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



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!








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29 Aug 2021


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




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


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




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


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



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




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




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




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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10 Aug 2021

Series Reading Project / A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

With the release of A Court of Silver Flames this year (2021), there was no question that I was going to read that the same year that it came out.

What I can't do with series is just read the latest book that comes out and means that more often than not I will wait until the series has been completed before I pick them up, so I can read them from start to finish.  I made an exception with this series as I knew I loved this author's writing style having read and loved her Throne of Glass series.  That means that with each release that comes out I will re-read the books that came before it before I read the latest version.  That way I make the most of the story and the world in what has come before and what I have yet to lean in the new release.

I have never been disappointed with Sarah J Maas novels to date (the only book I haven't read yet is Crescent City but that's on my list for very soon) and this series was no different.  I loved this, including A Court of Frost and Starlight although it probably doesn't add a great deal to the series a whole it does give more insight into the world and worth picking up.

I was a bit skeptical when finally being able to pick up and read A Court of Silver Flames as this story concentrates on a character that I really didn't care for much in this story for so far but on reading the story it soon changed my mind and, in fact, I liked that character's story a lot more than the original characters.

From Goodreads, it looks like there are going to be two more books in this series and I can't wait to read what happens next...








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9 Aug 2021

Read all Cecelia Ahern Novels / An Update

Another one of my projects this year was to read all of the novels written by Cecelia Ahern.  

Over the years, I have been picking these up having read PS I Love You and one or two others around the same time longer than recent years and really enjoying them.  This reading project has lasted a couple of years, picking them up every now and again when I feel in the mood to read this style of story.  I always find that is the best way for me to pick up the books I read nowadays rather than setting a TBR.  Setting 'projects' as a long term goal seems to motivate me more to pick up those books rather than picking up the shiny new releases (although I do pick those up too!)

If I had to choose, I would say that my favourites include If You Could See Me Now and the Flawed duology.   Although I did re-read If You Could See Me Now recently and I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first time around, I still enjoyed the story, which I would describe as magical.  The Flawed Duology is one of my favourites simply because of the message that it gives.  This duology is aimed at Young Adults, but can be read by any one of any age, but sends out a message that you don't have to be perfect.  No one is perfect.

If I had to choose the book that I liked the least, I would have to say The Gift but that's for purely personal reasons.  I don't usually like Christmas novels and this one definatley is one of those. 

As you will see from the picture below, I have now completed this project (yey!); the last books read were PS I Love you and Postscript.  

I can't wait to see what comes next for this author. 







Continue reading Read all Cecelia Ahern Novels / An Update

6 Aug 2021

Read All John Grisham Novels / An Update

For the past year and a half, even before the first lockdown happened, I have been working my way through reading all the novels written by John Grisham, who is one of my most favourite authors of all time.  I can remember the first time I picked up and read one of his novels.  It was The Testamaent. It was back when I was around 18 and I was getting back into reading again after not reading very much in my teenage years.  The story blew me away with its complex family dynamics and adventure.  The next one I remember picking up straight after that one was the Street Lawyer, which is a completely different style of novel but one that I enjoyed just as much.  That was when I knew I loved this author!

So far I have read those that are ticked below.  I can't believe that I only have three left.  Apologies for not updating this blog with how my reading has been going with this project but there's plenty more projects to be completed this year that I will be updating you on and plans for the next couple of years I can't wait to start... 

So, here is where I am so far...

(All credit for the pictures are from John Grisham's author website here - https://www.jgrisham.com/books/)


I can't believe that I have only a few more to read and then I will have read all John Grisham's published works to date!  I have had so much fun working my way through these novels.

Hoping to finish these by the end of this year and plan to pick up A Time to Kill as a re-read first as, from what I have read, A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row and A Time for Mercy all connect to each other in some way and I want to immerse myself fully in the story from start to finish to get the maximum benefit from the story.  There is then the new release coming in October (in the UK) which I also can't wait for!








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5 Aug 2021


Book Review / The Time of my Life by Cecelia Ahern

Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she's been ignoring it and it needs to meet with her face to face.

It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.

But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.



Published:     13th October 2011
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Bought



What I like the most about picking up a Cecelia Ahern book is things are not always what they seem.  You may get one or two (or maybe more) characters that are portrayed as one thing but are really meant to be another.   I really enjoy that element of trying to figure out what is going on.

With this novel, I do have to admit that I did figure it out quite early on what was going on but that didn't stop me enjoying the ride this story too me.  In fact, I think that was the point of the story, to figure out what was going on early on and watch as Lucy deals with this new situation she is in.

What I enjoyed the most was following Lucy's journey throughout the story.  In the start we really see her as a mess and as the story goes along we see her change.  For me, the plot of the story was ok but the characterisation and journey of the main character made this an enjoyable read for me.  









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1 Aug 2021


Book Review / Layla by Colleen Hoover

 From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.


Published:     8th December 2020
Publisher:  Montlake
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




I thought it was about time I got back into another Colleen Hoover book, as it has been so long.  I do enjoy her books and her writing style is always something I enjoy but I find that there is always some kind of moral drama or question that I always have coming out of her books that lasts for days that I need to be in the right mood to pick one up.

Well, this book was fairly twisted and intriguing at the same time.  I spent most of this book wondering what on earth was going on?!  My oh my, I was expecting a romance and yes it was a romance of some sort but very twisted and that ending I didn't see coming and was very good!

Would highly recommend!  If you haven't picked up a Colleen Hoover book this would be a good one to pick up to start with.



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