Friday 29 June 2018

Anything for Her by G J Minett

Anything For HerAnything For Her by G.J. Minett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Zaffre

source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

You'd do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn't you?

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy's never forgotten her. He'd do anything for her then, and he'd do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing - reasons that might be more dangerous than she's led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.

My Review

Meet Billy Orr, heading home to spend time with his sister who is ill when he accidentally bumps into his first love Aimi. Aimi has never been far from his mind and Billy would do anything to help her, even though he hasn't seen or spoken to her in eleven years. When Aimi discloses she is in trouble Billy of course helps, a second chance with his Aimi and he doesn't give two hoots for what dangers could lie ahead.

Billy is a sweet but loner type character, we know he isn't your normal guy but we don't know why. The book flips between past and present and we get a better insight into Billy's past, his relationship with his sister and a bit more of why he is the way he is. As time passes with Aimi's plan, Billy has to deal with the aftermath and starts to question how much does he actually know Aimi.

It took me a wee bit to get into this book, we start with current day (2015), flip back to thirteen years prior to when Billy was a teenager and then duo location (2015-16) between Billy and Aimi. The chapters are well labelled so you can follow the story easily, there is a strong bond between Billy and his sister Mia and I liked how they were especially with what they had endured together already. Aimi I didn't like at all, pretty much from the beginning and Billy seems like such a wee chop you can't help but feel for him. You build a picture of who the main players are and go page to page trying to gauge exactly where the story is headed.

Once the story got about half way it really picked up and took a turn, I think you feel you are getting the jist of it when the rug is out from under you. I do love when a book gets you like that, 3.5/5 for me this time, this is my first time reading this author, I will check out the rest of their offerings.

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Wednesday 27 June 2018

The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

The Longest HolidayThe Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Fellow blogger

He's smiling down at me with tears in his eyes as I say my solemn vow:
'I, Laura, take thee, Matthew, to be my lawful wedded husband…' I thought I would never feel like this about anyone ever again. Not after my first love… Not after the heartbreak and the loss and the trying to pick myself back up again… Then I met Matthew, and I know that he has my heart forever: my perfect, gorgeous, adoring Matthew. And then I wake up. And I remember that he's not perfect. He's so far from perfect that my heart could surely collapse from the pain that instantly engulfs me…

To say Laura is unlucky in love is an understatement. Her first boyfriend died in a horrific accident, and now she's just discovered that her husband of six months has been hiding a terrible secret. Devastated and unwilling to face reality, she escapes on a girls' holiday to Key West with her best friend Marty. But a deep and instant attraction to a sexy Cuban scuba diver takes her completely by surprise. When her two weeks in the sun come to an end, Laura doesn't want to go home again. But she can't run from real life forever. Can she?

My Review

Meet Laura our main character, off to Florida's Key West with her bestie Marty and Marty's friend Bridget. Laura is trying to come to terms with her husband of seven months bombshell, he slept with someone on his stag do and she is now pregnant with his baby. Everything Laura thought she knew about Matthew she is now questioning and can she ever forgive him. Whilst healing and trying to recover she encounters the silent and broody Leo, beautiful, talented and the balm she so badly needs. Is Leo just a get back a Matthew, some holiday fun or could there be something else there?

So, I have read and enjoyed Toon before and whilst this book covers a range of themes that make for a poolside read, there were some things that irked me. The overall response as the book goes on from Laura's inner circle infuriated me, I cannot imagine being in that position and my A Team basically saying the things her friends do! Infidelity is a big part of the story and for how it goes it is integral to the plot but I got really annoyed by a bit of double standards going on from some of the characters.

Laura is a bit of a meg character for me, I initially felt for her, then I got annoyed at some of her choices. Leo I think is meant to be a bit on an onion character, gruffy on the surface but has many layers however he comes across as a bit of a.... I am struggling for the correct word. Like he was bosses, withholding emotions which almost seemed manipulation to me. I don't think it was but that was how I read him sometimes. Then Laura, she fair flipped about like a fish out of water at times with her emotions, I genuinely wasn't sure which way she was going in almost everything. I think maybe that was Toon's intent, Laura is going through such an emotional rollercoaster that she isn't sure what she needs, wants, should or will do.

It sounds like a moan lol and I really don't mean that as I did like a fair bit of the book. Friend coming to the rescue, family and friendships pushed to the limit, a journey of self exploration, love, lust and of course actions and consequences. 3.5 for me this time, I have read Toon before and I will read her again.

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Sunday 24 June 2018

The Angel by Katerina Diamond

The Angel (DS Imogen Grey, #3)The Angel by Katerina Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 464

Publisher - Avon

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads


When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison?

DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.

When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge.

My Review

This is book three in the series, whilst you could technically read this as a standalone I think you would enjoy it more reading the previous and getting the back story. Gabriel Webb and his beautiful girlfriend are goths and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gabriel is in jail awaiting his punishment, he won't give his girlfriend or the people he was with. DS Grey and Miles are assigned to the case and soon suspects not only is Webb innocent but there is more, much more to this case.

Both detectives have things going on from their past, more so Miles which has a huge part in this story. Grey also faces issues from her past making her question the thing she holds above all else, her loyalty to the job. It has heat, relationships, jail life, sex, violence, murder, sexual references, police investigation and partnership. I love the friendship between the two detectives and how they work together.

The chapters are relatively short which as you know I do love in a story, great for when you are working but if your concentration is off it helps for dipping in and out. I think we get to see a wee bit more to who the characters are, the more personal side without losing focus on the actual case, investigations.

The prison scenes with Webb are hard going at times, it isn't always the what happens more the threat, ominous atmosphere and psychological torture. Diamond creates split themes in the book, the jail with Webb, the police investigation, the deaths, the police personal lives but does so where it all links and doesn't detract from each story line. I think that can be a balsy move by authors, too much going on and the reader becomes bored and or frustrated but if you do it right you reader just want more! 4/5 for me this time, I cannot wait to pick up book four!

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Friday 22 June 2018

Deja vu by Emma Clapperton

Déjà VuDéjà Vu by Emma Clapperton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 30 mins

Pages - 37

Publisher - self

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


Celia was found brutally murdered in a railway underpass. No one was ever charged with her murder, it was like the killer disappeared into thin air. But Celia knew her killer and after she died, she fought for her soul to re-enter her body, to carry on with life. But the force is too strong for her and her soul is cast aside.
Celia did not want anyone to forget what happened to her.


Alice has suffered from anxiety as far back as she can remember. With certain music causing unexpected emotional outbursts and recurring nightmares, she can’t take much more.
But when she gets the job she applies for, the future seems brighter. Soon after her first shift at the office, the recurring dreams intensify, become more detailed. They feel real.
And that’s when déjà vu sets in.
Alice begins to wonder if these spells déjà vu, are actually memories…

My Review

This is a wee short story, I normally don't read short stories as they leave me irritated and wanting more, usually just getting started when it ends. However with Deja Vu we plunge in quickly, we open with Celia, if you have read the blurb you know what is happening, if you haven't you just know something isn't right. We jmeet Alice in the next chapter, Alice is just a normal girl who suffers from anxiety, it is getting worse, music can set off panic and vomiting, not good when you are about to start a new job. Alice doesn't know why she is experiencing this, Celia needs justice for what happened, what is linking these two seemingly separate women?

There is an eerie atmosphere that builds from the first chapter, you know what has gone down but not where the story is going or where the link between the two main characters is. The timeline splits from 1987 with Celia to present day with Alice.

I couldn't figure where the story was heading, which in only 37 pages is pretty good going. I actually gasped at one point, it is testament to the authors ability to evoke an audible response from their reader. Whilst I am still not a fan of short stories I did really like this one, I have read this author before and have another on my TBRM to get to. 4/5 for me this time, if you like short stories you will love this, if you don't like short stories you will still enjoy this, I did!

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Thursday 21 June 2018

An evening with crime writers at Waterstones

I love book events, I haven't been to many of late but I managed to hobble along last night, my o/h and friend came too. My o/h reads very few authors/books and usually on when on holiday, he came last night more as a "carer" for me but actually really enjoyed the evening.

Last night was Steve Cavanagh and Mark Billingham chaired by Christopher Brookmyre, these guys are hilarious. I had no idea Cavanagh was irish and could listen to that accent all night!

James introduced the guys, went over the safety as per and opened a great evening. If you aren't familiar with Sauchiehall street Waterstones they are now sporting a wee bar. So you can enjoy the events with a wee wine, soft drink or a water if that suits you. They also have a Harry Potter section, it is like a wee Harry Potter common room, I dind't get any pictures, I was so sore by the time I got there I beelined for my chair. I have took pictures previously, I am sure they are on my Insta, next time I am in I will get more.

Neither of the guys read out of their books, they just chatted, shared some stories, had a laugh and spoke about the books. Mark's book "The Killing Habit" is ook 15 in the Thorne series. There has been a lot of chat in the clubs about this one as the perp is killing animals and hasn't yet moved onto humans. I really hate animal cruelty and struggle to read books that contain it, however listening to Mark last night I am hoping it isn't actually too huge in the book, or too graphic. I may get my o/h to read it first for me though, just in case lol, inspired by the "Motorway cat killer" and discussing how many of these poor animals have been killed by this maniac.

Steve spoke about his new book Th1rt3en it is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. This will be my first book by this author, if you haven't got it yet, Tesco is doing a promotion for the next week I think where if you buy The Sun paper you get it for £2.

The guys talked about Cavanagh and Luca Vestes podcast, I have neverlistened to a podcast before but I think I will check this one out. They also chatted about their "band" and they will be playing in Bloody Scotland, if you haven't already you may want to check it out. Pictured is Mark reading out some of his one star reviews from Amazon, I LOVE when an author takes something negative and makes a positive from it. We all laughed at the daftness of some of them, brilliant!

I didn't get a chance to say hello or hug half the people I wanted to, there were so many great bloggers and authors in the audience. We had to leave pretty much as soon as it was over, I was just too sore. However we had a great night, the beautiful and talented Sharon from Chapter in my Life brought me a bookmark to cheer me up. I thought she had got it from the author for me, no, this talented beaut actually made it, have fantastic and thoughtful! I am honestly so blessed to have so many beautiful humans in my life.

My other friend brought me a book and some candles, spoiled! xxx

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Q&A with author Isobel Hart

Welcoming Isobel Hart to So Many Books, So Little Time, author of Still Life, four other novels and currently writing the follow up to Still Life.

Thanks so much to Isobel for taking some time out to answer some questions for me. You can read my review for Still Life HERE.

Tell us about Still Life

Still Life is a romantic contemporary sci-fi. It tells the story of Samantha Davis; she’s clinging to the remnants of a broken relationship. After her boyfriend survives an accident – against expectations – he’s changed. For the better, some might say. The question is, why?

What made you genre switch?

I have always written pure adult contemporary romance up until now. And will again, I have no doubt. What Goes Around Comes Around and Full Circle are part of a 2-book series, Compromise Agreement is a standalone. Still Life may be a bit different but it’s written in the style of a contemporary romance. Pure Sci-fi fans will find it too light on the science, I imagine. What they have in common is real women, flaws and all. I didn’t consciously genre switch – I’ve always read across a wide variety of genres – I just wrote the story that was shouting loudest at the time. I still think it will appeal most to people who like romance.

When I picked up the book I thought Still Life was going to be very Sci Fi, it is more a mix of romance, relationships, abuse with mild sci fi themes, was this your vision for the book?

Yes, absolutely. It was always about Samantha – a very ordinary woman – who finds herself caught up in events. Her relationships are at the heart of the story. Her reactions, whether you agree with her choices or not, are the lens through which the story is told. I intended to make it plausible – this is a recognisable world on the brink of change.

How is the next in the series coming on and due for release?

I’m writing it now – all being well, I’d like to get it out early 2019. If possible, before.

I enjoyed the sci fi aspect of the book, will book two be more focused on that thread of the story or more relationship focus with mild sci fi themes?

I intend to answer the questions about the virus, but ultimately Still Born will be about Sam, and how she copes in the circumstances she finds herself in.

Rape and abuse are in the book but not given a lot of coverage, almost covered in passing, was this intentional. Did you feel this was important to include?

The story is told through Sam’s eyes – she’s not been exposed directly to the atrocities herself, only aware it’s been happening. Also, the timeline of events is relatively short – they’re in survival mode at the moment. They haven’t had much time to reflect on everything. That will come.

Which did you enjoy writing more, your previous books or this?

That’s like asking which of my children I love more! I love writing every book, there is space in my heart for all of them. This one seems to be more polarising in its appeal – you’ll either enjoy the rollercoaster, or hate it. I still love it.

How many more books do you see in the series?

Originally, I thought it would be a trilogy – now, I think there will only be 2 books. I intend to complete the story in the next book.

Where can fans find you?

Facebook:<br />

Twitter: @bellahartloves

Anything else you would like to answer that I haven’t asked?

Just thank you for reading, and reviewing. Bloggers are our lifeblood. I’m immensely grateful

And if all of this isn't enough to spoil you I am offering up my pre loved copy of Still Life, it is in perfect condition AND signed by the author. It is a bit chunky at over 400 pages so this one I will keep UK only, sorry guys.

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Monday 18 June 2018

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 2 days

Pages - 406

Publisher - Zaffre

Source - I bought 3 copies of this lol, Amazon (ebook), The Works and I think the other was part of an online deal

Blurb from Goodreads

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

My Review

Welcome to book one in a series, introducing D.I. Kim Stone investigating the murder of a seemingly upstanding member of the community. Soon another murder happens and the police have to consider is their a link between the two. When the body count continues and remains are found at an old children's home Stone and her team need to work hard to catch the killer before they strike again. The discovery of the bones not only throws a new light onto the investigation but causes Stone to revisit her own past and demons.

Before I even start on the book we need to talk about a major geek moment. The book takes place in Black Country, I had never heard of it before reading this book. There is a reference, in one conversation between one cop to another with a reference to the place and it being the inspiration for a very famous place in another book. I was actually geeking and will leave you to discover it for yourself (or if you are too nosey you can look at my Instagram as I popped a piccy up on there with the passage).

Stone is a fantastic character, she is work orientated, honest, strong sense of what is right and will get justice now matter what. She has a past, some issues but isn't flawed as so many detectives with a penchant for booze, drugs or risky sexual encounters. She is a fantastic creation, her team respect her, she doesn't bow down to office politics, she is for the victims, she will get them justice!

There is lots of action, we open in 2004 with five adults around a grave, burying an innocent, binding them all together with a horrific secret. We go to present day and the first murder kicks off so we are right into the action straight away. Relatively short chapters, which I personally love, following the investigation, the murders and even have a few wee chapters dottered in the book from the killer giving an insight into their history and mind set.

If I wasn't so knocked off just now I would have read this in one sitting, it is a great introduction to what I am told is a fantastic series. I have the next three in the series already and absolutely will be buying the rest. If you are looking for a new series (well new to me, originally published in 2015 by Bookouture) with a strong female who isn't perfect but isn't plagued with booze reliance or anything of that ilk, this is for you. 4.5 out of 5 for me, refreshing, engaging and hooked from the first page!

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Friday 15 June 2018

Q&A with author Maximilian Hawker

Welcoming Max to So Many Books, So Little Time, thanks for taking time out to answer some questions for us.

What made you decide to write the book?

Breaking The Foals, at its heart, tells a story of the historical Troy of myth and the characters who might have lived there. I suppose I had become so immersed in reading Homer, Virgil, Quintus and others like them, that I couldn't help but wonder: were any of their tales based on fact? I was aware of so many modern writers setting their books in the Bronze Age, but I couldn't find anyone who had actually researched the historicity of Troy and written a fresh story based on that research. This gap in the market was something that I was excited to try and fill.

What research did you have to do?

I read predominantly about the Hittite Empire, to which Wilusa - the historical Troy - was a vassal state. Fortunately, a number of scholars, including Michael Wood and Trevor R. Bryce, had explored the historical Troy and its culture in close detail, so there was plenty of material with which I could become familiar. But the research didn't end there. I accessed archaeological journals and visited Turkey as well to better immerse myself. The thing with research is that it can become addictive, and learning what the historical Troy would have been like was utterly compelling.

If you could liken it to a work already out or genre which would you liken it to?

Hard to liken it too much to something I've already read. But fans of Mary Renault, Emily Hauser and Madeline Miller may very well enjoy Breaking The Foals.

Who inspires your writing?

In terms of actual writers who've inspired me, the Number One author for me has always been the inimitable Louis de Bernières. I remember reading and adoring Captain Corelli's Mandolin when I studied it at GCSE level, and that prompted me to go on and read everything else the man had written - I have been enthralled ever since. My other two influences are Thomas Hardy and David Mitchell: both sublime in entirely different ways.

However, in terms of who inspires me to actually persevere with writing: that would be my two daughters. Writing is such a passion that I want them both to see that it is possible to succeed at doing something you love.

What is next for Max?

As I am a debut novelist, next is for me to carry on building an audience and getting my name out there. I recently read at Brixton BookJam, and will be part of a panel at an all-day event at Nottingham Waterstones in October; I am also trying to make appearances at other festivals and events.

In terms of writing, I am halfway through the first draft of my second novel, which is a high-concept sci-fi for a 9-12/Teen audience, dealing with themes of child abuse and mental ill health - two issues that I feel need to be explored more in children's fiction. This departure from historical fiction is inspired by the fact that I work in frontline children's social care and I suffer from OCD, so I am pouring a lot of heart into this next project. I will be pitching it to Unbound when I have finished and edited it sufficiently, so watch this space.

Where can you connect with Max? Twitter


Max's website

Max's book was released on the 26th of April, this year by Unbound. Available to purchase in treebook format or ebook from Amazon

Wednesday 13 June 2018

The Munitions Girls by Rosie Archer

The Munitions Girls (The Bomb Girls #1)The Munitions Girls by Rosie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

An enthralling, eventful WW2 saga from the popular writer of the Daisy Lane novels - perfect for fans of Daisy Styles.

1943, Gosport, Hampshire. Pixie Saunders is 19 and employed in the local armaments factory. Not for the first time, her mother has run off with a dodgy-looking bloke, leaving Pixie to pay the rent and fend for herself. Pixie, along with her best friend Rita, Em, the factory overseer, and the rest of the girls are making the most of the war while trying to stay alive. The work is dangerous and the hours long, but in the evenings they take off their overalls and go to the pub or, better still, go dancing. Pixie meets American serviceman Cal and falls in love. But then Cal rejoins his ship.

When Pixie falls pregnant, her life changes dramatically. Alone and unable to work, she has to rely on the kindness of friends to help her survive. Happiness seems like a thing of the past. Little does she know that there are plenty of surprises waiting for her - good ones at that. Love may be closer than she thinks.

My Review

Meet Pixie, Rita & Em all working in the local factory helping to make weapons for the war. It is a dangerous job and not just because of the risk of blowing themselves up, their boss and son have wondering eyes and hands. Pixie lives at home with her mother when her mother graces her with her presence, normally flitting in and out, running up bills then going off with her newest man. Em runs the factory floor, cares for her disabled husband and her youngest daughter who is a beautiful young woman with the mind of a much younger child. Rita lives at home with her mother and stepdad and would rather be in the factor at risk or in the pub, anything to not be home.

This is a story of friendship, the threat of bombs a daily occurrence, family, the best of humans and the worst. I loved Pixie, no matter how shady her mother was she remained so loyal, she is a feisty, strong, independent and quick to stand up to injustice. I love when you get a strong female character and whilst she did swoon a bit I thought she was grand.

There are lots of themes to the book, some is light hearted, warming, sweet, however there are darker themes, abuse, social judgement, the ravages of war. It is very well written, the characters carved well to draw you in and actually want to know what happens next, even to the ones you aren't a fan of. This was my first time reading this author, it won't be my last, I have bought the next two in the series already, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 11 June 2018

Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble FallDrift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 2 days

Pages - 310

Publisher - Hideaway Fall

Source - Review copy

Blurb from back cover

Richard Brown has had enough of his life of commitment, resentment, routine and responsibility. Staring out of his window, he enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, the neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From his lounge, Bill keenly watches as Richard's young family grows. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people's lives are never what they seem.

My Review

Richard is a married father of two young children, he feels trapped, anxious and needs to get out for self preservation. The mundane life, the screaming children, the coldness of his wife, the irritation of his in laws, Richard cannot take anymore. When he looks out the window and sees his elder neighbour, calm, quiet, perfect he can't help but wish he could swap, even if it meant losing many years of his existence. Richard has to get out, he needs to escape, for himself and for his families happiness, the more he watches his neighbour the more he needs to cement his plan to be free.

Lee is an author who is a campaigner for mental health, from the books of his I have read this is very clear in the stories and his writing. Whilst Richard is the main focus of the story, we see signs of other glimpses of mental health in the other characters. His wife I felt had a huge struggle going on, in the glimpses we get of her and her interactions I think she is also suffering deeply and I think this is very clever writing by the author. We often get so self involved and wrapped up in our own lives, struggles, personal issues, Richard is so wrapped in his own journey and issues his wife is just background noise.

I think mental health is something we need more focus on and doing it in the form of fiction is a fantastic idea. We get to see inside a seemingly happy family life, we see that through Bill's eyes, the neighbour across the way that Richard covet's "happy" home. We see how Richard struggles daily and the lengths he will go to to avoid time with his family. I really wasn't a fan of Richard for a lot of the book, his plan on what he was going to do was despicable. However when you get into the story and understand his suffering, his journey it gives you a different insight.

An important show of how the grass isn't always greener on the other side, something many of us are guilty of yearning for. How mental health can affect us differently and completely control our lives, outlooks, actions. It provokes thought and challenges judgements the reader can't help but make when initially meeting Richard and by the end giving a completely different view point. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, I have a fair few books by this author on my tbrm I need to bump them up the list.

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Friday 8 June 2018

Oh Dear Sylvia by Dawn French

Oh Dear SilviaOh Dear Silvia by Dawn French
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Over 2 days

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 342

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?

A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?

All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. And she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers.

Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again . . .

My Review

Sylvia is in a coma, Sylvia is loathed by members of her family, worshiped by her friend Cat. Shunned by her daughter Cassie and son Jamie, cared for by nurse Winnie, visited by Tia her cleaner, Ed her ex husband and her eccentric sister Jo. Each brings their own issues and slowly reveals Sylvia's past, their issues and relationships with her bringing the reader into the know of just who Sylvia is.

Some of the characters are hilarious, Tia is her cleaning, proud and very funny in some of her chat and outlook on matters. Cat is a complex character who happily would have Sylvia just to herself and not her family. Ed has much mixed feelings for his ex wife, the things she has done and looking back on their relationship before she changed. Cassie struggles to even look at her mother despite the critical condition she is in, Jamie refuses to acknowledge her and Jo, Jo is a wild card, chaos, dramas and very much all about her as she tries some very questionable things to "wake" her sister up.

The book is a mix of humour, sadness, tough issues, abuse, possessiveness, relationships, violence, suicidal intentions. It is also about relationships and family, huge focus on both, with Sylvia being in a coma, all the characters address all their issues with her in a very honest and raw emotive way. This is my first book by French, it won't be my last 3.5/5 for me, a very mixed bag and whilst there are a fair few characters, each chapter is titled with their name so it is very easy to follow.

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Wednesday 6 June 2018

The Intruder by P S Hogan

The IntruderThe Intruder by Phil Hogan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 281

Publisher - Black Swan

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in – quietly, carefully – to see who lives there now, what they’re like, what they’ve been doing.

But what will happen when he gets caught?

My Review

William Heming is not your ordinary estate agent, William takes great interest in the people moving into his homes. He keeps copies of all the keys, he spies on the people moved into his home, he tracks them, he visits them and sometimes, just sometimes, he involves himself in their lives.

Told in first person point of view we get to hear exactly his thoughts and reasoning or the things he does. Flashes back in time to when he was younger also gives the reader a bit of insight into a bit more of his character. His outward persona is vanilla, non threatening, someone you wouldn't give another glance but William is a dangerous man, obsessive, a stalker and may even be in your house without you knowing.

Oooft after reading this, if you didn't change your locks when you moved into your house, you will. If you haven't checked your loft, you will. Every noise will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. I think the grab for this kind of book is how easily it could be true, it could happen to you. The atmosphere builds up very quickly, eerie, creepy without being over the top and wraps itself around you so have to find out how it plays out. The end was a bit too quick for me, they say an author is doing their job properly if they leave you wanting more. 3.5/5 for me this time, this is my first time reading this author, I would be interested in checking out more of his work!

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Tuesday 5 June 2018

Death of an Actress by Antony M Brown

Death of an Actress: A true story of sex, lies and murder on the high seas (Cold Case Jury Collection Book 2)Death of an Actress: A true story of sex, lies and murder on the high seas by Antony M. Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 300

Publisher - Mirror Books

Blurb from Goodreads

Published in time for the 70th anniversary of one of the most dramatic trials in British criminal history.

DEATH OF AN ACTRESS is the second in the Cold Case Jury Collection, a unique series of true crime titles. Each case study tells the story of an unsolved crime, or one in which the verdict is open to doubt. Fresh evidence is presented and the reader is invited to deliver their own verdict.

October 1947. A luxury liner steams over the equator off the coast of West Africa and a beautiful actress disappears from her cabin. Suspicion falls on a dashing deck steward with a reputation for entering the cabins of female passengers. When the liner docks at Southampton, the steward is questioned by police. Protesting his innocence, he makes an astonishing admission that shocks everyone, and is charged with murder. His trial at the historic Great Hall in Winchester draws the world's media. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang.

But was the verdict sound?

Many believe not.

Now for the first time, Antony M. Brown has secured unprecedented access to the police file, enabling the definitive story to be told. Included in the file are original court exhibits, including a hairbrush with strands of the actress's red hair. Could a personal effect left behind in her cabin provide clues to how she might have died? Take your seat on the Cold Case Jury...

Blurb from Goodreads

So I do read and watch true crime stuff and was surprised I had never heard of this, apparently it made the news at the time it all happenes. In the 1940s an actress went missing on a luxury liner where she was travelling as a first class passenger. Brown investigates, adds his own thoughts amongst that which he reports. Included in the book is a website you can visit after reading the book to cast your vote on what you think actually happened.

Without giving spoilers, Brown includes all the information that is public so by search you can quickly find the court ruling for this case. Brown also includes unseen evidence, information and statements that hadn't previously been released and how he came to have access to them.

Brown gives accounts of what could have happened given the information available, statements made by passengers, facts and speculation, all of which he highlights which is which. It is an interesting case, no doubt about it and raises questions to why things processed or where omitted in the investigation. Photographs are included in the book, verbatim statements/accounts and descriptions of the actresses quarters as well as a layout of the boat. This is the second book by this author in the cold case files, I enjoyed the writing, the subject matter and him giving thoughts on all possibilities rather than only his opinion on what happened. I also like the fact you can visit the website after, whilst I expected it to be more than what is offered I did find it a good wee add on. The chapters are relatively short which I always like however in this case even more so because when you finish a chapter you can put the book down to read up on that part/facts then go back to it. 3.5/5 stars for me this time, I liked it, this is my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, I have already looked into the first book in the series to buy! If you have read it, what do you think actually happened, which theory do you thinks better?

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Monday 4 June 2018

Stephen King themed giveaway

Happy June you beautiful people - sorry that is me just getting the June giveaway up however, I think you might agree that is is worth waiting for. I have also decided to make it International so sharing the joy worldwide!

Little miss paws had to get in on the action as usual lol, don't worry that is my postcard her wee claws are reaching for.

So, up for grabs is, one brand new paperback book of "Joyland" by the master of horror himself, Stephen King. The Pennywise (new Pennywise) clown postcard I bought at horror con, I bought a few knowing I would pop one up as a giveaway. And finally a wee spooky magnetic bookmark to go with it because who doesn't love a wee bookmark and magnetic is one of my fav types.

The giveaway is as listed and seen in the photograph. As I said I will open it up worldwide so everyone has a chance to get it, I know there are a fair few followers of the blog scattered around the globe and it is always nice to allow everyone the opportunity to win. I did a wee collage of the items so you can get a better look.

I have loved Stephen King books since I was a kid, it was his books, IT in fact, that got me hooked on reading and horror! I hope you guys have a great day whatever you are up to, thanks for taking part in the giveaway and supporting the blog. As always, enter using the Rafflecopter below, the more entries you complete the more times your name goes into the draw.

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Saturday 2 June 2018

Happy June and May reads

Can you believe it is June already! This year is flying by. So I have seen on many blogs, round ups, a highlight of all the books the person has read the previous month. As I am pretty much house bound (and couch bound for the best part of my days just now) I thought this would be a good thing to try. In total I read twelve books in May, not counting the one I finished today, that will go as book one in June!

Before I do, I thought I would show you the book I am starting June with (I finished my book earlier today but started that in May so it goes into May's reads). Look at my wee reading "corner" basically Princess Trixie's side of the couch with a blankey (far too hot to use tonight), my fab cushion my lovely pal Jaime got me and miss paws. The book is "The Intruder" by author P. S. Hogan, I believe this is the only book by this author so far.

My first book of May was The Rebel by author Jamie Raven - 4/5 stars, click here for my review. I had read this author before and like but hadn't loved the story, this one was fantastic and I plan to go for the back catalogue.

My Sister's Secret by Tracy Buchanan, 4/5 for me you can read my review here. Family secrets, duo timeline - past and present, relationships, a first for me with this author, it won't be my last.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza, 4/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. Another first, first time reading this author, first in a series you can read my review here. I kept hearing about this from readers and bloggers in The Crime Book Club book group on Facebook.

Ararat by Christopher Golden, 3/5 for me. I apparently didn't write a review for this one :O however it is a supernatural, spooky, murder story taking place up a mountain in Turkey. Very atmospheric, the blurb can be found HERE from Goodreads.

Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson, 3.5/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. A genteel novel, composed in letters between two people who spark up a friendship and go on journeys of personal growth.

A Bargain in Silver by Josie Jaffrey, 3.5/5 for me. You can read my review HERE. This is a series with vampires and weepers, weepers are like zombies and infecting the human race, the vampires need to protect their food source and so it begins. This is the first book in a series.

Host by Robin Cook was only 2.5/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. I did like the medical aspects of this book and I plan to read more by him however I had issues with some of the interactions and actions of some of the characters. If you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts.

Darker by E L James, 3/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. This is book two of the Fifty Shades books told from Christian's point of view. I never got all the hate for the original books and the abuse stuff, however, reading from his pov I can see some folk will have issues with him/it. If you liked the original I think you will enjoy this, it fills in some of the gaps.

Beyond the Sea by Melissa Bailey, 4/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. This wee book sat on my review pile for a long time, I wish I had read it earlier. A mother struggles with her grief and returns to the Hebridean Island to deal with it. The story also deals with legends, mermaid myths and I just loved that.

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron, 3.5/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. This is book two in a series, well I hope there will be more, it is very different from book one but I think fans will still enjoy it.

The Girls by Lori Lansens, 3.5/5 stars, you can read my review HERE. This is a story about two sisters who are conjoined, craniopagus twins. From their medical issues, family history, relationships, it is a very touching story and I love when you learn about things from a fiction book.

The Coven by Graham Masterton, 4/5 for me, you can read my review HERE. Set in the 1700s we have a widow who goes to work at a refuge for "fallen women", before long she is caught up in claims of witchcraft, missing people and threats to herself. She is a fantastic strong female character and I liked it so much I am going to buy book one, I hadn't realised this was book two.

And there you have it folks, that was my May's reading, a relatively mixed bag. I would recommend them all, even if I don't love a book I know it comes down to personal taste and what wasn't for me why be loved by another. This is my first ever round up post, not sure I will ever do another lol, it took ages and my screen kept freezing/crashing. What books have you read in the last month? Have you read any of the above? Hope you guys are having a great day whatever you are up to.

Friday 1 June 2018

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

Paris by the BookParis by the Book by Liam Callanan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read -3 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - HQ Stories

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Heading off in search of its author, a mother and her daughters find themselves in France, rescuing a failing bookstore and drawing closer to unexpected truths.

Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband….

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues—and her husband—Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge…and that he had set in Paris. The Eady women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah’s biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can’t help but trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family—and the Paris she thought she knew.

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

My Review

When Leah's husband goes missing it isn't exactly worrying, he does go off a lot to write and always comes back. This time he hasn't left a note, this time he hasn't come back, Leah and her two daughter's are trying to come to terms with it, why has he gone, where has he gone and why hasn't he come home? They find themselves in Paris, looking for Robert, making a new life for themselves both working in a book shop and looking after two young twins. The girls are adjusting to life in Paris, learning the language, constantly looking for their dad. Leah follows men who could be her husband, she sees him constantly whilst trying to come to terms with the fact he may actually be gone for good this time.

I have flipped back and forth on this book, 2.5 stars or 3 stars. I loved the location, once they get to Paris, Callanan describes the city so well I was actually there. The language, the social interactions, the etiquette, the buildings, the feeling of walking down the streets, it really made me want to visit again, this time as an adult.

The story itself, I read it as a woman's husband has disappeared so the book focus is going to be on that, tracking him and a whole big mystery. Whilst yes the husband aspect is addressed it isn't, for me, the bulk of the story. That was taken with Leah's personal journey, the courage to try and find out what happened, re locating, assessing her own self, her parenting, her relationship with her girls, analysing her relationship and what it was like with her husband. Therefore for me it was more of a personal journey, self exploration for Leah and the husband disappearance, whilst it kicked it all off, that took a back seat. That doesn't make it a bad story, not at all but it is one of the reasons I don't always read the blurbs now as I think you go in with a pre conceived idea and expectations of what the book will be which can hamper your enjoyment of the book. This is on me as a reader and not the author but it does hugely impact how I get on with the book.

My other issue was it jumps around an awful lot so I had to go over pages to make sure where the character was and what was happening. The timeline goes from present day, then flips back to a memory of say her and her husband either living together or pre marriage or how they came to be then back to current happenings. Then there are references to the books that brought Leah and Robert together, they both love works by two different authors and Leah talks about one that was made into a movie. How it impacted on her, how it brought her and Robert together and it did pique my interest into them which I love when a book does that. I am not sure if there was an undercurrent to the book that just went over my head that maybe other readers may well appreciate.

My other big issue was actually Leah and Robert's relationship, he could just take off for unknown amounts of time to write. Leaving wee notes hidden in the house for Leah or the girls to find but it wouldn't tell them where he was or how long he was going for. It worked for them but I couldn't understand it, I couldn't imagine living in a relationship or household like that. It did give pause for thought though and made me contemplate what comes much later in the book. I cannot fathom Leah's choices or actions, I don't get Robert either but as a mother Leah had me totally baffled. Again maybe it was done purposely and the reasons are just over my head completely. I finished the book a few days ago and am still pondering it so credit to the author for that. 2.5 out of 5 for me this time, this was my first dance with Callanan and I would read more of his work if I came across it. Really interested in hearing what other readers made of this and more importantly Leah's behaviours, her and Robert's relationship and some of the choices they make. I think this would be a brilliant book for a book group discussion as there is so much of the book you can break down, analyse and I think will split many opinions!

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