Monday, 24 July 2017

The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson

The Woman Who Met Her MatchThe Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 3 days

Publisher - Avon

Pages - 400

Blurb from Goodreads

What if your first love came back on the scene . . . 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?

A wonderfully funny novel, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Joanna Bolouri and Milly Johnson.

My Review

We open at the Summer of 1986 where we meet our main character Lorrie, just a slip of a girl at 16, not very confident and shipped over to France for an exchange. She meets her first love and is heartbroken when she goes home. Fast forward thirty years, her children have signed her up for online dating, after a few disastrous dates Lorrie's first love gets in touch out of the blue. Lorrie is a responsible adult, a mother, making woman feel gorgeous with beauty products she can't just leave it all to chase her first love, or can she?

This is a lovely wee book, funny, light and some darker themes of loss and discrimination in the work place. Dating disasters, friendship, love, loyalty and trying to get yourself back after fully focusing on your kids and picking up life after a bereavement. Humor is laced throughout and I think because so many of the themes within the book are applicable to your normal every day person that there is something for everyone in this story. The chapters are relatively short which is great if you don't have time to sit and get stuck right in, had I had more time I would have read this in one sitting.

Lorrie is a relate-able character, a good heart, focusing on family and to be honest a wee bit of a door mat at times where you are urging her to stand up for herself. I found myself getting really invested in the characters, we all have a family member who is self involved, someone else we are looking out for. The element of the one who got away and what would happen if they got in touch again is something most people have thought about once in their adult life, if not more. A great read for a blue day or just by the pool. This was my first time reading this author, I absolutely would read her again. Thanks to Avon Books for introducing me to a new author and putting her on my radar, I will be looking up more of her work, 4/5 for me this time.

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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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Friday, 7 July 2017

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse

The Woman in the WoodThe Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - under 3 days on and off

Pages - 400

Publisher - Penguin

Blurb from Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Maisy Mitcham and her twin brother Duncan lose their mother to an asylum one night in 1960.

The twins are sent to their grandmother's country house, Nightingales. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices, to explore and to grow. That is until the day Duncan doesn't come home from the woods.

With their grandmother seeming to have little interest in her grandson's disappearance, and the police soon giving up hope, it is left to Maisy to discover the truth. And she will start with Grace Deville. A woman who lives alone in the wood, about whom rumours abound . . .

My Review

Maisy and Duncan Mitcham, fifteen years and and about to have their world turned upside down. They always knew their mother was unwell but to be removed from their home and both children sent to live with their elderly grand mother? With everything they know removed, a grand mother as cold as their father who just abandoned them, the twins get to know the people around them. They hear of the woman in the woods, Grace, anti social, withdrawn and down right rude the child are drawn to find out more. An unlikely friendship turns to suspicion when Duncan goes missing, no one seems as bothered as Maisy and Maisy will not settle until she finds out what happened to her brother even if it means bringing danger to herself.

Oh guys I do love Pearse, her books are often gentle with hard hitting topics dottered throughout, The Woman in the Wood is no different. We cover a range of life issues, mental health, family, relationships, abuse, disappearance, crime, the darker side of humanity and the old societal prejudices. A bit of a slow burner in the beginning to get to know the characters, the kids are pretty much the main characters and we see them learn to adapt with being abandoned by their father. When he does interact with them there is no affection and when we meet the grand mother we start to see why. A proud woman with no huge value on affection on children, little respect for their mother and rather set in her ways.

The book takes a dark turn when Duncan goes missing, there has been a spate of boy going missing and a killer is on the loose. Whilst Maisy is forced to move on she can never let go and braves approaching Grace, the woman from the woods for help. Grace is a fantastic character, excluded from society and in herself very guarded, through Maisy we start to see another side to this abrupt "weird" woman. Through their quest to find out what happened to Duncan, we see just how strong and loyal Grace is with a fierce streak, these two woman go on a mission that will change everything!

There are so many aspects of this book we could focus on, one thing I loved was just how strong the female characters were. Maisy, even at fifteen has a great sense of right and wrong and challenges things which for that time period (1960s) would raise an eyebrow let alone modern day. Grace is something else, having being hurt, judged and ostracized from her own people she still has righteousness and metal to make a stand when called upon. Whilst many aspects of this book are dark, and heinous there is so much that is beautiful. Strong women, the importance of relationships, the good of people, loyalty, friendship and things that take ordinary people and make them extraordinary. I could have read this in one sitting but work and life got in the way, 4/5 for me this time. I have many of this author still to read, I bought up quite a few after her last book so will certainly be reading her again. Pearse is one of those authors that has yet to disappoint, her writing just envelopes you and snares you into the story practically from the get go. Thanks to Netgalley for providing an arc of this book, The Woman in the Wood is now available to buy, let me know what you thought of it!

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

City Lives by Patricia Scanlan

City LivesCity Lives by Patricia Scanlan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Pages - 484

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Blurb from Goodreads

Devlin, Caroline and Maggie. Women in their prime. They have it all. Careers. Success. Marriage. They are the envy of their peers. But at what price?

City Livesis the story of three women who have one great certainy in their lives: their friendship. The enduring bonds of loyalty and love will carry them through the toughest times towards a brighter future.

'A page-turner for romantics'Ireland on Sunday

My Review

This is book two of a trilogy, if you haven't read the first one I would recommend it however you could get away with reading this as a standalone. I think you would enjoy it more though having the background info.

Three very different women, Devlin is a successful business woman with her own chain of beauty salons, married and in love she has everything she could want from life. Caroline, married to a man with his own demons and over bearing mother. When they agree to divorce and pursue happiness, Caroline's Mother in Law has other plans. And Maggie, a now well known author, a husband with more than a roving eye, young babies and the struggle between her own happiness and that of her children. The trio have already overcome so much together, now taking scary steps in each of their own lives to achieve what we all want, happiness.

I do like Scanlan's writing, it is like slipping into an episode of one of your favourite sitcoms, the writing flows and you're quickly drawn into the world created and following the ladies recent adventures. I think within the characters there will be someone each reader can identify with, even though they have fame or money they still experience the same woes as everyone else. I will buy the third part of this series as I want to know what is next for the ladies, a perfect read for round the pool or just to switch off from your own every day, 3/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Nailing Jess by Triona Scully - Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Nailing Jess by Triona Scully, her debut novel. Welcome Triona and thanks so much for taking the time to do a wee Q&A with me. Guys you can read my review for Nailing Jess by clicking HERE.

Before we get into it, if you haven't already seen it, this is the cover for Nailing Jess. I am not normally one to comment on covers but it does strike you doesn't it? If I was walking by it in a bookshop I would absolutely be drawn to pick this up!

1. What was the idea behind the book?

- Nailing Jess is a perfectly functional serial killer novel. It is also a satire on perfectly functional serial killer novels, and the raw deal women often get in this genre. Rather than victimised, women are the perpetrators of sexual and violent crime. The results ain’t pretty, but at least they are, in the main, still alive.

2. Feminism is a huge theme in the book what made you want to go this route?

I’m a feminist Lainy, so it seemed like the obvious route. I OD’d on feminist writers after a gruesome break up, a long time ago. On the one hand, it’s was a powerful thing to do, providing me with the language and science to explain what all women instinctively know – they get a raw deal. On the other hand, it was mind-blowingly dis-empowering ‘coz I came out the other side, with all this knowledge that I can’t unlearn, and the world remains indifferent. Everything I write these days is from a feminist perspective, because it is what I now know.

3. There is swearing galore, you chose “suck” and “sucking” in place of “f*ck” why?

F*** is a male verb, for a male act. At the core of heterosexual mating rituals, men are the active participant, women the passive receiver. Suck is the verb we might use, if women defined the sex act, as something they initiated.

4. I found that really hard to read because I am so familiar with the F word in those exchanges, do you think it was a bold move changing it up like that?

I don’t know if I thought it was bold, but I was certain in had to be done. As a society, we wantonly use the word ‘F***’ to define some of our most intimate actions and some of our most violent ones. The same word - to say ‘I love you’ and ‘I want to cause you harm’. That’s f***ed!

5. Even the mention of Hansel and Gretel the names where changed for the female listing first, what made you do that?

Because that’s how inequality is created and maintained. Through the little things like men (Hansel) always being put first. And the big things, like domestic homicide being downplayed to a ‘family tragedy’, in terms of how the media portray it, and how the courts sanction it, and ultimately, how society perceives it.

6. I picked up the book expecting the crimes to be the main focus, reading the book the strong female theme was, for me, the main focus. Even the males wardrobe choices are very different! Was this your intent/goal?

It was fifty-fifty. Having a core story to tell, with a start, middle, end, and a shedload of bodies was really important to me. I’m a huge crime fan, and I’ve always wanted to write a crime novel. I’m intrigued how thrillers like ‘Gone Girl’ are perceived as feminist, because whilst that book undoubtedly has a strong female lead, it also perpetrates many tired, old stereotypes about how untrustworthy and unhinged women are. I wanted my crime novel to be unambiguously feminist.

7. The main character is different from any I have read, even her name, what was your vision when you created her?

Absolutely! I wanted to create a woman, like no other. I wanted the reader to focus on what she says and what she does, not how she looks, and I think I’ve achieved that with Wayne.

8. With all the swearing, sexism and questionable behaviour from our DCI and overall theme I think this will be a marmite book. How do you feel about your debut being a marmite read?

It’s impossible to describe how surreal it is, to put something out there, and then read reactions to it. I have had to very quickly come to terms with the fact that my work is done, give or take the never-ending marketing drive. There is nothing I can do or say to alter how people perceive the Nailing Jess. Do I want everyone to love it? Absolutely. Is that likely to happen? It would appear not. So, I will settle for the next best thing. As many people as possible to love it.

9. I think this would make for a great reading group book as there is so much to debate/discuss. Which aspect of the book would you like to see most argued over?

I would feel so honoured to have any people debate any of the number of issues it raises from misogyny and violent crime, to drug use, to the lot of single mothers, to everyday sexism.

10. What is next for Triona Scully?

I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you! I never talk about unfinished work. I’ve written a play called ‘The Contact Killer’ and I’m looking to produce it in the next year. So, if you know any wealthy art enthusiasts…

And if we aren't spoiling you enough with a Q&A I am also offering up my copy as a giveaway, UK only this time guys sorry. Please keep in mind this is an ARC so any errors (I can't say I noticed any) are because this was an advanced copy. To be in with a chance just enter by using the Rafflecopter below. Open until the end of the month. You can buy your own copy now and the e book is only 99p at time of posting.

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Escape by C L Taylor

The EscapeThe Escape by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over the course of 1 day

Pages - 433

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

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

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.

The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

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

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

My Review

Jo Blackmore has a lot going on, she has a condition that controls most aspects of her life, her daughter is her pride and joy. When Jo is approached by a stranger and her daughter is threatened it kick starts a change of events that will change Jo's life and everything she thought she knew.

The book kicks off with an unpleasant encounter for Jo, a request for a lift turns to a threat on her daughter. Jo is in an utter panic and speeds off to rescue her child, her husband listens to her claims but lets face it, Jo has priors for over reacting and Max is trying to be a good husband but Jo is being increasingly erratic. The book was multi dimensional for me, it tackles mental health, consequences of choices and actions, marriage, family, love, loss, violence and stalking. One mothers harrowing journey of trying to protect her family, keep her sanity and be mistrusted and questioned by those closest to her.

The vibe of fear and claustrophobic atmosphere is evident from practically page one, drawing the reader in to the story from the get go. At parts I was frustrated by some of Jo's choices however it echos, for me, the realistic fears and limitations of living with a condition that dictates almost every aspect of your life. Add to that a hefty dose of fear for your child's life, an inability to trust your own self and to be questioned by the one person who should have your back whilst trying to battle just going out and about. Taylor does well to create an every day family then pour on every parent's worse nightmare, a cat and mouse game and the breakdown of relationships all because of one incident.

I have read all of Taylor's books so far, I enjoy her writing style and had I not had lots of things getting in the way I would have read this in one sitting. Tense, atmospheric and leading the reader down a path where you trust no one, suspect everything and turn into a Jessica Fletcher desperately trying to solve the mystery before it is revealed to you. 4/5 for me this time, available to buy from all good retails in treebook and ebook, this is a standalone so you can grab it and jump right in.

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Monday, 19 June 2017

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp

Nothing Lasts ForeverNothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 245

Publisher - Graymalkin Media

Blurb from Goodreads

High atop a Los Angeles skyscraper, an office Christmas party turns into a deadly cage-match between a lone New York City cop and a gang of international terrorists. Every action fan knows it could only be the explosive big-screen blockbuster Die Hard. But before Bruce Willis blew away audiences as unstoppable hero John McClane, author Roderick Thorp knocked out thriller readers with the bestseller that started it all.

A dozen heavily armed terrorists have taken hostages, issued demands, and promised bloodshed all according to plan. But they haven't counted on a death-defying, one-man cavalry with no shoes, no backup, and no intention of going down easily. As hot-headed cops swarm outside, and cold-blooded killers wield machine guns and rocket launchers inside, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between anti-hero and uber-villains. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight to the death. Ho ho ho!

My Review

A Christmas party in a LA skyscraper, terrorists armed & dangerous with a mission to be completed and no qualms about killing their hostages. One man, an ex cop now anti terrorist consultant, visiting one of his family at the party ends up taking on the killers by himself with no shoes and his quick wit and at times banter to get him through.

Sound familiar? Instead of John McClane in Die Hard we have Joe Leland, instead of visiting his wife he is visiting his grown daughter. Otherwise the story paved the way and became Die Hard, Leland is less gun-hoe than McClane we see a much softer side and some of his quips mirror one of our all time favourite characters Bruce Willis brought to life on the screen.

The book brings a more human side and lets us get inside the head of Joe, what he is thinking and how the killings of the terrorists affects him, something that is missing in the movie. The pace and tension is very much evident and draws the reader in quickly. Joe, whilst a force to be reckoned with is also very human, flawed and I think that may make the character real because he suffers so much but powers through. The movie took the heart of this book and enhanced and blew it up to a well loved film. It isn't very often I prefer the movie to the book and for its time this story packs a punch and keeps the reader engaged but if you have seen the movie I think the book does pale in comparison. If you haven't seen Die Hard read this book first as you will absolutely love it, then check out the movie. This is the second book in a series, I haven't read the first and don't feel I have missed anything out by reading this but I think I may go back and pick up the first. Murder, mayhem, survival, terrorism, family, love, a smart mouth and fast action is the best way to highlight the main topics of this story.

This has been my longest waiting review book, actually years on my tbr purely because it was my first approval Netgalley book. Back then I had no idea how it worked and by the time I got it the book had been archived and I couldn't access or download it. I bought it as I really wanted to read this, I ploughed through it in one day and had to watch the movie immediately after. I would put this as 3/5 stars, I liked it and I think for its time it has been fabulously done. However seeing the movie prior to reading it and actually loving the changes for the film I debated between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating. If you like action and a story with violence, survival whilst looking at the human aspect of it then you can't go far wrong with this. This was my first time reading this author, I will certainly be checking out his other work. Thanks to Netgalley for highlighting this author and initially providing me with a review copy, I wanted to read it so much I ended up buying it and can finally remove it from my NG shelve.

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang

The Pharaoh's CatThe Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 182

Publisher - Self published

Blurb from Goodreads

The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death.

The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.

The cat has a good friend in the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that plague him. He has a mortal enemy in the Vizier—the second most powerful man in Egypt--who hates him for his close relationship with the Pharaoh. The Vizier’s persecution of the cat ultimately results in his fleeing with the High Priest to present-day New York City, where they find an ally in an Egyptologist’s daughter.

My Review

A wee stray cat in Egypt suddenly finds himself able to talk and stand upright, saved from a horrible fate by the Pharaoh whilst making an enemy. Wrappa-Hamen (the cat) is the protagonist, whilst meeting the Pharaoh changes his life he in turn enriches the Pharaoh's waking him from his grief and embracing life and his role. The Vizier, the second most powerful man next to the Pharaoh is not pleased with Wrappa-Hamen's influence and his arrival kick starts a deadly change of events.

I have had this on my review tbr for a long time, I wish I had read it sooner, the cat would steal the show even if he wasn't the main character. He is sassy, funny, witty and brings joy and chaos to the realm stirring everything up. The Vizier is not a nice man, he had the Pharaoh where he wanted him, almost like a puppet, with the arrival of Wrappa-Hamen everything changes and the Pharaoh comes into his own. The book is about actions, choices, consequences and lives lessons without being done in a preachy manner. There is also a lot about Egyptian history, I have always been interested in it but never really gotten around to reading much, I did find myself putting the book down to google some things & will read further hopefully soon.

A heart warming story that covers a lot of ground, snippets of history, magic, relationships, lies, love, friendship, persecution and even some time travel. This book won't be loved by all however I thought it was really well done. A sweet tale with some moral lessons and the kitty is a cheeky wee thing with some flare, I found myself laughing at some of his quips! 4/5 for me this time, there is another book with this character that I will bump up my list, not too sure how it will go with how well rounded this one was was but I look forward to reading it. Thanks so much to the author for bringing this to my attention it is a wee gem of a book particularly if you like cats and something a bit different.

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

A Dark So DeadlyA Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 3 days

Pages - 608

Publisher - HarperCollins

Blurb from Goodreads

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

My Review

A cop no one trusts, they think he took a bribe. A cop moved to the team for violence and two with health issues, they are the "Misfit Mob". DC Callum MacGregor is our main character, distrust is rife among his colleagues, rumored to have taken a bribe. Callum just wants a decent crack of the whip, when they get called to a dumped mummified corpse the team think this is another dead beat case. It slowly transpires there is a killer on the loose and the Misfit Mob must come together to solve it whilst trying to survive the force politics as well as their own person issues.

Oooooh I do hope this is the start of a new series and not just a one off standalone. The characters are flawed and very human in some of their questionable choices and damaged personalities. Poor Callum must be one of the most unlucky humans in the world! A sad childhood story, colleagues that don't trust him, a baby on the way and just when you think things can't get worse for him another strike of bad luck hits. As he struggles to juggle personal blows amidst a case that throws curve ball after curve ball you can't help but be drawn into the dark world MacBride has created.

We glimpse snippets of the killers world, the team interaction, the domestic side of DC MacGregor as well as the integration of the teams newest officer. If you have read MacBride before you can expect his usual humor and swearing from his Scottish characters. It is well paced and ties up earlier memories of MacGregors which initially I found a wee bit out of sync with the previous chapter however as the stories progresses it all takes shape perfectly. With twists and turns, swearing, violence, murder and mayhem this newest offering has all of MacBrides trademark writing but with fresh new characters and a chilling killer. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for providing me with a review copy. A Dark So Deadly is out now to buy in hardback and e book.

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Monday, 12 June 2017

For The Love Of Shakespeare by Beth Miller

For the Love of ShakespeareFor the Love of Shakespeare by Beth Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Dipped in and out from March

Pages - 282

Publisher - Summersdale

Blurb from Goodreads

A treasure-trove of wit, imagination and emotion, his plays and poems continue to surprise, inspire, console and delight us. Whether you're a life-long lover of the Bard or a curious newcomer to his world, this companion will lift the curtain on the unforgettable characters and stories of Britain's greatest dramatist.

My Review

This book on the inside is called A Companion, that is perfect for what this wee book is. Miller takes us on a journey through who Shakespeare was, an insight into his work with commentary and laced with some humour. Interviews with different people to how they fell in love with Shakespeare, his works, his influences and even a conspiracy theory. Finished off with some reading that influenced the work that went into the book and online resources which I will be checking out myself.

I have always wanted to read Shakespeare, we did one play in school, each person reading different parts and I loved it. Reading the plays in books though I always found a chore, the language and way it has been put down on the pages was tough going. So when I had the opportunity for reviewing this I jumped at it. A book that goes over the stories but in simplistic English and with Millers humour and own voice it was easy to loose yourself in.

Normally when I take a week or more to read a book it is because I am struggling with it, this is the opposite with this book. I enjoyed it so much and learned so much about both Shakespeare himself and his work I would often put the book aside to go and google and read more about the chapter/story I had just learned about. So many of the work was brand new to me and I had no idea how many adaptations, books and literature was out there about him and his creations. That is why it has taken so long to get to the end of the book I kept going off and reading more on what Miller had written.

The passion for her subject is abundantly clear pretty much from the get go and you can't help but be swept away with it yourself. From providing quotable lines, little Did You Know tables and bite sized info such as phrases coined by Shakespeare you could easily loose yourself in this book in one sitting. I had to go in and out as such much was new to me and I wanted to read up on more about that particular sonnet or poem as it was mostly fresh information. I started this book with trepidation there is nothing worse than agreeing to review a book and fearing you might get bored or lose interest. Unwarranted fear in this case, this book is now a keeper for me and certainly one I will go back to again and again. I am also going to buy a copy for my friend who loves Shakespeare and unlike me could read him in any presentation so she will love this, 5/5 for me this time. I would absolutely recommend this book, whether you are curious about the man himself or well versed in his works I think everyone can enjoy something from this read!

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Betrayal by Martina Cole

BetrayalBetrayal by Martina Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Pages - 480

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

It's all down to who you trust. Aiden O'Hara has been head of the family since he was kid, and he's going to keep it that way. Jade Dixon is the one who watches his back. Mother of his son. The one who makes him invincible. But Jade's been in the game a lot longer than Aiden. She knows no one's indestructible. And when you're at the top, that's when you've got to watch the hardest. Especially the ones closest to you ...

My Review

Aiden O'Hara has always looked out for his family, ever since he was a wee laddie. His mother has something of a reputation and many children to different fathers. Aiden is fiercely protective and soon makes himself a name with the local face. Drugs, prostitution and murder are all things Aiden finds himself caught up in but it pays the bills and keeps his family safe. However as Aiden's reputation grows his arrogance and unpredictability grows with it turning Aiden from protector to a possible danger to his family and business.

I took ages getting to this book as it has taken a fair amount of slating on many book clubs, for a while fans have commented on Cole's book just not being a shadow of her former works. I still enjoyed this one, it starts pretty much from the first chapter, each chapter is relatively short in length making perfect for dipping in and out of. It has elements of her previous books although I agree that with fierce competition from writers such as Chambers & Mitchell there does seem to be a spark missing. You have loyalty, violence, family, relationships, sex, swearing, murder, drugs, prostitution and warning, even child abuse within this one. Not for the easily offended and if you haven't read Cole before I would recommending starting with her earlier work.

If you like gritty estate gangster style books you will like this one, it has a bit of just about everything in it. I didn't like how interchangeable some of the characters became, they start off with strict principles but fast forward X amount of time later and they have a complete switch. Yes people change especially with circumstances but in a few instances I felt it was more about moving the story than fitting to the actual character. 3/5 for me this time, read Cole before and I would read her again. Whilst I think the later stories have something less than her original books I still think many Cole's fans will enjoy this offering.

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Sunday, 11 June 2017

June competition is here

I always like to do a giveaway every month, unless I am super busy we do manage it. Sometimes if I am doing a Q&A or have really enjoyed a book that isn't huge (postage costs do limit a lot) I like to do pre-loved giveaways. This month I am doing a wee miscellaneous competition.

So we have a wee mixed lot. A minions lipbalm, who doesn't love minions and it is summer so we need to keep those lips from drying out. A wee cat in a box, I bought this one night after a wee drink or two, not sure what it really is meant to be/do but I liked it so have included it. A wee crown pen, note it is a blue writer and the one for the competition is in it's original wrapper I used my one for the picture so you can see it better. And lastly, the ever popular retro magnetic cassette bookmark. For anyone who isn't familiar with these, the "tape" hangs down or you can loop it up as shown in the photo below, or let it hang down the page. The cassette part you clamp onto the page as it has a magnetic bit on both sides. Please not Odd Thomas is NOT part of the competition, only for showing how the bookmark looks.

This competition is open worldwide, you just need to fill in the Rafflecopter below to be entered, the more entries you complete the more times your name is entered. Good luck and thank you so much to everyone who comments, visits, emails and interacts with the blog either here, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Friday, 9 June 2017

Honey I'm home

If you follow the blog on Fb, Instagram and or Twitter you will know we have been away on vacation, we took a trip across some of America, I love America! We started heading to Manchester by train, then flew to San Francisco, drove to Santa Barbara & then drove to our last destination Las Vegas.

We visited Alcatraz and despite not having my camera, I managed to get some great photos. I spotted the bookstore before the boat even docked, I bought two wee thin booklets with some of the prisons history.

There was so many birds and wildlife on Alcatraz, I got a wee video of these beauties, posted to Instagram @always_reading

We stayed in a great hotel in San Francisco, it had sea life style throughout all the floors and I am a sucker for themes. IT was also right next to the beach front and they gave us a wee anniversary card, gotta love the little touches.

This was right next to reception on the wall, they had a huge bird made from metal nuts and bolts and chairs from large signs, I took over 900 photos in total and can't post them all here.

As we drove across two locations we saw some stunning scenery, I honestly love America, from the sights to the food! I also bought some books along the way, surprise surprise.

Every where else had been my first visits, Las Vegas was either 5th or 6th time, I do love it. From the shows, to the super friendly people, the food & drink and just all the shops & bright lights I love love love it. I also got a new bookmark hurrah, between books and bookmarks you really cannot have too many. I will say, the huge change in cost since we first went is huge, you used to get so much and realtively cheap. Now a lot of the things are cheaper to buy at home and take over.

We generally stay at what I call the top end of the strip and take a walk down, o/h was unwell so between pushing him in a chair & the heat we didn't make it far the first few days.

The city that never actually sleeps!

The laugh factor has different locations, if you like comedy and haven't been you should check them out. We saw the Whose Line Is It Anyway folk live, one of my fav shows to date. We also went to Michael Jackson One, Fantasy and down to the old strip where they have zip slides and free concerts on the street.

And after three weeks with no camera, no laptop, no email access, very limited internet I am home, jetlagged, tons of post to sort, parcels to send out (I haven't forgotten) and reviews to catch up on. But first, Princess demands attention! I hope everyone is well and I will be stopping by and catching up properly in the next few days.

Well from I first started reviewing

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