31 Dec 2017


2017 Wrap Up / Favourite Series

It has certainly been a very interesting reading year for me.  Although I have read quite a few books in a series, there really is only one series that I 'completed' and I would call an absolute favourite which is the Throne of Glass series but that was before Tower of Dawn came out (which is in the top of my pile to read in 2018).  However, there have been one or two starts of a series that I have really enjoyed but the next books either haven't been written yet or are not yet released.  I have included them in this post because they are series that I am very excited about...

My Review:  Click Here

Hands down, this was my favourite series of the year and quite possibly one of my most favourite series of all time.  I just could not put this down.  I now have Tower of Dawn which is on the top of my list for 2018.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This series is nearly into its 50th book I believe so its a long series and one that I fully intend on starting from the beginning at some point but just because it is part of a series doesn't mean you can't read it independently of the series, which is what I have done.  I do feel that to get the bigger picture it would be better to start from book 1 and I am planing to find that out... 

This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Songs about a Girl Review - Click Here
Songs about Us Review - Click Here

This book was so much fun to read.  The perfect series to read when all you want to do is sit, relax and read.  I am really hoping there will be a third book to this series as I would love to know more.  

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...

Continue reading 2017 Wrap Up / Favourite Series

30 Dec 2017


2017 Wrap Up / Favourite Stand Alones

As we reach the end of yet another year, I thought it would be interesting to see, for myself and for this post, what books I truly enjoyed this year.  In this post I am specifically highlighting my favourite stand-alones.  Now, I do have to say that I have been very picky with what I have chosen and although there have been many more reads that I have enjoyed, the below are the ones that particularly stand out as being unforgettable reads for me.

My Review:   Click Here

What made this one of my favourites for the year was the difficult subject of the story and the way Jodi Picoult, yet again, makes me think about not only the individual character's dilemmas but the bigger picture.

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favourite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses... and then he confesses his darkest secret—he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behaviour? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all—if Sage even considers his request—is it murder, or justice?

My Review:  Click Here

Jennifer McMahon has been around for a while now but for some reason I have only just discovered her.  Right in the middle of my 'I need to read a lot of thrillers' stage I found this one and loved it!

"The New York Times" bestselling author of the acclaimed "Island of Lost Girls" and "Promise Not to Tell" returns with a chilling novel in which the secrets of the past come back to haunt a group of friends in terrifying ways.

Dismantlement = Freedom

Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the first rule of their manifesto--"To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart"--these daring misfits spend the summer after graduation in a remote cabin in the Vermont woods committing acts of meaningful vandalism and plotting elaborate, often dangerous, pranks. But everything changes when one particularly twisted experiment ends in Suz's death and the others decide to cover it up.

Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are living just an hour's drive from the old cabin. Each is desperate to move on from the summer of the Dismantlers, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. When a victim of their past pranks commits suicide--apparently triggered by a mysterious Dismantler-style postcard--it sets off a chain of eerie events that threatens to engulf Henry, Tess, and their inquisitive nine-year-old daughter, Emma.

Is there someone who wants to reveal their secrets? Is it possible that Suz did not really die--or has she somehow found a way back to seek revenge?

Full of white-knuckle tension with deeply human characters caught in circumstances beyond their control, Jennifer McMahon's gripping story and spine-tingling plot prove that she is a master at weaving the fear of the supernatural with the stark realities of life.

My Review:  Click Here

We all know that it is not possible for me to have a favourites post without including a Nicholas Sparks book!  As always, such a beautiful read.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

My Review:  Click Here

Creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.  Enough said!

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly - a secret society that people will kill for.

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself? 

 My Review:  Click Here

 I went into this book having not read or listened to any reviews or read any description of this book.  Going in that way, I enjoyed the journey the story took me and was really surprised by the twist at the end.  

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Continue reading 2017 Wrap Up / Favourite Stand Alones

29 Dec 2017

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Series Review / Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

A war veteran, wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike's life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London - from the hushed streets of Mayfair, to the backstreet pubs of the East End, to the bustle of Soho - The Cuckoo's Calling is a remarkable debut. Introducing Cormoran Strike, it is a classic crime novel unlike any other book you will read this year.

Published:     2013
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 & 3, Comoran Strike
Source:  Owned


What I liked about this series...  As one of the many series that I have been meaning to pick up, I am so glad that I decided to get on with it and read it mainly for the reason that this was really good but also for the reason that while getting this post ready I noticed that there will be a book 4 in this series and that is something I am very excited about!  You have Cormoran who is a private detective and a bit down on his luck until two things happen,  he meets and hires an assistant who is more valuable to him then he will realise and he is about to stumble across a case that is going to make his career.  He has not always been a private detective.  He used to be in Afghanistan but lost half his leg in the war.  Although a hindrance sometimes, the loss of his leg doesn't seem to affect him too much.

With each of these stories, you have a new problem to solve but there's also the bigger picture to do with Cormoran's past that flows through each of these books and that is the main reason I kept reading.  I wanted to know what was going on.

You also have the two main characters Cormoran and his assistant Robin.  You can clearly see there is something there between them, whether romantic or not.  Over time they clearly respect each other and can become great friends.  I enjoyed following them as they discover how their relationship works both at work and as friends. 

What I didn't like about this series... If I had to be picky, this series is very slow paced so even though I wanted to keep reading and keep the momentum going the pace was so slow which meant that even though I thought I had read a lot I really hadn't made much of a dent in the book.

Continue reading Series Review / Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

28 Dec 2017


Book Review / The Angel by Katerina Diamond


When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?

DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.

When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge.

Published:     21st September 2017
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, DS Imogen Grey
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


 What I liked about this book...  Although I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read the previous books in this series, I did enjoy the journey.  It was fast paced and I was definitely hooked enough to want to follow the detectives and find out whether Gabriel was guilty or not.

What I didn't like about this book..  I hadn't realised when looking into this book that it was book 3 in a series.  There was nothing on the cover that I had to say that it was and is a pet hate of mine.  If books are part of a series, it should be noted either on the cover or on the spine as what book in a series it is.  When picking up a book to read, I don't like to look too much into it apart from reading the description in the back so if there's nothing obvious to say that it is part of a series, I would not know. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Angel by Katerina Diamond

Book Review / Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

Published:     25th July 2017
Publisher:  Scholastic
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library


Unfortunately, this is one of those books that is going to fall into the 'this is just not for me'.  Although it was fun and easy to read,  this story had a lot of aspects that I didn't believe in or aspects that could have happened but didn't.  You have Maddie who is in school, so must be a teenager, who wins the lottery.  Instead of her parents helping her or a guardian appointed until she is an adult or finished school etc she is just left to sort out her own finances.  The money is just handed over, no questions asked.  As a response to that, she makes very silly decisions such as investing in an uncle's investment idea, an uncle she didn't know exist until she had the money.

The very reason she bought the lottery ticket in the first place was because it was her birthday and none of her friends turned up or let her know they weren't coming.  After winning, there was a little mention of why they didn't turn up but it was just dismissed as if it didn't matter.  If that had happened to me, it would have upset me a lot more than that.

There's also the character of Seth who Maddie first meets when she goes out to buy her lottery ticket.  There was such potential that Maddie and Seth could have made the story very interesting but for me there was not enough of that story to be able to get invested in the relationship.

Very disappointed by this one but I did enjoy the writing style and am planning to pick up more by this author. 

Continue reading Book Review / Lucky in Love by Kasie West

24 Dec 2017

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Book Review / The Martian by Andy Weir

ix days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Published:     11th February 2014
Publisher: Crown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library


I don't believe that words can fully describe how much I enjoyed this book.  I decided to listen to this on audio book rather than read the book and I am so glad that I did.  I am not sure who the narrator was but he did a brilliant job.  You have this very serious situation where Mark Watney has been left behind on Mars and has to figure out how to survive with only the supplies he was left with and about 4 years to live long enough for the next mission to arrive.  There's a lot of scientific talk which I'll be honest and say that I didn't fully understand but you also have this great comedic sense of humour coming from the author via Mark Watney, other characters and situations that just made this so much fun to listen to.   Just following Mark Watney as he discovers the only music he has to listen to for the next number of months and years is disco, made me chuckle!

I am now going to watch the movie and I hope that not too much has been changed from the book!

Continue reading Book Review / The Martian by Andy Weir

23 Dec 2017


Book Review / Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Published:     5th September 2017
Publisher:  Delacorte Press

Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


This is a very difficult book to review.  I went into this book the same as I did with We Were Liars, knowing nothing.  Honestly, I didn't relate or like either of the main characters - Imogen or Jule.  I read and loved We Were Liars earlier this year and had very high expectations for this one.  I found the plot confusing (the way is backtracks) and there's too many characters in the mix.

Maybe it was my mistake in presumption but I had thought that this book would have a point to the plot, a bit of suspense and maybe a few twists and turns but, for me, this had none of those things.

Unfortunately this book was not for me but have given it 2 stars because it intrigued me enough to want to finish reading the book.
Continue reading Book Review / Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart

17 Dec 2017


Book Review / The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up…**

Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.

Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

Published:     7th September 2017
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


This book was so much fun.  I had previously read this author's first book, The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane, and loved it!  I couldn't wait to dig into this one.  Although it does not look like it has been marketed as a series, I would recommend reading The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane first mainly because a lot of the characters in that are in that book feature in this one.  You don't have to, the second book can be read as a stand-alone but you would get so much more out of this book if you read both.

Although predictable, this was a fun read with a bit of romance mixed in. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

8 Dec 2017


Book Spotlight / Whippoorwill by R L Bartram

Barely fourteen, Ceci Prejean is a tomboy running wild in the hot Louisiana summer. After breaking the nose of a local boy, her father decides to enlist the aid of Hecubah, a beautiful Creole woman, with a secret past, who takes Ceci in hand and turns her into a lady.

Now, eighteen-year-old Ceci meets and falls passionately in love with a handsome young northerner, Trent Sinclaire. Trent is a cadet at the West Point military academy. He acts as if he knows Ceci. They begin a torrid affair, even as the southern states begin to secede from the Union.

Only weeks before their wedding, the Confederate army attacks Fort Sumter and the civil war begins. Trent is called to active service in the north, leaving Ceci heartbroken in the south. Swearing vengeance on the union, after the untimely death of her family at the fall of New Orleans, Ceci meets with infamous spy master, Henry Doucet. He initiates her into the shadowy world of espionage. After her failure to avert the catastrophe at Gettysburg, Ceci infiltrates the White House.

There, she comes face to face with Abraham Lincoln, a man she’s sworn to kill. Forming a reckless alliance with the actor, John Wilkes Booth, she is drawn deeper into the plot to assassinate the President of the United States. A Confederate spy in love with a Union officer, her next decision will determine whether she lives or dies...


Trent was lucky. The Confederate musket ball that was intended to kill him merely grazed his brow. He lurched violently back in his saddle. His horse reared wildly, throwing him, unconscious to the ground, directly into the path of his own cavalry advancing only yards behind him. At the far end of the field, Sergeant Nathanial Pike and his men, engaged in the hasty formation of a skirmish line, watched helplessly as the scene unfolded. As Trent hit the ground, a Confederate soldier appeared out of the shadows. Small and slight, little more than a boy, he lunged forwards, grabbed the officer by the lapels of his coat and dragged him out of the path of the galloping horses. Throwing himself across the man’s prone body, he shielded him from the pounding hooves. The cavalry thundered past oblivious, in the half-light, to the fate of their captain.

As the danger passed, the rebel rose to his knees and appeared to search the unconscious man. “God damn thieving rebs,” Pike snatched his pistol from its holster, his thumb wrenching back the hammer. Before he could take aim, the rebel stopped searching. He leaned forwards and, cradling the officer’s face in his hands, bent down and kissed him, full on the lips, long and hard. Pike’s pistol, arm and jaw dropped simultaneously. Something, some noise, some movement, made the rebel look up and glance furtively around. He jumped to his feet and, with a final backwards glance at the fallen man, melted into the shadows, like a wraith. It was some moments before Pike’s jaw snapped shut, his teeth meeting with an audible click. He rounded on his men. “Did you see what I just saw?” he demanded. His question was answered with shrugs and scowls. Not one man there could swear he hadn’t dreamed it. Then suddenly, they heard it, far off, plaintive and eerie, the cry of a whippoorwill.


With Historical Romance as his preferred genre, Robert has continued to write for several years. Many of his short stories have appeared in various national periodicals and magazines.
His debut novel “Dance the Moon Down”, a story of love against adversity during the First World War, gained him considerable critical praise, being voted book of the month by “Wall to Wall books”
His second novel “Whippoorwill” tells of a passionate affair between a young southern woman and a northern man at the beginning of the American Civil War.
He is single and lives and works in Hertfordshire.

Continue reading Book Spotlight / Whippoorwill by R L Bartram