c Book Reviews October / November Part 1 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Book Reviews October / November Part 1

I have read an eclectic selection of books the last few months, including listening to my first full length audio book.  I have also read what I think is going to be my book of the year. As I have quite a few book reviews to share with you I am going to spread them over two separate blog posts.

Here are a few of the book titles to tease you with Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson a murder thriller set in the 1780's.  A dystopian Earth, Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher. Eleanor Olilphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman voted 2018 Book of the Year winner by British Book awards. War Gardens by Lalage Snow a non fiction book discovering how people and their gardens exist when war rages around them. 

My latest Book Reviews 
I will never giveaway any spoilers in my reviews, just my honest opinion on how I found the book. So you can read my review with the confidence it will not ruin the story for you.
Thanks to Mantel publishing for sending me a pre published copy of Blood and Sugar to review and also to Quercus Books for the hardback edition of War Gardens. 

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
My Rating: 5 of 5 star
Synopsis: June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .
To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend's investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.
And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford...
My review
Whilst this book is a murder, mystery, thriller the place and era of it's setting make for a dark, hard to read and shameful chapter of British history. 

It is clear from the depth of detail throughout the story that the author thoroughly researched this period of time. You can almost smell the damp, dark, filthy and squalid conditions during this time. Laura immerses the reader not just into the story but into the  souls of the characters. I felt such utter shame at the descriptions of actions taken by the slave merchants. 

It is not just a case of solving a murder, a very complex case of intrigue, lies, blackmail and treachery. Interesting to see how the different levels of society interact throughout the story. The story twists and turns, when you think it can not get any darker it does.  As the book unfolds your view of characters change, people are not who you think they are and more blood is to be shed. One of the characters totally let me down, I was certainly taken in with their persona.

There is nothing predictable about this crime thriller.  I could certainly see this making it's way to our tv's as very a dark period drama.
Laura does not hide away from the graphic nature of the slave ships and it's merchants, it makes for difficult reading at times.  I was grateful for the cast of characters at the front of the book, if nothing to remind myself where some of the characters loyalties lay or not as the case may be. The book is 425 pages in length. The historical notes at the rear of the book help the reader to understand how factual incidents during the 1780's influenced the story of Blood and Sugar. A great debut novel by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Published by Panmacmillan Blood and Sugar is available to buy from 24 January 2019.

Molly and the Cat Cafe by Melissa Daley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
No synopsis on this book, I think my review says it all. 
Cat runs away from new home, cat finds another new home this time at a cafe. Cafe owner re name's cafe to cat cafe. Not much else to say. A very light read, and reasonably enjoyable.
My mum gave me this book to read, to be fair it was a great palette cleansing read having just finished the dark historical thriller Blood and Sugar. If you dare there is even a sequel to Molly and the Cat Cafe, but I think I will give it a miss.

Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis Against all odds, she, survived.The first girl born in fifty years.They called her Eve...
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.But at sixteen it's time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She's always accepted her fate.Until she meets Bram.Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
My Review
An interesting concept as to where our future may venture. Novels involving the decline in the birth of female babies have been written before, so it's not entirely new. 
The planet has slowly been destroyed by man. Eve's life has been sheltered, protected from men. She knows little of the real world, other than information fed to her through her mothers. Eve has a very distorted perception of history and the present.  Bram is there to re-enforce that world to Eve, though they never actually meet. 
As the story progresses through Bram we uncover more about the current circumstances of the real world, including Bram's family - which is integral to the story. What will happen with Eve to ensure the survival of the human race. 
Some futuristic novels can be immensely complicated, this one isn't. A very enjoyable dystopian novel, and I was delighted to find it was the first of a trilogy.  I was surprised to discover a good way through the book the actual location of where the story is set, I had anonymised the location as a new generic city, so it actually came as a surprise.  
Now to work on my patience whilst I wait for the next book in the series.

Red Rose, White Rose by Joanna Hickson
My rating 4 out of 5 stars
Synopsis The powerful story of Cecily Neville, torn between both sides in the War of the Roses.In fifteenth century England the Neville family rules the north with an iron fist. Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, a giant of a man and a staunch Lancastrian, cunningly consolidates power by negotiating brilliant marriages for his children. The last betrothal he arranges before he dies is between his youngest daughter, nine-year-old Cicely, and his ward Richard, the thirteen-year-old Duke of York, England's richest heir.Told through the eyes of Cicely and her half-brother Cuthbert, Red Rose, White Rose is the story of one of the most powerful women in England during one of its most turbulent periods. Born of Lancaster and married to York, the willowy and wayward Cicely treads a hazardous path through love, loss and imprisonment and between the violent factions of Lancaster and York, as the Wars of the Roses tear England's ruling families apart. 
My Review
There is nothing I enjoy more than historical fiction. For me this was a first, I did not read this book but listen to it as an audiobook. Which I enjoyed greatly. 

I have not read any Joanne Hickson novels, so a new author to me. The story was narrated in a Yorkshire accent, which added greatly to the authenticity of hearing the story. 
This is not a novel just full of castles, it talks about the land and it's people. Describes in detail, houses, furniture and clothing which I found really interesting. The places in the book are all so familiar, particularly for me Ludlow and the Welsh Marches. The story of Cecily Neville, is not one I knew in any depth, the author captured how strong Cecily was but how fraught and fragile her life was during the turmoil years of the War of the Roses.  Even those in the same family had split loyalties. 
The only thing I missed from listening to this as an audiobook, which I suspect the printed book had was a copy of Neville family tree. Following my recommendation of this book, my sister has read the first novel by Joanna Hickson and has ordered the second she has enjoyed it so much.

What's next on my bookshelf
I am currently reading Ranulph Fienes, Mad Dogs & Englishmen a book about his family history, it's a fascinating read. I have ordered the 15th Jack Reacher book Worth Dying For from my local library. I have also received a copy of The Almanac - A Season Guide to 2019 by Lia Leendertz from Octopus Books. A few years back a read a book called The Forest of Hands and Teeth,  the first of a series and an excellent zombie read, I am looking to introduce myself to the next book.

The second part of my book review will follow in a few days.

 ~ Leave me a comment if you have any book recommendations ~
You can keep up to date with my past and present reads by visiting my Goodreads page, see the link in the sidebar on the right hand side of your screen. Find out more about my Reading Challenge for 2018, I am making great progress.
See my blog post for 13 items you need for the perfect reading nook

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