29 Aug 2019


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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 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


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


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


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