Thursday 25 February 2016

Out Of The Darkness by Katy Hogan

Out of the Darkness: A Tale of Love, Loss and Life After DeathOut of the Darkness: A Tale of Love, Loss and Life After Death by Katy Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 4 days

Pages - 292

Publisher - Illumine

Blurb from Goodreads

Out of the Darkness is a haunting, sometimes heart-breaking, contemporary novel with a supernatural twist. A tale of friendship and redemption, of love and loss, and life after death. Set in the lively coastal town of Brighton, Out of the Darkness tells the moving story of three women, complete strangers, each burdened by their own secrets, fears and emotional baggage. Their lives are changed irrevocably when they are brought together by one remarkable connection: someone who wants to help them.....from beyond the grave.

My Review

Jessica Gibson is our main character, struggling to deal with her mothers sudden death and keep her life going. With no real friends and a job grating on her Jessica finds herself unexpectedly running into an old friend and opening up to a stranger. What follows changes Jessica's life as she knew it, doors open, psychics, friendships, ghosts, secrets and love.

This book took me a good bit to get into, I think it was about 100 pages in before I settled and got a feel for all of the characters. Alex & Hannah are the other main characters we get to know, each with their own issues and seeking solace and finding friendship. The three bond over loss and new beginnings, soon finding themselves at a psychic event discovering more than friendship is bringing them together.

It is a lovely story that I think some people will take comfort in and some who have experience recent bereavement it may conjure a roller coaster of emotions. There are quite a few themes addressed, rather sensitively I thought, throughout the tale. A few unexpected surprises and maybe one or two I anticipated although I was also wrong about a few which is always a good thing. I am always interested in reading anything about the supernatural so this did give the book an extra perk for me personally. 4/5 for me this time thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review, I would certainly read this author again and watch out for their next venture!

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Sunday 21 February 2016

Confessions of a Male Nurse by Michael Alexander

Confessions of a Male NurseConfessions of a Male Nurse by Michael Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Friday Project

Blurb from Goodreads

From the people who brought you the bestselling Confessions of a GP.

From stampeding nudes to inebriated teenagers, young nurse Michael Alexander never really knew what he was getting himself into. But now, sixteen years since he was first launched into his nursing career – as the only man in a gynaecology ward – he’s pretty much dealt with everything: Body parts that come off in his hands; Teenagers with phantom pregnancies; Doctors unable to tell the difference between their left and right; Violent drunks; Singing relatives; Sexism; . . . and a whole lot of nudity.

Confessions of a Male Nurse is a touching, shocking and frequently hilarious account of one man’s life in nursing.

My Review

I love reading the "Confessions of A" type books but I think this is my first nurse style one. The author takes us through situations from just qualifying to being an experienced nurse dealing with patients and situations across the nursing fields.

The book has some humour, sheds light on just how scary nursing can actually be and some of the high and low lights of what nurses have to endure. The author puts some of their feelings and thoughts on particular situations or patients which I think may cause a bit of a stir with some readers. I think these kind of books give regular Joe public a glimpse into some of the things they may not think of or consider in that line of work. Even for people who work in specific areas in nursing get a glimpse into fields they may not have considered or worked in before.

The chapters are short which I always love, makes for easy reading and you can pick it up and down as desired or get through it rapidly, always a bonus for me. The writing style is very relaxed which again makes for easy reading. I really enjoyed the book and could have read much more, 4/5 for me and I would read more by this author.

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The Walking Dead - The Road To Woodbury by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga

The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury (The Governor Series, #2)The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 277

Publisher - Thomas Dunne Books

Blurb from Goodreads

The first book explained how the Governor was created; this thrilling sequel to The New York Times bestseller further reveals his ruthless, inhuman conquest of Woodbury

The zombie plague unleashes its horrors on the suburbs of Atlanta without warning, pitting the living against the dead. Caught in the mass exodus, Lilly Caul struggles to survive in a series of ragtag encampments and improvised shelters. But the Walkers are multiplying. Dogged by their feral hunger for flesh and crippled by fear, Lilly relies on the protection of good Samaritans by seeking refuge in a walled-in town once known as Woodbury, Georgia.

At first, Woodbury seems like a perfect sanctuary. Squatters barter services for food, people have roofs over their heads, and the barricade expands, growing stronger every day. Best of all, a mysterious self-proclaimed leader named Philip Blake keeps the citizens in line. But Lilly begins to suspect that all is not as it seems… Blake, who has recently begun to call himself The Governor, has disturbing ideas about law and order.

Ultimately, Lilly and a band of rebels open up a Pandora's box of mayhem and destruction when they challenge The Governor's reign… and the road to Woodbury becomes the highway to hell in this riveting follow-up to Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga's New York Times bestselling The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor.

My Review

I am a big fan of the TV show The Walking Dead, I have also read the first book in this series: The Rise Of The Governor. This book starts with Lilly Caul and the survivors she finds herself grouped with. After their camp gets attacked and people start to turn on each other, Lilly finds herself leaving with Josh, Bob, Scott & Megan. Eventually they find themselves in Woodbury and coming to the conclusion that the walkers may not be their biggest threat.

I love zombie books anyways, and films/shows so to be honest it isn't rocket science that I would really like this. As well as the usual fight or flight, struggle to survive, breakdown and strengthening of friendships, in this particular type of book we learn more about characters we already knew in the show. The Governor is not a nice guy at all, we know this but we get some insight and answers into some of his behaviour and actions we saw on the show and the previous book.

There are some things people will dislike about the book, the dialogue between Josh and Lilly can be a bit grating and repetitive. Some of the actions of the characters, as always, often causes annoyance or makes you questions their actions or lack of. However, for zombie fans I think you would like this book. I would recommend getting the first in the series so you get a bit of background on the governor although you could pick this up and read it as a stand alone. I believe there are two more books after this one, I will be on the look out for them, 4/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 11 February 2016

February giveaway is now live.

Sorry it is so late! This month the giveaway is 1 £5 Amazon Voucher, 1 red bobble hat and a wee bar of Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations. I don't know about where you are but the weather here is miserable, cold and wet, what else would bring a wee bit of cheer than buying new books, a wee warm hat and of course chocolate. So that is the choice for February's giveaway.

As always, please use the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway. The more entries you complete, the more times your name is entered into the giveaway. Postage will be light so this is open worldwide. If you leave your contact details, the items will be wrapped and posted asap. If you choose not to and don't respond to the notification email within 48 hours, a new winner will be picked and announced.

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by & interacting on here, emails, twitter and Facebook, especially the regulars. Good luck and again apologies this competition has taken so long to list.

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Thursday 4 February 2016

Remember Me by Lesley Pearse

Remember MeRemember Me by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 543

Publisher - Penguin

Blurb from Goodreads

She made a mistake and now she'll never see home again....

Mary, a Cornish mariner's daughter made the biggest mistake of her short life when she steals a silk hat. Convicted and sentenced to be transported to Australia, she endures horific conditions aboard the ship before landing in a brutal and barbaric country

It will take all her courage just to survive.

But Mary is also determined to make something of herself in this rugged man's world. And she dreams that one day she will find a way of crossing the cruel sea that lie between her and home....

Based on a true story, Remember Me brings Mary Broad vividly to life in this moving story of a women triumphing against overwhelming odds.

My Review

Based on a true story, Mary Broad brings to life the horrors that a somewhat trivial crime could bring about in that period of time. 1786, shy of her twentieth birthday, Mary is sentenced to death by hanging, for the crime of stealing a silk hat. Spared her death sentence, she is sentenced to be shipped to Australia to live out her sentence and be put to work. From sentencing, the journey across the sea and eventually landing on the shore and the colony to work and fight for survival.

I am not a huge fan of historical fiction however Pearse has a way with words and draws the reader in quickly, vested in the character you need to keep reading to see how she fares. The conditions Mary faces is horrendous, mixed with other criminals rape and violence are rife. Struggling to survive, get her share of rations, keep away from the body fluids building up in an enclosed filthy environment, Mary uses her wits and all available resources.

It is hard hitting at times, some of the things Mary either sees or endures makes for uncomfortable reading. We experience relationships, betrayal, love, loss, adult and children dying as well as the casual attitude to death as such a common occurrence. This book packs a punch and will take you on an emotional roller coaster. I have read this author before and I will read her again, 4/5 for me this time.

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After You Die by Eva Dolan

After You DieAfter You Die by Eva Dolan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken to Read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Random House UK

Blurb from Goodreads

A gas leak leads to the discovery of two bodies—a mother and her severely disabled teenage daughter—in the third installment in Eva Dolan's gripping series following two detectives from the Hate Crimes Unit. Was the target of the killer the mother or daughter?

Dawn Prentice was already known to the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit. The previous summer she had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead, stabbed to death, while Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. DS Ferreira, only recently back serving on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty, had met with Dawn that summer. Was she negligent in not taking Dawn’s accusations more seriously? Did the murderer even know that Holly was helpless upstairs while her mother bled to death? While Ferreira battles her demons, determined to prove she's up to the frontline, DI Zigic is drawn into conflict with an official seemingly resolved to hide the truth about one of his main suspects. Can either officer unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?

My Review

This is the third in a series of DI Zigic & DS Ferreira, you can get by without reading the earlier books and I wasn't a huge fan of the first book, I hadn't read the second one. This book features the same detectives although this book, for me, has a different and stronger tone. Dawn Prentice is found murdered in her house, her disabled child is also found dead. The list of suspects is headed by Dawn's ex husband, as the list grows Dawn's male visitors come to light as well and some threats aimed at both Dawn and her daughter. Whilst both detectives have personal lives and issues to deal with, the case is their main focus and catching their killer. With only one potential witness, Zigic needs to barter through red tape and politics to try and find the truth and get justice.

I really liked this book, I think the hard hitting aspects of it and sadly the fact that these kind of hate crimes exist really pull the reader is because of the realism entwined in the story. Not only do we have murder, promiscuity, disability and personal issues being dealt with, the book also examines euthanasia. A young disabled child wanted to end her life and shared her thoughts via an online blog and received threats, abuse and hate as a result, as did her parents. Some readers may find this hard to read however I feel it was handled well and added depth to the story.

There are many suspects, the pace is well set, Dawn & her daughter need justice and the detectives won't stop until they get it. I will be tracking down the second book in this series I missed and I look forward to the next, 4/5 for me this time.

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After The Crash by Michel Bussi

After the CrashAfter the Crash by Michel Bussi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 386

Publisher - Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Blurb from Goodreads

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl's hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything - then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone...

My Review

The opening chapter starts in 1980, on the flight that crashes, leaving one sole survivor and flips forward eighteen years later. Two families claim the child is theirs, a private investigator is hired and investigates the case for those eighteen years. An account, told by him Credule Grand-Duc and written down for the girl survivor. After all this time will the truth be revealed?

A tale that flips between present day and Grand-Duc's diary going back to when he was first hired and his findings and thoughts at the time. Secrets are at risk of being exposed, some people will go to any lengths to protect them, including murder. The child, now adult, has her eighteenth birthday and is on a mission of her own. Her brother and protector Marc is desperate to find her and stop her & some members of the family who lost out on the child just can't let go!

The story starts off really strong and reels you right in, we then meet the characters as the tale starts to play out. I found the diary by Grand-Duc quite hard going at times, not because of the content, rather because he gets quite long winded at parts and I got a tad bored by his ramblings. It takes a wee bit of time to figure out where the present day story is going and understand the behaviour of the girl as the narrative isn't blatant about what she is doing. Marc is as much in the dark as the reader which is a bit frustrating after a while. Throw into that we have someone prepared to kill to achieve their goal and their identity is not disclosed so you are playing detective for a while. A relatively good read, I like my ends tied up and for the most part I got that, I would have liked Grad-Duc's diary to be more to the point rather than his musings on certain accounts. 3/5 for me this time, I would read this author again, this book is available to buy in all formats.

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Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

Every Fifteen MinutesEvery Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days on and off

Pages - 496

Blurb from Goodreads

Psychologist Dr Eric Parrish is unwittingly under threat.

Recently separated from his wife, Eric is learning to become a single parent to his seven-year-old daughter, and life is far from straightforward.

Now Eric has a new patient who could be a severe danger to others. And he must make a decision that will leave deadly consequences in its wake.

The clock is ticking, and someone is hell bent on destroying Eric's practice, his family, his life.

But how can you defend yourself against an enemy you don't know?

And can you ever win a game you don't even know you are playing?

My Review

Dr Eric Parrish is a psychologist, life as he knows it is about to be turned up side down. Separated from his wife but living in hope they will get back together Eric doesn't realise how bad things are about to get. He is referred a troubled young man who fantasies about hurting the object of his affection, when his beloved grandmother dies Eric worries his fantasy may become a reality. In trying to protect his patient, Eric unwittingly puts his career on the line, his freedom and his chances of keeping his daughter in his life. Things go from bad to worse as someone wants Eric to pay and what is a little murder when it means getting what you want.

I really liked the introduction to this book. The first chapter is the sociopath talking to the reader, we hear from this individual every so often through the book. It drew me in immediately, then we meet Eric and find out what is going on in his life. To be honest, for me, it took almost 200 pages before anything really started happening. It was a big focus on Eric, his relationship breakdown with his estranged wife and actions he takes to fight for his daughter and work issues he is facing. When it eventually all kicks off everything happens really fast and there are a few twists along the way. A few I didn't see coming and even questioned if I missed anything as it seemed quite out of the blue.

An intriguing read with quite a bit of relationship angst, workplace issues and of course how far a doctor will go to protect his patients confidentiality. I would certainly read this author again, 3/5 for me, thanks to Bookbridgr for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

The DeadlandsThe Deadlands by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 4 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 416

Blurb from Goodreads

In Benjamin Percy's new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriweather and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

My Review

A brutal opening, a woman in labour, her husband slaughtered and just after she gives birth she is dragged out and the child left alone on the bed. Chapter one takes us immediately inside the wall, guarded with knives and bows, there are no guns inside the wall, inside Sanctuary. Things of the world we know it is long gone, a museum holds items that once had value in the world. Since the super flu and nuclear fallout, humans are thin in number, mutants and the aftermath from both make it unsafe to be outside. Sanctuary is ruled by the new major, Thomas Lancer who pleases himself and cares not much about his people. His confident and childhood friend Lewis Meriweather is a master with creations and Thomas wants weapon to further his hold on his people. When a visitor comes from outside Sanctuary bringing hope that there is life outside of the wall, a small group led by Meriweather breaks out to what they hope is a better life, but is it?

Lewis has an inner power, he is intelligent and wants to believe Gawea, the outsider, that Aran Burr has sent her, can offer a new life and help him with his powers. The rest of his group want something better, freedom and follow him through danger to get it. The journey is dangerous, mutants will threaten their lives and the group will discover that Gawea may not have been 100 percent honest in what she claims.

The story is a post apocalyptic style story, it features friendship, love, betrayal, murder, loss, sex and violence to name a few of the themes. The story pulled me in to begin with and it takes you through an arduous journey for many of the characters. An interesting read although I would have enjoyed it more had there been a bit more story behind the powers, mutations, flu and construction of the Sanctuary. 3/5 for me this time, my first time reading this author, I would read this author again. Thanks so much to BookBridgr for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday 1 February 2016

Tainted Love by Kimberley Chambers

Tainted Love (The Butlers #4)Tainted Love by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 496

Publisher - Harper Collins

Blurb from Goodreads

Three Butlers.
Two weddings.
One funeral.

The explosive new novel from the Sunday Times #1 bestselling author Kimberley Chambers.

Nobody can hurt you like the ones you love…

Blood is thicker than water, love is stronger than hate – and that’s the problem. When your brother has betrayed you, there’s no coming back.

Vinny and Michael have always protected each other and provided for the family. Together they were formidable but business always stopped at the front door. Now someone has changed the rules – women and children are fair game and one of the Butlers is going to end up six feet under.

Little Vinny is battling not to follow in his father’s footsteps. Sweet Sammi-Lou has just vowed ‘til death do us part, but it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out about the murder he committed.

Dark secrets are spiralling out of control and have the power to destroy them all for good. Is this the final nail in the Butler family coffin?

My Review

Oh. My. God.

I say this when I start a review for Chambers books, particularly with this series but, I always approach with caution. Mostly because I am a big believer in always being honest in my reviews and I have loved the series so much, you question if she will actually be able to keep the pace up. Really needn't have worried and wish I had started it as soon as it arrived on the doormat. Firstly, if you haven't read the previous three books in the Butler series, go and buy them now. You can read this one as a stand alone but you do yourself a huge disservice, there is so much history already passed to this point, you NEED to read it to experience the whole saga.

The Butlers are no strangers to weddings and funerals, this book is no different. The truth will always out and you cannot out run your past, a few of the family are about to experience this! When the book first opens, Queenie is preparing herself for what is coming and passes comment on the bad luck her family seems to have. We then tear off back a decade or two and pick up not too far off where we left book three.

Vinnie senior hasn't changed much despite his years, Vinnie junior is seemingly a changed man but somethings you just can't leave behind & Michael is about to be tested to the limit. The family is full of drama and very much live by the sword, die by the sword, the time has come for debts to be settled but who will pay?

Honestly guys I could go on all day about this book, I gasped out loud more than once, accompanied by the words "Oh My God" and just when I thought the big reveal had happened, Chambers pulled another belter out of the hat. She leaves the reader begging for more and doesn't disappoint, in fact I would go so far to say she has surpassed herself this time. Most definitely this will be one of my best reads of 2016 and I cannot wait to see what is in store for the characters next! 5/5 for me, Chambers is fast becoming one of the most recommended names I give to people who are fans of the crime genre, particularly gritty and or gangster. Thanks so much to Fliss and HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your own copy for all good retailers from the 11th of February 2016, that is only 10 days from now you lucky ducks, available in e book or print format.

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