Review: The Lion Tamer Who Lost by @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

40191563

Release: 2018
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Contemporary

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is the newest book by one of my favorite authors, Louise Beech. Ever since I read How To Be Brave, I became a fan of Louise’s writing and I’ve loved all of her novels (The Mountain In My ShoeMaria In The Moon). However, I think this one might be my favorite yet!

I love Louise’s books because although her novels aren’t my usual go-to genre (contemporary, literary fiction), I can’t help but become completely captivated by the way she tells her stories and the beauty of her characters. Her books are always beautiful, poignant, and magical. I would recommend them to anyone.

This time, the protagonist is Ben, a young man who’s in Zimbabwe trying to forget about his relationship with Andrew. We know something went wrong and we know Ben is suffering, but we don’t understand why. And then, slowly, we begin to learn about Ben and Andrew’s relationship by revealing their past from both points of view. I believe this structure worked really well because there were some details that you didn’t fully understand until you read them later.

I found Ben’s story heartbreaking and I became so invested in his relationship with Andrew that I couldn’t stop reading until I knew what would happen to them. I also enjoyed the family dynamics, especially when we finally discover more about Ben’s father and why he behaved the way he did. I’m not saying I liked him, because I didn’t, but he had some redeeming qualities, as well.

Finally, let’s not forget the lions!. The Zimbabwe setting and the lion sanctuary scenes were incredible: I will never forget Ben’s interactions with Lucy. At first, I wasn’t sure of how well the two settings would work, but I soon realized I loved reading about both present and past, which doesn’t happen often. That’s the power of a great book, I guess.

A truly unforgettable story.

Many thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

BUY HERE

Advertisements

Blog Tour: What Lies Within by Annabelle Thorpe

9781784299453.jpg

Release: 2018
Publisher: Quercus Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

What Lies Within by Annabelle Thorpe

An intense, claustrophobic psychological novel about the dark side of expat life, and what being out of your comfort zone can do to you, set in the vibrant souks and ancient riads of Marrakech

A unique friendship, built on a lie

Freya, Paul and Hamad. Three friends from two different worlds; a seemingly unshakeable bond, suddenly under threat.

A move that would change all their lives.

The trio have stayed close since university despite Freya and Paul’s marriage and Hamad’s wealthy lifestyle – so different from their own. Then an incredible job offer from Hamad sees Paul and Freya move to Morocco.

A city where nothing is as it seems

Marrakech soon proves a perplexing place to live. Instead of reinvigorating their marriage, Freya finds the move is driving them apart. Revelations about their shared past force her to acknowledge that neither Paul nor Hamad is quite the man she thought. When a shocking crime is committed, Freya finds herself cast adrift in the dark corners of a bewildering city, unsure who to trust or to believe.

Extract

Taroudant, Morocco

‘Are you ready, monsieur?’

Hamad glanced down at the book; the signature was unrecognisable. His fingers had
locked around the pen; the final i was turning into an elongated r as the weight of his hand dragged the nib across the page. ‘I need a moment.’

‘Bien sûr.’

His phone vibrated; the screen glowed brightly in the dim light. Freya. He didn’t have
the words. Not yet.

‘OK.’ What was he waiting for? To feel better?

‘Shall we proceed?’

Hamad nodded. His gums were coated with a thin, sour liquid; his palms slid greasily
against the weave of his jeans. The man gestured towards the strip-lit corridor, following closely behind. His shoes clicked on the grubby linoleum.

‘Ici.’ He slipped a key into a metal door, heaved it open with a grunt. Thin,
refrigerated air rushed at them. Hamad shivered. ‘Through here.’

The room smelt of cleaning fluid and something odd, like stale tea. An older man was
leaning against a desk; sallow-skinned with thinning hair. The gendarme muttered something in Darija, pointed to the large steel cabinet that took up most of the far wall. Hamad had seen enough films to know what it was. Six compartments. Six bodies. Even in his state of shock he could feel the grotesqueness of the situation. He had always been unusually squeamish.

The balding man pulled down the handle on one of the panels, slotting his fingertips
underneath to lever out the drawer. The runners squealed. Lying on the shelf was something wrapped in what looked like white plastic.

‘Are you ready?’

‘I am.’ He smoothed his thumb and forefinger over his beard. The plastic sheet
crackled as it was peeled away. He glanced down. The body was discoloured, mustard and purple bruises spreading like faded ink beneath the skin. Her hair was smoothed back from her forehead, lashes long against her cheeks. The room swung gently. He reached out his hand to steady himself on the corner of the gurney.

‘Monsieur. Is this . . . ?’

Hamad closed his eyes for a moment; he felt disorientated, unable to process what
he was seeing. A word rose in his throat; he swallowed hard.

‘I understand this is difficult.’ The man’s voice was surprisingly gentle. ‘But can you… ?’

‘Yes.’

‘Monsieur Al-Bouskri? My apologies, but I must be clear. You are saying this is . . . ?’

‘Yes.’ His fingernails bit into the skin on his palms. He looked into the man’s blank
face. ‘This is the body of Racine Delacroix.’

Annabelle Thorpe

beachclose.png

After sixteen years as an award-winning travel and features journalist, writing for The Times and many other national broadsheets and magazines, Annabelle made the transition to fiction with The People We Were Before, the tale of a young boy and his family living through the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. The book was born of her experiences in travelling to Croatia for over thirty years, and witnessing the country’s spectacular fall and rise. 

As a travel writer, she has visited over 50 countries, including driving through the Omani desert, trekking in the New Zealand rainforest, learning (and failing) to sail in Bermuda and narrowly escaping being run over in Tripoli. Her fiction brings in locations she knows intimately; Croatia in The People We Were Before, and Marrakech and Qatar in her second novel, What Lies Within, published in April 2018.

WLW Blog Tour poster.png

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

buy6

Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin @PutnamBooks

30288282.jpg

Release: 2018
Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I started The Immortalists. I knew it was about destiny and four siblings living in New York, but I didn’t really know if it would be a fantasy tale or not -it wasn’t.. There are definitely some magical elements, though. It’s 1969 and Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya visit a mysterious fortune teller who claims to know the day they will die. Each one of them reacts to the news in a different way and we get to follow their life adventures in four sections that take, as you could expect, 25% of the book.

First of all there’s Simon, a gay teenager who moves to San Francisco, then the mysterious Klara, who wants to be a magician; good-natured Daniel, who becomes a military doctor, and serious and responsible Varya, the eldest of the bunch. This was essentially a family saga, spanning many years from 1969 until 2006, and focusing on how the gypsy’s prediction affects each sibling and influences their life path.

I love family sagas, and I mainly ask one thing of them: the characters need to be appealing, you need to be able to connect with them, and become emotionally invested. And Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists managed to do that in a beautiful way. Even though Simon and Klara’s stories were my favorite, I could see why each one of the stories was special in its own way.

I loved the concept of the story, the inevitable question that everyone asks themselves after reading this book. Would you want to know? Would you live your life differently if you did? And what would you do if you were destined to die sooner than expected?

Many thanks to the publishers and Edelweiss for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

buy6

Mini Reviews #11

MINI REVIEWS (3).png

Hello and happy start of the week to everyone! Today I want to talk about two books, The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which seemed perfect for me at first sight but ended up being a bit disappointing. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, but not as much as I had hoped.

32187685.jpg

Release: 2018
Publisher: Cornerstone
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

I really loved the concept of this book, as I’ve always enjoyed creepy stories and I’m fascinated by women who write letters to convicted men. However, Samantha wasn’t a character I could connect with and I struggled with most of her decisions, as she wasn’t crazy enough for me to find her remotely interesting. I actually liked the first part of the novel better than the other half.

Of course, I never liked Danny at all either, but the book was actually really entertaining and overall an easy read. I’m sad to say that I didn’t care much for the mystery. It wasn’t entirely predictable but it wasn’t surprising either.

Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for my copy

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

buy6

28765613.jpg

Release: 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary

I read this book as part of a ReadAlong , and it was a very interesting novel to discuss. The book deals with racism and discrimination and the different points of view gave it a deeper approach. Small Great Things grew on me as the plot advanced (the second part of the book was much better in my opinion), but I found it so incredibly manipulative that I can’t really say I liked it.

I had read a couple of Jodi Picoult’s books years ago and loved them, but I think I’ve just outgrown them. I’m not in the mood for being taught a lesson on every page and she is basically the opposite of subtle writing. Everything is so dramatic and hey, the book talks about racism, so of course the main character’s daughter is going to want to dress up as Moana and there will be a debate about the blackface issue, even if it’s totally unrelated to the main plot.

Turk was a horrible human being, but his perspective was fascinating, I love to “hate-read” and he gave me exactly that. The trial was entertaining, but then again, I love trials. Oh, and that last twist was completely ridiculous in my opinion.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

buy6

 

Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by @john_boyne

30839466

Buy Here

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

After many recommendations from blogger friends (and especially from Renee), I finally sat down and read one of the most popular books this past year. And no, I didn’t read it all in a sitting, but I could have. It’s THAT good.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies was a beautiful, funny, sad, poignant and ultimately inspiring saga that tells the story of Cyril Avery, a young Irish boy who’s adopted by Maude and Charles -a very peculiar couple-. After getting to know her birth mother and her circumstances, we get to see him grow up, make friends, fall in love and find out who he really is. This book spans many years and is set in Dublin, Amsterdam and New York…

This is one of those books that I wish I hadn’t known anything before I read it, so I will be brief today. This is an absolute gem of a novel. It’s hilarious at times (seriously, the dialogues were witty and laugh out loud funny) and it will also make you cry. After all, aren’t those the best stories? Plus, there are lot of fun coincidences that made it even more enjoyable.

This was not a short book, but I flew through it like it was. It’s one of the most captivating sagas I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. Cyril Avery isn’t perfect and he behaves in a selfish way more than once, but I felt like I was inside his head and I could totally understand why he did those things.

In the end, crime fiction and mysteries are my favorite type of books, but John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies made me forget about those for two uforgettable days.

Doubleday, 2017