27 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

 




Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats... if that's humanly possible. Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. But behind Fleur's Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past. 

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions.
 
Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late.  Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?

 

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

 


MY REVIEW 

 

Having recently read and enjoyed The Wedding Girl, I was looking forward to picking this up.  I was expecting a similar theme/plot where the main character either makes a mistake or has a bad character trait they can't get out of and the rest of the story is watching that play out, and I wasn't wrong.  That didn't mean that I didn't enjoy it.  This was just the type of story that I was looking for at the time and that is what I got. 

What I loved about this story was the main character Fleur.  You can obviously see that she has a problem and seemingly she is ok with it and carries on, irrespective of the people she hurts along the way and those people didn't seem to show that much distress from what I read in what she was doing.  

There were not many characters I liked in this story, for many various reasons, but there was one character that I really disliked and that was Richard's son when he featured more nearer the end of the novel.  He was very pushy and, to put it simply, very annoying.  Now this may have been for good reasons and maybe he was concerned for his father, but the way this character came across I felt was completely unacceptable.

That said, I would highly recommend this if you are looking for a no frills story that keeps you entertained all the way through.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

25 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Catch by T M Logan




 Ed is delighted to meet his twenty-three year old daughter's fiancé for the first time. Ryan appears to be the perfect future son-in-law. There's just one problem. There's something off about Ryan. Something hidden in the shadows behind his eyes. And it seems that only Ed can see it.

Terrified that his daughter is being drawn in by a psychopath, Ed sets out to uncover her fiancé's dark past - while keeping his own concealed. But no-one believes him. And the more he digs, the more he alienates her and the rest of the family who are convinced that Ryan is 'the one'.

Ed knows different. For reasons of his own, he knows a monster when he sees one...
 

 

Published:     11th June 2020
Publisher:  Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

 I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this novel.  I had only read one other book by this author before (Lies - and thoroughly enjoyed that also) was wishing for great things.   As I always hope with thrillers, this kept me at the edge of my seat all the way through.

What I loved the most about this story was the suspense.  This is what kept me at the edge of my seat.  Who is Ryan? Is he bad or good?  What would Ed do to find out?  Just some of many questions I had at the start.  You also have the apparent downward spiral that Ed goes down in his pursuit of the 'truth'.  

If I had to grumble about anything (and its only a very little grumble) I felt that the book felt a bit long for the thriller.  At 431, I would consider that a larger thriller that works well if there is complex scenarios and areas where you need to pay more attention to, but this story I feel could have been cut down to at least 350 and it would still be excellent.

Would highly recommend!  Can't wait to read more from this author!

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Catch by T M Logan

22 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires


Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

 

Published:     7th April 2020
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought
 

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

I adore this novel!  Its been a while since I read a horror novel and I am so happy that this was what I had picked up.  I had been meaning to pick this up since it came out back in 2020, but never got around to it, until now.   

Although this a very typical story of someone new coming to the neighbourhood who could be not quite as they seem and a person/people from that neighbourhood goes in hunt for the truth and try to expose the newcomer for this, I loved every minute of the journey.  There are many twists and turns that kept me turning those pages very quickly!  

What I loved the most was the history to the story.  I wont' go into too much detail as that would spoil the story, but there is a certain amount of history that we see and gets revealed as the story goes on that I found fascinating.  Also, that ending!  LOVED IT!

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

21 Dec 2021

Book Review / Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle


One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses - and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

 

Published:     1st June 2017
Publisher:  RHCP Digital
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 



MY REVIEW

 

I had so much wanted to enjoy this book.  Anything to do with witches, supernatural or spellbooks always stand out to me that I need to give it a go.  I think this is very much one of those novels that just wasn't for me.  I have given this three stars because it was ok and because I did enjoy the writing style; so will look out for other novels by this author and will give them a try.

For me, this story lacked a catch.  Something in the plot or a certain character that would suck me into the story, intrigue me to the point where I need to read more to find out what is going on.  That just didn't happen for me here.  I haven't looked at other reviews for this book yet but will certainly do that once I have finished this so I am not sure how others have found this.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

14 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

 


 A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who's left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she's not alone. For more than a decade she's been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette's worst fears are realized--someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
 

 

Published:     13th July 2021
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 



MY REVIEW

 

Having only discovered this author recently, I couldn't wait to pick up this latest novel.  I was intrigued about this as having earlier this year read Final Girls by Riley Sager and wondered what Grady's take on this would be.

What I loved with this story was the idea that there is a support group for final girls which is something I had not read before (there may be novels about this somewhere that I haven't come across) and the idea that there is someone out there trying to kill the final girls, I found amusing (and horrified at the same time, of course).  Just when these girls thought they had been through their worst, this then happens!

I have to admit that I did get bored in a few places and by the end of the novel I had predicted most twists and turns, so I would have loved to have had more surprises in this one but I still enjoyed the journey this story took me on.  If I were to recommend what book to read first written by this author I do have to admit that although this was good, his other books are a lot better. 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

13 Dec 2021

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Book Review / Survive the Night by Riley Sager

 




It's November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana's in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it's guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it's to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she's named after, Charlie has her doubts. There's something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn't seem to want Charlie to see inside the car's trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she's sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie's suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there's nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing--survive the night.
  


Published:    29th June 2021
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




MY REVIEW


I can't tell you how excited I was to pick this up.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every Riley Sager book that has come out so far.  I was intrigued to find out how I get on with this book as I have seen mixed reviews, so I thought maybe this was a marmite book (you either love it or hate it)!

I read this in one sitting and couldn't put it down.  What I loved the most was the fact that you have Charlie who makes a very dumb decision to hitch a ride, right at the time where her friend has been killed and the killer is on the loose.  Now, you would think this was a very easy story with no surprises or twists as you already have the intended victim and killer in the car.  What else could be surprising?  There were certainly one or two twists that I wasn't expecting.  I have to admit that I did guess the ending but only right near the end and just before it was revealed.

Loved this latest novel from an author who is now firmly on my favourite author list!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Survive the Night by Riley Sager

8 Dec 2021

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Book Review / The Wedding Girl by Madeline Wickham

 


 

At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover Allan were all part of her new, exciting life, and when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married, just so that Allan could stay in the country, Milly didn't hesitate, and to make it seem real she dressed up in cheap wedding finery and posed on the steps of the registry office for photographs.

Ten years later, Milly is a very different person. Engaged to Simon - who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect - she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. Her mother has it planned to the finest detail, from the massive marquee to the sculpted ice swans filled with oysters. Her dreadful secret is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist - until, with only four days to go, her past catches up with her.

Suddenly, her carefully constructed world is about to crash in ruins around her. How can she tell Simon she's already married? How can she tell her mother? But as the crisis develops, more secrets are revealed than Milly could possibly have realised...

 
Published:     9th December 2010
Publisher:  Black Swan
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW

 

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed most of the novels written by Sophie Kinsella (there are one or two that I haven't got to yet) but hadn't actually picked up any of the novels that she wrote under the pen name Madeline Wickham. 

I really enjoyed this.  You have the main character, Milly, who made a very big mistake when she was younger (which she didn't think was a mistake at the time) and now the time has come where she has to deal with that before she is able to move on with her life.  Just the perfect plot line to have a lot of fun reading!

Honestly, no I didn't like many of the characters in this story and didn't agree with some of the things that were done, said and not done etc but that doesn't really matter.  I don't need to like them or agree with their choices but I did enjoy watching their choices play out in the novel.  

I am intrigued to see how I get on with the other novels written in Sophie Kinsella's pen name...  I am guessing that most of them will be pretty similar but with different scenarios and characters but we'll see...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Wedding Girl by Madeline Wickham

7 Dec 2021

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Book Review / Summerwater by Sarah Moss

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

 

Published:     20th August 2020
Publisher:  Pan MacMillan/Picador
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


MY REVIEW 

I know it is probably not the season for reading this type of book but I bought it a while ago and have been meaning to read it for ages now, so I decided now was going to be the time!  This is a new author to me, so I was very intrigued to find out how I would get on.

This was an interesting read for me because I liked it but equally I was a bit bored in parts with it.  I did enjoy the writing style and would certainly pick up other novels from this author but this story was really just not for me.  I like a novel with a plot and direction of where the story is going; this was not that type of book.  It really doesn't have a plot (or one that I could see) and was more about character development and interaction, which I do generally like but I just could not connect with any of the characters here and really wasn't invested in what was going on because of that.

That said, as I mentioned, I did enjoy writing and I am intrigued to find out what other books this author has to offer and whether they have a similar theme of no plot or otherwise and how I would get on with that...

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Summerwater by Sarah Moss

6 Dec 2021

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Book Review / Roar by Cecelia Ahern


 From the bestselling author of P.S., I Love You, a fiercely feminist story collection that illuminatessometimes in fantastical wayshow women of all kinds navigate the world today—soon to be an Apple TV+ series from the creators of GLOW starring Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Merritt Wever, and Alison Brie!

In this singular and imaginative story collection, Cecelia Ahern explores the endless ways in which women blaze through adversity with wit, resourcefulness, and compassion. Ahern takes the familiar aspects of women's lives—the routines, the embarrassments, the desires—and elevates these moments to the outlandish and hilarious with her astute blend of magical realism and social insight.

One woman is tortured by sinister bite marks that appear on her skin; another is swallowed up by the floor during a mortifying presentation; yet another resolves to return and exchange her boring husband at the store where she originally acquired him. The women at the center of this curious universe learn that their reality is shaped not only by how others perceive them, but also how they perceive the power within themselves.

By turns sly, whimsical, and affecting, these thirty short stories are a dynamic examination of what it means to be a woman in this very moment. Like women themselves, each story can stand alone; yet together, they have a combined power to shift consciousness, inspire others, and create a multi-voiced Roar that will not be ignored.

 

Published:     16th April 2019
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


 

MY REVIEW

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors of all time, so of course I was looking forward to picking up this one.  Unfortunately it one of those that I put under the category of I bought it when it came out but hadn't got around to actually reading it yet..  

As with most books, I don't usually read the description on the back.  I only have a quick glimpse of any wording on the front and leap right in.  Honestly, with this book I wished that I had read a little more into it because it was not what was I was expecting it to be.  Yes it was a book about empowered women, which I want to read a lot more of but the stories in this novel were less realistic than I would have hoped.  You had someone being swallowed up by a floor etc.  

I am going to have to put this under the category of this is just not for me, which I am really sad about because I really wanted to love this.  It was interesting to read but I won't be re-reading it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Roar by Cecelia Ahern

2 Dec 2021

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Book Review / My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

 


Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

 

Published:     17th May 2016
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 

 


 

MY REVIEW

 

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book.  It has been so long since I read a horror novel.  Of course, this book was completely a cover buy.  I mean, look at it.  It looks stunning!  How would I not want to pick it up and read more! This story covers the type of horror that I love to both read and watch.  Horror that is not too gory but creepy and a bit 80s cheesy as well.  

There are so many aspects of this story that I loved.  Firstly you have all of the 80's culture references which, as I was a kid in the 80s, I remembered a lot of them.  Next, there was a great story build up.  Yes I knew that there was something wrong but I wanted to see it play out and see what each of the characters do.  Of course, I also wanted to find out what on earth was going on.   There are so many more that I could list but I don't want to spoil the story for you.

This book was so much fun to read.  I couldn't put this down and actually read it in one sitting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

31 Oct 2021

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Book Review / Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

 It's been seven years since Holly Kennedy's husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry's letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

 

 

 

Published:     19th September 2019
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, PS I Love You
Source:  Bought
 

 


 

MY REVIEW

Having read and enjoyed PS I Love You back when it first came out and re-reading it recently, I was intrigued to find out what happens next , hoping that it will not just re-hash what happened in the first book all over again.  With this book, we are following Holly again seven years later.  Interestingly, it is not Holly who is dragging up the past but a group of people who were inspired by Gerry's story wanting to get in touch with her so she can help them.  It comes at a time when Holly is about to move on, selling the  home that she shared with Gerry. 

Honestly, I enjoyed this story but in places it did drag for me.  The story was very slow paced, which I was expecting since the first story, PS I Love You, was slow paced also, but I was hoping for a faster pace since it is a contemporary.  

What I liked the most about this story was following each of the characters in the PS I Love You ClubAll of them have their own story lines and all that we heard from were very emotional to follow.  

An enjoyable emotional read and worth picking up if you were a fan of PS I Love You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Postscript by Cecelia Ahern
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Book Review / PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

 


 

A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again.

Now in paperback, the endearing novel that captured readers' hearts and introduced a fresh new voice in women's fiction Cecelia Ahern.

Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!

 

Published:     5th January 2005
Publisher:  Hachette
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, P S I Love You
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW 

 

I first read this book back when it came out and had very fond memories of reading it.   I had watched the movie, the one with Gerard Butler in it, a short while ago and reminded me of how much I enjoyed the book (I didn't really enjoy the movie very much and though the book was better - isn't that nearly always the case?!).  I thought I would pick up this book and give it another try to see what I thought about it now.

Honestly, I did enjoy reading it found the pacing this time around to be slow which meant it took me longer to read.  For a story that I would normally pick up and like to read quickly, reading it slower than normal did make me not want to keep picking it up.

What I did enjoy and had forgotten about was the part with the travel agent and the arrangements that were made.  It was points like this in this book which added that emotional element to it.   Yes, there was a lot of this story that was very predictable and cliche but that is what I wanted from this when I picked it up.  

I am intrigued now to pick up the sequel to this novel, Postscript.  I think I am going to need to pick up next to see what happens next (which I am assuming is what the story is about, but I guess I will find out...).



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

18 Oct 2021

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Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz

 


TO AVOID SPOILERS -  BELOW IS THE DESCRIPTION FOR ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship--the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

Published:     12th October 2021
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Aristotle and Dante
Source: From Publisher

 


MY REVIEW

 

Having read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe both in 2016 and again not that long ago, I can't tell you how excited I was to read this.  As I mentioned in my review of the first book, I felt there was a lot that was unsaid and unfinished after I had put that book down.  I was very intrigued and excited to see what was going to happen next in the lives of Aristotle and Dante.

As this is book 2, I am not going to go into too much detail here but the pacing and the writing was perfect and easy to read which matched perfectly with the story.  We are, of course, following on the story with Aristotle and Dante and it was also good to have a lot more of the regulars (parents and friends) coming back into this novel.  

What I loved the most, which is the same as the first book really, is the honest way the relationship between not just the main characters is but the relationships with the other characters such as parents and friends.  It wasn't portrayed in a fairytale way, it was very real conversations with the usual ups and downs. 

Again, a beautiful and moving story.  I would highly recommend (but would certainly recommend reading book 1 first).

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz

17 Oct 2021

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Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


 

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship--the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

Published:     21st February 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Aristotle and Dante
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

This is my second time reading this novel and I just adore it so much!  I would comment that although this novel seems to be pitched towards younger readers, any person of any age could read this and enjoy it just as much.  The writing is easy to follow and so laid back, it was so hard to put it down at the end of the day when my eyes just won't stay open any longer.

What I loved about this book was, of course, Aristotle and Dante.  Following them both as they navigate through life, their feelings and emotions and any obstacles they come across or create for themselves.  Honestly, this book for me was all about the two main characters and of course their parents and their friends. 

When I finished this story the first time around back in 2016 the sequel to this story wasn't even thought of I believe but I definately felt, after reading this book, that there was so much left unsaid and so much more I wanted to learn about not just Aristotle and Dante, but their parents and their friends also.  I can't tell you how exicited I am to  pick up the second book, and that is exactly what I am going to do next! 

 This is truly a beautiful and moving story that I would highly recommend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

24 Sept 2021

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Book Review / The Other People by CJ Tudor

 

A gripping new thriller about a man's quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man and The Hiding Place.

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl's face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: 'Daddy.' It's his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe's daughter.

Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside and Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.

His search leads him to a group called The Other People.

If you have lost a loved one, The Other People want to help. Because they know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like.

There's just one problem . . . they want other people to know it

 

Published:     28th January 2020
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought



MY REVIEW

There's nothing like the feeling of finding a new thriller author that you enjoy reading and knowing there are more books written that you haven't got to yet.  C J Tudor is most certainly an author I am going to be reading more of and I am certainly going to be picking up all the books that I can for now!

This story was fast paced, plenty of twists and turns and a fantastic ending.  I just could not put this down and actually read this in one sitting!  

What I didn't like about this story,

There were many things that I loved about this story.  The first was the pacing.  This story was very much fast paced.  Just what I wanted in a thriller to keep the action going.  There's nothing worse than having a thriller that is meant to be fast paced but written in a slow pace. I also loved the twists and turns this story takes you on.  Obviously I won't go into much detail because I don't want to spoil it for you.

And what a great ending...  I hadn't guessed what would happen (and that doesn't usually happen).

I can't wait to pick up more from this author...




 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Other People by CJ Tudor

18 Sept 2021

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Book Review / Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

 

 

Published:    8th October 2019
Publisher:  Flatiron Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Alex Stern
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

OK, so yes this is a hyped up book that I try not to pick up all too often but the story just intrigued me too much that I had to pick it up.  I hadn't realised that this was going to be a series when reading this but that makes sense now given the ending.  

What I wasn't fond of with this book was the pacing.  With a story like this I was expecting there to be lots of twists and turns, lots of action and the story being fast paced.  Yes there are twists and turns and a bit of action but the story was, for me, very slow paced.  It made me slow down which was good in one way but when what I wanted was fast paced action it made me less excited.

What I enjoyed the most was the mysteries that are discovered in this novel.  I have always liked a good mystery and hidden secrets.  There are certainly a few twists and turns in this novel.  Although I felt that Alex was a bit haphazard in some of her investigating, I enjoyed following her around and discovering things the same time as she did.

Although I am intrigued to find out what happens next with book 2, honestly I probably won't pick it up. 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Sept 2021

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Book Review / The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

 

Published:     15th June 2021
Publisher:  Celadon Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW 


Having read and absolutely loved The Silent Patient, I couldn't wait to dig into another novel by this author.  I don't know a great deal about Greek mythology so this was a bit of a learning curve for me but luckily most of what was being talked about in conversations was explained enough for me.  

In this story we follow one character (i'm being deliberately vague here) as he joins this group of intellects who attend and gets accepted into an exclusive group of students.  Each one of these students have issues of their own which we follow as the story goes along but the main focus, for me, is the murder and following that story.  

If I had to make a slight 'complaint' it would be that, for me, the chapters were too short.  This was a story that I wanted to be slow paced so I can enjoy and take in all the details but with the chapters being short it made me read at a faster pace than I really wanted to.  I would have also loved to have a lot more of the story involved with the secret societies than it does. 

What made this story great for me was the characterisation and following each of the characters, as much as we are able to, to see how they respond to the different actions that happen in this story.   Yes, I had some problems with the story as mentioned above but I still loved it and it would certainly be a story that I would re-read. 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 Aug 2021

Book Review / Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.

 

Published:     14th August 2018
Publisher:  G P Putnam's Sons
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:   Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

This is one of those novels that I have seen everywhere, both online and in real life.  I don't usually like to pick up novels that are hyped up but having read the description on the back it intrigued me so much that I knew I had to pick this up. 

This novel is an intriguing combination of drama, romance and a mystery.  

What I loved the most about this story was following the story of Kya from at the beginning with her awful earlier years to the moment she meets two young men who she is fond of.  I am being deliberately vague here as with this story I found that it is much better to go into this not knowing to much.  The less I knew going in, the more I enjoyed the story and wasn't expecting all the twists and turns the story takes you on.

I adored this story so much I didn't want it to end!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens

29 Aug 2021

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Book Review / Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

A New York Times Notable Book (2020)
Best Book of 2020: Guardian, Financial Times, Literary Hub, and NPR

Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell's new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

 

Published:     31st March 2020
Publisher:  Tinder Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

I really wanted to love this book.  I had seen this book everywhere, both on the internet and in real life, and the story intrigued me.  It is not a story that I would normally pick up but I wanted to give it a go.  I believe this story is fiction but based very losely on Shakespeare's son Hamnet.  I don't know much about Shakespeare honestly and wanted to learn more. 

What I didn't like about this novel, honestly, was the writing.  There was nothing wrong it with it, technically, but it was just not for me.  I found that I could not keep my head in the story and if I put it down for any length of time I found myself forgetting what had happened before and having to go back a few pages as a reminder.  I think this is more of a case of it me not the author.

What I did enjoy with this story was following Agnes and Hamnet (and also his sister) and experiencing Warwickshire in the 1580s.  Its not an era that I have read much of but found it very intriguing.  The character of Agnes was my favourite to follow out of all the characters in this story.  She is very much portrayed as that woman on the outside that was probably a witch and she should be very careful.  I do love as bit of a witchy aspect to a story. 

Would recommend if you do like reading historical novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Aug 2021

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Book Review / Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Life is in two parts: who you were before you met her, and who you are after.

A documentary crew discover a mysterious young woman living alone in the mountains of West Cork. Strikingly beautiful she has an extraordinary talent for mimicry, like the famous Australian Lyrebird. The crew, fascinated, make her the subject of her story, and bestow the nickname upon her.

When they leave, they take Lyrebird with them back to the city. But as she leaves behind her peaceful life to learn about a new world, is she also leaving behind a part of herself? For her new friend Solomon the answer isn’t clear. When you find a rare and precious thing, should you share it – or protect it…

 

 

 

 

Published:     3rd November 2016
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

Just the title intrigued me with this book.  Lyrebird - I didn't really know what that meant (and its explained in the story).  In this story we follow the story of a crew of three people who had, in the past, interviewed brothers who lived and worked on a farm, never married and never had children.  Now they are going back as one of the brothers has died.  On their return, they discover a mysterious young woman who can mimic sounds that she hears, including a Lyrebird.  

I really struggled with this novel and I think this is more of a case of its me not the book.  I didn't connect with any of the characters and found that if I put down the book I would have to re-read a few pages to give myself a reminder before reading again, which made reading this book take longer than necessary.  

What I did enjoy was the relationship and friendship that forms between the mysterious young lady and one of the crew members.  That was a relationship that I was rooting for and what kept me wanting to keep reading this book. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Aug 2021

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Book Review / The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

Jasmine know two things: one, she loves her vulnerable sister unconditionally, and will fight to the death to protect her from anyone who upsets her. Two, she's only ever been good at one thing – her job helping business start-ups.

So when she’s sacked and put on gardening leave, Jasmine realises that she has nothing else to fill her life. Insomnia keeps her staring out of her bedroom window, and she finds herself watching the antics of her neighbour, shock jock Matt, with more than a casual eye. Matt is also taking a forced leave of absence from work, after one of his controversial chat shows went too far…

Jasmine has every reason to dislike Matt, and the feeling appears to be mutual. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Jasmine and Matt are forced to think again…

 

 

 

 

Published:     9th October 2014
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Goodreads :  Click here  
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 



MY REVIEW

We follow Jasmine in this story who doesn't seem to like to commit to anything, including working for start up companies but selling them on rather than committing to them.  At the start of this story, we see that she is getting 'fired' from the latest company that she helped start up.  She is put on gardening leave which basically means that she is not allowed to get another job until that gardening leave ends so that she doesn't poach staff or business from the company she no longer works for.   She's not used to having not a lot to do so we see her figuring out what she is going to do.  She meets her neighbour Matt and the two form a friendship as Matt is also on a 'forced leave' from his job. 

What I enjoyed the most was the friendship between Jasmine and Mike and how that evolves, especially when Mike meets Jasmine's vulnerable sister.  There is also the relationship between Jasminie and her sister, which evolves a bit in the second half of the story, which was interesting to lean and follow.  

A slow paced story with not a lot of action but that was to be expected.  This was more a story about change for a lot of the characters in this story. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Book Review / The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

15 Aug 2021

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Book Review / Sooley by John Grisham

New York Times bestselling author John Grisham takes you to a different kind of court in his first basketball novel. Samuel "Sooley" Sooleymon is a raw, young talent with big hoop dreams...and even bigger challenges off the court.

In the summer of his seventeenth year, Sam­uel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basket­ball tournament. He has never been away from home, nor has he ever been on an airplane. The opportunity to be scouted by dozens of college coaches is a dream come true.


Samuel is an amazing athlete, with speed, quick­ness, and an astonishing vertical leap. The rest of his game, though, needs work, and the American coaches are less than impressed.


During the tournament, Samuel receives dev­astating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ran­sacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.


Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it's just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholar­ship. Samuel moves to Durham, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season. There is plenty of more mature talent and he isn't immediately needed.


But Samuel has something no other player has: a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America. He works tirelessly on his game, shooting baskets every morning at dawn by himself in the gym, and soon he's dominating everyone in practice. With the Central team los­ing and suffering injury after injury, Sooley, as he is nicknamed, is called off the bench. And the legend begins.
But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?

 

Published:     27th April 2021
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


 

MY REVIEW

I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.  No, I am not a sports fan and no I've no idea how basketball is played or scored or anything else like that but I know I love John Grisham's writing and knew that I didn't have to know much about the sport as he explains most parts of how they are playing at any given moment.  I also know that this is only part of the story.  The other part is following Sooley and his life around the sport as well, right from the beginning back at home to traveling all teh way to the United States to play the sport that he loves so much.

What I loved the most about this story is the character of Sooley.  I enjoyed following his story from being chosen to join a showcase basketball tournament so he can show if his talents, following as he leans more and more about the sport that he enjoys playing and watching him as both the sport and the new world around him changes him.

This is a slow paced novel and I expected that so yes it took longer for me to get through but I enjoyed every minute.  

Its not often that a story will make me cry but this one did at the end.  I am not going to tell you whether they were happy tears or sad tears but there were tears.  This story moved me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Aug 2021

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Book Review / The Guardians by John Grisham

In the small north Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues behind. There were no witnesses, no real suspects, no one with a motive. The police soon settled on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.

Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison with no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.

Guardian handles only a few innocence cases at a time, and Post is its only investigator. He travels the South fighting wrongful convictions and taking cases no one else will touch. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy exonerated.

They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another one without a second thought.

Published:     15th October 2019
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought

 


MY REVIEW

 

I have discovered that one of my favourite thriller plot lines is when the murder or action has been committed at the beginning of the novel and the rest of the novel is trying to figure out what happened and who done it.  I hadn't realised until recently that was a theme that I tend to gravitate towards quite often.   This novel was one of those style stories. You have someone shot dead at their desk with assumedly no clues left behind and no motives.  What follows is police making assumptions, maybe, an arrest and then an organisation called the Guardian Ministries, who are an innocent group, are contacted to help prove that person who was arrested previously may not have done it. 

What I loved the most was both the twists and turns in this novel and following an innocence group getting involved to try and prove the prisoner innocent.   Its always unbelievable but believable to me  that people can get arrested on assumptions and imprisoned when they are innocent.  That's not to say I am going to tell you if the prisoner in this story is innocent or not, that will be for you to decide if you pick up this book, but its an interesting process to follow and one that I had not read all that much of previously. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 Aug 2021

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Book Review / The Reckoning by John Grisham

October 1946, Clanton, Mississippi

Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son--a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it--to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family--was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.
In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete's defense attorney tries desperately to save him.

 

 

Published:     23rd October 2018
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned
 

 


MY REVIEW

 

I adore all of the novels written by John Grisham but there are a select few that are placed higher than most and this was one of them.  This was my first time reading The Reckoning so I had no idea what was going on.

In this story we see Pete Banning shoot his pastor without any remorse it seems.  Of course, there is more to this story than meets the eye  and I honestly was on the edge of my seat reading this until the very last page.  

What I loved the most about this story is not only do you follow Pete Banning in current day with the shooting and what happens but also you get to see his past and what led up to the moment that made him 'snap'.   

This is not a fast paced novel, so its not one of those that you can keep the pages turning and there's more and more action.  It is slow paced and you are watching as the action unfolds, both in present day and in the past.   Sometimes I can get caught up in action in a fast paced novel and can sometimes miss important parts of a novel that I would have picked up on if it was a slower pace.  Yes, this did take me longer to read but, for me, it was worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 Aug 2021

Series Reading Project / Cursebreakers Series by Brigid Kemmerer

As well as The Court of Thorns and Roses series, this was a series that I wanted to pick up and read sooner rather than later.  A Vow So Bold in Deadly having been released this year (2021) was the third book in this series that I had bought but not yet read.  I had read the first book in the series but not the other two.  

I am not sure whether this is just going to remain as a trilogy or have more books coming soon, but I hope there are more books to read in this world.  How it left at the end of book 3 was a resolution of sorts but I was most certainly left with the feeling that there was so much more left in this world that I want to learn.  

There wasn't anything specific that I had an issue with in this series but I am very curious about the ending of A Vow So Bold and Deadly where it was, for me, left a bit open ended and not a real conclusion but I am hoping for either more in this series or maybe a spinoff?

What I loved the most about this trilogy is the romance.  What you think might be the perfect romance at the beginning has a twist in the tale a way in and what comes after that is better than what you had read before that.  I don't wait to give away spoilers to those who have not yet read this trilogy, so that is why I am not being specific here but for those of you who have read this trilogy you will know what I mean. 

 

 


 

 

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