Book Review – The Essex Serpent: Sarah Perry

The-Essex-Serpent
Written by Sarah Perry
Published by Serpent’s Tail

I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Love, myths and medicine.

From Goodreads

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890’s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.

What did I think?

Sarah Perry blew me away with ‘The Essex Serpent’, her writing style is beautiful and delicate but is also brilliantly descriptive. She definitely gives the feel that you are reading from a different era, and whilst I am not a history buff, it felt that everything she wrote about and described was spot-on.

The work that Perry has done with ‘The Essex Serpent’ is truly magnificent. Perry has obviously put a lot of time and effort in to researching certain aspects of the book which, to me, makes a book that much more special. Not only this, but Perry has covered a lot of different themes throughout the book but has done so in such a way that at no point do they feel ‘skimmed’ over – the depth of this book is incredible.

For me, I did feel that at times the book was a little slow and not too fast-paced. It’s a brilliant read, but not the usual fast-paced page turners I am used to.

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here – published today!!

Read it and let me know what you think!

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Book Tour – Devil’s Demise: Lee Cockburn

I’ve been invited to take part in the Clink Street Publishing Blogival. There’s loads of great authors and books taking part in this Blogival, but I chose to review Devil’s Demise by Lee Cockburn as it sounded like a book that I could really get in to! So here goes…my Blogival post!

Devil's Demise
Written by Lee Cockburn
Published by Clink Street

I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You’re being watched.

From Goodreads

A cruel and sinister killer is targeting Edinburgh’s most powerful women, his twisted sense of superiority driving him to satisfy his depraved sexual appetite.

He revels in the pain and suffering he inflicts on his unsuspecting victims but a twist of fate and an overwhelming will to survive by one victim ruins his plans for a reign of terror.

His tormented prey will need all her courage if she is to survive the hunt.

What did I think?

Well, what can I say? Devil’s Demise has a dark, dark storyline. There were a lot of moments where my heart was in my mouth and I couldn’t stop reading. It is a great horror/thriller book that really keeps you wanting more.

The part I enjoyed about this book was that it was not a ‘whodunnit’ but more of a cat and mouse game. You know who the killer is from the start and you follow his story to find out why he got there.

There is one aspect of the book that I didn’t like and this is the only reason why it’s a four heart review! There’s a very ’50 shades’ side to this book and I personally don’t believe that the book benefited in any way from the ‘erotica’ parts. It did disappoint me a little bit because I really think the book would have thrived without these scenes. Each to their own though!

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here

Read it and let me know what you think!

Q&A with Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn

Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Devil’s Demise’? I never thought I’d ever write a book far less three, as I have finished book two and three is quarter or the way through. It comes down to reading a book that I’d read 200 pages and it hadn’t got to the point, so I decided to write a book the way I’d like to read one, gripping from the start, thrilling and frightening, with loves scenes longer that one line! Firstly my inspiration came when I was sunbathing on holiday, just little ideas here and there, so the thought was there. I then began reading a book, that after 200 pages it hadn’t got to the point at all and frankly it was pretty dull. The author a well established writer and millionaire many times over. So that is when I decided to put those ideas and thoughts from previously, to the test. I hoped to write a book with the style, pace and content I would enjoy reading, without unnecessary over description and a plot that would be easily understood. Thus, Devil’s Demise was written, a hard hitting, violent erotic crime thriller.

How did you develop the characters and plot? The characters came about from what I thought a mixed audience could relate too. I’m a gay woman, confident, strong willed, flirtatious, and hold my own in any situation, and I like Taylor because she’s like that, but very beautiful, Marcus is what I would want in a man if I was that way inclined, and many female readers already adore him, as I hoped they would, as many female readers like me like Taylor!
What was the hardest part to write? Writing the, at times, graphic scenes where Brennan is hurting women was quite unpleasant and it took a few attempts and rewrites for me to be entirely happy that they were gripping and accurate enough without being over-indulgently gruesome. However, if you chose to write a crime novel you have to be able to face your subject and I needed to build the suspense, fear and hatred for Brennan to make the book work. None of it was particularly hard to write, except for having two babies half way through who both sucked up a lot of my previously spare time and also you don’t want toddlers learning some of the words that are in the book and coming out with them at parties!
What were your goals/intentions with ‘Devil’s Demise’ and do you think you achieved them? My goal was to get it out there and achieve my dream of writing and publishing a book. It’s taken a total of 4 years in the making with the two years out where real life got in the way. I just wanted to have others read it – I think that was the most challenging part actually putting it out there and letting strangers read it rather than just my loving family and friends- but it’s out there and now I’ve got the writing bug it’s truly a passion and one I’m excited about continuing.
Will we be hearing more from DS Nicks and her story? Yes you will, Taylor and Marcus are the main characters in all three books, with others joining in along the way. So not one but a whole trilogy to look forward to – or at least look out for 🙂
A huge thank you to Clink Street, Lee Cockburn and Authoright for letting me take part in this Blogival. You can get involved on twitter by using/searching #Blogival. Check out the other blogs taking part below!
Blogival

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The Last Fiesta: Andy Rumbold

The Last Fiesta
Written by Andy Rumbold
Published by Red Door Publishing

I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

From Goodreads

It’s summer 1995 and Dan Willis is living in Santander, northern Spain, trying to get his life back on track, when he receives an unexpected call from an old school friend and Gulf War veteran, Billy Wyatt, who wants to visit him. Unbeknown to Billy, Dan invites two other school friends to join them. It s a decision that will change their lives forever.

The Last Fiesta follows the friends’ hedonistic journey through the stunning Basque country, up into the Picos de Europa and finally to Pamplona, for the running of the bulls. But under the blistering Spanish sun, dark truths from the past emerge, and dreadful revelations entwine their lives in a way that will ultimately lead to disaster.

What did I think?

The Last Fiesta is a relatively quick read at just shy of 200 pages. Although it’s a quick read, it doesn’t mean it’s one to forget!

I did find the story a slight bit predictable, and I don’t think that the description on Goodreads helps mask what’s going to happen either. That being said, you do become attached to the characters and you want to know their back stories. Rumbold has an incredible talent for getting you invested with the characters.

There is a huge cultural knowledge in the book too and you can definitely get a feel for what it would be like to be at the running of the bulls in Pamplona. It takes a talented writer to successfully get you to imagine the situation and surroundings and Rumbold has hit the nail on the head.

My only gripe with the book is that although you sort of knew what was coming, when it did finally come it was over in a flash. There was a lot of build up for not a lot of story…if that makes sense? I would still recommend The Last Fiesta though! It’s genuinely a fantastic piece of writing!

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here

Read it and let me know what you think!

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The Summer of Broken Stories: James Wilson

The Summer of Broken Stories
Written by James Wilson
Published by Alma Books Ltd

I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

From Goodreads

A powerful novel of friendship, rebellion and betrayal

England, 1950s. While out playing in the woods, ten-year-old Mark meets a man living in an old railway carriage. Despite his wild appearance, the stranger, who introduces himself as Aubrey Hillyard, is captivating – an irreverent outsider who is shunned by Mark’s fellow villagers, and a writer to boot. Aubrey encourages Mark to tell stories about his own make-believe world, and in return he informs the boy about a novel he is writing – a work of ominous science fiction.

As the meddling villagers plot to drive Aubrey out, Mark finds himself caught between two worlds – yet convinced that he must help Aubrey prevail at any cost. Dealing with powerful themes of friendship, rebellion and betrayal, The Summer of Broken Stories is James Wilson’s long-awaited new novel.

What did I think?

This is a very typical coming-of-age book that really warms your heart. I think that Wilson has written a remarkable book that delves in to the naivety and curiosity of children. Not only that, but he has also developed the characters in such a way that you feel like you know them. Most of them are incredibly likeable but most importantly, they’re all believable!

There were some darker sides to the story which made you sympathise with a whole range of the characters involved. It is quite intricate and definitely tells more than one story, but also leaves some parts untold for you to imagine yourself. You soon find out that poor Mark is essentially neglected by his parents and his dad has a weird temperament that unnerves Mark whenever he needs to speak to him – I found this quite heartbreaking and it really got me invested in to Mark’s story.

The Summer of Broken Stories was an incredibly easy read and wasn’t too intense. I did find that parts of the story were a little more long winded than they had to be, but overall it was a brilliant read.

My Rating? ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here

Read it and let me know what you think!

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My Top TV Picks

So, it’s been almost 6 months since my last TV Picks post and all I can say is how quickly has the time gone??

In the last 6 months, I’ve still been watching some of my picks from last time – Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal being up there due to the new series coming out! But, I won’t be adding them to this list because it won’t have really changed since last time!

So here goes, my next list of my favourite TV picks! Again…it’s mainly American, and mainly bases around Netflix series.

Unbreakable-Kimmy

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is my most recent find and I’m currently watching it while typing this post! It’s brilliant, light hearted and full of dry humour! It’s such an easy watch and does have a heart-warming story to it too!

Person-of-Interest

This is quite an intense series, but hugely addictive! I think that there is also quite a psychological aspect to Person of Interest – the gist of the series is that the government is watching your every move and the ‘team’ try to put a stop to vigilantes by using questionable actions. It’s definitely one to watch!

louis-theroux

I’ve only just discovered the marvel that is Louis Theroux! His documentaries are truly genius and they delve in to darker side of life where other journalists don’t seem to go! He is one brave journalist and really manages to open your eyes to things you couldn’t imagine. I’m really looking forward to his future documentaries!

Luther

Ahhh, Luther! I started watching this series just after my last TV pick post went up. It is another intense series that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a British series too…so quite a rarity for me to get in to! I loved it and am absolutely gutted it’s ended!

american-horror-story

Next up is the ever popular American Horror Story! It took me a little while to get in to and it is, at time, down right weird! Saying that though, it’s something that once I got in to I couldn’t stop watching! There is a star-studded cast throughout the series so make sure to spot them!

So, that’s what I’ve been watching in the last six months!

Have you seen any of these?

What do you recommend?

 

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