Audio Books – Do they count as reading?

This is something that I have seen discussed a few times on blogs and booktube videos. Well if we are going to be completely technical about it then No it is not reading, because you are not actually reading the book, someone is reading it to you. But it is being read, just not by you.

I personally like listening to audio books, and have been listening to them quite a bit recently, a good thing about an audio book is that the story may sink in more than when you read it, for example, I borrowed the book The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown from the library a couple of years ago and I read the book, but if a year later you had asked me what happened in it I would not be able to tell you. I am currently listening to the book on my mobile phone via the Amazon Audible app, and now I can remember the story and details of the plot that I couldn’t when I read it, in fact it has been positively haunting me.

Why have I started listening to audio books? Well I started a while ago when my other half was watching sport, but now I find I am listening through the night, as I have a young baby and am finding it very hard to find the time to sit and read a physical book, I still manage a little bit per day but nowhere near the amount of reading I managed before she was born, so I am listening to the book at night when I am feeding her, this is now only about once a night at around 5 or 6 am, but it is still a good 40 minutes or so and listen while she is falling asleep on me after her feed.

I’m still way behind on  my Goodreads challenge but listening to audio book is helping me catch up slowly.

Audio books also help you read in places you can’t normally read, like when you are driving your car, I know a lot of people who listen to audio books in their cars when travelling to and from work, so while technically you are not reading an audio book it still counts, that’d my view and I’m sticking to it!

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The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones and other Victorian Scandals by Michelle Morgan

Published by Robinson on 12th April 2018

Synopsis:

A grisly book dedicated to the crimes, perversions and outrages of Victorian England, covering high-profile offences – such as the murder of actor William Terriss, whose stabbing at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre in 1897 filled the front pages for many weeks – as well as lesser-known transgressions that scandalised the Victorian era.

The tales include murders and violent crimes, but also feature scandals that merely amused the Victorians. These include the story of a teenage man who married an actress, only to be shipped off to Australia by his disgusted parents; and the Italian ice-cream man who only meant to buy his sweetheart a hat but ended up proposing marriage instead. When he broke it off, his fiancée’s father sued him and the story was dubbed the ‘Amusing Aberdeen Breach of Promise Case’. Also present is the gruesome story of the murder of Patrick O Connor who was shot in the head and buried under the kitchen flagstones by his lover Maria Manning and her husband, Frederick. The couple’s subsequent trial caused a sensation and even author Charles Dickens attended the grisly public hanging.

Drawing on a range of sources from university records and Old Bailey transcripts to national and regional newspaper archives, Michelle Morgan’s research sheds new light on well-known stories as well as unearthing previously unknown incidents.

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My thoughts:

This book was provided by the publisher free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

The Victorians, straight-laced and up-tight, so much so that they covered the legs of pianos in order to stop people becoming sexually excited, at least that’s what we have been told – well they did cover the piano legs but there was a darker side to our Victorian ancestors one that is steeped in blood.

Michelle Morgan examines several murders and scandals in her latest book, from the murder of actor William Terriss to the battered body of the title and more and she does it with her usual style and flair and for those of you who think that no book is complete with out Jack the Ripper there is a nod to him and his crimes as well.

As with all of Morgan’s work she does not impose her own feelings and conclusions on theses cases, if a story seems incomplete it’s because there is no further information on that particular case. She does not condemn the guilty, that was done by the courts and newspapers of the day, instead she lays out the facts for us. We could find out this information ourselves it is public record, but we don’t we are too lazy to put in the many hours that Morgan has clearly put into retelling these stories.

Beautifully written they will make you want to conduct your own research into your family history to see if you have any such scandals hiding, especially when you learn that one of the tales involves one of her own ancestors.

A great book to either read from cover to cover or dip into every now and then, this is another great title to add to your true crime collection or even your Michelle Morgan one!

 

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The House by Simon Lelic

This book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

 

Synopsis

The perfect couple. The perfect house. 
…The perfect crime.

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door.

AND NOW THE POLICE ARE WATCHING THEM.

 

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My thoughts

When I first read the description of this book on Netgalley I thought this was going to be a supernatural thriller , however there is nothing supernatural about it.

This book is written from dual perspectives, from Jack and his live in girlfriend Sydney.

This is disconcerting to start with as the narrative does not flow naturally from one chapter to the next and it feels especially in the first part of the story extremely disjointed. However  as the story progresses and the plot is slowly revealed this actually works in the long run and the stories told by the two main characters meld in to one and become coherent.

 

The dual perspectives although hard to reconcile as one story and hard to get used to really shows the differences in the personalities of the two main characters and their outlook on the situation.

As we learn about Sydney’s past, as really the plot is focused mostly on her, it seems that someone in her past is out to cause her and her relationship with Jack a great deal of harm. Sydney is a complex character with many hidden secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the book, well written strong and determined to help the little girl over the road without thinking of the consequences.

 

 

I gave this 3 out of 5 stars

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Blog Tour – A Kingdom Falls by John Owen Theobald

Synopsis

London, 1944. Britain’s capital is back in the firing line. It has been several years since the Blitz ended, but now death is dropping from the skies once more. Has the tide of war turned again?

Anna Cooper survived the Blitz but she lost her mother and the people closest to her. Amid the flames and rubble, she discovered that everything she thought she knew about her family was a lie. She learned that nobody was prepared to take an orphaned girl seriously and she decided to fight back.

Now, Anna flies warplanes for the Air Transport Auxiliary but she knows it is not enough. Hitler is ready to unleash one final terrifying secret weapon, against which there is no defence. But Anna won’t let that happen. If there is no defence, there is only one option: attack.

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My thoughts

In the final installment of this fantastic trilogy, Theobald, takes his characters and pushes them to their limits, brilliantly written A Kingdom Falls continues Anna’s story as she fights to save England from Germany’s fiercest weapon – the V2 rocket.

Anna is fantastically written  character, a great role model, as she refuses to give out not matter what. Timothy Squire is a sympathetic young man who witnesses the horrors of war, fights hard while wanting to run away and just go home.

This is a powerful story of the unsung heroes of the war – the ATA – a group of women who flew planes to where they were needed without using any navigational instruments, these women are only now starting to be recognised for the work they did in supporting the war effort and Theobald highlights the dangers they faced brilliantly and even takes it a step further.

It is hard to imagine any of the women of the ATA returning to normal civilian life and going back to their kitchens and being wives and mother’s, Theobald also explores this aspect of the end of the war brilliantly.

This is a fantastic trilogy and the characters are believable and well written, even the villains have depth and are well fleshed out.

The story and characters will stay witt you long after you have read the last page and closed the book.

5 out of 5 stars

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A Kingdom Falls – John Owen Theobald – Blog Tour

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Blog Tour – District VIII by Adam Lebor

Synopsis

Life’s tough for a Gypsy cop in Budapest. The cops don’t trust you because you’re a Gypsy. Your fellow Gypsies, even your own family, shun you because you’re a cop.

The dead, however, don’t care. So when Balthazar Kovacs, a detective in the city’s murder squad, gets a mysterious message on his phone from a blocked number, he gulps down the rest of his morning coffee, grabs his police ID and goes to work. The message has two parts: a photograph and an address. The photograph shows a man lying on his back with his eyes open, half-covered by a blue plastic sheet. The address is 26, Republic Square, the former Communist Party headquarters and once the most feared building in the country. But when Kovacs arrives at Republic Square, the body has gone…

Kovacs’ investigation will take him deep into Budapest’s shadows, an underworld visitors never get to see: the gritty back alleys of District VIII; the people smuggling networks around Keleti Station; the endemic corruption of a country still haunted by the ghosts of history. And when the leads point to the involvement of his brother Gaspar, the city’s most powerful pimp, Kovacs will be forced to choose between the law and family loyalty.

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This book was provided free of charge by Head of Zeus

My thoughts

This book is a cleverly written crime thriller set during the Budapest migrant crisis of 2015, when Keleti Station was closed down to transport for migrants due to the vast numbers arriving there to try and make there way to West Europe.

The characters are brilliantly written and fleshed out with our main character the police detective Balthazar both believable and sympathetic.

The plot is cleverly woven around the true events of people smuggling and political corruption and intrigue. Lebor wastes no time in getting his characters into the thick of things, with secret police, crime bosses and reporters all after the same thing.

Fast paced and with man twists and turns as Balthazar investigates the death of a migrant that the authorities are trying to cover, threats to his life and that of his family ensure that this is a real page turner that you will not want to put down until you reach the end.

This appears to be book one in a series and if  Lebor, like most writers gets better with each book, the crime reading public is in for a treat as District VII satisfies every need on a crime story, heroism, villains, corruption and justice, even if that justice is not exactly the justice that would ideally take place.

You won’t regret picking this book up!!!

 

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In the Dark by Andreas Pfluger – BLOG TOUR

Synopsis

Jenny Aaron was once part of an elite police unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was the best. Until it all went wrong. A disastrous mission saw her abandon a wounded colleague and then lose her sight forever.

Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world. But she’s still haunted by her betrayal. Why did she run?

Then she receives a call from the unit. They need her back. A prison psychologist has been brutally murdered. And the killer will only speak to one person…

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This book was sent to be by Head of Zeus in exchange for a fair and honest teview.

My thoughts

 

The beginning of the book starts slowly, with fragmented pieces of Jenny’s past interwoven with the present day. It took a while to get used to this storytelling method, as it wasn’t clear for a while as to what was happening, as just as I thought I understood what was going on the narrative changed, however that is actually one of the strong points of the book. Jenny is remembering and memories are fragmented and unclear, as the story progress and the plot unfolds Jenny’s memories become clear and her reaction to them believable as she slowly remembers and comes to terms with the events that led to her blindness.

The plot twists and turns at an extreme pace, then will slow enough for you to get your breath back before hurtling off again.

Well written characters with realistic backstories and problems, a fantastic description of how Jenny learnt to navigate the world again as a blind person and a brilliantly constructed plot, this is a great book for a cold winter night and would make an excellent present for the person who loves an exciting thriller.

 

4 out of 5 Stars

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Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Synopsis

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct …
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.
But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.
Is the girl dead?
Did someone take her?
If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?
It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons – because they might just lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

About the Author

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as one of only seventy-seven forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Dr Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerising forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.
Kathy Reichs has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Kathy Reichs has served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Board in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
A native of Chicago, she now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal. Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. All eleven of her novels have been international bestsellers. She is also a producer of the chilling hit TV series Bones. 206 Bones is her twelth novel featuring Dr Temperance Brennan.
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This book was provided free by Netgalley in exchange for a honest and fair review:

My thoughts

Kathy Reichs takes a break from her normal leading character of Temprance Brennan and introduces us to Sunni Night, former army and police officer injured out of the service due to her reckless behaviour. Reichs masterfully introduces us to her new character, slowly revealing the history that has made Sunni the way she is. A complex story of a missing teenager and a home grown terrorist plot, Sunnie and her brother Gus (Hence the title Two Nights) travel from cost to coast chasing down the bombers who killed 3 innocent people and snatched a fourth to convert to their ideals.

 The way that Reich writes this novel is extremely clever, the flashback scenes will leave you wondering if it is the missing girls memories or Sunnies, this is not revealed until close to the end of the novel. The twists and turns are ingenious and written with Reich’s flair for the dramatic keeps you on the edge of your seat. The character of Sunnie is brilliantly written and you can empathise with her wish for solitude. Hopefully there will be further books that will feature Sunnie and Gus, as although they are tough cop types they are easier to relate to than the extremely educated Brennan (not that the Brennan books aren’t brilliant because they are). If you are a Reichs fan this is a must read.

 

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Blog tour – The Dark Isle by Clare Carson

Published by Head of Zeus

1st June 2017

Synopsis

Sam grew up in the shadow of the secret state. Her father was an undercover agent, full of tall stories about tradecraft and traitors. Then he died, killed in the line of duty.

Now Sam has travelled to Hoy, in Orkney, to piece together the puzzle of her father’s past. Haunted by echoes of childhood holidays, Sam is sure the truth lies buried here, somewhere.

What she finds is a tiny island of dramatic skies, swooping birds, rugged sea stacks and just four hundred people. An island remote enough to shelter someone who doesn’t want to be found. An island small enough to keep a secret…

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My thoughts

Clare Carson’s beautifully written thriller will keep you guessing right to the end. The story is split into two time frames, 1976 and 1989 and flits back and forward between the two for the majority of the book, giving the reader the character of Sam’s perspective both as a child and as an adult studying for her Archaeology PHD. This dual narrative works well at building the mystery and suspense that gives the story an edginess that would otherwise be missing, as Sam learns the secrets of her Father’s past in the Police security services, she discovers that not everyone is who they seem and sometimes the good are bad and vice versa.

Great characters who are well defined and believable, all are human and Carson shows how everyone has both good and bad sides to them, a great insight to human nature and how people react when pushed to extremes, a great read for sitting on the beach or by the pool.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

Published by Ebury Digital on 13th July 2017

Synopsis

FIRST THERE WERE THREE

The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.

THEN THERE WERE TWO

But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or…

CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?

All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

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I received a copy of the his book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair on honest review

My thoughts

Quincy is a final girl, the sole survivor of a massacres that killed her friends, so is Samantha Boyd and Lisa Milner, only Quincy cannot remember exactly what happened that night as she has blocked it from her memory. She can only remember immediately before and after the event when she was found by a cop, running through the woods covered in blood.

When Lisa Milner turns up dead, apparently a suicide, Samantha Boyd, who disappeared years before due to the press coverage of her attack turns up on Quincy’s doorstep, determined to make Quincy remember what happened to her.

 

An exciting well written thriller, which uses great characters and dramatic twists and turns throughout, this book keeps you guessing until the final reveal, could Quincy herself have killed her friends?

Quincy is a believable character, who seems to have put the massacre behind her. A successful blogger, with her own apartment and devoted boyfriend, but this is a façade and things are not as they seem and this Façade cracks when Samantha Boyd turns up.

Sam is a complex character, a times tough and desperate, sometimes nasty in her outlook, but at other times she is so vulnerable and lost.

Lisa is a more peripheral character, the first of those to be called a Final Girl (this is the last girls standing in a horror film), she has dedicated her life to helping young girls and women with troubled histories, which is why Quincy finds it hard to believe that she killed herself.

Coop is the cop who found Quincy in the woods that night and has been a part of her life ever since, being there when she needs to talk to someone about that night and things in general, but he is more than he seems even though he tries to keep a distance, but close at the same time.

The story really rushes from point to point, scarcely giving you time to breathe as Quincy ends up on the brink of ending up in jail herself,

Well written, exciting and with a beautiful ending that brought tears to my eyes.

 

I gave this 5 out of 5 stars

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