In Cold Blood by Truman Capote #BookReview #DBowieBooks

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Synopsis

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The book that made Capote’s name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.

My Thoughts

In Cold Blood is widely regarded as Truman Capote’s best and most influential novels. It tells the true story of the murder of the Clutter family in 1959. The Clutters were a well-respected family of four in the tiny farming town of Holcomb, Kansas – Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon. They were brutally murdered by two petty criminals who were on the hunt for a non-existent safe full of cash but actually made off with about $50 and a radio.

Capote was a journalist at the time and, with his childhood friend Harper Lee, traveled to Holcomb to cover the story of one of the most gruesome of senseless murders of the time. Capote spent five years in Holcomb, mixing a blend of fact gleaned from interviewing the protagonists and fiction to write In Cold Blood.

I’m glad I gave myself the opportunity to read In Cold Blood properly. I have studied parts of this novel in several of my writing units at uni and I regret reading it in bits and pieces first. I wish I’d done it the other way round because I did find it difficult when I came to sections I had read previously. And it was impossible not to think of all the academic kind of stuff I had covered previously.

I am glad I studied this novel, though, because there are so many interesting things about it and the way it was written. In Cold Blood was a completely new style of writing at the time. Crime and mystery fiction have always been popular genres, but In Cold Blood isn’t fiction. And many parts aren’t quite factual either. Capote called this sensational new style of writing New Journalism and this development has been incredibly influential in the crime and mystery genres (and many would argue in journalism!) ever since.

Now I feel better by covering some of the academic reasons for why  In Cold Blood is a modern classic I will finish by recommending this novel to all the true crime fans out there. Capote’s blend of fact and fiction is a masterpiece and the only thing I regret is not reading it earlier.

And finally, here is a rather cute pic of my crazy Zeus checking out my copy!

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Details

Title: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

ISBN: 0141182571 (ISBN13: 9780141182575)

Published: February 3rd 2000 by Penguin (first published 1965)

Genre: Classics, Modern Classics, True Crime

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. In Cold Blood

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

unrivaled

Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!

 

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

youDescription

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Details 

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Published: October 6th 2016 by Head of Zeus

AISN: B01AATYCBS

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (1950s)

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 389

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Amazon 

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It Was Only Ever You is my first introduction to Kate Kerrigan, but before I even picked up the book I knew that I had been missing out! With comparisons to the great Maeve Binchy and high praise from romance stalwarts, Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, and my good friend, Tess Woods, I knew this would be a great book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The novel is set in County Mayo and New York in the 1950s and told from multiple points of view. Patrick leaves his sweetheart, Rose, the beautiful doctor’s daughter, behind in Ireland to emigrate to New York and make it big as a rock star. In New York, he meets Ava, a wealthy but shy girl, except for when she is on the dance floor. Holocaust survivor, Sheila, manages to talk her way into becoming Patrick’s manager, despite being on the run from the mob.

I loved the way this story was told. I can definitely see some similarities to Maeve Binchy’s heartfelt romance style Kerrigan captured the mood of old-school Ireland and the 1950s rock and roll scene of New York perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheila watches Bill Haley and his CometsBill Haley and his Comets in one of their earliest performances, especially as Rock Around the Clock was my grandmother’s favourite song!

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler: Book Review @TerryTyler4

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Description

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a twist-rich, character-driven psychological drama/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end!

Details 

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: October 3rd, 2016 by the author

AISN: B01LXQISIY

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Drama

Format:  Kindle

Pages: 340

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Amazon UK

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Terry Tyler fan, and The Devil You Know is one of my favourites so far! It’s a psychological drama, which is a completely different genre from her other novels, and I very much admire how effortless she made it look to master a new style. I also loved the multiple points of view, which is a technique this author has perfected. I always love piecing the story together from different characters. I feel like you get the full story that way, not just one or maybe two character’s perspective.

The Devil You Know is told from the viewpoint of five different characters who each suspect that somebody they know could be the Lyndford Strangler serial killer. As the story progresses each character becomes more and more convinced that their suspicions are correct as the murders become more frequent and people continue to behave suspiciously.

I was definitely surprised when the true Lyndford Strangler was revealed and, in true Terry Tyler style, I never saw the big surprise coming in a million years. I love that even though I know this author is an expert at sneaky plot twists that I’ve never been able to figure it out until the very end yet!

December #TBR Pile

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It’s already been December for a while now and I am so not ready for Christmas! I have family coming soon from all over the place, presents are not sorted, I still need to buy some bits and pieces to complete my 1950s style outfit that I plan to wear on Christmas day as a little surprise for my Pop, and I have only just began finished week 2 of this study period at uni. You should all feel very sad for me because I actually have an assignment due on Dec 23rd! 😦 But I do have some exciting books that I hope to be able to review this month, plus some very nice Heavenly teas that I have been loving this week.

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Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Genre: Psychological Drama, Whodunnit

Description:

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.

Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?

Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…

Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing until the very end.

war

Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Genre: Eastern Philosophy, Classics, Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)

princessbride

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Genre: Fantasy, Classics, Romance, Adventure, Young Adult (Umm, what does this story not have!?)

Description:

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

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Title: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

Genre: True Crime, Classics,  Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

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Title: Unrivalled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noël

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery

Description:

Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares

you

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, 1950s

Description:

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

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Title: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

Author: Danielle Hawkins

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Description:

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

PRAISE FOR DANIELLE HAWKINS
Dinner at Roses
‘A cross between All Creatures Great and Small, Bridget Jones’s Diary and something the Topp Twins would write if there was only one of them and she was straight, this is a very funny book.’ Next Book Club
‘What really carries it is the quality of the writing. The dialogue is absolutely spot on. You would almost believe the author wrote for TV or writes sitcoms. It’s very, very funny.’ Paper Plus, Winter Reads
‘It’s so good that it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel. It had better not be her last. Please, Danielle’ Lee Matthews, Manawatu Standard
‘Reading this is better than sleeping!’ Sunday Star Times
Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
‘Another sweet, gently funny depiction of life in the back blocks of New Zealand.’ Next
‘Helen is frankly delightful – intelligent but oh-so-human … a plausible, relatable storyline and hugely appealing characters. A charming summer read, and a giggling good time’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘The only problem I could see in the book was the Wallabies did not win often enough’ Jodie, GoodReads
‘This is a delightful, contemporary romance’ – Herald Sun

I wonder how many of these I will be able to make my way through by the end of the month? Stay tuned for some reviews coming soon, because I think I have some very enjoyable reading days coming my way soon!

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Conjuror #bookreview

conjurorI have to admit that I am a massive Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack Harkness fan, so I was a little bit geeked out to have the opportunity to read John Barrowman’s latest novel written in collaboration with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.

There were a lot of features that I loved about this novel. First of all, there was a really great mix of diverse characters. Considering that Conjuror’s target audience is mostly teenagers, it made me smile to find a bad ass female Indian policewoman, an African American teenager, and LGBT characters all in the one book like it was no big deal.

Secondly, combining magic, mystery, art, and music into the same book is a pretty interesting concept and not something you come across every day.

I did feel as though I had missed out on some of the general background of the characters, especially the twins, although I have recently discovered that they appear in the Hollow Earth series also, so that’s probably why I felt their stories just jumped right in.

I would recommend Conjuror to fans of YA fantasy. It was an enjoyable and quick read, with some really interesting and diverse characters and concepts. I will definitely be hanging out to read the second installment because I’m dying to find out what happens next!

Description

Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.

Details

Title: Conjuror (Orion Chronicles #1)

Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman

ISBN: 9781781856376

Published:  April 21st 2016 by Head of Zeus
Genre:  Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy
Pages: 320
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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