31 Jan 2016

Month in Review / January 2016

January is usually the one month in the year where I don't really read a lot.  I have usually read loads throughout November and December and then I am ready to relax a little by January but this year was definitely different with reading the Morganville Vampires series.  I started the series at the beginning of December and got so completely hooked by the series that I just couldn't stop reading it all the way to nearly the end of January when I finished book 15.  Just for a bit of 'change of scenery' I read The Child's Secret in the middle of the month which definitely helped keep Morganville Vampires series from not being to repetitive.  I couldn't possibly choose a favourite book of the month this month.  I enjoyed all of them.  I am so glad that I had got around to reading and finishing the Morganville Vampires series, which had been on my shelf for years.  It was such a fun series, nothing too complicated, but enjoyable nonetheless.  I will definitely be looking into more work by Rachel Caine. 

I hope you have all had a fantastic reading January and are looking forward to what is in store for February.
Books Read

Books Received

Continue reading Month in Review / January 2016

27 Jan 2016


Series Review / Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine

From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town's terror or will she drown like everyone else?

Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Complete Series, Books 1 to 15
Source:  Owned Copies

OK so this review is a long time coming.  When I first started this series it was the middle of November and although I knew that this series would be quick reads (approximately 250 ish pages each) I hadn't realised that I could get through most of them by the end of the year.  By the end of 2015 I had got to book 8 in the series (and that is in between other books I read in between reading this series) and my aim was to finish it as quick as I could into 2016.  I loved this series.  It was fun, easy to read, contained lovable characters and some unlovable characters but even the unlovable characters I liked more than hated reading through the series.

If I had to pick a favourite character in this series I couldn't possibly limit it to just one.  The main character Claire is definitely one of them.  What I liked the most about her was her progression throughout the series.  When I first met her in book 1 she did come across as a complete newbie in a town that she didn't know a lot about (which is kind of the story but it was written really well).  As the series goes through you can see her character getting stronger, wiser and knowing how to deal with herself in certain situations.  The other character that I liked a lot was Myrnin.  I won't go into much of the who that character is and why because that would spoil the story but if you do pick this up or have already read it you will know what a great character this one is!

With a long series like this one, one of my main worries was attention span.  Would a series as long as this one keep my attention span and want to keep reading?  I am going to be honest here and say that yes I did want to give up at one point but that was half my fault and half the fault of the story.  It was just after finishing book 6 and reading a little way into book 7 when I felt that the story was getting a bit slow so unfortunately I did the thing that I shouldn't do.  I put the book down and read something else.  That only made this worse because when I did go back to that book I couldn't remember where I was at and what was happening.  I did get back into it after reading on but it was a little bit of a struggle at that moment.

In summary, I really enjoyed this series so much.  It was uncomplicated and fun, just what I was looking for.  I will definitely be picking up more books written by Rachel Caine. 

If you haven't picked up this series, you should!  Its such a fun read and action packed as well.  There are a lot of secrets to discover along the way...  You won't regret it!

Continue reading Series Review / Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine

25 Jan 2016

A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon 2016 / In Summary

I took part in my first read-a-thon!!  A Winter's Respite Read-A-Thon was held by Seasons of Reading Blog.  A link to the blog is below:

I posted updates on Instagram but just in case you missed those I have put pictures of them below.  I have to say that I really enjoyed this read-a-thon and I discovered more about my reading habits while taking part.  The first few days were really energising and I wanted to get into reading for most of the day (unfortunately I was not able to do that as I work full time 9am to 5pm).  I found that as the week went on I felt less wanting to read but also felt obligation to read which I found out was not a very fun experience.  During the last few days of the read-a-thon although I didn't read as much as I wanted to I found that I had slowed my reading pace right down and enjoyed reading a lot more.  I really enjoyed taking part in this event and would definitely take part again.  The most important lesson I took out of this experience is the fact that I need to slow down with reading to really enjoy the journey the story is taking me.  I do tend to fasten my reading pace and end up not enjoying the book.  This is definitely something I am going to take note of going forward throughout 2016!

Total Pages Read:   755
Books Finished:  2 

Continue reading A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon 2016 / In Summary

16 Jan 2016

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Blog Tour Book Review / The Child's Secret by Amanda Brooke

A little girl is missing. Her parents are hiding something. Who will pay the price?

When eight-year-old Jasmine Peterson goes missing, the police want to know everything.

What is local park ranger, Sam McIntyre, running away from and why did he go out of his way to befriend a young girl?

Why can’t Jasmine’s mother and father stand to be in the same room as each other?

With every passing minute, an unstoppable chain of events hurtles towards a tragic conclusion.

Everyone has secrets. The question is: who will pay the price?

Published:     14th January 2016
Publisher:  Harper
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher

 After having read both Another Way to Fall and The Missing Husband by Amanda Brooke I was so excited to read her next book.  Amanda Brooke has this way of building up suspense and mystery in a story and adding the right amount of drama to it that I just love.  There a couple of her older novels that I have still to read but don't worry, I'll be picking those up very soon!

What I loved about this story...
I loved this story.  I am so glad that I have started the year with this story (as well as another really long series I am trying to finish).  The writing in this book is so good and so addictive I just didn't want to put it down.  In fact, I have to say that I read this over the course of a few nights after work and kept on reading until I couldn't stand to keep my eyes open any longer!  I liked the fact that this story is split between 'present day' when Jasmine has gone missing with the police trying to find her and 'the past' going through all that happened that lead up to the moment she went missing.  This 'split story telling' is just so addictive.

What I was not fond of with this story...
Honestly, I would have loved the ending to have been a bit more explosive than it was.  That's not to say that the ending wasn't really good and I definitely enjoyed finding out what happened but I think that the suspense for me just kept building in the book and when I came to nearer the end of the book I had built it up in my own mind to be a lot bigger than it was.  That's no reflection on the story telling at all, I think it was entirely my fault for building up the suspense in my head too much.  

If you are the kind of reader that loves moral issues and reads authors such as Jody Picoult and Diane Chamberlain then you should definitely pick up this book and give it ago.  My other favourite of Amanda's is The Missing Husband which is definitely a must read...  

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Child's Secret by Amanda Brooke

13 Jan 2016


Read-a-thon / A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon 2016

I am so excited to say that I am going to be taking part in my first read-a-thon!!  I will be taking part in the A Winter's Respite Read-A-Thon which is being held details above.  The official sign up page and information page can be found at:

This is going to be the perfect read-a-thon to take part in for me as the rules are very relaxed and I can just read what's on my shelf throughout the week.  There are mini-challenges as well which I am not sure I will take part in but we'll see.  What I intend to do is post regular updates in Instagram (link below) and then a blog post at the end of the read-a-thon wrapping up how I did.

I am so excited to to take part in this.... 

Continue reading Read-a-thon / A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon 2016

8 Jan 2016

Blog Tour Author Interview / What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson's parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. 

Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents' club. 

Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents' broken hearts. Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, 

What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.

1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
That’s a difficult question to answer, as it would pre-suppose that they’d want to work with me! However, if I could go back in time, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in the Duino Castle when Rainer Maria Rilke was writing his Duino Elegies. I was obsessed by Rilke in my early twenties when I was working in Chartres as a waitress; I was introduced to his work by another poet who had just spent two days sleeping on top of his grave! Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet is a must-read for emergent writers in any genre.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 

I don’t have typical days on the whole. As I have young children (six and eight years-old) my days are relatively short, and I’m too exhausted to work in the evenings. Once a week I try to get to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth to work exclusively on my writing and I finish off the day with a punishing Ashtanga yoga class to get the blood flowing again. I also work in an office once a week which I share with filmmakers, environmentalists and hydro-engineers. I try to do all my web-based writing and admin in that space, between our impromptu tea breaks. The rest of the week, I work from home. I have an old-fashioned oak school desk complete with holes for inkwells through which I trail my laptop cable. The desk was given to me by an ex-boss who worked as a literary agent. It’s tiny, and so it fits nicely underneath the bedroom window which overlooks a Welsh hillside populated by sheep and cattle.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 

Definitely the generation of ideas stage. I love it once I have the characters in my mind, and I tend to let them guide the plot, rather than sticking to any hard and fast outline. I also love the logistical challenge of re-writing, and, as both of my parents are qualified proof readers, I have inherited their love of editing and spotting typographical errors. However, I have to switch off that part of my brain when I write, so that the prose can flow.

4. When and why did you first start writing? 

I used to staple pages of A4 together as a child; when I was 6½, I wrote two book called The Zoo and The Snail. I started to write in earnest when I was 19 and took two writing modules at the University of Warwick, specialising in poetry. In my third year I won an award for a poem about a squash court of all things! As I got older, I realised I didn’t have quite the right mind set for poetry. However, I found that I tended towards the lyrical in What a Way to Go. Perhaps this is because I learnt quite a lot of technical poetic skills in those early years, most of which I have long since forgotten, but I do wonder if something stuck on a cellular level.

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book? 

In all honesty, it was desperation that drove me to write the book! I had moved to mid Wales with my husband, a nine-month old baby and a toddler with not a second thought as to what I’d actually do for a living. When I heard about the Literature Wales bursaries for writers, I applied and submitted 4,000 words of an autobiography I had written in my mid-twenties and said I’d use the grant to write a completely new book, this time a novel, but keeping the theme of divorce and the late 1980s as a backdrop. So, I had the setting, an historical era, but I didn’t have a protagonist. Through the process of trying different voices, I found Harper and she didn’t let me go until I wrote ‘The End’.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

I do read avidly now that my kids are a bit older. Aside from their bedtime stories – we’re reading The Little Grey Men by BB for a second time – I’m reading Sophie Someone by Hayley Long, which has been shortlisted for a COSTA prize. I am also reading AS Byatt’s Angels and Insects which is a pick at the rather raucous book group I’m in: it’s a gluten-free book club as we have member who is coeliac, however there is no shortage of opinions, humour and friendly disagreements.

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

It took me a long while to work out what my weaknesses were. I think I lacked confidence – especially as I took five years out to raise children – and I also lacked application: the simple fact of showing up at the desk, regardless of how awful or wonderful life is feeling. So, I’d say if you could focus on just two aspects of what you need to address in order to complete a full-length work, then that can help. Move towards those aspects of you character where you feel the most resistance, and then face any shortcomings head-on. The other thing that has served me well is to trust my intuition: the gift of doing or saying something completely unexpected is vastly underrated.

Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

3 Jan 2016

Month in Review / December 2015

What a really fantastic reading month December turned out to be for me.  Not only did I complete the 6 books (which includes two audio books that were really quick reads I have to admit) in the picture below but I also started reading the Morganville Vampires series (which has been on my TBR shelf for years) and got to book 10 just before the end of the year.  December was an eye opener for me for many reasons.  The first was that I really enjoyed listening to audio books.  Where I would ordinarily put on some music and do housework etc instead I chose to put on an audio book and really loved it!  I will definitely be looking into reading that way again in the future.  The second eye opener for me was when I looked back at my reading list for 2015 and realised how many review books I read.  It was definitely more than I had thought.  Not that receiving and reading review copies are bad but for December I wanted to read more of what was already on my shelf and I am proud to say that every single book I read in December I had bought myself, a few of those were even ones I have had for a very long time.

My favourite book(s) of the month has to be the Morganville Vampires series.  They are very easy reads and the stories are not really that complicated so I can speed through them quite quickly but I just love the world and the characters. Even at book 11 (which is my first read of January 2016) I still feel as though there is more to this world than what I already know and I really can't wait to find out more...

I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you all a Happy New Year! 

 Read books 1 to 10 of the Morganville Vampires series - Review to follow when I have finished the series...

A little girl is missing. Her parents are hiding something. Who will pay the price?
When eight-year-old Jasmine Peterson goes missing, the police want to know everything.
What is local park ranger, Sam McIntyre, running away from and why did he go out of his way to befriend a young girl?
Why can’t Jasmine’s mother and father stand to be in the same room as each other?
With every passing minute, an unstoppable chain of events hurtles towards a tragic conclusion.
Everyone has secrets. The question is: who will pay the price?

A warm, wonderful and funny Christmas novel from Chrissie Manby - the ideal treat this festive season. Mince pies and mayhem guaranteed!

What comes to mind when you picture a wedding at Christmas? A gorgeous white dress accessorised with a thick velvet cape... bridesmaids in red velvet too? An arch of Christmas greenery: holly and ivy and boughs of fir. Candles and fairy lights. Snow!

Chelsea Benson has just twelve weeks to organise her perfect winter wedding. Her family and friends pitch in to help, but sisterly squabbling, issues with money and an Ice-Queen mother-in-law soon threaten Chelsea's plans for her big day. And that's without the firework fiasco...

Rescuing Chelsea's dream of a proper family wedding might just take all the magic of Christmas...


Edwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it.
The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. 'People like a project.' But as Edwina takes him from room to room, she is transported back to her old life as a young mother. Back to her first husband Ollie and their twins, James and Rowena. Back to lies and dark secrets and to a stepson whose name Edwina cannot even bear to speak aloud.
As Edwina's story unravels she is revealed as a complex and intriguing person. Not just the 'frail old lady' trapped in her dated house, but a woman who has lived an extraordinary life, full of love and tragedy. Why is she now so alone? What happened to Edwina's family all those years ago?

BOY 23
Boy 23 isn't in My Place any more. He can't see The Screen, he can't hear The Voice. Boy 23 is alone.

One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place - the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him?

A hugely fast-paced dystopian page-turner which by the end will leave you in a state of shock. For fans of Chaos Walking and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there's no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he's only small, he swears that he'll get revenge one day.

Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It's packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey's been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he's he not here for saving: this is where he'll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.

Continue reading Month in Review / December 2015

Goodbye 2015 / Hello 2016 Reading Challenges!

I always look at the Goodreads Reading Challenge as a bit of fun rather than a goal I have to achieve otherwise I am not happy with myself.  This year is the first in a couple of years where I have reached 100 books read in the year!  In the past I have stressed about reading a certain amount of books in a year and certainly in the past couple of years that has ended in my reading slowing down so I don't actually reach 100 books in a year, which is something that I like to do.  This year I viewed it differently and look at the result!  There were some pretty amazing books read this year and some ok ones but the one thing that I took out of this year was that I read at my own pace and enjoyed every minute of reading, even when it was a book I wasn't enjoying very much... 

This was a new challenge for me this year.  Benjaminoftomes on YouTube actually introduced this idea to me.  It was more of a 'stop reading that new shiny book that you just bought or received for review and read those pretty books on your shelf instead' challenge.  In total, I read 50 books for this challenge which means that half of the books I read were my own.  That is more than what I have done in the past.  I suppose it also helped that I have been going through a bit of a reading midlife crisis type of thing where I have been slowly going through all my books and either trying to read them or if I am not interested in them any more pass them over to a friend or family.  

The Big Book Challenge is a challenge I host on Goodreads where the aim is to read more big books, meaning books that are over 400 pages.  For this year I set a challenge of reading 10 big books and I actually read 25!  I haven't consciously chosen big books but it just happened that 25 of the ones that I read this year were 400 pages or more.  I really like this challenge for me as I find I can get stuck in a rut of reading smaller books just to get my numbers up, which is definitely something I have done in the past.  This challenge makes me stop and think about what I am reading.  

Now we have started 2016, I am really excited to start a fresh new year with new challenges.  For this year, I am not going to make many changes to what I have done in 2016.  I am certainly going to do the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 100 books, Project TBR and my Big Book Challenge.  One thing I wanted to add for myself this year was to take part in more readathons.  It is something that I have seen a lot last year and looked like a lot of fun.  I am not sure which ones I want to take part in yet but we'll see! 

I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year filled with plenty of amazing books and wonderful reading experiences!!!

Best wishes

Debs :-)

Continue reading Goodbye 2015 / Hello 2016 Reading Challenges!

1 Jan 2016


Favourite New Series of 2015

As well as finishing some pretty great series books, I have come across some pretty fantastic first books in as series that I can't wait to pick up more and find out what happens next.  These are in no particular order but these are ones that I have rated 5 stars to and just can't wait to delve into these worlds again!!! 

Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendent of Ransom Canyon's founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O'Grady… or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.

Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand's son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn't imagined.

Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn't plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town's weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car's pedals, isn't prepared for what he encounters.

In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

 Demon possession has swept through Glace's neighboring kingdom, turning humans into hellhounds. These great, fanged wolves are wild, desperate, and hungry. Only the sworn Hunters have kept them back for five long, bloody years.

At the young age of fifteen, Belle LeClair became a Hunter. She no longer remembers how many hounds she's killed, or how many friends she's buried. Still, Belle leads the hunt till a tragedy forces her deep into the dark kingdom. Her heart will be turned, her loyalty tested— and fate will intervene.

Amid a backdrop of Steampunk inventions and a harsh winter landscape, The Beast is a re-imagining of the infamous love between a beauty and a beast.

 When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

Continue reading Favourite New Series of 2015