Wednesday, 29 March 2017

City Girl by Patricia Scanlan

City GirlCity Girl by Patricia Scanlan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 484

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Blurb from Goodreads

Delivering stories that span generations, and offering warmth, wisdom and love on every page - if you treasured Maeve Binchy, read Patricia Scanlan

Three very different women face heartache, upheaval and reinvention in this romantic drama, which praises the power of friendship to pull you through when life gets tough.

At 21, Devlin is seduced by the suave, sophisticated Colin Cantrell-King, an older married man and her boss. But this affair will leave her with some tough decisions to make.

Caroline is afraid of being left on the shelf so jumps at the chance to marry the cool, detached and very attractive Richard. But, why does he never return her ardour with equal passion?

Married mother Maggie feels trapped in a loveless marriage until she discovers her husband's infidelity. What will she do with her new-found sense of liberation?

My Review

A story about three women, Devlin, Caroline & Maggie. All in very different circumstances and coming from different backgrounds the three form an unlikely friendship. The story goes over several years and looks at how life choices can have a massive impact on their whole lives and how they cope, survive and pull together to get through their experiences.

I have read Scanlan before and to be honest she is becoming an author I really like. I don't think you could call it chick lit because she hits some hard issues in a delicate and sensitive way. This book examines abuse, love, relationships, loss, parenthood, loneliness and hardship, to name a few of the topics covered.

The three main characters are very different, Devlin is beautiful, forceful and a force to be reckoned with but soon learns actions have long lasting consequences. Caroline is almost a slave to her own family looking after the boys, going from "an ugly duckling" to a beautiful young woman, Caroline fails to see her own beauty. Her lack of self worth follows her into adulthood and impacts on many aspects of her adult life. Maggie has always been spunky, never one to allow social attitudes, or her family, to dictate what she should do with her life Maggie makes her decisions to live her life as she wants. Soon realizing, as with her friends, actions have long lasting consequences she seeks solace with her old friends as they pull together to survive their demons.

A thought provoking tale of friendship and real life, I think many readers can identify with one or all of the characters at some point. The book packs some emotional punches as we follow three very different woman into adulthood and survival. How friendships can be broken and some can survive everything life has to throw at them. Carving out strong women who have weaknesses that shine through this is a story about life and the curve balls it throws you but more importantly, coping to get through it. 4/5 for me this time, there are I believe two more stories to follow this one with the same characters, I will be buying them for sure!

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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Turning Into Your Mother by Ada Adverse

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Turning into Your Mother: The Perfect Mother's Day gift for mums who have it all (Mills & Boon A-Zs, Book 5)The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Turning into Your Mother: The Perfect Mother's Day gift for mums who have it all by Ada Adverse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < than 20 minutes

Pages - 96

Publisher - Mills and Boons

Blurb from Goodreads

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

Have you ever…?

A) Opened your mouth and heard your mother come out?

B) Wondered whether a bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed once a year really makes up for the 37 hours your mum spent in St Agnes’ Maternity Ward?

C) Voiced a heartfelt opinion on the weather?

If so, the Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning Into Your Mother is for you: a guide to the joys of motherhood – with a feminist twist.

My Review

Uck this wee book is a breath of fresh air! An A to Z with "advice" and snippets of motherhood, expectations and reality with a zesty comical take. Accompanied with pictures this Modern Girl's Guide could actually be named To Motherhood than Turning into your mother. Whilst pitched as the perfect mother's day gift, I think this is the perfect gift for any female. I am not a mother & won't be celebrating Mother's day but I think all females would enjoy this book and identify or relate to some of it.

With Mother's day looming it can be a beautiful day of celebration or a day that evokes sadness, emotional turmoil and one that is hard to face. This wee book is a ray of sunshine, I found myself laughing out loud at many of the pages and certainly smiling at them all. Some of the snippets conjured up vivid memories of my own mother and her take on one or two things within the book.

At a tiny 90 odd pages, I flew through this book in between spray painting some furniture, I picked it up for a quick nosey and ended up devouring it page to page. Stopping only once to text a family member and laugh over one of the quotes/advice. Amazing what one woman's quick wit has captured on a page and strikes up a personal memory and laugh. Genuine laughter and being caught off guard with memories, for me is priceless, I love this wee book. There are others in the #ModernGirlsGuides and I will track them down. I would love to see an actual novel from Adverse, she has an easy flow of writing and quick wit even in a few sentences, I think letting her loose on a few hundred pages worth would be priceless, I would buy it! 5/5 for me, whilst it is a tiny quick read it certainly holds its weight against some of the thick novels that are out just now on similar subjects. Thanks to much to Mills and Boon for introducing me to a new author and a series I will track down. For me, this book is a keeper, I have already ordered a copy for me friend and I don't think it is the only one I will be buying, a wee gem of a book!

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell

Deadly Alibi (DI Geraldine Steel, #9)Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 5 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - No Exit Press

Blurb from Goodreads

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt.... Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine's life turn toxic in more ways than one!

My review

A woman killed, a suspect arrested and the police are trying to get a confession as all the peaces seem to fit. DI Geraldine Steel is investigating with her team and playing devils advocate, her colleagues are convinced they have their man. Fling into the mix Steel has personal problems going on, dealing with a bereavement and a "new" relative is in Steel's live turning her world upside down.

I need to say, this is book nine and whilst I haven't read everyone of them I would advise reading the back stories however this can be read as a standalone. There are two main splits in the book, the investigation and murders and Steel's personal life which goes into turmoil. For me, the personal side overshadowed the crime story slightly purely because the relative reminded me of someone in my past which caused an emotional roller coaster of a personal nature. I think for many readers this part will evoke a similar response, I was so annoyed at times with Steel for some of her choices but could empathize with her choices. The investigation itself keeps you hooked as they come at it from different angles, Sam infuriated me at times, young, headstrong and quick to jump to conclusions, I think Steel is a nice ying to her yang making them a good team.

The chapters are relatively short which I really like, especially with a busy work week it meant I could dip in and out as time allowed. The start of the book, as all her others, has a glossary of acronyms, this has always been something I love about Russell's books as often you forget what they mean as you go through the book.

I think this book has a huge stab at the personal side of police officers and what they may be facing outwith the duty and how it can influence their choices. What makes the characters so real, I think, is how very flawed each of them can be. I think of all the Steel books so far, this will be one that stays with me for a long time, I really look forward to seeing what is next in store for her. 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to No Exit Press for sending me a copy, all views are my own.

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Sins Of The Father by Sheryl Browne

Sins of the FatherSins of the Father by Sheryl Browne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < than 1 day

Pages - 329

Publisher - Death by Choclit

Blurb from Goodreads

What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?

Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget – and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.

But the past is the past – or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruelest way possible.

When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?

My Review

DI Matthew Adams is slowly recovering from his last case that almost cost him his family and his life. Now he faces possibly the worst time of his life, as a police officer he is accused of a horrendous crime, doubted by those closest to him Matthew does what he can to protect his family.

This is book two in a series, whilst this can be read as a standalone I would advise reading the first as it gives you much better insight into the relationships and what they characters have already endured. Ooft this is a hard hitting book, it covers many subjects that can be hard hitting for some readers, abuse, rape, enforced drug use, kidnap, murder and that's just scratching the surface. There are many dimensions to this story, relationships and the strain and strength after something so horrific is unleashed upon one family.

I had questions from the previous book about Ashley and her imaginary friend which I felt I got a bit more clarification this time round although it is a very small part of the book. This book looks at the other side of false accusations, both as the victim and perpetrator which is usual and different. As second in the series you are always at risk of losing something especially if the first has been action packed, not so in this case. At times I felt myself holding my breath getting through some scenes, action packed, horrific and the tension rising as the scenes got darker. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy to review, all opinions are my own. I look forward to the next in the series and what the future holds for the Adams.

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Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

Red Hill (Red Hill, #1)Red Hill by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 368

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Blurb from Goodreads

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

My Review

Scarlett works in the hospital which is where she is when the outbreaks really kicks off. Her two daughters are with her ex husband and her main focus is getting to them and a place of safety. One of the doctors she works with has a safe haven, Red Hill, this is where Scarlett aims to get to. The doctors own daughters are headed to this location and a few other characters. With a deadly zombie outbreak, cannibalism, violence and death the main goal for all is to get to safety unharmed.

You know by now I love a zombie book and I especially love that this one kicks off really in a hospital. We get split between the main characters with each chapter, Scarlett, Nathan & his daughter and Miranda, Ashley (the doctors daughters) and their partners. Whilst there is gore and deaths galore this book also looks are relationships and the impacts this kind of disaster can have on families and how people cope and survive.

There are dark themes as always with apocalypse but also the darker side of human nature when vulnerable people are left unprotected. Sexual abuse raises its ugly head, briefly but enough that I feel a warning is required to fellow readers. Really fast paced, despite jumps in characters and locations the book does well to keep it together and relevant. I would have read it in one sitting given the chance, there is another book which looks at the journey of two of the survivors but nothing from where this one ends. I tweeted the author and really hope this is in the pipelines or gives McGuire consideration to pick up where she left off with the characters. 4/5 for me this time, this is my first dance with this author and I would read her work again.

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Wee additional giveaway

Hello lovelies. So, bookmarks have been the topic of conversation in a few of the book clubs I am in. I love bookmarks (as most book geeks do) and think you can never have enough! So, with March being a hard month for some, it is Mothers day soon, some of us don't celebrate, some of us can't, I thought a wee additional giveaway would be nice.

In order to enter the comp, head over to SMBSLT's Facebook page *CLICK HERE* and just like/share the post to be in with a chance of winning. Open worldwide guys, good luck if entering. Hope you are all having a chilled Sunday xxx

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

The Wild AirThe Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Amazon

In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.

When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother's aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her.

But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything - and everyone - Della loves.

Uplifting and page-turning, THE WILD AIR is a story about love, loss and following your dreams against all odds.

My Review

Della is a subdued and quiet child until her Aunt Betty comes back to live in the town and shows Della it is ok to chase your dreams. Della loves flying and aeroplanes but knows a woman's place is in the home, second place always to men, it is the early 1900s. But with Betty at her side, Della realises that against all odds she can chase her dream and be who she wants to be but at what cost?

I am so glad I didn't read the blurb when I agreed to review this, I am not a huge lover of historical fiction nor into aeroplanes much at all. Guys I loved this book!!! Aunt Betty is a fabulous character, looked down upon by the village folk for daring to be different, want more than babies and a kitchen sink. She comes back with her head held high and shows Della there is much more out there if she is brave enough to go after it. And Della does, becoming a strong and independent woman she pursues her dreams of attempting to become a female pilot. As the war is looming Della faces many more challenges than just sexist attitudes and risks everything she has achieved to follow her heart.

I love a book with strong female characters, when Aunt Betty was in the picture she stole the show and I genuinely hope the author considers giving Betty her own stage and story, she is marvelous. Della is another strong character although more subtle in her strength and we watch her grow from a young girl to a determined headstrong woman. The attitudes of the times, facing scorn for wanting something more from her life, the horrors or war and some heroic choices makes Della a character you can't help but love. A surprising aspect for me was all the plane storyline, you can tell Mascull went to town on her research for this book, I learned so much about the machines and even the history of them. I always find it a great wee bonus when you learn something true from a fiction book and it did peak my interest in aircraft although I would never be so brave to learn to fly.

A story of moral, strength, beauty, personal growth, family, expectations and going against the grain when you are expected to fall in line. Creating characters that the readers becomes invested in from practically the first page. I would have sunk this in one sitting had life not got in the way, Mascull has a way yanking you through the years to a different era, so vivid the scene you can smell and taste it. 5/5 for me this time, I have read this author before and I will read her again, I think I have missed one of her books so will need to snap that up, I eagerly await her next. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy, all views are my own. Available to buy from the 6th of April 2017.

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