30 Nov 2020


Book Review / Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born.

When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist.

He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him.

What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life, one which will propel him further across the globe.

From the sultry cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, Washington Black tells a story of friendship and betrayal, love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again--and asks the question, what is true freedom?


Published:     5th September 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher 


I have seen this book around everywhere and whilst I don't usually tend to pick up hyped books that often, I just had to pick up this one for two reasons - the story sounded intriguing and the cover was beautiful!

This story is split into parts.  In the first part we see Washington Black who works as a field slave for a plantation in Barbados.  The 'owner' dies and two brothers are brought in to run it.  One of the brothers runs the plantation is evil and the other brother, Titch, takes a shine to Washington and asks him to be his apprentice.  In the second part, we follow Washington Black and Titchset off in Christopher's new invention, for pastures new.  After that we follow, Washington as he makes his way out in this new world to him.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish and despite the fact that the character of Washington is portrayed in the story to be a lot older than what he is said to be (11 years old), he was my favourite character.   I liked how we see him escape from a future that really wasn't very bright.  What I did find surprising, and I may have missed something here as the story did drag on in places, was how does a 11 year old former slave from a planation in Barbados, have such a large knowledge as if he had years more experience then what you would expect?  

Despite the fact that this story did drag on in places and was very predictable, it was enjoyable and I would recommend it but don't expect any surprises or twists in the story. 



Continue reading Book Review / Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

29 Nov 2020


Book Review / The Associate by John Grisham


If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in The Firm, wait
until you meet Kyle McAvoy, The Associate

Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father's small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn't want--even though it's a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains--from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle's "cubicle" at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country--and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.

Published:     27th January 2009
Publisher:  Century
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Owned




Despite this being a thriller, this was such a fun story to read.  You have Kyle who is a budding legal student ready to get out in the world and has had several offers from several different law firms.  However, he starts to get what looks to be blackmailed into making a decision over which law firm he should sign up to because of something that may have happened in his younger years that would certainly ruin his career before it even started.  It appears that he has no choice but to go along with the blackmail and follow the path they want him to go on.

This was certainly a rollercoaster ride and had me hooked from the beginning.  On the one side you have the people who are trying to blackmail Kyle and on the other hand you have Kyle who despite apparently being backed into a corner but maybe he has a plan that no one is expecting.  With the fast paced plot, I just couldn't put this down!









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21 Nov 2020


Book Review / A Christmas Affair by Jodi Thomas

A shy soul and an adventurous heart. As the holidays approach, can they find happiness together?

Maria Anne Davis was on her way to an exciting career as a chef in Dallas, until a terrible car accident left her blind. Ever resilient, Maria has reinvented her life on her own terms, starting a business out of her home kitchen, selling her jams and jellies to the local grocery.

Maria loves romance novels, and despite her bold spirit, she fears she’ll never have a big love affair like ones her heroines experience. That is, until she realizes how much she cares about the quiet Wes Whitman, the owner of the grocery.

Wes can’t keep Maria’s wildly popular jam on his shelves—just like he can’t keep the fierce, beautiful Maria out of his thoughts. But how could a firecracker like Maria come to love a shy, nervous man like him? Maybe all they need is a grand affair. Wes needs to convince Maria that some affairs last forever, though—just in time for Christmas.

Published:    1st October 2017
Publisher:  HQN Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 6.5, Ransom Canyon
Source:  Owned


This is a novella in the Ransom Canyon series.  Although I think most of the novels in this series can be read independently I would recommend that this one is read after reading Indigo Lake as this one follows the sister of Dakota who is a main character in the Indigo Lake.  We also see a bit of backstory of Maria in that story that will give a lot more depth to reading this novella.

What I loved and what I always enjoy with Jodi Thomas novels is the romance.  It is obvious with this story that feelings have been growing for some time before we start this story, so when we join Maria the romance that follows feels natural.

A lovely romantic story that I would recommend picking up after Indigo Lake. 

Continue reading Book Review / A Christmas Affair by Jodi Thomas

18 Nov 2020

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Book Review / The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern


 Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

Published:     5th November 2019
Publisher:  Harvill Secker
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



After reading The Night Circus, and loving it, I was really excited to get stuck into this one and although I did purchase this when it first came out, I have only read this now because I knew that this was the type of novel that was to be indepth and a bit strange and that's the kind of novel that I really have to be in the mood to read so that I can appreciate it at its fullest. 

To be honest, it is very difficult to try and summarise this book both because of how complicated the story is and also because even to summarise part of it I believe would spoil aspects of the story that is best not known about.  For me, I didn't read the book description that much just maybe the first couple of sentences and then I just got stuck in.  I would recommend going into this story with no expectations and not a great deal of knowledge of what is happening in the story.  Just sit back, relax and see where the story takes you.  I will say that this is not a story that should be picked up if you want to read something quick.  This story needs time to unravel and it did take me a while to read, picking it up and reading probably about 60-70 pages at a time.  This story is also split into different parts and what I found helpful is to read a 'part' on one sitting if you can.





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14 Nov 2020

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Book Review / The Appeal by John Grisham

John Grisham is now an institution -- a writer whose bestselling status is assured, So assured, in fact, that expectations for each new book are as high as can be imagined. Does The Appeal make the grade? And will it appeal to Grisham admirers -- or disappoint them?

The stakes in the novel's plot are high: corporate crime on the largest scale. The duo of lawyers at the centre of the narrative are Mary and Wes Grace, who succeed in a multimillion dollar case against a chemical company, who have polluted a town with dumped toxic waste. A slew of agonising deaths have followed this, but lawyers for the chemical company appeal, and a variety of legal shenanigans are employed -- and it is certainly not clear which way the scales of justice will be finally balanced.

As ever with Grisham, the mechanics of plotting are key, and the characterisation is functional rather than detailed. But it is (as always) more than capable of keeping the reader totally engaged. Given John Grisham's much-publicised conversion to born-again Christianity, it's intriguing to note here the implicit criticism of the moral majority's religious values, but that is hardly central to the enterprise. What counts is the storytelling, and while the writing is as straightforward and uncomplicated as ever, few readers will put down The Appeal once they have allowed it to exert its grip on upon them. --Barry Forshaw

Published:     1st January 2008
Publisher:  Century
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


There's nothing better than sitting down to read a new to you book from a favourite author.  The Appeal is a novel that I had not picked up yet and in my mission to read all of his novels, in publication order, this one was next.  I had not read this before so I was really excited to get started.

Basically, we follow a case where there is a town that has been abused by a chemical company, where it has been illegally dumping chemicals into the town's water supply.  The inhabitants of the town had unknowingly been consuming these chemicals and now people are getting ill and, in fact, a father and a son have died.  The case we follow was brought forward by the wife/mother.  We follow various characters in this book, including my favourites which are Mary and Wes Grace who are lawyers who used to be very successful but have had bad luck and are now close to bankruptcy.  With a light at the end of the tunnel in sight, they are fighting both for their client and for their livelihood. 

I know I have given this a five stars because yes I loved it but I also hated it a little bit too, if that makes sense.  I loved the journey the author takes me on in this story through both law and politics.  This is exactly what I wanted when I picked up this book and it is John Grisham at his best and I can't wait to follow his journey as I read more and more of his books.  When I say I hated this book a little bit, maybe that might be a bit of an exaggeration but that ending!  I wasn't expecting it and did not love it but I guess being true to the story not everything always goes to plan.  We can't always have what we want.  




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13 Nov 2020


Book Review/ A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

Published:     30th October 2018
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned 

Trigger Warning - Abortion




This was a very interesting read indeed.   We follow a variety of characters in this story but the main one for me was Hugh, who was the hostage negotiator from the police but who also has a sister and daughter who are in the hostage situation itself.  He has torn between having to do his job in a proper manner but also wanting to storm in and make sure his family are safe.  

I know that I have given this book a 3 stars review but that doesn't mean that it wasn't good.  It was good but, for me, I had difficulties with keeping my concentration as the story progressed and trying to follow all of the characters in this story.  I do have to be honest and say that I did almost DNF this when I was halfway through because it just wasn't gripping me.  I don't think that it was because of the story or because of the variety of characters but I think it was more to do with the format the story was in that didn't work for me.  Instead of having your story run from the beginning and going through until you get to the end of the story, you have the dramatic potential end to the hostage situation and then we follow the story, hour by hour, as we go back in time and slowly see what happened the hour previously with each chapter.  

The above said aside, this story was shocking in how women are treated for the decisions they make in terms of abortion and certainly does make arguments for and against the choices that are made in this story.   It was certainly an eye opener to follow each of the characters, with the choices they make and the opinions they have in any given situation in this story. 








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7 Nov 2020

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Book Review / Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Published:     22nd November 2016
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Owned

Trigger Warning -  Race Discrimination and White Supremacists 




How is it that I hadn't read this yet?!  I had bought this when it first came out in 2016 but as what usually happens with books that I buy by my favourite authors, they usually sit on my shelf for a really long time because I want to make sure I read it at the right moment because I want it to be special.  This year, however, has been quite an ordinary year for all of us and it is one that has made me realise that I really need to not wait for the perfect moment, but if there is a book that you want to read you really don't need to wait for the perfect moment.  The perfect moment will be whenever you sit down and start reading this book.  

We follow Ruth Jefferson who is a labor and delivery nurse working at a hospital with lots of years of experience.  In a time when race should not be a factor, Ruth comes across parents of a newborn who turn out to be white supremetists.  Ruth is African American.  The father orders that Ruth is no longer allowed to treat his family.  Unfortunate circumstances come up and with the staffing at the hospital low, Ruth ends up having to look in on this parents' child when she shouldn't, having been ordered by her boss to do so.  Disaster happens and the child dies.  Ruth is then taken to Court and apparently has been turned against from most of the people she knew.  

Where do I start?!  I just could not stop reading this.  I really felt for Ruth and what she had to go through but she is a strong character so it was really interesting to follow her as the court case progresses.  The relationship between Ruth and her lawyer, Kennedy, was particularly interesting to follow as the story progresses and you see Kennedy have her eyes opened with everything that Ruth has to go through now and what she has had to live with for most of her life.  

A very thought provoking story that I just could not put down. 








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1 Nov 2020


Book Review / Don't Breath a Word by Jennifer McMahon



On a soft summer night in Vermont, 12-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams - who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed - a promise that could destroy them all.




Published:     17th May 2011
Publisher:  Harper
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




I can't remember when I found this author but I have been slowly working my way through her backlist and this one was one of the last ones to read.  I can't believe I have waited this long to read all her books.  They are just so addicting!

We follow Phoebe who in the past hears about a girl who goes missing and visits the place only to see a boy in a window.  Years later she now has a boyfriend, Sam who she realises now was the boy in the window and the brother of the girl (Lisa) who had gone missing all those years ago.  Something tells Phoebe that there is more to this story than meets the eye, as is usually the case.  

I was expecting this story to have quite a few twists and turns but what I had not been expecting was how much 'supernatural' elements are in this story.  Although, for me the best part of the story was the missing girl and what really happened I certainly was intrigued with the supernatural elements and kept me wondering what on earth had gone on in the past.  

A n intriguing thriller that certainly kept me guessing until the very last page. 

Continue reading Book Review / Don't Breath a Word by Jennifer McMahon