29 Feb 2020

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Blog Tour Book Review / Poison by Jacqui Rose

The heart-racing new gangland thriller from bestselling author Jacqui Rose. Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers’ The Sting and Martina Cole.

In a life of crime, loyalty means everything – even if you don’t always see eye to eye. But when Vaughn Sadler speaks up to get Franny Doyle sent down, he’s broken every rule in the book to win checkmate.

Holed up in prison, Franny has more than one score to settle – but she’s starting with Vaughn. Because you don’t grass on your own, no matter what. And though she may be behind bars, she will get revenge – whatever the cost.

Before, there was just bad blood running through her veins. But now, there is poison…

Published:     20th February 2020
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Trigger Warning:  Incest and Murder


Being a big fan of thrillers, this author has intrigued me for a while now.  She has written quite a few novels now but this one really intrigued me both for the reason that it seemed more character driven then plot driven and becuase it is based on criminals, which is not normally the style of novel that I would pick up and I wanted to push those limits.

I have to say that, for me, my expectations were right.  The best part of this novel were the characters.  You have quite a few interesting ones in this novel.  You have Franny who is in jail convicted for the murder of a person, which she may or may not have done.  You see how she is adjusting to live in prison and how she interacts with other prisoners, including the most difficult and nasty ones.  You then have Vaughn and Alfie who are on the outside and one of them may have had knowledge of Franny's conviction and had a hand in getting her there.   You also have Shannon who was my favourite character in this novel.  She is a young lady/late teenager who is taken under the wing of Vaugn who tries to look after her.   But her past keeps following her and not letting go. It was very interesting to see her try and navigate those difficulties and try and find a path that will lead her out of misery.

This was such an enjoyable ride and I will definitely be picking up more from this author in the future.

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Poison by Jacqui Rose

26 Feb 2020


Book Review / The Brethren by John Grisham

Trumble is a minimum-security federal prison, a "camp," home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals--drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, at least five lawyers.

And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi. They meet each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in.
Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

Published:     27th December 2005
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


A very interesting read that, to me, seems very politic heavy.  There are elements of the legal system in here with Judges who are imprisoned handle cases where they are also they also have a side 'business' which not many know about apart from a set few, including a lawyer who does is their 'runner'.

Being honest, it did take me two goes to actually start this novel but that is more my fault rather than anything else.  I do not normally read the descriptions of novels as I much prefer the author to take me on the journey and tell me what the story is all about rather than reading a 'briefing of it'.  I had not fully appreciated that this would feature a lot more politics than I would normally like to read - it is not one of those types of stories that I would naturally gravitate towards.  The first time around I think I reached just over the 50 pages and then set it aside and that was back in January this year.  I decided to give this one another go now as I really want to read more of John Grisham's books and this was the next on the list (I am reading them in publication order).  This time I knew what I was getting into, took my time and really got stuck into the story.  This second time, I really enjoyed it once I got used to the political system in the US (I am from the UK).

This story has a very interesting plot that can still mostly be applied today although I would like to hope that society is a lot more open about certain issues now than it was back in 2005 (this was originally written in 2005).  The main plot is you have three judges who exploit vulnerable males in a money scam.  Each of these males have a secret that they would not want their family to find out.

A really great political legal thriller that centers around social issues. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Brethren by John Grisham

21 Feb 2020

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Book Review / The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Published:     6th August 2019
Publisher:  Vintage Digital
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


I literally read this in one sitting.  One lazy weekend morning when I woke up much earlier than I had hoped for but wasn't quite ready to get up yet.  I started reading it and could not put it down until I had finished that same morning!

We follow Rowan as she applies for and gets a job being a nanny for a wealthy family living in Scotland.  She is dropped right in the middle of the action when the parents state that they have to go away for business (they are architects) but that they have to go away that weekend, with Rowan only having turned up for the job about one day before that!  For the majority of the story, we follow Rowan as she gets settled in to her new job and its not an easy ride for her.  The kids are still adapting to having yet another nanny (the previous few nannies had not lasted very long) and there is also something strange going on in the house - maybe supernatural maybe not. 

I loved a lot of things about this novel but what I loved the most was the way this story had been written.  You are not right in the action following Rowan day by day, hour by hour.  You are reading a letter that Rowan is sending a potential lawyer who she is writing to help her out of a sticky situation.   As the letter goes on, Rowan describes what has happened to her along the way. 

Not to mention the excellent twist in the story nearer the end of the book that I really wasn't expecting and loved!  It added another level to the story I had already had and made me re-think what had gone on before to put it in a better context now I knew the truth. 

An amazing read that I just could not put down.  You need to read this book!

Continue reading Book Review / The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

20 Feb 2020


Book Review / The Little Big Things by Henry Fraser

The memoir of the year by Henry Fraser, motivational speaker and mouth artist with a foreword by J.K. Rowling.
Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional...

Henry Fraser was 17 years old when a tragic accident severed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living. Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others.

This book combines his wisdom and insight into finding the gifts in life's challenges, and will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small. It includes Henry's thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong, finding progress in whatever you do, and acknowledging and accepting the darkness when it comes. Right at the heart of Henry's inspiring philosophy is his belief that every day is a good day.

Published:     7th September 2017
Publisher:  Seven Dials
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone Non Fiction
Source: Owned


What a remarkable story and a remarkable person.  From an accident that led to Henry becoming paralysed, we follow Henry's story from that fateful day, through his time in recovery at hospital learning to come to terms with his new diagnosis and following as he learns to live with this and challenges himself to always do better.

A truly inspirational story that shows that even though you may be faced with one of the worst circumstances in your lives, you can still overcome them or learn to live with them and enjoy your life.  Don't give up just because something bad has happened to you!

Continue reading Book Review / The Little Big Things by Henry Fraser

14 Feb 2020


Book Review / Right Behind You by Rachel Abbott

Some doors should not be opened.
Some can never be closed.

Jo Palmer’s peaceful and happy life is about to end.

Ash – the man she loves – will be arrested by the police.
Millie – her precious daughter – will be taken from her.

She will lose her friends.
She will doubt her sanity.

Someone is stealing everything Jo loves, and will stop at nothing.

But right now, Jo is laughing in her kitchen, eating dinner with her family, suspecting nothing.

It’s raining outside.

There’s a knock on the door. They are here.

A DCI Tom Douglas Thriller

Published:     16th January 2020
Publisher:  Black Dot Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone: Book 9, DCI Tom Douglas
Source:  Review Copy from Author


This is not my first time reading a Rachel Abbott novel and both times I thoroughly enjoyed reading and following the DCI Tom Douglas story.  I haven't read them in order but now that I know I really enjoy this story, I absolutely plan to start from the beginning when I get the chance.

In this story, we follow Jo who is living happily with Ash and her daughter Millie.  All of that changes one day when then people she loves get taken away from her.  She is then on a mission to find them and find out what secrets have been kept from her.

This had a bit of a slow start for me but definitely worth it once you get to the main part of the story.   I liked the way in which the kidnapping was set up which leaves Jo wondering exactly who she should trust.   There is also a larger picture which I am beginning to see which centers around DCI Tom Douglas and his family.  I have seen a glimpse of that in the first book that I read (Come a Little Closer) but I am definitely intrigued to find out more about his story which I am guessing I will pick up when I start from the beginning.

I could not put this down!   What a great novel!

Continue reading Book Review / Right Behind You by Rachel Abbott

8 Feb 2020

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Trilogy Review / Songs about a Girl by Chris Russell

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...

Published:     2016 to 2018
Publisher:  Hodder

Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Owned


I read the first two books back when they first came out and adored them.  I hadn't realised until I saw a review that I had not finished reading the trilogy and I knew I had to remedy that quickly!  I had owned all three books for a while and I can't believe it has taken me so long to get to reading the whole lot!  Of course I started from book 1 again before getting to the final book that I had not read yet and fully immerse myself back in the story.

I loved this just as much, if not a bit more, than I did the first time around.  Following Charlie, a budding young photographer, as she attends school but gets offered the job of taking photos of Fire & Lights (the hottest boy band of the time).  She gets to know the band and various other characters that come along the way - some good and some not so good.  There's also a bit of a love triangle going on and simply because I had read the first two books before I kind of knew that was coming but there were definitely a lot of questions I had about what has happened in the past that ties some characters together.

The characters also were a big pull for me in reading this trilogy.  Whether they are a good character or a not so good character, all had their own quirks and personalities and were intriguing to follow.  If I had to pick my favourites they would have to be Charlie (of course!) and Yuki who is another member of the band and a larger than live character.

I cannot recommend this trilogy enough.  If you like Emery Lord's Open Road Summer, you need to pick this up!

Continue reading Trilogy Review / Songs about a Girl by Chris Russell

4 Feb 2020


Book Review / All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother's killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She's eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn't about to give up now.

Published:     11th February 2020
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 3, Ellery Hathaway
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


Now this was what I have been waiting for for a while now.  A really good thriller that keeps me at the edge of my seat and has a twist at the ending I really wasn't expecting!  Despite the fact that I have not read the first two books in this series, I had no trouble picking this up, following the stories and the characters, especially Ellery.

In this story we mainly follow Ellery and Reed as Reed attempts to discover what happened to his mother who had died when he was a baby.  In fact, he was in a crib at the time when his mother was brutally stabbed.  After the murder, he was adopted by a family and up until how had a fairly happy life but Reed still wanted to find out what had happened.  We follow Reed and Ellery helping him as he talks to an array of characters which leads him down a path where he starts to question a lot of people and whether they have been telling him the truth both in the moment and for most of his life.

Although the middle part of this book was a bit slow for me, the pace of the first part and the last part certainly made up for that - and that ending...!!!!  That definitely took me by surprise.

Continue reading Book Review / All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

1 Feb 2020


Book Review / I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Published:     5th February 2019
Publisher:  Bantam Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


Its been a while since I have read a Sophie Kinsella novel and this is the only one that I haven't got to yet (apart from the Shopaholic series which I had started quite a while ago and didn't really get into).  I always hope to get a full of laughs, comedy with a bit of a romance story when picking up a Kinsella novel and this is definitely what you get with this one. 

We follow Fixie who has been brought up in a family where you always put family first and keep problems and the like behind the curtain of the family home.  After her dad's death, Fixie (and her mum) are the ones that organises and looks after the family business while the other members of the family while her brother and sister seem to be so far from reality and so fixated on themselves they don't seem to help a lot.   That all changes when she meets a handsome stranger in a coffee shop that makes her think twice about the life that she had and perhaps make some changes. 

The best part of this novel has to be interaction with Fixie and the new handsome stranger that she meets in a coffee shop.  In the middle of a bunch of family members who are, quite frankly, selfish and not very nice, Fixie meets and gets to know someone who actually cares and wants to help.   What took the enjoyment out of this story a little bit for me was Fixie's family members.  I know they are probably meant to be annoying and horrible at the beginning but they annoyed me so much it took a bit of the fun away from the story. 

This was still a fun read and would recommend to give a go if you like family conflict, drama, comedy and romance all build under one roof. 

Continue reading Book Review / I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella