Saturday, 13 July 2019

Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Come Back For Me" by Heidi Perks, this is the last day of the tour, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.

Come Back For MeCome Back For Me by Heidi Perks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Cornerstone

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A shocking discovery.
An island wrapped in secrets.

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.

For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking: the body was found in the garden of her childhood home.

The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the isolated Dorset island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.

But one thing rings true…
You can’t bury the truth forever.

My Review

Stella and her family had to leave the island when she was just a little girl, late in the middle of the night, dangerous weather to be sailing. No explanation, no looking back, now twenty five years later a body has been found in her garden. After seeing it on the news Stella HAS to go back to the island to try and get some answers. Islands are notorious for keeping things private and Stella is no longer one of them, will she get any answers or wish she had never gone looking in the first place?

We flip between then, when Stella and her family lived on the island and the run up to what made them leave to present day, Stella trying to make sense of her past and going to the island, trying to get answers. From the beginning we know something isn't right, her relationship with her sister is questionable, she doesn't come across as a very nice person. She is pretty rude, curt or dismissive yet Stella continues to be her strongest support. Her father can't give her much in the way of information so the island is her only option.

I think many can relate to Stella, in parts, the needing to know, the longing for the place you grew up even if you have been away from it longer than you lived there. When we get to the island it becomes a wee bit "we only like locals" and she gets no support from home either. I really felt for her, I would want to know too, reconnect with old friends and families. I would even want to go back to my old home and have a look, well maybe not if they found a body!

You feel, well I did, there is something big going on that Stella has unwittingly found herself drawn into but as well as the whole there is a body it is her personal journey. The need for closure, re-connection, relationships lacking or missing in her adult life I felt that was what urged her back to the island. I do like a mystery/thriller where you know there is skulduggery and some kind of danger hinted or looming but I think it a great thing when the author interweaves a personal side to it all.

Islands and small communities always have secrets, Stella is desperate to find out what theirs is, loyalty is huge and sometimes some people will do anything to protect a secret. Whilst I can't say I loved any of the characters I did sink into their lives and feel as much frustration as Stella to uncover the mystery of her old home and her family. This was my first dance with this author, it won't be ,my last, 4/5 for me this time. A psychological thriller with lots of family drama, dynamics, relationships, secrets and what can happen when you don't let go of the past!

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Betray Her by Caroline England

Betray HerBetray Her by Caroline England
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 368

Publisher - Piatkus

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Best friends forever.

That's the pact you made.

You'd do anything for her.

(And you have)

She has it all.

If you could take it for yourself . . . would you?

My Review

Jo and Kate met at boarding school when they were little girls, Kate coming from a more upper class and money type family, Jo a bit scruffy and feeling out of place. A friendship cemented and now we are decades later, the ladies are in their thirties and living very different lives. Kate seems to have it all, Jo struggling personally and her icy exterior and chip on her shoulder still impacting on here life choices/happiness. As Jo spends more time with Kate she realises her friends perfect life may not be so perfect and just how well do they know each other?

A psychological thriller that focuses heavily on friendship and family. We go between present and past getting more of a feel for the girls and how their friendship cemented and endured their hard times at school. There are a lot of twists along the way and lets the reader see sides of the ladies that helped shape who they are now.

In the present day, even though the ladies are close, some of their interactions, how they spoke to each other, for me there seemed an undercurrent. Supportive words but just a hint of something being a bit off but I couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly. For me I really didn't like Jo, she seemed to look down on people and have a massive attitude because of her experiences as a kid which you can understand to a degree but still. Kate I flipped a wee bit about as she seems like the sweet one, caring, housewife, family orientated but was it because I disliked Jo so much. I flipped back and forth on both the characters as England gave a bit more on one, then the other, then flung a curve ball every now and again. A book that keeps you on your toes, the timeline jumps are done well and flow so as not to distract from the flow of the story and gives you more insight into why they are as they. 4/5 for me this time, I have another of this authors on my tbrm, I need to bump it up, a story that will keep you guessing to what is coming next.

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Friday, 5 July 2019

RIP to our Trixie paws

8/1/2001 - 4/7/2019

Princess, Princess Trixie, Miss Paws, Wee Betty, Wee Pie - she had a million names but there was only one of her. She had an acute event yesterday, we rushed her to the vets but as soon as I seen her I knew. She was at deaths door many times and every time she fought it, I don't think any of us ever thought the day would come she would go. 18 years and 5 months, a multitude of health issues, more sass than any furbaby I have ever had, I loved the wee one and haven't stopped crying since yesterday.

We got to be with her on her final journey and even at the very end she gave a wee throaty growl/sass to the vet. My little book "helper" poser and legend, our home is empty and my heart is broken. We have already had so many messages and love from folk, some who never got the pleasure of meeting her but followed her antics online and got invested in all of her health ups and downs.

The last week she spent mostly sleeping on our bed which she never did and we were so lucky to get as long as we did with her. She posed with so many books, scattered so much about and had she been at herself I am sure she would have took out my new trolley accessory. Her wee claws firmly got into our hearts. Gone but never forgotten, absolute legend and furry book geek.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.

A Random Act of KindnessA Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages -400

Publisher - Avon

Source - Arc copy

Blurb from Goodreads

It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…

Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her.

Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing.

But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life.

Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?

If you liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or How to Be Happy, you'll love A Random Act of Kindness.

My Review

I had never read this author before but I was drawn by the books title, who doesn't like a RAK (Random Act of Kindness). Fern is our main character, she is a bit of a wee chop, nice enough girl just trying to do her own thing and selling clothes she loves, vintage, to people and making them happy. Fern has always been a disappointment to her controlling mother, Fern is too short to be a model and using her fashion knowledge to grab bargains and sell them on her wee stall, embracing her love of all things fashion. Fern isn't about money she genuinely loves helping people and getting them into clothes just right for them. When her RAK brings her again into contact with 85 year old Dinah a friendship commences that will have big changes ahead for both of them.

I didn't think I was going to love this to be honest, each chapter starts with a garment being described and there is a lot centered around outfits, clothing, fashion. I am not into stuff like that but it is written in a way and woven into the story that I really enjoyed reading/visualizing the garments. Fern is selling her vintage clothes in a wee market stall, next to David, there is something about him that Fern can't help but notice. That said she has a casual boy friend type who plays in a band on the go and David happens to be with someone she was friends with. Drama all round, you have the actress neighbour, the mother we would all dread to have and all the daughterly hangups that come with it. The dad who takes a back seat and her eccentric friend she gains from a chance encounter.

I loved the older characters in this book, not her mum, Kim and his pals who don't make a huge appearance but when they do I did smile. The book tackles a few subjects, friendship, relationships (both boyfriend type and family) and Fern carving her own place in the world through her love of clothing and just trying to do Fern!

I would love to read more of these characters to be honest, it was nice to dip into a world I normally wouldn't be anywhere near. It also made me want to look into vintage garments and a bit more of the history of some of the biggest named designers, who even am I!?!?! Whilst this was my first dance with Jenkins it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time. Easy reading

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Monday, 1 July 2019

Child's Play by Angela Marsons

Child's Play (DI Kim Stone #11)Child's Play by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able over 2 days

Pages - 359

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. 'You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killer’s they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

My Review

We kick off with a pretty brutal murder, in a play ground leading us, the team, to our newest investigation. Stone is under orders to keep an eye on her team, rest them, no excessive working hours and we have a newbie added to the squad. She is young, full of life, energy and new annoying habits. In between our team working on the gruesome playground murder one of our team, Penn, is attending court for a previous case, the killing of a shop keepers son. The difference in how Penn and Stone liase with the victims family and indeed the characters themselves are night and day. Two different stories, side by side and the layers of everything else in between. The team dynamics, new working relationships, new conditions and another body along the way, just another day in thew office for Stone and co.

I love Stone, the team, Betty the plant (may she live and be fought over forever!) and the difference in interactions with the officers and the victims family (from one case to the other). There is always minimally one complex character and whether you like them or not you can help but be drawn to them, their disclosures or what they are hiding, why are they hiding something, are they hiding something. Eek you are reeled in like a fish pretty much from page one, a style we have come to know and expect from Marsons.

Murder, police investigation, teamwork, relationships and as with all that we still get the personal insights, albeit briefly for some, for me it gives the story some heart. We know they work hard and it is awesome seeing them as cops but I love we get to see parts of them outwith the team, makes the characters more human. That and how they do their job, I just love pretty much the whole team, the writing, the build up of the story and the pace it keeps. If you haven't read Marson's before you could start here but you would be doing yourself and the series a disservice, book one is Silent Scream go check it out, 4.5/5 for me this time, great series, great book, roll on number 12 already.

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Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Rivals of Dracula Stories from the Golden Age of Gothic Horror

The Rivals of Dracula: Stories from the Golden Age of Gothic HorrorThe Rivals of Dracula: Stories from the Golden Age of Gothic Horror by Nick Rennison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 288

Publisher - OldCastle Books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, still the most famous of all vampire stories, was first published in 1897. But the bloodsucking Count was not the only member of the undead to bare his fangs in the literature of the period. Late Victorian and Edwardian fiction is full of vampires and this anthology of scary stories introduces modern readers to 15 of them. A travel writer in Sweden unleashes something awful from an ancient mausoleum. A psychic detective battles a vampire that has taken refuge in an Egyptian mummy. A nightmare becomes reality in the tower room of a gloomy country house. Including works by both well known writers of the supernatural such as M. R. James and E. F. Benson and less familiar authors like the Australian Hume Nisbet and the American F. Marion Crawford, The Rivals of Dracula is a collection of classic tales to chill the blood and tingle the spine.

My Review

Firstly let me say i am not a fan of short stories in general, I always find I am left unsatisfied and left hanging with them. For that reason alone I generally tend to avoid them, unless you are master King of course. This wee book offers up 15 short stories with vampires or some kind of vampiric theme. The very first story reminded me of old school vamp, like the movies I grew up with, I was picturing Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, it just set me off on a high with this book.

Each chapter gives us a brief history on the author and their work as well as the year of birth and death. Some of these guys and gals were the 1800s so not familiar authors for me. I absolutely am taking note of their names and will be tracking down pretty much all of their works because even those I didn't love I still enjoyed and liked. A Medusa type character with a different spin to her, a few dodgy old houses, love love love them and the eerie gothic creepy spin to the stories. Sometimes an old house is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, some of these authors bring that setting right to life, I wanted them all made into movies! There is a tree one that whilst not my fav by far but I loved the different spin and you get a back story, you don't often get that in vampires stories let alone a short story one!

Each author has a very different style yet all manage the eerie creepy vibes and feel you used to get with the black and white movies on a Saturday night. This book is a wee gem and it is a shame it lay on my shelves for so long. I kind of want this to be a keeper but I also want to share it with folk so I think I may put it up as a giveaway on my blog. I will for sure be checking out more of these authors, all of them. If you are a vampire fan, even if you don't like short stories, please check this book out guys it is a great read, 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 29 June 2019

I Looked Away by Jane Corry Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for "I Looked Away" by Jane Corry, for my stop I have my review, enjoy!

I Looked AwayI Looked Away by Jane Corry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 493

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Alternate title "I Looked Away" / "Child of Mine"


Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anything else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband's affair. But he swore it was over, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she's got.

Then one day, while she's looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And for just a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. The accident that happens will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder...

My Review

Present day, Ellie: an argument with her husband, her eye off the child for a minute will change life as she knows it. We flick to a few months after the accident and then go between characters and timelines. Jo is homeless and so opposite of Ellie and it takes a fair few chapters to get a feel for the characters and where the story may be going. In between Jo and Ellie we get snippets of someones life, written in italics, starting as a child in an abusive situation and other flashes as they grow up. Took a fair bit to make any kind of context for me but I can be a bit slow on the uptake putting pieces together.

I loved in between the chapters we got a flower, it's common name, it's proper name and the story or meaning behind it, I love things like that in books especially when not expecting it. The story lines, because there are really three it did take me a wee bit to settle into. Reading them all, they each grab and engage the reader but keeps you on your toes trying to figure out what the context is, if any, to the other characters.

Certainty draws you in quickly and teases out across the pages the secrets and depths of the characters. Emotions, manipulations, darkness, versatility, family, love, betrayal and more than a few scenes spiked strong reactions. I have read this author before and will be reading her again, 3.5/5 for me this time, engaging, page turning, depth and a lot to spill!

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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Helen Fitzgerald & Doug Johnstone at Waterstones

Today was such a beautiful day, weather wise and in general. Met with some of my fav humans and we headed to Waterstones for the book event, Orenda authors, Helen Fitzgerald and Doug Johnstone talking about their new books.

If you have never seen either of these authors you should if you get a chance, both are great speakers and fab chat but together they were hillarious and just bounced off each other with ease. Swearing, banter, a bit about how long they have known each other, their previous publishers and who is stalking who, can you stalk each other, double stalking? :D

The lovely Karen, of Orenda, introduced them both and you could listen to that beautiful accent all night. It was lovely of Orenda and Waterstones to highlight one of the crowd, blogger royalty, Mary having a very special birthday. Not only did they do a lovely wee speech they presented her with cake and flowers. I utterly love the book world, Mary is so supportive of authors, bloggers and just a genuine person with a heart of gold! Happy birthday again Mary, we love you!

Helen read from her book, Worst Case Scenario, out now to buy in kindle and tree book format on Amazon or in store.

And Doug then read from his new book, Breakers, also out now to buy in kindle or tree book format, from Amazon or in store.

Waterstones hold events like these all the time guys, if you haven't been to any please check out their website and support your stores/authors. The events are always really good, the authors are so approachable and sometimes hearing the writing process or some chat behind the book is what actually grabs you to buy it.

Helen has had one of her books made into a tv show, The Cry, and Worst Case Scenario has been optioned so fingers and toes crossed. Doug is in the band "Fun lovin crime writers" and they are performing at Glastonbury this year, how awesome is that!

Could have listened to them all night but once they were done I had to rush off and get home, I forgot my antihistamines and my foot had an encounter with something last night when we were out with miss paws, typical! Please check out the books guys and if you buy them or have read them please let me know in the comments or tweet, insta, fb - whichever is your preferred platform, I love a gab!

Monday, 24 June 2019

My Hungry Friend by Daniel Barnett

My Hungry FriendMy Hungry Friend by Daniel Barnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 200

Publisher - Indie/self

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

When Mike Roberts kicks over a homeless woman's cup of change, she whispers a cryptic warning:

"Mind the cracks . . ."

Now the Boston he knows and loves is unraveling around him. But his life is not the only thing at stake. His mother, a once acclaimed writer lost in the late stages of Alzheimer's, depends on him to have a home. And then there's her caretaker, Cassie, who might want something more from Mike than the friendship they've long shared.

As his city balances on a razor's edge, Mike will have to hunt down the daughter of the woman he wronged and uncover their terrible family secret . . . or be plunged into a world of crawling horrors and unspeakable hunger.

A world from which no one has ever returned.

My Review

Meet Mike Roberts, a dentist and has a carer who comes in during the day to look after his mother who has Alzheimer's and Mike looks after her at night. Stressed, living in Boston Mike passes homeless people everyday, this day Mike make's an impulse choice that impacts life as he knows it. One knee jerk reaction brings consequences that will pull down Mike's whole world and bring terror and horror beyond the imagination.

There are a few parts to this story, excluding the horror & weird creatures we have his relationship with his mothers carer and the actual taking care of his mother. Intimate care of cleaning up her accidents at night, safety issues and the pressure of that from a son having to deal with such a change in dynamics from the child to parental role.

The dark in this book is very dark, we have insect like creatures that most folk have some kind of beastie that creep up out, let alone from another world. There is mystery, evil, spookiness and at least one scene with his mother, in particular one part of her anatomy, that made me feel really uncomfortable and creeped out reading. I personally don't think it would have hurt the book to not be in it but artistic license and we don't always get the scenes in the way an author has written or envisioned it being received.

There is a lot of creepy tension and build up to a darkness threatening and changing Mike's world whilst he desperately scrambles to understand what is happening, why and most importantly what he can do to stop it. I think Mike makes so many bad choices and errors but it works in highlighting the reality of humanity, flawed characteristics and how off character would you be if your world was falling apart with a darkness coming in. 3/5 for me this time, I liked the eeriness and tension and look forward to seeing what else this author has to offer.

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Sunday, 23 June 2019

The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Katie Flynn

The Forget-Me-Not SummerThe Forget-Me-Not Summer by Katie Flynn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Century

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Liverpool 1936

Miranda and her mother, Arabella, live comfortably in a nice area. But when her mother tells her she can no longer afford their present lifestyle, they have a blazing row, and Miranda goes to bed angry and upset. When she wakes the next morning, however, her mother has disappeared.

She raises the alarm but everyone is baffled, and when searches fail to discover Arabella’s whereabouts, Miranda is forced to live with her Aunt Vi and cousin Beth, who resent her presence and treat her badly.

Miranda is miserable, but when she meets a neighbour, Steve, things begin to look up and Steve promises to help his new friend in her search, and does so until war intervenes…

My Review

We open the book with a young Miranda, her mother goes missing and life is her trying to adapt to the new situation she finds herself in, her family and her new friend Steve. The book moves along from the mystery of Miranda's mothers disappearance to Miranda as an adult, never giving up hope of finding her mother. Covering her life into adulthood we follow her personal relationships, work life and getting through the war and all that comes with it.

The first part of the story I liked, Miranda as a kid, the ?haunting of the house they come across and the story and friendships that follow. Then it skips more to adulthood and it just changed the tone of the story for me, it could have been two different stories to be honest. Things that happened in the first part of the story, characters, I would have liked to have stayed relevant in the time change but it focuses on Miranda, her journey at the point and Steve and his part.

Considering how it all starts and how the author decided to bring the ending about it just wasn't for me. The pace was ok, some bits I liked a lot more than others. A lot of the characters had questionable behaviour/characteristics and some you really warmed to. Really mixed and I am sure some folk will love it but overall I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to and I think had I got more depth for some of the characters and depth I would have really like this one. This was my first read of this author, I would read her again, just this one wasn't for me, 2.5/5.

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Sunday, 16 June 2019

If You Were Here by Alice Peterson

If You Were HereIf You Were Here by Alice Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

‘I can toast to my future, but the thundercloud over my head, the threat of a storm, will follow me like a shadow wherever I go. The truth is, I have a potential bomb in my bag, and who knows when or where it will go off’

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.

Five years later, Flo is engaged and ready to pack up her life and move to New York with her high-flying fiancĂ©. Peggy never told Flo what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: If a test could decide your future, would you take it?

My Review

Told from three points of view, Peggy is the granny, Beth the mother and Flo the granddaughter. Peggy nursed her husband as he battled through Huntington's disease not telling her daughter. Now Beth and her husband are gone Peggy discovers Beth knew and Flo has a 50/50 chance of getting the condition. She never told Beth and now she has to battle with telling Flo and the consequences. The chapters alternate between Peggy and Flo, we hear from Beth in diary entries from a kid to up until she died.

This book is emotive and totally pulls at the heartstrings. In Peggy we see the role of the carer, the struggles she faced in the time with her husband, love, devotion and watching this condition take away a piece of the person in different ways. In Beth we see the kid watching her father become unwell and how it affected her growing up and then her own experiences. Flo is oblivious to everything, living with the man of her dreams and ready to uproute before everything comes crashing down.

I think with this book it is the dimensions to it all, living with the condition, living with someone knowing they have it, growing up with it but not knowing and how that is viewed through a youngsters eyes. The impact it has on relationships, both families and partners. And the personal battle, journey and emotions if you had a bombshell like this dropped on you, you may potentially have a life changing condition and you are helpless to do anything about it. Would you find out or live in ignorance? No matter what you choose you also cannot control how the people in your life will react and that was a huge eye opener, none of us know what is around the corner.

Books like this make me want to read up more on the condition especially when treatments are mentioned and research. There is still so much work that needs done and in the last few years they have made some great progress, it is a fascinating read both this story and the academic articles out there. I do enjoy a book that provokes an emotive response but also makes you want to go and look into the condition the book centres on. My first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 15 June 2019

Update and adventures

The previous week I wasn't on much (although if you follow my Insta or Twitter you will have seen the updates. So I went to England to visit family, miss paws wasn't amused although she does enjoy climbing on my case.

The weather here was horrible and when I landed it was almost like when you actually go on holiday, it was such a nice change in the weather.

I was only down for a couple of days and it was more about family time but we did get to do a wee bit of sight seeing.

I got to feed baby parakeets - they were so cheeky and beautiful, love them!

So many beautiful animals and we got to get so close, I loved it.

I got to use his Zelda glass, this is a big deal. I am not a Zelda fan but this is a pretty fab glass.

I stayed in the wee Premier Inn, I kinda prefer them when going on mini trips, you know what you are getting. Bar a wee incident with the kettle and limescale it was fine.

There was a wee garden outside which was perfect to grab a wee read whilst waiting to meet up with family.

It was so nice although I didn't really read much except when I was back at the hotel.

Colchester Castle and the surrounding grounds is stunning, I didn't go into the castle but hope to when I visit next time.

Some of the buildings are stunning, I do love an old building and would have loved a wee walk around inside.

I took my Game of Thrones wee blanket with me, cookies, books and junk tv was a great way to unwind at the end of the day, after a bath of course.

When I got to the airport there was a lot of aggression, a lot of flights had been delayed, my own included so I bought junk food, found a quiet spot in the airport, tuned into my book and caught a wee bit of the live show for "For The Love of Horror" talking about their horror con event in Manchester in October. If you like horror check them out guys, they go live once a we, the guys banter is on point and I thought I was a huge horror movie yet every show I am taking note of movies not only I haven't seen but haven't heard of!

I got home pretty late, the sky was lovely but it was cold, nothing new there!

Pretty safe to say Princess Trixie missed me, I was only away three days but she shadowed and stayed by my side most of the night I got home. So that was my wee adventures, catching up now on my book reviews and looking forward to my next visit!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella FortunaThe Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.
In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life’s harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.
When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.
In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

My Review

This is the story of Stella Fortuna, her brushes with death and her family life. Split into Childhood, Youth, Maturity, Old Age & the epilogue we also travel from Italy to America. We kick off in Ievoli, Stella's beginnings, her family, the strong heritage, expectations and of course her "dances" with the grim reaper.

The book has so many layers, told from Stella's descendant giving the book a believable voice with passion and emotion. The book spans over a lifetime, Stella's and we come through strict Italian values and beliefs, war, sexual abuse, family dynamics, relationships, family values. So many topics and issues are covered and many are difficult to read, Stella is such a fierce character and her mother has some moments raw human emotion. The book packs a powerful punch on so many levels and you are sucked into their world, their constrictions, emotions and frustrations.

The journey to America, settling into the lifestyle, the absent father, the rights a husband has over his family in their marriages, finances and the overall rule the man of the house has. The complex family relationships is huge throughout the book in pretty much all of the chapters, an emotive read for sure, impressive writing and I look forward to seeing what is next from this author, 4/5 for me this time!

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Monday, 10 June 2019

A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C A Fletcher

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the WorldA Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 365

Publisher - Orbit

Source - Competition win & review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.

My name's Griz. My childhood wasn't like yours. I've never had friends, and in my whole life I've not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren't loyal to the things we love, what's the point?

My Review

Griz is our main character and protagonist. In a post apocalyptic world Griz lives pretty isolated with his family and dogs. When a stranger comes to their little strip in the world and takes his dog he must go out into a world he has never ventured into to reclaim his dog. Armed with the stubbornness of the young, his boat, his other dog and some food he chases after the thief. Heading to the unknown, danger is everywhere and the reader follows through Gritz written accounts of all he endures and survives whilst trying to get back what belongs to him.

It starts of relatively slow, builds up and offers the reader a different slant on the apocalypse, it is well after the event and we get snippets through Gritz telling. Whilst we have slow build up we do have a fair amount of action, scenes that push some darkness and reminded me of a few of the apocalypse movies/books I have came to love over the years. That said I felt I had a lot of questions that for me didn't have answered how I would have liked. I am very much in the minority as this book is loved by so many and I would absolutely recommend reading it and seeing how you find it.

There are so many great things that really adds to the solemness and emptiness of our world without being over the top and in your face. The situations Gritz finds himself in, the reactions and actions mirror the age of the character and yet some have you thinking he is far older. We see Gritz go on a journey of personal growth, starting out as a reckless kid and becoming closer to an adult after the exposures and hardships along the way.

Whilst there were things I enjoyed and the writing engages you quickly I was left underwhelmed by the things I would have liked addressed or explored further. As I said I am in the minority as this book is overwhelmingly loved by so many and I can be a picky fussy muppet with some aspects of books and I think this time it was definitely me, I needed more. I would absolutely read this author again and even this it would be awesome for them to revisit this world/characters again, 2.5/5 for me this time.

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