Confessions of a Readaholic

Reviews | Interviews | Giveaways | Recommendations | "I'm Mad About Books"

Reviews | Interviews | Giveaways | Recommendations | "I'm Mad About Books"

Month: April 2014

New Reads

I have added three more books to my collection…



Philip K. Dick’s Ubik is sci-fi, I generally do not read sci-fi, but being bored of other genres I guess it’s the time to pick this particular genre. The other two books are on football (soccer) and I’m counting on The Gaffer by Neil Warnock.

Any more recommendations are welcome, especially in the sci-fi genre!

Author Interview: An INTERVIEW with BRIAN CONAGHAN

Brian Conaghan was born in 1971. He was raised in the Scottish town of Coatbridge but now lives and works as a teacher in Dublin. He is the author of The Boy Who Made It Rain and When Mr. Dog Bites, and has a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Over the years Brian has made his dosh as a painter and decorator, a barman, a DJ, an actor, a teacher and now a writer. He currently lives in Dublin with two beauties who hinder his writing: his wife Orla and daughter Rosie.

Hello Brian, thank you for agreeing to this interview. It is an honor for me. Please, tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I’m originally from Scotland, but now live in Dublin with my wife and daughter. I spent many years as a teacher but now work as a fulltime writer. My potted history is actually on the back of the book, which you have covered in question 4. I’m 42 and have never been to jail.

Do you read books? What book(s) are you reading at present? Do you prefer paper/hard backs or E-books?

I tend to read a lot of non-fiction books as well as multi-genre fiction. At present I am reading Tenth of December by George Saunders. I am most definitely a paperback reader.

If you have to name one book and one writer who inspires you, who would be and why?  

That’s a difficult one! Possibly Catcher in the Rye because of the genius of Salinger’s writing and the brilliant central character that is Holden Caulfield. But no one writer inspires me.


BOOK REVIEW: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Genres: Fiction, Historical

“Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is a kind of book that gets better, the more you think about it.”

I have always been fascinated by the life of Henry the VIII, and adding, reading through the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, another identity in history whose rise and fall is essential and is directly connected to the history of Tudors, the feeling I am getting now after finished reading the book is staggering.

The majority of the pages cover Cromwell’s career as he advances from being a Cardinal’s aide to the king’s trusted advisory. The author has totally tried to keep it the historical events as realistic as necessary and not altering a single event for the sake of fiction. Many people have not completely read the book and the major defying factor of the book is it’s pace which is quite slow and does not go well with the story. The plot, what to say about it, it’s almost perfect but then I would say as compared to the timeline the book covers the plot is quite micro. More than a novel, it’s kind of a play. The plot advances more with dialogues and less with actions. I quite enjoyed that. And as the plot advances the reader can certainly notice that the current book is very much essential and the plot justifies itself for the next two books in this trilogy. Why it won the Man Booker Prize? It’s not for me to decide.



21 signs You're Addicted to READING!

The first step is admitting you have a problem, and I admit — I have an addiction to reading. So using my own personal experiences, I’ve compiled 21 signs that your love of books may have gotten out of hand.

 And don’t forget to share ‘what you’re reading’ in the comments below!

You’ve spent hours in a bookstore.

You’re super-tired at work because you stayed up way too late reading just one more chapter, and then another.

You’re always making your partner or friends crazy by reading aloud lines from the book you’re reading.

You get more than a little defensive of your favorite authors.

You’ve been late to work/college classes to finish a book.

You know the book will be better than the movie before it’s out.

You’ve read more books than seen movies in the last month.

You’ve sunk into a state of depression after finishing a really good book (also called a ‘book hangover’).

There are literally piles of books in every room of your house.

You bring home way more library books than you can actually read before they’re due. (more…)




I bought four books a day back.

Wolf Hal by Hilary Mantel

Bringing up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Letters of Vincent van Gogh

I was quite excited to get my hands on them. Soon going to read them for the better!

Good day.


WHEN MR. DOG BITES by Brian Conaghan
Genres: Fiction, YA

I received this book as an appreciation gift from HTBrunch magazine for completing their Brunch Book Reading Challenge of reading “at least” 24 books this year. And I did. For more you can read my earlier post on BrunchBookChallenge.

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan is a story about a sixteen year old Dylan Mint, who suffers from Tourette’s. For Dylan, life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that escapes whenever he gets stressed. And, as a sixteen-year-old virgin and pupil at Drumhill Special School, getting stressed is something of an occupational hazard. But then a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he’s going to die next March. So he grants himself three parting wishes: three ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’It isn’t a long list, but it is ambitious, and he doesn’t have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.

It’s a fine YA book but with some pretty bad language. That kind of language is not suitable for pre-teens. The publishers have taken care of that. They have given a warning regarding the explicit content. But overall, the book is an interesting and enjoyable read. Despite the fact, the narrative is what I quite like in it. From the point of view of a sixteen year old, the book is different from the other day-to-day YA books, which is what makes it special. There isn’t much of the plot or characterization, but the setting is good. No flaw, in either characterization or the plot. The pace is good also, satisfactory to the reader as I was able to finish it in four hours. The use of typesetting to convey the effects of Tourettes on Dylan is excellent and makes this an interesting read. In addition, the use of letters in this book work very well to sum up , and they certainly help to show Dylan’s character development throughout this novel. 

The most positive fact that, it is humorous, this book made me laugh out loud on many occasions and as the plot advanced, I was completely engrossed in it. Some of the scenes between Dylan and his mother were quite touching. Good use sentiments. It’s an easy read, one of those books which have set a different level of first person narration, and for this I appreciate the effort made by the author. If you are in awe of some humor, it’s a defo.

3.5 out of 5!


BOOK OF THE WEEK: When Mr. Dog Bites

BOOK OF THE WEEK: When Mr. Dog Bites

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conanghan.

I received this book as a gift for completing my #BrunchBookChallenge (you can check here about BrunchBookChallenge, reading ‘atleast’ 24 books this year) and I am pretty excited to read it.

It’s about a sixteen year old boy, Dylan Mint, and he’s suffering from Tourette’s syndrome. His life is a constant fight to keep bad stuff in- words that explode out of his mouth, the tics, the growling, howling dog that tries to escape whenever he gets stressed. A routine visit to hospital, changes Dylan’s life, forever. The book has sufficient humor and the writing is a bit-wee Scottish style.

I’ll be doing its review when I am done with it.


Death of July by Sandra Thompson
Genres: Fiction, Horror

I received this book from the author in exchange for the review, it is my first time doing like this, receiving a book directly from an author and I was pretty excited to read it.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson set in Dortmund, Germany and with paranormal twist, it has some thrill too. Married to British Army Officer, one Sunday afternoon Sheila came across a badly beaten young girl in a local park near her home. The girl’s name was Anna. Anna was being pursued by an angry drunken man with a murderous look in his eyes. Sheila led Anna for the safety. A couple of days later their paths crossed again and Anna told Sheila about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of tormentor, the man who chased her in the park. Sheila, appalled by Anna’s story, helped her get out of town, but paid the price for interfering. The tormentor focused his attention on Sheila. He wanted revenge in the worst possible way. The story doesn’t ends here. With some more thrill and some more twist the plot advances. Sheila, the protagonist, see things. Some dark shadows, maybe it’s a ghost or it’s just her imagination.

I am quite fascinated by the author’s knowledge of football (soccer). And I wonder as the Word Cup 2014 is arriving, will she’d still supporting Italy? The author has given proper space to each and every character in the book. It’s a hard thing to do, many great writers fail. But Sandra, does not. She goes on creating characters boldly and beautifully. I quite enjoyed the supernatural aspect of the story. It’s not normal for me to do that. Paranormal-fiction, is my least concern and least favorable genre to read, but the amount of paranormal aspect in this book is used, and the way it weaves it’s on web is a major positive part of the book.

The book starts with a good, comfortable pace but in between something happens to the pace, and I think the coordination of the plot and the first person narrative try to collapse. This also result in the lack of thrill and in the lack suspense which are very essential for the particular kind of genre. The good side of the first person narrative in this book that it is a wise use to get familiar with the character and its surroundings, which in-fact help the reader to develop a bond with the character.

Being a self-published novel, I was quite surprised as I did not find any grammatical mistake or a spelling mistake. And it is also professionally edited. The book has got some good potential to have a readership, and I can guarantee a potential reader if he or she picks this up, they won’t be disappointed.

I am eagerly waiting for next one. Her hard work did pay off with this one, but I know next one would be better.

3.5 out of 5 form me!


You can visit Sandra Thompson at:

Do check out her blog:

Buy this Book:



Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Genres: Fiction

If you have read Perks of Being Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, you’d want to read this one too. And I am sure, you’ll love it! This is my second debutante book this year (after Adelle Waldman’s Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.) and I am must say, it’s getting better the more I go for debutantes.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is an exceptional book. Written in the form of letters which begins as an assignment for English class, ‘Write a letter to a dead person’, Laurel, the narrator, chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, loved him. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them as an assignment to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while her sister was supposed to be looking out for her. I do enjoy books which are written in the form of letters or as journals, it makes me feel that I have some kind of connection with the book.

When I started reading it, it didn’t take me long to realize the a bit of similarity between Perks of Being Wallflower and this book. But as I read it more, I felt that it is better written and more expressive than the Perks of Being Wallflower. The plot is well structured, the writing- beautiful, almost lyrical at times and the characterization seems real at times. Reading through the narration of Laurel made me realized a lot of things which are simple yet a thought should be given to them. Death, though a five letter word, can affect a surrounding in a greater aspect and we all know that. The consequences are hard, difficult and can be problematic, deciphering in her own words, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”, but life goes on. And that’s what Laurel do. She goes on to live with the truth. There is a very nice line about truth in the book. It goes like this: “Truth is beautiful, no matter what that truth is. Even if it’s scary or bad. It is beauty simply because it’s true. And truth is bright. Truth makes you more you”. 

I finished this book in two days, though in between at times I felt that I am going offshore with it, and when it starts to feel a bit tedious, something drives me back to the book. I don’t know if it author’s writing or the innocence of the narrator, something drives me back to it everytime when I started to flow away from the text. And it did not happen once, it happened on and off, almost through the book, until I reached later chapters of the book. There is no doubt that Ava Dellaira has written the book beautifully and extraordinarily well and on reading it, a reader can easily feel the time and hard work of the author devoted, through her words. The book certainly one of it’s kind in the literature of 21 st Century.

4.5 out of 5 from me! Recommended!


This review appeared in Hindustan Times Brunch Magazine on June 22, 2014.




Mondays come and go. But this Monday is better than the previous ones. I feel like reading more, I want to feed on words today. Last week for me was not a satisfying one. I didn’t read much, and I feel guilty about it now. This week I am not going to make the same mistake thus I am reading two books right now and have plenty others two finish.

Firstly, Dead of July by Sandra Thompson, a fellow blogger and a friend of mine who wrote this book and was released last year in November. So far it’s going well and I would say it’s quite thrilling. Her writing style is good and quite calm and satisfying and I must appreciate her. I will definitely be doing a book review once I am done with it.

You can check out the book at Amazon.



The other book I am reading is Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, and I am quite amazed way the book is written and the pace is pretty fast. I read almost 100 pages in one go yesterday night. Rest, I’ll talk in the review. Stephen Chbosky is quite a fan of it.



Thus my readers, what are you reading this week?



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