Tuesday, 22 April 2014

World Book Night 2014

Well the time is almost here, it is after midnight so technically it is World Book Night, 2014!

I have been a giver for three years in a row. It is such a worthwhile thing to do, I give out at hospital, in the town center (which has been met with sweetness, distrust or just avoidance), I met a giver last year too, I was delighted.

This year I am giving out Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. I read this book years ago and went on to buy the others in the series, it has been a good few years and don't remember much about it but I did enjoy it and as a very stressful end of term is coming up I will reacquaint soon!

A 3000 word report is due on Thursday and a big exam so tomorrow is a busy busy day. I will of course be taking time out to give out my fabulous World Book Night Books and I will share any stories.

Here was Trixie "my wee helper" giving her usual lot of helpfulness, she is pretty cute though eh? She spent almost an hour in that box!
I will also be listed one or two copies of this book as a giveaway, I will see how good I get on tomorrow so watch this space. For any other givers, I hope you have a great day and lots of stories to share.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Review - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 487

Blurb from Goodreads


Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.


My Review

Alice has had an accident in the gym, not that she remembers, she has fallen and hit her head. As she slowly comes back to conscientiousness she thinks about her pregnancy and if thats why her head hurts. Upon examination it becomes clear that Alice has last 10 years, the last thing she remembers is being pregnant with her first child and being 29 years old. Everyone she knows is different, in physical aspects as well as personality. People are cold towards her, she has three children she cannot remember and her husband is abrupt, rude and showing no concern when she speaks to him. What follows is Alice trying to peace together the last ten years of her life and come to terms with everything she learns.

The story kicks off straight away with the accident happening immediately. You can't help but feel frustrated a tad when reading it as you, the reader are in the same boat as Alice in that your relying on others to tell you what you don't know. Her sister has diary entries dotted throughout the book as well as online blog entries from their older fun next door neighbour whom they consider family. From these you get snippets of additional information as well as an insight into who they are.

The story evokes a few responses, my biggest one was thinking back to where I was ten years ago and how would I feel. You also feel sorry for Alice stumbling along, not knowing whats going on but watching her personal growth as she tries to fit back into a life she has no recollection of is interesting to say the least.

I couldn't put this book down, I had to know what was happening, where Alice would end up, what would she found out and does she ever get her memory back. The few last chapters were a little up and down for me but overall I thought it was a great wee read and would pursue this authors other books, 4/5 for me this time.

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Review - The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon

The Secret of Happy Ever AfterThe Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 493

Blurb from Goodreads

Michelle doesn’t believe in fairy tales. She’s a hard-headed businesswoman, making a fresh start in a new town. And when she decides to take over a neglected book shop, she knows the perfect manager.

For book-loving Anna, it’s a dream come true—and not just because it gives her an escape from her three demanding step-children and their adorable but hyperactive Dalmatian. Although she’s been thinking that her own fairytale ending hasn’t really turned out the way she hoped, Anna’s passion for the classics is transforming the shop. The customers, and even Michelle, are falling under the spell of the magical stories of romance, adventure, and lost dogs.

But when secrets from her past threaten Michelle’s new beginnings, and trouble strikes at the heart of Anna’s household, can the wisdom and courage of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends—and those they love—find their happy ever after?




My Review

The book opens with Michelle, she has just moved to a new town, opening her new shop and knows no one in town. She is befriended by the lovely Anna and her mischievous dalmatian dog, Pongo. We skip on to two and a half years later and Michelle is well established in the town, her friendship with Michelle is cemented and business is booming. Michelle is looking to expand her business but will the small town object to her plans for their local bookshop? Despite things looking up, Michelle is about to find out that her past isn't quite willing to stay in the past and things might not go as she had planned!

Michelle has some control issues, her flat is meticulous, she has lists for her lists, she likes everything to run to plan. When she wants to change the book shop into an extension of her existing shop however Anna, and the solicitor dealing with the shop lease, won't let it go so easily. Anna is a huge lover of books, Michelle has provided her with her dream job and she won't let go without a fight.

There are a few levels to this book, Michelle gives small flashes to her past which gives the reader an insight into why she behaves as she does. It is in snippets though and it isn't until later you have some general idea as to what actually happened. Anna is lovely, she tries to be a good wife, step mum and friend (it also helps she is a huge bookworm) however she is so nice you want to scream at her to stand up for herself. There was a few things that annoyed and irritated me about both Michelle and Anna and I felt you were left hanging a bit, especially in regards to Michelle's history with Harvey.

It is still an enjoyable read, despite the irritations with the characters. I loved reading about the dogs, Anna's love of books and the titles that came up. I would read this author again but won't be actively seeking her out, 3/5 for me this time.



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Review - City Of Fire by Robert Ellis

City of FireCity of Fire by Robert Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Publisher - Pan Books

Pages - 380

Blurb from Goodreads

When a businessman arrives home to find his wife in bed, carved from belly to throat with a very sharp knife, the elite Robbery-Homicide division of the L.A.P.D responds in full force and Detective Lena Gamble prepares for her first major case.

At first all fingers point towards the victim's husband, but best-case scenarios only happen in films and it soon transpires that this murder is one of a series of brutal crimes against women and the work of a killer dubbed 'Romeo' by the ravenous Hollywood media.

Lena is all too aware of the peril of the public eye - she has found herself in it before, on the night of her rock-star brother's unsolved murder five years ago. And now she risks a far more dangerous fame as a cloud of conspiracy descends on her investigation and she edges towards Romeo's deadly line of sight . . .Lena must catch this psychopath before she becomes his next glamorous victim . . .

'Ellis's writing is a cut above that of most authors in the crowded serial-killer field' "Sunday Times"




My Review

The book opens up at a child's home, it's time for birthday cake when things take a horrific turn. We flip to present day, a business man comes home to find his beautiful wife horrifically murdered. The husband is a suspect however it becomes apparent this murder is the work of a serial killer who is dubbed with the name Romeo due to the nature of his crimes. Detective Lena Gamble is on the case, it is high profile and it is not the first time she has been in the limelight after her rock star brother was killed years before. Will she catch Romeo before Romeo turns his eye on her?

This is my first dance with this author, it is quite a dark and descriptive book, especially with the murders and sexual violence. It is a fairly fast paced book with some disturbing scenes dottered throughout, this is definitely not for the faint hearted.

The book centers around the killer, we read passages from the killers thoughts and what he is doing and this is identified through the chapters being in italics. Then we go back to the present day and investigation whilst the police are trying to catch him and like it to previous cases. Lena's brothers murder comes up throughout, she has never gotten over it or closure and I felt the story was split it could have been two different tales. By the time you reach the end of the book you do have clarification and closure but I felt it would have worked better had the story been about one or the other. That said there are a lot of twists and turns throughout and if anything, you certainly won't be bored!

I would read this author again, 3/5 for me but I strongly recommend picking this up with caution as it is graphic and brutal in parts, especially if you have a vivid imagination.



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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

ARR - A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

A Place Called PerfectA Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - WYR WhereverYouRoam Publishing

Pages - 306

Blurb from Goodreads

Take a journey into Perfect, a town that is anything but...

Violet Brown didn’t want to live in a place that was perfect. How would she ever survive? She’d have to be neat and tidy, would definitely have to brush her hair. She’d have to be perfect and that was boring.

But when her dad is offered the best job an optician can get, to fix a strange problem in this odd little town, Violet has to obey. That’s the thing with parents, they only ever did what they wanted!

From the beginning Violet hates her new home, it’s too clean, the people are too friendly, everything is just too nice...

When her Mam begins to act a little strange, her Dad disappears on a mysterious business trip without telling a soul, she almost gets expelled from school for picking up a pencil without permission and starts hearing voices in her head, Violet thinks she’s going mad.

Until one day she meets BOY..



My Review


Violet is not happy, she is 10 years old and moving to a new town, a new home and new friends. Like any other young girl, she has decided she will hate it. However once she gets there the town is perfect, the people are perfect and soon she notices her parents are changing. Soon Violet is getting into trouble at school, her dad has mysteriously disappeared on a trip and something about this town is just too perfect. Violet meets a new friend called Boy who actually seems to understand Violet and together they are going to find out whats really happening in Perfect!

I wasn't too sure how I would feel about this story as the main character is a pre teen and it is seemingly at a younger audience. However there is much about this story adults can enjoy and although some of it is sweet and innocent there is some dark, scary moments dotted throughout. It is a nice read, goes at a good pace and as we are introduced to more of the characters and happenings of Perfect the adventure draws you in. There are moments of suspense, mild horror, and a few moments I actually held my breath and had to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I found it hard to put the book down, it reminded me of when I was a kid and discovering Roald Dahl and The BFG, not in content but in the way it is written and captures your imagination. Definitely a recommended read for those among us who are still kids at heart, likes fantasy, crime and adventure and just wanting to read something a bit different. 4/5 for me this time and I would definitely read this author again. Thank you so much to Helena for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. And for letting me enjoy a story in a way I haven't done since I was a youngster.


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Friday, 4 April 2014

Review - Undead (omnibus) by John Russo

Undead (omnibus)Undead by John Russo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 2 days

Publisher - Titan Books

Pages - 306

Source - The Works bookshop

Blurb from Amazon

Zombie Double Bill!

George A. Romero's classic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead launched a new era of gut-munching mayhem, terrorizing moviegoers and launching the zombie movie phenomenon. John A. Russo co-wrote the screenplay for the movie and turned the flesh-eating frenzy into two horrific, blood-drenching novels, collected here in one terrifying volume. Undead is a gruesome, suspenseful horror at its best.


My Review

This book is a double whammy of zombie, two stories in one book. The first one is Night of the Living Dead, this is the same story as the movie. We open with a journey to their fathers grave and proceed to the graveyard with a brother and sister, Barbara and Johnny. Johnny is angry with Barbara and starts teasing her about the dead coming to get her, he sees a man approaching and says heres one now. Little realizing it is indeed coming and launches an attack leaving Barbara with no choice but to flee. She comes upon an abandoned house and meets Ben soon after, Barbara is in a state of shock and soon the undead are surrounding the house and wanting their warm flesh.

The book follows the movie fairly closely, from what I remember. It is a tale of survival, humans reacting how you would expect them to whilst trying to survive a flesh eating zombie outbreak. It is really good, I liked the movie when I saw it years ago however I actually preferred the book.

The second book is Return of the Living Dead, this is a bit more widespread, the first story is almost completely around one house and a handful of people. This one we see quite a few characters, spread over locations and it is actually set with the previous outbreak mentioned and linked in. Some people are still cautious with the previous outbreak and act on any newly deceased person, just in case. The outbreak this time starts again, fairly quickly with some throwback to the last outbreak which I actually thought was well done as too often it is just a new tale. There is a range of issues dealt with and again different human reactions to the outbreak however this one shows the more deprived aspect and darker nature of some of our fellow humans. In some of the scenes the acts of the humans is worse than the cannibalism of the undead is actually worse.

As both books are set over a day or two it isn't purely about survival but also human behavior, how some people will look out for only themselves, behave appallingly and how others will step up to the mark when it is called upon. Certainly different from most of the zombie books I have read, I liked these stories although felt there was quite a few similarities in how they transpired and ended. 3/5 for me and I would of course read any more zombie tales I find by this author, I will actually need to look and see what, if any, they have available.


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ARC - The Accident by C L Taylor

The AccidentThe Accident by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Avon Books

Pages - 404

Source - ARC from Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

The person you trust most may only be telling you half the story …

Fast-paced, suspenseful, this is a book with more twists than a helter-skelter that will keep you reading late into the night. Perfect for fans of Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s...


My Review

We open up the first chapter in a hospital room, Charlotte is in a coma, she is 15. Her mum and dad are in the room, mum is talking to her, trying to understand why she would do such a thing, trying to get a response. The next chapter throws back to when Charlotte's mum, Sue, many years before and gives us an insight into her life and why she is the way she is at present day. The tale rotates from present day and Sue trying to get to the bottom of why her daughter felt she had to step in front of a bus. Why everyone who cared about her daughter seems to be keeping a wide berth and what was really happening in her daughters life in the run up to the incident. Will Sue find the answers and will it help understand what has happened to her daughter?

This is a fantastic debut novel. The present day is just a distraught mother trying to do what she can for her daughter who is in a coma and she can't understand why or what happened. We flip back and forth to Sue's past, a relationship that was horrific, scary, controlling, abuse and violent to say the least. This gives us an insight into why she behaves as she does and why her husband reacts how he does toward her. The present story is a lot of why and the mum doing detective work, questioning everyone in Charlotte's life. The past is pretty chilling and makes for very compelling reading. Her then partner is a manipulative genius and if you have ever been in a relationship like that or saw someone you love in one, you can't help but see how easy it is for people to be caught up in it. Also how quickly and devastating a relationship like that can be and the impact it can have in the years to come.

I found it hard to put down and raced through it in a day. I can't do a spoiler review, I hate them, however a few of my reasons for it not being a 5 star is looking at it overall and the conclusion of the story and the speed of the end. It is a fantastic read, I would recommend to anyone and I would definitely read this author again, 4/5 for me this time. Thank you so much to Avon for sending me an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. You can get a copy of this yourself, from any good retailer from the 10th of April, 2014.

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