15 Sep 2019

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Book Review / The Testament by John Grisham


In a plush Virginia office, a rich, angry old man is furiously rewriting his will. With his death just hours away, Troy Phelan wants to send a message to his children, his ex-wives, and his minions, a message that will touch off a vicious legal battle and transform dozens of lives.

Because Troy Phelan's new will names a sole surprise heir to his eleven-billion-dollar fortune: a mysterious woman named Rachel Lane, a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil.

Enter the lawyers. Nate O'Riley is fresh out of rehab, a disgraced corporate attorney handpicked for his last job: to find Rachel Lane at any cost. As Phelan's family circles like vultures in D.C., Nate is crashing through the Brazilian jungle, entering a world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away, and where a woman - pursued by enemies and friends alike - holds a stunning surprise of her own.





Published:     28th December 1999
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

Now this was the book I just could not wait getting to read when I decided I wanted to read all of John Grisham's novels (from the very first book and in order).  I have read quite a few of his novels many many years ago, but not all of them and this one was the one that I remembered the most and since reading it the first time had kept it on my favourite books of all time list ever since.  On second reading, I enjoyed this even more than the first time I read it - if that is at all possible!

Although the overall story in this book is that Troy Phelan dies leaving billions to an unknown daughter and we follow what happens next, we do follow each of the other sons and daughters of Troy that when he was alive he viewed as disappointments.

My favourite part of this book was following Nate, who is a lawyer but has suffered from drug/alcohol problems and had, until recently, been in a rehab facility.  He is called upon by his firm to go and find this unknown daughter who just so happens to be in Brazil, in the middle of nowhere, living as a missionary.  Not only do we follow Nate's journey, we learn more about Rachel (the unknown daughter) right from her past, present and hoped future.  This part for me was both addicting and heartbreaking in places.

Even though I found this story to be slow paced, I just could not put it down and read it almost in one entire day!  If you have not yet picked up a John Grisham novel, this would be a good one to start at (and then follow it with A Time to Kill and go from there). 






Continue reading Book Review / The Testament by John Grisham
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Book Review / The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware






On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.










Published:     29th May 2018
Publisher:  Scout Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

Ruth Ware's books just keep getting better and better.  Having read her previous books, I suspected what I was getting into with this book but was not fully prepared for the fact that this book was so addicting that I just could not put it down!!!

Hal is the main character in this story who receives a letter to state that she was about to inherit an apparent fortune, but this must be a mistake because she had no knowledge of who this person was that had left her this.  Due to circumstances, she decides to go ahead and find out what is going on if for nothing else than to get a bit of money out of the situation, as she was broke.  We follow Hal as she meets the family of the late Mrs Westaway and surely the family secrets come crawling out of the woodwork.  Is Hal safe anymore?

Despite the fact that I had pretty much figured out all of the twists and turns in this story, that did not spoil the fact that this was a truly addicting story and I just had to follow it right to the very last page just to see how each of the characters reacted to what was being thrown at them at any given time.

A truly addicting story that you wont' be able to put down!

Continue reading Book Review / The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

11 Sep 2019

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Book Review / HRH by Danielle Steel

 
The conflict between the old world and the new...between responsibility and freedom...between duty and love...

Princess Christianna, happier in jeans and a sweatshirt than in the formal life of European royalty, leaves university to travel to East Africa as a volunteer for the Red Cross. Determined to make a difference, she plunges into the dusty, bustling life of an international relief camp, and is anxious to keep her identity a secret from her fellow aid workers.

Dr. Parker Williams, who works alongside Christianna and shares her dedication to healing, has no idea who she is - but as violence approaches and invades the camp, and the pressures of her royal life beckon her home, her struggle for freedom takes an extraordinary turn.

By a simple twist of fate, in one shocking moment, Christianna's life is changed for ever - in ways she could never have foreseen.





Published:     31st October 2006
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

So, I have to be honest and say that I did enjoy this book but I had some problems with this one.

We follow the main character, Princess Christianna, who although she cannot inhert the throne of the country that she lives in, she has to abide by the rules of the country and of her father, who is the current 'owner of throne'.  Christianna is more happier being a 'normal person' rather than putting on a ball gown and dealing with her obligations as a Princess.  She has had her moments of freedom, including attending University abroad.  Despite reservations, her father agrees that she can have 6 months to 1 year assisting with the Red Cross at an international relief camp.    This is where she meets Dr Parker Williams and the story goes from there.

Although this was a fun read and I really enjoyed the romance part of the story I just felt that the main character, Christianna, was not at all as strong as she is portrayed to me.  Maybe that was the point but she was strong enough to insist in her freedom, many times, but not strong enough to make the right choice between the man that she loves and her obligations (even though her obligations do not include taking up the crown in her home country).


Continue reading Book Review / HRH by Danielle Steel

8 Sep 2019

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Book Review / The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern


A forgotten childhood. A discovered life.
What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?


When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.

An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew. A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed. A day that changes her and those around her forever.

The Marble Collector is a thought-provoking novel about how the most ordinary decisions we make can have the most extraordinary consequences for how we live our lives. And how sometimes it’s only by shining on a light on someone else, that you can truly understand yourself.





Published:     29th October 2015
Publisher:  HarperCollins UK
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

I don't know why but when I first bought this book and first picked this up to read it, I thought that this was a collection of short stories.  But this story is really split into two view points.  The first view point is Sabrina who visits her father regularly, who had suffered a stroke.  She discovers that her father has a mysterious marble collection that she had no knowledge of and it seems that no one she talks to knows about it either.  It appears that her father had a secret and Sabrina wants to find this out.  The second view point is from the viewpoint of her father.  It runs through his family life when he was a child, his relationships with his family and how his collection came to me.

What makes this story even more interesting is the fact that the whole novel takes place in one day, from the view point of Sabrina.  It spans days and weeks from the view point of the father's past.

Even though this was an interesting read, I just could not collect or feel for the characters in this story and I am  not even sure why.  I think this is more a case of it was me and not the book.  Honestly, I could have done with a few more twists and turns or even something explosive happening in the story. 
Continue reading Book Review / The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

5 Sep 2019

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Book Review / A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore

The night before it all begins, Jude has the dream again...

Can dreams be passed down through families? As a child Jude suffered a recurrent nightmare: running through a dark forest, crying for her mother. Now her six-year-old niece, Summer, is having the same dream, and Jude is frightened for her.

A successful auctioneer, Jude is struggling to come to terms with the death of her husband. When she's asked to value a collection of scientific instruments and manuscripts belonging to Anthony Wickham, a lonely 18th-century astronomer, she leaps at the chance to escape London for the untamed beauty of Norfolk, where she grew up.

As Jude untangles Wickham's tragic story, she discovers threatening links to the present. What have Summer's nightmares to do with Starbrough folly, the eerie crumbling tower in the woods from which Wickham and his adopted daughter Esther once viewed the night sky? With the help of Euan, a local naturalist, Jude searches for answers in the wild, haunting splendour of the Norfolk forests. Dare she leave behind the sadness in her own life and learn to love again?


Published:     2nd September 2010
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

I have had this book on my 'to be read' pile for years.  In fact, it was probably since it was first published!  I always seem to gravitate towards the types of stories that hold secrets, especially family secrets from the past.  I don't know what it is, but that type of story always intrigues me.

In this story, we follow Jude who, as a child, suffered from 'nightmares' and it seems now that her sister's daughter is experiencing the same fate.  Jude returns to her home town to value books at the manor there but somehow there is more to the story of the manor and, indeed, her own history that she is about to find out.

This was such a good book.   The way that it has been written kept me on my toes wondering what on earth was going to happen next.  It certainly did surprise me in a few places, more nearer the end of the story, but I have to admit that I did guess most of the story but that didn't spoil the fact that this was an addicting read. 

I really can't wait to dig into more novels by Rachel Hore.  I really enjoyed the writing style and as this may have been one of her earlier novels I am looking forward to seeing how much she is progressed with her newer novels. 

Continue reading Book Review / A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore

3 Sep 2019

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Book Review / Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran





Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it…
Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…








Published:     19th September 2019
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

Now this is what you call a thriller.  This kept me on the edge of my seat just needing to know what  was going to happen next!

We follow two characters in this story.  Firstly, we have Lexie.  Lexie works from home in her apartment while her boyfriend Tom goes out to work.  They are trying for a baby but have not been successful yet and it has been a long road they have taken so far to try and have a baby.  Time has taken their toll on Lexie.   On the other side of the apartment wall, there lives Harriet.  Harriet is broken hearted, trying to get on with her life as best she could and living in a country that she had followed her ex-fiance to before they broke up.  The story truly starts when Harriet decides that Tom, Lexie's boyfriend, is the spitting image of her ex-fiance and gets it into her head that Lexie has stolen the life she could have had from her.

This was truly addicting!  Harriet, by a long shot, was my favourite character in this story.  Watching her spiral out of control and convincing herself that Lexie was the bad guy.  I would highly recommend!!!!!



Continue reading Book Review / Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

1 Sep 2019

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Book Review / The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

A new teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences--in a provocative novel from the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Spellman Files series.

What do you love? What do you hate? What do you want?

It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy's new creative writing teacher. When the students' answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there's more going on the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten--the students at the top of the school's social hierarchy--as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom.

Ms. Witt can't remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who've started to question the school's "boys will be boys" attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her--including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can't find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there's Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt.

As the school's secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal--and potentially fatal--consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz's blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long--and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.



Published:     10th September 2019
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

Now this was an interesting read.  On the one hand, I enjoyed the story and on the other hand there were certain aspects that made me feel very uncomfortable.

We follow Alexandra Witt as she joins Stonebridge Academy as a teacher.  Like many of other people at the Academy, she has a past.  Although this past may come back to bite her at some point in this story it is not the main focus of the story.  The main focus of the story is the boys versus girls mentality with the students.  You have the boys who seem to rule and most of the girls trying to do everything they can to get in the good books of the boys.   Alex along with a few other students start to rebel and then that is when the true story starts.


What I liked about this story was the portrayal that everything is not always what it seemed and despite the fact that there is something truly wrong with the Academy all is not lost.  There is always something that could be done to put things right, despite doing the right thing means that you have to do a wrong thing first.

What made me uncomfortable about this books is the content.  The fact that the boys are basically viewing the girls as their 'play things' for sex and blow jobs and scoring them in a secret website.   This type of content always makes me unfortunately for obvious reasons.  How old are the students, for example.  Are they of consenting age? I was not completely sure in this story as it seems that most of them are only just of age.

That said, I really enjoyed the writing and the pacing of the story and will certainly look into picking up more from this author. 




Continue reading Book Review / The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

29 Aug 2019

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Book Review / The Last by Hannah Jameson

For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?



Published:     31st January 2019
Publisher:  Viking
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What an interesting read.  I have to admit that this is not normally the type of story that I would pick up.  I don't tend to gravitate towards the end of the world type stories but there was something about this one that seemed different to me.   Maybe it was the fact that this was mostly based in one location and focused on the people in this circumstance rather than what was happening out in the world.

The main character in this story is Jon who has arrived at the hotel in Switzerland for a break, after having marital problems and leaving his wife and children back home across the sea.  Not soon after he arrives disasters all around the world pop up and soon he and the other people left behind at the hotel realise that there's nowhere else to go but to stay where they are and try and wait it out.  Along  with this problem, you also have the mystery of a body found in a water tank on the roof of the hotel.  This was a very small part of the story but an interesting one that I would have loved to have more focus on.  For me, this book was more about the character stuck in the hotel, how they react to each other and how they cope with their new circumstances.

This was a very slow read.  For me, I did not feel a sense of urgency throughout the book.  It was a case that this disaster has happened in the outside world, they were stuck in the hotel and let's see how we can stay it out.   It is more a story of survival than anything scary or murdery.







Continue reading Book Review / The Last by Hannah Jameson

28 Aug 2019

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Book Review / Happy Birthday by Danielle Steel

Time to blow out the candles, say goodbye to the past, and make a wish for the future...

For April Wyatt, turning thirty is not what she had expected. She's single, with no interest in changing that in the foreseeable future. Her popular, successful restaurant in downtown New York - where she is chef and owner - consumes every ounce of her passion, attention and energy. Ready or not, though, April's life is about to change, in a tumultuous discovery on the morning of her milestone birthday.

April's mother Valerie is a popular TV personality and the queen of gracious living. Since her divorce long-ago, she has worked tirelessly to reach the pinnacle of her career and to create a camera-ready life in her Fifth Avenue penthouse. But she's having trouble equating her age with how she feels, and all the hours with her personal trainer, the careful work of top hairdressers and her natural good looks can't hide the fact that she is turning sixty, and the whole world discovers it on her birthday.

It is also Jack Adams' birthday - the most charismatic sports personality on TV, a man who has his pick of desirable younger women. But he fears his age may finally be catching up with him when he wakes up on his fiftieth birthday needing an emergency visit to the chiropractor...

A terrifying act of violence, an out-of-the-blue blessing, and two very unlikely love affairs soon turn lives inside out and upside down. As these three very different people celebrate their birthdays, they discover that life itself is a celebration - and that its greatest gifts are always a surprise..


Published:     7th July 2011
Publisher:  Bantam Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


MY REVIEW

What a joy this was!  As always with Danielle Steel I always know what I am expecting when I pick up one of her books and I certainly wasn't disappointed with this one! 

In this story, we follow April as she turns 30.  She is single and overworked with her popular and successful restaurant, where she also lives just above that premises.  We are also introduced to Jack Adams.  It is also his birthday, his fiftieth and his luck is not running very high.   After an event, April and Jack meet and the story goes from there.  It is not always an easy road but one that I thoroughly enjoyed following.

Yes, this story is very predictable and there's nothing really surprising about it but it was exactly what I was expecting and what I wanted when I picked up this book.  Sometimes, you don't need to be surprised by any part of the story, you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the story. 





Continue reading Book Review / Happy Birthday by Danielle Steel

25 Aug 2019

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Book Review / Country by Danielle Steel

Life for Stephanie Adams is all about being a devoted mother. For years, she has kept her unhappy marriage a secret, intent on protecting her children from seeing their family break up. Then Stephanie’s husband dies suddenly, and she sees a chance for everything to be different.

Stephanie strives to balance her children’s grief with her desire to move on from the past – but after years of giving up her life for everyone else, what should she do next? A spur-of-the-moment road trip leads her to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and a chance meeting . . . and her whole life changes forever.

When Stephanie meets country music megastar Chase Taylor, he opens up his exciting world to her. In Nashville, the music is bittersweet and the lyrics true. Now, Stephanie is no longer the same woman. By seizing the day, she has found a way to be free and happy.

But can her family find it in their hearts to let her go?

Dancing between the past and present, Country is a moving story of one woman finding the power to seize the day, and finding herself along the way. Carpe diem.


Published:     16th July 2015
Publisher:  Bantam Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

It must have been years since I last read a Danielle Steel novel and I can't for the life of me remember why I haven't!  I had almost forgotten how good they are and how relaxing they can be!  Danielle Steel is one of those authors who you know pretty much what you are getting into before you get into it.  An easy style romance with a few twists and turns and possibly a few laughs along the way also.  This was just what I was looking for that this moment.

The main character in this story is Stephanie who is not happy in her relationship.  She is married to Bill who had had an affair and they were dealing with the aftermath of that, having agreed to have Bill come back to live with them, their kids having grown and left the nest already.  Stephanie, Bill and a few of their close friends go away on their usual skiing trip  When there, Bill suffers a heart attack while skiing and dies.  From that, Stephanie accidentally takes a road trip that leads her to many places and into meeting a potential new love (which is not too far fetched when you discover more about the relationship between her and her late husband) in the form of a country music star, Chase Taylor.

This book was so relaxing and fun to read, perfect for an easy relaxing day. 


Continue reading Book Review / Country by Danielle Steel

23 Aug 2019

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Book Review / Vendetta in Death by JD Robb

The predator becomes the prey in the newest thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring homicide detective Eve Dallas.

She calls herself Lady Justice. And once she has chosen a man as her target, she turns herself into a tall blonde or a curvaceous redhead, makes herself as alluring and seductive as possible to them. Once they are in her grasp, they are powerless.

The first victim is wealthy businessman Nigel McEnroy. His company’s human resources department has already paid out settlements to a couple of his young victims—but they don’t know that his crimes go far beyond workplace harassment. Lady Justice knows. And in one shocking night of brutality, she makes him pay a much steeper price.

Now Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are combing through the evidence of McEnroy’s secret life. His compulsive need to record his misdeeds provides them with a wide range of suspects, but the true identity of Lady Justice remains elusive. It’s a challenging case, made even more difficult by McEnroy’s widow, who reacts to the investigation with fury, denial, and threats. Meanwhile, Lady Justice’s criminal crusade is escalating rapidly, and if Eve can’t stop this vigilante, there’s no telling how much blood may be spilled…


Published:     3rd September 2019
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 49, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

This is one of those series that I really need to start reading from book 1 but haven't yet (but I do plan to) but you can pick up any of these books and enjoy the story.  With this story, it certainly helps reading more than one of the books in this series so you get an idea of the bigger picture.  I have read quite a few of the newer releases but one of my plans for 2020 I think is going to be starting this series from the beginning because I am sure that there is a lot that I am still not getting the full benefit of by not having read the earlier books.

With this story, we are following Homicide Detective Eve Dallas catch a killer.  This killer goes by the name of Lady Justice and is seemingly choosing her pray based on the wrongs that they have taken part in or caused in the past.

So, there was nothing really surprising about this story but it was exactly what I wanted and needed to read picking up this book.  JD Robb (Nora Roberts) is another one of those authors who you know  what you are picking up when you choose to read one of their novels (that being said I have only read a few so far so I might yet be surprised in the future...). 


Continue reading Book Review / Vendetta in Death by JD Robb

19 Aug 2019

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Book Review / A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander

“Finely observed beautifully written” Daily Mail on The Secrets of Life and Death

Archaeologist Sage Westfield has her first forensics case: investigating the murder of a teenage girl. Hidden by holly leaves, the girl’s body has been discovered on the grounds of a stately home, where another teenage girl went missing twenty years ago - but her body was never found. 


With mysterious links between the two disappearances, the police suspect the reclusive owner, Alistair Chorleigh, who was questioned twenty years ago but never charged. But when Sage investigates a nearby burial mound - and uncovers rumours of an ancient curse - she discovers the story of Edwin Masters, his friend Peter Chorleigh, and an excavation over a hundred years ago, that also ended in a mysterious disappearance. 

Still recovering from the traumatic events of her recent past, Sage will need both her modern forensics skills and her historical archaeological knowledge to unearth the devastating truth.


Published:     9th April 2019
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Sage Westfield
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

Having read Rebecca Alexander's first book, A Baby's Bones, last year (and loved it by the way!), I was so excited to pick this up.  The best way I can describe this is a historic who done it with a bit of a mix of what I can only describe at the moment as almost supernatural.

This story is split between two time lines.   In the first time line, you have Sage in the present day where she is brought in to investigate the murder of a teenage girl.  But this murder is not your ordinary run of the mill murder.  The body is hidden by holly and placed in a way that was almost caring.  Not only that but twenty years previously another person had gone missing.  Sage is assisting in the investigation of not only the current day murder but in the mystery of the missing person from years ago.  In the second time line, you have Edwin Masters and his friend Peter Chorleigh who are excavating the same place where Sage is in the current day but only a hundred years earlier.

The two time lines are weaved together beautifully so that as you are reading Sage's part of the story then the story of Edwin and Peter pop up to explain a bit more of the story.

I could not put this down.  Even though it was 400 pages long I read this in one day, over a very quiet Sunday!!

Also, even though this is book 2 in a series you do not have to read the first book to get what is happening in the second book but, certainly, reading the first book (A Baby's Bones) will give you more of an idea of the bigger picture with the main character, Sage.  



Continue reading Book Review / A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander

18 Aug 2019

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RE-READING HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling


 Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.


Published:     First published in 1997
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 7, Harry Potter
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

Harry Potter is one of those book series that I just keep coming back to time and time again.  I believe this is the third time I have read through this series (which is a lot for me, although I do know people who have read these through a lot more than that!) and each time I just love this series more and more.  

This time, I decided to pick up the audio book read by Stephen Fry.  Stephen Fry just made this incredible series even more incredible and enjoyable with perfect pacing and different voices for each of the characters I did, for a short time but had to look up to check, believe that it was not just him reading this!  

I just could never get bored of this series. There's always something new that I notice each time I read/listen to this series.  For me, I noticed more about the character of Ron especially how loyal he was.  His little comments throughout the series had me laughing for ages. 

For fans of Harry Potter and even for people who have not yet read Harry Potter, I would highly recommend the audio book version.  It was so much fun!



Continue reading RE-READING HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling

16 Aug 2019

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Blog Tour Book Review / The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Sherri Smith illuminates the dark side of the self-care and wellness industry in a thrilling ride of revenge perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers. The Retreat is a twisting, bone-chilling suspense that asks: how well do you really know your friends?

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever...if they survive.

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait "Where Are They Now?" articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother's too-good-to-be-true fianc�e invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie's two best friends--one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship--Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.


Published:     13th August 2019
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


Please note that this story contains a trigger warning for a sensitive issue




MY REVIEW

What an interesting book.  I went into this book completely blind, not reading any reviews or even reading the book description - which is the way that I like to go into thrillers so I don't spoil the story for myself.  For a story that I would have thought would be straight forward and an OK book for me turned out to me very surprising!

We have a main character in this story, which is Katie.  Katie was a child star of a TV show that stopped airing some 12 years before.  She is clearly unhappy, drinking a lot and suffers from sleep walking, which she is helped by her brother who lives in the same building, which she owns.  Her brother, Nate, has a girlfriend called Ellie, who does not get on very well with Katie.  We then start getting into the main part of the story when Ellie and Katie go off to 'The Retreat' for a girls weekend and whilst Ellie thought that it would just be her and Katie, Katie has invited her friends along as well.  There is something not quite right when they get to the Retreat, with each of the characters, including the two hosts of the Retreat (husband and wife team), acting quite odd.  Slowly, we get to understand more and more about each of the character's backgrounds.

I had an inkling of who the 'bad guy' was in this story but was still surprised by a few of the other twists and turns in this story.

I should also, at this point, that there is a trigger warning that needs to be brought to your attention in this book.  I am not going to say what the trigger warning is about here because that would spoil quite a big twist in the story but if you want me to let you know what that is, please do message me.

If I had to be picky, I would say that the one thing I would change in this book would be to have more of an ending.  It felt very abrupt at the end, with the main twist in the story happening and then very little what happened next which felt rushed.   I would have loved to have had more of a what happened next there.

This was certainly a thriller that kept me on my toes with what would happen next!  I can't wait to check out more from this author.






Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Retreat by Sherri Smith

19 Jul 2019

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Book Review / Concerto by Hannah Fielding

When Catriona Drouot, a young music therapist, honours an opera diva's dying request to help her son, Umberto Monteverdi, recover his musical gift, she knows it will be a difficult assignment. She had shared a night of passion with the once-celebrated composer ten years before, with unexpected consequences.

The extent of her challenge becomes apparent when she arrives at her client's estate on the glittering shores of Lake Como, Italy. Robbed of his sight by a nearfatal car accident, the man is arrogant, embittered and resistant to her every effort to help him. Still, Catriona sings a siren's call within him that he cannot ignore.

Caught up in the tempestuous intrigues at Umberto's Palladian mansion, Catriona discovers that her attraction to the blind musician is as powerful as ever. How can she share what she has hidden from him for the past decade? Soon she realises that hers is not the only secret that is rippling uneasily below the surface. Dark forces haunt the sightless composer, threatening his life - for the second time.

Concerto is a sensual and romantic story of lost love and forgiveness, destiny and difficult choices, and of a heroine determined to put things right at last.


Published:     1st August 2019
Publisher:  London Wall Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Author




MY REVIEW

Words almost escape me with how beautiful this story was.

We follow Catriona Drouot in two different time lines.  We have the past where she is a young woman living with her mother with dreams of being an opera singer.  It is then where she meets Umberto Monteverdi, who is a world famous musician.  They have a whirlwind romance of a matter of days, I believe, where it ends with Umberto having to leave to follow his career and Catriona left broken hearted.

We also have the present day, where Catriona is a music therapist.  She is approached by Umberto's mother to ask for her help.  It is then that she learns that Umberto has been left blind after an accident and has not taken it well.  After a little time to think, Catriona decides to help Umberto and that is where the story really begins.

What I loved the most was the romance, both in the past and in the present day. I was certainly rooting for them when they first met but it seemed that from the first moment they met again that they were destined to be together.

Along with the above, you also have a mystery.  Many years before, at Umberto's mansion at Lake something happened to one of Umberto's girlfriends, who had new discovered she was pregnant.  Although this is a smaller aspect of the story to start with it does come back into play later in with a very important plot twist.

A truly wonderful, romantic story that will sweep you away... 






Continue reading Book Review / Concerto by Hannah Fielding

18 Jul 2019

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Book Review / Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

An approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the Wizarding World. Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books - the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail ... Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist. This is an essential companion to the Harry Potter stories, and includes a new foreword from J.K. Rowling (writing as Newt Scamander) and six new beasts!








Published:     1st June 2001
Publisher:  Arthur A Levine Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Part of the Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

This was such a fun read.  I decided to pick this up as an audio book partly because I thought that would be more entertaining and partly because the copy that I purchased was read by Eddy Redmayne, who played Newt Scamander in the movie adaptation.  

This copy of Fantastic Beasts was more of an encyclopedia of exactly what the title says it is - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Normally, I would not have found that very interesting to read but listening to it and having it been told by Eddy Redmayne just made it come to life for me, interesting and very funny in places also.  

Such an enjoyable quick read that I would highly recommend picking up the audio version. 

Continue reading Book Review / Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

17 Jul 2019

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Book Review / The Spider Dance by Nick Setchfield

To avoid spoilers, below is the description for The War in the Dark, which is the first book in the series.

A genre-defying page turner that fuses thriller and speculative fiction with dark fantasy in a hidden world in the heart of Cold War Europe.

Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.

When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he's caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.

Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .

It's a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.


Published:     UK Release 16th July 2019
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


MY REVIEW

What an interesting second book in the series.   We are back with Christopher Winter but this time he knows a bit more about his history.  There are many twists and turns in this story, some I have to admit I was expecting but there were one or two that took my by surprise and I loved that! 

I always find it hard to put a full description of what happened in a second book in a series as I don't want to spoil the story for those who have not read it yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying this series - I am hoping this is going to be a series rather than just a duology!  For me, this was fast paced and action packed, along the same pace as the first book, The War in the Dark.   This is a great mix of mystery, thriller, action, supernatural-ish and something that I just can't put my finger on but I am sure there are many more genres mixed into this that I didn't realise at the time!

Would highly recommend picking this up but maybe read the first book in the series up first (The War in the Dark) so you can get the bigger picture of the story, in particular the back story of the main character Christopher Winter, before delving into this one. 
Continue reading Book Review / The Spider Dance by Nick Setchfield

16 Jul 2019

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Book Review / The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan



Child experts will tell you that I'm way too young to carry such a burden of responsibility on my tender shoulders. But really, what do they know?' Who is Bobby Seed? He's just your average sixteen-year-old - same wants, same fears, same hang-ups. Dull, dull, dull. But then there's the Bobby Seed who's a world away from average. 

The Bobby Seed who has to wipe his mum's backside, sponge her clean three times a week, try to soothe her pain. The Bobby Seed whose job it is to provide for his younger brother, Danny, to rub his back when he's stressed and can only groan and rock instead of speak. That's Bobby Seed. Same, same, same, yet different, different, different ...









Published:     14th June 2018
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


MY REVIEW

Simply put, this book blew me away.

We follow Bobby Seed who is the main carer for both his brother who is, I believe, autistic, and his mother who has MS.  For a teenager to take on such responsibility, I would expect that person to fall apart or break in some way.  Bobby Seed was made of stronger stuff. He is strong for his mother and brother, he takes care of the home and his family and also goes to school.  That is a lot for any person to take on, let alone a sixteen year old.  This change for Bobby when he starts to attend a therapy group to help him cope with what is happening in his life.  There, he discovers more about himself and even makes friends.

What I liked the most about this book was that it did not glorify any of the issues that you come across, it simply shows what Bobby does in each and every circumstance.  It may not always be the best choice but it shows what he chooses and explains why.  

This book really is an emotional rollercoaster and a very important book that should be read by everyone, especially for those who are going through similar circumstances. 








Continue reading Book Review / The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan

14 Jul 2019

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Book Review / The War in the Dark by Nick Setchfield

A genre-defying page turner that fuses thriller and speculative fiction with dark fantasy in a hidden world in the heart of Cold War Europe.

Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.

When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he's caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.

Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .

It's a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.



Published:     17th July 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1  

(although Goodreads does not say this is part of a series, it is)
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

I can probably say with about 99% accuracy that I have never read a book quite like this one before.  It has a great mix of history, suspense and the supernatural.  I can sometimes find that picking up a book that is purely historical can be a bit dull but with this story adding in the suspense and a bit of the paranormal, it takes this story to a whole new level! 

We follow Christopher Winter in this story.  At the start, you don't really know that much about this character and, to be honest, I don't think he knew much about himself at that time.  There are secrets to discover in this book and even more that Christopher has to find out both in the story and about himself.  There is a very interesting twist nearer the end of this story that I really wasn't expecting but gave a whole new meaning to the story and the main character.  This is the part that I liked the most about this story, secrets and history, and I get the feeling that there will be a lot more to come in the next book!

This was such a fun read, if you can call such a dark and suspenseful novel fun!  I am very intrigued to pick up the next book. 



Continue reading Book Review / The War in the Dark by Nick Setchfield

8 Jul 2019

Guest Post / LF Robertson (Author of Next of Kin) - Everything New Is Old Again: Getting Inspired by Folk Tale

 


The third novel by L.F. Robertson, starring death row attorney Janet Moodie.

Janet Moodie, death-row attorney, is hired to work on the appeal of Sunny Ferrante, a glamorous woman who has been sentenced to death for arranging the murder of her wealthy husband. As Janet delves into the case, she becomes sure that that Sunny is innocent. But Sunny is hiding something. Who is she protecting--and is she really prepared to die to save them?












When I was a small child I had a set of books, called My Book House, a compilation of
children’s literature: poems, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales. The books were old even then;
judging by the illustrations, they must have dated from not long after the first World War. One
of my favorite fairy tales in them was Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” the story
of two children, Kay and Gerda. Kay, the boy, ties his sled to the Snow Queen’s sleigh (dumb
move, needless to say) and is spirited away by her and imprisoned under a spell in her palace of
ice; and Gerda sets out to find and rescue him. I believe the theme Andersen had in mind was
that of religious faith and love, but when I read the story as a child, I saw in it a hero’s journey
for girls. Gerda gradually conquers her fear and lack of confidence as she travels north searching
for the Snow Queen and Kay. She is helped and hindered along the way by strangers, human and
animal; my favorite among them was the robber girl, a budding highwaywoman as tough and
domineering as Gerda is timid and diffident. She gives Gerda her pet reindeer to carry her on her
journey, and after a long ride through the frozen arctic night, Gerda finds the Snow Queen’s ice
palace and releases Kay from her enchantment, solving a word puzzle he had been unable to
decipher.

I’ve thought, over the years, that the work I chose, criminal defense, involves a lot of
rescuing, or attempting to rescue, flawed people from the worst consequences of their mistakes.
Death penalty cases, in particular, require journeys, figurative and literal, to trace the path of a
client’s past life through searches of old records and documents and meetings with family,
friends, and other witnesses. When I decided to write my first novel, Two Lost Boys, I wanted to
show people how that journey worked and how it feels, through the eyes of a defense attorney
trying to save the life of a condemned man: the random walk of investigating a case and not
knowing which paths will yield evidence and which will lead only to dead ends; finding out who
will talk to you, and what you’ll learn; the help and kindness you receive in unexpected places;
the wounds you inevitably reopen and the trauma you reawaken; the guilt you feel about it; and
the anxiety of knowing that everything you can do may not be enough to save your client’s life.
Some way into writing it, I noticed the resemblance between what was happening in the book
and Gerda’s adventures in Andersen’s story. For awhile, my working title for the book became
The Snow Queen. My second and third books, also about death penalty cases, have turned out to
echo that theme in different ways.

Many writers and film-makers say that there are only a certain number of stories, and
most story and movie plots are a riff on one of them. Several of Terry Pratchett’s wonderful
fantasy novels take a fairy tale or two and smush them together or turn them in unexpected
directions, as do some movies, for example Shrek and The Princess Bride. The hero’s journey is
a stock theme, both in literature and movies. So are variants of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,
Rapunzel (sent up hilariously in Monty Python’s Holy Grail), the Frog Prince, Beauty and the
Beast, Cinderella, and even Rumpelstiltskin, as well as stories from the Bible and Greek and
Roman mythology. “The Snow Queen” itself was an inspiration for the movie Frozen.
Some people seem to be natural writers, never lacking for new ideas, clever plots
sprouting like lettuce seeds in their amazingly inventive minds. I’m not one of them. I’ve never
made the acquaintance of Shakespeare’s “muse of fire that would ascend/ The brightest heaven
of invention;” I imagine, in fact, that my muse is a lot like me, hesitant, unassertive, and afraid
of heights. I struggle to find ideas for stories and work out the details of plots. It was a surprise
to find that I had inadvertently borrowed my own novel’s plot from a fairy tale, and it made me
think about how fiction pays homage to other myths and legends that resonate in Western culture
and what a fertile field they are for writers in need of ideas, an archive of plots simply waiting to
be tweaked and twisted by any aspiring novelist.

I may never get beyond the heroine’s journey, and then again, I may one day look at one
of those other stories and think, possibly,“What if the queen did not guess Rumpelstiltskin’s
name, and he took her child and raised it as his own, and years later was found and charged with
kidnaping?” or consider following “Sleeping Beauty” past its end and exploring the comic
possibilities of marrying into a family who had wakened in the present after being asleep for a
hundred years. For that matter, I wonder what kind of life Gerda had after coming home to
Copenhagen; having learned how strong she was and what she was capable of doing, can she go
back to being the compliant girl of her childhood? There may be the basis of a book in any of
those ideas -- or not. But my anxious muse and I feel more creative for thinking of them and
grateful that the old tales and myths exist to inspire us.



Continue reading Guest Post / LF Robertson (Author of Next of Kin) - Everything New Is Old Again: Getting Inspired by Folk Tale

7 Jul 2019

Book Review / The Power of Less by Leo Babauta



With the countless distractions that come from every corner of a modern life, it's amazing that were ever able to accomplish anything. The Power of Less demonstrates how to streamline your life by identifying the essential and eliminating the unnecessary freeing you from everyday clutter and allowing you to focus on accomplishing the goals that can change your life for the better.

The Power of Less will show you how to:


Break any goal down into manageable tasks
Focus on only a few tasks at a time
Create new and productive habits
Hone your focus
Increase your efficiency
By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, youll finally be able work less, work smarter, and focus on living the life that you deserve.





Published:     1st January 2009
Publisher:  Hachette Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source: Owned


MY REVIEW

OK, so I have to admit that when I first picked this up I thought this would be more about minimalism and having less in the home but this turned out to be a book about breaking down your tasks (taking in less) and being more productive, which wasn't a bad thing as I was definitely interested in learning more about this too. 

What I liked about this book was that there was not a lot of 'fluff'.  When I say fluff, I mean using long words that you have to use a dictionary to figure out what on earth they are saying and long winded descriptions meaning that when you got to the end of that particular description you really didn't know what in the world was going on.  This book was straight forward and was more of a point by point guide to this is what you should do and this is what I do.   I was actually surprised to learn that a lot of this is what I already do but there was a lot here that I could do to improve myself and certainly a lot that I have taken away from this and now do myself. 

This is a great book to pick up if you want to find a way to structure your day to be more productive or just get  more organised or if you have already found a bit of a way to doing that, there are great tips in here that you could add to your preexisting routine that could make the structure of your day a lot more easier. 






Continue reading Book Review / The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

2 Jul 2019

Book Review / The Colorado Kid by Stephen King


Stephen King's bestselling unsolved mystery, THE COLORADO KID -- inspiration for the TV series HAVEN -- returns to bookstores for the first time in 10 years in an all-new illustrated edition.

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There's no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it's more than a year before the man is identified. And that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still...? No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett's THE MALTESE FALCON and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world's great storytellers presents a moving and surprising tale whose subject is nothing less than the nature of mystery itself.




Published:     4th June 2019 (originally published 4th Oct 2005)
Publisher:  Hard Case Crime
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

I am, very slowly, working my way through all of Stephen King's novels (I may be a while as I hear there are three or four...!) and, honestly, I was looking for a short burst of something mysterious and this hit the right spot.  What a great story. 

I went into this story not really reading the description on the back or really knowing a whole lot about the story apart from what it says on the front of the cover and I was hoping for something different; something other than the normal mystery where something happens, someone investigates and then someone gets caught.   This is not one of those stories.

This story mainly focuses on three reporters (two older reporters and one reporter new into the field) where the two older reports are talking about an unsolved mystery that they came across many years ago, where a man is found dead on a beach.  The majority of this book is discussing the case and what might have happened.  What I actually loved about this story was the ending where it was left open ended as to what actually happened.  This story is, very much, left to the readers imagination to figure out what they think might have happened.  For me, I just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the ride with the characters playing a very big part in that. 

I would highly recommend this story purely for the story and the characters.  If you are one of those readers who likes an ending that is final, with a clear conclusion, then maybe this story might not be for you but for those who like to be kept guessing - you need to give this a go!

Continue reading Book Review / The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

30 Jun 2019

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Book Review / To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee




The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.






Published:     11th July 1960
Publisher:  Harper
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, To Kill a Mockingbird
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

This has always been one of those books that I have been meaning to pick up but haven't got to yet and never had the chance to read it at school.  Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect.   I wanted to go into this story blind and even though this is a classic and most people have heard about it, I had not heard a great deal apart from the fact that it was a classic.   This book really surprised me and kept me thinking for a great deal of time after finishing the last page.    I think what also helped is that I listened to this on audio book which, for me, added so much more drama to the story I was able to appreciate it more than if I had read the words on a page. 

This is undeniably a very important book for obvious reasons.  The most obvious reason is the issues of race and discrimination that it deals with.    What I liked the most was that we were not following an adult as they either commit or investigate what is going on at the time.  We are following a child who is living in these times where what race you were made a difference to how you were treated.  We follow Scout, who at first I thought was a young boy and then realised a lot later on was a young girl (which added more depth to the story considering the content), whose father is a lawyer who is defending in a case that would change their lives forever. 

This is such an important read and one that should be read by everyone.

Why this book is not taught in all schools, I don't know...

Continue reading Book Review / To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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Book Review / Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella



After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.




Published:    13th February 2018
Publisher:  Dial Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  I liked that this story depicted a fairly true to like picture of what being together with someone long term can really be like - flaws and all.  There was no fairy dust or magical unicorn to make things better.  Obviously, Sylvie and Dan have issues that they need to work on and it can be very easy to lose track on what's important in life. 


What I didn't like about this story..  For me, even though real life is not always a bed of roses and sometimes you can dig your head in the sand, there do come moments where you have to step up and deal with the issues you have in front of you.  In this story, it seemed like the main characters are doing all they can not to address those problems.  The fact that a particular plot point in the story comes up and both go into panic mode about it would, if I was one of those characters, make me want to step up and face reality.  If you are with someone for a long period of time, married or living together, its kind of a given that you will probably spend a lot more time together if not the rest of your lives.  Would it really be a surprise or put you into panic mode if something happens which means that this future would be a certainty?!  

Also, the ending for me was a bit predicable.  With a title like 'Surprise Me', I was hoping that I would be surprised a little bit also with the story, but I wasn't. 


In summary...  Not one of my favourites I am afraid.  I think this is more my personal moral judgement rather than the story itself, which was well written and easy to follow.  I was hoping for something a bit more light hearted and fun but unfortunately did not find it here. 

Continue reading Book Review / Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella