The Novel that changed my reading habits!

Every so often a novel comes along and completely blows you away! It is often unexpected and sometimes even with a book you had put off reading. This happened with one particular read for me and opened me up to a whole new genre……………. Literary. There are lots of articles and statistics regarding what people read and if there are changes in trends. The most recent one I have seen was regarding Literary novels and their slight decline in popularity. I can’t speak for the UK in general but I can speak for my experience so here goes!


It starts for me way back in the days of GCSE English class. I loved the Shakespeare and reading. But I failed miserably at most of the other literature and not surprisingly grammar skills too. It resulted in a failed GCSE and a lifetime complex! From then on until 2014 I would avoid any novels I considered ‘too clever’ for me. I resided myself to except that I was ‘thick’ and something’s I would just never get………That was until.

Lying in bed in 2014 in chronic pain with a spinal injury. I was devouring books daily and my poor suffering husband would come back from Waterstones with bags of novels! He is not a reader and would ask the staff to help him choose. One day he came home with Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. I was well aware of the novel and it’s huge success but it was on the list I would deem ‘too clever’ for me.

I decided to give it a try. Then something very unexpected happened, I got it! Not only did I get it, I bloody loved it! I cannot explain my love for that trilogy enough. I read all 3 novels in a weekend and had an horrendous book hangover. I literally mourned it ending! It is also the reason I have a 3 second answer to the often asked reader question which book character would you date? Leo Demidov without a shadow of a doubt! Before I pack up my bags and head off to communist Russia, let me explain what it changed.

Whilst suffering with my book hangover and book grief. I suddenly realised maybe all was not lost for me. Maybe just maybe no book is ‘too clever’ and I should give more of this genre a try. Well I had an epic journey of new novels to discover! The Book Of Night Women by Marlon James, A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale and even the modern classic The Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubery Selby Jr. I am now at the point where I often buy several of the longlisted novels when the lists are revealed. More importantly I no longer fear that any book is ‘too clever’ and I read more books than ever before.

I often wonder if other people have experienced this, with any genre? Especially given that many people my age (33) experienced bad/unhelpful schooling. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts/opinions on this. So feel free to comment or email me!

I would urge anyone with the ‘too clever’ fear to bite the bullet and buy a novel that challenges you, it may just change you!

*I am aware Child 44 could come under crime/historical genre. But I regard it as literature and with how it lifted my fears and self-loathing. It is one novel I will never ever forget!



New Giveaway! A copy of Skin Like Silver by Chris Nickson


Win a copy of Skin Like Silver by Chris Nickson.

This novel is set in Victorian Leeds and is a historical crime novel. For review see blog.


Leeds, England. October, 1891. An unclaimed parcel at the Central Post Office is discovered to contain the decomposing body of a baby boy. It’s a gruesome case for DI Tom Harper. Then a fire during the night destroys half the railway station. The next day a woman’s body is found in the rubble. But Catherine Carr didn’t die in the blaze: she’d been stabbed to death – and Harper has to find her killer.
The estranged wife of a wealthy industrialist, Catherine had been involved with the Leeds Suffragist Society, demanding votes for women, the same organization for which Harper’s wife Annabelle has just become a speaker. Were Catherine’s politics the cause of her death? Or is the husband she abandoned behind it? But when her brother escapes from the asylum and steals a shotgun, Harper has to race to find the answers.

For a chance to win please like & share the FB/Twitter post!

Winner to be announced Friday the 17th March.

This competition is UK ONLY!



Last week I announced a giveaway for 2 copies of The Speech by Andrew Smith. It is an incredible political/historical novel & one of my favourites of 2016!

The Winners are

Stacey Thorpe


Tim Atkinson @dotterel

Congratulations to the winners, please email me or the publisher @urbanebooks @urbanepub your address & it can be sent out to you!

For those of you that did not win, give me 5 minutes to type it out and I have another giveaway to laugh today! yay!

*huge thanks to the total legends at Urbane publishers for allowing me to run this giveaway!