Guest Post: The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Lightning Books for sending me this marvellous book to read and thank you so much to Abi Silver for writing me a guest post. I am half way through this book and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT, please go check it out. So, without further ado – welcome to my place on the blogging tour:

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Title: The Aladdin Trial
Author: Abi Silver
Pages: 368 pages
Blurb:

When an elderly artist plunges one hundred feet to her death at a London hospital, the police sense foul play.

The hospital cleaner, a Syrian refugee, is arrested for her murder. He protests his innocence, but why has he given the woman the story of Aladdin to read and why does he shake uncontrollably in times of stress?

Judith Burton and Constance Lamb reunite to defend a man the media has already convicted. In a spellbinding courtroom confrontation in which they once more grapple with all-too-possible developments in artificial intelligence, they uncover not only the cleaner’s secrets, but also those of the artist’s family, her lawyer and the hospital.

A new Burton and Lamb legal thriller with an AI twist from the author of the acclaimed The Pinocchio Brief.

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Guest Post:

Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land…love them as you love yourselves’: Leviticus 19:33-34

#These are a few of my favourite things – part two

It always takes time for my ideas to bed down, sometimes months, sometimes years. That’s the nature of the beast called #amwriting, I suppose. Some days I overhear a snippet of conversation on the underground, I make a mental note and use it that very night. More often, I squirrel it away for a wintery day, when it suddenly and unexpectedly becomes relevant. Other times, ideas flood in at night and I thrash around, attempting to tame them, before scribbling them on a notepad I keep by my bed. Sadly, there have been occasions when I’ve been unable to decipher my scrawl in the morning – enough said!

But throughout 2015, the refugee crisis was featuring most nights on the News and it could not fail to stimulate my interest and evoke my sympathy. Overloaded boats of all shapes and sizes were taking to the water and promptly sinking, with tragic consequences. Our inspired response? To cease patrols of the Mediterranean, in the hope that would stem the flow.

Camps of destitute migrants were expanding at Calais; our answer was to tear them down. Young, desperate men were storming lorries bound for the Channel Tunnel in the hope of reaching England before arrest, so we increased security and threatened drivers with prosecution. Further East, Hungary closed its border with Serbia, ceased all railway crossings and mounted-police patrolled barbed-wire fences, forcing families to take long and often treacherous journeys on foot, to reach their desired Western European destinations. I watched and gawped and felt totally and utterly powerless.

Then I realised there was something I could do, something I often do when I am trying to make sense of what is going on around me; I could write about it. And as the focus slowly shifted from exclusion towards ‘integration’ and our then PM, David Cameron, committed the UK to accepting 20,000 migrants from Syria over the following five years, I began to reflect on my own immigrant past.

Just over a century ago, all four of my grandparents arrived in the UK, fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. As with many of today’s refugees, we don’t know the route they took, how long they were travelling or how they managed to travel so far. They certainly didn’t talk about it to me; Kitty, Joe (my maternal grandparents), Bernard and Esther (on my father’s side), not their real names of course, but the closest approximations in English to their birth names. They didn’t get to keep their long, difficult-to-spell surnames either, being lumped in with the people in front in the queue, suddenly creating a whole new artificial, extended family.

There were not many clues for my younger self to my grandparents’ foreign past. They spoke English, apart from the odd Yiddish word, which tended to escape from their mouths in moments of tremendous angst, when there really was no English substitute (I challenge you to find an appropriate synonym for ‘Oy a Clog!’ – sort of OMG but imbued with centuries of bondage, woe and affliction).

Grandma Kitty loved the Queen (‘I think she’s marvellous’ she would say) as she munched on Ryvita with cottage cheese for breakfast, Grandpa Joe liked to write long, almost illegible letters to Margaret Thatcher (he had only spent three years at school) and never missed an episode of Hawaii Five O and Grandad Bernard, who had worked as a tailor, was ‘a frustrated artist and musician’ (apparently he had played the violin as a young man but I never saw any evidence of this; I do, however, have some of his paintings up in my house today, so that part of his history, at the very least, must be true).

But as I watched the modern-day refugees on TV, disembarking on our shores, I wondered what life had been like for my grandparents when they first arrived, clutching a few personal possessions, dispossessed even of their names, knowing no one and saturated, no doubt, with a wealth of traditions and culture which most English people would have found strange and frightening.

And so with the inspiration of my grandparents firmly in mind, I created Ahmad Qabbani; a recent arrival on English soil, considered fortunate to have found cleaning work at my fictional St Mark’s hospital, but ultimately unlucky to have chosen to befriend an elderly patient who ends up dead, eleven floors below. Ahmad becomes the prime suspect in her murder and Judith and Constance, our accomplished double act, have to work hard to craft him a defence, in circumstances where the media has already judged him to be guilty; nothing like real life then, I’m pleased to say.

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Thank you once again to Abi Silver for writing such a wonderful piece.

Go buy the book here : https://amzn.to/2xv8CZB and to find out more about Abi and her writing go check out her website: www.abisilver.co.uk

To see more about the influences for The Aladdin Trial check out Shaz’s Book Blog, @ShazsBookBlog on 21 June and The Book Bag, @TheBookBag on 26 June, both part of The Aladdin Trial blog tour.

 

Book Review

I was asked by Densie Webb to read and review her book ‘You’ll Be Thinking of Me’ and I loved it!!

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A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video of an innocent kiss and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year old Rachael Allen to share. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats from an obsessed fan follow close behind. Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing and a passion for good music create a common thread that draws them to one another. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past and ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.


READABILITY- I become obsessed with this book while reading it, I could not put it down and when I did it played on my mind, I kept thinking ‘WHAT WILL BRENDA DO NEXT?’  It was easy to read but really intense.  If you want to be sat on the edge of your seat, mesmerised by the story and the engrossing writing, read this book. 

RELATABLE CHARACTERS-  

Mick the Hollywood act, had the heartthrob, broken artist thing going for him which made him a really easy character to visualize. The fact he was a soft and down to earth person at heart made him so easy to sympathize with, which instantly made me forgive all the negativity surrounding him.  

I could also connect with Rachael which made me invest more into the narrative because I could envision myself in her position, she was that everyday girl that anyone could relate to; she was awkward and clumsy for example. However she was just placed into a terrible situation, forcing the reader to root for her to achieve happiness.  

While Brenda is a very enigmatic character who really grabbed my attention, although she was really messed up, each therapy session revealed more and more about her life. I found this fantastically frustrating (in a good way) because I wanted to fully  hate her but with each therapy session, a new horrendous story from her past was revealed which made my emotions for her torn. While I felt hatred mostly, sympathy slipped into that and made me feel sorry for her.

These three characters work so well together, yet stood alone they have such powerful and emotive background stories which makes the reader feel so invested into the characters lives.

The other characters helped make the story more intense, funny, anxious and addictive.

NARRATIVE- The point of view switches from character to character but mainly switching between Brenda and Rachael. Their juxtaposing narrations create tension which both grips the reader and pushes the narrative forward.  I could feel how the characters extreme emotions overwhelmed them through the powerful description that was beautifully written on the page, I could feel; the fear, anxiety, passion and most of all love ooze with every declaration the characters made.  The swapping of narratives worked really well for this story because it created dramatic irony, giving the audience the upper hand because they know who the stalker is before either Rachael or Mick do. 

COVER-  I think this cover is amazing, the eyes pierce into the readers, forcing them to be captivated by her. This is a really good glimpse into the book because that is what I felt Brenda was doing, demanding attention.  

I am pretty sure this was my face most of the time…

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Then the really cute Nick and Rachael moments would come along and it would change to this (I am secretly a hopeless romantic),

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“As he pressed his lips harder against mine, he took in a sudden sharp breath and I was plunging down that first breathtaking drop on a roller coaster.” 

If you are looking for a new book to read, then you need to go and buy this because it is incredible, definitely one of my favourite books of 2015 so far. I was so happy with the conclusion of this book and although I was heartbroken by certain loses, the happiness the characters felt outweighed them.  You can purchase it by clicking  here.   It is £1.99! 

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4 out of 5 stars for this one because it was amazing and captivating but I probably would not read it again.

FULL UP BOOKSHELF PROBLEMS…

My University book shelf is starting to get full and I know the simple solution would be to stop buying books ! (this would also help the poor student issue) ! but I enjoy buying books. Some people find comfort in buying food or clothes, I however would eat and wear books if I could.

Today I sorted out my bookshelves to make more room and I thought I would share with you the five stages I went through when doing it. Let me know if you go through this as well or what you do…

stage 1… DENIAL

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I put off the task of organizing my book shelf because it means that I have to accept I cannot purchase more books. Although I have been in this denial stage for a long time because I just keep taking books home to hide them there on my overflowing bookshelf back home.
large Buying books is just such an exciting task that I do not want to let it go yet… so I believe that I can just rearrange the books to make the fit.

The next stage is SHOCK/REALIZATION…

shock-gifThat devastatingly heartbreaking moment when you realise you cannot fit anymore books any where, not even behind the front ones or on top of them. AHHHH  I hate this part because it is like being hit in the face with a ton of bricks; it physically hurts, okay! (and emotionally) I am such a nerd but I honestly do not care. Books help me to be less taciturn when in a social situation because they let me express my passionate nature.

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stage 3 – The BARGAINING process…

tumblr_mcb45v8VH51riahmqo1_500 The moment you realise there is no other options…

  • Do I get rid of my precious books?     NOOOOOOOOO
  • Do I move some of them, maybe put them away in storage?
  • Do I buy another book shelf?
  • Do I just put some next to my bed, like I am ‘currently’ reading them?

Stage 4- ACCEPTANCE… 

tumblr_n45zkhHOVm1stzneto1_500At this point I accepted that I cannot get rid of any of my friends, I will never let go. I decided I will sneak a few home, move my clothes into storage to make more book space and  organised the remaining once as an apology for even considering such a crime.

This leads me on to the next stage ORGANISATION…(stage 5)

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  • Do I colour coordinate the books?
  • Put the in alphabetical order?
  • Height order, maybe?
  • Even genre order?
  • Classic collection order…books of the same trilogy/series together?

I decided to mix it up and do it in the collection order (I could not split the little book families up) however I then put them in alphabetical order, regarding the authors name.  Jealous? Do you do through this as well?