Tempted by…My Chestnut Reading Tree: The Old You by Louise Voss/Where The Missing Go by Emma Rowley @jocatrobertson @damppebbles @LouiseVoss1 @emma_rowley @OrendaBooks @OrionBooks #TheOldYou #WhereTheMissingGo #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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I’m going to open this week’s post with the disclaimer that I had no intention of including the head of a small cocker spaniel in the photo for this post, but Lola was insistent and, in the end, you have to work with what you’ve got, don’t you?

In fact, this week’s Tempted by… has a number of differences, aside from Lola photo-bombing my book image. Firstly, this week I am featuring not one book recommendation from this blogger, but two. And secondly, the recommendations came indirectly by a popular feature on another blog. So you see, as both bloggers and authors, it is worth taking up all the opportunities for promotion that come your way as you never know how someone will stumble across your book recommendation.

So, where did this week’s recommendations come from? Well, I originally saw them on a feature on Emma Welton’s blog, damp pebbles. Each year, Emma runs an excellent series called R3COMM3ND3D, where she invites book bloggers and authors and other bookish types to recommend three books published that year that other readers should pick up. These two books were both featured on the R3COMM3ND3D2018 post by Jo Robertson of My Chestnut Reading Tree.

The little vignettes that are included with the recommendations, being a pared down version of the full review, often work really well to distill what is great about the book and ensnare the unwary book addict, and this is what happened to me. You can see those by following the link above or go, as I subsequently did, to the full reviews on Jo’s blog by following the links below:

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Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words.

As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

Here is the link for Jo’s full review of this book, and you can buy a copy of your very own here.

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MY NAME IS KATE.

I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But today a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.

The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.

AND SOPHIE IS MY DAUGHTER.

You can read Jo’s full review of the book here and, if it grabs your fancy, you can buy your own copy here.

Jo’s blog at My Chestnut Reading Tree is one of my absolute favourites and Jo is such a generous and enthusiastic supporter of other book bloggers and authors that her blog deserves all of the success it garners. She has thousands of followers, and you have to believe that all those people must be on to something, so make sure you head over to her blog and have a look around. You don’t want to miss out now, do you?

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher #BookReview (@CharlieFletch_r) @orbitbooks @TheFictionCafe @dstackedshelves #FictionCafeBookClub #FictionCafeReadingChallenge2020 #challenges #readingrecommendations #TemptedBy #YoungAdult #ABoyAndHisDogAtTheEndOfTheWorld

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My name’s Griz. I’ve never been to school, I’ve never had friends, in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, before all the people went away, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.  

Then the thief came.  

He told stories of the deserted towns and cities beyond our horizons. I liked him – until I woke to find he had stolen my dog. So I chased him out into the ruins of the world. 

I just want to get my dog back, but I found more than I ever imagined was possible. More about how the world ended. More about what my family’s real story is. More about what really matters.  

Book four for the 2020 Reading Challenge for my online book club, The Fiction Cafe Book Club is in the category ‘A book with an animal on the cover’ Well, I see a dog so I think this counts!

This post also represents a special edition of my Tempted by … feature, as I bought this book after reading this fabulous review by my friend Jill over at Double Stacked Shelves. Make sure you pop over and check out her blog.

This book lived up to all Jill promised. Although it is a young adult book, readers of all ages will take away something from it, and you’d need to be some kind of curmudgeon not to enjoy it just because the writing style is pitched at a young adult reader. This is a dystopian story, a tale of adventure, an exploration of human nature and frailty, a morality tale, and a treatise on the love than humans have for their pets, all rolled in to one great book.

We meet Griz & his family at the end of days, when the human population has all but died out and the few people who are left are scattered far and wide across a barren landscape. Everyone is living a hand to mouth existence, which makes them suspicious of strangers and protective of the things they have. So when a visitor to their remote home steals Griz’s dog, he sets off in pursuit. The rest of the book then follows Griz’s journey as he travels across an unknown land to find his lost companion.

The story is gripping from the first page as we try to understand what has happened to the world and what kind of devastation humans have wreaked on themselves and the planet. It is fascinating to look through the author’s imagination to see what someone who has never experienced life as we currently live it makes of our world through the decaying remnants left behind. What kind of things are still of value to humans on the edge of existence, and what has become worthless.

The book is full of emotion, as the bonds of family are tested, and the importance of relationships, trust, understanding, empathy and kindness are explored through Griz’s journey and the challenges he meets along the way. The book explores how we can change and grow in the face of adversity, confirming the old adage, ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’

I have been a huge fan of dystopian fiction since my old school librarian introduced me to the books of John Wyndham as a teenager, but I don’t remember there being any books like this specifically aimed at my age group. This book brought back echoes of those books to me, along with a sniff of Treasure Island for some reason. I was thoroughly invested in the story, and found it moving, melancholy and uplifting, all at the same time. I am also happy that I have found a book I can share with my teenage daughters and discuss and enjoy with them. A book to be passed along between generations, which makes it a great find.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Charlie’s a screenwriter and a novelist and he lives on the edge of Edinburgh. He’s been lots of other things too – temperamentally unsuitable bar staff (grumpy, not talkative), temporary laundry manager in a big London hotel, detail-shop car-wash jockey in Reno, Nevada, despatch runner for a film company in Soho,  food critic (not a very good one, basically never met a meal he didn’t like. Or at least eat too much of), national newspaper columnist (Scotland’s a nation, right?) and a film editor at the BBC. He studied Literature at St Andrews University, and later took a grad degree in Screenwriting at USC.

He swims a lot, keeps thinking of taking up cycling, likes forgotten books, summers on the Outer Hebrides, terriers, his wife and his children – not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Charlie:

Website: http://www.charliefletcher.com

Twitter: @CharlieFletch_r

Tempted by…Chapter in my Life: Bloody January by Alan Parks @sbairden @AlanJParks @canongatebooks #BloodyJanuary #tartannoir #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops. McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and introduces a dark and electrifying new voice in Scottish noir.

Today’s Tempted by… comes courtesy of a long-established and active crime book blogger who dwells north of the border. I am, of course, talking about the marvellous Sharon Bairden of Chapter in my Life  blog and the book she persuaded me to pick up was Bloody January by Alan Parks, as featured in this blog post.

This post is long overdue, as I’ve had the book for almost a year, and Sharon’s review was also overdue when it was posted, so this book is a couple of years old now. In fact, this was the first in the Harry McCoy series, and the third book in the series, Bobby March Will Live Forever is coming out this week, so this may be the first book to feature on both Tempted by… and my new Backlist spot, who knows! Still, better late than never and a good book remains a good book, whenever you get round to reading it.

I was drawn to pick out this book because of Sharon’s description of the authenticity of time and place in the book, and and the intricacy and vividness of the plot. It sounds like a gritty, realistic, hard-hitting thriller with something to say about the place and era in which it is set, and since Sharon describes it as ‘unmissable,’ I thought I had better not miss it!

I love Sharon’s blog because it is full of such variety of content within the context of crime novels, and her reviews are always enthusiastic, detailed and considered. She is also a frequent attendee of bookish events which, as someone who would love to be able to attend but is currently somewhat hampered by single parentdom, I love to live through vicariously through her posts about them. If this sounds like something you would enjoy reading, why not pop over to Chapter in my Life and have a look around.

If you have been similarly tempted to buy a copy of Bloody January after reading Sharon’s review, you can find it here.

Tempted by…The Bookwormery: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow @lelbudge @AlixEHarrow @orbitbooks #TenThousandDoorsofJanuary #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Today’s Tempted by… comes courtesy of Lesley over at The Bookwormery with this review of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.

There was one word from this review that made me buy this book, and I didn’t need any more than that to convince me to pick it up. ‘Mesmerising.’ Any book that Lesley describes as mesmerising is one that I want to read.

Aside from that, this is a book about books, about how books open the door to other worlds, or certainly that is how Lesley describes it in her review, and as a reader who understands tis completely, how could one not want to read it? There isn’t much more to the review than this, but it just goes to show that massively wordy reviews (much like the ones I tend to write!) are unnecessary and succinct reviews, if the words are chosen carefully and wisely, are just as effective, if not more so because people are less likely to get bored and switch off!

If you haven’t come across Lesley’s wonderful blog before now, you must go over and have a look. Lesley is a prolific blogger (and that is coming from someone who reads a lot), some days I can hardly keep up with her reviews but I always make sure I read them because I value her opinion and I don’t want to miss out on anything great. She is one of the reasons my TBR is so huge! If you want to take a look for yourself, you can find her blog here.

And if you would like to pick up a copy of The Ten Thousand Doors of January yourself after reading Lesley’s review, you can buy a copy here.

Tempted by…The Tattooed Book Geek: In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone @SarcasticEnigma @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks #InTheAbsenceOfMiracles #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.
For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

This week’s Tempted by … is a book I bought on the recommendation of Drew over at The Tattooed Book GeekThe book is In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone and it was this review that encouraged me to pick up a copy.

The review attracted me to the book because it is obvious that Drew was completely captivated by both the story and the story-telling, which are two very different but equally important things in any novel. The premise of the book itself would have grabbed me, but Drew’s detailed dissection of exactly what it was that pulled him in to the story and held him fast in his grasp really brought the book alive and persuaded me that I absolutely needed to read it. The review was also quite lyrical in its prose, a joy to read. I know some people don’t like reading long reviews but I love to find out exactly what aspects of a book readers loved and which were less successful.

Drew always writes very passionate and heartfelt reviews, fully imbued with his own personality. I’ve never met him, but I honestly feel like I know him through his blog posts, and they are always entertaining and persuasive. if you don’t follow Drew’s blog already, you should remedy that oversight immediately. You can find him at The Tattooed Book Geek.

And, if after reading Drew waxing lyrical about the book, you would like to read In The Absence of Miracles for yourself, you can buy a copy here.

Tempted by…my way by starlight: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer @waybystarlight @BrigidKemmerer @KidsBloomsbury #ACurseSoDarkAndLonely #Cursebreakers #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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Fall in love, break the curse.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.

Harper’s life has never been easy, but she’s learned to be tough enough to survive. She won’t let anything hold her back, not her cerebral palsy or her mother’s deteriorating health. But when she is sucked into Rhen’s world, nothing is as it seems. Powerful forces are standing against Emberfalll … and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.

This week on Tempted by… I have a genre I don’t read very often, Young Adult, and I was persuaded to step out of my comfort zone and pick up this copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely  by Brigid Kemmerer after I read this review by Kaite at my way by starlight.

Kaite writes about this book with such passion and tenderness, explaining how it helped her out at a really difficult time. This is what all of the best literature does, transports you to another time, place or simple headspace just when you need it. It made me wonder if the book could do the same for me. In addition, who doesn’t love a fairytale retelling, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites. I have discovered some of my favourite reads by being persuaded by other bloggers to step out of my comfort zone over the past three years, so I look forward to seeing where this book takes me.

This spirit of wanting to experience books that are out of my normal genre choices is one of the main reasons I was attracted to Kaite’s blog in the first place. She reads in quite different genres to me, but her reviews are always heartfelt and inspiring. And she also has an awesome Bookstagram feed which is gorgeous and fills me with jealousy and inspiration at the same time. Make sure you visit Kaite’s lovely blog at my way by starlight.

And is you have been equally tempted by this review to want a copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, you can get a copy here. Book 2 in the Cursebreaker series, A Heart So Fierce and Broken is also out now.

Tempted by…Cleopatra Loves Books: The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg @cleo_bannister @BoroughPress @HarperCollinsUK #TheRedAddressBook #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny―her American grandniece, and her only relative―give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper.

In writing down the stories of her colourful past―working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War―can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, to unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

Today on Tempted by … I am featuring The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg, which I was persuaded to buy by reading this review on Cleopatra Loves Books.

The main draw of this book for me was the promise of a plethora of exotic locations across the story, which is always something I enjoy in a work of fiction if well done, and the fascinating study of an older character which Cleo describes as being unstereotypical. It sounds as if the author has put a lot of care into the character of Doris and telling her story accurately, and I think it has an interesting and charming premise. Doris is obviously a character that Cleo admired as a protagonist, which made me trust that she would be someone I could rely on to carry this fascinating-sounding story. Plus, I love the cover!

Cleo’s blog has been silent for the last six months, which is a massive shame and I am hoping that she has no abandoned it entirely, but it just taking a break, as it is a blog I have enjoyed following very much in the past. I really love the way Cleo is so forthright in her opinions, you always know exactly what she thinks of a book, clear about why she loves it or not and make an easy judgement about whether it may or may not be for you. She has enjoyed a lot of the same books as I, so our tastes mesh fairly well. I hope all is well with you, Cleo, and if anyone knows why she has stopped blogging, I’d love to hear. I miss seeing her reviews in my inbox.

If you would like to get your own copy of The Red Address Book, you can get a copy here.