Desert Island Discs Blog Tag

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Thank you so much Kayla @KDrewTheBookWorm for nominating me for the Desert Island Discs Blog Tag 🌵. Everyone, go and check out her wonderful blog if you haven’t done so already!

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The Rules:

  • Link back to BookBum’s original post, so she can see all your answers! (Remember to do this via pingback, she won’t get a notification if not!)
  • Thank the person who tagged you… show some love!
  • Come up with your answers
  • Then tag others to keep the tag going!

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The Premise:

You are cast away onto a remote desert island:

  • You can bring 5 albums- what are they?
  • You can bring one book- which is it? You are provided with a Bible/ other religious text if you want it, as well as the Complete Works of Shakespeare. No series!
  • You can have one luxury item (it had to be inanimate and can’t help you escape the island)- what is it?

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My Answers:

The Albums:

I don’t listen to albums, so I’ll list the 5 songs that I added last to my phone :

  • Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
  • Be Mine by Ofenbach
  • Weak by AJR
  • Be The One by Dua Lipa
  • Believer by Imagine Dragons

And one more beautiful song that I’ll only listen to when I’m in a more emotional mood:

You've Got a Friend

The Book:

Choosing only one book? So unfair…

OK I’ve given this A LOT of thought and it’s still going to sound really weird probably but I choose Grimm’s Fairy Tales for a few different reasons:

  • it has many different tales so I won’t get bored easily (I hope)
  • I’ll be able to feel happy and sad with the characters and different stories
  • there’s a message in the stories, which is something I really like, and I can pass my time thinking about the messages
  • it’s illustrated, need I say more?
  • it’ll make me dream of a happily ever after because these tales all end well

Grimm

The Luxury Item:

I’m really hesitating here between some pictures of loved ones to look at at my loneliest moments and a more practical one, a fishing net or line. Can I have this? If not I’ll choose to survive and I’ll choose the ‘fishing material’.

Fishing line

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I tag…

As always, I do understand if you don’t want to do this tag or if you’ve already done this!

Deceived by Heena Rathore

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What’s it about?

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, unwittingly to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

Review

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First of all, I was completely sold when I saw the cover of this novel. It’s such a strong image, I knew this would have to be an interesting story and I wasn’t wrong in my assumption.

The prologue of Deceived contains a very interesting insight that makes it possible to make a distinction between a psychopath and a sociopath. It ends with the instruction to look out for the listed traits for one or the other throughout the novel and I was keen to make my own discoveries of these personality disorders… I didn’t need to be told twice to dig into the story.

The story has a brilliant opener with an old newspaper article reporting a 13 year old girl’s disappearance after she seemingly has killed her parents. The girl, Elisabeth, is one of the voices in this novel and she will make an appearance now and again between chapters of the present. I was clueless how she fit in to the present story but I was quite hooked on her storyline and paradoxically, even though she’s a bad character, I was still concerned for her well-being.

In the present day we follow Allison Stone, a girl whose mother and baby brother were murdered 9 years prior. She lives with her best friend Sam and Max, her dog. There’s so much interaction with her dog that at times he felt like a real person to me. He stole my heart easily, as well as her best friend Sam. It’s great to have such a good friend who you can call no matter what. Sam would drop everything and come running to the rescue. I never really did warm up to her boyfriend Danny, however, even though she’s so in love with him that she goes to live with him. As soon as she moves in, things are starting to get really weird and it looks like her family’s tormentor is back and she’s next on his list. It doesn’t help that her cousin Steve has moved back as well and he’s got his investigating hat on. Will that keep the killer in check? I wouldn’t place any bets :-).

I found the story interesting and there was a lot of creepiness and unease, especially when I read the diary entries from one very disturbed individual, as well as the onslaught of unsettling events happening to Allison in an attempt to destabilize her. It gets worse even, there’s quite a bit of violence in the final act that made me cringe. Unfortunately I did figure out who was behind it all quite early on and I didn’t even have to put much effort into it. I would have liked it to have been a bit more inconspicious and to have seen a few real herrings planted perhaps. What I really couldn’t see though was what Elizabeth’s connection to the story was, if any. I was amazed how this plotline morphed into the present one in the end.

Overall, it wasn’t as spectacular as I expected but it was a good, enjoyable read nonetheless and a great debut. It reminds me a lot about another novel written by a bestselling author, which has been getting a lot of praise and they both have a few similar elements, only this one is for the readers who can take it just a little harder.

I received a free copy of this novel from Citrus Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

My first subscription box

Bookwormbox

You’re definitely never too old to have a new first 🙂 and this is my first subscription box ever.

I’ve seen so many subscription boxes but there were two things that always kept me from ordering one myself.

  1. I know this is going to sound ridiculous but you don’t know which book you are getting. I’d hate to feel disappointed. In my ideal world I’d get a list of 10 books and I could cross the ones I’d like to get and then I’d still be surprised without the chance of disappointment. Anyway, yes I know I’m really weird.
  2. The other reason are the shipping costs. There are no boxes with reasonable shipping costs that I found so far.

Still, getting a subscription box is something that was on my bucket list and there’s one that I’ve had my eyes on from the first month they started out and that’s The Bookworm Box. There are several things I really like about this box:

  1. It is founded by one of my fav authors of romance: Colleen Hoover. That’s right, THE Colleen Hoover.
  2. The Bookworm Box was built on the foundation of spreading the good, so 100% of the profit after overhead costs will be donated to different charities each month.
  3. The books are siiiiigned.
  4. The books always look so good and they are always ones that I love to read.

So I decided to treat myself for my birthday (doesn’t matter that it’s only in 3 months time) because I heard that there were two books in it this month. The shipping costs as much as the box but if you know that a book here costs 20 euro and you have two books already in them, well it’s still a bit crazy but not as crazy as I thought initially (I can pretty much rationalize anything if it’s to do with books).

So here it is, the box I’m really really happy to have:

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When you open it the first thing you see is a note with what’s in the box (I didn’t read it because I wanted to find out for myself) and the mention that in April, there was over 40.000 USD donated to charities. Isn’t this amazing that you’re actually doing something good and you get a book out of it. Feeling less guilty about my little spat already!

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So the swag of the box is a little post-it notebook of The Bookworm Box and a waterproof pouch where you can store your phone or keys in.

Then I discovered some cool bookmarks and cards:

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This next little card is one I see myself using quite often. I really like it 🙂

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Getting to the best piece now.. the SIGNED books:

Number ONE

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180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

And number TWO

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Exposure by Tracy Ewens

I’m really excited to read these and I can’t believe I was scared to be disappointed because they’re all I could wish for. They get great ratings, I love the covers, really it’s all a big win!

To close it all off, the last swag in the box was a really nice Bookworm pen. I kind of love this swag most of all – they are useful and always carry fond memories – and I’m really proud of my collection of 3 bookish pens now (my Love You To Death pen from Caroline Mitchell, the ones from Hideaway Falls, and this one) :-).

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And here’s everything together:

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So that’s it! I’m really happy with what I received and I might do it again every birthday. Sounds like a plan right :-). At least something to look forward to then! What do you think about this box (provided you enjoy romance)? Would you consider buying it?

Goodreads Monday (June 2017)

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I saw this meme on Books, Vertigo and Tea and I thought this one seemed fun to join and feature on my blog from time to time as well! The original post of Goodreads Monday was posted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Thank you Lauren for this great idea. This really is a great way to help me take another look at all the books added to the wishlist so long ago and at the same time I can share some interesting titles.

There’s only one rule: Simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page turners and add your own links!

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Added on 29 March 2015 : NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This novel has a 4.06 star rating on Goodreads and although I don’t read horror and I know it also has paranormal elements, there was still something that made me add it to my readlist 2 years ago. I’ve got it on my e-reader but I’m still waiting for the perfect moment to read it.

 

NOS

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

What do you think? Sound good or doesn’t make you tick? After re-reading the blurb, I’m still convinced, yes it’s a keeper!

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

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What’s it about?

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops … Or does it? Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

amazon uk amazon com

Review

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This is one of the best book covers I’ve ever seen, it’s minimalistic but it says it all. There’s sensuality, there’s darkness, it’s simply an amazingly fitting cover and after you’ve read the novel you’ll agree even more! Exquisite is a very orginal psychological thriller that made me feel like I was suffering from a borderline disorder. I mean to say this novel was quite extreme in the emotions experienced by the characters and this is what made it all so enthralling in the end I think.

The writing was lyrical and beautiful and I savoured every moment. So much of it is so recognizable because we all experienced heartbreak sometime so it’s easy to relate to and connect with the characters. The plot was perfect, being very mysterious and captivating all of the time.

The novel opens with an anonymous woman serving time in prison. Why she’s there and who it is, remains a well-kept secret until the end and is a brilliant move because you just can’t imagine this ending badly, until you can :-). It all starts out very lovely though, even though you know it won’t be all roses in the end. The story takes a nasty turn halfway through the novel and suddenly I felt a bit cheated myself ;-). I’m afraid there’s something captivating about reading about another person’s misery which made me want to keep turning these pages.

I have liked, loved and hated one of the characters in the end. It took a long time figuring out who was telling the truth and what the true motives of some actions were though. The story was told by Bo first, making me really like her, then Alice’s who I then warmed up to in a flash because of the lousy background and her young and fragile personality, then Bo again… I’m just keeping it to myself who of these two main characters, Bo or Alice, wasn’t exactly the person I thought she was and made me feel this way so strongly.

This is a story about love and hurt and how painful it is to love. A great debut novel by Sarah Stovell.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Orenda Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

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What’s it about?

Two women. Two versions of the truth.

Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.
And only another life will do…

amazon uk amazon com

Review

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Blood Sisters starts off as a creepy thriller – think stalkerish things – but gradually turns into an interesting and entertaining mystery.

Ali(son) works as a lecturer teaching stained glass creation and comes in contact with a lot of people. There’s a sense of threat seeping through the pages right from the start and I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, it could have been either one of Ali’s students she teaches in class in the evenings or one of the inmates she teaches at the prison where she recently started to work. But who? I even doubted her in the beginning, thought she was being paranoid for no good reason but no, the threat is very real and serious.

Thankfully, the tension is broken with alternating chapters that follow Kitty, a disabled woman bound to a wheelchair after an accident. She doesn’t remember what happened and can’t talk so we only hear her thoughts throughout the story. Her world circles around Friday Mum, and carers she gives nicknames. When Flab Face turns up she has a crisis and she doesn’t even know why. The author did a great job voicing Kitty’s thoughts in the way she did and it consistently felt authentical and true to form.

The connection between the characters becomes apparent soon enough because the past flashbacks show they know each other and around the halfway point they finally meet in the present and that’s when the story suddenly unfolds a little bit more like a mystery; what happened in the past comes more and more to the forefront for both of them and the one who’s threatening Ali is a bit pushed from centre stage, even if just for a little while.

Kitty starts having small flashbacks about her past (okay those might have come a bit earlier if it were up to me because all that mention of the past was nagging at me, I was so curious for a long time already) and when it was perhaps a bit of a steady flow of events at first, not giving too much away yet, Blood Sisters certainly knows a twisty and turny road towards the end. The author did a great job creating doubt about both Kitty and Alison and how it all went down exactly in the past. The plotline of the person threatening Alison all this time is believable and was inserted into the other storyline in a swift and natural way. The author also kept quite a few secrets to hit you with in the end. All in all, a novel that kept me well entertained and an author I’d like to read more books from.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi #BlogTour #Guestpost

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What’s it about?

A breathtaking, heart-pounding, dark debut, sure to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep. When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…

Buy links

AmazonKoboiBooks

About Jessica Jarlvi

JessicaJarlvi

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

Connect with the author

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Guestpost

“Multiple perspectives”

I never intended to write When I Wake Up from five different points of view. It happened organically – I’m not a planner! – but it made me enjoy writing the book even more. As a reader, I usually have five different books on the go, so this made sense. I recently read that Paula Hawkin’s latest book is told from eleven different perspectives, which is very impressive!

While doing a Masters in Creative Writing in Sweden one tutor told us that the most difficult book he had ever written, was from four different perspectives. This intrigued me, telling a story from various points of view and I started writing a book that involved different characters’ take on life.

Swopping from one character to another is similar to acting. You step in and out of someone else’s shoes, immersing yourself in that character’s thoughts. When I first moved to London, I did an evening class in improvisational acting, which led to a part in a play. My role involved being a Swedish student desperately in love with a man who in turn was in love with an older woman, who I seem to recall was not in love with him (drama galore in other words).

It was a terrific experience and I have to admit, I did toy with the idea of studying acting. However, my reasoning was that in such a competitive profession, you need to want it 100% to stand a chance, and my heart was – and still is – in writing stories.

Writing is therapeutic, sometimes difficult, but mostly enjoyable. Time spent with your characters, shaping them and watching them evolve, gets better the further into a book you get. People often ask where writers get their ideas from and for me, it’s from life: I’m always observing my surroundings, imagining what goes on in people’s heads.

Writing When I Wake Up, I really enjoyed immersing myself in Daniel’s perspective. His teenage mind goes through a number of conflicting emotions. He is both hard and soft, tough yet vulnerable. I both despised him and loved him at the same time. I feel that people, as well as characters, are not entirely good or bad. Life is not quite so black and white, and I wanted to depict that in this book.

My next novel is told through three different points of view only, but who knows what will happen along the way? Maybe more characters will clamour for attention, eager for their time in the spotlight…

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When I Wake Up