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Bookshelf Butterfly - Rebooted

It’s been a year to the day since I last posted and after much deliberation I’ve decided to get back into writing again.

Why did I stop in the first place? To be honest, everything was getting to be a bit much. After starting a new job at the beginning of the year, I was struggling to balance work life with a healthy social life and all the blog stuff.
I was lucky enough to be overwhelmed with books from publishers, independent authors and from my own overflowing collection but I found that I became locked in a frantic circle of reading, reviewing and repeating without having time to pause and reflect on everything else going on, bookish or otherwise.
So what I had planned on being a mini-break, turned into something of a gap year. A lot has changed in 365 days and I do find that I have a lot less time to read as I once did. When I do get some alone time with a book, I don’t want to rush to a deadlined review.

Sporting a new look (which is still a work in progress), I’m excited to sta…
Recent posts

The Salt Marsh - Prologue

It's my spot on The Salt Marsh blog tour today so below is the prologue from the novel by Clare Carson. Enjoy!
Monday 1 May 1978
Jim did his vanishing act the day of the spring fair. Sam was sitting in her room reading, the last of the apple blossom drifting past her window, Jim and the dog downstairs, her mother Liz and her sisters visiting the new baby of one of Liz’s old friends. Liz often went out on the days that Jim was at home. Her mother’s departure had been preceded by an argument. Sam had half heard Liz shouting, Jim shouting back, but hadn’t taken much notice because she had her head stuck in a book and, anyway, they always argued these days. Liz laughed, and that did catch Sam’s attention because there was something manic about the cackle. She clocked Liz yelling, ‘So if I want to know where you are, I’m supposed to call the fucking Home Secretary, am I?’ The front door crunched. Sam was glad to hide in her room, curled up on her beanbag with her book. As she read, s…

The Salt Marsh by Clare Carson

Last September I had the pleasure of reviewing Clare Carson’s first novel Orkney Twilight in which rebellious teenager Sam is first drawn in to her father’s world of undercover agents and family secrets. 
In the gripping follow up, The Salt Marsh, Sam is now an adult and struggling to move on from her father’s death. Mysterious visitors possibly linked to her father pop up unannounced and when her boyfriend disappears she finds herself on a wild goose chase from the shady nightclubs of Soho to the desolate marshes of Norfolk and Kent. 
Caught up in a world of spies and secrets, Sam becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving drugs, smuggling, and murder. As Sam continues to work through her father’s demise, lots of memories of their shared past bubble to the surface and as she gets deeper into the shadowy world her father inhabited she finds it hard to work out who to trust and what is the truth. 
As much as I enjoyed Orkney Twilight, I think I enjoyed The Salt Marsh even more as Sam…

An Unreliable Guide to London by Various Authors

You may or may not have noticed that many of the books I have reviewed are set in or have connections with London. Sometimes it is just a coincidence and other times, I like the sound of a book and how it works with London as a setting, as was the case with this one. 
In this collection of short stories, 23 London writers explore less famous parts of the capital with their own unique voices. When books are usually set in London, iconic landmarks often feature heavily within the storyline. The parts of London in this collection are the ones people may live and work in, travel in and around on a daily basis and yet don’t tend to play such a starring role in stories, until now. 
Split into North, South, East and West regions, An Unreliable Guide to London is an eclectic mix of stories, including a sinister tale of blood thieves in Camden, wind nymphs in South Clapham, a lively taxidermy in Islington and the myth of a giant purple swan at Brentford Ait. 
The swan story actually happened …

Alice by Christina Henry

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when this book came up. I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan but I’ve only read one other re-imagining before this novel. 
In this version of Alice, we meet a broken young woman locked away in an asylum. She is unsure as to why she is in such an awful place but she does remember endless tea parties, a terrible man with long ears, pain and blood. 
One night, a fire takes hold at the hospital and Alice makes her escape with a strange young man, Hatcher, who has a bloody, messed up past of his own. Along with their own jailbreak, a dreadful beast is also unleashed, leaving a path of terror in its wake. 
Navigating the treacherous Old City, Alice and Hatcher must negotiate with mob bosses, magicians and criminals to face their pasts, uncover hidden truths about themselves and go against the mysterious beast. 
I had no idea just how brutal and graphic this novel would be and I devoured every page of it. It is definitely a more adult take on the po…

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a little break away in Spain last week and just before I went I was faced with the challenging decision of picking my holiday reads. It was just a short haul flight, hand luggage only, so I had to choose wisely as I didn’t have much space to transport a library! I noticed The Swimming Pool in my waiting pile and figured this was the perfect time to start it. 
With summer on the horizon, suburban town Elm Hill reopens it’s lido following a prominent renovation campaign headed by sensational suburbanite Lara Channing. Teacher Natalie Steele is drawn to the lido with its alluring social scene and to Lara herself, despite her daughter Molly’s deep phobia of water. 
As she gets closer to Lara and her new glamorous friends, Natalie begins to rail against the stereotypes of being a sensible school teacher and prim housewife, much to the disapproval of her husband Ed and old friends she finds herself drifting away from. 
But along with the highs of her new …

Through the Looking Glass - Alice Blog Tour

Through the looking glass, what could have been…
At Titan Books we take our book covers very seriously and we’re lucky enough to have a wonderful design team behind us. When we first got the Alicemanuscript in we knew we had something very special, and that it would need a very special cover to go alongside it. We thought today we would take you through the looking glass to have a look behind the scenes of our cover process:
1) The beginning As you may know Alice first came out in the US with the wonderful Ace Books where they have a very distinctive, and very different look:

We loved the jackets, but felt that we wanted something that highlighted the dark fantasy element more.
2) Inspiration When we look at book cover design one of the first things we do is to distil the  elements of the book down and pull together a mood board of other covers to draw inspiration from. For Alice some of these key themes, moods and words were: “Dark” “Dangerous” “Lost” “Fantasy” “Urban” “Shadows” “Cl…