Tuesday 24 January 2017

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible FuriesThe Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)

Pages - 592

Publisher - Doubleday

Blurb from Goodreads

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne's most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart's Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

My Review

Hello 1945, we open in Cork with Catherine, sixteen years old and daughter to a Catholic family in a small town. Catherine is pregnant and publicly shamed by the priest before being forced to leave with very little in her pocket and all alone. A chance friendship sees her land in Dublin and there we tragically leave her and follow the life of Cyril Avery. Cyril was adopted so not a real Avery as he is reminded at all opportunities by his adoptive parents Charles and Maude. With a privileged upbringing but lacking in emotional stability, Cyril grows up to be an interesting young man. With a country ruled by a religious tight hold, Cyril struggled to be who he truly is and has to deal with the fall out of his lifes decisions.

Well I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading this but it wasn't the emotional gut wrenching journey I was taken on. Catherine, whilst playing minimal parts in the book is an amazingly strong character with more morals and scruples than some of the people of the cloth or esteemed societal figures in the book. A tale of coming of age, society's prejudices, sexism, homophobia, violence, extremism, family, personal growth, love and morals all play a part in this breath taking story.

It is a novel that is very brave, the author tackles many subjects that will raise tempers, emotions and even force readers to examine their own moral compass. Definitely one of my top reads, at moments I was rooting for Cyril and others so enraged by some of his decisions thinking noooo, why?!?!?!. I think many readers will identify with at least one aspect if not more of the book, either as the struggles Cyril has to survive and embrace or with the strength and growth of some amazing people. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this, I have read Boyne before and will be snapping up the rest of the back catalog as I enjoyed this one so much. A book that packs an emotive punch and leaves you thinking about it long after you have finished the last page, 5/5 for me!

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Sunday 22 January 2017

Mary's The Name by Ross Sayers

Mary's the NameMary's the Name by Ross Sayers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 314

Publisher - Cranachan

Blurb from Goodreads

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

My Review

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

My Review

Meet eight year old Mary Sutherland and her Granpa, a dynamic duo against the world, Mary loves Elvis and Granpa is her whole world. When the betting shop, where Granpa works, gets held up, everything changes for Mary and the two have to up sticks and head to Granpa's pals house for a wee visit to the Isle of Skye. It isn't too long before Mary catches on that everything isn't as it seems and the robbers are coming too!

This lovely wee book arrived with a wee bookies slip, a bag of sweets and best of all an Elvis face mask. As a debut novel you are never too sure what to expect however a book set in Scotland, heart warming and laced with Scottish banter, who could say no! An eight year old's out look on life is always unique, kids are amazing and their view is so pure Mary is no different and hilarious in some of her quips.

A wee book about family, friendships, love, honor and the age old actions and consequences, laced with adventure, humor and sadness this wee book will take you on an emotive roller coaster. You would never guess this is a debut, very well written and I just loved the card trick Iain showed Mary, I have always loved cards so this was just the cherry on top.

A lovely setting, beautiful location and whilst the pace isn't a fast packed action race, it is a beautiful tale that sweeps the reader along. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Sayer and Cranachan for sending me a copy of this book. I will certainly be watching out for more from this author and may take another visit along to the bookies, I nipped in after reading this to my nearest Labrokes.

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Thursday 19 January 2017

Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose

Every Dark Corner (Romantic Suspense, #18; Cincinnati, #3)Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 624

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

When FBI Special Agent Griffin 'Decker' Davenport wakes from his coma, he is desperate to find the missing children he knows are in danger. At the end of his last investigation, when he thought it was all over and justice had been served, he discovered that not everyone had been rescued, but was shot before he was able to tell anyone.

Special Agent Kate Coppola has recently moved to Cincinnati. She says she's chasing a promotion but she's actually running away from a heartache. She's found the recordings from Decker's last investigation and has been at his side at the hospital while she tries to put together the pieces. Together they will search every dark corner to find the kidnapped children and bring their captors into the light.

My Review

The FBI are on the verge of exposing and bringing down child abusers and kidnappers. FBI agent Davenport is now out from undercover but in critical condition in hospital in a coma. The team need his information to help bring down the ring and save the children. Plenty of people don't want Davenport to talk and will stop at nothing to save their lucrative business, including blackmail and murder.

This almighty chunk of a book has a lot going on in it, book 18 of a series and many main characters from previous stories lines. I haven't read them all but have read a fair few & think I will head back and pick the rest up. Kids are being taken and forced into the sex trade, drugs are a plenty with the professor making a mint from college kids to high roller professionals. He has more to lose than most and won't allow his empire to tumble down. With the content, some parts of the story can be for hard reading although unlike some books there isn't a huge focus on the minute details of abuse these kid endure.

The pace is relatively fast, we are either following the bad guys and their dastardly deeds, manipulation, violence and of course murders or with the police and the undeniable attraction between some of the characters, particularly Coppola & Decker. As well as being a fast paced police investigation we have some relationship developments, scenes of a sexual nature and bad language used throughout. Characters, there are many who are interlinked and have definitely featured in previous books and some of them are related, if you haven't read the previous books you will be able to follow them however reading the backlog would certainly help. We do get an insight into the background of some of the characters and a way of explanation for how they are they way they but no in great depth.

I think some people thought the book could have been condensed however I disagree, I think looking at how many characters actually feature and we visit different scenes involved each it works well. 4/5 for me this time, I will pursue the previous works I have missed and absolutely read anymore that come out from this series. Thanks to BookBridgr for sending me a review copy.

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Monday 16 January 2017

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

The Child WhoThe Child Who by Simon Lelic
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Penguin Books

Pages - 303

Blurb from Goodreads

An unimaginable crime and the man who must defend it-a probing psychological thriller from the author of A Thousand Cuts.A chance phone call throws the biggest muder case in southern England into the hands of provincial attorney Leo Curtice. Twelve-year- old Daniel Blake stands accused of murdering an eleven-year-old girl. But who is truly responsible when one child kills another? As Curtice sets out to defend the indefensible, he soon finds himself pitted against an enraged community calling for blood. When the buildup of pressure takes a sinister turn, he fears for his wife and young daughter's safety. Must he choose between his family and the life of a damaged child? With piercing psychological insight, Lelic examines a community's response to a hideous crime.

My Review

A child murdering another child is always going to be a dark book, however, the focuses of this tale is more on the lawyer Leo I felt than the actual case or killer. Leo is a small time lawyer and this case will be very good for the firm and his career. Everything comes at a price and for Leo and his family the price is high.

The book starts off with a female, Leo's wife, it is a tad confusing and takes a bit to understand what she is talking about. The story itself I felt was a wee bit jumpy and took a bit to work out what was going on. It soon becomes clear, twelve year old Daniel has murdered another female child and Leo will be his defender. His daughter is a teenager and faces the wrath of her schoolmates when it becomes public knowledge. His wife is also targeted by the community and Leo begins to get threats. Leo seems completely focused on Daniel and getting through to him, Daniels step father and mother are cold and distant, Daniel seems to have no one which may be why Leo feels compelled to help.

Frustrating at times as you aren't too sure the timeline, always recent but sometimes it is after one incident, back to the run up to the trial and then after without clear timeline markings. With so much focus on Leo I think a lot of Daniel and his crime was missed, whilst you aren't left completely without answers I think there is a huge gap for Daniels psychological state and an examination of that.

Instead we see a reaction to a horrendous crime within a community and the impact that has, one to the actual community in how it responds and more centrally to Leo and his family. The repercussions of his decisions and the ripples caused in the relationships with those he loves. Cause and effect is key to the story however I feel the author missed a golden opportunity by not including more of Daniel, 3/5 for me this time. This is my first time reading this author, I would read his works again.

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Book Club meet up TBConFB

So Saturday saw the first meeting up our way for the book club TBConFB (THE Book Club on Facebook). The lovely Sharon, TBConFB admin, took on the arduous task of sorting it all out. I think there was about 30 of us in total, authors, reviewers and fabulous book lovers, I am only just getting my wee post on now because, well it is me you know what I am like, procrastinator! I did get most of the photos up on the club already so it isn't all bad/late!

This is one of the print outs holding our booked tables so I of course needed to capture a shot of it, you know me and my love for a billion photos.

A wee Blue Wkd was had, as well as being my favourite tipple, the author of Blue Wkd (read my review here) was coming so we needed the prop for the book :D

We had a hilarious and fabulous reading of The Gruffalo , Glasweigan style. Considering neither Alan Jones nor Owen Mullen had practiced or met each other before hand it was flawless, see my Instagram for a wee look at the video.

A captivated audience, I am sure someone from the club has the whole thing on video.

Sadly I didn't get to speak to everyone as I had triple booked the evening and had to leave early however it was lovely to put faces to the names you chat with online and speak to people in person! Not only did some of these authors give up time from their busy schedules, they brought signed books for raffle, personalised items (some of which I won by the lovely Fiona Wilson).

I love this and I am taking the wee chip to Las Vegas with me, hoping it will be a good luck charm.

And if all that wasn't enough, we also got a wee free pen, who doesn't love stationary! A great day with some beautiful people.

Friday 13 January 2017

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by J K Rowling

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 3 hours

Pages - 293

Publisher - Arthur A Levine Books

Source - Bookstore

Blurb from Goodreads

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.

Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader's bookshelf.

My Review

First off, I am not a fan generally of screenplays, I would much rather a novel, however after The Cursed Child I found I could get into these, written by Rowling, quite easily. Everyone has seen the trailer for the movie, just in case you missed it, we head back to the wonderful world of magic. Newt Scamander is a Magizoologist (finds, protects and looks after rare/magical beasts), scouring the world to locate and help them. He arrives in fabulous New York and no sooner has he arrived when things go all wrong. Magic in front of muggles, saved magical creatures on the loose and that is only the beginning. Newt finds himself in big trouble and taking those with him down the same route!

It isn't Harry Potter that is for sure but instead we have another world filled with magic, good and bad, wizards, muggles (although they are called No-Majs this time), danger and best of all fabulous magical creatures. My absolute favourite was Picket and when you read the book you will see why, he doesn't have a huge part in the book which is disappointing, I would love to have heard more but I did love the small glimpses we had.

The book is only a short 293 pages and quite a few are filled with beautiful illustrations so the actual story isn't that long at all. I devoured it in about 3 hours, had I not had interruptions I would have got through it in an hour. If you liked The Cursed Child and the Potter books I am sure you will enjoy this. Beautiful images on the pages, I love the cover too, dark blue with beautiful gold writing and the writing itself is what we have come to expect from Rowling. She casts her own spell, creating a fictional world that you have no problems conjuring up in your mind and briefly escaping reality to dabble with a little bit of magic, 4/5 for me this time. If she brought out more of these I would read them however I would much prefer them to be novels!

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Wednesday 11 January 2017

Run by Mandasue Heller - Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for RUN by the fabulous Mandasue Heller, I was very lucky to receive an arc from Netgalley, click HERE to read my review. Mandasue has very kindly agreed to do a Q&A so without further delay, welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time and thank you so much for taking the time out to answer some questions.

It has been quite a time for you since your last book release, how are you doing?

I had to skip a year to look after my mum so it’s been difficult, but I’m slowly getting back on my feet.

Run is quite a book, mixed with friendships, relationships, lies and secrets, how hard was it writing it?

It was really hard, because my head was elsewhere for so long. I completely lost sight of it halfway through and didn’t know if it was good or bad, so my lovely man, Win, read the first half and told me it was fine and he didn’t see what I was worrying about. He also made a suggestion about one of the characters that I hadn’t thought of, which really moved it forward.

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

I really like the friendship between Leanne and Chrissie, and I have a big soft spot for Ben. As for favourite, I’m not sure. Possibly Chrissie, because she’s sharp and takes no shit.

I felt Run snared you from the opening chapter as you didn’t know who was in such peril, was this intentional or just fabulous writing?

It was intentional, although I originally had a different scene as the prologue. My editor suggested changing it when I’d finished, because it gave too much away - he was right.

Do you read other books whilst penning a new novel or do you have a set routine

I used to be an avid reader, but I read very little now as I tend to mentally rewrite everything, which takes away the enjoyment.

When is the next book and do you have a story line in mind?

I’m writing the next book already, and it should be out next year. I’ve also made a start on the one I’ll be working on after that.

I have to ask for our Scottish fans, do you think you will ever make it up here for a launch?

I have done events in Scotland in the past, and imagine I will again in the future. Beautiful place.

What about a duo author interview night with Kimberley Chambers?

We done several events together in the past, and will definitely hook up again at some point.

What is next for Mandasue?

When my latest book is finished, I’ll start writing and recording songs for the album of ballads Win has been composing for me while I’ve been working. After that, it’ll be time to crack on with the next book :)

Thanks again for stopping by Mandasue, good luck for the release date. You can buy Run from all good retailers from tomorrow 12/01/2017 available in paperback and ebook. Follow Mandasue on Twitter @MandasueHeller or visit her Facebook page

Tuesday 10 January 2017

January Competition

As I have the signed book of the fabulous Theresa Talbot to giveaway (click here) I thought I would do a wee additional.

This is a wee vintage style bookmark, looks wooden but it really just a nice thick cut paper style, this giveaway is open to all. As always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter, the more entries you complete the more chances you have of winning. I will leave this open to the end of the month, good luck if you are entering and as always thank you for stopping by.

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Backstabber by Kimberley Chambers

BackstabberBackstabber by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 480

Publisher - Harper Collins

Blurb from Goodreads

The final thrilling showdown between the Mitchells and the Butlers. This is Kimberley Chambers at her heart-stopping best!

There’s never a dull moment in the Butler family and when Vinny starts to receive mysterious packages containing dead creatures, it can only mean one thing… someone is out for blood.

For a long time, Vinny Butler and Eddie Mitchell ruled their manors from a respectful distance. Now they’re doing business together and their family has just been united in a way they never expected.

But after one murder too many things start to unravel. The past comes back to haunt both families, and it will be the downfall of one of them.

Will it be the Mitchells or the Butlers who get what’s coming to them?

Who is the backstabber?

My Review

The Butlers & The Mitchell's together in one book! Vinny Senior and Eddie are working together in a joint venture, business for both families is pretty sweet. Now they are receiving threatening quotes accompanied by some disgusting packages, someone wants revenge but who is their target?

As always, when I pick up a Chambers book I do so initially with trepidation, when you have loved the previous books you can't help but worry the new one won't be as gripping. Unfounded fears good people, two dangerous families teaming up together for one huge finale. Action packed from page one, I actually gasped at the opening scene, why just why?!?! There went my day and if I hadn't had things to do I would have devoured it in one straight sitting. Death, families, love, betrayal, relationships, terror, mental health, sex & violence are only some of the themes covered in this book, as always bad language features so if you are unfamiliar with Chambers work be prepared.

Both families have had many enemies over the years, questionable behavior and choices by our characters, deaths aplenty so who is after one of our main characters and why? The writing and for why will keeping you going page after page, Chambers weaves a web of terror, fierce loyalty and opens a world to readers that most average Joe's could never imagine experiencing let alone glimpsing. Fast paced, engaging and finally the chickens are coming home to roost, if you haven't read the previous Butler & Mitchell series you really must before reading this one. Two fantastic series coming together, fans will not be left disappointed an explosive 5/5 for me. Hats off to Chambers for pulling off yet another amazing page turner, my first 5 star of 2017. Thanks so much to Harper Collins and Fliss for sending me and ARC of this!

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Friday 6 January 2017

Q&A with Theresa Talbot

Welcoming Theresa to So Many Books, So Little Time, credit to Aldo Ferrarello for the featured photograph.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit. Let’s chat about Penance.

You have already written a book however this is your first venture into fiction, what inspired the book?

I’d always had the kernel of an idea for a book based around a religious thriller. My Dad used to tell me a ghost story of a priest dying on the altar and his ghost coming back to finish mass – I thought that would make a great book…. Then one day I was researching the Magdalene Institutions for a possible radio feature and discovered that there had been a Magdalene in Glasgow and it closed in 1958 following a 3 day riot. The girls were protesting against the abusive treatment they had to endure. I saw newspaper archives and one picture in particular of a young girl trying to make her escape. It struck a chord with me and I thought ‘that institution had been in Glasgow for over 100 years – what made the girls stand up and say enough is enough?’ - and I wondered what happened to them afterwards…I started jotting down notes and before I knew it had the outline of a story which I combined with the death of a priest on the altar…and voila Penance was born.

Some of the scenes back to the 50s is quite barbaric and horrifying, did you get information from your research or was that your creative side?

I did a lot of research about the treatment of women in institutions – not just the M.I. I looked at transcripts of interviews and documents from the time. But at the end of the day Penance is a work of fiction so I used poetic licence and amalgamated the information with my imagination and told the story of one woman’s struggle.

How much research did you find yourself having to undertake?

As I said above – I did a lot of research into the treatment of women at the time. Also the book is mainly set in present day Glasgow and the main character Oonagh O’Neil is a journalist – that bit was easy as I worked as a journalist at the time and I was lucky enough to have a couple of friendly coppers to call upon to ensure my police characters were realistic. One of the best advice I’ve been given regarding research is from Denise Mina – do your research then set it aside. Never forget you’re telling story. In other words don’t get too bogged down with detail.

I have lived here all of my life and never heard of the institution, how did you come to hear about it?

I always knew about the Magdalene’s – it was just part of my upbringing but I didn’t know there had been one in Glasgow until I started researching it for a radio item.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a follow up to Penance which I hope will be out sometime in 2017.

Do you see a series for Oona?

Well – Ooonagh is in the follow up and I think she’ll be in one more book before giving her a wee rest.

Where can fans find you?

Usually in the pub! But if you don’t want to buy me a drink then find me on www.theresatlabot.com or get me on the twitter-phone @theresa_talbot

Anything else you want to chat about I may have missed?

I rescue chickens…but that’s a whole different story – I also was a comedy writer for a short time…clearly I was the only one who found me funny or I’d still be doing it!

Great Q&A Theresa and thanks again for stopping by, sorry the interview has gone up a wee bit later than originally scheduled. And we have one signed paperback copy to giveaway. Due to rising postage costs this one will be to UK entrants only guys, sorry. As always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner (The Starlight Diner Series, #2)Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 270

Publisher - Maze

Blurb from Goodreads

What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?

My Review

Bonnie is a singer in a band and finds herself in a spot of bother. Changing her appearance and going from the spotlight to hiding she heads to the Starlight Diner to find her old friend Esther. Esther may not be so delighted to see Bonnie but Bonnie has no choice, in danger and with nowhere else to go Bonnie breaks down in front of Jimmy, a disliked local reporter. Before long Bonnie has reestablished her friendship with Bonnie, met a new guy called Nick and making friends in the diner but you can't outrun your past or the people chasing you as Bonnie will soon find out.

It took me a wee bit to get into this one, not because I didn't like the writing, more because we know someone is after Bonnie but it takes a bit to find out who or why. I get quite irritated by that as I am so nosey and want to know, it does make for compelling reading though as you want to know what it is all about. I loved the diner, the music takes you back to the golden oldies days which in itself sparks some wonderful memories. I always love those diners and the book is written with such vivid scenes you can picture yourself within it and a few scenes made me hungry!

The story has a mix of thriller, girl on the run someone is after her, relationships, self preservation, personal growth, love, betrayal and friendship. This is my first time reading this author, I would certainly read her again. This is the second Starlight Diner book, I hadn't read the first and don't feel I lost anything having not read it before hand although I liked this one so much I will get the first. The ratings on here only allow for full stars so for me it is a 3 however I would say it was 3.5 out of 5 for me. Well written and creating characters you want to know more about, thanks so much to the publishers for sending me a copy and introducing me to a new author.

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Tuesday 3 January 2017

Make A Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

Make A Christmas Wish: A heartwarming, witty and magical festive treat!Make A Christmas Wish: A heartwarming, witty and magical festive treat! by Julia Williams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Avon

Pages - 367

Blurb from Goodreads

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?

My Review

Imagine finding out a betrayal by your husband just before Christmas, furious, upset and then to be hit by a car and killed! That is what happens to Livvy, however Livvy is earth bound for the foreseeable and she is enraged. Viewing her husband, the other woman and her son she struggled to accept she is dead and determined to get through to her family.

This is an emotive book, Livvy's son Joe has Asperger's, her and Adam (the husband) had a toxic relationship and the book takes us through their relationship in stages. We visit the past & present, seeing what Livvy's relationship was really like. Livvy is in denial and this is her chance at redemption, forcing her to examine her part in the breakdown in the marriage and deal with her unresolved issues. We hear from Joe in diary format and get to see Adams point on some things too, for this and with the time and character jumps you can dip in and out of this book without missing out on anything.

One major problem I had with this book is it states on the back "A hilarious and just a little heartbreaking festive treat..." I didn't laugh once at this. A lot of it is heartbreaking, I didn't laugh once and the main character really annoyed me with her selfish and destructive behavior. I understand she is mad and frustrated however causing more upset to people you love I just couldn't get on with. Some people loved the character though so it is definitely one you should read and make your own judgement on. I loved the character Joe, we see glimpses of his outlook from his diary entries and the interactions viewed by Livvy, I think they were quite emotive and he is a lovely carved character in some very unlikable ones. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her again, 3/5 for me this time.

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Run by Mandasue Heller

RunRun by Mandasue Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Pan MacMillan

Blurb from Goodreads

Run by Mandasue Heller is a gritty story of Manchester's criminal underworld, from the bestselling author of Afraid.

After being cheated on by her ex, Leanne Riley is trying her hardest to get her life back on track, which isn't easy without a job and living in a bedsit surrounded by a junkie and a mad woman.

On a night out with her best friend she meets Jake, a face from her past who has changed beyond all recognition. Jake is charming, handsome and loaded, a far cry from the gawky teenager he used to be. Weary of men, Leanne isn't easy to please, but Jake tries his best to break through that wall she's built around herself.

But good looks and money can hide a multitude of sins? Is that good-looking face just a mask? What's more, what will it take to make it slip, and who will die in the process...

My Review

Leanne is out with her best friend on a night out, trying to enjoy herself and forget her idiot ex who cheated on her. The last thing she expects is a face from the past and what a beautiful face it has become, enter Jake. Jake had been a scrawny kid but has now grown into a beautiful young man and appears successful, nice clothes, has money, he appears to have it all. Leanne takes a chance and Jake is everything she could have asked for, but is there more to Jake than meets the eye and harboring a secret that could threaten everything they have.

Oooh this is a good one, we have waited a while for Heller's newest release and it is worth the wait, Leanne lives in a pokey wee flat, life is a bit rubbish and then boom, hello Jake. Their relationship goes from strength to strength, he is charming, attentive and dishy. Leanna experiences problems with her neighbour, there is a dead body and things become dark and dangerous.

Run opens with a chapter that pulls you in, no clues to identities of the people in the scene and then opens with introductions to our characters. The story breaks down into relationships, person demons Leanne has to overcome after being hurt in her previous relationship and taking a leap of faith on this one. Sex, violence, friendship, love, betrayal, blackmail are just some of the topics covered. Heller creates characters the reader becomes vested in pretty much from page one, action packed with themes of grief and loss, some sexual content and violence hooks you quickly. Thanks so much to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this, 4/5 for me this time, if you haven't read Heller before you are in for a treat and I advise you to get her back catalogue which are all great reads too.

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