20 Sep 2017

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Book Review / Songs About Us by Chris Russell


A modern love story for the Zoella generation - for anyone who has ever dreamed of being 'with the band'.

Two months on from the explosive finale to book one, Charlie's life is almost back to normal again: rebuilding her relationship with her father, hanging out with best mate Melissa, and worrying about GCSEs. All the while, Gabe's revelations about her mother are never far from her mind. And neither is Gabe.

It's not long before Charlie is pulled back into the world of Fire&Lights - but the band seem different this time. But then again, so is she...

Meanwhile, tensions between Gabe and Olly continue to run high, leading to more turmoil between the band members and press than ever before. But when Gabriel and Charlie stumble upon yet another startling truth that links them together - everything they have stands to implode in front of them.

Biographical Notes

At the age of thirteen, Chris Russell formed pop/rock band The Lightyears with his best friends from school. Since then, The Lightyears have toured all over the world, performing everywhere from Wembley Stadium to Glastonbury, and trashing a grand total of zero hotel rooms. In 2013, after a three-month stint ghostwriting for a One Direction fan club, Chris developed an obsession with boy bands and came up with the idea for Songs About a Girl. He is currently busy writing the next book in the series, gigging with The Lightyears and fanboying in the general direction of Harry Styles.

Published:     13th July 2017
Publisher:  Hodder
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  13th July 2017
Source:  Library




MY REVIEW

I can't tell you how excited I was to discover that book 2 in this series (Songs about a Girl) was out.  I read the first book, Songs about a Girl, last year I believe and absolutely adored it.  I could not wait to jump back in to see what was going to happen next.  This book was like visiting an old friend.  I immediately remembered all the characters and what had happened previously and was ready to follow what was going to happen next with Charlie and the others from the band, as well as her best friend.  Of course, as this is book two in a series I can't reveal too much of what happened in this book but I can tell you I read this book in one sitting, could not put it down!  There is a lot more family history revealed in this book and that was certainly one of the main reasons I couldn't put this down.

I just cannot wait to see what happens in book 3..........




Continue reading Book Review / Songs About Us by Chris Russell

18 Sep 2017

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Book Review / The Lying Game by Ruth Ware


The text message is just three words: I need you.

Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her now.

Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn't seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn't a safe place for them, after what they did.

At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?

And how much can you really trust your friends?

Published:     15th June 2017
Publisher:  Harvill Secker
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  Right in the middle of my thriller reading kick I discovered Ruth Ware and loved The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark Dark Wood.  So I was obviously excited about reading this one!  The one aspect I absolutely adore about Ruth Ware's stories is the suspense.  There's a lot of it and its good.  Right from the word go I was hooked in following Isa as she gets the mysterious text message that calls her back to her home town for some mysterious reason that we have yet to discover.  From then on it was all about what happened when she and her friends were younger and what are they trying to hide?  That, by far, was my favourite part of this book.  The suspense and wanting to find out what happened next. 

What I didn't like about this story...  As much as I did enjoy this story, there were a couple of aspects of this book that I wasn't particularly fond of.  The first of which is the presence of Isa's baby daughter.  I could not understand why she took her daughter with her and not left her with the baby's father.  She obviously knew that the situation she was getting into was dangerous, why on earth would you take your baby there as well?  There was also as aspect of the story where the baby daughter was used as a plot twist which I didn't particularly like because to me it was obviously that was the only reason she was in that particular scene.  The ending was also a bit blah for me.  It was an ok ending but not as explosive as I was expecting. 

 In summary...   A great suspense with the same feel as her previous books.  Although there were parts of this book that I didn't like it is definitely worth picking up to find out for yourself what you think.   If you have not tried reading a Ruth Ware book, I would honestly start with In a Dark Dark Wood as that was my favourite.





Continue reading Book Review / The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

13 Sep 2017

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Book Review / Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
 

Published:     26th July 2016
Publisher:  Crown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story... This book was weird and I kind of liked it!  I certainly have not read anything like this before.  You have the main character, Jason Dessen, who is attacked by a mysterious character and knocked unconscious.  The next thing he knows he awakes being surrounded by strangers in a world that he does not recognise.  How can he find his way back to his family?  Maybe the way back is not as easy as it seems.  What I liked the most was the fact that things were definitely not all as it seemed.  You might think that this is a case of finding out who the attacker was and why he did it would be very simple, but its not.  I liked the fact that this book took a turn into the unexpected, for many reasons that I won't go into as that would spoil the story but for this reason it is definitely worth picking it up to give it a try.


What I didn't like about this story...   Despite the above, there were one or two things that didn't quite gel with me with this story.  Once I got to about halfway the story got very repetitive where Jason was trying to find his way back to his family and failing many times.  The ending to this story was just straight up weird but interesting.  I liked that part but felt that there was a particular character that I felt was unbelievably trusting and I certainly would not be in the circumstances that character faced.

In summary..  This book is definitely worth a try but bear in mind that it can be a bit repetitive and certainly takes a turn for the weird (in a good way).  


Continue reading Book Review / Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

11 Sep 2017

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Book Review / The Mayfly by James Hazel


It's happening again.

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .


Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant, yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge.

Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment.
With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?


Published:     15th June 2017
Publisher:  Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Charlie Priest
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

At 432 pages long it is not a short book but that didn't stop me from picking it up one Sunday morning and not stop reading until I reached the final page, only stopping for lunch!  Every time I thought I should put the book done and do something productive, I turned the page and someting else happened that made me keep reading!

We follow Charlie Priest as he investigates a murder that is far more complicated than he had ever imageined.  Stretching as far  back as the second world war.  If this had just been a murder mystery without the WWII element to it, it would have been an ok read for me.  It was the sense of history catching up to the present that kept me reading, not wanting to put this book down.

The suspense in this book, for me, was high calibre (along with the rest of the book).  It was the one of the main reasons I kept reading.  I had to know what happened next and what would happen at the end not to mention having to figure out the characters and their motives, which was hard enough as I was never sure if the person I am reading about is who they say they are.  And that ending...  What a twist!

James Hazel is now a must read author for me.  I can't wait to read more!




Continue reading Book Review / The Mayfly by James Hazel

10 Sep 2017

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Author Interview / Blog Tour - The Mother by Jaime Raven


I’ve taken your daughter, as punishment for what you did …

Prepare to be gripped by the heart-stopping new thriller from the author of The Madam.

South London detective Sarah Mason is a single mother. It’s a tough life, but Sarah gets by. She and her ex-husband, fellow detective Adam Boyd, adore their 15-month-old daughter Molly.

Until Sarah’s world falls apart when she receives a devastating threat: Her daughter has been taken, and the abductor plans to raise Molly as their own, as punishment for something Sarah did.

Sarah is forced to stand back while her team try to track down the kidnapper. But her colleagues aren’t working fast enough to find Molly. To save her daughter, Sarah must take matters into her own hands, in a desperate hunt that will take her to the very depths of London’s underworld.




  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

Answer: James Patterson. I know he churns them out like a factory but his books are always tightly-written and well-plotted. It would be fascinating to see how he works. His style and short chapters are often criticised but they’re popular with readers and he’s not the world’s top selling thriller writer for nothing.

  1. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

Answer: I’m one of those authors who writes in longhand before committing anything to a computer. I fill up hundreds of notebooks every year. My day almost always begins with a long walk to one of the many coffee shops in Southampton, where I live. There are two reasons for this – firstly I get some exercise and secondly the time I spend drinking coffee is usually the most productive of my day. For some reason the words flow more easily when I’m among other people rather than cooped up in my tiny office at home.

  1. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Answer: I find the hardest part of writing is coming up with the first sentence of the next chapter. When I’m working on a book I try to write at least one chapter every day. Often I’ll sit up late until I come up with that first line. It’s a psychological thing, I suppose. Once I’m off the starting block I have an idea where the chapter is taking me and it’s easier to get stuck in.

  1. When and why did you first start writing?

Answer: I started writing as a teenager and finished my first book at fifteen, but it wasn’t good enough to send to publishers. It was my mother who got me interested in writing because she was a big Agatha Christie fan and this encouraged me to read as well. Once I started I couldn’t stop and I was soon coming up with my own ideas that I thought would make good stories. Before long I was writing them down and there was no stopping me.


  1. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Answer: The idea for The Mother came from a newspaper report about child abduction. It unsettled me because I have children of my own. I then began to explore the possibility of writing a book about a child who goes missing. However, I discovered that there are quite a lot of them out there so I knew it would have to have something that would set it apart. That was when I hit on the idea of a baby being taken by someone purely as an act of revenge against the mother. There’s a lot more to it than that but I don’t want to give too much away.

  1. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

Answer: I do read as much as I can, usually about three books a month. I stick to the crime/thriller genre and that way I pick up lots of ideas. I’ve just finished reading Her Last Breath by Tracy Buchanan which I really enjoyed. I’m now half way through Perfect Prey by Helen Fields.

  1. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Answer: My advice to aspiring writers is to ignore most of the advice you’ll receive and do what feels right for you. Read as many books as you can to learn how other authors do it. And never be discouraged by bad reviews. We all get them.







Continue reading Author Interview / Blog Tour - The Mother by Jaime Raven

5 Sep 2017

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Book Review / Moonrise by Sarah Crossan


'They think I hurt someone.
But I didn't. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.'

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?


Published:     7th September 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  I wasn't sure what I was getting into reading this book.  I really wasn't prepared for how heartbreaking this story would be.  I can't tell you how much I cried reading this and that was not just for the ending.  This was the first time I have read a novel which is written solely in verse.  With that and the plot, it just made this book such an emotional read for me.   You have Ed who is on death row, scheduled to be executed any time now.   Joe is Ed's brother who travels to where Ed is to see him again.  For me, the best part of this story was following Joe and Ed, see how they get along and find out what happened in the past although some of the facts are kept vague so you can come to your own conclusion.  I really wanted to wish all the best for Ed but at the same time wondering did he do what he was on death row for?  With this book, you also get to see the effects of death row on the family around the prisoner.   That, for me, was the best part of this novel. 

What I didn't like about this story...  This story gives you the choice of whether Ed committed the crime or not.  He must have done because he was on death row or he can't have done because of this, that and the other.  Although not knowing but make me think more about the story, I would preferred to have had a definate answer and be able to concentrate on the effects of what was happening with Ed's family. 



Continue reading Book Review / Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

3 Sep 2017

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Book Review / Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes



Published:     15th April 2014
Publisher:  Walker Childrens
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Bought




MY REVIEW

I was on the look out for a relaxing summer read that I could also laugh along with.  This one definitely hit the right spot.  Reagan O'Neill is the main character in this story who has broken up with her boyfriend and gets swept into the world of her best friend and country superstar Lilah Montgomery.  Along with following the story of these two best friends, we follow Reagan as she is pulled into this celebrity lifestyle and seeing if she will find happiness.  We also have the story of Lilah who it may seem that she has it all but does she?  

I wanted something easy to read, romantic with elements of comedy and that is exactly what I found here with this book.  A great read for the summer.







Continue reading Book Review / Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

29 Aug 2017

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Book Review / The Escape by CL Taylor



The new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Accident, The Lie and The Missing.

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"



When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

Published:     23rd March 2017
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW


Now this story was a roller coaster ride!  You have Jo Blackmore, the main character, who we follow throughout the story.  Right from the start of this story I had the feeling that there was more to the story and more to certain characters than meets the eye.  What I enjoyed most was the suspense aspect to the story.  You have Jo meet a stranger on the street who she thinks is only a stranger, but she's not.  She knows more about Jo and her family than she should.  Someone in this story has a secret past, trying to figure out who that was was the best part for me.  I just could not put it down!  I have to be honest and say that there were a few parts in the middle of the book that dragged a bit but once I went over that halfway point and certain things happened I could not stop reading!

If you are after a great suspense build up, this is the perfect book to pick up.






Continue reading Book Review / The Escape by CL Taylor

Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson







Love and longing in the bright lights of London…
A ballerina dies, a nation mourns – and a legend is born. Sixteen years later, Ava comes to London to learn about the famous mother she never knew. With actor Seb at her side, there’s so much to discover in this crazy, colourful city. Like Theatreland razzmatazz and rooftop picnics and flamingo parties. And a whole world of truths Ava never knew about her mother – and herself. Can Ava step out of the shadow cast by her mother’s pedestal? And will Seb be waiting for her there, in the light?

Kindle Scout link


About the Author

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte writes the kinds of books she loves to read: soulful, coming-of-age romance. She lives in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children, and when she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a home library for her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

Connect online:
Website: http://bookishcharlotte.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookishcharlotte/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookishcharlotte/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15932269.Charlotte_Wilson





Continue reading Swan Song by Charlotte Wilson

28 Aug 2017

Book Extract / Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne


The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.
 
A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.
 
Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.
Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.



Chapter 11 p.104-106

Three fully leaded takeaway coffees later, Carly and a sick bag were on their way back to the train station. Leo was zoned out playing a game on Beths phone, so Carly and Beth were able to have a hushed conversation in the front of the hire car.

I cant believe you were going to kiss Jack, said Beth.

I wasnt!’ protested Carly, although she was scowling as she spoke. Well, it was only going to be a little kiss on the cheek not a full-on snog fest!’

You were not heading for his cheek!’

That was probably the wine doing the steering, said Carly glumly rearranging her sick bag.
Why were you going to kiss him at all? You dont know him, hes a stranger and you have Fergus.
He said something lovely but I cant remember what, said Carly pulling the same face she pulled when she accidentally switched on University Challenge and tried to join in. She sighed. ‘Im sorry I was drunk.

And what did you talk about anyway?’

Im so sorry, but I cant remember, said Carly, hugging the sick bag as Beth went a little too fast over another village speed bump.

Nothing at all?’

Nope. Carly shook her head. Ouch. Wishing I hadnt done that, she said, putting a hand to her forehead.

Me too, muttered Beth.

Are you and he you know?’ asked Carly.

No! Seriously, do you think I would get involved with someone else so quickly after Nick? Or even get involved with anyone at all after Nick?’ Beths voice was rising.

I dont know. Carlys expression was pained. No. Of course not. Again, very sorry.

Good, said Beth, relaxing her tight grip on the steering wheel. They bumped along the hedgerow-lined lane in silence for a while before Carly spoke. You cant pledge not to have any more relationships because of Nick.

I can, said Beth with a snort.

You shouldnt, said Carly, as Beth opened her mouth to contest. ‘I dont want to argue. I’m your friend and I’m just saying, you never know. And while I’m at it from what I can remember Jack was really nice to me, so don’t judge him the same as Nick. If he wants to help you, give him a chance.’ ‘I’m thinking he might not want to do that after today,’ said Beth and she started to grind her teeth.





Continue reading Book Extract / Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne