30 Apr 2021

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Book Review / Gray Mountain by John Grisham

John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.


Published:     21st October 2014
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




I have really enjoyed my re-reading of all of John Grisham's novels.  All of them have been great reads but there are always a few that seem to stand higher than that.  This is one of those for me.

One of the aspects that I loved about this is that this time we are following a main female character rather than a male character, which have been a theme for this author's previous novels.  We follow Samantha as she is kind of made redundant from her high powered job in the city.  Kind of, meaning that they want to still keep her on the hook, unpaid, doing free work while they sort the business out with the hope that they can re-hire her back again.  Samantha takes a non profit job at a legal aid clinic in Virginia.  

For me, what happens after Samantha arrives in Virginia is my favourite section of this novel.  As not only do we follow her adapting to her new circumstances, living in a new place but she also comes across the world of coal mining and learns just how dangerous it could be.  

Loved this and would highly recommend!





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26 Apr 2021

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Book Review / The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V E Schwab


 A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.




Published:     6th October 2020
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned





I have seen this book everywhere.  I usually don't cave into hyped books unless it is a book in a series that I am already invested and love, but this one just sounded really interested.  Someone who cannot die and after you meet her and leave her presence you will forget her.  Sounded amazing.

 And I was right...  This book was amazing.  Not only do you have the history of when she was made 'immortal' back in 1714 but you also see her through the years up to present day.  You see her struggle to get used to what is happening to her and then see her how she has adapted to get on with it.  Addie Larue is not a weak character either.  She knows how to play a game and she plays this one very well, right until the very end of the story.  You also have an element of romance in this book which although, for me, was a side story in this novel I still enjoyed it

Such a wonderful novel.  I will certainly be picking up more form this author at some point in the future!









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18 Apr 2021

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Book Review / The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


Published:     24th January 2019
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




I am always cautious when I read comments that say something like For Fans of .....  you'll like this one as most of the time they are just not the same, but I have to admit that this one was kind of true.  This one was marketed for fans of Ruth Ware.  I am certainly a fan of Ruth Ware, so I thought I would give this a go and I loved it. 

This book kept me at the edge of my seat and not wanting to put it down.  There are a lot of characters to remember in this book but, for me, they were all introduced very well so I didn't really struggle with remembering who was who.  The only problem I had was trying to figure out who had died (as you are not told this at the beginning) and who was the murderer.  I honestly didn't guess either of these until the very end because the possibilities for mostly all the characters was too great!

 Loved this book and can't wait to read more from this author!







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15 Apr 2021

Book Review / Treasure by Oyinkan Braithwaite

A darkly comic short story of class divide, the lives we invent, and the very real risks of preserving an Insta-fame facade by the award-winning author of My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Treasure is a wannabe Instagram influencer in Lagos, Nigeria. She shows off a luxurious life in a gated community that her almost five thousand followers can only dream of. @Sho4Sure is determined to be part of it. The macho mechanic is Treasure’s number one fan, and double taps and blushing emojis are no longer enough. He needs to meet her in the flesh. If only Treasure were more prepared for destiny.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s Treasure is part of Hush, a collection of six stories, ranging from political mysteries to psychological thrillers, in which deception can be a matter of life and death. Each piece can be read or listened to in one truly chilling sitting



Published:     30th July 2020
Publisher:  Amazon Original Stories
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




For a dark story, I really did enjoy this and it was fun to read.  I know that this story was only meant to be a short 31 page story but I would have loved to have had this as a full length novel with lots of added twists and turns.  

I would say that this is a short and sharp eye opener for those who regularly use social media...

I will certainly be picking up more from this author.





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Book Review / My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.


Published:     10th March 2020
Publisher:  Fourth Estate
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




This was a very disturbing read!  We follow Vanessa as she both reminises about her 'relationship' with her former English teacher and in present day where she still has contact with the English teacher who seems to still have a hold on her. 

I honestly wasn't prepared for how graphic this story was and how it went into details of a lot of the 'relationship' Vanessa had when she was younger.  

This book was certainly an eye opener into how awful some people can be and how some people can unknowingly get themselves into situations they may not know or be able to get out of. 

A twisted and uncomfortable ready but certainly interesting.







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4 Apr 2021


Book Review / When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

The gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?


Published:     1st September 2020
Publisher:  William Morrow
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




I have to be honest and say that this book was not at all on my radar but heard about it through the Literally Dead Book Club which is on Goodreads and hosted by Booksandlala on You Tube.  I am a massive fan of thrillers, so I thought I would give this a go.  Why not!

We follow Sydney who has lived in her Brooklyn neighbood all her life.  With her mother ill and not living at home at the moment, Sydney is on her own.  She can't shake the feeling that she is being watched or followed.  She also notices a lot of changes in the neighbourhood with for sale signs popping up, people she has known her entire life moving away or just play outright disappearing.  Something isn't right.  With the help of a neighbour, Theo, they delve into the history of the neighbourhood.

Yes, I did enjoy reading this book and was certainly very intrigued as to what on earth was going in the neighbourhood and who was 'watching' Sydney.  For me, this story dragged a lot with plenty of places throughout where I could have easily put this down and not picked it up again.  Maybe it was my mistaken expectations but I was hoping for a twist or spectacular ending that just didn't land for me.  Very predictable.  That said, I really did enjoy the writing and would certainly look at some point in the  future to pick up another book from this author.








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3 Apr 2021


Book Review / Horrid by Katrina Leno

From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father's death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor's doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone...and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident "bad seed," struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane's mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won't reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the "storage room" her mom has kept locked isn't for storage at all--it's a little girl's bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears....

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more...horrid?


Published:     15th September 2020
Publisher:  Little Brown Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




A haunting contemporary horror novel.  That was the first words I read for this novel and I knew that I had to pick it up.  Well, that and the interesting cover.  Why would someone have roses in their eyes?  That was the one part that intrigued me the most. 

We follow Jane when she, and her mom, move to her grandmother's home in her mom's home town.  There's a lot of history to the house and the family that had lived there for so long  So many secrets that want to be told.  

Just a heads up, but this story does deal with a lot of hard hitting issues such as grief, death, murder and certainly mental illness.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what on earth was going on.   This story was very weird and I loved it!  The best part for me was the secrets both within the house and within other aspects that I won't tell you because I don't want to spoil it for you.  This is definately a very spooky book as you never know what is 'around the corner' and a book that I certainly did not read at night!







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Book Review / The Racketeer by John Grisham

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.

Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Published:     23rd October 2012
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



I have absolutely adored each and every John Grisham novel I have read so far but there are some that I have enjoyed more than that and this is one of them.  There were so many twists and turns, this just kept me on the edge of my seat right the way very way through this entire novel.

We follow Malcolm who at the start of the novel is situated in a prison for a crime that I won't go into here but best delved into when you pick up this book.  He knows something and can use this to bargain for his hopeful freedom.  At first, he is not taken seriously but as time goes on maybe he knows more than what the authorities think he does.  

A wonderfully twisty and turny novel that, as I mentioned above, kept me at the edge of my seat.  What I believed at the start of the novel was not necessarily what I believed at the end of the novel and I loved that feeling of being on the edge and not really knowing what is true and what is false.








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