29 Sept 2019

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Book Review / The Lost World and Forever Fallen by Cassandra Claire (Ghosts of the Shadow Market)

While at the Scholomance, Ty and Livvy test the limits of Livvy's ghostly powers, while Jem and Tessa prepare for the birth of their child.

The Jace Herondale who crossed into our world from Thule is torn between his feeling of responsibility to Ash, who is ever-increasing in power, and his desire to take back the life he lost from the Jace of our world, by force if necessary. Meanwhile, in the peaceful countryside of England, Kit Herondale struggles to adjust to a new life and a new family, and to forget Ty.

Published:     4th June 2019
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 9 and 10, Ghosts of the Shadow Market
Source:  Owned


As I am sure I have mentioned before, I am not the type of reader who would pick up the 'mini side stories' that come with series.  I usually tend to only pick up those books that are the main ones in the series.  Most of the time, I find that the 'side stories' don't really add that much to a story but the mini stories that go alongside Cassandra Clare's series need to be read.  They just add so much more to the depth of the characters and just adds more and more to the overall world that she writes in.

In The Lost World, we follow Ty and Livvy as they figure out what they can do with Livvy's new found powers, testing distance etc.  We also follow Jem and Tessa (which I have to confess are two of my most favourite characters in the Shadow Hunter world).

In Forever Fallen, this is more about Jace (or a version of) as well as Kit seeing him settle in to his new life and trying to forget friends he left  behind.

If you are not normally one for picking up novellas that go alongside the main stories, I would definately urge you to go back and pick up the ones in the Cassandra Clare world.  There is so much more that you can learn about the characters and the world from those stories, which may be small things that mean you understand more why a character makes a certain decision or it may be larger issues that mix in with the main novels.  Definately worth picking up. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Lost World and Forever Fallen by Cassandra Claire (Ghosts of the Shadow Market)

19 Sept 2019

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Book Review / Revival by Stephen King

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister – feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family; the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-thirties, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. Because for every cure there is a price…

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.

Published:     11th November 2014
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton

Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source: Owned


I have not read a great deal of novels written by Stephen King, which is something I am working on correcting but its going to be a challenge considering how many books he has written!  With what I have read so far, I was expecting a massive horror book with twists and turns along the way.  Boy was I wrong about that assumption in this book!  Yes, it does have elements of horror but the main focus of the story is the character Charles Jacobs and what he can do bonded together with his friendship with Jamie Morton.

We follow Charles and Jamie from when they first meet, when Charles comes in as thew new minister and Jamie is a kid of a family that always attends, to many many years later when Jamie catches up with Charles.   This story centres on the choices that each of these characters makes and the consequences they face for those choices.

For me, the best part of this story was the character development of both Charles and Jamie.  From their apparent innocence at the start of the story, through various 'traumas' that happen to them along the way and right to where they end up at the end of the novel.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this novel, not wanting to put it down.  In fact, I really didn't put it down that much having read it in two sittings over the space of one weekend!  If you are new to Stephen King's writing, this novel would be a great place to start. 

Continue reading Book Review / Revival by Stephen King

15 Sept 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


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

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


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 Sept 2019


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


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 Sept 2019


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


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 Sept 2019


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


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 Sept 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


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 Sept 2019


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


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