Saturday, 22 July 2017

Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee

Broken BranchesBroken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 3 days

Pages - 294

Publisher - Hideaway Fall

Blurb from Goodreads

'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.'

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Review

Ian Perkins family has a curse, it has plagued the family for many years and yet the family are reluctant to talk about it. With pressures from work hanging over his head, his relationship falling apart and strange happenings at home Ian is going to get to find out the truth about the curse once and for all.

This is for sure a different read, the authors voice is unique in that I can say I haven't read a book like this before. Shrouded in secrecy, hints throughout that something is not quite right, domestic unrest and even some paranormal echos Broken Branches keeps the reader engaged page after page. I think if the chapters had been dated or named it would have made for more enjoyment, we flip from Ian's present life to years back with his family life as a child. We learn more of the house's history and snippets of the curse. Ian becomes obsessed with uncovering and proving the curse exists, having to face some harsh truths about his life and family.

The book covers a fair few themes, suicide, family dynamics, relationship breakdowns, loss, love and marriage to name just a few. At times the pace is slow going but the claustrophobic tense atmosphere remains almost throughout making for a gripping read. You know something isn't right, you just don't know what. Is it the curse, is someone messing with Ian, just what has happened to his relationship and will the curse actually be revealed?

I think the themes have been written well and some so subtly it isn't until you finish the book entirely you appreciate what certain parts where about. The past and present flip comes together too but for a wee while you are, well I was, a bit lost to what was happening. It is well written and all becomes clear, an emotive and atmospheric read. As always, I love having short chapters, especially when you are reading in between shifts and busy days, Broken Branches offers this making it easy to dip in and out.

I wasn't sure whether to 3.5 or 4 star this one, I have gone with 4 stars as the last quarter pulls it all together and despite having an inkling to where the story was headed I still got the wind knocked out of me a little. This is my first dance with this author and I will certainly read more of his work. Thanks so much to Hideaway fall and Book Connectors for putting this author on my radar, 4/5 for me this time. Broken Branches will be out to buy from 27/7/2017 so you only have to wait 5 days before you can read it too.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Growing Old Disgracefully by Ada Adverse

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully (Mills & Boon A-Zs, Book 6)The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully by Ada Adverse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - less than 20 minutes

Pages - 96

Publisher - Mills & Boon

Blurb from Goodreads

’Perfect for the gin drinker in your life.’ – Sun

Have you ever:

Treated afternoon tea as an ‘all you can eat’ opportuntity?

Realised you only ever hoover when you are expecting guests?

Flatly refused to ‘act your age’?

If so, the Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully is for you: a guide to throwing out the rule book, with a feminist twist

My Review

If you haven't came across this wee books let me enlighten you. They are smaller than your normal paperback size, hardback (also available in kindle format) and 96 pages long. You have a zingy introduction to the book, Ada is hilarious, zingy and sharp giving you an immediate feel for the books content.

We have an A-Z and with each letter a wee sentence or two of advice or just a funky quip accompanied on the other bag with a corresponding photo in black and white. Much as these books are tiny and a few sentences per page they really do bring joy, laughter and conjure up some lovely memories. Each one will mean something different to each reader depending on life experiences and where they are in their life. I would think it would be hard pushed for anyone to pick one of these books up and not laugh or at the very least smile.

The books are filled with humor, bite size snippets for each letter and page. Pearls of wisdom or just flashes of quick wit. A small book that brings big smiles. This is the second in the series I have been sent to review, I think I am going to buy the rest and I bought the previous for my friend. Thanks to Mills and Boon for sending me a review copy and once again bring Ada Adverse into my life, a wee burst of feminine joviality that women of all ages can appreciate, 4/5 for me.

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Young Sherlock Holmes Fire Storm by Andrew Lane

Fire Storm (Young Sherlock Holmes, #4)Fire Storm by Andy Lane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 5 days

Pages - 345

Publisher - MacMillan Childrens Books

Blurb from Goodreads

Sherlock 14 finds the house empty, his tutor Crowe and daughter Ginny vanished. When a clue points to Scotland, he brings along pal Matty. Villain Bryce Scobel follows, hunts the hunters.

My Review

So this is book four I believe in a series, I didn't know that when I bought it. I just noticed the cover and HAD to buy it, the yellow is actually gold and has a shine and that skull is both magnificent and sinister. I never used to comment on or bother with covers but of late they do seem to catch my eye and this one absolutely jumps off the shelf. So young Sherlock is just a teenager, he has already been mixed up in a few adventures and these are referred to in this tale so I don't think we are missing too much by starting here. Sherlock's tutor and his daughter have left in haste, Sherlock knows there is more to it and looks for clues around the abandoned home. He finds himself off to Scotland with his friend, the bad guys are hot on their tale and once again Sherlock has to use his wits to get him and his friends out of trouble.

I have never read this author before and never really thoughts about Sherlock Holmes as a kid. We watched the programme with Benedict Cumberbatch and the movies with Robert Downey Junior. I have Cumberbatch in mind when I read this young Holmes. He is super smart and really sharp for his age whilst just a little bit socially awkward that you can see become the character portrayed in the show.

Whilst this is aimed at a younger audience, it has enough action and darkness to be enjoyed by the mature reader. There is violence and some animal death is mentioned which may be uncomfortable for some readers. Otherwise we have a daring tale of bravery, righteousness and friendship, Holmes is such a loyal wee chap and just goes about solving puzzles & cases singularly focused on the job at hand. Some of the clues I would never have got in a million years but it is enjoyable seeing how his mind connects the dots and pulls it all together. This is my first dance with this author and I will definitely be reading more by him, I may well seek out the earlier books in this series and those that follow, 3.5 for me this time.

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Friday, 14 July 2017

July giveaway is finally here

Sorry it has took until practically the middle of the month to get this one up, between work and life sometimes you just get caught up with things. So for this month's giveaway it will be a wee £5 Amazon voucher, that way it is open to all, worldwide, all you need is an Amazon account!

To be in with a chance of winning, as per, it will be via the Rafflecopter \t the bottom of the post, the more options you complete the more entries you will have. Good luck and as always thanks for taking part, interacting with the blog both here and Instagram/Twitter/Facebook. It is always nice gabbing with fellow book geeks and as a result, from the fabulous Facebook book club Book Connectors I have ordered my first Ninja book box, it won't arrive until mid or the end of August. I will of course do a wee post when it comes, exciting!

I have another giveaway going just now for a paperback copy of Perfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh, click here for details.

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Author Interview with Taryn Leigh and a wee comp

Thanks so much to Taryn for taking time out to come and chat about her fabulous debut novel, Perfect Imperfections. You can read my review here.

Tell us about Perfect Imperfections.

Perfect Imperfections is the story, I as a book lover, would love to sit and read. It’s a story of a woman, Sarah, who tries to escape the pain in her past by running away to a new place with new possibilities. We go on an adventure with Sarah from London to South Africa, as she rediscovers herself, heals from her pain and meets the most amazing people along the way. We laugh with her, we cry with her and we get to know the mystery that caused her to flee. It’s a story of a lifelong friendship between her and Katy. It’s a story of love lost and new love possibilities found, and it’s a story of how us woman have the strength inside of us to rise above what life throws our way, to become the best in our careers, the best in our friendships, and the best in our relationships. What makes Perfect Imperfections so special to me, is that the story keeps hinting at something, while dropping clues along the way, allowing the reader to piece the puzzle together.

What made you choose the two locations, London and primarily South Africa?

South Africa is my home, and I’m from the city Durban that most of the book is set in. I wanted to share this beautiful land with everyone. We have so many breath-taking places here, and the people and culture are so warm and inviting. It gets into your bones, all who visit bear witness to that. London is my dream location. From a little girl I dreamt of going there, not just the city but the country side. In fact my husband and my dream vacation is to go to London, Switzerland and Scotland. So what better way to feel like I’m already there, than to write about it!

The story focuses on many aspects of normal life, what made you chose them and particularly the self healing side?

When I wrote the book I was going through my own self-healing, and someone encouraged me to write to escape my own life. So I did, and Perfect Imperfections was born. I also wanted the characters to be relatable and feel real to whoever read them. I added in everyday things like the secret hot chocolate recipe between Edward and Sarah or the raw and real emotions, so that the reader could visualise it and identify easily.

Are the characters or situations based on real life?

Yes they are in so many ways. There are elements of different characters that are from the people I know closest to me. The close bond of friendship is based on my own friendships, and Edwards’ character is loosely based on my husband who loved me when I should have been unlovable. The places and locations are all real places I’ve been to in South Africa, and Sarah’s career is based on my four years studying Interior Design.

Who is your favourite character and why, without spoilers if you can?

I love things from so many of them. I love Katy’s friendship, and Sarah’s bravery. I love Kevin’s loyalty and Edwards’ sincerity and ability to surprise, and I love Joseph’s story! Oh how I love his story.

Who are you reading just now?

I am just starting to read The Rome Affair by Karen Swan. I’ve been waiting a long time for its release.

What is your favourite read?

I love books similar to the one I wrote. Where the characters have depth. Where you get to know them and live with them, and where you are transported into another world!

What authors inspire you?

I’m a huge fan of Karen Swan, Sidney Sheldon, Enid Blyton and Emily Bronte

What is next for Taryn Leigh?

I would love to continue to write. Currently I’m working on my second novel. The story is different, and set in new places that you will love.

Where can fans find you?

I am all over social media, and I love to interact with all my readers
Twitter: @tarynleighbook
Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Anything else I missed? I write with a hope, that even though the story might be fiction, but the reader must walk away from it being impacted by something they have read in a way they will never forget. My mom named me Taryn Leigh because she read a book while pregnant with me, and loved the character so much that I’m named after her. Thirty Three years later, her daughter is now the Author of her own books. Those are the books I want to write.

To be in with a chance of winning just enter using the Rafflecopter below, open to all, you need have a Twitter account as one mandatory option is to follow the author of the book. Otherwise choose any additional entries for more chances to win. Good luck all and thanks as always for interacting with the blog xxx a Rafflecopter giveaway

Perfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh

Perfect ImperfectionsPerfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 290

Publisher - Olympia Publishers

Blurb from Goodreads

Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa.
Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach.
Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence.
Perfect Imperfections is an intriguing tale which hints at wrongdoings and deceit without giving too much away. The author cleverly weaves a tale around fragile yet strong Sarah as she tries to reconcile her past with her future, engaging the reader to the point where we simply want the best for her and for happiness finally to come her way.

My Review

Sarah Lewis has been through the mill, her marriage has broken down and she is upping sticks leaving her life in London to return home to South Africa to heal. Returning to her roots and best friend Katy, Sarah slowly starts to let the walls come down and let those she loves in. Piece by piece Sarah starts to heal and prepare herself for facing the past she has run away from.

This is a genteel wee book, from the beginning we know Sarah is running from something in her life, from her failed marriage and hints at more. Instead of being a deadly secret or anything dark like that it is more echos of the issues surrounding every day relationships and ordinary lives which will connect with many readers. Failed relationships, rekindling friendships of old, healing after the breakdown of a marriage, betrayal and just trying to rebuild yourself.

It is a journey of self discovery and growth, appreciating things in your life that may have been over looked because you have been caught up with other aspects of your life. Self healing, support, friendship, love and learning to embrace the lessons from life and positively move on. It really is a beautiful story, slow burning and a prime example of how the darkest times in your life can lead to brighter new beginnings. Sometimes you read a book and something just clicks, for me I found the most perfectly apt quote: "Darkness cannot drive away darkness, only light can do that".

If you enjoy book locations, when we travel to South Africa the settings and descriptions of some of the area are breath taking. It is not somewhere I have ever been nor likely to get to however from the scenery is brought to life from the pages you can envision the beauty as if you were there with the characters. Locations aren't always a huge factor or notable part of books I am reading but it was so vivid at times in this one it is absolutely worthy of note. Perfect Imperfections is the perfect book to immerse yourself in by a poolside or curled up indoors, 4/5 for me. This is my first time reading this author , I would read her again. Thanks so much to Deryl in the NotRights club and the author for providing me with a review copy, all views as always are my own.

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell

The Reapers are the AngelsThe Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days on and off

Pages - 294

Publisher - TOR

Blurb from Goodreads

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

My Review

We all know I love a zombie read, for those who are a bit fencer sitter on them this one may appear a bit more to you. Temple is taking it one day from the next in a new world where zombies far outnumber the surviving humans. Twenty five years after the apocalypse kicked off Temple has lost everyone close to her and is moving from place to place to stay safe. After a horrific encounter she finds herself hunted and not just by the zombies. Coming across someone who is vulnerable to say the least she tries to keep them both safe whilst eluding the person who wants to dole out some justice.

I think if you like a story that is post apocalyptic which more focus on the human survival and rationale behind human actions and consequences rather than horror and flesh eating, this is one for you. Temple is older than her fifteen years and in some aspects really smart, in others you are slapping your head in disbelief at some of the choices she makes considering that which she has just survived.

She looks after a vulnerable male adult she comes across after her conscience won't let her abandon him yet calls him some terms that many readers will find offensive. The person who hunts her whilst you can understand their initial reasons just had me thinking, really?!?! she is a kid and anyone would justify her actions oh and she is a fifteen year old child! A few other issues for me was how well kept the world appears to be, twenty five years in and some places still have working electronics, electricity, home comforts meh I have read and seen so many of this genre that that did stick in my craw.

However, the book itself rather than heavy focus , as most zombie reads do, on death eating monsters & destruction this was more on humanity, the ups and downs of it. In a ravaged world we will have good guys, bad guys and a sense of righteousness, friendship, honor and family ties. I did like this book, I just didn't love it and whilst some will appreciate how it all came to play folk like me get a bit prickly with how things are chosen to come full circle. I would certainly recommend it to folk who enjoy the more human interactions of apocalyptic style read as it has been loved and enjoyed by many. If you are looking for a gore fest or the survival from limited resources then maybe not so much this one. 3/5 for me this time, this was my first time reading this author and I would read them again, certainly different from the other zombie reads so far.

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