All Is Fair In Love And War [review]

All is Fair in Love and War by Michael GoodisonSynopsis:

Set in a war-torn Australia, where killer mercenaries and violent gangs rule the streets, a lone journalist embarks on an adventure to try to piece together a broken world. Fortune favours the lucky…

All Is Fair in Love and War

My Review:

All Is Fair In Love And War by Michael Goodison is a fast paced, entertaining novel set in dystopian Australia where the planet has, 3 years ago, been invaded by strange alien-like creatures. I won’t give too much away as I don’t want to ruin any twists, but journalist O’Donnell is determined to find out what exactly what happened and visits various ‘witnesses’ to try and piece it all together.

I was really intrigued as the story went on. There is a lot of action throughout and sometimes with all-action books I tend to lose interest a little bit, but this kept me reading on as I was drew in by liked the element of mystery that runs throughout the novel. I was also interested to see what conclusion O’Donnell would draw from past events- if he lives that long! I enjoyed the ending Goodison created and felt it rounded off the story well.

The characters are all well developed and though some of them were a little irritating at times, they were all pretty realistic and convincing. I quite liked that main character O’Donnell wasn’t portrayed as perfect- some of his decisions probably wouldn’t be seen as particularly heroic but he’s just a human after all!

One element of the book I enjoyed most was reading about the novel’s version of the world post-invasion. The detail about how society and governments from all over the world had reacted was really interesting and adds an element of reality to an otherwise ‘far-removed-from-reality’ tale!

I really enjoyed this novel and hope it will gain more recognition as a great enjoyable read- give it a go!

Rating: 4/5

All Is Fair In Love And War is available to buy now on Amazon


About the Author

Author Michael Goodison and bookBorn and raised in Australia, Michael Goodison is an intrepid traveller and a prolific writer, with an insatiable appetite for adventure.

Citing his family, Michael puts a high value on “old-fashioned” mannerisms and says that discipline and patience are his driving force.

Michael has fought as a Thai Boxer and climbed several peaks in the Himalayas, including Mt. Cho Oyu – the 6th highest mountain in the world.

Having discovered a love for writing at a young age, Michael has previously published four books under a pen name before placing his own name on the cover of All Is Fair In Love And War, in 2014. His love affair with history and all things philosophical is evident in his passionate pursuit of great stories and he believes that the opportunity to listen to a great story far outweighs the opportunity to tell one.

I hope you all have a fantastic bank holiday weekend! What will you all be reading?
I’ve also got a book haul coming very soon so stay tuned for that 🙂

Book haul stack

August Book Haul!

Hello everyone,

I’ve got a book haul to share with you today! I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more books until I’ve read more of the ones I’ve already got, especially as I’m running out of room, but then the below happened…

Some have been bought and a few were sent to me by publishers/authors (these are marked with a *).

I’ve linked through to their pages on Goodreads so you can see more about each book, if you fancy!

Have a lovely rest of the bank holiday weekend 🙂

Book haul stack

Hour Game and The LieThe Lie by C.L Taylor
I’ve seen The Accident by the same author and always wanted to read both that and The Lie, so when I saw this at a good price I snapped it up, and am looking forward to reading it! I really enjoy novels about people who are not who they seem to be, and this fits the bill perfectly!

Hour Game by David Baldacci
I love David Baldacci’s novels and haven’t read this one. Its synopsis says “Two disgraced former Secret Service officers team up to solve a series of copy-cat crimes in this exciting new thriller by a master of the game”. Take a look at Goodreads for the full synopsis, but this sounds like it will be really quick paced and exciting.

The Promise and Dead LovelyThe Promise by Lesley Pearse
Often I fancy a change from thrillers and crime novels, and this appealed as it’s historical fiction which looks like it will really immserse the reader in WW1, a period of history I’m really interested in. Plus it doesn’t look like it will be too dry to be enjoyable, and I’ve heard good things about Lesley Pearse!

Dead Lovely by Helen Fitzgerald
I’m always wanting to read more of Helen Fitzgerald’s novels, and this looked fun and a little dark- the synopsis mentions ‘sexual tension, murder and mayhem…’ which sounds pretty intriguing!

The Dying Hours and All My Secrets
The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham
Another author I really enjoy reading, and although it’s no.11 in Billingham’s ‘Tom Thorne’ series, hopefully it won’t matter that I haven’t read any others of this particular series!

All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie
After I bought this I had a look and realised there were a LOT of 1 and 2 star reviews for this book. So now I kind of wish I hadn’t looked… however I’m going to go into reading this with an open mind and hope it surprises me for the better… we shall see!
The Detective's Secret and Only We Know

The Detective’s Secret by Lesley Thomson*
I think this is the third in a series, and I’ve heard good things about The Detective’s Daughter and Ghost Girl, the first and second in the ‘Detectives Daughter’ series respectively, so I think I might try and read those two first! Really looking forward to reading this series though.

Only We Know by Karen Perry*
This looks like it switches back and forwards in time and addresses a secret from the characters’ childhoods- usually an interesting and The Good Liar by Nicholas Searleintriguing formula so I hope it’s well worth a read!

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle*
I’m currently reading this, and really enjoying it. It doesn’t come out until January 2016 though, so there’s a bit of a wait for this to be available! I might delay posting my review for a while so it’s closer to publication date…though maybe not… definitely a good read so far!

What are you reading at the moment? Do any of the above look like they’d interest you?

Don’t forget you can add me as a friend on Goodreads too!

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle

Cocktails for Book Lovers!

 Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle
Synopsis:

Congrats. You fought through War and Peace, burned through Fahrenheit 451, and sailed through Moby-Dick. All right, you nearly drowned in Moby-Dick, but you made it to shore—and you deserve a drink!


A fun gift for barflies and a terrific treat for book clubs, Tequila Mockingbird is the ultimate cocktail book for the literary obsessed.

Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes—paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels—the book also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.

Even if you don’t have a B.A. in English, tonight you’re gonna drink like you do.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

Firstly, I am aware that this book has been out for a few years now, but I’ve only just discovered it! If you’re struggling for a cute present for someone who loves both books and cocktails, look no further!

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle is a gorgeous book crammed with cocktails with a literary twist- exactly what it says in the title! The book is designed to look like a literary classic and printed on lovely paper so it would make a really nice present (or just a treat for yourself, of course!)

Some of my personal favourite cocktail wordplays in there are “The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose”,  “Love in the Time of Kahlua”, “A Rum of One’s Own” and “Vermouth the Bell Tolls”, plus there are some bar snacks recipes included too which have similarly witty names!

For those who don’t drink, there are virgin cocktail recipes included too so all angles are covered- plus even if there wasn’t, you could easily adapt most of the regular recipes to leave out the alcohol!

Cocktails + literature = what could be better?!

Buy with Amazon

The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

The Mistake I Made [review]

The Mistake I Made by Paula DalySynopsis:

Single mother Roz has reached breaking-point. After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she’s struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son, who is starting to misbehave in school. Roz is in trouble. Real trouble.

When Roz returns home from work one day and finds an eviction notice, she knows that it’s time for action—she has two weeks to find a solution otherwise they will be kicked out of their home. Increasingly desperate, Roz doesn’t know where to turn. Then the perfect opportunity presents itself. At her sister’s fortieth birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias—wealthy, powerful, and very married. But the impression Roz leaves on him is indelible. He tracks her down and makes Roz an offer to spend the night with him—for money. He wants no-strings-attached intimacy and can guarantee total discretion.

Could it be as simple as it sounds? With that kind of cash, Roz could clear her debts and get her life back on track. But as the situation spirals out of her control, Roz is forced to do things she never thought herself capable of. Can she ever set things right again?

The Mistake I Made

Review:

I didn’t really know what to expect from The Mistake I Made as I’ve never read any of Paula Daly’s novels before and I’d purposefully not read up a lot about it before reading (I’ve been trying to do this with more books recently as I really enjoy reading novels without my own assumptions or expectations). I’d only very quickly scanned the synopsis. I didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy this book as much as I did- which was so much!

The main character Roz certainly made some questionable choices but Daly writes so well that I completely understood her desperation and kind of understood why she did it. Other characters were also really well developed too and the novel certainly provoked strong feelings from me as I read!

You can see where the story is going from a mile off, but I felt like that’s surely the point- readers can guess pretty well which direction Roz’s life is heading from this one mistake. There was still surprise and tension as I didn’t know exactly what was going to come of it, which meant it was really interesting and enjoyable to read, but I could tell things were going to get messy! With some novels like this I just feel frustrated with the characters who make such bad choices, but as I mentioned before, Paula Daly writes very convincingly and I therefore didn’t feel the same annoyance and irritation as I usually do, I just felt really bad for her whilst still warming to her as a character!

The story is really interesting as it prompts you to think how you might react in a similar situation, and how your family and friends would respond to finding out about it, as Roz’s did. The desperation she felt as a mother must ring true for many families sadly and I feel that Paula Daly did a really good job of putting character Roz’s feelings and reasons across without it becoming too preachy either way.

I would definitely recommend this brilliant novel and hope to read more of Paula Daly!

Rating: 5/5

The Mistake I Made is published in the UK on 27th August.

** Many thanks to the publisher who provided a copy of this novel in return for an honest review **

All is Fair in Love and War by Michael Goodison

Current/ Future Reads [August 2015]

I’m back with another list of books I’m currently reading/ will be reading soon! As usual I’ve been unable to resist reviewing some brilliant-looking new titles so some of my other, previously mentioned books are STILL sitting on my bookshelf but hey, why change the habit of a life time! 🙂

All titles link through to Goodreads so you can learn more about them, or just click ‘add book’ button to add them to your Goodreads ‘To-Read’ shelf!

(PS I know it’s pretty much the end of August already but oh well…)

Currently Reading:

The Art of Crash Landing - Melissa DeCarloThe Art Of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo (published 8 September): Loving this so far, the main character/ narrator is really sharp and quick-witted. Review to follow soon!

The Art of Crash Landing
The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

The Mistake I Made by Barbara Daly (published 27 August): I’ve only just started reading this so can’t say much yet, but I do love a story with some twists and turns and this promises to have a load of them! Hoping it will be an entertaining read- again, review will follow!

The Mistake I Made

To-Read:

All is Fair in Love and War by Michael GoodisonAll Is Fair In Love And War by Michael Goodison (out now): When Michael Goodison contacted me about his book, I thought it looked really interesting! No idea what to expect really apart from that it’s billed as a ‘post-apocalyptic’ read, so I’m looking forward to starting it and seeing how I find it!

All Is Fair In Love And War

Pretty Girls by Karin SlaughterPretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (out now): I love reading Karin Slaughter’s books so am really excited to read her newest stand-alone novel, which looks like it’s going to be a fast paced, exciting thriller that readers can really get their teeth into.

Pretty Girls

The Good Liar by Nicholas SearleThe Good Liar by Nicholas Searle (out now) – I’ve seen a lot of this novel on blogs, Goodreads and the general blogger-sphere, so jumped at the chance to review it! This isn’t published for a while so not sure when the publishers would prefer reviews to go up, but stay tuned for a review.

The Good Liar

That’ll keep me going for a bit! What books have you/ are you/ will you be reading this month?

Letting You Go by Anoushka Knight

Letting You Go by Anoushka Knight

Letting You Go by Anoushka KnightSynopsis:

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn’t visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.

Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?

Letting You Go

Letting You Go by Anoushka Knight is an enjoyable, easy read which starts off quite slow but gains a bit of momentum as the book continues.

The characters are quite well developed and interesting, though I struggled to emphathise with Alex- she got on my nerves quite a lot. I felt like she treated Finn pretty badly, and although she recognised this too she didn’t seem to change her behaviour until right at the end. Then again, she did have a lot to deal with. The topics covered in the novel are quite emotional at times; at one point towards the end I did tear up a bit and I warmed more to Alex as the story continued.

I found the writing a little cheesy at times, but quite enjoyed the turns and twists that the author threw in, some of which I saw coming a mile off and others that I definitely didn’t predict. I enjoy stories that keep you guessing and this one did, which added a bit more interest to the novel.

I haven’t read anything by Anoushka Knight before but would give some of her other novels a go in the future, and feel they would be perfect for someone wanting a nice easy read – in my opinion nothing too ground breaking, but it does make you think.

Rating: 3/5

Letting You Go is released in the UK on September 10th.

** Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review **

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Peek into the lives of colourful characters in ‘Fishbowl’!

Fishbowl by Bradley SomerSynopsis:

A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”

Fishbowl: A Novel

Fishbowl is a unique and entertaining novel told from the perspective of a goldfish, falling out of a window and down many flights of stairs. Whilst he falls he observes the people inside these windows and their various and often contrasting lives. We also see their lives in the minutes leading up to this and learn more about their personal situations which is like becoming a voyeur and peeking into their private lives!

The characters in this story are all really interesting and made me want to read more about them. I particularly like Katie, whose boyfriend Connor we quickly learn is being unfaithful, builder Garth who has a secret and Jiminez, the janitor who seems to be taken advantage of a little by his boss. They were all vibrant, compelling characters.

There are times in the novel when I felt sad, happy, disheartened and uplifted. It took me a chapter or two to get into but once I did I loved every moment. The fact that the characters all live so close together but only a few people actually meet each other, and even that always seemed to be by complete chance, was interesting to me as I live in a city and often think about how little we know of our neighbours and people living around us.

Bradley Somer writes really beautifully- at some points I was blown away by the language he uses and love the way he so perfectly conveys the interior monologue of the characters, so you feel like you really knew them.

I would definitely recommend this novel, especially if you love peeking into the lives of other (fictional) people!

Rating: 4/5

Fishbowl is out now, published by Random House UK.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing an Advance Reading Copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Orange is the New Black

Book Club: Orange Is The New Black

Orange is the New BlackWhen my friend picked Orange Is The New Black as July’s Book Club choice, we all said we’d try and separate the book from the hugely popular TV series which was based on Piper Kerman’s true story. There were a few of the group who had never seen the TV programme so we didn’t want to exclude them with talks of the show, just as much as we didn’t want the show to affect our reading of the book.

Synopsis:

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before.

But that past has caught up with her.

Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424 — one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

Orange Is the New Black

At first, I kept imagining the characters as they appeared on TV, wondering whether the people in the books were TV characters but with a different name. But, as I continued to read, I forgot about the TV series and became immersed in the book itself, as did others in the group.

We all said we really enjoyed reading Piper’s story. She seemed like a genuinely nice person and the entire story made us all question whether America’s punishments really fit the crime? She had to live for years under the threat of prison before she actually started her prison time, and that in itself must have been horrible. We all felt like that would almost be worse than being in jail- the not knowing.

A few members of our book group commented that they didn’t think they would ever be able to deal with a prison sentence the way Piper did. The characters are all interesting to read about, although some only pop up for a paragraph or two and then we don’t see any more of them. I suppose that’s how it is in prison though – sometimes you only see someone from afar and don’t really interact with them, whilst other people you grow to know so well. I did sometimes feel that Piper was a little too aware of how she didn’t ‘fit in’ there because of her race and how she’d been brought up, but she made the best of it and tried to get involved with prison life where possible without causing trouble. The TV series (I know we’re not supposed to be comparing, but it’s bound to happen) is so entertaining but reading this made me realise how much the series was dramatised! There were a lot of things I expected to happen, from watching the show, that didn’t, and I’m glad because this is, after all, real life, and it felt like that (even though she was in a position that a lot of us will never be in).

Overall I’d say this is well worth a read, especially if you’re interested in the prison system as I am! I love anything to do with prisons, which sounds strange but I just find them really intriguing.

Rating: 4/5


Next month:
 The Book Of You - Claire KendalThe Book Of You by Claire Kendal

The Book of You

A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagine.

This was my choice so I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks!
I bought The Book Of You a while ago in hardback and have had it on my bookshelf for a while, so I’m glad I’m finally going to get round to reading it at last!

If you read it too let me know how you found it! 🙂

Buy with Amazon

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

The Good Liar [review]

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle[Synopsis]

This is a life told back to front.

This is a man who has lied all his life.

Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con?

What has he had to do to survive a life of lies?

And who has had to pay the price?

The Good Liar

[My Review]

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle is an intriguing, well-written novel which covers various themes including growing old, relationships and family loyalties, as well as flicking between various decades. Going back in time means the author slowly reveals more about Roy’s previous life and those he knows, and this encouraged me to read on and find out more about the secrets he’s keeping very quiet about…

There were a few points where I started to lose track of some names and characters, and began to wonder what relevance they had- but it soon became clear! Roy is a truly horrible character, but it’s not until we get further into the story that we see just how much of a nasty man he is. Nicholas Searle has created really vibrant, intriguing three-dimensional characters.

I hate telling people that there’s a twist as that often means readers are guessing all the way through about what it could be (or maybe that’s just me?) which is always annoying as a reader…but there is a twist, and it’s a good one! I did guess it quite early on though, but still, I love novels with a bit of mystery.

I don’t want to give too much away about the novel so I’ll just say that this is a great novel that’s really entertaining and well written, and definitely one I’d recommend to others.

[Rating: 4/5]

The Good Liar is out in the UK on 14th January 2016.

Many thanks to the publisher who provided an ARC in return for an honest review.

Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson

DCI Alan Banks continues in Abattoir Blues..

Abattoir Blues by Peter RobinsonAbattoir Blues

Synopsis:

The story begins with a stolen tractor, hardly a job for DCI Banks and his Homicide and Major Crimes team, but the new police commissioner has put rural crime high on her agenda. At the same time, an apparent crime scene is discovered in an old hangar at an abandoned World War II airfield. In addition, two local lads are missing. One of them lives in a caravan, which is burned to the ground one night, and the other’s girlfriend receives an unwelcome visit from someone impersonating a police officer. Just as Banks and his team are getting a grip on all these incidents, a motor accident in a freak hailstorm turns up a gruesome discovery that spins the investigation into high gear. Soon it seems that not even the investigators themselves are safe during the race against time that follows.

I always feel like Peter Robinson is one of those crime writers that always manages to write really well, and creates convincing, interesting characters in his DCI Alan Banks series. Therefore I was really shocked that he wasn’t included anywhere in the Top 20 list of WH Smith’s ‘Best Crime & Thriller Authors Of All Time’ (though I was pleased that Peter James topped the list- read my blog post about it here) as this list is voted by readers and I think he’s written some brilliant novels to date.

Abattoir Blues (or In The Dark Places as it’s called being in America) is the newest DCI Alan Banks novel and follows the much-loved detective as he tries to track down the killer/s of two men, and subsequently thrown into the world of slaughterhouses and murder.

The story has a good amount of twists and turns and keeps you guessing as to how and why certain elements are connected. I definitely didn’t guess the ending and enjoyed reading about Banks piecing he puzzle together, as I always do! The story isn’t quite as engrossing as previous novels have been though- in my opinion the atmosphere isn’t quite as well crafted as usual, but the characters are as charming as ever. The writing and plot is great; the story is complex and moves at a fast pace that never left me feeling bored.

Robinson’s research is, as always, top notch and the story’s policing skills are completely convincing. I always forget that Robinson is not English, then I’ll read a particular word that reminds me of this, but nevertheless the character of Banks always makes me think of an English detective (like Peter James’ character Detective Roy Grace). From the knowledge he must have of Policing, I imagine that- at 22 books into this series- Peter Robinson could solve a murder as well as any trained Policeman (well, probably…!)

Reading about these well-loved characters is like visiting old friends every time a new one of these novels comes out!

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that the standard of Robinson’s books are just so high that this one didn’t quite impress me as much as I expected, but it is still a very good read!

Rating: 3.5/5

Abattoir Blues is released in the UK on 11th August 2015.
** Many thanks to the Publisher for an Advance Reading Copy of this book in return for an honest review. **

Are you a Peter Robinson fan? Which novel is your favourite?