NinjaBookBox August Review

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll probably know that I enjoy treating myself to the odd subscription service (or ten)

There’s something great about the idea of coming home from work and, instead of just finding bills & junkmail, discovering a box or envelope full of surprises is awaiting you.

One of my most looked forward to subscription treats is definitely my Ninja Book Box.

So, What IS a #NinjaBookBox ?

A NinjaBookBox is a particularly special kind of subscription service.

Each bimonthly box is available as either a full box, containing a book and a selection of themed or associated gifts and extras, or as a mini box featuring the book and a few of the ninja-created extras.

The August GOING HOME Box

The book is never revealed prior to box delivery, and the first clue to a box theme is when the name & an associated image is released on social media.

Image © Ninja Book Box

I tend to try and avoid spoilers, so a little clue as to the theme of the book and other associated box contents is enough to whet my appetite!

Finally, delivery day came, and my box arrived.

I couldn’t wait to delve in and discover just how we would be Going Home

The Book Ninjas very cleverly always seal the accompanying newsletter featuring book info, interviews with the authors, and recommended additional reading etc, in a spy-proof envelope.

Just one of many thoughtful touches! So, are you ready? Let’s explore….

  • In addition to the enclosed newsletter, there’s always a little “Welcome to this month’s box” note, which is nice.
  • The book, and some of the other contents of the box are tissue-wrapped. This means the actual book remains a surprise right up until you open it! I like to explore all the other bits first, in an attempt to guess the book, author or genre.

Actually, that brings me to another point that shows just how much care and attention is spent on selecting the perfect items to accompany the books included in Ninja Book Boxes. Did you know that the Ninjas read each shortlisted book, then read it again once chosen, to get inspiration directly from the book? How cool is that?

  • The first thing that caught my eye was this cute little card & envelope with fun quote print from A Spoonful of Sugar & Co
  • Next was an item which is included in every box. Each theme has an associated charm, and you can add to your collection with each box. I’m eager to discover just how this cute little scooter links to the story.
  • Another item which makes a regular occurrence is the Ninja Recipe Card. Again, the Book Ninjas attention to detail shines here, each box including a recipe directly inspired by the book. I spotted another clue to the book here, as the card mentions it is set in Tulsa.
  • Next to be unwrapped was this adorable pouch/pencil case, custom made for Ninja Book Box by Curious Miss Clay. Isn’t that sketchy monochrome print gorgeous?
  • The next wrapped gift is extremely intriguing, this Writing Map promises to inspire writing of all sorts including stories and poems during a trip to an art gallery.

On opening it out, I discovered a large double-sided brightly coloured selection of prompts.

  • Unable to put it off any longer, and quite frankly now beside myself with excitement, it was time for the book reveal…

A Map Of Tulsa, written by Benjamin Lytal and published by And Other Stories, is a book I hadn’t yet heard of; but the blurb sounds like it could be an interesting read.

A stunning debut novel of first love set against the art scene of late-90s Tulsa by a former New Yorker editorial staffer.

The first days of summer: Jim Praley is home from college, ready to unlock Tulsa’s secrets. He drives the highways. He forces himself to get out of his car and walk into a bar. He’s invited to a party. And there he meets Adrienne Booker; Adrienne rules Tulsa, in her way. A high-school dropout with a penthouse apartment, she takes a curious interest in Jim. Through her eyes, he will rediscover his hometown: its wasted sprawl, the beauty of its late nights, and, at the city’s center, the unsleeping light of its skyscrapers.

In the tradition of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Map of Tulsa is elegiac, graceful, and as much a story about young love as it is a love letter to a classic American city.

This is yet another reason I particularly love the #NinjaBookBox. Because the books are always from small presses and/or independent publishers, they are often relatively unknown, thus adding to the surprise and widening my reading horizons.

  • Since it was now safe to do so, I returned my attention to the Spoilers! envelope inside which I found the usual newsletter with a short Ninja Review (& reasoning behind selecting this particular book for inclusion), suggestions for recommended reading either also set in Tulsa or with a similar feel, and a useful list of suppliers and where to find them. Also included was a lovely hand-drawn map that I am assuming was created by the artistically blessed sister of Head Ninja, Bex.
  • Last, but not least, there was also a little teaser slip for November’s box which; as it coincides with Ninja Book Box’s 1st birthday; promises to be something special!

I want in, How do I get one?

That’s simple! Head on over to NinjaBookBox.com and order one!

Ninja Book Boxes ship quarterly (in February, May, August, and November) and each box becomes available for individual purchase on the 1st of the month before (January, April, July, and October).

The site is easy to navigate, and as well as box subscriptions, they have an online store which stocks various books and bookish gifts.

Current Prices:

  • Individual Boxes £29.99 per box (£15 Mini Box)
  • Annual Subscription £27.50 per box (£13.75 Mini Box)
  • Quarterly Recurring Subscription £26 per box (£14 Mini Box)

Subscriptions are always available, except when the current box is sold out.

The Ninjas champion Indies, all the books included in the boxes are from Independent publishers, and all the gift items are either created in-house or sourced from small business makers, so you are guaranteed to find a few unusual little treasures.

DISCOUNT CODE

Do you know what I like even more than a subscription box? A discount code! So here’s one for you to use in the Ninja Book Box online shop.

Enter HEATHER15 at the checkout to receive 15% off any shop purchases over £5.

At present, discount codes won’t work on recurring quarterly subscriptions, but you can use them to get 15% off stand-alone boxes, such as the GRAND ADVENTURE Summer Reading Box, or any of the other goodies instore.

And the best bit? Unlike most discount codes that are one-use only, you can use my referral code as often as you like, so you can claim your 15% off EVERYTIME you shop! (I also receive a point each time you use it, so I can accumulate rewards too)

Have you tried the #NinjaBookBox yet? If not, have I tempted you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, or any other bookish boxes you’ve tried.

As always,

Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

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[Book Review] A PEARL FOR MY MISTRESS by Annabel Fielding

As a bit of a history nerd, I was understandably excited when Annabel contacted me last month enquiring if I would be interested in participating in the upcoming blog tour for her new historical fiction novel; running between the 14th and 28th of September; and today’s the (my) day!

DETAILS

TITLE: A Pearl for my Mistress

AUTHOR: Annabel Fielding

PUBLISHED BY: HQ Digital

GENRE: Historical Fiction

PUBLICATION DATE: 9th August 2017

EDITION: E-book / Kindle

ISBN: 9780008271169

PRICE: £0.99 / $TBC

Currently available from both Amazon UK and Amazon US .

THE STORY

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

THOUGHTS

Both Hester and Lucy are inherently likeable characters, any flaws or failures being a byproduct of their respective upbringings or situations.

The author’s choice of lengthy descriptive prose is evocative of the era, indeed there is one particular part early on in the book when the two young women are discussing Lucy’s writing which to my mind sums it up rather nicely;

“My sentences used to take at least five lines each. Otherwise I felt I didn’t do justice to the heroine’s complexion or the fragrance of the garden”.

I feel that the physical attraction between the two was somewhat inevitable, given the somewhat forced closeness between them during their time in the isolated Hebden Hall; Lady Lucy’s foreboding ancestral home; and the romanticed notions they each have of the others life.

At times, I found myself getting somewhat frustrated by the unthinking ways and poor choices that led Hester (and at times Lucy) into difficult situations.

As always I am ever-mindful of not giving away too much of the story in my review, so rather than tell you my take on this wonderfully poignant tale, I’d rather concentrate on the vividly described world that Hester finds herself plunged in. At a time when the upper classes were still trying to cling to all their traditions and rules of proprietary as the world marched on to more modern ways of thinking, Hester could still experience what she saw as the wonder of a different way of life; although ultimately realizes that for all the luxuries afforded to the upper-class they are as much trapped by their situation as those of the working class.

Through her detailed and well-researched writing, Annabel Fielding immerses the reader in the world of 1930s society through her wonderfully evocative descriptions. Sometimes, this level of description and background information does cause the pace of the story to slow; but this makes for a languorous unfolding of the story which somehow feels in-keeping with the era.

RATING & RECOMMENDATIONS

As a lover of historical fiction, I enjoyed this richly woven tale. Whilst the story was somewhat of a slow burner, I felt this added to it’s charm.

I rate this evocative and eminently readable tale of 1930s society 4 out of 5 stars.

I recommend A Pearl for my Mistress to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a touch of romance, and fans of Downtown Abbey or similar.

MEET THE AUTHOR

You can find out more about Novelist, History Geek and International Woman of Mystery Annabel over on her blog History Geek in Town ; where she shares her love of travel, books and tea through her reviews of (mostly) historical fiction and her stunningly photographed travel posts.

Alternatively, you can also follow her, @DearestAnnabel, on Twitter.

DISCLOSURE

I received a copy of this book from the author, via NetGalley & free of charge, in order to read, review and join in with this blog tour. All thoughts are my honest opinions.

Do you enjoy Historical Fiction? Do you have a preferred era?

Hopefully, this review may have piqued your interest!

Thanks for stopping by,

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

I would also like to thank the lovely Annabel for inviting me to read her book, and participate in the blog tour.

The Student Cookbook: a.k.a. “How Do I Make This Mum?” : The Fishcake Edition

Offspring#2 heads off to Edinburgh University next weekend.

He’s going to be staying in a shared flat in the centre of town and is nervously looking forward to it.

Obviously, part of the planning; alongside getting a place (the hardest part of that was actually making a decision, as he received four unconditional offers!!), sorting funding, applying for accomodation, and buying duvets, dishes & desk cacti; is making sure he can feed himself!

Operation: Mum’s Student Cookbook is well underway (although, whilst #1’s recipes were all painstakingly handwritten in her book, he’s gone all high-tech with Google docs) and we’re working on a batch of multi-purpose or mix & match recipes.

Tonight’s experiment was fishcakes, they turned out well, and he has already added a list of possible variations.

We had a couple of tins of red salmon loitering in the cupboard so decided to use those up in these easy Salmon, Spring Onion, Chilli, and Coriander Fishcakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 large or four medium potatoes; peeled & diced (or 250g leftover mash)
  • 1 tin salmon; drained, flaked, & bones removed
  • 1 red chilli; de-seeded & finely chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped
  • Handful of coriander; roughly chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour
  • 1-2 eggs; beaten
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbspn butter
  • 2 tbspn olive oil

Method

  1. Boil potatoes until soft, drain & mash.
  2. Combine mash, salmon, chilli, spring onion, & coriander; and season.
  3. Form into palm-sized patties.
  4. Coat in flour, dip in egg, & cover with breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat butter & oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat.
  6. Add fishcakes, and fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Enjoy with salad & crusty bread, or your choice of vegetables.

Yeild & Storage

This recipe will give 4-6 decent sized fishcake, enough as a main meal for two; alternatively, save half for another day.

Uncooked fishcakes can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or wrapped and frozen for 2-3 months.
Personally, I prefer to fry until golden then cool añd freeze. Cook from frozen in a preheated 180°C oven for 20-35 minutes depending on the size.
 

Variations

Tinned Tuna & Sweetcorn

Smoked Salmon, with Thai flavouring

Cod & Chorizo

Prawn with Chilli, Garlic, Ginger, and Spring Onion

Smoked Haddock and Mature Cheddar

Omit the fish altogether; and have Cheese, Leek, and Spring Onion Potato Cakes for a vegetarian-flatmate-friendly feed

Are you a fan of fishcakes? What’s your favourite flavour? If you try these, or have any student-friendly recipes, I (we!) would love to hear below!

As always,

Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

[Book Review] LETTERING WITH PURPOSE by Brittany Luiz

TITLE: LETTERING WITH PURPOSE

AUTHOR: BRITTANY LUIZ

GENRE: NON-FICTION, CRAFTS & HOBBIES, ARTS

PUBLISHED BY: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING

PUBLICATION DATE: 1st SEPTEMBER 2017

EDITION: PAPERBACK

ISBN: 9781633223424

PRICE: $21.95 (USD)

Creative techniques and prompts for making meaningful, inspirational hand-lettered art.

DESCRIPTION

Lettering with Purpose is

DISCLOSURE

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in return for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by! Have you tried your hand at the current trend for hand-lettering yet? I’d love to hear whether you have or inspired to try it after reading this!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[MailCall Monday] 28th August 2017

Well, the week started off rather nicely with not one but two items of fun mail waiting when I got home from work on Monday!

First up was my #NinjaBookBox.

The Ninja Book Box is an awesome quarterly bookish subscription service. Each box has a theme, this one being GOING HOME.

Each box contains a book related to the theme, together with a small selection of items carefully chosen and created to match the theme.

The books are always from independent publishers, and the curated items are sourced from small businesses and independent makers. This championing of indie suppliers is integral to the Ninja Book Box ethos and is definitely something to be applauded.

There’s always so much to explore in a Ninja Book Box, that it’s probably best that I do a standalone post dedicated purely to my unboxing.

But, in the meantime, if you need a bookish fix; remember code HEATHER15 gets you 15% off orders over £5 in the #NinjaBookBox shop!

Next was a surprise gift:

LUCKY DIP CLUB X HELLO DODO

Mr Crafty actually purchased this for me as a lovely surprise.

I have received Lucky Dip Club boxes in the past, but after taking a baby break, Leona has returned to the subscription market with an update.

I must admit, I was intrigued when I heard about this collaboration with HELLO DODO, as I love their prints.

Inside I found an intriguing soft lightweight item, wrapped in sunshine yellow tissue; and a brightly coloured zine.

When I opened the tissue-wrapped gift, I discovered the most adorable bold flamingo print adorning a fab fabric zippered pouch.

  1. I adore flamingos
  2. I love puns
  3. Summery ice-cream shades are fab
  4. You can never have too many storage bags

I haven’t decided just yet what exactly I’ll be storing in my pouch; make-up bag or pencil case seem good options but I don’t want the inside to get dirty!!

Later on in the week was Boxcitement day…

Boxcitement is a lovely monthly subscription box which features a gorgeous selection of stationery, jewellery, housewares and decorative items; all curated around a theme, which this month is FANTASY ISLAND.

Again, look out for a full unboxing post coming soon!

BookMail

The first BookMail of the week was this fantastic foil-embellished, signed copy of INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin.

I received this Sci-Fi Fantasy; likened to Doctor Who meets the Guardians of the Galaxy; as part of a Twitter Giveaway, hosted by the Bournemouth Waterstone’s store .

Time is running out . . .

Farway McCarthy was born outside of time. With nowhere to call home and nothing to anchor him to the present, Far captains a crew on a dangerous mission into the past. When he collides with Eliot – a mysterious, secretive girl, whose very appearance raises questions about time itself – Far immediately distrusts her. But he must take a leap of faith, following Eliot on a race against time, if he is to protect everything he’s ever loved from disappearing forever . . .

A fast-paced, heart-stopping journey that will leave you breathless.

Via ReadersFirst; I received an ARC of Vince Cable‘s debut novel, OPEN ARMS; a political thriller which spans all the way from the parliamentary buildings of Westminster to the slums of Mumbai.

Kate Thompson – glamorous housewife-turned-MP – surprises everyone with her meteoric rise at Westminster. When Kate is sent as a trade minister to India, she hopes it will be her moment to shine. But, embroiled in a personal scandal, she gets drawn into a dangerous world of corruption and political intrigue… Billionaire Deepak Parrikar – head of an Indian arms technology company – is magnetically drawn to the beautiful British minister. But while their relationship deepens, India’s hostilities with Pakistan reach boiling point, causing more than just business and politics to collide. In the race to prevent disaster, can their conflicting loyalties survive being tested to the limit? Open Arms is an explosive thriller which circles from Whitehall to the slums of Mumbai. Cable’s sweeping tale combines unrivalled political detail with international intrigue, desire, and the quest for power. An electrifying debut.

Published by Corvus, OPEN ARMS is due to be released on 7th September 2017, and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

So, that was the contents of my mailbox for the week, did you receive any fun mail? Share in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Hugs, Crafty xxx

DISCLOSURE

  • Although I have a referral code for #NinjaBookBox, I receive this box through my personal paid subscription.
  • I also receive Boxcitement via a paid subscription.
  • The Lucky Dip Club item I received was purchased as a gift.
  • I regularly receive Advance Reader Copies of upcoming releases from ReadersFirst, these are sent free of charge, on the understanding I will read and review them; giving my honest and unbiased impression.
  • The signed copy of Ryan Graudin’s INVICTUS I received was won via a randomised draw hosted by the Waterstone’s store.

[Book Review] BOHERMORE by Jennifer Rose McMahon

TITLE: BOHERMORE

AUTHOR: Jennifer Rose McMahon

GENRE: Fiction, YA, Paranormal Romance

EDITION: Paperback

PAGES: 293

PUBLISHED BY: City Owl Press

PUBLICATION DATE: 4th April 2017

ISBN: 9781944728144

PRICE: $14.99

Book 1 of The Pirate Queen Series.

The Story

When your dreams become reality, being cursed can be a real nightmare.

Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O’Malley’s visions knock her off her path. The Pirate Queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago, and now, the villain is coming for her. Maeve’s decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams—and end them.

Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor—a man she shouldn’t be falling for—is the only person who understands the origins of her torment.

Maeve’s journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland’s castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful Pirate Queen who has her marked for vengeance.

First Impressions

The cover gives the impression of a dark and foreboding tale, full of folklore, myths and a little bit of magic.

When i first started reading, I was intrigued by the secrecy surrounding Maeve’s Irish roots. We meet her during a family get-together in her Boston home, where she has been raised by her grandparents since her mother’s death. We learn early on that there is something special about Maeve, not least because of her visions; or awake dreams as she calls them. We follow her to Ireland where she struggles to control her ever-strengthening episodes, whilst meeting all sorts of characters; some friends, some foes, and some that aren’t so clear!

Enrolling in a history course at NUIG (National University of Ireland, in Galway), she soon finds a kindred spirit to join her on her quest, but how will it end?

Thoughts

Without wanting to give too much away (I try to keep my reviewing a spoiler-free zone!) I found BOHERMORE an enthralling read. The action was well-paced and I found that the inclusion of lots of historical details made for an interesting read.

As I continued reading, I found myself really rooting for Maeve, and was eager for her to find the answers she was seeking.

The author’s writing style is easy to read; and she weaves many snippets of historical detail, myth and legend with ease.

I was left wanting to seek out further reading on Granuaile as she is such an intriguing character; and can’t wait for the second book in The Pirate Queen series, to find out what happens next for Maeve.

Rating & Recommendations

A suspense-filled read, I rate this thriller 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommended reading for lovers of YA fiction and fans of Paranormal tales, with a bit of history mixed in.

The Author

Jennifer Rose McMahon lives in Massachusetts with her husband, who she met whilst studying in Ireland, their four children and two dogs.

A family connection to the O’Malley clan and a growing fascination with it’s medieval history during many, many visits to Ireland inspired her to write Bohermore.

When not writing, she splits her time between her day jobs as a high school guidance counselor, yoga instructor, and mother.

You can connect with her via Facebook or Twitter , and find out more at JenniferRoseMcMahon.com.

Details of this and more books published by City Owl Press can be found at www.cityowlpress.com.

Disclosure

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in return for an open and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by! I’d love to hear whether you have or would like to read this!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[MailCall Monday] 21st August 2017

Snailmail

General Snailmail was sadly lacking this week! I had plenty outgoing but the only incoming envelopes held junk mail offers for home insurance, and there was the usual smattering of takeaway menus.

CurryMail

Recently a friend was telling me about Curry for Change , a project which aims to raise awareness of world hunger through encouraging both food businesses and individuals to host fundraising curry nights.

She had attended a pop-up restaurant event around this time last year, and knowing that I enjoy a) a good curry, and b) a good fundraiser; she thought I might like to get involved. Of course, I did!

I signed up, pledging to host a curry night in September, and am eager to try out some of the tasty looking recipes shared on the site in preparation for the big event.

I’ll share more about my night nearer the time, but if you’d like to know more or are interested in participating, you can visit the Curry for Change website, or visit them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

BookMail

On the other hand, there’s been NO shortage of books!!

The last week has certainly brought a lot of BookMail, arriving from a variety of sources.

First up, Tarn Richardson sent me a signed copy of his book The Fallen, along with some signed promo cards; one which he added a cheeky wee personalised message to.

The Fallen is book two of The Dark Hand trilogy , a fantasy horror inspired by WW1 events in Italy.

Set in 1915, Demonic possessions are sweeping across Rome and the Vatican’s Eagle Fountain is running red with blood. Something evil is coming…. Only Poldek Tacit, the Catholic Church’s most determined and unhinged Inquisitor can hope to push back the forces of evil and unite those for good. But what happens when Tacit finds that the path he walks has already been prophesised and that where it leads threatens the very future of a world on the edge of the abyss?

The Fallen will draw you into a dark and captivating world full of demons, werewolves, ritualistic terror and fast-paced action.

It looks like an exciting read, and Offspring #2 has his eye on it after I’m finished reading it.

ReadersFirst is a regular source of my BookMail, as I enter their weekly draws by leaving my First Impressions, after downloading and reading opening chapters.

A large number of the books they promote are by up and coming authors, and there’s always 1 or 2 that catch my eye.

It’s also a great way to expand my reading horizons as I find myself reading and enjoying books and genres that I may not necessarily pick up on my own.

A DARKLY HILARIOUS LOVE STORY ABOUT FACING FEARS – ONE SNAKE / SPIDER / POTENTIALLY UNSTABLE FOURTH FLOOR BALCONY AT A TIME.

Published by Hot Key Books, A Semi Definitive List of WORST Nightmares is Krystal Sutherland‘s second novel, and it has much to live up to after the triumph of her debut Our Chemical Hearts.

Esther Solar is unusual. It’s not just her outfits (always a costume – Red Riding Hood today) or her family, with their unique and weird obsessions. When Esther is mugged by Jonah, an old classmate, he takes everything she has, including her phone and her private list of worst nightmares. Jonah returns the phone, with nothing left in it but his number. Esther knows she shouldn’t phone Jonah – but she does.

Jonah sets Esther a challenge: to work through her list of fears together, facing one terrifying fear at a time, plus one that surprises them both…

Jens Lapidus has certainly made a name for himself in the increasingly popular Swedish noir genre, having authored three of the country’s top crime thrillers in the past decade, and Stockholm Delete looks to be carrying on his success. Having read the suspense-filled first chapters of this legal thriller I can’t wait to read on!

Emilie Jansson has just been made partner at a prestigious law firm when she is asked to work with an unusual partner. Teddy is an ex-con trying to stay on the right side of the law while working as the firm’s fixer and Special Investigator. Meanwhile, a body is discovered in a remote house in the country after what looks like an attempted robbery – and a severely wounded man found near the scene is soon in the frame for murder. Emilie takes on the role of his defence lawyer. But when the trail of evidence leads back to her partner Teddy’s wayward past, Emilie begins to wonder what she’s taken on… In Stockholm Delete, Emilie and Teddy become entangled in a complex and dangerous web with deep connections to Stockholm’s criminal underworld. Both will be tested in terrible ways. But can they survive long enough to uncover the truth?

Full of intrigue; this thriller, from an author who has lived the life of a criminal lawyer, is wonderfully dark. Likened to the writing of Karin Slaughter and Steig Larrson, I am eager to read more.

I was recently approached by the lovely people at Duckworth, who asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing David Bergen‘s new novel Stranger, to be published in September.

Íso is a young Guatemalan woman who meets a charming doctor, Eric. When an accident forces him to unexpectedly return to America, Íso is left brokenhearted and pregnant. But her dreams of raising her newborn come to a halt when her daughter is abducted. Determined to reclaim her stolen child, Íso makes her way north, descending into a world full of danger.

In a place of shifting boundaries, she must decide who she can trust, aware that a wrong decision could mean losing her daughter forever.

Stranger is a story in which the themes of immigration and refugees, exploitation and vulnerability, rich and poor collide to make a powerful and affecting novel; leaving us with the question:

Just how many borders would you cross to reclaim your child?

In a period when the subject of immigration is on many people’s agenda, the timely publication of books such as Stranger can only help others sympathize with the plight of many immigrants; who’s only want for their families is for them to be safe and secure, together.

Bergen’s electrifying story of barriers and privilege merges modern race and identity politics with a pinch of magic realism, ultimately asking – in a world full of strangers – how much are we prepared to let the borders that we draw entrap us?

I fully expect this to be a provocative and heart-wrenching tale, and am eager to share my thoughts with you.

My final BookMail of the week arrived courtesy of Penguin Random House Children’s division.

Having recently entered a goodreads giveaway for the most recent Andy McNab novel Silent Weapon, the second in the Teen/YA Sean Barker series. I was suitably excited to receive notification that I was one of winners to receive a shiny new copy AND also a copy of the original Street Soldier book, which was first in the series.

Although I have devoured a few Andy McNab offerings over the years, I haven’t yet read any of the teen-aimed books. I am eager to see how they stack up.

Mr. Crafty has also expressed an interest in reading these, so we may well have a guest post in the offing!

6 print copies seem rather a lot, so I probably shouldn’t mention the 3 E-books I also acquired this week too…

Still, at least that long bus journey home from the new job is good for something! I’m getting around an extra hour and a half reading time a day!!

Are you reading anything at present that you’d recommend?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Hugs,

Crafty xxx