27 Mar 2017

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Book Review / Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies


A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author
 
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule.

Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .


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






MY REVIEW

This book took me completely by surprise.  I picked up this one firstly (and honestly) it was the cover that drew me in.  That gorgeous blue and the Indian backdrop; it just intrigued me.  Bright coloured covers always draw me in; sometimes for the better but not always!  Its been a little while since I had read a historical fiction book and I felt now was a good time to pick another one up (I am a very seasonal reader and tend to pick up more complicated, historic, thriller like books in the autumn and winter months and reading more lighter, mostly romantic, reads in the spring and summer.

What I loved about this book.  I could talk for a very long time about this but just to name a few...  Firstly, the romance side of it.  There's a bit of a will they wont' they situation going on between Jay and Eliza.  You then have each of their backgrounds, both completely different but linked for some reason that I won't spoil right now in this review.  I liked that twist in the story; a twist that I was not expecting at all!  I also liked the fact that despite it being 1930 when women were supposed to be seen and not heard, Eliza was not one of those women.  She was different and it was very interesting to watch her struggle to get along with the many people that she came across.  Along with the above, you also have the history and the ways of the people in 1930s India.  Some very interesting and some very disturbing things that I learnt and I very much hope do not still go on today in real life.

This book just swept me away.  I enjoyed every last word and will definitely be picking up more by this author. 

Continue reading Book Review / Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

19 Mar 2017

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Series Review / Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling


Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.


Published:     7th March 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 7, Harry Potter



MY REVIEW

One of my New Year resolutions this year was to re-read Harry Potter.  The last time I read the Harry Potter books was back when they first came out; purchasing them as soon as they came out and then reading them instantly, so its been a while.  I decided this time that I would listen to them on audio book, mainly because Stephen Fry (who is amazing) is the narrator and because I thought it would be interesting to read it in a different way to what I had read it before, so I can see whether I still enjoy the experience just in a different way of reading it.

As you can see I have given these books and the experience a massive 5 stars.  I absolutely loved it!  I started listening to it at the beginning of January and literally just finished it a day ago.  It has taken me a while, bearing in mind I only listen to audio books to and from my journey to work but I have looked forward to listening to these books.  Not once did I lose my place or think that it was getting boring.  Apart from obviously enjoying following Harry, Ron and Hermione I especially enjoyed the characters of Snape and Dumbledore.

In conjunction with listening to the audio books, I also watched the movies.  When I had finished watching one audio book I then watched the movie.  I hadn't realised how many bits were missing from the movie!  There are so many different scenes - some that I think were important and some that were just 'filler scenes' but still added to the actually story - that were missing.  If you have watched and love the Harry Potter movies but have not yet read the books you should, there's so much more you can learn from the books than with the movies.

Finally, one of my most favourite things about the audio books has to be the narrator, Stephen Fry.  I think he is an amazing chap anyway but his voice with these books just fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  Boy's voices and girl's voices, he can do both very well.  There were times when I had completely forgotten that it was Stephen Fry narrating because the voices were that good! 




Continue reading Series Review / Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

16 Mar 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

The quiet town of Hartwell is the perfect place to get away from it all – and find what you never knew you needed . . .

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content – her successful business, a close circle of friends and her steady boyfriend . . . even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realise he's made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he's never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they've found together only comes around once in a lifetime . . .

Published:     7th March 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Hart's Boardwalk
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW 

One of the best things about finding a book that you loved reading is to discover that there is a book 2!  I was so excited when I found out this even existed I knew I had to read it straight away.  You have all the same characters that were in the first book with a few added extras.  In book 1 we followed the story of Jessica who was new and we saw her journey.  This time we follow Bailey who has lived on Hart's Boardwalk her entire life.  

If I was asked to pick one thing that I liked the most about this book I don't think that I can.  There are so many aspects of this story that made it great for me.  You have Vaughn who Bailey has a love hate relationship with.  You then have the dispute between Bailey and her family and the Devlins who want to take over her business.  Along with that you have many other little things that all make up a great story.  Added to that you have the return of Bailey's sister who is not a character I particularly liked in this story but it was very entertaining to read!  

If you haven't picked up this series yet, you need to!  I will say that this is more on the romance side and does contain a few 'sexy times', but even if this is not your thing do give it a go as this story is so much more than that.



 
Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

14 Mar 2017

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Book Review / Stargazing for Beginners Jenny McLachlan

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.




Published:     6th April 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

Now, I have a few things to say about this one.  Firstly, I will say that the writing in this book is really good and I will definately be reading more from this author.  I liked her style and the way that she dealt with a very difficult situation.  Next, to put it bluntly this book made me very angry.  I think this is more because I am reading this book from an older person perspective (i'm 35) rather than a younger adult reading this.  If I had read this book ten or twenty years ago I think I would have loved it and took the story at face value.  Reading this book now, the actions of Meg's mother and grandfather just makes me angry.  How could a mother just up and leave her children to fend for themselves and not even seem bothered about it?  How could a grandfather be so flippant about the fact that his daughter has left his grandchildren to fend for themselves.  Not only that but he lets them live on their own with no supervision or help.  That just makes me angry at those characters and is the main reason I kept reading because I wanted to make sure they were ok.  

Angriness aside, I did really enjoy following Meg at school and seeing how she gets in with trying to win the competition to visit NASA headquarters.  I really was rooting for her.  

I had so many conflicting emotions with this book.  I did enjoy reading it but the subject matter made me very angry and made this uncomfortable reading for me.    
Continue reading Book Review / Stargazing for Beginners Jenny McLachlan

10 Mar 2017

Blog Tour / The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll

About the book: Retired detective T.J. Peterson is working the table scraps that his former partner, Danny Little, sometimes throws his way. One of them has Peterson hearing from a snitch about a body buried 30 years ago, the same time a drug kingpin went MIA. Peterson is also ducking an ex-con with a grudge, a hitman who likes playing jack-in-the-box with a 12 gauge. Then a former lover re-enters Peterson’s life and begs him to find her daughter, an addict who knows too much about the local drug trade for her own safety. The search for the girl and the truth about the 30-year-old corpse takes Peterson down into the hell of it all, deep into the underworld of crack houses, contract killing, money laundering, and crooked professionals doubling down on their investments of black money.

About the author: Bob Kroll has been a professional writer for more than 35 years. His work includes books, stage plays, radio dramas, TV documentaries, and historical docu-dramas for museums. The Hell of It All is the second novel in a projected trilogy featuring T.J. Peterson. Kroll lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit Bob Kroll’s website to learn more about him.

Available: March 14.

EXERPT

Chapter One (cont’d)
Continued from March 9 on Do Some Damage

You think I’m an errand boy?” Peterson said. “You thought wrong. You’re holding both ends of the same stick. Wrong word whispered in the wrong place, and someone opens you like a Ziploc. You’re no undercover hero. You’re a goddamn snitch!”
Turtle’s mouth moved, but no words came out.
So what’s your bargaining chip?” Peterson pressed. “Otherwise I’m out of here, and your name gets scratched off the list. And you know what that means — you get no calls, no favours, and no insurance when the time comes and you need a good word for whatever charge comes your way. And if that’s not enough, try this on for size: The nice-guy call to child services about your old lady, the call Danny was going to make, it doesn’t happen.”
Turtle swallowed his first few words, then tried again. “I overhear things, bits and pieces. I take what I get, you understand? I don’t ask questions.”
What are you not asking questions about?”
About rag asses jumping drug deals, you hear what I’m saying? Wearing masks and shit. Heavy duty. They’re muscling hand to hand. Strictly petty cash. Pissing off a lot of people.”
Like who?”
Like Sammy O.”
You brought me out here to talk about Sammy O pissed off at someone ripping off drug dealers? You got to be kidding, right?” Peterson knew Sammy O as a six-foot overweight slob who swaggered around the north end. Sammy and his boys casing the neighbourhood meant bad news for anyone getting in their way.
There’s a body too.”
What body?”
Buried in Laurie Park, like thirty years ago.”
Whose body?”
They didn’t say.”
Who didn’t say?”
That’s something I ain’t giving right now.”
And when are you giving it?”
After you find the body, and I get what I want.”
Where in the park?”
In the campground.”
It must be forty acres under six inches of snow. You got a campsite number?”
Turtle shook his head.
We’re talking holes again, Turtle. The last time, you had us digging holes like we were gophers.”
The last time was on someone else’s say-so,” Turtle said. “This one I heard myself. And what are you griping about? The last time, you found the body.”
But not where you said it was.”
You never knew Jonah was missing. It was my heads-up that got the cops looking for Jonah. Same thing with what’s buried in the park. So I put something on the table, and now it’s your turn to put something up.”
For rag asses and a thirty-year-old body buried someplace you don’t know.”
A campsite.”
But you don’t know the number. There could be thirty, forty, maybe a hundred campsites in the park. You want us to dig up every one on your say-so?”


Excerpt to be continued on March 12 on Books, Life & Everything

Excerpted from The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll. © 2017 by Bob Kroll. All rights reserved. Published by ECW Press Ltd. www.ecwpress.com


Continue reading Blog Tour / The Hell of It All by Bob Kroll

7 Mar 2017

Month in Review / February 2017

February was a very interesting reading month for me.  February was the month where I had a few review copies of books provided by publishers that I needed to get read (and wanted to read, of course...).  For all of you who have followed me for a while now, you know what book I am going to say was my favourite of the month....   Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks!  I was a little nervous going into this one as it is one that I had not read before and I hoped that I would love it and I did.  Nicholas Sparks never fails to win me over with his writing, every time!!!  

Top marks for the month also have to go to The One, The Breakdown and The Witchfinder's Sister.  The One was really different to what I have read before and I just could not put it down.  The Breakdown was an emotional roller coaster with a lot of twists and turns, definitely kept me on my toes!  Finally there was The Witchfinder's Sister, which is historical fiction but loosely based on an actual real life person from the past.  I found this fascinating both because of what but also from the fact that I have actually visited a lot of the places mentioned in the book!

There were two that I didn't really warm to this month.  Eyes Like Mine took me a while to get into and I just found the whole story a bit confusing.  My Sister's Bones was an only an ok read for me also. 

BOOKS READ   




BOOKS PURCHASED/RECEIVED FOR REVIEW


THE BUTCHER'S HOOK (Bought)
Georgian London. Summer 1763.

Anne Jaccob is coming of age, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When she is taken advantage of by her tutor — a great friend of her father’s — and is set up to marry a squeamish snob named Simeon Onions, she begins to realize just how powerless she is in Georgian society. Anne is watchful, cunning, and bored.

Her saviour appears in the form of Fub, the butcher’s boy. Their romance is both a great spur and an excitement. Anne knows she is doomed to a loveless marriage to Onions and she is determined to escape with Fub and be his mistress. But will Fub ultimately be her salvation or damnation? And how far will she go to get what she wants



THE BOOK OF BERA (Received for Review)
The Book of Bera is a Viking adventure fantasy novel which follows the saga of Bera, a young Viking woman who is struggling to control her invisible twin spirit and develop her inherited gift of Sight.

On a long winter night, Bera is left to defend her stark village alone, and in the ensuing battle, her dear childhood friend, Bjorn, is killed. When soon after her father weds her to the chieftain of a rival clan, Bera realises the unthinkable: his second-in-command is responsible for her friend’s death. Though she must now learn how to be a wife and a stepmother to a hostile boy, Bera vows her revenge and sets off on a path to grow in power and hone her skills in the rough, macho clan into which she has been sold.

As her gifts continue to grow, her visions of looming disaster become more and more ominous until she has to make the ultimate choice: Will she choose revenge? Or will she succeed in leading her people to safety before it’s too late?



ECHOES IN DEATH (Received for Review)
This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?


BOURBON CREAMS AND TATTERED DREAMS (Received for Review)
Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.

Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean's, is hiring. Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.






Continue reading Month in Review / February 2017

6 Mar 2017

Blog Tour / The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott


THE CASTING COUCH

Oh, how I love choosing characters for my books!

Of course, I have some very consistent favourites – the perfect Tom Douglas is Jack Davenport. Check out this picture – he couldn’t be better. And my favourite Becky Robinson has to be Gemma Arterton.




But the main characters in The Sixth Window are slightly different.

We have Bernie Grey – a policeman, but a joker. A fun guy, good looking – a slightly younger Gerard Butler would do it for me. Bernie would only be around 38-40, and Gerard Butler is now slightly older, but he has the perfect look.



 

And then we have the very suspicious Ed Cooper. Mark Strong would be perfect – if once again a tad too old. But I always pictured Ed with no hair – in fact originally it was mentioned in the book, but was cut at some point!



The women created an interesting challenge. Natalie, the main female protagonist who is grieving the loss of her husband, Bernie, has red hair. She’s quite a gentle soul normally, although will of course fight to the death for her daughter. But in keeping with the red hair, I thought Jessica Chastain would be perfect.




Scarlett, Natalie and Bernie’s fifteen year old daughter, has inherited her mum’s red hair – which she hates – and her dad’s pale skin, which is even worse in her mind. I had the perfect photo of the girl who would play Scarlett, until I checked and found out she was thirty years old (and looks twelve), so I may have to pass on her.

But Alison, Natalie’s best friend who has a significant role to play, would be played by Jaimie Alexander. I love the pointed chin and the incredible eyes that look, just like Alison’s, as if they may hide some secrets.

Finally, we have to cast Lewis. He has such a pivotal role that I couldn’t leave him out, and there is one actor with the perfect look, and that’s Jake Gyllenhaal. Good looking, but with a hint of danger. 



Twitter: @RachelAbbott


Continue reading Blog Tour / The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott

1 Mar 2017

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Book Review / It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

 
Published:     2nd August 2016
Publisher:  Atrica Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

What I loved about this book...  I have read a couple of books by this author before and really enjoyed them so I decided to try out this one.  Instead of reading the description or watching a review, I decided to go into this blind, as an experiment to see where the story takes me.  The title of this book intrigued me, it could mean any number of things.  I think part of the not knowing what this was all about was the part that I enjoyed the most and would highly recommend going into this book blind if you haven't read it yet.  You have these two characters who meet and you know they like each other a lot from that first moment.  It took until quite a way into the book until we discovered what this story was all about and I have to say that I was surprised but kind of suspected that it could be a possibility.  A very interesting and uncomfortable subject to read about.  I have to say that I am now more determined than every to read everything Colleen Hoover has written, I like her writing style.  I think I may even attempt the going into books blind more often, I found it really fun!

What I didn't like about this book...   There wasn't anything in particular that I can pinpoint and say that I didn't like this part or that part.  For me, this book wasn't one of those that I was like 'Wow, that was amazing' by the time I got to the end but more 'that was really good, i'm glad I read it'.  That said, I would definitely re-read this at some point later.  I wonder what it will be like reading it the second time when I know all about the story.  I wonder whether it will be as good.  I'll have to find out, at some point.


Continue reading Book Review / It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

27 Feb 2017

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Book Review / My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood

ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO GO BACK?

Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and the memories it holds. Her sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

What secret has Kate stumbled upon?
And is she strong enough to uncover the truth . . . and make it out alive?










Published:     9th February 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this story...  After passing the hurdle mentioned below I did really enjoy this book.   I hadn't before read a book about someone suffering from PTSD so this was an interesting read for me.  After I understood a bit more about this the story made more sense to me.  At first I thought everything was a bit confusing but then understood that this was how it was meant to be because of what the main character was going through and what secret she has to uncover.   What I also liked about the book was the pace.  At the beginning it was very slow (maybe a bit too slow but looking back after finishing the story I understand why the story has to be slow) and when you get to the middle of the book and nearer the end it picks up rapidly until the end.  It took me a while to get through the first part of the book but by the time we come to the middle I fastened up with the pace. 


What I didn't like about this story...  Honestly, this book too me ages to read.  It was very confusing at the beginning with a lot of things happening, coming from different directions.  Looking back after having finished the book, I know now that this is what it was meant to be.  It took me a while to get into the story and really understand and appreciate what I was reading. 





Continue reading Book Review / My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood

23 Feb 2017

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Book Review / Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks


At thirty-two, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six-year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and a beautiful home. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear . . . and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down.

In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter London. Trying to launch his own business while grappling with the demise of his marriage, the only thing he knows for certain is that London must be sheltered from the consequences of these radical changes.

Then a chance encounter with an old flame tempts him to take a chance on love again, and with the loyal support of his parents and his wise older sister Marge, and in the hard-won lessons of fatherhood, Russ will finally come to understand the true nature of unconditional love.




Published:     4th October 2016
Publisher:  Sphere
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



MY REVIEW

When I sit down to read a Nicholas Sparks novel I usually know what I am going to get.  A dramatic romance with a few twists and turns and maybe a tragic ending.  This one was different for me.  I should mention first that I loved this book, from start to finish.  Not only do you have the story of Russell and his wife, where it is obvious from the very beginning that this relationship was doomed but you also have the story of London, their daughter and how she copes with this.  Alongside this you also have the story of Russell's family which in itself is a story on its own with a very emotional storyline.

This book also made me angry in places.  Not angry in a bad way but angry in a 'I really don't like this character and I want her to die or move away'' kind of angry and that was mainly directed at Russell's wife.  I found her completely unreasonable and selfish, especially when it came to their daughter London.  She would have her 'me time' on Saturdays, which is fine in itself but the 'me time' drags on longer and longer and she just seemed to care more about herself and what she wanted rather than what was best for her kid.  Russell, as her husband, should come into the equation but as it seemed that the relationship was not on the best terms I can understand why there might be a bit of friction there.

This was an interesting book to read and one that made me feel a lot of emotions when reading it (won't say which ones as that will spoil the story...) and emotions are one of the things that I love and expect to get when I read a Nicholas Sparks novel, he does them brilliantly!  A heartbreaking portrayal of the breakdown of a marriage, what happens during and what happens afterwards with a few twists and turns along the way. 
Continue reading Book Review / Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

21 Feb 2017

Book Feature / Roam by Erik Therme


When Kevin finds Sarah stranded by the side of the road, he’s more than willing to give her a ride. Young, beautiful and distraught—she’s everything a single guy could ask for in a girl. What he doesn’t know is that she already has a guy: an abusive, drunken boyfriend who left her there in a fit of rage. And when that boyfriend comes back and finds Sarah missing, a simple ride will turn deadly.



Website
 
Twitter
Amazon



Continue reading Book Feature / Roam by Erik Therme

18 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

A thrilling debut novel, a literary historical thriller based on the devastating witch hunts in 1640s England conducted by Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins for readers of Sarah Waters and Katherine Howe.

Before Salem, there was Manningtree. . . .

This summer, my brother Matthew set himself to killing women, but without ever once breaking the law.
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew s soul.
 

There is a new darkness in the town, too frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he s become, Alice is desperate to intervene and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul. 

Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother s brutal mission and is drawn into the Hopkins family s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils before more innocent women are forced to the gallows. 


Inspired by the real-life story of notorious Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with harrowing storytelling for a truly haunting reading experience.


Published:     2nd March 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

Its not often that I pick up a historical novel and on those occasions when I do I seem to strike gold and this book is no exception to that.  I love a good witch story and what makes this even more interesting is the fact that it is based on an actual person, Matthew Hopkins really existed and that really fascinated me.  What also drew me in was the fact that nearly every location that is mentioned in this book I have visited.

I liked the fact that this story did not concentrate on Matthew himself but followed the story of his sister.  We followed her story with growing up with him, arriving on his doorstep after disaster strikes, learning to live with him and wanting her to discover who her brother really is. 

After reading book I spent several hours researching the real Matthew Hopkins, a fascinating but horrible character in history.  



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

15 Feb 2017

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Book Review / The Breakdown by BA Paris

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…


Published:     20th June 2017
Publisher:  St Martin's Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this very much!    This book had me on the edge of my seat nearly the whole way through.  You have this great beginning where Cass drives past a woman who has broken down in a side road.  She stops but the woman does not get out, so Cass drives on thinking that she is ok.  It is only the next day she finds out that the woman she passed was dead.  Ashamed to admit that she drove past her before she died, Cass keeps this to herself.  We follow Cass in this story as strange things start happening to her, is someone now out to get her too or is she going mad.

What I loved about this book the most was the build up.  I had to find out what happened next, is Cass mad or is there really someone out to get her. I had to know.  I read this in two sittings, but on the same day.  I could not put this down!  And that ending, such a great plot twist!  I saw half of it coming but the other half of the twist I had not been expecting and I loved that!


Continue reading Book Review / The Breakdown by BA Paris

13 Feb 2017

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Book Review / Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal


It's late. The phone rings.

The man on the other end says his daughter is missing.

Your daughter.

The baby you gave away over fifteen years ago.

What do you do?


Nora Watts isn't sure that she wants to get involved. Troubled, messed up, and with more than enough problems of her own, Nora doesn't want to revisit the past. But then she sees the photograph. A girl, a teenager, with her eyes. How can she turn her back on her?

But going in search of her daughter brings Nora into contact with a past that she would rather forget, a past that she has worked hard to put behind her, but which is always there, waiting for her . . .

In Eyes Like Mine, Sheena Kamal has created a kick-ass protagonist who will give Lisbeth Salander a run for her money. Intuitive, not always likeable, and deeply flawed, Nora Watts is a new heroine for our time.


Published:     9th February 2017
Publisher:  Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...  For me, the mystery and the 'what's going to happen next' was the main pull for me in reading this book.  Honestly speaking, I was more interested in learning more about the character of Nora and what her past was.  There were certainly hints to some kind of mysterious past and I really want to find out what that was.  She was also the kind of main character that I loved to hate.  Some of the things she said and did made sense but some of it I was sitting in my chair thinking 'why did you just do that?'.  To me, it made the character more real than someone who just made the right decisions all the time, which let's be honest and say that just doesn't happen!

What I didn't like about this book...   Maybe it was just me but I felt that despite the main part of this story is that Nora's daughter has gone missing this book focused less and less on that and more about Nora and her story.  Maybe that is what it was meant to be but I would have liked to  have learned more about her daughter and the situation she found herself in at any given time. 


Continue reading Book Review / Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

10 Feb 2017

Author Interview / David Young


How do you solve a murder when you can't ask any questions? The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Stasi Child.

East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing.

But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town - the pride of the communist state - and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town's flawless image.

Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .




AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
I’m not sure I could work with another author. I’m too much of a control freak! Within genre, possibly William Ryan as I’ve loved all his books. But fellow Bonnier author Chris Whitaker invents great characters, as evidenced by his fantastic debut Tall Oaks. So maybe Chris.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
I tend to write in mad spurts, and don’t follow the ‘write something every day’ maxim. So there isn’t really a typical day. I split my writing time between my garden log cabin in Twickenham and a caravan I bought on the Isle of Wight with the Stasi Child advance, specifically as a writing retreat. So when I’m writing a first draft, it can be for up to sixteen hours a day, though more usually eight to ten. The rest of the time I’m researching, promoting, rewriting, but not in a set daily pattern. The nature of the work changes with the publishing year. At the moment, with Stasi Wolf being published, I’m in promotion mode even though I’ve got a redraft of Book 3 I need to tackle.
 
3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
Rewriting and editing. I long for the day when an editor says ‘This is perfect, well done!’ Of course, it will never happen. But I find it agony working out how any changes will work on the rest of the book. You’re always terrified of bringing the whole house of cards down.

4.  When and why did you first start writing? 
My first memory is of trying to write my own version of Black Beauty when I was about five. In my era at school, ‘creative writing’ didn’t seem to be part of the English curriculum – and as a result I hated English Literature. After dropping out of a Geology degree, my first long piece of writing was my dissertation at Bristol Poly on Stalin’s purges. I then became a reporter on local papers, then a news editor at the BBC. In the early noughties I had my first stab at writing a novel – which I self-published with limited success – and then got down to it seriously when I joined the inaugural Crime Thriller MA at City University London in 2012. Why? With Stasi Child I wanted to escape from the day job – and I’ve been lucky enough to achieve that.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
Stasi Wolf was inspired by a story I heard when researching Stasi Child about how East Germany’s secret police took over an investigation into baby murders at a Leipzig hospital. They wanted to be sure that news of the investigation didn’t leak out and alarm the public. That was the main thrust of the idea.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
To my shame, no. In many ways, I prefer watching crime series on TV. I do enjoy reading novels, but it tends to be on holidays. I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of Arnaldur Indridason’s new one, The Shadow District, which I’ve just started. Next up is The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey and I also like the sound of Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man, so have just purchased that. Unfortunately, my TBR pile just grows and grows. 

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
Make sure your ideas are distinctive, because it’s a very crowded market, and concentrate on telling an engaging story. And ideally don’t set your crime series in East Germany as I don’t want any more competition!




Continue reading Author Interview / David Young

7 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / The One by John Marrs


How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner - the one you're genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking - and deadlier - than others...

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat




Published:     4th May 2017
Publisher:  Del Rey
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher

(Previously published as 'A Thousand Small Explosions')


MY REVIEW

Oh this book was good, really good.  I always love a story about love and finding your perfect partner and this book just took that to the next level and I loved it.  This book was so much fun to read I read it in two sittings (both on the same day though!).

This story is split into different character perspectives.  First you have Ellie who is her own boss at a very successful company but she has a secret she is trying to hide.  She finds her match and thinks that things are going to be 'happily ever after'.  Is it really that simple?    Then you have Mandy who finds her match but discovers that she might be too late to meet him...  Next there's Christopher who has a massive sinister secret that he is hiding from his newly found match.  Jade is next where she wants more than just being able to speak to her match on the phone.  She decides to travel to where he lives in Australia to meet him but things aren't always what they seem.  Lastly you have Nick.  Nick is happily engaged to Sally and really had no intention of registering with the MatchYourDNA.com website until a dinner date with friends gives Sally the suggestion to give it a try to see what happens.  So after a lot of persuasion they do but unfortunately they do not get the results they wanted.

If I had to pick favourites, there were two characters here that stood out for me.  The first being Christopher, the more sinister character of the bunch.  His secret is the worst ever and it really was entertaining following him and seeing what he does next when he adds a new girlfriend to the mix.  My other favourite character is Nick.  After taking the text and finding his match, things go downhill for him and his fiance.  In a completely unexpected match, dreams really can come true..

I had so much fun reading this story and could not put this down...  If I had to catagorise it, I would say that it is part romance, part science fiction (a little bit) and part comedy.



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The One by John Marrs

6 Feb 2017

Month in Review / January 2017

Firstly I have to apologise for this post being so late.  I was so engrossed in New Year reading that I completely forgot about it!  I suppose that is a good excuse, reading is always a good excuse for everything!  I had a very interesting reading month in January.  I read books both that I loved and that I wished I had loved more than I actually did. 

My favourite for the month has to be See Me by Nicholas Sparks.  I can't believe I waited this long to read it!  I am always a sucker for a good romance novel!  There were two other really great books for me this month, The Alibi and Bone Meal for Roses.  Both novels are ones that I would not have normally picked up to read but did because I was very kindly provided a copy for review by publishers.  The book that I didn't get on very well with this month was Talking as Fast as I Can.  Now that is not because it wasn't good or the writing wasn't good, it was simply that this book was more about Gilmore Girls than I had anticipated and for someone who hasn't watched a lot of episodes of that show, this book was not geared towards someone like me.  That said, if you are a Gilmore Girls fan this book is a definite must read! 

BOOKS READ



BOOKS PURCHASED



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

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

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

THE WHISTLER
 We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or t

takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

TWO BY TWO
At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

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

A documentary crew discover a mysterious young women 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…

 
 
Continue reading Month in Review / January 2017