Read: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

brokenwheel A book about books always attracts my attention. This was a quick and fun read about a Swedish woman going to the US on holiday and being adopted by the town she ends up in.

The publisher says: “Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and…customers. The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.”

I say: A fun, lighthearted, and definitely unrealistic story about a woman without a work permit opening a bookstore. Sara discovers that Amy, the friend who she came to visit, might have been one of the very few people in Broken Wheel who actually enjoyed reading, but the people are very friendly and help her set up the bookstore even if they have no intention ever to buy a book there. Sara (and the reader) find out about the history of the town, and some romances blossom up around her. But she’s not in love herself, oh no!

Although the story was rather unlikely and a little bit simplistic, I enjoyed reading it. There were references to books, although mainly from a previous correspondence between Amy and Sara, from before Sara came to visit. The letters from Amy to Sara were scattered through the book, touching upon issues that played at that particular moment in the story. It was a bit disconcerting how little the residents cared about books. But they all do show up at the bookstore when residents from a neighboring town come and visit. No one is going to think that the Broken Wheelers aren’t literate!

A good book to take with you on holiday. Charming and not too taxing, it’s an ideal beach read.

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Read: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

daisyI got an e-copy of this book from the publishers for review (via Netgalley).

I was reading Sharon Bolton (S.J. Bolton, as she was then known) when ‘no one’ had even heard of her. She was a great find! I’ve not read all her books, but quite a few.

The publisher says:Famous killers have fan clubs. Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club? Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win. Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . . Would you?

My view

Lawyer Maggie Rose is more or less stalked by the mother of Hamish Wolfe, a man who is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, according to the mother. Maggie has no intention to do what the mother wants, which is to represent him and get him out of prison, until she gets a letter from Hamish that piques her curiosity. She goes and visits him but still refuses to be his lawyer. That’s the start of the story.

Before we get to know Maggie Rose well, we hear others gossip about her. And it’s not good. She meddles with everything and is a difficult person to work with. It’s odd, because when we learn more about her, she seems quite a reasonable person, with friends happy to support her all the way.

Hamish is a little odd, too. Although he claims to be innocent, he doesn’t really do much to push this point. He seems OK in prison, and just likes Maggie’s visits as an interruption of the daily grind. So, could he really be innocent? He doesn’t seem to behave that way.

Maggie Rose, whether she wants it or not, gets more and more involved in the Wolfe case. So much so, that her house is broken into, the beginning of a gripping story.

Overall, the book is a good mystery. We learn a few things on the way, and a suspicion slowly creeps in, but until close to the end, it’s hard to grasp it. Then, when the mystery is finally resolved, it suddenly becomes rather unbelievable. At that point, the magic of the book goes, the lights come on and that’s it. I found it hard to accept and I really didn’t like this ending. At all.

So, that was a pity, because the earlier parts of the book were great! I ended this book with mixed feelings.

Books I read before by Sharon BoltonNow You See Me, Sacrifice, Awakening, Dead Scared and probably one or two more.

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Read: Lingua Franca by William Thacker

linguaThe publisher, Legend Press, says: “There’s a problem with Barrow, but it can be fixed. You just need to change the name to Birdseye. ‘Birdseye-in-Furness…’

Miles Platting is pulled from the ruins of a shipwreck into a world in which no one will speak to him. The founder of Lingua Franca – a naming rights agency committed to renaming every UK town after a corporate sponsor – Miles recounts the story of his quest for linguistic supremacy to anyone who’ll listen. Confined to his hospital bed in a deathly quiet ward, Miles seeks to find his colleagues and reunite with his true love. But in doing so, Miles must confront his deepest held convictions and consider, ‘what’s in a name?’ in a world where the spoken word has been replaced with silence.”

This was a short, fun read. Miles is on a quest to have each town in the UK named after a brand that would then pay for each town’s upkeep. A kind of sponsorship, so UK towns don’t fall into disrepair any further . What a fun and crazy and scary idea! Would you like to live in Mothercare (rather than Motherwell) or Birdseye rather than Barrow? Miles only sees the advantages but many people around the country are not so charmed by the idea.

The beginning of the book felt a bit like an episode of The Office, where we see Miles deal with daily office life, trying to keep his salespeople happy and efficient. After a tragedy, and a long conversation with his wife – or possibly ex-wife, the way things are going – Miles starts to have doubts about what he and his company are doing. Still, he goes with the flow and attends the naming ceremony of Barrow-in-Furness (to be renamed Birdseye-in-Furness), where things don’t go so smoothly: the townspeople are strongly opposed to the name change.

Somehow, in an unspecified future time, Miles finds himself in a hospital where no one speaks. What happened, we find out in due course. I should mention that it seems an impossible idea for no one in a hospital to speak – imagine a silent operation! Will the patient survive? Does the surgeon have enough hands to carry out the operation and meanwhile signing to the nurse what instrument she wants next? I’m not sure!

Still, it was a fun read, if rather improbable. It could almost be called a post-apocalyptic story, which is one of my favorite genres.

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Winner of the giveaway of Blood on Borrowed Wings

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The winner of Blood on Borrowed Wings by Darren Stapleton is:

Mary Preston

Congratulations, Mary. I’ll get the book to you as soon as possible.

Everyone else, thanks for entering.

You can find more information about the book HERE.

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