31 Jan 2022

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Book Review / A Time for Mercy by John Grisham

 Jake Brigance, the protagonist of A Time to Kill, John Grisham’s classic legal thriller is back. This time he's at the epicenter of a sensational murder trial that bitterly divides the citizens of Clanton, Mississippi.

A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. It established Jake as a classic American hero—a lawyer who seeks truth and justice at all costs, even when his life and reputation are on the line.

Brigance returned in 2013’s Sycamore Row, in which he once again found himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial.

Now, in A Time for Mercy, Jake is the court-appointed lawyer for Drew Gamble, a young man accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance sees it another way. Once he learns the details of the case, he realizes he has to do everything he can to save Drew—who is sixteen. Jake’s commitment to the truth puts his career and the safety of his family at risk.

Filled with all the courtroom machinations, small-town intrigues, and plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A Time for Mercy emphatically confirms John Grisham's reputation as America's favorite storyteller.

There is a time to kill, a time for justice, and A TIME FOR MERCY.

Published:    13th October 2020
Publisher:  Random House
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought




Having read both A Time to Kill (Book 1) and Sycamore Row (Book 2) immediately before picking up this novel, I was already fully immersed in this world, this town and familiar with the characters, which made it so much easier to get stuck in.  Now, you don't have to have read the previous books to pick up this one as, technically, the story doesn't carry on with each book as the stories have different plot lines, but it certainly does help if you read them as if they were a series.  I did and I certainly got the most out of these three books by doing that. 

What I loved the most about this story was being in the court room and watching as both the lawyers, the judge and the jury played their part, along with other side characters.  I find it fascinating seeing the court case unfold in the court room, lawyer against lawyer with the judge mostly in the middle.  You also have the conflict between the police and the law, as the victim was a police officer, but not necessarily a good one...

Of course, once again, I would highly recommend.  To get the best out of this world and the characters, I would recommend reading both A Time to Kill (book 1) and Sycamore Row (book 2) before this one, but you don't have to if you don't want to. 







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26 Jan 2022

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Book Review / Sycamore Row by John Grisham

 Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

Published:     22nd October 2013
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought



 I read this novel immediately after finishing A Time To Kill, which I would highly recommend doing even though, technically, the story does not follow on.  You are in the same town with a lot of the same characters, so from A Time To Kill you know the history of what they have previously been through.  With this story, we are moving forward in time a number of years and we see Jake Brigance as the lawyer in town again taking on a case (or being made to take a case by a local judge).

This story has a very different story to A Time to Kill.  This story is mainly about a rich guy who dies and wants to leave all his money to his maid and at the time this novel is set this is very much frowned upon not only because she is a maid but because of her colour.  This story takes a few turns that I was not expecting and the reveal near the end where we see why Seth Hubbard choose to leave what he did was perfect.  

Of course I would highly recommend, but to get a better experience I would recommend reading A Time to Kill first, although you do not have to. 








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24 Jan 2022

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Book Review / A Time to Kill by John Grisham

 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town, Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. That is, until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life, and then his own.

Published:     1st November1993
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Jake Brigance
Source:  Bought




I know I have only just read this in the past year or two but when I realised that A Time For Mercy was coming out and also that Sycamore Row was also featured in the same town with some of the same characters, I knew I had to re-read this to make sure I was fully immersed back into this world again.

Despite the difficult story line, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of re-reading this novel.  This novel deals with a lot of sensitive issues including rape and racial inequality and its interesting to see how these are dealt with as the story goes along.

What I liked the most was the interactions between lawyer, police wardens and the judicial system.  Its a delicate balance and each person plays their part with the lawyers playing against each other, whether that is fairly or not.

This is a must read for everyone!







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19 Jan 2022

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Book Review / The Castaways by Lucy Clarke


It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…


Published:     18th March 2021
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought





Lucy Clarke has been on my favourite author list for a very long time now and I can't tell you how excited I was to read this one.   Yes I did buy this when it first came out in paperback, but I can't tell you why it too me so long to read except for the fact that instead of putting this on my TBR cart it went on my bookshelf with all the other books I have for this author and over time I thought that I had already read it.  Imagine my excitement all over again when I realised that I hadn't!

What I loved about this novel (and is the same for every one of her novels so far) is the suspense.  A great build up, with twists and turns and a final reveal that more often than not I didn't see coming.   This was no exception.  What really made this a five star for me among many things was the final reveal at the end with a further twist right at the very last few pages.   Loved it!

If you love a good thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you need to pick this one up!



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17 Jan 2022

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Book Review / 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King



'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings—but not more than in any other town its size.

Ben Mears, a moderately successful writer, returns to the Lot to write a novel based on his early years, and to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. The event he witnessed in the house now rented by a new resident. A newcomer with a strange allure. A man who causes Ben some unease as things start to happen: a child disappears, a dog is brutally killed—nothing unusual, except the list starts to grow.

Soon surprise will turn to bewilderment, bewilderment to confusion and finally to terror . . .

Published:     17th October 1975 (this version 11th May 2021)
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought


I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this novel.  At 768 pages long, it took a while but I loved every minute!  We follow not only the main character, Ben Mears, who returns to 'Salem's Lot (also known as Jerusalem's Lot) after an accident changed his life, with the memory of a traumatic experience in an old house in 'Salem's Lot when he was a kid, but also a lot of the characters in town as things change when newcomers come into town (other than Ben).

What I loved about this story was the suspense.  It was a very slow build, but well worth sticking with it.  I can't think of a single moment in this story where I was bored or didn't feel like I wanted to continue and that, for me, is a sign of an amazing 5 star read!  With this novel first being published back in 1975 I really didn't feel like it had either aged badly or felt like it was set in the old days.  For me, you could pick up this story and pop it down into any town anywhere in these times and it would mostly be relevant.   I think that is what added to the suspense, the fact that this could literally happen anywhere, if you believe. 

What I also loved, and I am not sure whether it was just the particular version of the book I bought, was when I I thought the story was over, there was an additional couple of short stories at the end going forward a bit in time and seeing how the town was after the events of the main story.  

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and would recommend for those who like a good vampire story or like to be spooked!









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Book Review / Tap to Tidy by Stacey Solomon


If you're reading this, then we have something in common .... Whether it's a love of getting crafty, meticulously organising or making fun-shaped snacks!

I find it hard to sit still, but losing myself in a craft project or tidying a drawer is my form of meditation. It's a chance for me to forget about the things going on in the world around me for a minute.

I hope this book helps you to lose yourself for a moment, too - and that you enjoy reading it and even, maybe, having a go at some of the bits inside.

Published:     4th March 2021
Publisher:  Ebury Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




I don't know about you but I love a bit of organising, whether that's tidying up your home (of course, including your bookshelves) or your life.  I am always on the hunt for a good book with lots of great tips and hints.  I was recommended this book from a friend.

Although a lot of the hints and tips I have come across before, I had so much fun reading this.  It has a great combination of helpful tips and hints, recipes and a bit of biography of the author herself, which gave the book a personal touch.  

This book would be ideal for those who are just starting out in their organisational process or those who find it hard to keep organised. 






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6 Jan 2022

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Book Review / Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Published:     23rd September 2014
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




I can't tell you how much fun I had reading this book and I certainly won't tell you how much I bought this book purely for the cover art and art inside!  

This is such an odd story but I just couldn't stop reading!   It is certainly creepy at the beginning but when the day is done and three of the employees at Orsk are left to investigate what goes on after dark, that is when the fun begins!

What I loved the most about this story was simply how bizzare and fun it was.  I can't tell you specific details, to avoid spoilers, but this story is pretty much like a downward spiral where the story slowly descends down it bit by bit, page by page.

The ending was what did it for me.  I was wondering how such a bizarre story would end up and I did have some options that I was hoping might happen, but none of those came up.  Instead I was given a completely different ending but it turned out that it was the ending I wanted but never knew I wanted!

This was such a creepy but fun novel that I would highly recommend!




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4 Jan 2022

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Book Review / The Judge's List by John Grisham

In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate. She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed. Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.

Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases. Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold. But Jeri has a suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades. Along the way, she has discovered other victims.

Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible. The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.

He is a judge, in Florida—under Lacy’s jurisdiction.

He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way. How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list.

 Published:     19th October 2021
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, The Whistler
Source:  Bought


This book has been on my to buy and read list for ages as knowing this was coming up.  Having read The Whister reasonably recently I was very excited to read more about the character of Lacy and find out what she is up to next.  

I would recommend that you read The Whistler before picking this up not only because it is an excellent book but also there are small spoilers in this book to what happened in the first and genuinely it does help to get a background of the characters and how the Judicial Conduct Authority works.

What I loved the most about this book was the fact that you see this story in, basically, three characters' eyes.  Firstly you have Lacy who works at the Judicial Conduct Authority and is asked to look into this matter.  Secondly, you have Jeri who comes forward suspecting a sitting Judge for not only killing her father but also a number of others.  Lastly, you have the Judge himself and what is going on in his mind at various points in the story.  Having these three perspectives gives so much more depth to the story than just having one viewpoint.  You are seeing both good and evil with a race to find out who will win. 

What I also enjoyed was the way the story ended.  I won't go into too much detail here because of spoilers but I will say that although it may not be a satisfying ending for some it felt realistic and a very good twist that I wasn't expecting.

Do  pick up The Whistler before picking this up but a great edge of your seat read you need to pick up. 





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