Tuesday, May 24, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Wild Fires by Sophie Jai

Grief is like an inside joke: you have to have been there to really get it.

The only things Cassandra knows about her family are the stories she's heard in snatches over the years: about the aunt and cousin she never got to meet, about the man from the folded-up photograph in one of her aunt's drawers, and of course about her cousin Chevy, and why he never speaks - but no one utters a word about them any more.

When a call from one of her sisters brings Cassandra news of Chevy's death, she has to return home for the funeral. To Toronto and the big house on Florence Street, where her sisters are hiding more than themselves in their rooms, where the tension brewing between her mother and aunts has been decades in the making, and where sooner or later every secret, unspoken word and painful memory will find its way out into the open.

Moving between Toronto and Trinidad, Wild Fires is a vivid and compelling story exploring the ways we mourn and why we avoid the very things that can save us.

I was very excited to be on the tour for Wild Fires, and love the beautiful physical copy HarperCollins sent me.

Wild Fires is a story of grief, it delves so deep into how grief and death effect everyone differently. I loved the character Cass, and I loved her mother. What a character her mother was! I did laugh out loud at a couple of phrases she used, I could picture her perfectly in my head. Big, headstrong, no nonsense woman, who wouldn’t be afraid to smack you round the head if you were cheeky.

Cassandra’s family seemed so shrouded in mystery and secrets, and I loved figuring things out from the past. I particularly enjoyed the parts which went back to the past, to Trinidad, when the aunts were young, getting jobs, meeting boys etc. The sound of the fresh food in the store, the colours and the heat. Made me want to be there. 

I think you’d like this book, it stays with you for a while after. Try it. 

Thanks again to HarperCollins for letting me join the tour, and the book. And of course to Sophie Jai for writing it.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer


A young man walks into the woods on the worst morning of his life and finds something there that will change everything.

It's a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you've lived until now.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. Isaac and the Egg is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher Headline Books, in return for an honest review. 

I’ve had my eye on this book for quite a while now, the minute I saw it on Twitter I knew I wanted to read it. So when I was approve on Netgalley after months of waiting for it to be there, I was so excited.

I devoured this book over 2 days, if I hadn’t been so tired the first day and kept falling asleep I would have read it in one sitting. But finishing the last 50% while I was on the exercise bike, was not the best idea. By the end I could barely see through the sweat, and the many amounts of tears I cried reading the final chapters.

This is a beautiful story of grief, loss, love, and acceptance. The relationship between Isaac and the Egg is a lovely one, and it grows so much in ever so slight ways, that you don’t realise for a while they’ve gone from acquaintances to friends. I loved getting to know Egg, his funny little language, and the helpful things he tries to do for Isaac. The toaster scene made my smile. 

I really think everyone should read this book, and I think if you have been struggling with some grief or loss in your life, you might even find a bit of comfort in it. Thank you Bob Palmer, for bringing Isaac and the Egg into my life.

Thanks again to Headline Books for my arc copy, Netgalley, and of course Mr Palmer for breaking my heart, then mending it again.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

First Born by Will Dean

The last thing a twin expects is to be alone...

Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin's last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

I received a copy of this from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I loved Will Dean’s The Last Thing To Burn, so when I first heard about First Born, I was very excited. As well as my Netgalley copy, I also had this on preorder, and was happy to go back and forth between the physical and ebook version.

I loved this story. I want to thank Will Dean for putting my anxiety into overdrive with Molly’s huge anxieties lol! The more I read of her feeling certain ways about things, the more she made sense to me. I loved following her around this big new city, even though she was filled with so much grief. I was dying to find out who the killer was, and had a few ideas throughout of who it could have been. I will say no more!

First Born is a brilliant book, with so many twists you may end up with whiplash. Read it.

Stargazer by Laurie Petrou

It's a fine line between admiration and envy. Diana Martin has lived her life in the shadow of her sadistic older brother. She quietly watches the family next door, enthralled by celebrity fashion designer Marianne Taylor and her feted daughter, Aurelle. She wishes she were a 'Taylor girl'. By the summer of 1995, the two girls are at university together, bonded by a mutual desire to escape their wealthy families and personal tragedies and forge new identities. They are closer than lovers, intoxicated by their own bond, falling into the hedonistic seduction of the woods and the water at a remote university that is more summer camp than campus. But when burgeoning artist Diana has a chance at fame, cracks start to appear in their friendship. To what lengths is Diana willing to go to secure her own stardom?

I received a copy of this from the publisher Verve books, and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

This was Tsundoku Squads April read. We were all looking rather forward to reading it, we were going to spread it out over fortnightly chats, but we ended up waiting until the last week and discussing the whole book.

I enjoyed it, and gave it 4 stars in the end. The book moves between the point of view of Diana and Marianne. I liked them both, but equally disliked them too. You’ll get why when you read it. The friendship was so toxic, yet beautiful, and tragic all at once. Their closeness was something else, they do everything together, and it all started kind of by chance. The things they go through, tell each other, and help each other with is the stuff all friendships should be made of. But the underlying jealousy and nastiness creeps its way through, and the story ends so far from where you’d first imagine.

Make sure to check out Em’s group thoughts over on her blog emandherbooks.com

Thanks again to Netgalley, Verve Books, and of course the author Laurie Petrou, for my early review e-book.

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Paper Towns by John Green