dance is an expert in Kensics and interrogation and is originally assigned to interogate Daniel Pell, a convicted murderer.

As you can imagine this is also a series that I am interested in reading as I also love any book that has a spy aspect to it, and although she isn’t a spy she is a special agent so close enough!

I also was sent 4 different types of tea from ‘eteaket’ and a cute notebook.

Again thanks to LoveBooksGroup and I recommend you follow them on twitter!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(ps please comment if you have read any of the books from these series’ or by the author Jeffery Deaver.)