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I am woefully behind on reviewing ARCs because of my two-week travelling holiday. I am still away from home but this is a part of a more settled holiday with regular routines and no need to hunt out places for food. I will probably be making up for the lost (but not really) time and you might see more regular activity on this blog. I am also still catching up on the older reviews by other blogger’s posts for the past couple of weeks as well.

I started this one ages ago, nearer to its actual publication date last year. I did not get along with the narration and moved on to something else. The time I took to get back to it turned out to be a good thing because the second time around I managed to read it without distraction and like it.

We are introduced to a tiny Cornish town, with its own castle kept away from mainland during low tide. Guinevere is at the castle for the summer to help catalogue the books owned by the Lord of the castle. The summer does not go according to the way she imagines it would. There are two books in this collection, I liked the first better than the second but overall were good reads.

The first book focuses on our lead protagonist’s arrival to the town and her taking in the general dynamics of everyone around. In the middle of a historical re-enactment, a murder is committed and everyone is a suspect. A non-local inspector comes into the scene and Guinevere ends up working with Oliver (the second son of the castle owner) to try and crack the clues. There is a steady working towards the end, each step is painstakingly presented to us and we are there for every event. The solution to the case was well done and was simultaneously expected and unexpected.

The second case follows closely at the heels of the first book with treasure hunters descending on the town, each with a different stake in the finding of a goblet. Once again a body is found as well as theft. The duo of the previous story start to piece things together again and everything follows the same pattern of discovery.

I liked the stories but found the narration to be different from my norm, I find it hard to really enjoy books with dialogues as the major part of the book (I cannot explain better than that). It seems a little over the top at times considering the background situation in which the dialogues are delivered. For the most part, the characters seemed believable and we are introduced to them properly and given time to digest their eccentricities. I would recommend this to those who like reading cozy mysteries set in rural backdrops.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience. 

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I saw this book everywhere when it was first released. I saw rave reviews and my interest was piqued. I do read a lot of historical fiction and this one seemed like something I would enjoy.

The best part of the book, something I definitely need to mention up front is the writing. The author has the ability to weave words in such a way that the story seems very deep and colourful. The emotions are also very vivid. That said, I felt like there were too many narratives which had me torn with my loyalty. We have Grace and Sarah in the past: 1838 and we have Matilda and Harriet in the present. We also have George (Sarah’s brother) with his own voice in the past timeline. All of these people are so well written, with their own grievances, joys, and sorrows that it became a little hard for me to decide on whom to shower my maximum attention on.

In the current timeline of 1938 we have Matilda travelling to USA to have her baby in secret. She learns a lot through the entire journey, another thing she learns is that her assessment of people may not always be the right one. She is to live with a distant relative, Harriet. Harry is a lighthouse Keeper and this seems to be the common vein running through the entire book because the past storyline, in 1838 focuses on a real woman Light Keeper named Grace. Grace is torn between her love for her place with the lighthouse and the way futures are dictated by norms that have no place for her emotions. One courageous act turns her life upside down. There is a lot packed into the tale, multiple families, multiple losses and a lot of hopes. If the writing was not as good as it was I might not have enjoyed unpacking it all.

I would recommend this to readers of the historical fiction genre because we can glean a lot about the social behaviours of the time as well as how people led their daily lives.

It is still available for request on NetGalley, I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience. 

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This book is releasing on 6th July and is available for request till the 16th

I was invited to review this book by the publishers, but the review is completely based on my own reading experience. 

I like the fake dating trope as much as most people and this story has its ups as well as a few downs in the telling of the tale.

Clara Montgomery is an out-of-work book editor who is embarking on a unique job of sifting through old storage units with unpaid bills. This is not something she is physically ready for but she learns on the go. There are secrets boxed up in those units and in one, with the help of her friend she finds out dirt about one currently famous actor. This brings her into his periphery and lands her in an unwanted role. The narrative was funny, and the supporting cast really realistic but I had a problem with the number of back and forths between our lead protagonists. The number of times tears and fears play a role in the narrative made me a little tired beyond a point.

I really enjoyed the writing and the zeal of our leading lady. The actual job of a working actor and editor was seamlessly incorporated into the tale which made for an interesting read when that bit came up. I would have liked to dwell more on the storage units since they seemed to be such a treasure trove for story material. I enjoyed Clara’s time there than anywhere else in the book!

I would recommend this book to people who read this genre and who like well-done friendships and sibling relationships thrown into the mix.

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Narrator: Michael Crouch

One of the Go-to authors for a well-told tale has done it again. I might actually like this best of the lot that I have read recently.

I have reviewed a lot of the author’s books on the blog:

    

This particular tale had the characteristic charm that accompanies her usual uplifting storyline. I almost(did) shed tears as I walked around Copenhagen with it in my ear. The lead protagonist in this book is an uncertain teen. He is a sincere student, a polite son and reasonably helpful passerby. The day his only friend in town is moving across the country, he sets out on a new adventure. It is spurred by the question an old woman in his building asks him. This entreating question and the attachment to a stray cat he finds along with losing his only friend are but little steps to how radically he himself is about to change his world as well as outlook.

He is an interesting character because like Raymond, I (and am sure many of you), have also had the right thoughts in my head. I have wanted to want to do the right thing. But in times of pressure and uncertainity, I roll back in and avoid eye contact with the uncertain. I work better through online donations and all those other indirect things. Like the time in Paris railway station, a man asked us to buy him a sandwich. I was more anxious about all the warnings I had been given earlier about distrusting the location and the fact that we were cutting it close, I did not respond well to my husband actually going till the sandwich stand and buying him one. I tell this story because it happened just last week and although I think complicated thoughts about meanings of actions, I could not act when required.

The book brings many such questions to the forefront. It addresses perceptions and how thinking about thinking just causes one to just be awkward and apologetic but not really proactive or even reactive when required. Raymond is almost eighteen, he is unhappy in general and trying to find Luis Velez gives him a purpose as do all the consequent events that follow from his search. The story that he takes with him opens a few doors and ends up with a lot of people thinking about their actions and roles as well!

There are friendships and different types of people in the book, I highly recommend this to anyone who likes a little bit of reinforcement in possibilities hidden within human nature. It is not all good news, but realistic which makes the hopeful part of the tale all the more realistic.

My KU list now looks like this:

Each cover page leads back to the Goodreads page for the book.

     

P.S: Have you seen my Mid Year Stats 2019 yet?

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Narrator: Lauren Ezzo

I need to start this review with the fact that the narrator did a fabulous job of doing so many varied voices that I could keep track of all the people without much effort. I knew where in the timeline I was and who was talking even without the prompt at the end which came with the name in it.

This book falls along the lines of many of the thrillers I review on my blog. It is also a well-written one with an ambience throughout the book of lingering menace. Singing River is a reasonably peaceful place with low-level crime and one of the leading families of town is facing a series of ill health forcing one of them to come back and take a role he never saw himself in.

There is a sudden kidnapping that occurs which brings an FBI agent to town. She’s there for personal reasons and is a very interesting character. Riley is haunted by a past which has fuel being poured in by her parents. At times, their behaviour borders on unimaginable/unbelievable but other than that, the multiple mysteries being tackled in the story are done well. The Blackwood family is the typical happy local family with troubles but bonds strong enough to weather them. There are a lot of things happening in the book and most of them resolve themselves by the end of it. I would recommend this series for anyone on the lookout for a new series featuring a dynamic duo and a lot of action.

P.S: have you seen my Mid Year Stats 2019 yet?

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I am at the end of one leg of my ‘holiday’ as I head to India for the next month. I will be reading and reviewing with some regularity in between but in the meantime, I have listened to three audiobooks while I site-saw(if that is the allowed past tense of site-see) by my self) I will be scheduling them a couple of hours apart and will put my latest kindle unlimited queue at the end of the last one since it would not make much sense otherwise.

Narrator:  Guy Mott

This book can be added to my #BritishCrimeClassicsChallenge, do check out the page for further information.

This was written by an author relatively unknown to me. I have seen her being reviewed by some of the more serious old classic crime book bloggers and when I saw an audio-ready version I had to give it a shot. I can see the charm of the writer an the lead protagonist, a (popularly considered as) bored second son who has to claims to his time and therefore chooses to employ his racing mind to crime solving. This is a particularly interesting case or to be specific: two interesting cases. One is of a missing man and another of a body with missing clothes and identity. They may or may not be connected. The narration has a comic tinge while making subtle jabs at the customs of the people of the time.

Lord Peter Wimsey is a good character but definitely, one that grows(or would grow on me a couple of more books into the series) on you. Although not as conceited as some of our other more famous detectives he has his own annoying behaviours. The case is relatively simple once you make all the connections and easy to follow in terms of where the minds of Lord Wimsey and his detective friend lead us to. I did not find another in Kindle Unlimited so, at this time, I will not be proceeding with this particular series but might try something else by the author given a chance. Maybe if I find the books in the library I just might keep going.

I liked the book, just not the same way I like some other books of that time and age. Although, I am sure that I might like the next few more than I did this one. The people are endearingly upfront about their thoughts and eccentricities which makes for delightful reading/listening. I think the narrator did a very good job indeed.

My last KU post was: The Winemaker’s Secret (Starlight Cove #2) by Cynthia Ellingsen and let me take a minute to redirect you to my favourite post as of now (for the year): Mid Year Stats 2019

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Last year, after seeing quite a few stat posts by many other bloggers, I started from scratch and made a new sheet with all my reads till that point then tried to figure what I wanted to map and how. I made massive fun with it but it took me almost two whole days of work and left me with a headache. This year, I started earlier and this gave me a couple of days to work with but I negated that with wanting to draw way more comparisons. This last part is a careful accumulation of some interesting facts I saw in other blogs. I do not remember them individually, but for the most part, this has come together with all those inputs! I hope it is not overwhelming and that at least some people might find it as fascinating as I did.

My last year’s post was: Mid Year Stats – 2018. I might draw comparisons for a few things but not all.

I apologize in advance for the extreme length of this list. I had a lot of ‘realizations’ when I saw the data out like this.

First I have the total tally of books read until June 15th 2019: 162. I felt like I read more this year, but it is lesser than last year’s 206.

I seem to have read more happily-ever-afters this year, last year my leading genre at this stage was Historical fiction.

My Nonfiction vs fiction continues to stay at the constant difference:(last year was better with an 86% fiction)

Once again the following percentages are lower than the previous year, which is funny considering that I was actively trying to read more male authors! the 74.69% is Female authors and the yellow is male and the green is when there are multiple authors of both.

Non-audio page count:

Book count vs genre with the gender of the author

Recently thanks to a fellow blogger I found out how to make this map. All this did was reinforce the fact that I read from a narrow market.

I had a lot of things on my mind the last few months and I did something stupid!!I thought I bookmarked her page in order to reference here but I did not and I feel truly embarrassed and I remembered the wrong blogger. Now if anyone reading this knows who in the last month or so shared (extremely helpfully I might add), I will apologize for forgetting her page and correct my mistake.

Audio total number of hours: 296hours = 12 days and sorted by narrator’s gender

No. of Books vs Position of the book in the series:

Format of the books I read: A significant increase in ARC % as compared to all others.

How I accessed said books, once again the NetGalley trend overshadows everything else and I am not feeling guilty about the choice (not much anyway :D)

There were 29 books that I deemed the process of acquiring important enough to make the following table

Special reasons I picked up a book No. of such books
Bought the book after starting the ARC 2
Crime Classics Widget 2
Had the ARC of one book in series 4
Originally an ARC, found on KU 2
Rave reviews 7
Read another book by the author 12

I read only one translated work this time, from Spanish to English.

My ratings thus far:

Rating by Genre

Finally for the ratings: Ratings vs type of book. My endurance and ability to give five stars for ebooks seems to have improved.

Locations where the books were based:(slightly better than the author map I made)

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I randomly read the book: Gentlemen Formerly Dressed (Rowland Sinclair #5) and enjoyed the concept. It is rare that I pick up a country and a time and social complications that I did not encounter in any earlier books. Rare mostly because I tend to stick to known people and places.

When I saw the first book of the series available, I had to request it. I was lucky to get a review copy from NetGalley thanks to the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.

This is the introduction of Rowland Sinclair and his band of merry men (and woman). It is a highly complex situation that they find themselves in. Rowland is from a family high on society’s ladder but the antics of this artist youngest son of the family is not looked on favourably by the only other remaining brother. Thrown into this situation is the development of radicalised feelings of nationalism as well as communism. The fear on either side of the debate is running rife with possibilities that would lead to a much bigger problem. It is a reasonably heavy book as our lead characters contemplate both personal and political implications of behaviour in 1930’s Australia. It is filled with details of life in particular during that time and is supported by actual facts from that time which are peppered throughout the story. The author’s note at the end was fascinating too. It is not meant for fast reading and cannot be rushed. That would be something to keep in mind for those who like reading fast (namely me)

I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for an adventure/mystery/drama series set in different country and time than many of the historical fictions that are currently popular.

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We have been travelling for exactly a week now, although it feels like longer! (in a good way). It is quite surprising to see how convenient being vegan/ vegetarian has become for the most part of the places we visited in Europe. Even if in some cases there weren’t a variety of options, there were options. I have been reading during the journey, obviously not all the time and I have two reviews forthcoming of the books that I did finish.

It is still up for request as of 15/6/2019

This is a retelling of many fairy tales rolled into one quirky story. It is along the lines of The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker and Hazel and Holly by Sara C. Snider,  in the tone of the narration or the drama ‘Once upon a time’ in terms of its content. There is a flippancy in the conversation and the humour lies in the delivery and the situation that we are witnessing.

Hansel and Gretel live with their step-parents in a little village where they get orders from power at the citadel on how to conduct their daily lives and how things are supposed to work. When Gretel is suspected of being a witch and driven out to Darkwood(the magical wood bordering their village) new information comes to light. Gretel corrals the troops, which consists of different odd magical life forms in order to defend their way of life. It is a fun book meant for light reading despite touching upon forms of xenophobia and the blind faith in cult-like situations.

There are many other fairy-tale characters that make their way into the story in order to give it more substance and they are all unique in their own way, none more so than Trevor (more about him would get clearer on reading the book itself). I would recommend this to fans of retellings as well as quirky dialogues and characters.

I received an ARC from NetGalley but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.  

Book Depository Affiliate purchase link

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I saw this book on a random pass past the YA shelf (I was actually just taking my copy of The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater) and realised I had seen this book reviewed extensively when it first came out. I did not remember much about the reviews but decided to give it a shot.

I am glad I did read it since it was different from my usual. I liked the first person narration and the leading lady Greer. She is struggling to get comfortable in her new school. She lets us know at the very beginning that a crime has been committed and follows up with the hows and whys of it. It has an element of surprise and dread and this is still a book about school students.

There is a sinister plot at hand and Greer is stuck in the middle of it all. She is a relatively naive individual but learns things the hard way. It is a pretty extreme situation for misfits to find themselves in, but it is built up in a good fashion. Overall an interesting book and one that I would recommend for anyone looking for a quick book with a bite or two in it.

P.S: This is a pre-scheduled post that I am setting to post when I am travelling, I might get to the comments a little later than usual but I will be (probably more than) periodically checking the blog.

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