Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

The Man I Think I KnowThe Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days as time allowed

Pages - 310

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?

It's a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle's powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus - rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.

Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.

Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn't get out and get a job, she's leaving.

It was an accident that changed James's life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives - and infantilising her brother.

She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.

The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.

What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

This is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain's favourite novelists.

My Review

Danny is a bit of a lay about, his girlfriend is getting sick of him not having a job, no life direction and now his benefits are being stopped. James was on the path to success, becoming an MP, a beautiful girl and the world was his oyster.............before "the incident". Fate bring these two together, connecting a past and a future bringing life changes that neither could have foreseen nor will be the same again.

I genuinely didn't know what to expect from this book, I have never read the author and by the time the book arrived I forgot what the book was about. Personal growth, friendships, family, life, love, loyalty, learning to recover, moving on, self belief and so so much more. The chapters alternate between Danny and James, two very different men who have so much to offer, to learn and being brought together they discover so much about themselves. You know something has happened to change their lives pretty quickly but it takes a bit before anything is revealed.

There is a lot of emotion, humour and some sadness - it is quite an emotive read in parts and takes you on a roller coaster, even after I have read a few other books I am still thinking about it. It provokes you to think, just how much a life and life path can be changed by one single event, an act of kindness, bravery and the long lasting affects they can have. It shows the importance of human interactions, the strength of relationships and just how much of an impact one human being can have on another. I feel like I am not doing this book justice, it is hard to emphasise just how fabulous it is without giving away spoilers. Needless to say it warms the soul, gives you something to chew on and I think depending on your life experiences it will impact on different levels with readers. 4/5 for me this time, whilst this is my first dance with this author it absolutely won't be my last, a great read! You can buy your own copy from the 19th of April 2018, ebook and treebooks available from Amazon.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Sweetpea by C J Skuse

SweetpeaSweetpea by C.J. Skuse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - HQ

Source - Gift from O/H

Blurb from Goodreads

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

My review

Rhiannon is working as an editorial assistant for a newspaper, once Rhiannon was the news, front page now she can't get a chance to write something proper. But Rhiannon has bigger issues than bitchy colleagues and a crappy set of stories to write. Rhiannon is a killer, brutal but always in control, well almost always. Every day she has a list of people she could kill, if an opportunity presents itself she takes it all whilst juggling her own problems. A boyfriend who is playing away, work colleagues who either don't value her or can see through her mask, Rhiannon needs to up her game. Especially when some of her "activities" have started to make the news themselves.

You know from the offset who the killer is, sure it tells you in the blurb. We hear from Rhiannon in first person narrative so we know her thoughts/feelings/insights which some will love some will hate, I enjoyed it. The warnings, if you are easily offended this is not the book for you. Graphic sexual references, crude, dirty ooft she has a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush. Brutal killings, infidelity, sex, violence, unpc humour, she is hilarious at points but it is one of those you laugh and think oh I shouldn't. I will check out more by this author, if bad language, brutal gutter mouth and unpc humour makes you uncomfortable then this isn't the book for you. If you don't mind a book that pushes it, rude, crude, funny, brutal then this one ticks the boxes for you. 4/5 for me this time!

View all my reviews

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for debut novel, The Maid's Room by author Fiona Mitchell. I had a great day chilling in the bath with this one and the cover matched my bath bomb from lush. Please check out the other stops on the tour as each offers different content.

The Maid's RoomThe Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 308

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, The Maid's Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids - sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.

Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is ultimately uplifting, this book will resonate with anyone who has struggled to have their voice heard.

Perfect for fans of The Help and The Invention of Wings.

My Review

Two sisters Dolly & Tala living and working in Singapore as maids, earning money to support their families back home in the Philippines. This is their story, we see into their routines, how they are treated, spied on, disrespected, abused and how their strength of character, spirit and fight gets them through the days. Dolly is the quieter of the two, more in keeping in line, Tala takes risk, fights for the girls and is a strong woman who doesn't think twice of putting herself in the firing line. Blog posts make an appearance in this which I actually really liked, we have the blog from Vanda "Life as the Employer of a Foreign Domestic Helper" a poison pen employer who could be talking about items rather than human beings. She enraged me and also Tala who starts her own blog in response which soon takes off gives the maids a voice.

There is so much going on in this book, not just the maids, we get an insight into the families they look after, people they clean for and it leaves you worried for how vile some employers are. These woman are disrespected, abused, used and it really got me up in arms. Whilst this is a fiction book it is representative of the actual struggles going on for these maids, I was horrified and want to be educated more about it. An emotive book that commands the readers attention and made me want to do something to actually help these woman, a link at the back for something like that would be awesome. Working to support your family, leaving your own to care for others is not something I could ever do and only imagine the heartache. To then be treated as subhuman it makes you fear for humanity, vindictive and spiteful yet they trusting them to look after their precious children whilst starving them, abusing them ugh!

I loved the "retaliation" blog, I love Tala as a character, she is quietly fierce and of such strong moral fibre she is a fantastic character, I would have loved the book to be longer, seen more of the other maids and a bit more justice for the women. Then, real life isn't always like that and I think the book stayed true to what all transpired. 4/5 for me this time, a fantastic debut novel and I will be watching for more from Mitchell.

View all my reviews

Monday, 9 April 2018

Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1)Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 340

Publisher - St. Martin's Griffin

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

One woman's story as she blogs - and fights back - the zombie apocalypse"

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

My Review

Azombie apocalypse with internet and blog entries capturing Allison Hewitt's struggle to survive and all the issues she faces. Working in a bookstore you are very limited in your options when a zombie apocalypse kicks off, that is what happens to Allison. However we follow her journey, with a handful of other survivors as they slowly adapt and try to stay alive. As living conditions worsening, time is dragging on, it is clear they need to move on to stay alive.

I really liked the kick off for this, the blog aspect was new for me, as you know have read more than a few zombie books. We go through many avenues of emotional reactions, meltdowns, personal growth and all updated with her blog and some comments from other survivors and their plights. We see how different folk react, the dangerous interactions with not just the zombies but other survivors. Love, loss, bravery, humanity both the good and bad and the strength of humans to prevail and keep going.

Whilst I did enjoy this I didn't like the abruptness of the end. As I was nearing the last few chapters I got a bit nervy of how it would wrap up. I am sure some loved it but I felt it should have been a good bit longer and more closure. There is another book after this one, I don't think it is any of the same characters though. I will buy it because I do love a zombie book and I did enjoy the authors writing style plus blog entries and a new spin on this genre, for me anyway. I just wish there had been more, sure they say a good author always leaves their audience wanting more, I would have just liked more closure, 3.5 stars out of 5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Happy Saturday

Hello lovely people, I hope you are having a great Saturday, I am catching up with review/blog stuff before going to meet up with friends. Some I haven't seen this year and may or may not have a wee tipple, well hello there blue Wicked!

I also plan on digging out the old selfie stick which I can never see one or use without thinking of the selfie queen, Miss Shell Baker from Chellesbookreviews blog, if you don't know her um where have you been lol. Seriously check out her blog though she is great crack and does so much for authors.

So, I have a wee giveaway going just now for a voucher to buy the ebook of Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd, you just need to comment on the post to be included, ebook and UK only, click here.

And a wee unexpected fabulousness yesterday. I saw the voting was open for the Annual Blogger Bash Awards so I went on and voted for my pals and noticed a blog with the same name as mine was nominated. Chatting on Facebook and someone messaged me to say it was actually my wee blog, how awesome is that! Seven years of blogging and I have never been nommed for anything so I just want to thank the person who put my wee part of the internet up for nomination. I am so chuffed and you really cheered my day up yesterday, I wish I knew who it was to say thank you. Anyways, click HERE for the link to the nominees, you can vote for one blog per category, I am in the "Hidden Gem" category and have voted for all the blogs I like. Good luck to everyone, thanks to those who are and have voted for me and for everyone not nominated I think you rock anyway. Each blog does it different and each blogger is unique in their own way. Sure I don't use big fancy words, I make up words as I go, use daft phrases and have typos all over the shop. But it is our differences and uniqueness that makes us us.

And lastly but by no means least, an update on Trixie. She has found her voice in the last four days, kept me up most of the night but is eating and drinking well. I certainly think she is winding down but as long as she is comfy and happy we will take each day as we find it. To some she is just a cat, here she is part of the family and the amount of love, messages, wishes sent online on various formats has been touching. Oh and thee Karen Rose commented on her cuteness, what more could you ask for :D I hope you all have a great weekend and keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway coming up soon!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan - Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan, can we just take a wee minute to look at that book cover!

Too Close to BreatheToo Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.


As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan's debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.

My Review

DCS Frankie Sheehan is back on the job after a horrifying attack, we don't know what exactly happened, the information is teased out as the story develops. An apparent suicide, Sheehan sees it for what it is, she is a hot shot profiler don't you know and calls it murder. As the investigation goes underway the clues lead them toward the dark web, dangerous fantasies and reluctant or missing witnesses. A high profile case is hard enough, fling into the mix personal demons, secrets and lies plus all the usual stresses in a police team you find yourself quickly hooked!

I can honestly say picking this up you wouldn't think it was a debut and I would actually like to see the author pen a prequel. Whilst we get a lot of answers by the end of the story I think it would be nice to get a fuller picture of Sheehan, damaged cops are a recurrent theme in many books although Sheehan is feisty and on point, a look at her back story would be great.

There is a lot of swearing, death, dark themes, suspense and the author keeps you guessing as to the who and why. Some of the dialogue between the characters was fantastic and witty, the pace keeps you gripped from the opening page. It is a busy book, focus on police procedure as they tackle the case but not so much that it affects the pace. We have threads of Sheehan dealing with her recent past, being back on the team, the suspects and witnesses interwoven through the investigation. I think Kiernan has carved out a great beginning for what I hope will turn into a series and look forward to hearing more about Sheehan. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to the publisher and Anne for sending me a copy.

View all my reviews

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour, each blogger features different content and always worth checking out.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Psychosis by Roger Bray - Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the the book Psychosis by Roger Bray, welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time and thank you for taking the time to join us for some questions.

Hi Roger and thanks for taking time out to chat to us.

For those not familiar with yourself or your work, tell us a bit about you and the books you write?

Books tend to be, in some way, autobiographical. If not in actual events then in experiences. I served in the Royal Navy for ten years before coming to Australia and I spent seventeen years as a police officer before being seriously injured arresting a domestic violence offender. My experiences of people, and how they react to different situations, is mirrored in my writing. My books are about ordinary people who find themselves in difficult or extraordinary situations and deal with them the best way they can.

What was the inspiration for Psychosis?

A little difficult to answer without spoilers, but two things I find abhorrent are mindless violence and injustice. I don't care for the myriad excuses often used to forgive such transgressions. I believe in a just society where people can live without fear of either of those things being visited on them. The inspiration for Psychosis was two news reports exploring such events and the writer’s inevitable moment of ‘what if?’.

Do you think you will ever revisit any of the characters in the book?

No, my books are stand alone novels about ordinary characters who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. I think that having suffered the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune I have slung at them they deserves to go back to their ordinary lives.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Robert Harris, Bernard Cornwall, Tom Sharpe, Le Carré, John Birmingham and many others. I have an eclectic taste in books and movies so my inspiration comes from many sources.

If you could have written one book already published what book would you have chosen and why?

I always find this question a little pretentious. Who am I to pretend that I could write or rewrite a classic novel. Even so, in keeping with the question, I would have to say 1984. Not write it so much a rewrite, bring it up to date. I think there are things happening today that Orwell would scarcely believe. CCTV cameras everywhere, people not worried about being on camera but scared that they won’t be. I think Orwell would little believe the amount of personal freedoms we have willingly given away and the whole concept of 1984 would need to be reset. Orwell wrote a warning, we are using it as an instruction manual.

How did you get into writing?

I have always enjoyed writing for my own enjoyment but what pushed me into developing a novel was an idea. Or rather I was standing outside having a cup of coffee on an overcast day when a beam of sunlight came down into the garden. Clearly defined, exactly like a spotlight. I really didn’t think too much about it at the time but over the next days and weeks I started thinking of how to use that moment to develop a story. I had the first chapter and a lot of the rest of the novel mapped out in my mind before I actually started writing anything down

Do you have any rituals, must haves or do’s when starting, during and finishing writing a book?

No really, my only must do’s is to write. I give myself a date as a goal to get at least a first draft ready, or to finish ‘up to chapter x’ and sometimes I even stick to it

What is next for Roger?

I am working on a new novel at the moment, also set in Oregon, which I hope to finish in mid 2018. Once finished it the process of getting it ready for publication begins. Which, I have found, is harder than the writing.

Where can fans find you?

I have a website - through which I can be contacted and I am also on Facebook and Twitter. Please get in touch. Anything you would like to add that I have forgotten to ask?

Nothings springs to mind except to say thanks for the opportunity to chat.

I read this book in prep for the blog tour, this was my first time reading this author, I will be seeking out his other books, you can check out my non spoiler review for Psychosis here.

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose

Edge of Darkness (Romantic Suspense, #20; Cincinnati, #4)Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Pages - 608

Publisher - Headline

Source - Bookbridgr

Blurb from Goodreads

The fourth and final book in Karen Rose's nail-biting Cincinnati Series revisits your favourite characters battling crime in the city's dark underbelly.

Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he's worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn't want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they'll soon find out she isn't the only target...

My Review

I have read some of these books and not always in order, I think to get the most out of these books you should really read in order, says she who doesn't. I recognise a lot of the characters mentioned and their past struggles but there was some I didn't know and whilst you can keep up with the characters I think the book packs more punch with knowing all the back stories.

This is really Meredith and Adam's story with some of Mallory (character from previous books and young girl rescued from a horrific sex trafficking). Meredith and Adam had one night a year ago, Adam has kept himself away since, Meredith doesn't know exactly why but she still loves him. Adam has kept his family at a distance too whilst trying to recover and keep on the job. Whilst trying to stay away and sort himself Meredith is attacked and Adam needs to be part of the investigation. The two try to deal with their feelings inbetween trying to work out who is after Meredith and why. Working with abused kids anyone could be the perp, as the killer closes in and ups his game the police have to pull closer and find it isn't just Meredith who is in danger.

Crime and sex doesn't always work and Rose always has ill fated or doomed relationships from the beginning. The characters have so much danger to face, people to protect that you have action almost non stop. She manages to work in the love interest angle really well and it doesn't take from the main story, in my opinion. Family is a huge theme and there are so many of them, most either cops or helping victims of crime so they are always targets of one type or another. What I love about this is whilst many of the back stories have been left open we find a fair bit of closure in this book. Despite being a chunky 600 plus pages I could easily have had more, the characters are a plenty and there are so many strands to the stories.

Actions, violence, sexual deviants, killers, families, love, loss, personal growth and that is just scratching the surface. Rose carves out characters you can't help but be drawn to and leaves you wanting more. 4/5 for me this time, if you have enjoyed her previous books you will love this, if you haven't read her before, go back to the start!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd - Q&A

Happy publication day to Sue Shepherd for her book "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" you can get your hands on the ebook for only 99p, click here

I was lucky to get an advance copy of this book, you can read my review HERE.

Welcome Sue and thanks so much for stopping by for a wee Q&A with me.

1. What was the inspiration for the story?

I’ve always wanted to write about twins, they fascinate me. I don’t plan or plot my stories in advance. I like to place my characters into a situation and wait to see who will join them, and where they’ll go. I began writing about a set of twins and put them in a memory from my own past. I was born in August 1966, meaning my 10th birthday took place during what became known as ‘the long hot summer of ’76.’ My dad made a home-made paddling pool that summer. There was a hose pipe ban, and, my dad, being much like the twin’s dad, was far too considerate to fill the pool more than a few inches. I still have vivid memories of the green, flowery swimsuit I wore, and how it felt to jump into the cold, shallow water. So, I started with a similar incident, and waited to see what would happen. The only difference being that the twins are younger than me, their 10th birthday party took place long after ’76. Things are not as they first appear in the book, and, once I realised the twist, the story took off from there.

2. What research did you do for the book?

It always amazes me the things that an author needs to check as she or he writes a novel. It’s difficult for me to list all the things I had to look at on Google without giving away the secrets from the book. But I’ll try to give you a few rather random examples - What motorway runs closest to Bolton? At what stage in a pregnancy does the foetus develop arms and legs? Is alcohol banned from Bondi beach on Christmas Day? When were chip and pin cards first used? There was also a bit of medical research, which I can’t divulge for fear of spoilers. Lastly, you may remember, Lainy – once it became clear to me that Beth and Lisa’s paternal grandfather was Scottish, there were a few messages back and forth with yourself to confirm some Scottish dialogue. Thank you once again for that.

3. I found myself liking and disliking both Beth and Lisa at different times, was this deliberate?

I think all our friends and family have traits that we like, and often a side to them that we are not so keen on. In a way, I’m rather pleased to hear that you liked the twins some of the time and disliked them at others. I would agree with you. Sometimes, Lisa’s sarcasm and lack of support for her sister made me very angry with her. But anyone who’s read the book will know that Lisa doesn’t have it easy, and there were often times when I felt immensely sorry for her predicament and I totally understood her frustrations. Equally, Beth was a warm, kind person, but she allowed guilt to drag her down, and on occasion she was just too weak, and I wanted to shake her. I think the book is a real journey for her, and I hope that by the end of it, you joined me in feeling that she’d gained a bit of gumption. But, did I deliberately set out to make you like and dislike them in turn? No. The story just grew organically, and, as sometimes happens in real life, our feelings for people simply ebb and flow.

4. Relationships is a strong and constant theme throughout the book, how important was relationships to you when penning it?

Hugely important. As I see it, relationships are what makes the world go around. In all three of my novels, the most important element has been relationships. Between family, between lovers, and between friends. For me, even more important than where my characters find themselves or the things that they achieve, is the way they relate to each other, and the sacrifices they’re prepared to make for the people they care about.

5. Location, location, location especially Australia did you draw from personal experience or was this research?

The parts of the story that are set in Australia are loosely based on my own travels. When I was young, free and single I spent a year backpacking around Australia, New Zealand and America. It was an amazing overseas experience. I look back in awe, at the brave person I was, and at the bold things I did :- bungee jumping, white water rafting, sleeping under the stars, to name just a few. Some of the things that happened to the twins in Australia did actually happen to me – but I can’t say which!

6. Are any of your characters based on people you know?

Like all authors, I think I draw my inspiration from a number of people. My characters are perhaps an amalgamation of friends and strangers, a hair flick from one, a way of speaking from another. But one character who is very much based on a real person, is that of Beth and Lisa’s Nanna. She definitely bears more than a passing resemblance to my mother-in-law. Just like Nanna, my mother-in-law is feisty and petite. The fact that Nanna played out with the neighbourhood kids was also based on her. When my two sons were small, she used to play football with them in the garden. They even used to make her go in goal!

7. Who are your author crushes and what is your all time favourite read?

Let me have a little think about the authors who’ve influenced me and who made me want to be a writer in the first place. Well, in my twenties, I read Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper. I say I read them, I think ‘devoured’ is a more appropriate term. I loved them. Later, I read Marian Keyes and I adored how she could make me laugh and cry, all on the same page. A few years ago, I took creative writing classes with the author, Sophie King, and I really enjoyed her books. It was her writing that showed me how flexible and how interesting it can be to write from several character’s points of view. I must also mention Kate Atkinson’s - Life after Life. I found that book captivating. It taught me that it’s OK to be brave and mix a fantasy element with romance. But the book that I’ve returned to more times than any other is ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. The first time that Clare meets Henry is not the first time that Henry meets Clare. How mind-bending is that?

8. What is next for Sue Shepherd?

I’m currently writing my fourth novel. I found that the thing I liked most about writing was all the twists and turns and the revelations from the character’s pasts. So, this time around, I’m trying something a little different. It’s more of a psychological thriller. It does feel odd not including humour and romance, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Who knows though, it could still morph into a Sue Shepherd Romcom!

9. Where can fans find you?

If anyone wants to hear more from me, they can find me on my website or on Twitter, where I go by the name of @thatsueshepherd, or on my Facebook page

10. Anything you want to answer that I forgot to ask?

I really would like to thank Ian at Corazon Books. He’s not only my publisher, but my editor too. We’ve worked together on three books now, and I honestly can’t imagine the whole process without his support and input. He manages to tell me when things need to be changed, without offending my sensitive creative side. The publication of Can’t Get You Out of My Head is as much a celebration for him, as it is for me. Thank you, Lainy, for having me on your blog today. I’ve really enjoyed these questions. Thanks also for your continuing support.

And if that isn't enough to spoil you, to celebrate publication day, I will give away an Amazon voucher (UK only guys as I struggle to get the voucher sent outwith the UK accounts) to not one but TWO lucky winners. Just leave a comment and tell me what you are reading just now.

Monday, 2 April 2018

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanThe Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - Simon and Schuster

Source - Waterstones store

Blurb from Goodreads

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

My Review

Marnie has had a hard time with her family, it impacts on most aspects of her life. When things come crashing down around her, a chance internet encounter gives her the opportunity to not only flee but make big life changes. Wychwell is a small village that has much it can offer Marnie but not everyone is as welcoming and soon Marnie is questioning if she has made the right decision.

Oh I do love Johnson's stories and it has been a wee while since I last picked one up. There are many layers to this one, Marnie's story then we have the village history which we read snippets of as Marnie makes her way through the book. Her past and family relationship, her current life before she needs to flee to the village and everything that transpires from her arrival, her friendships and interactions with the village people. There are many secrets, relationships are a key theme throughout the book. I found myself absolutely raging at some of the treatment Marnie has at the hands of her family and how this impacts on her as a person. The behaviour of some of the villagers is beautiful, heartwarming and from others rage inducing and even giving one a twitchy eyeball. I loved the family history and would have read a book on that by itself, I hope it is something Johnson toys with! Other themes that crop up are infidelity, food - oh my I so wanted to eat cheesecake and I don't even eat cheesecake really, cheating, friendships, family, love, office politics, back stabbing, bitchiness, loss, grief, lies and loyalty. It is a busy wee book but very well done and flows nicely, if I hadn't had work I would have read it in one sitting!

Another thing to highlight, the book has a lovely coloured map of the village with the houses and everything labelled so you can follow everything as Marnie experiences the village for the first time. I just think wee extras like that in a book are lovely and get a thumbs up for me, I am a gimmick geek and I love things like that. 4.5 stars for me, I need to look at what books I have missed from the back catalogue and snap them up!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Nobody True by James Herbert

Nobody TrueNobody True by James Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - On and off over 3 days

Pages - 373

Publisher - Tor Books

Source - Bought from Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

James True was not there when he died.

He returned from an out-of-body experience to find that he'd been murdered and mutilated. He had no body to go back to.

But who murdered him? The serial killer terrorizing the city--or someone closer? True had no enemies, at least none that he knew of.

To discover the truth, James True must track down his killer. The initial horror of True's experience is followed by an even greater terror . . . . his family are the murderer's next targets.

Without a body, True has no substance and no real power. No one can see him, no one can hear him, and no one except his murderer even knows his spirit still exists.

How can he save his family?

My Review

James "Jim" True has OBE (Out Of Body) experiences, astro projection, can leave his body behind and head out and about. This is exactly what he is doing when he is brutally murdered, fitting the killing of a serial murdered. Jim is still around, trying to figure out why he hasn't passed on and why he is drawn to the serial killers layer and whats more is the killer aware of him?

This has a lot to this book, we have a serial on the loose, Jim's ability to OBE at will and a look back and when it all came about. His job, his life and then we look into the killer, as Jim follows the killer and experiences his life through his eyes. How can he stop a killer, keep his family safe when no one can see him, he can't physically manifest and still needs to figure out why he is left behind, what is his purpose?

The thing I loved about this book is, anytime I read a ghost story I always think Ghost, mediums, all the avenues you would try to be seen and heard. Herbert examines these and more and explains why they would or would not work. He takes you on the emotive journey of not only a murder victim, a good guy, a family man but someone trying to work out how to fix things being in a horrendous predicament. You have no idea where the story is going to go and had I not been ill I would have sank this in one sitting. 4/5 for me this time, I have read Herbert before and I absolutely will read him again!

View all my reviews

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon

Faking FriendsFaking Friends by Jane Fallon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Given by a random stranger on holiday

Blurb from Goodreads

Best friend, soulmate, confidante . . . backstabber.

Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.

Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it's clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.

There's something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.

Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend - but instead of falling apart, she's determined to get her own back.

Piecing her life back together won't be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.

My Review

Amy has been working away from home for months on a tv show and heads home early to surprise her fiance Jack. She finds evidence of another woman living there and can't believe her eyes, Amy decides to find out exactly who and why?

Oooh this is my first dance with this author and it won't be my last. Amy thought her relationship with Jack was perfect but to find he is cheating AND putting up a front that all is fine isn't sitting with Amy. Getting help from an old friend she decides to find out who it is and get her own back. Keeping up the pretence all is well whilst conducting her own investigation with a little help from her friends, Amy discovers the true betrayal and won't take it lying down.

I raced through the first 200 pages on the flight home, I loved the whole cat and mouse type situation and Amy extracting her revenge. The latter part of the book changes a bit as we get narration from another main character and the feel of the book changed a bit for me. Still good but the pace and direction changed for me. A page turner, looking at infidelity, friendship, betrayal, love and loyalty. It also has a dual timeline, the present and flipping back to the past with Amy's relationships with others that help show the relationship dynamics she has in present day. Good pace, characters you are drawn right into, both ones to love and hate, revenge, sass, attitude it gives the reader a bit of everything, 4/5 for me this time!

View all my reviews

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd

Can't Get You Out of My HeadCan't Get You Out of My Head by Sue Shepherd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 450

Publisher - Corazon Books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon

A moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa do everything together, so what will happen now they both want a life of their own?

Beth has a secret she's kept from everyone except her sister. But it's time to get on with her life. Could a seductive Italian, a smooth-talking charmer or backpacking around Australia be the answer?

Lisa feels she's always lived in her sister's shadow. Maybe now it's her turn for some fun, whatever the consequences. But will her drunken antics land Beth in trouble?

And when it comes to the crunch, will one sister have to give up what she wants so the other can have what she needs?

Another entertaining page-turner from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret? – where things, and people, are not always as they first appear!

My Review

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa could not be more different, Beth is pretty much meek, a people pleaser and relatively submissive. Lisa is opinionated, forth right, will seize the day at any given opportunity and life and soul of any party given half a chance. We open with the girls as children then flip to adulthood, the frustrations sisters endure that we all know too well and maybe a few new ones too!

This is a pretty unique read and can I just say until I checked Amazon for the pages count (I always add that) I can't believe the book is 450 pages it certainly didn't seem that long! I would have read it a lot quicker if life didn't get in my way.

I always write non spoiler reviews, seriously what book "lover" does that and ruins a book for other readers, ugh. Anyways, certain things are hard to discuss because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. Relationships are at the heart of the story, mostly centred around Beth, Lisa and their family, boyfriends and friends. Sibling relationships can be a nitemare the girls provide a fresh take on the old sibling rivalry. There is humour in some of the scenes and some heart wrenching moments too, love, loss, life, personal growth, self discovery and I feel like I am harping on but relationships/family are everything with this tale. Someone you love making you second guess yourself, manipulating, scathing and yet the sisters are so close.

I think we all have a relationship or know someone who has someone like that in their life. I went through periods of mixed feelings for both Beth and Lisa. Like, hate, dislike, sadness and it is hard to say why in any great detail. Beth is very doormat like, I just wanted her to have a backbone and rise up, I felt so sorry for her at times though and frustrated on her behalf. Lisa I disliked quite quickly but as the story progresses I flip flopped a bit there too. As we learn more about the characters and what they have experienced/endured you can't help but reevaluate your feelings and ideas about them both.

It is a story that flings curve balls that you really don't see coming. You are pulled in quickly with a childhood incident and then wonder what is coming next, where is the story going. As Shepherd teases out the details you are absorbed in their world before you realise you are a quarter of the way through the book and the rug has been pulled again. 4/5 stars for me this time, I can't believe this is my first dance with this author but it certainly won't be my last!

View all my reviews

Friday, 23 March 2018

Class Murder by Leigh Russell Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Class Murder by Leigh Russell (an author who has fabulous taste in colours, her favourite colour also happens to be mine, purple!).

Class Murder (DI Geraldine Steel, #10)Class Murder by Leigh Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 353

Publisher - No Exit Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he's the boss.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

My Review

This is the 10th book in the Geraldine Steel series, I have picked some of the previous book sup out of reading order however I advise starting at the beginning. There is so much history that is relevant to this book I think to enhance enjoyment of the book I would definitely go back to the beginning.

Geraldine finds herself trying to settle after relocating in York, happy to be reunited with fellow officer Ian Peterson, now her superior, there are mixed emotions. Geraldine's private life has in recent times proven to be challenging, having a knock on effect on her job and she is trying to deal with that, new living arrangements, changes at work and now a vicious killer is on the loose.

We open to the killer as a child and flip around in modern day with the police investigation, insights from the killer and the victims. The police need a link, they need a motive and maybe then they can get a break on the case. Some aspects of the book are frustrating from the police point of view and what they come up against with the people they are investigating. I guess that is a true representative of what some of the force come up against in any investigation, let alone one so serious.

I said in my review of book 9, the family side of the story really hit me from an emotional stance, this book, whilst is does refer to family, the drive is more on the killer, victims, police investigation side f things. I always mention this with Russell's book but I love the Acronym glossary she uses at the front of a book. How many times do we read acronyms and forget what they mean and you are back tracking on the pages to find what they mean. May not be a big thing to some but I love it. Class murder itself is a riveting story, pulling the reader in from page one, 4/5 stars for me this time. I really need to go back and buy the couple of books I missed from this series! Have read more than a handful of Russell's work I can say, hand on heart, she is going from strength to strength and I cannot wait to read what is next for Geraldine Steel.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Fear by C L Taylor

The FearThe Fear by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 hours

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

‘Grabs you by the metaphorical throat right from the start and doesn’t let up until the end.’ Heat

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.

My Review

Imagine being in love with an older man, thinking he loves you, only to realise you had been groomed and abused. That is what happened to Lou as a child, now 32 and still living with the effects from everything she survived Lou finds herself confronting her past. Upon returning home Lou finds out Mike is still up to his predatory ways and Lou won’t allow him to get away with it any longer.

Oooh I wasn’t too sure where this book was going to go, so much kicks off quickly you are left guessing what will happen next. Four main characters, three real view points coming from Lou, Wendy and Chloe. Chloe is Mike’s latest interest, Wendy we aren’t too sure who she is or what her part will be and Lou you know from the outset. We learn about Mike from their outlook and what is transpiring when it is their chapters, clearly marked as you head into each chapter.

I sank this story in six hours, I would have got through it quicker had I not had to stop for wee tasks throughout the day. Taylor carves out characters that, whether you like them or not, you are drawn to what happens next in their stories. Whilst the book covers paedophilia there aren’t any scenes that are heavily graphic although enough to make you uncomfortable, especially the glimpses of manipulation and control used. It does a fantastic job of hooking the reader, dark, suspense but also a look at the emotive side from the victims. It shows the reader how something like that in childhood can have lasting effects as an adult and impact on so many aspects of the persons lives. I have read all of Taylor’s books I think she just goes from strength to strength, an absolute page turner 4.5 stars out of 5 for me this time. Thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy, if you enjoy intrigue and a book that keeps you on your toes then this is absolutely for you!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

Tony and SusanTony and Susan by Austin Wright
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Over two days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Warner Books

Source - Waterstones

Blurb from Goodreads

Receiving a manuscript and request for feedback from her vengeful ex-husband of fifteen years, Susan Morrow is drawn into the life of the story's fictional character and confronts a devastating parallel darkness from her own past.

Austin Wright's novel is a disturbing and dazzling work: it describes a special reading experience, combines the suggestiveness of a thriller and the depth of a psychological novel. He talks about fear and regret, revenge and maturation, marriage and failure.

My Review

This book splits into two, Susan receives a manuscript from her ex husband for some feedback. We slip between the story within the manuscript and Susan herself as she readies herself to read it, absorb it, her thoughts on both the story and all it conjures up. Her past, her life with Edward (ex husband), her current husband and really her thoughts on everything from the past to the present and what the stories conjures up in her. The manuscript story itself "Nocturnal Animals" started off really strong and pretty frightening because of how easy you could see it happening to anyone.

The pace threw me a bit, Susan's story is such a different pace as you aren't too sure what is the significance of getting the manuscript. I'm still not if I am honest, I got a bit lost within the stories, I followed the manuscript story so much easier and then the closer it came to an end I was a bit lost as to where it was going. I think Wright was trying to do something with both these stories and I personally just didn't get it. I was left with so many questions, I found some of the dialogue with the characters clunky, not flowing as other characters interactions did.

I would say, looking at other reviews and feedback on this book I think I am in a minority as so many loved or really enjoyed it. I think that is possibly more about me as a reader than the actual authors writing, sometimes a book just isn't for that specific reader and I think this may be what happened here. I went back and forth on if this was a two or three star for me, I think I have to go with a 2.5 as I didn't get the book, I didn't enjoy most of it. I think the message or what the author was trying to do was completely lost on me and I am happy to blame the reader in this case. I would say give it a try, see how you get on with it and I would love to hear your thoughts.

View all my reviews

Monday, 19 March 2018

Dead North by Joel Hames

Dead North (Sam Williams Book 1)Dead North by Joel Hames
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and our over 3 days

Pages - 280

Publisher - Mainsail books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Once the brightest star in the legal firmament, Sam Williams has hit rock bottom, with barely a client to his name and a short-term cash problem that's looking longer by the minute. So when he's summoned to Manchester to help a friend crack a case involving the murder of two unarmed police officers and a suspect who won't say a word, he jumps at the chance to resurrect his career.

In Manchester he'll struggle against resentful locals, an enigmatic defence lawyer who thinks he's stepping on her toes, beatings, corrupt cops and people who'll do anything to protect their secrets. On its streets, he’ll see people die. But it's in the hills and valleys further north that Sam will face the biggest challenge of all: learning who he really is and facing down the ghosts of his past.

He’s working someone else’s case and he’s in way over his head. But sometimes you need the wrong man in the right place.

My Review

Two police officers killed, one suspect arrested who isn't talking and a case that had no leads and pretty much no evidence. That is what Sam Williams has been called in as an adviser to help with, Sam is a lawyer who really needs an influx of cash. With money problems and one client business is not good so he really has nothing to loose. When he gets to Manchester he is met with resistance, hostility and that is just the staff on the case he is there to help! With a race against time, Sam starts digging to get answers, finds himself in danger and trodding on toes with dangerous consequences.

This is my first dance with this author, whilst it is a serious crime and we run into violence and aggression there is humour laced throughout the book. Sam is a bit of a character, down on his luck and at times adding more problems than he is helping to solve. The suspect we know quite quickly there has to be more to, silence is suspicious and he is saying nothing. As Sam digs and stumbles about the case he has bitten off more than he can chew. I found myself questioning everyone and trusting no one. That said I had no idea why the crime had happened, I kept going chapter to chapter patiently (or impatiently) waiting to see what was coming next. You have the human aspect of the book too, Sam has a lot going on, money worries, career worries and when the cat is away.............temptation can rear its ugly head. Sam is, I thought, an interesting character, flawed but not a cliche of a guy a bit down on his luck.

Interesting characters, lots of issues covered, teamwork, police procedure, relationships, pressure on individuals working the case, working relationships, politics within the force and those helping. And whilst it is busy with all of that, it doesn't overshadow the main parts of the book, the murder case, it just ties in nicely. I did enjoy this and I think (hope) there will be more in the series, I would quite like to see what is in store fr the characters next. A story that keeps the reader on their toes, engaging from the get go and I think even those readers who can guess the plot will have their work cut out for them this time. 4/5 for me, if you like crime but with focus on the characters and relationships side with some humour then I think you will love this book. On a wee additional note, there is swearing in the book, nothing over the top but just a heads up!

View all my reviews

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Q&A with author Jean Gill

Welcome Jean to So Many Books, So Little Time. Thank you for taking time out to chat about your book and those beautiful dogs of yours. Guys also say hello to Sherlock and Holmes (Holmes is the long eared dog), how beautiful are these two.

1. What made you choose to write about the breed Pyrenean?

Like so many people, I fell in love with Belle in the TV series Belle and Sebastien (the old black and white version) as a child. I always wanted a dog but we moved house (and country) too often for me to be allowed one. As an adult, the moment I was in a house with a garden, I adopted a dog advertised in the local paper as ‘deaf Pyrenean puppy needs re-homing’. She turned out not to be deaf at all. Since that first Great Pyrenees, I’ve loved the breed – its courage and beauty, even its independence – and I’ve since been owned by six of them. I have loved other dogs too but ‘my’ breed will always be the Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

2. The book is written in the character of Sirius, the dog, what made you choose that avenue?

I didn’t know whether I could bring it off but so much in dog-training books and classes is about ‘understanding the dog’ that my instinct said the only way to really do that was to get inside the dog’s head, and tell the story from a dog viewpoint. I also wanted it to be real, not cutesie, so that was quite a challenge. In my fifties, I trained with top French dog trainer Michel Hasbrouck, and translated his dog training book as Gentle Dog Training. What I learned from him made me very aware of ‘inverse training’, all the ways in which we accidentally train dogs to behave badly. Showing this from a dog’s point of view provides humour in the book but also a serious message about dog training. Many dogs are abandoned for the very habits we have taught them, without realising.

3. Did you find it hard writing from a dog’s perspective?

At first I had to keep reminding myself of dog priorities; for example, that scent and sounds were important while vision was less so, and colours were irrelevant. Because of my background in dog training, I slipped easily into the dog’s viewpoint on human behaviour and when I finished the book, it was really hard to come out of a dog’s point of view. People close to me say I never have 😊

4. What research did you have to do?

The research was all done before I ever thought of writing the book and, once I began to write, thirty years’ experience of dogs fed into the story: the ten dogs who’ve lived with me, two litters of puppies, dog-training classes, hours online on dog forums, and my work with Michel. All the stories in the book are true, based on some of the thousands of true stories I came across on forums and in my work with Michel. They did not all happen to the same dog but I shaped them to make an adventure from the dog’s viewpoint, to show both the mistakes we humans make and the love we could find.

5. The story is quite deep and sad in parts; a lot of animal stories are light and fluffy. What made you go that route?

Nothing is fluffier than a Great Pyrenees 😊 and there are lots of funny parts but I want readers to love Sirius and his friends, which means living through bad times too. I was deeply moved by the true story of one Great Pyrenees in a refuge, whose experiences were like those of Sirius in the central chapters of the book, and I wanted readers to feel his story. When my readers have told me that they see dogs differently after reading the book, and understand them better, I feel I have succeeded.

6.Do you think you will write any more tales from Sirius?

I have had requests for a sequel but, at the moment, I feel there is something beautiful and complete in Sirius’ story. I wouldn’t want to write a follow-up that was disappointing so it would have to be the story that motivated me, not commercial reasons.

7.Who are your go to/inspiring/influential authors?

So many! All the writers in Wales who came to tea when I lived there have inspired me. Among my favourite authors, Dorothy Dunnett and Guy Gavriel Kay have been an inspiration for my medieval historical fiction.

8. What is next for Jean Gill?

Good question and I really don’t know! The Troubadours Quartet was ten years’ work, with a huge amount of research and when I completed that in November I wanted to stop and think before diving into another project. I’m open to my readers’ suggestions. What would you like me to write next?

9. Where can fans find you?

IPPY Award for Best Author Website
The Troubadours Page
Youtube book trailers

> 10. Anything else you would like to add that I forgot to ask?

There’s an Authors’ Show interview with me, on my youtube channel, about Someone To Look Up To and I’m making a video at the moment, from an audiobook extract, read by narrator Ian M Walker. He is brilliant as the voice of Sirius! All the dog photos in the videos, the book trailer and on the book cover are of my own Great Pyrenees so of course I love them (just a wee bit biased). I’m a photographer as well as a writer and seeing my photos of my dogs on the first edition of Pyr International was a proud moment.

And if all of that isn't enough for you lucky ducks I am giving away my pre loved copy of Someone To Look Up To by Jean Gill, you can read my review for it HERE. To be in with a chance of winning, as usual, please use the Rafflecopter below, the more entries you complete the more times your name goes into the draw. As it is a thin book I am opening this us worldwide, competition runs til the end of the month.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Hola from sunny Spain

This is day five of our holiday and the least relaxed holiday we have ever had. This is our sixth visit to the hotel and we love it here, the scenary and grounds.

We were sure we were going get away as I was unwell but we made it. Finished the meds Wednesday night, feeling much better than I had (kidney infections are no joke) but by Thursday morning I was feeling poorly again, shakes, shivers, pain etc. So we had to get the onsite doctor, more meds with a whole list of DONT DOs. We then got a call from the cattery that Princess Trixie (if you are new to the blog, she is my wee helper kitty cat, 17 years young) was really unwell. There in was a visit to the vet, a night in the emergency vet, unpleasant interaction with a not so understanding vet (the rest of the staff were lovely), the hotel staff were fantastic helping to get us the consent form printed so we could sign and send it back.

After all of that, back at our vets, lots of bloods which showed improvement, IV fluids, she had a full bladder and wasn't passing urine and still refusing to eat despite offerings of chicken, fish and all selections of food. The vet wanted to send her back to the vet hospital for a feeding tube to be placed. I made a judgement call, I think at 17 that just is too much, I also think it sounded like she was huffing and with permission of the cattery I wanted her back there to see how she went. Try that first (she likes it there) and if still no joy off to the hospital she goes. Well, not even twenty seconds she was back and she had peed for Britain and was tearing into the food, Hurrah, tears of joy in this corner.

There is nothing worse when your furbaby is poorly and you are hundreds of miles away, we aren't out of the woods yet but she ate and slept. Awaiting an update this morning. We can only continue to hope and be positive, thanks for all your well wishes, tweets, messages, it means a lot.

Managed to get a bit of escapism with reading, thank God for books and a kind stranger came up to me yesterday and gave me a book. The kindness of others never fails to amaze me! We also saw a wee ginger kitten after the most worrying call about Trixie, he let me stroke him, reluctantly, twice.

Hoping news is happier with you guys, my internet is sketchy so I can't get on much xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Someone To Look Up To by Jean Gill

Someone to Look Up ToSomeone to Look Up To by Jean Gill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 204

Publisher - The 13th Sign

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

By IPPY and Global Ebook Award Winner Jean Gill A dog's life in the south of France. From puppyhood, Sirius the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been trying to understand his humans and train them with kindness.

How this led to their divorce he has no idea. More misunderstandings take Sirius to Death Row in an animal shelter, as a so-called dangerous dog learning survival tricks from the other inmates. During the twilight barking, he is shocked to hear his brother's voice but the bitter-sweet reunion is short-lived. Doggedly, Sirius keeps the faith.

One day, his human will come.

My Review

These books have popped up a fair bit over the past few years, who doesn't love animals so the market is absolutely there for it. I have bought many of them but to be honest this is the first I have read where the story is told from the animal point of view in first person narration. Meet Sirius, a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, pedigree no less and his siblings as they are prepared to go out in the world to their new owners. We see the world through his eyes, thoughts, feelings and observations with his human, fellow pups and then out with his new owners and growing up.

When I read the first chapter I wasn't sure if I was going to get on with this, told from the puppy point of view and interactions with his sibling(s) I just wasn't sure. However, we get a beautiful insight into the surroundings and the first chapter is literally the first look at what was relevant to Sirius at that time in his new wee life. The chapters are relatively short, which I do love as it aids dipping in and out frequently if having a busy day, I quickly found myself not wanting to put it down.

We get a unique insight, I felt, from a dogs point of view. From how we treat them, our expectations and orders/rules as humans, teachings and of course the old actions and consequences. There are parts of this book that, as an animal lover, will take you on an emotional roller coaster, there is humour as well but just a warning for your furry loving hearts. I wanted to head to my local shelter and give all the animals a big hug and help out, I will certainly be looking at animal charities and local animals in need after this. The loyalty of a dog is second to none and reading about Sirius and the other animals in this tale, ooft I think you need a swinging brick to not to be swept along on an emotional train. It also makes you look at how you interact with your animals differently, I have a moggy now not a k9 and she rules the roost anyway so no changes required.

It is a book I picked up not expecting too much if I am honest yet it en captures the readers heart and attention very quickly. I didn't want to put the book down because I had to know what was in store for Sirius, it is his story and he hints at was is to come, telling it in his own time. A lovely book with some dark spots and emotional sparks throughout, 4/5 for me. This is my first time reading this author, I will have a wee look and see what other offerings she has.

View all my reviews

Well from I first started reviewing

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

More Competitions available at

Blog Archive