Thursday, 31 March 2016

My Review of "The Little Paris Bookshop" Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop

Monsieur Perdu is a "Literary Apothecary". He has a boat with "a low slung belly, a galley, 2 sleeping berths, a bathroom and 8000 books. A world apart from our world. And an arrested adventure." From here he sells books (to anyone under the age of 14, he sells them by weight - making a loss but "we need a future generation who aren't too shy to speak their minds"). He is a literary pharmacist who writes prescriptions for the lovesick. He treats all the emotions for which there no other remedy exists - he wants to treat feelings that are "not recognised as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors.... the feelings that wash over you when another summer nears its end or when you recognise you haven't your whole life left to find out where you belong....birthday blues....nostalgia for your childhood...." Books, he upholds, are the "only remedy for the countless, undefined afflictions of the soul." How beautiful! As his new neighbour Catherine concurs, had she had the chance she would have been a pirate and would have "solved all the world's mysteries through reading." I am also a strong believer in the power of books to heal and comfort us all!

But Perdu is able to heal everyone except himself. He has lived heartbroken and grieving for the lost of his love, Manon who disappeared from his life 21 years ago. Then a new neighbour inspires him to go in search for the one book that he believes will cure him and together with Max, a young author, and a cast of colourful and entertaining characters they collect on the way, they unmoor the floating bookshop and set off on a journey in search of the past, their loves and the lives that they have lost in a hope to be cured.

This book was an absolutely gorgeously pleasant surprise! I picked it up randomly in Waterstones as it was part of a "buy one get one free" offer - I was shopping with children and had no time to make a choice - I just knew I wasn't going to walk away from a book deal, and I grabbed the nearest title that was shelved in the shops top ten recommendations. When I got home I thought the cover made it look like a rather "fluffy, Chick lit" kind of read and I shoved it on my "to read" pile ready for a day when I needed something light and perhaps more saccharine following an overdose of crime and thriller fiction. Thank goodness that day came sooner rather than later!

I sat in my favourite spot in my local cafe in a quickly snatched break between work commitments and started reading without much expectation..... As they say you should never, ever, ever judge a book by its cover!

I was immediately mesmerised by the beautiful, poetic and lyrical writing. George's phrases are so pertinent and the pages are littered with apt and thoughtful observations. By page 4, I was entranced by the solitary Monsieur Perdu who can't open the door to the room "in which all his love, his dreams and his past had been buried"; who reflects that "memories are like wolves. You can't lock them away and hope they leave you alone." I was also intrigued by this sad man who seemed full of pain and sorrow.

The book is also full of wry humour and deft characterisations. George is able to expertly reveal personalities through brief yet revealing dialogue, for example like when one of the women informs Perdu that  his new neighbour "Madam Catherine Le P-you-know-who" is the "soon to be ex wife of Le Dirty Swine" it cleverly establishes their busy bodying nature and Perdu's lack of interest in society and gossip. Like the author, Perdu is a shrew judge of character - necessary for his job - and refuses to sell people books which will not cure them of their aliments. He chooses an alternative novel for one of his customers advising her to "surrender to the treasures of books instead of entering into pointless relationships with men." Books keep "stupidity at bay. And vain hopes. And vain men." As he reflects to himself, booksellers don't look after books; they look after people.

"A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate aliments that's how I sell books. Books are more than doctors - loving lifelong companions.... they wrap you in a warm towels when you've got the autumn blues..."

Any book lover will enjoy indulging themselves in a novel which celebrates the world of stories and the power of reading. I absolutely loved the concept of a Literary Apothecary - it is inspired and George uses it in such an imaginative way to explore themes of love, loss, grief, fear and life. Perdu's interview technique with his clients is fascinating. He sees people as books; are they the main character? A secondary character? What is their motive? Are they editing themselves out of their story as their job / children / husband begin to consume their whole text? He listens to their voice rather than the answers they give. He looks beyond their words and hears the cadence in their voice as he establishes what it is that truly bothers them. Perdu is so initiative and so caring. He is so much more than just a bookseller. He has helped all the inhabitants of the town build their own libraries, uniquely conceived to match their hopes, dreams and aspirations. He has set up a book club for the local widows whom no longer receive visits from their families to prevent them from "withering away in front of their tv sets." Yes indeed. Books aren't just a barcode, a retail price, a story but "a freedom on wings of paper"...... or as Catherine remarks, "A novel is like a garden where the reader must spend time in order to bloom."

The relationship between Catherine and Perdu is very moving and poignant. Their love is described with elegant and charming language. Together and apart they both have a journey of self discovery to complete and they help each other to face their fears, acknowledge their pasts, come to terms with their losses and move forward in life.

The metaphors and contemplations about love are enchanting. It is compared to a house where "neglected rooms can become treacherous and foul" and there is a very entertaining conversation about if we had to buy beautiful words then the rich would call the shots by buying all the important ones and the poor would have to communicate via games of charades; "I love you" would cost the most and "twice as much if used insincerely."

This book is thoughtful and needs to be savoured. Perdu illustrates the importance of listening and at the end, the realisation that books do have limitations- we have to live the important things - you have to experience your own book.

At the end George includes an "Emergency Literary Pharmacy" prescribing an "easily digestible dose of 5-50 pages at a time." I definitely would encourage you to follow this prescription!

This book would appeal to fans of Sarah Winman, Claire Fuller, Joanna Harris, Barney Norris and Graham Swift.

I highly recommend this novel. It is an easy read but a beautifully crafted one full of entrancing imagery and observations. Readers will care about the characters who are all appealing and engaging.

"Reading is an endless journey; a long, indeed never ending journey that makes one more temperate as well as more loving and kind."

For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up to receive future posts via email.

Exclusive Reveal! New Cover design and Prologue from Laini Taylor

Hodder reveal cover design and exclusive extract from Laini Taylor's new novel coming out in September 2016!


Laini Taylor is the author of the popular "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" trilogy, a fantasy series written for Young Adults but also hugely enjoyed by adults. The reviews and ratings on Goodreads are exceptional!

Synopsis for "Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1":
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

Strange the Dreamer
Now Talyor has exclusively revealed the new cover for her forthcoming novel "Strange the Dreamer" which will publish in September. This book will be the first in a new series and here is the mysterious blurb taken from Amazon where it is available to preorder. 

STRANGE THE DREAMER is the story of:
- the aftermath of a war between gods and men
- a mysterious city stripped of its name
- a mythic hero with blood on his hands
- a young librarian with a singular dream
- a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
- alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage

The covers are truly stunning - i love the colours and the imagery! They are so eye-catching and appealing. I can't wait to see them adorning the shelves of every bookshop!

If you can't wait until September, feast your eyes on this tantalising extract, the Prologue, which is desperately enticing and beautifully written!

Strange the Dreamer

On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.
Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.
That was true. Only that.
They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.
Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.
She was also blue.
Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.
The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.
And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.

I posted photos of the new cover and prologue on my Twitter feed yesterday after the embargo was lifted at 3pm and was absolutely blown away by the response they received and sheer volume of tweets that erupted across my timeline as other book bloggers posted more detailed links and fans retweeted the images in a zealous frenzy. The best comment I received was simply "I. Need. This. Now!" 

Laini Taylor clearly has a huge fan base and huge following. If you haven't already read her other books - you have until September to catch up! Then get in line for what promises to be one of the most eagerly anticipated publication days I have experienced in a while! 

Happy Reading! 

For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat please follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up to receive future posts via email. 

Book Group: Rosamund Lupton's "The Quality of Silence"

The Quality of Silence

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska. Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness -where nothing grows, where no one lives, where tears freeze and night will last for another 54 days. They are looking for Ruby's father. Travelling deeper into a silent land they still cannot find him. And someone is watching them in the dark.

Why did we chose this book?

The group have previously discussed "Sister" and enjoyed it so when Lupton's new book was published, people were keen to read another of her novels. It is also part of the "Richard & Judy" Book Club Spring Reads which the group generally feel are well chosen titles that always suit busy mums who are looking for an enjoyable, engaging and well written read but not something that requires too much commitment or is overly intellectually challenging! As a popular paperback, it also means it's readily available, generally on offer in WHSmiths, available in the Library and a few copies were discovered in the charity shops! The book is also set in Alaska so it felt like a timely read for the winter!

How long did we have to read the book?
Six weeks - plenty of time! Everyone had managed to read it! 

Where did we meet to discuss the book?
Our location varies depending on babysitting and our husband's unpredictable work commitments! Sometimes we meet in a pub at a central location - pubs are often able to reserve an area for a big group and it also takes the pressure of anyone having to host a larger gathering- it's also a bit of a treat and means people can nibble / eat. Otherwise, we alternate between people's sitting rooms. I prefer this as it makes it a really informal evening and there's nothing better than curling up on a friends sofa with a bowl of doritos, talking about books! However it also depends where everyone lives and how well you all know each other. If you are a more disparate group, a neutral location might suit better. If you are a group who know each other well and are very comfortable together, there is the danger of relaxing a little too much and "forgetting" about the book (!) so it is helpful if someone is happy to "take charge" a little to direct the conversation - obviously you should still make sure there is plenty of time for socialising after the book has been reviewed!

Initial Verdict!
It was an all round hit! A very rare occasion! Everyone had enjoyed it and most of the group said they would rate it at least 4/5 star - a few said higher. We all agreed we would recommend it. 

What did we like about the book?

  • The location - it is a very dramatic backdrop, very atmospheric and such a complete contrast to our own environment. We liked the sense of isolation, desolation, darkness and "sound of silence." It was easily the most captivating aspect of the novel. Some discussion of Davina McCall's TV series about survival ensued! 
  • Imagery - the setting is beautifully evoked. The imagery of stars and their use as a repeated motif was particularly effective. The description of the weather - particularly the wind - creates a lot of menace and the lack of night and day allows both the characters and readers to become completely disorientated and lose any concept of how long the journey is really taking.
  • The role of deafness and communication - we discussed this at great length, along with the relationship between Ruby and Yasmin. In fact, everyone found the exploration of both these themes as intriguing as the crime and possible murder plot line which felt a little bit of a sub plot or mere back drop! Someone picked up on the notion that the imagery describing the isolation of the landscape was also repeated through the isolation felt by Ruby with being deaf and Yasmin's isolation from her daughter through her misunderstanding of what Ruby really wanted or needed to feel "heard" and "normal" and her misinterpretation of what was "best" for Ruby. We also talked a lot about hands and words and how they took on a much deeper significance within this story.
  • The theme of being "found" - both in terms of searching / needing to be found in a very physical sense, as well as the mother and daughter needing to find each other on a much more emotional level.

Were there any disagreement or differing of opinions about anything?
A lively discussion of whether Yasmin was right to take Ruby away with her to a barren and unknown country where her husband was assumed to be dead.....What would you have done?! Who is more dependent on who? 
The ending! Should it have finished earlier without the final scene? Was the ending ambiguous? Had they survived? What did the hares represent - happiness or death? Were the stars real or metaphorical? 

In summary -

  • People are already buying, sharing and recommending this book! A few people said it was the best thing they had read this year and probably the best of Lupton's novels to date. Everyone agreed that they had enjoyed the poetic style and the found the location fascinating. 
  • The group agreed they would describe it as an easy read that could be read quickly and fitted in to a range of genres - may be more of an adventure story than a crime novel but essentially was also about love, families, mothers and daughters.
  • It is a huge compliment to Lupton's writing that everyone enjoyed the book - and enjoyed it so much! It's rare for the books we choose to have such a universal appeal across a group of (albeit all female) readers whose preferences range from Chick Lit to Sci Fi to Grip Lit and Literary Classics! Such an animated and long discussion of the book is also proof of its resonance and thought provoking content. 

How do we choose the next book?
It's very informal and quite haphazard at times! Generally everyone is encouraged to bring along a book they'd like to put forward and then a vote is taken. As long as it's not always the same person bringing along a whole hoard of titles (I mean, who would do that? Seriously!!!) and the books vary in subject, style and genre then it doesn't really matter how the choices are made. Sometimes it's good to follow a theme or something topical or relevant to someone in the group. It's also good to choose something you might not normally go for - one of the best things about a book group is discovering a new genre or author. However, it is worth considering the dynamics and purpose of the group - is it more about re-establishing a reading habit and enjoying something? Meeting new people and socialising? Or is it about broadening your reading repertoire and literary criticism? Keep choices appropriate for the group and be fair! I've been part of groups before where there's been a rota to ensure fairness but it really depends on the formality and seriousness of your readers! 

What are we reading next?
Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Sounds like an interesting read with potential for good discussion. It deals with mothers, children and autism -of which several people are very interested- and a few of us already it had it on our "to read" pile. It also seemed like enough of a contrast from Lupton's book. We have another 6 weeks in which to read it. 

Thanks so much to the Book Group for letting me blog about our lovely, relaxing evening that was really interesting and included a lot of laughter! And a fair amount of chocolate too! Looking forward to the next one ladies! Happy Reading! 

For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat, follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up to receive emails with future posts.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

An Evening of Crime hosted by No Exit Press

As part of their 2016 Lit Fest, my local library hosted a "Crime Panel" Evening with publishing group No Exit Press. Howard Linskey, Leigh Russell and Peter Murphy were the special guests, led in conversation by Daniel Pembrey whose debut crime thriller will be published in November

 Murder Ring (A DI Geraldine Steel Mystery)Behind Dead Eyes And Is There Honey Still for Tea?The Harbour Master

Reviews on books by Leigh Russell, Howard Linskey and Peter Murphy can be found on a previous post titled "Harpenden Library Literature Festival -Crime Writers". 

Thank you so much to the staff at Harpenden Library for hosting this enjoyable evening! At a time when Libraries are facing closure, this kind of evening just goes to show how valuable Libraries are within our community and the range of services they provide. For all readers and any budding writers it is always inspirational to meet "real life" authors and hear about their inspirations and influences.

All the writers here referred to the importance of libraries both when they were growing up and developing as readers as well as when they are carrying out vital research for their new books. I borrowed all the books by these authors from the library and took out a further three books yesterday - two of which were freshly published hardbacks and one which is all over the press and Twitter at the moment. I have also just reserved a book which I saw on the stand, didn't take out, got home, saw a review, went back to find I'd been beaten to it so reserved on line and it will be delivered from a neighbouring library within the next few days. You just can't beat that - bibliomaniac or occasional reader, there is no denying how important they are as service and resource. As Leigh Russell said, even with our love for ebooks and the huge benefits of a kindle, nothing beats walking into a room crammed full of books and just being able to touch them!

The evening was well attended and there was a very relaxed and informal feel with the authors mingling amongst the guests as we enjoyed our complimentary glass of wine and took the opportunity to browse through the authors collections of books. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, it is always lovely to meet authors and realise that they are "just normal people" who enjoy meeting their readers as much as we enjoy meeting them. They are not tucked away in ivory towers living a charmed life but people who, although clearly talented, still work away with the self discipline and dedication of any employee. There was a gentle buzz of conversation as people settled in their seats and it's always a treat to be surrounded by avid readers and lovers of stories and storytellers!

The writers began by talking about how they had come to write. Peter Murphy has had a fascinating career as a Crown Court Judge which has given him a lifetime's supply of characters and cases from which to draw. He said ironically, they are stories you literally couldn't write- but he does! Russell wrote her first book late on in her career, having never written anything before and had the fantastic luck of being signed up by a publisher two weeks after sending off her first ever manuscript! She says all it takes is for you to wake up with an idea one day ......! Howard Linskey was a journalist and his stories are inspired by court and newspaper reports. He likes factual accounts of crimes which he can then imagine the individuals that lurk behind the reports. Interestingly, Linskey likes to strip away the perception of "glamour" and "celebrity" often attached to the underworld of gangsters and demythologise it's reputation. It is not glamorous; these people are hardened criminals, dangerous, threatening and even for the gang leaders, it is a life of constantly looking over your shoulder for either the police or competitors wanting to take over your "patch".

There was a really interesting discussion about the time periods in which the authors chose to set their novels. Linskey sets his in the 90s, generally because this is an era in which he was working as a journalist so has first hand experience of what was happening, protocol and procedure and also a time of which he is fond of from a social historical point of view. All the authors remarked how interesting it is to set your work in a time before the internet and mobile phones - Murphy's series is set in the 60s and even though Russell's series are contemporary, technology moves at such a rate that even a reference in her 2010 novel about "posting a cheque to pay the electricity bill" is now out of date as online paperless payments replace our previous banking habits. In a world without the internet, social media and mobile phone reception you have the opportunity for much more interesting plot developments. You can't phone for help, you can't text to see where someone is or trace their location, you can't google or watch the news unfold in front of your eyes. It is easier to withhold information from the reader and reveal in a more tantalising way. It can prolong a plot development - particularly if investigations and research require characters to visit libraries and trawl through newspapers and boxes of archived reports. It can also throw up new opportunities for twists and dramatic tension. Linskey also added that behaviour also changes so dramatically from decade to decade (or more quickly!). Things that are now socially acceptable previously weren't and therefore setting a novel in the past, however distant or recent, allows you to highlight suspicious activity, or can present dialogue full of judgement as characters talk about what is normal or acceptable. People probably noticed more then- for example, curtains not being drawn by midday, over affectionate couples, people arranging meetings with people they don't know, late nights, unusual items in your shopping trolley.....You could feel a ripple of awakening imaginations amongst the audience as we all started to consider this shrewd observation!

Leigh Russell made some very thoughtful comments about why she writes. She is fascinated about our society in which it is acceptable for people to own guns - "killing machines"; about how our society deals with the outsider, the non conformist, the psychopath, the dysfunctional characters and what this reveals about our attitudes to life, crime and current political and social issues. For her, although her novels are by no means preaching and absolutely fit in to the category of gripping page turners, crime fiction does offer the opportunity to explore important issues and offer some perspective or discussion about controversial issues such as gun crime and gang warfare. When discussing the importance of meticulous research in preparation for writing, Russell added that the best way to research an era or learn about history, is to see what authors in those times were writing about and what issues consumed them. It always comes back to books! They are so vital - not only in entertaining us, but also by informing and recording our society too!

Two of the authors have had their novels optioned for TV and they spoke about how issues revolving around adapting their stories to screen. They both upheld that writing and producing for TV is a totally different creative process to writing a novel and they are happy to leave it with the experts even if it means coping with a few changes and reinterpretations. There was an appreciation that things have to be adapted when transferring to a different media and as long as the essence of the novel wasn't compromised, it was fine and you had to accept them as pieces in their own right rather than make comparisons. For an author, it is such a lucrative opportunity that it seems if you sell your rights, you have to accept a certain loss of control.

During the Q & A session there was a discussion about the life of an author and what this actually entailed, how do writers plan and execute complex plots that define crime fiction, and any fundamental restrictions they would insist on if selling their rights to a film company.

It was a very enjoyable evening and the authors spoke in great detail about their experiences of writing, their novels and their passion for reading and libraries. It is always inspiring to hear from people who write and their encouragement to other budding writers was genuine and positive. Murphy and Russell's new books will be out shortly and Linskey's is out in May. Pembrey's newly acquired debut is out in November. Keep a look out in the library for their arrival over the next few months!

If you would like to find out more about any of these authors or events at Hertforshire Libraries, detail are below: / / @leighrussell
@noexitpress /
@hertslibraries  /

For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat please follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up to subscribe to future posts via email

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

What is waiting to be discovered Behind all these Closed Doors?

I didn't realise how many books were currently carrying this title at the moment until I ran a search trying to find a specific one- but it is such a suggestive one, it is easy to see why it has inspired so many authors for their stories. Here are a few reviews of the ones I have enjoyed!

Behind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith #2)£3.99 Kindle

This sat on my "to read"pile for too long - partly because I had been saving it as a treat! I am a massive fan of Haynes since reading "Into the Darkest Corner" which I think is one of the most absorbing psychological thrillers I have ever read; the protagonist's painful battle with OCD is depicted with such conviction I found myself mirroring some of the behaviour I was so involved with her plight! I now seek out all Haynes' new books and she is definitely one of my "read everything she writes" authors! She always guarantees a complex, shocking and page turning read -I have not yet been disappointed.

Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly just been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone. As Lou and her team work on two troubling cases - a 19 year old who has been beaten and a bar owner is found half buried in the woods - it becomes clear that not only are these two cases linked but they are also linked to the Scarlett's disappearance in 2003. Danger mounts.....the silent and secretive Scarlett holds the key to everything.......

This is the second instalment in the DCI Louisa Smith series although it doesn't matter if you haven't read the first (Under a Silent Moon) - although of course you will now you've discovered them!

Haynes worked as a police intelligence analyst for many years and her knowledge and experience ensures that she writes criminal thrillers with accuracy and authenticity. Her use of inserting transcripts, emails,witness and intelligence reports between the switching narratives of Lou, Scarlett and DS Sam Hollands -which also jump between 2003 and 2012/13 - works really well and makes the story not only feel very real but also very urgent. I enjoyed the tantalising way these additions helped to disclose clues and revelations, allowing the reader to piece together the jigsaw and develop their responses to the characters. I also found it gave the reader a bit of respite from the more harrowing subject of the crime, which in this case is human trafficking.

Haynes characters are all vividly brought to life with convincing depth and appealing personalities. Scarlett's account is compelling despite its traumatic detail, and the presentation of the underworld of human trafficking disturbing and violent. It is easy to become embroiled in the case alongside Lou and caught up in the unfolding story. Haynes has an effortless gift for quickly engaging the reader and pulling them along at a dramatic pace right up until the final sentence.

Haynes' writing is skilful, well crafted and satisfyingly unsettling. She does not shy away from controversial and distressing themes; her writing is dark but always captivating and full of well created, believable characters. I would recommend this crime thriller. And then encourage you to read her other four novels!

Behind Closed Doors99p Kindle
I thoroughly enjoyed this and had that gorgeous experience of starting to scan along the opening chapter in a spare minute "just to see what it's like" and then finding myself unable to put the book down and hurtling towards the 50% mark without even pausing to complete the half started task I had been distracted from (probably feeding the children or something equally important but don't worry, they are getting used to it!) I had some trepidation about reading it too after having seen so many fellow book bloggers review it with such endorsement and praise, and the publishers claim that this was the next "Gone Girl" or "Girl on the Train".

But there was no need for such concern! This is a truly gripping read. I was hooked from the very opening and completely fascinated by the whole scenario. The story is about Grace and Jack. Jack is handsome, confident and charming. Grace is controlled, slim, attractive and a dedicated housewife. They have the perfect marriage. They are always together. They are the ideal example of a couple who adore each other.

But why can Grace never meet her friends alone? Why doesn't she have a mobile phone? What does a young, bright woman in her early thirties do all day without a young family or a job? Why can't the neighbouring women get to know her better? Is it really possible that all she needs is Jack? .....And then the killer lines from the blurb..... "Sometimes the perfect marriage is the perfect lie."

This is an "edge of your seat" read. It is reminiscent of "Sleeping with the Enemy," Haynes's "Into the Darkest Corner" and Watson's "Before I go to Sleep" but this does not detract from its compelling and addictive plot line. I didn't even pause to make any notes or mark any quotes while reading this, I was so caught up. I immediately posted a comment on Facebook and Twitter giving it a 5 star rating literally seconds after finishing the last sentence - then later worried if this had been a bit rash, but I think if you've been unable to tear yourself away from something and find yourself transported into the life of the main characters, visualising them as real people, reacting and responding to them with feeling then, to be honest, what more can you ask for from any author?

Jack is a great character. Outwardly charming, controlled and rational but behind closed doors it is a completely different story. He is frightening, intimidating, calculating and heartless. A perfectly created "baddie". Grace is also a strongly drawn character. Worn down by his bullying and cruelty, she has become a victim but never completely gives up or loses her fight however impossible and futile things seem. Her concern and responsibility for her mentally handicapped sister drive her to never stop looking for escape routes or ways to overcome Jack's oppressive control.

I liked the way details about the house and Jack's actions revealed more about they way they lived, the extremity of his behaviour and brutal mind. It was eerie and unnerving. Paris was also great at reminding the reader that Grace was not pathetic or weak- every time the reader might begin to wish she stood up to Jack more or question why she didn't just blurt something out to someone when she had the chance, Grace would recall how she had tried to escape her situation or seek help and the dramatic consequences. I liked the way Grace could trust nothing she saw or heard, so scarred by Jack's cleverness and his ability to always think six steps ahead of her. It was claustrophobic and frightening. The only word for the ending is "nail biting"!

This is a quick, easy, gripping, psychological thriller which I would highly recommend for anyone who loves this type of book. It is well written and alarmingly believable. And it's 99p folks - an absolute steal! I can't wait for B A Paris's next book due out later this year - which I may have already preordered on Amazon ;-) She joins Haynes on my list of  authors who "you must absolutely read anything and everything they write"!

Behind Closed Doors99p Kindle
This is also described as being perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, SJ Watson and Elizabeth Haynes and fits into the genre of psychological thriller neatly. Here we follow the story of Olivia Taylor who has just left her unhappy marriage to Carl behind her and moved into a flat with her nine year old daughter Ellie. She quickly becomes involved with her neighbour Michael and thus begins her nightmare. ......

Croft creates plenty of tension, drama and cliff hangers. From the very beginning there is a sense that something is not right and that key information is being withheld. An atmosphere of foreboding danger lurks over Olivia; her hopefulness for her new start and new relationship seem naive and too innocent. At times her naivety is a little unbelievable but then this is a woman who has only had one serious relationship (with her soon to be ex-husband) and therefore she is perhaps less experienced, worldly and actually quite vulnerable, so one can excuse some of her decisions and trusting willingness to accept the way she is treated by Michael in the initial steps of their relationship. I did find her tolerance for his odd, allusive and solitary behaviour a little unconvincing as the time passes but Michael appears to have a magnetic hold over her and the physical side of the relationship seems to over power her rationality and objectivity. The physical side of the relationship is aggressive and often violent and Croft is really exploring the question of when does this sort of intimacy stop being intimacy and start being abuse. Is it that the reader is supposed to be a little frustrated by Olivia's repeated return to this man despite his rough, unkind, disrespectful conduct and consider that often the victim is unable to see that they are exactly that until it is too late and they are too imprisoned by the situation they have unwittingly created for themselves?

I liked the way the reader is kept at a distance from Michael. Olivia refers to him as "you" which I think dehumanises him a little and is certainly effective in making him more threatening. We see everything through Olivia's point of view which is not an entirely reliable one. He is a well crafted, unnerving character for which you feel no sympathy, only intense dislike. I found Olivia a more difficult character to relate to and flitted between feelings of sympathy and frustration. I think you have to allow yourself to believe that she really can't see what is actually happening around her and is honestly willing to accept such an unevenly balanced relationship. Perhaps she is just a slightly weaker female lead than those in the other books I have recently read.

I liked the character of Chloe, Michael's sister. I can imagine she would be a great role to play in a TV dramatisation - a real "love-to-hate" character. I can't say much more about her without spoiling the story but she is a deliberately dysfunctional, annoying and irritating person and Croft portrays her  well.

The book finishes with a very dramatic finale and I was also intrigued by the seemingly random paragraphs that start to appear from about half way through the book. At first they don't really make sense but hint at the melodrama to come and encourage the reader to keep turning the pages to see what is going to happen.

I could imagine this becoming a very successful TV drama series. It was only 99p which is a bargain and this is an easy read. I would rate it 3/5 stars.

Behind Closed Doors£4.99 Kindle
I have not read this book but I know that she is a highly reviewed author on many book blogs and regularly features in my Twitter feed as a popular author so I thought I would include her on this list.
When fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe suddenly vanishes one night it looks at first as though she's run away from home. Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she's taken a bag full of clothes. As the police investigation unfolds a wealth of secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light. And it seems everyone has something to hide. For Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her family apart over twenty years ago. She is convinced there is more to Sophie's disappearance than teenage rebellion. But is the past clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie's family, would ever want to face?
The reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are all very positive and the average rating is 4/5 stars which is impressive. Words such as "gripping", "emotional', "pleasing" and "very enjoyable" crop up frequently as does the sentiment that for many readers this was their first Susan Lewis book and they are off to find more as a result of finishing this one. I will be adding it to my list! 
I hope you find something here to tempt you to look behind that closed door! 
For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up to receive future posts via email. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

My Review of "The Cry" & "Viral" by Helen Fitzgerald

The Cry
Joanna, Alistair and their 9 week old baby travel to Australia for Alistair to spend some time with his daughter Chloe who currently lives with her mother Alexandra. Baby Noah goes missing from their car while they are pulled up at a service station and so begins a police investigation, court case and a media frenzy.

The premise of this story immediately appealed to me and I must thank Cleo at cleopatralovesbooks for the recommendation! This novel is inspired by a real event from 1980 when 2 month old Azaria Chamberlain was taken from her tent on a camping holiday. Lindy Chamberlain was arrested and served 3 years in prison for her murder before being acquitted when it was finally proved that the baby had been taken by a dingo. The conviction was first overturned in 1988 but the parents weren't cleared of all charges in 2008 when the case was finally closed. A final confirmation of the cause of death was not announced until 2012 when a death certificate was finally issued. I have seen the Meryl Streep and Sam O'Neil film "A Cry in the Dark" which is based on this story and was released a mere 2 months after the Chamberlains are first exonerated in 1988. Similarly there is the case of Madeline McCann from 2007 and her mother Kate, which has been the most heavily reported missing persons case in modern history. The McCanns were also held as suspects and tried before being cleared of all charges. What appears to fascinate Fitzgerald is the how the mother is portrayed in such cases. It is the mother who always seems to be given the rougher ride by the media and the general public, suffering harsher judgements than the father - whose names we may struggle to recall.  

This is an utterly gripping story. It moves quickly flitting between extracts from the flight to Australia in February and the court case in July. We hear Joanne's narrative of events, transcripts from court, twitter feeds and various witness accounts which convey the sense of "frenzy" and interest surrounding events and compound the judgements being made against Joanna.

Joanna's personality is drawn quickly - nervous, anxious, a tired, stressed, lonely, unsupported, fragile new mum who lacks confidence in her mothering skills and is a little overwhelmed with the responsibility - but only in a way many of us are after two months of broken sleep and the relentless routine of feeding and caring for a new born. What is clear is Joanna's love for Noah. Fitzgerald cleverly establishes all of this effortlessly by placing Joanna and Noah on a flight - not just any flight, a flight to the other side of the world - with Joanna desperately trying to settle and soothe her crying baby. Alistair comes across as arrogant, selfish, patronising and the decision maker of the pair. He manages to make her look incompetent publicly and all this implies a great deal about their marriage. So within the opening pages a scene of tension, stress and unhappiness is set creating much intrigue which is further compounded with the tragically distressing disappearance of Noah from the car once they begin their long journey to Alistair's mother.

I loved the way Fitzgerald showed how quickly events can be misconstrued and misinterpreted and her injection of snippets from the court case help illustrated the way things quickly spiral out of context and control. The added voices of Alexandra (the ex wife) add an extra layer of intrigue and the growing sense that everyone has a secret to hide and no one is actually telling the truth. The background threat of the bush fires also exaggerate the impending threat and intensity. There is much symbolism in its atmosphere of suffocation, danger and the idea of begin hounded and chased by something which you can't control, predict or escape from.

Tension builds dramatically and each chapter ends with cliffhangers. I had read 100 pages without even looking up once or noticing!

This novel is scarily plausible. It is a harrowing and compelling psychological drama with a stunning conclusion. The plot is skilfully crafted to reveal and conceal truth and lies, twists and turns. It explores themes of loss, guilt, duplicity, playing a role, madness, deception, decisions and their repercussions and a loss of who and what you are. It explores the controversial and infinite discussion of what makes a good mother and how both love and the fear of not being loved have the power to drive people to behave in the most extreme manner. I was also intrigued by the judgements made against Joanna - how quickly and how virulently blame is apportioned to the mother and how heavily she is criticised for the way she is reacting to the loss of her baby. What is the "right" way to behave? Is there a "right" way to behave?

A definite 4/5 star read. Would highly recommend!

So this is the book that literally went "viral" on Twitter with rave reviews filling my timeline quicker than I could scroll through them! And with possibly the most controversial opening line in the history of books!

It continues with an equally shocking paragraph stating that "so far twenty three thousand and ninety six people have seen me do this. They might include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year biology teacher and my boyfriend of six weeks, James."

Yes, if you can get past the first line then you will be well and truly hooked! This is a novel for our time, exploring every parent's (or teenagers) worst nightmare and the perils of social media. Again, like "The Cry", this is inspired by a real story from the newspapers in 2014. Fitzgerald explores the far reaching consequences and effects of one horrifying incident and how the event becomes life altering for more than just the protagonist. As a reviewer on Goodreads summarised: The ripple effect of events on the holiday quickly become more like a tsunami and nobody is untouched by it.

Leah and her sister Su have gone on holiday to Magaluf to celebrate finishing their A-Levels. After Su is caught on camera and the video erupts across the internet, she disappears and Leah returns home without her. Ruth, the girl's mother and successful court judge, is furious and sets to to seek justice. But who is really to blame? What role did Leah have in this? And how will they find Su if she doesn't want to be found?

The characters are great in this book - the reader has a real love / hate relationship with them and I found myself switching from like /dislike / hate / love with most of them several times throughout the story which made it quite compelling. Su is "prudish, virginal...stay at home and study Su". She doesn't swear. She doesn't drink. She was adopted from South Korea as a baby and her parents have always embraced her native culture and heritage with intent care and attention. Ruth adores her. She is the daughter of which they are immensely proud and Bernard, the father, dotes on her in quite an obsequious manner. Su's narrative of events is engaging as she recounts events leading up to the trip away, the holiday itself and then the fallout. Her family relationships are emotionally complex and there are interesting themes of needing to belong, to fit in and to the lengths a person might go in order to please or protect someone. Su is pragmatic and intelligent and that makes her frank expression and use of language to describe what has happened more effective. Her blunt statements show how the enormity of what has happened becomes more apparent to her and as a high achieving student, she is fully aware of how much her "perfect" life has changed. Fitzgerald captures her situation with authenticity and conviction.

Leah on the other hand is downright vile! She is a rebel. She drinks, smokes, takes drugs, has sex and clashes with her mother at every opportunity. Conceived naturally only 1 month after Su's adoption, she feels second best despite being the "miracle" baby and very much doted on by her slightly delusional father. Leah harbours a deep resentment towards Su and is constantly racist and unpleasant towards her, never missing an opportunity to make her feel worthless or different.

Ruth is an equally strongly drawn character. A true "ball-breaker". Confident, attractive, intelligent, successful and with a ruthless determination. She has a darker side though and her behaviour is unnerving. As with "The Cry", this novel also raises lots of questions about motherhood and what makes a good mother.

I'll leave you to read it and decide who is the victim - or how many people are victims- as well as who is to blame and how much they are to blame....... It is thought provoking and the final line is as sensational as the opening line.

And if you liked these, there are lots more to choose from next! I've downloaded "My Last Confession" to take on holiday. It's always great to discover a new writer who has published so may titles there are plenty to look up next!

The Exit The Donor Dead LovelyThe Devil's Staircase The Duplicate

For more recommendations, reviews and bookish chat follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up for email notifications of future posts.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

For Virtually Jules- Suggested Reads for a 9yr old Boy in Pictures

Beetle Boy (The Battle of the Beetles #1) The Astounding Broccoli Boy

My Brother Is A Superhero (My Brother is a Superhero, #1) The Mystery of the Whistling Caves (Adventure Island, #1)

The French Confection (Diamond Brothers, #5) Anyone But Ivy Pocket

The Woebegone Twins Beast Keeper (Beasts of Olympus, #1)

Dragon Rider (Dragon Rider, #1) Fly, Cherokee, Fly

Darkmouth (Darkmouth, Book 1) Kensuke's KingdomJoan of Arc Demolition Dad
Tiger Wars (The Falcon Chronicles)

Good Websites:
Carnegie CLIP awards
the book people
Blue Peter
The Reading Agency

Previous posts which may be of interest:
"Book Advisor - Books to read to boys"
"Blue Peter Awards"
"Suggestions for the Mini Bibliomaniac"

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Suggested Holiday Reads for this Easter

Here are some suggestions for books you may want to read over the holidays that I have reviewed on previous blog posts or read in the last six months or so. All are currently available on Kindle at very low prices.....

Sofia Khan is Not ObligedKINDLE PRICE £2.29
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?

This is such a fun, witty and enchanting novel! Malik is an intelligent author whose characters are well observed and her writing style will have you smiling and laughing as Sofia takes on the world of dating in the name of research. It is similar in style to "Bridget Jones" but feels fresher and a little more original. Perfect for a relaxing, light weight, undemanding read.

The Lost DaughterKINDLE PRICE 99p
An unsolved murder. A missing child. A lifetime of deception. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child. CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die to protect a lifetime of lies...

I always read a couple of Diane Chamberlain's novels on my holidays! They are my guilty pleasure! I just know where I am with this author - I'll get a well written story with good characters and a plot with mystery, emotion, dilemma and drama. If you like Jodi Picoult you'll enjoy this author - as with Picoult, there is often particular issue at the heart of the novel and a series of emotional journeys to go on before the ending is resolved. Reviews are very mixed but again, if you're after a decent holiday read, this will fit the bill. My other favourites of Chamberlain's titles are "Necessary Lies" (£2.99 Kindle) and "The Midwife's Confession" (£4.99).

Product DetailsKINDLE PRICE £4.99
Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It's a place filled with clues to the past - locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult...
Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand - least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?
A more expensive purchase but I would highly recommend any of Jefferies novels. She captures location, character and emotions with skill and the stories are engaging and enjoyable. They are all set in the past and in the East which creates a sense of escapism making them perfect to read while on a break."The Separation" is also available for £4.99 and the brand new "Silk Merchant's Daughter" is £7.99 as was only released last month.

A Year of Marvellous WaysKINDLE PRICE £3.99
Cornwall, 1947. Marvellous Ways is a ninety-year-old woman who's lived alone in a remote creek for nearly all her life. Recently she's taken to spending her days sitting on the steps of her caravan with a pair of binoculars. She's waiting for something - she's not sure what, but she'll know it when she sees it. Freddy Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the war. He's agreed to fulfil a dying friend's last wish and hand-deliver a letter to the boy's father in Cornwall.

This is a "Richard & Judy Bookclub" read this Spring. I found it an absorbing story of love and friendship, full of poetic prose and a magic- a real treat and from it I could quote endless sentences which struck me as beautiful writing. If you are looking for something mesmerising and enchanting, this is for you!

183 Times a YearKINDLE PRICE £1.99
Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.  16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her 'undivorced' parents—and Joe, of course. However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way. 

I read this one Sunday over the course of a lazy morning, an hour on the sofa and an early night - it was just what I had needed that day to help unwind and relax. It's witty, sharp and comical but also there is some pathos and seriousness as the story progresses. I'd recommend for a light, easy holiday read.

The Last Dance: And Other StoriesKINDLE PRICE £4.99, 2nd Hand Amazon from 1p
In ten powerful stories, Victoria Hislop takes us through the streets of Athens and into the tree-lined squares of Greek villages. As she evokes their distinct atmosphere, she brings vividly to life a host of unforgettable characters, from a lonesome priest to battling brothers, and from an unwanted stranger to a groom troubled by music and memory. These bittersweet tales of love and loyalty, of separation and reconciliation, captured in Victoria Hislop's unique voice, will stay with you long after you reach the end.

Short stories are a good option for a holiday if you feel like dipping in and out of something or trying something new. Hislops novels are good reads and these stories will bring a bit of sunshine if you are holidaying in the UK or taking a "staycation". Other short story collections I'd recommend would be Helen Ellis' "American Housewife", any Helen Simpson and any Katherine Mansfield.

Stasi Child (Karin Müller, #1)KINDLE PRICE £1.99
When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl's body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she's seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape - but from the West. Müller is a member of the national police, but the case has Stasi written all over it. Karin is tasked with uncovering the identity of the girl, but her Stasi handlers assure her that the perpetrators are from the West ­- and strongly discourage her asking questions.
The evidence doesn't add up, and Muller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn't realise that the trail she's following will lead her dangerously close to home . . . 

I really enjoyed this historical crime drama. It is set in 1976 East Germany which is a fascinating period to place a criminal investigation. You don't need to have any prior knowledge of German history and the story is accessible and easy to follow. It is full of suspense and drama and impressive attention to detail. I rated it 4.5/5 stars. If you've been watching "Deutschland 83" you'll love this! 

The Good MotherKINDLE PRICE 99p
Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing. The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear, knowing that whoever has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.

This is another psychological thriller but with a huge twist which I did not see coming! I had to totally revise my opinion of the characters, writing and plot! This is disturbing, compelling and clever.

The AccidentKINDLE PRICE 99p
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality. Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

I rated this a 4/5 star read and perfect for the holidays - which is when I read it. I notice on Goodreads that it has received the same rating from my friends too so it comes well recommended. I would also recommend "The Lie" which I might slightly prefer more - but that's a huge £2.99 on Kindle so maybe give this one a whirl first! C L Taylor writes great page turning thrillers and I am looking forward to reading her brand new book "The Missing" - also £2.99 on Kindle at the moment. 

The Girl Who Walked in the ShadowsKINDLE PRICE 99p
Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost. Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

I really enjoyed this detective crime novel. If you like Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson this will appeal to you. It is the third in a series although I read it without having read the previous instalments and it didn't affect my understanding or enjoyment. The other novels in the series, "The Girl who wouldn't Die" and "The Girl who Broke the Rules" are available for £2.99 and 99p on Kindle so you could buy the trilogy for a mere £5!

I hope you find something that suits you! Happy Easter Weekend and Happy Reading! Hope you enjoy cracking open a huge chocolate egg and settling down to a book at some point over the Bank Holiday!

For further recommendations, reviews and bookish chat follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK) or sign up for email notifications of future posts.