19 April 2017

Review: The Possessions: A Novel by Sara Flannery Murphy

* Copy courtesy of Scribe Publications *

Edie works at the Elysian Society and meets grieving clients for a one-on-one consultation. In the consultation she takes a lotus pill which enables her to channel the client's loved one from 'the other side'. Edie remains completely oblivious during the process, while the spirit of the deceased takes over her body and is able to communicate with their loved one in a bizarre reunion of sorts. Think husbands connecting with wives, mothers connecting with sons and so on.

The concept is unique and exciting, however The Possessions is about the impact Edie's work has on her and the consequences when she becomes obsessed with Patrick, a distraught widower.

I was desperate to know more about what happens during the consultations but instead it's left to the reader's imagination. This was akin to a 352 page tease although I recognise that the magic could have been lost had the author decided to lift the curtain on what happens between the parties during the consultations.

Instead we are left to unravel the mystery of the death of Patrick's wife Sylvia and enjoy the author's stunning writing style. Her prose often made me stop in my tracks just to enjoy the beauty of her words.

The Possessions is a haunted love story with themes of grief, memory and sense of self interwoven through the pages and you will be left wanting more. Recommended.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

11 April 2017

Winner of A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim announced

Thanks to those who entered my giveaway last week to win a print copy of A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim. Entries closed at midnight on Friday 7 April and the winner is....
Carol @readingwritingandriesling
Congratulations Carol, you'll receive an email from me today and will have 7 days to provide your mailing address. Your prize will be mailed directly to you from the authors.

Carpe Librum

06 April 2017

Review: Rattle by Fiona Cummins

* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia *

Rattle by Fiona Cummins is a solid debut with an original premise, a great cover and a catchy tag line. Unfolding from several character perspectives, Detective Sergeant Fitzroy is investigating a missing child case in London and soon realises it's more complex than she first suspected.

Having three characters with surnames all beginning with the letter 'f' was a little confusing in the beginning. I wasn't sure whether it was intentional or coincidence (in which case it should have been changed) or an 'in joke' which should have been explained in the author's acknowledgements etc.

Almost every character was overtired and needed a shower - which was understandable given the circumstances they were in - but chapter after chapter it became repetitive and same/same. What did interest me and kept the pages turning quickly was the pathology of the killer and his collection.

I don't agree with the promo that the killer in Rattle is a psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter, but he was certainly unique; which is often difficult to accomplish in this crowded genre. A great debut and an author to watch.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

04 April 2017

Guest review by Grace Harris - There May be a Castle by Piers Torday

Reviewer Grace Harris
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming 8yo bookworm Grace Harris to Carpe Librum. She loves books (including the Harry Potter series) and enjoys reading all kinds of stories. 

Grace recently read There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday and was kind enough to review it for us.

Review By Grace Harris
This is an interesting book, which you would not want to put down!  

There May Be a Castle is about how a boy named Mouse who after a terrible car accident, uses his imagination to get into a world of wonder. A world of imagination where he has to find the castle before the pink knight destroys him. A world of MAGICAL CREATURES and more.

Mouse is scared, but he will have to do his best and rely on his friends Nonkey and the robot dinosaur to get through. So begin a quest with Mouse and his friends in a world of wonder. 

Available from Hachette Australia
I really liked this story, it was easy to read and funny, even silly in some parts. I recommend this book to children. You could read it to younger children, from 4-8 or let the older kids read it. 4 out of 5 stars from me.

Grace's rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Thanks so much for your review Grace, hopefully other readers will enjoy this one as much as you did.

31 March 2017

Giveaway & Blog Tour for A Presence of Absence by Sarah Surgey and Emma Vestrheim

RRP $20.00 AUD
* Copy courtesy of the authors *

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway for A Presence of Absence by literary reviewer and freelance writer Sarah Surgey and Nordic film critic and owner of Cinema Scandinavia, Emma Vestrheim.
Their novel A Presence of Absence is BritCrime meets Nordic Noir and you can win a print copy by entering below. Good luck! And don't you just love that cover!
(For more info on the book, the authors or the other stops on the blog tour visit their website www.theodenseseries.com).

About the book
The Odense Series is a new Nordic Noir/Brit Crime series that blends humanist stories and family drama with gritty crime in the central Danish city Odense.

British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years.

The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants.

When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.


27 March 2017

Winner of the Birthday Giveaway is announced

Thanks to all the well wishers who entered my birthday giveaway last week. It seems many of you are also celebrating birthdays this month. There were more than 100 entries in total but the most popular book in the giveaway by far was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I had so much fun watching the books you chose and of course reading your lovely comments. Three entrants chose the option 'surprise me' in the giveaway which I definitely wasn't expecting. Wow!

Entries closed at midnight last night and I wasted no time drawing the winner today. A big birthday congratulations to:
Congratulations Christy, you've won a brand new copy of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia. You'll receive an email from me today and will have 7 days to provide your mailing address. Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday; this was so much fun I'll be sure to run it again next year.

Carpe Librum!
Winning book!
Birthday giveaway

25 March 2017

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one."

We've all heard the rhyme about Lizzie Borden. In 1892 she was tried and acquitted in Massachusetts for murdering her father and stepmother with an axe.

See What I Have Done is the fictionalised tale of Lizzie Borden by Sarah Schmidt and is hitting the shelves in a very big way this month.

Emma and Lizzie are sisters with a smothering, symbiotic relationship that crowds every page. The family is somewhat dysfunctional and the claustrophobic relationship between the sisters compounds this.

Lizzie was frustrating but that's the point. Their relationship together is somewhere between sisterly love and outright obsession.

The book is brimming with envy and loathing between the sisters and even though this is what creates the toxic family environment, reading it left me feeling icky and unclean. With every page I touched I felt as though I was slowly acquiring a layer of grease that wouldn't wash off afterwards.

I commend Schmidt for making me experience such discomfort, but in the end the novel just didn't work for me.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!