We Are Animals by Tim Ewins

We Are Animals by Tim Ewins

Summary:

A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.

Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.

Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.

His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…

Will…

Not…

Leave.

But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?

Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).

For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.

My Review:

There are some books that just stand out and just being rather special and We Are Animals (Eye/Lightning Books) by Tim Ewins is one of those books. A story of a man and a woman both called Jan. A love story that will make your heart burst. It is also funny and at a time when the world seems to have become deeply troubled, this is a story we all need in our lives right now.

We find ourselves on a beach in a far-off land as the man called Jan is talking to a young man called Sharkey and he is recounting his life story to the young man. This is his story of a love for his girl called Jan from how they met in a tiny English fishing village to their travels around the world and in and out of each other’s lives. For Jan he has now ended up in Goa and hoping that one day his lost love will re-appear again but so far, his girl called Jan has not appeared. Each day Jan will wait on the beach in the hope that she will suddenly walk across the beach to him. But there is also a cow on the beach and the cow seems to be waiting for something to appear. This chapter about the cow really struck a chord with me. But there are many more animals that make an appearance through this wonderful novel.


There were times I found myself laughing out loud even in a train carriage when I thought I was alone. This is a different novel that is so profound and at the same time beautiful in the way the story just is told and how Tim Ewins has crafted the story and the interesting characters you meet and their own hope and dreams for their own lives and this for me was the real pull of the story and how in some small way in our lives we can make a difference to other’s lives. Sometimes we may not even know we have.

We Are Animals is a novel that will last in the memory for quite a long time to come and I am very grateful for the chance to have read this wonderful novel.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Tim Ewins and Eye and Lightning Books for the review copy of We Are Animals by Tim Ewins.

We Are Animals by Tim Ewins is published by Eye Books and is now available in Paperback through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Summary:

On holiday in Chile with her best friend Kristen, Emily is having the time of her life.

Until one night, she finds their hotel suite covered in blood.

Kristen claims a backpacker attacked her. She shouted, but no-one heard. She struggled, but he was too strong.

She had no option but to kill him.

With no evidence of the assault, Emily must help her hide the body. . .

Back home, Emily tries to forget what happened, but a surprise visit from Kristen forces her to confront the events of that night.

As the walls close in, Emily asks herself: can her closest friend be trusted?

My Review:

Just how well do you know your best friend? We Were Never Here (Michael Joseph) by Andrea Bartz really does explore this in a fabulous gripping thriller. When two friends go on holiday together and something happens one night, and it is later that the past really must be explored more deeply.

The two friends are Emily and Kristen have been close since their university days and are now having the time of their lives on holiday in Chile that is until one evening it all goes horribly wrong. When Emily returns to the hotel room to find a scene from hell. There is blood in the hotel room. Her best friend Kristen has been involved in a confrontation with a man in their room. Kristen covered in blood has killed the man and she is saying that he attacked her, and that she had no choice but to kill him.

Their dream holiday has turned into the worst nightmare. Rather than contacting the police Emily helps Kristen ‘clean up’ and dispose of the body. Now the story moves on and Emily is at home clearly still shocked at what had happened in their hotel room. But out of the blue Kristen turns up on at her front door. No warning of her arrival and is already showing signs of moving on from that terrifying evening, but things don’t end here Kristen is now showing up more and more and unexpected places in Emily’s life. This is getting a little creepy and tense and it is Emily who is starting to question what really went on that evening. There is something more sinister going on.

Andrea Bartz has written a fabulous thriller with lots of intriguing dialogue and has created two more than interesting characters. Written as though it is Emily who is telling you the story. A slow-burning psychological thriller that will have you guessing all the way through until the very end.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Kallie Townsend and Olivia Thomas (Penguin Michael Joseph) for the review copy of We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz.

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz is published by Michael Joseph and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Summary:

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young – but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

My Review:

My thanks to Faber & Faber for the tantalising extract from the hotly anticipated book of 2021. Beautiful World, Where Are you by Sally Rooney will be released on 7th September, so not long to wait.

I am obviously not going to give any spoilers here suffice to say that this is going to be something rather special. As this was an extract, I got to meet Alice who is a writer and Felix who works in a warehouse and both set off on a first date together, but just how do they get on and do they want to see more of each other. Sally Rooney sets the scene for the reader, blind dates can sometimes be a disaster, so I am really intrigued to see what does become of both Alice and Felix. Both have a story to tell, which you are going to want to know more about. There was an intriguing end to the chapter that left you wanting to know what happened next.

Sally Rooney has a beautiful writing style, and she really gets the characters so right and allows you to be drawn into the story. I felt as though I was eavesdropping on their blind date, that I what Sally Rooney does with her writing. This story is alive and left you wanting more.

Look out for a full review of Beautiful World, Where Are you by Sally Rooney after publication.

352 Pages.

My thanks to for the NetGalley extract review of Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney is published on 7 September 2021by Faber & Faber and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other by James Aldred

Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other by James Aldred

Summary:

In early 2020, wildlife cameraman James Aldred was commissioned to film the lives of a family of Goshawks in the New Forest, his childhood home. He began to plan a treetop hide in a remote site that would allow him to film the Gos nest, the newly hatched chicks and the lives of these elusive and enchanting birds.

Then lockdown. And as the world retreated, something remarkable happened. The noise of our everyday stilled. No more cars, no more off-roaders, no more airplanes roaring in the skies, no one in the Goshawk woods – except James.

At this unique moment, James was granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep filming. And so, over Spring and into Summer, he began to record his experiences in a place empty of people but filled with birdsong and new life.

Amidst the fragility and the fear, there was silver moonlight, tumbling fox cubs, calling curlew and, of course, the soaring Goshawks – shining like fire through one of our darkest times. A Goshawk summer unlike any other.

My Review:

James Aldred is an Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman and has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough on many projects. Recently released is his latest book Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other (Elliott & Thompson) Which tells the story of how James was commissioned to film a family of Goshawks in the New Forest during the countries first Covid lockdown. Goshawks are incredible birds of prey. I have only ever seen one in my life and was left in awe at its power.

When James Aldred was given permission to film a pair of Goshawks deep in the New Forest the country was in lockdown, the forest was quiet, even the sky was free from the noise of aircraft. It felt like James had the entire forest to himself. This was a rare opportunity to film without disturbance.  A treetop hide gave incredible views of the nest during the spring months as the pair began to raise their family.

Rarely seen as they are silent hunters of the forest James will have just seconds as he will hear the call as one of the Goshawks approaches the nest from deep within the forest. Through the spring the forest is awakening from its winter sleep and life is returning the forest is full of birdsong, but this is a springtime unlike any other we have known. As James filmed, he also kept a written diary, and this is how Goshawk Summer is set out. James writes so beautifully you are almost there with him. We all may have been locked down at home, but nature came into its own and as spring turned into early summer the forest came alive.

As much as this is a book about a family of Goshawks what James also brings us is the story of how the New Forest burst into life with birds and animals. This indeed was a very special moment and a rare moment even for the experienced James Aldred. The year 2020 was a dreadful year and one we will never forget but at the same time what James brings us here is something rather special as you join him doing what he loves in a special place that is close to his heart. Goshawk Summer is a very special book and one I treasured reading.

304 Pages.

My thanks to Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson Books for the review copy of Goshawk Summer by James Aldred.

Goshawk Summer by James Aldred is published by Elliott & Thompson Books on 29 July 2021 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector by Nicholas Royle

White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector by Nicholas Royle

Summary:

A mix of memoir and narrative non-fiction. White Lines is about a Nicholas Royle s passion for Picador s fiction publishing from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s. It explores the bookshops and charity shops, the books themselves and the way a unique collection grew and became a literary obsession.

My Review:

We all love books, but do you collect books from a specific publisher? Nicholas Royle does just that, he does not just love books he is an avid collector of old books published by Picador. These are the books with the white spines. In his wonderful new book White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector (Salt) the author takes us on a literary journey from second-hand bookshops on his travels. This reads like a love letter to books and writing and it really is.

There is nothing better than spending time in a bookshop and then discovering a second-hand bookshop, there are real gems to be found. Many times, I have purchased a book from a second-hand bookshop I have found notes from the previous owner, or the book has been inscribed and you just wonder who this person really was.

I just loved the way Nicholas Royle talks about his passion for books, his excitement at finding a new edition though sometimes the publisher may change the cover design that might not do justice to the book. He also shares with us the bookish conversations he has had about great books that have been read.

Nicholas takes us on a tour across the country of great bookshops he has discovered, and he also takes time to talk to some of the authors of the Picador white spine editions. At the back of the book, he gives us a list of his collection of these very desirable books he has collected over the years.

I just love books about books and White Spines really is a terrific read very much set out in a diary format and is so full of heart. Who knows one day someone will find a copy of White Spines in a charity bookshop and take it home and inspire them to discover the old Picador collections from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. My copy will be staying with me forever. It is a pure delight to read.

176 Pages.

My thanks to Helen Richardson for the review copy of White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector by Nicholas Royle.

White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector by Nicholas Royle is published by Salt and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

The Beresford by Will Carver

The Beresford by Will Carver

Summary:

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. 

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers. 

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

My Review:

There is something about Will Carver’s novels, I have been lucky enough to have read all of them so far and loved each one and his latest The Beresford (Orenda Books) is out in bookshops now and this is right up there with Carver’s previous novels but just be aware of the doorbell! There is something creepy about Will Carver and his books and his latest is no exception. It is dark, eerie and chilling.

Welcome to The Beresford this old building that has apartments, and some rather interesting tenants, except many won’t be around for long and so we hear the doorbell ring that heralds a new arrival.

The rates are cheap at The Beresford and so they come. We meet Mrs May whose age no-one really knows but guess. She has a daily routine; she makes coffee and lets it go cold because that is how she likes it. She even prays for many of the residents that come to stay. She prunes the roses and believes she knows everything that goes on at The Beresford.

Then we meet Abe, who seems like a nice guy, but Abe has just killed Sythe and has exactly sixty seconds to move the body. But Abe is a good person and did not want to kill Sythe. But just how is he going to dispose of the body?

The doorbell rings and a new arrival has come to stay, Blair Conroy has arrived finally away from her devout religious parents and now has the freedom to do want every she wants even with the bedroom door open.

Death awaits those who come to stay at The Beresford when the doorbell rings there is that dread of knowing that murder will follow, and each new arrival is a character, and each has their own story to be told.

Will Carver does write brilliant books and there is real humour to be found within the pages of The Beresford and you the reader are going to meet the residents as they arrive, their fate is sealed but are YOU going to judge them before they meet their fate?

But why are the people here committing murder? If the walls could speak what tales, they would tell of the goings on in this old apartment building. Of the people that come to stay and ultimately die. The Beresford is just a brilliantly chilling read in a way that only Will Carver can create. Is that the doorbell I have just heard?

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Beresford by Will Carver.

The Beresford by Will Carver is released through published by Orenda Books and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org