Category Archives: Book blog

Liar Liar by by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUk #BookReview #BlogTour #LiarLiar

Today I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for Liar Liar by Mel Sherratt, alongside my partner in crime (excuse the pun!’) Kaisha, you can find her review at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/. 

Liar Liar is published today so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy, just one click and it’s yours. Before I share my thoughts, here’s the book description…..

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The truth can be a dangerous thing…

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.

Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

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Mel Sherratt’s back! with Liar Liar the third instalment in the DS Grace Allendale series. As the title suggests there are so many lies, and half truths buried within this story, Grace has her work cut out that’s for sure! The book opens with a shocking scene when a young boy called Tyler falls from a balcony in a block of flats. From the start of the investigation it’s apparent the boy’s parents are being evasive, their story doesn’t quite ring true, but why would they lie? Did Tyler fall over the railings? Or is there a far more sinister reason behind his accident? The author leads the reader a merry dance through a tangled web of lies and deceit. As I mentioned this is the third book in the series, however Liar Liar could be read as a standalone, although if you are anything like me I prefer to read books in order! It’s won’t be any hardship as it’s shaping up to be a cracking crime series. 

For the residents of Harrison House there’s a familiar mantra around the investigation ‘I never saw nothing, ‘I never heard anything’ seems to be the favourite. Residents don’t trust the police, hell they don’t even trust their neighbours! Living day in, day out,  alongside crime, the residents have their own code, ‘you never tell the police anything’, after all no criminal wants to be labelled a ‘grass’! The book alternates between chapters that follow one of the main characters past, and the present day investigation, sometimes I find that dual time lines get over complicated, but that wasn’t the case with a Liar Liar, but it’s these past chapters that provide the reader with an insight into one of the characters, and their motivation for the choices they make. 

Liar  Liar’s focus is set firmly On the back story of its characters, Grace has a much smaller part to play in this book, which worked really well, as the main plot wasn’t overshadowed by police procedures and the investigation. Thinking about it Liar Liar felt very different to the last two books in the series, but I mean that in a good way as it’s great to see an author not stick to a specific formula for each book. One of Mel Sherratt’s strengths is her capacity to delve into the darkest corner of the criminal world and create unlikable, violent and authentic ‘shady’ characters. The tension ramps up as the lies begin to unravel, and more crimes are committed. Liar Liar made for a gritty, hard-hitting read, and although I wouldn’t consider this a fast-paced read, there’s plenty to keep the crime lover eagerly turning the pages.

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (10 Feb. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the author

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I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and makes liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books.

I’m not sure which I am most proud of – being on the list of Stoke-on-Trent’s top 100 most influential people 2018 or after years of rejection going on to sell over one million books.

Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, my inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.

I regularly appear at festivals, conferences and events across the country – my favourites being London Book Fair and Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate.

So that’s me in a nutshell. Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow the blog tour….

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Bookish products #Review Bibliophile 2020 12-Month Planner for #BookBloggers

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Today I’m sharing a review for something slightly different. Like most book bloggers I have numerous dates to post reviews, guest posts, blog tours, and my book of the month, the list is endless 🙈.

I save all my dates to my IPad planner but there’s a small part of me that’s petrified that for some unknown reason my IPad planner will disappear, what would I do then? How could I possibly remember what dates I had scheduled in? (some dates are scheduled months in advance). So I have been looking for a planner that fits all my requirements for months, and finally I think I’ve found the perfect thing the Bibliophile 2020 12-Month Planner. 

The first thing that attracted me to this one is the cover, I love the beautifully illustrated book stacks by Jane Mount, each month features different book titles. There are a 176 pages in total in this planner, and the size is as follows….

  • Height: 25mm
  • Width: 213mm
  • Length: 165mm

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Each month features a ‘books to read page’, there’s plenty of room for mine, but I’m sure there are some bloggers who would prefer more space due to the amount of books they read.

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Each month has plenty of room to add bookish dates, as there’s two pages per week, plus room at the end of the week to add extras. Another thing I adore about this planner are the little book related sketches of literary objects, and famous authors.

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I was really surprised by the quality of this product the pages are a good quality paper, not at all flimsy. The cover is also very sturdy and robust.

There’s also plenty of pages for notes at the front which is super handy, I shall probably use mine to list the books I read this  year and perhaps a sentence or two about the book.

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This deluxe planner features a handy side pocket and ribbon page marker, as well as notable dates in literary history.

For £8.49p (which includes free delivery) I think the Bibliophile 2020 12-Month Planner is a bargain, it’s perfect for book bloggers, and book worms alike.

**My thanks to Mr book review café who bought me my planner, and please note the link I have included is not an affiliated link**

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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The Dilemma by B A Paris #BookReview @BAParisAuthor #TheDilemma @HQstories

Today I’m thrilled to share my first review of 2020, it’s for The Dilemma by B.A. Paris, it’s very different to the authors previous reads, but in a good way. Read on for my thoughts…..

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It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

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I have read previous books by B.A Paris, which I would class as psychological thrillers, so I was pleasantly surprised to find The Dilemma. a departure from her usual genre. The Dilemma is a powerful, emotive family drama that packs a hell of a punch. The story is told from the dual perspectives of Adam and Livia, a married couple with two teenage children Marnie and Josh. Livia has been meticulously planning her ‘perfect’ 40th birthday party for years, and finally the day has arrived. 

It will come as no surprise considering the title of the book that both main characters are faced with dilemma’s, not the “what dress will I wear to my party?” kind, but the earth shattering ones. Livia has a secret but doesn’t know how to tell her husband,  and Adam has shocking news, but cannot find the right moment to tell his wife. Both are aware that once they share their news with each other, their life will never be the same.

As each character struggles to find that right moment to share their closely guarded news the tension builds, like the characters you are constantly waiting for the ‘right moment’ when all will be revealed. B. A. Paris describes both character’s emotions with such clarity, you can feel their anguish, fear, and despair as the moment of truth grows closer. I’m not sure I would have made the same decisions, although I do understand the reasoning behind Adam’s choice, it’s one of those ‘what if books’ that make you ponder what you would do faced with a similar situation? 

What an emotional rollercoaster this book turned out to be, and it’s all thanks to the authors ability to get inside the heads of her characters, you can’t help but become invested in Livia and Adams  heartbreaking story.The Dilemma explores familiar themes of loss, love, resentment, families and friendships, but B.A Paris provides the reader with an original read, that’s poignant, and thought provoking read. This would make a brilliant book club read, as there’s so much to discuss and debate. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a compelling family drama

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HQ; edition edition (9 Jan. 2020)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Murder House by Michael Wood #BookReview @MichaelHWood #CrimeFiction @0neMoreChapter_ #TeamDarke @HarperFiction #MustReads2020

Today I’m sharing my review for The Murder House by Michael Wood, it’s the fifth book in the ‘Matilda Darke’ series, and it’s one of my favourite crime series. Read on for my thoughts….

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They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

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I have been (im)patiently awaiting the fifth instalment of the Matilda Darke crime series, as hand on heart I can say ‘ I absolutely love this series’. When I  enjoy a series so much I always worry the book won’t be as good as previous books in the series, but I’m delighted to report that any worries I had were unjustified, in fact I would say The Murder House is the author’s best book yet, it’s dark, erring on the gory side with an intriguing plot that will leave you blurry eyed as you forsake sleep for ‘just another chapter or ten!’

Give Michael Wood his due he knows how to get the reader’s attention from the off, the first chapter opens with a wedding and ends in a bloodbath when three members of the same family are murdered in the most appalling way. On first appearance the victims appear to be the ‘perfect’ family, pillars of the local community, they regularly fundraised and contributed to local causes, so why would someone want them dead? What possible motive could they have?  I must admit rather like Matilda and her team I had no idea! 

 For me a crime thriller is never more satisfying, than when you have a list of suspects as long as your arm and the author makes it’s almost impossible to guess the culprit, for me it makes the read that more thrilling as you try to search for clues, hold on to the suspects every word looking for the slightest slip up. I felt like a detective (admittedly an amateur one!) working alongside Matilda to capture the murderer, each character came under scrutiny. 

As for Matilda I love the way her character is evolving, she’s strong and determined and yet she has a sense of vulnerability mostly due to a cold case that haunts her, Matilda feels she failed missing child, Carl Meagan, who was never found. The case is a disturbing one and one which has a big impact on the team, when you add in budget cuts, and personal issues you realise this is a team that could buckle as they are tested to the limits. These are characters with feelings, real emotions, and depth which made the read that more authentic. As the case gains momentum,  the tension intensifies urging the reader onwards, through red herrings and misdirection. 

Although this book could be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to start at the beginning, just because this is such a cracking series, it would be a shame if you missed out on the four previous books. I almost shrieked in frustration at Michael Wood as he winds up the The Murder House with the biggest teaser yet! Such an ingenious ploy as now I’m left counting down the days to the next book in the series.The Murder House is fast-paced read ‘whodunnit’, that I would happily recommend to all crime thriller lovers.  

Publisher: One More Chapter (31 Jan. 2020)

Pages in book: 400

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Other books in the Matilda Darke series

 

The book review café book of the month for **January 2020**

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Here we are in February, thank god for that is all I can say! January wasn’t the best for me I’m afraid I was laid up with flu! and I mean the flu I have never felt so ill or felt so completely worn out it knocked me for six, so I’m hoping this months going to be a better one. Roll on the summer, 😎 I hate the dark nights, and I’m definitely not a lover of the cold.

As usual I’m digressing here in January I read some brilliant books, with a fair few of them belonging to the Orenda family. Can I just say? what fabulous books Karen Sullivan founder of Orenda Books, publishes.  Each books,  highly original, captivating and brilliantly written which brings me to my next dilemma, two books really stood out for me last month, but my rule is ‘one book for one month’ so after much thought, deliberation and tossing and turning, here’s my book of the month……….

The Home by Sarah Stovell

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I’m not sure I can convey just how much this book affected me, The Home by Sarah Stovell is a book that will swallow you up, and then spit you out, your heart will break, you will live and breathe the tragic and horrifying story of three young girls Hope, Lara and Annie. These characters will burrow their way into your heart and mind leaving you bereft as this haunting tale reaches its final pages. The Home is part mystery, part thriller, and yet it’s so much more, it’s an emotive, deeply moving, and tragic tale of those who live amid abuse and poverty. You can read my full review here….The Home by Sarah Stovell @sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

You can read my reviews here…..

Queenie by Kimberly Chambers @kimbochambers @fictionpubteam @flisssity #BookReview #Queenie #BookHangoverAward

All The Rage by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks #AllTheRage @DIAdamFawley @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell #BookReview @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPUBLICITY @AmazonPub #BlogTour #thriller #thomasandmercer

#Beast by at Matt Wesolowski #SixStories @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken #HangoverAward

Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward #BlogTour

Mine by Case Kelleher @CaseyKelleher #Mine #psychologicalthriller #MustReads2020

When Stars Will Shine compiled by Emma Mitchell @emmamitchelfpr #BookPromo #WhenStarsWillShine #HelpForHeroes

Books I’m hoping to read in February

As you know I have cut right back on the blog tours, which gives me plenty of freedom to read ‘what ever takes my fancy’ so here are just a few of the books I may or may not read depending on my mood 😂 some of them are ARC’s but I’m determined to read more books off my own personal bookshelf this year too.

Which books that you read in January would you recommend? Did you have a favourite? Please feel free to leave a comment I’m always looking for new books to add to my TBR pile 🤣

Apartment Six by Stuart James #BookReview @StuartJames73 @BOTBSPUBLICITY #BlogTour @BloodhoundBook

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Apartment Six by Stuart James, if you enjoy a crime thriller with a dash of horror thrown into the mix, then this could be the book for you. Read on for my thoughts…..

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Be careful what you wish for…

When Meagan was five years old her mother was viciously attacked and murdered.

Now an adult, she herself is the victim of an abusive relationship. Meagan is desperate to escape but doesn’t have the courage to leave.

So, when Meagan meets Oliver, a decent guy who is on the rebound after a failed relationship, the two strike up a connection. But when Meagan confesses that her husband is abusive, it leads Oliver down a dark and dangerous path.

Just how far would you go to protect someone?

Oliver is about to find out and be pushed to his very limits…

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Ever since I read Turn The Other Way  by Stuart James I’ve been eagerly anticipating his latest crime thriller Apartment Six and it’s finally here! Was it worth the wait? It’s a ‘hell yes’ with bells on! Fans of the author will be thrilled to know Apartment Six has his trademark stamped through it, horror! From the off the reader experiences a strong feeling of fear and dread that only intensifies as the story progresses.  Part domestic thriller, part crime thriller Apartment Six is a tale of  manipulation, and coercion, and the darker side of human behaviour.   

Poor Meagan hasn’t had the best of life’s,  at five-years-old her mother was murdered by her abusive father, fast forward to the present and life is far from perfect as Meagan appears to be repeating history, she’s married into an abusive relationship, her life is a living hell as she faces a barrage of verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis. Then like a ray of sunshine Oliver enters her life, he’s the complete opposite of her husband, and they strike up a relationship, that begins innocently, but ends in murder. I found most of the characters beyond ‘unlikable’ now normally that can spoil the read for me, but thankfully this wasn’t the case here.

The story is told in the present with flashbacks to Meagan’s past, this is done carefully enough to compel rather than confuse the reader. It’s these chapters that explain the events that have shaped Meagan’s character, these chapters make for an uncomfortable read, but at the same time it’s these chapters that add weight to the simmering tension that’s bubbling away. Stuart James doesn’t do things by half, as we are privy to Meagan’s life we are only to aware of the domestic abuse she suffers, it was disconcerting to watch these scenes unfold, but it also goes along way to explaining some of  her choices.

Apartment Six starts out as one of those ‘ok’ reads,  but then the authors twisted and devious imagination comes into play, which completely threw me, the plot took a seriously twisted turn that I definitely didn’t see coming!  I had so many niggling questions about Meagan’s story, but once I reached the ending everything became clear and I finished this book with a hugely satisfying sigh. Brilliantly written and so cleverly plotted,  I ended up loving Apartment Six, its sinister, dark and seriously twisted, just how I like my books! Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (22 Jan. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon Uk 🇬🇧

My thanks to the author, Sarah Hardy at Book On The Bright Side for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present. A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which Will be released 29th of January.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

stuartjamesthrillers.com

@StuartJames73

https://www.facebook.com/stuartjamesauthor/

Follow the rest of the blog tour……

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What’s on your book shelf? With #BookBlogger Jessica at Minimacreviews @MinimacReviews

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Today What’s on your bookshelf? is going international and  I’m thrilled to welcome Jessica who blogs at http://minimacreviews.wordpress.com/. Jessica has so many bookshelves, that I must admit looking at her photos I had serious bookshelf envy🙈

How many bookcases do you have?

Currently, just two. Though to be fair one of them does take up an entire side of my office, the other is a small press above my reading chair (Ha! Whenever I step into the office it is immediately occupied by Loki) that houses my TBR. Naturally, my attempts to control the TBR through giving it a limited amount of space fail on a regular basis and I end up with stacks of books around the house – in the office, beside my bed, on the coffee and end tables… You know, battles worth fighting and battles worth winning and all that jazz.

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Approximately how many books are on your book case? 

Right now I am just shy of 700 physical items with close another 100 on my eReader. Though, before we moved last year I rang in at over 1200 books. It was the joy of packing and moving everything that spurred my present minimalist (double ha!) approach where I try to give away or donate physical copies after I finish reviewing them, but there’s always a few I hang onto because they either blew my mind or found a home in my heart.

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What genre does your bookcase mainly comprise of?

I mostly have Fantasy (predominantly YA with some Adult titles in there), WWII/ Historical Fiction, and Psychological Thrillers. I call it the trifecta of happiness. My rare and antiquarian books on the other hand are way off in left field as I have an odd obsession with old dictionaries and textbooks, these are supplemented by a healthy dose of what we now call classical literature but even those titles lean towards historical fiction and stories with a strong mystery/ suspense element. At least I’m consistent.

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Which book on your bookcase are you desperate to read?

Just one? How about three, I can do that without dissolving into extreme anxiety: Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, The Whisper Man by Alex North, and We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal.

Which book has been sat on your bookcase the longest and you haven’t yet got around to reading?

The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett – I bought it on publication day in 2013 and haven’t touched it since.

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Which books are you desperate to add to your bookcase over the next few months?

Ooooh, so many! But isn’t that always the case? Right now I’m really feeling:

– Good Samaritans and Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
– The Other People by C.J. Tudor
– The Blossom Twins and The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer
– Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen
– We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
– The Hocus Girl by Chris Nickson
– The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
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If you could only keep one book from your bookcase, which one would you choose? And why? 

I am assuming this is a ‘your house is on fire and you only time to grab one thing scenario’ so I am going to go with one of my oldies. I have a 1742 edition of the Decisions of the Court of Session by John Edgar from the original print run of 100 (there was a second larger printing in 1749). It’s pretty rare and I was dumbfounded to come across it at a car-boot sale in Stirling.

But, if I had to pick something current it would be Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight, because I can read it over and over again and my love for Mia and Tric never dies. #StabStabStab

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Last question if you could have one author come to your house to borrow a book who would it be and why? 

Danielle L. Jensen, because she is a genuinely amazing human being who gives the best YA Fantasy recommendations. To have something on my shelves that she hasn’t read already would be a rare day indeed. And, if I didn’t have anything to borrow I’d like to think this visit would morph into drinks and board games, which is fine by me!

About Jessica

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Reader, blogger, librarian. Fur momma, coffee addict, budding gardener, and fully developed mountain wanderer.
I started blogging on MinimacReviews.Wordpress.com back in 2017 and haven’t looked back since. I hold three honours degrees in English Literature (BA), Material Cultures and History of the Book (MSc), and Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) and currently work as an Acquisitions Librarian for a small academic institution. In the past I have worked in public libraries, primary schools, special collections, and at other academic libraries with a healthy dose of other jobs (bartending, back country guiding, roofing, executive assistant, etc.) that allowed me to pay the bills while pursuing the career that I love. To say that I am obsessed with books and how people interact with them is a bit of an understatement!
I hail from the beautiful Calgary, Alberta but have lived in Edinburgh, London, Berlin and out of a backpack for extended periods of time. After years on the move the fellow and I decided that it was time to set down some roots and we found ourselves a little piece of land with heavenly views, a wood stove to read by, and enough space to take up permaculture in the quest to become self-sustainable. When my nose isn’t in a book I can be found on a mountain trail (preferably on horseback), with my hands in the dirt, or trolling junk shops for antiquarian books.
Twitter: @MinimacReviews