‘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.

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)

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!)

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

‘Imaginary Friend’ is a book written by Stephen Chbosky which is due to be released in October. This is a release I am scored about as Chbosky first novel ‘Perks of being a Wallflower’ was a great read that I loved.

‘Perks of being a wallflower’ was then made into a film which Chbosky wrote and directed himself. Since then he has written screenplays such as The live action Beauty and the Beast.

‘Imaginary Friends’ is his second novel and follows Kate Reese. Kate is a single mother who flees an abusive relationship by moving to a new town and starting over with her son. But Mill Grove, Pennsylvania is not the place they thought it would be… after her son disappears into the woods their life begins to unravel. This disappearance is strangely familiar with a similar occurrence happening 50 years prior. When he returns 6 days later it is a relief to find him unharmed but he isn’t the same as he was before. He doesn’t come back alone and is accompanied with a voice only he can hear.

This book is thrilling and eery with a masterpiece of imagination and emotion.

I was lucky enough to be sent a link to where I could read the first couple of chapters and so far I am liking it and can’t wait till October. As with every post I will say that reading is entirely a personal choice and which books you like could be completely different to other so although I am recommending it if you don’t like it that’s fine too,

If you would like to get an extract from this book follow this link!

http://netgal.ly/CIsH6X

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you read the extract and your opinion so far!)

Perfect Crime

‘Perfect Crime’ by Helen Fields is the 5th instalment in the DI Callanach Series. It focuses on Luc as he continues his life as a detective in Scotland whilst being haunted by his past.

I love this series anyway as it is well written with great characters in my favourite genre and this instalment was no different. I enjoyed seeing the comradery between the officers at MIT and how these relationships have evolved throughout the series.

The characters are realistic and are not represented as perfect and the best police officer. They have their fair share of problems and we get to see them cope with this. I really like Callanach and Turner but in this book I felt myself becoming frustrated with their relationship. They want to be more than friends but it doesn’t quite happen. Maybe this was the writers intention and if so it worked but I just wanted something to happen between them! I like to see other characters like Tripp and lively make an appearance where we get to see them evolve as they spend more time in MIT.

You get to see MIT investigate a series of suspicious ‘suicides’ and as more and more deaths occur we see them work through the all the outcomes. I like to read these parts of the book as much as the personal stories of the characters as I find it provides a balance between the excitement and the sincere.

It is well structured and well written and engaging. I read this book pretty quickly as I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to continue to read more and more to see what happens next.

I would highly recommend this book and the series as you will get the chance to see the characters evolve and develop. ( although I would say that you don’t have to)There is also another instalment due to be released in 2020 and I also can’t wait to read that!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read these books or have any other recommendations. )

Twice a week to once

Not really a blog post but I though that I would let you all know that from now on I will be posting a blog once a week instead of twice.

I have made this decision as I am going to have a busy summer with a time difference to contend with. I also sometimes can struggle to find blog inspiration when I am posting two days apart

I will now be posting on a Friday only.

Many thanks, Caitlin X

(PS please comment how you feel about this change and if you are a blogger what your posting schedule is like)