Thursday 27 February 2020

Worth Fighting For by Lisa Niemi Swayze

Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving ForwardWorth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward by Lisa Niemi Swayze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able over 4 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Atria Books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Wait a minute . . .
. . . there.

I made it to the next moment.

And that’s how you get through a bad moment of grief. You do it one moment at a time.

—from Worth Fighting For

My Review

This is Patrick Swayze's wife book about their time together, pre and post diagnosis, treatment and through his lie and when he passes on. Written almost in diary form, first person, some thoughts lifted and put in amongst the chapters. Each chapter has a photograph at the header. We learn about their relationship, married for over 30 years, how Lisa dealt with Hollywood/fame being mrs Swayze and the heartbreaking diagnosis and journey that followed.

You can tell this book has been a form of therapy, you can feel the emotion outpouring in some of the chapters. The parts dealing with the ins and outs, how Lisa got through each day being there for her husband, keeping on top of the treatments, keeping upbeat, being supportive and dealing with the press. The newspapers and how some people invaded their lives, the crass and disgusting behavior and blatant lies told to sell newspapers. Think of the person you love, dying, trying to keep positive, going through day to day and reading horrific lies, death predictions splashed all over the news. I really do feel for celebrities at times and their families, it is like people forget their are human, nothing is sacred and I felt so bad for Patrick's family and wife, especially at one point his poor wee mum. You can't even imagine trying to deal with a diagnosis like that and keep positive when lies and death speculation is spread all over the papers. Now it would be worse with online so popular and easily accessible.

I hope if nothing else this book makes people think about how exploited people can be all in the name of flogging some newspapers. I loved watching Patrick Swayze movies growing up, I remember being shocked to find out he sang She's Like The Wind - he has such a beautiful voice. I learned more about him as a person in this book and as with anyone, reading about anyone going through cancer - it is an emotive read. If you have lost someone to cancer or had someone diagnoses with it I think you will find some parts of the book hard hitting, if you haven't I think you will still find it an emotive read. 4/5 for me this time, after finishing this I find myself re watching some of the old movies - he was a fabulous actor (in my opinion) and from reading this book he seemed like a genuinely nice human being. I hope writing this brought his wife some peace, your heart goes out to anyone losing someone to cancer and these days it seems most of us have.

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Saturday 22 February 2020

Lover Revealed by J R Ward

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4)Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 480

Publisher - Piatkus books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world—to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him...

My Review

Butch is human but still very much one of the Brothers inner circle, in lover with Marissa (vampire) and knows he has no chance. He helps the brothers hunt down the lessers (those who hunt and kill the vampires) and stuck in limbo between not having his own human crew but not a vampire either. When Butch is attacked brutally by the lessers and infected, it is touch and go if he will survive and the brothers need to find out what happened to him.

The book has as usual action, slaying of vampires and lessers, we follow Butch's progress as his illness takes its toll. His battle with his feelings with Marissa and back and forth between the two, when something seems to go good, something else falls apart.

If you are knew to the series this is book 4, I would suggest going back and reading the others as you get so much back story. If you are offended by sex, especially in graphic detail, the series may not be for you. There is a lot about the society, brotherhood, vamps/lessers but sex features throughout the series and pretty explicit/detailed in the scenes it pops up. 4/5 for me this time, I cannot wait to see what is next for the brotherhood, these books have been on my shelves for years so I have a lot of catching up to do. One other thing to mention, the book has terms that the reader won't have heard of, coined by the author, all the books I have read so far have helpfully had a glossary at the start which helps no end trying to figure out what is going on and who is who within the royalty terms.

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Thursday 20 February 2020

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for debut novel, "The Memory Wood" by author Sam Lloyd, please do check out the other stops, we all offer different content, this is a RandomThingsTour.

About the book:

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known. Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape. When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave. Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood. As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood... Rights have been sold in 14 territories and counting. Perfect for fans of Stephen King, C.J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man and Adrian McKinty’s The Chain. You can buy you copy now, released today, from AMAZON

About the author:

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. He enjoys craft beer, strong coffee and (rarely) a little silence. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.

A wee note from the Author:

I already had my crime scene. Pretty soon, I had my protagonist: thirteen-year-old chess prodigy Elissa Mirzoyan, a quietly precocious girl who wakes underground after being snatched on the most important day of her life. Her determination to survive the coming ordeal wouldn’t be driven by mere instinct. It would come from a flat-out refusal to leave her mum alone in the world, and would be tempered by a ferocious hunger for vengeance. Plotting a novel, for me, always feels more like a process of investigation than invention – the slow reveal of a dirt-covered mosaic. And as I teased out more of this story’s individual tiles, I learned something even more compelling about Elissa’s plight. While engaging her abductor in increasingly dangerous mind games, she’ll face a separate threat even harder to navigate. It’ll come in the form of a frail young boy, Elijah North, who discovers her subterranean prison while playing in his local woods. Steadily, Elissa will gain Elijah’s trust. But when she persuades him to raise the alarm, he’ll return with a tale too outlandish to be credible. More of the mosaic revealed itself, at which point I learned something about the story that knocked me flat. And then I had to write the book, just to find out how it ended...

For my stop I have my review, enjoy, if you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Memory WoodThe Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 375

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

My Review

Elissa & Elijah are our main characters, each chapter titled who we are with a each point. We open with Elijah, twelve years old and with the police then an introduction into The Memory Woods, on day 6, and then we flip to Elissa, day 1, pre kidnap. Because that is the heart of the book, thirteen year old Elissa is kidnapped and we flip between the chapters and their journey as Elijah stumbles across her and Elissa is desperate to stay alive and survive. We also intermittently have Mairead, detective superintendent who is leading the investigation into Elissa's disappearance. As well as following the investigation we get to know the very human side and personal struggles Mairead is going through whilst trying to crack one of the most important cases she will ever face!

Despite the timeline jumping about a wee bit it is easy to follow as the chapter headers let you know what day it is and which character is that chapters focus. The scenes can be distressing, we have a child abducted, the officer investigating is going through a very trying time with some of her own scenes being quite emotive and distressing. The kids scenes, one is kidnapped and being held in horrific conditions and Elijah we know quite quickly that wee soul is living in a horrific situation also.

The book teases out the scenes, it is creepy, you know something isn't right, there is tension pretty much from the get go. This is really surprising it is a debut novel because to me it didn't read like it, you would think Lloyd had been cracking out books for years, their craft honed, that is how it came across to me. It is dark and disturbing but you struggle to put it down, when you jump from character to character you want to stay with that one to see where it is going, pulled in and immersed quickly.

As I said I can't believe this is a debut, I eagerly await their next offering as most authors will tell you they get better/stronger over the years so imagine what Lloyd has in store for us in the future, 4.5/5 for me this time!

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Monday 17 February 2020

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect, #1)Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 437

Publisher - Orbit books

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

My Review

The book has an awesome opening, chapter title "Save the Cats" - the cover features cats in wee space helmets and every chapter has a wee hand drawn cat in a space helmet. They are sassy, trouble and did I mention psychic? What isn't to love, they were some of the things that made me want to read the book as I don't go in for a lot of fantasy/space type fiction. With a strong opening chapter I thought I was going to love this book, cats in space and psychic cats at that not to mention a whole whack of sassiness. However they feature very little after that and it really did have a huge impact because I thought with them being over so much of the cover/blurb/chapter headings they would have been integral.

The main character is Captain Eva Innocente and her crew on her ship, battering about in space and she ends up taking on a very unsafe mission to save her sister even though she is estranged from her family. She doesn't tell her crew, part of the agreement and she thinks in their best interest. What follows is a multitude of dangerous missions, being targetted by a sexist eejit, unbelieveable danger, a ton of swearing, attitude and more types of beings/creatures than I could keep count of. The main character also would have whole sentences of phrases that weren't english (the majority of the book is in english), I later picked up some of it was a type of spanish but mixed with something else. So I would stop to google the phrases which some would translate and others made no sense at all. I found it to be quite frustrating and I was possibly missing key information from those scenes.

Other times I have Guardians of the galaxy vibes and really enjoyed parts, space, action and even a wee bit of romance. I think if the book had a glossary to describe the different beings & maybe a wee explanation of the language used might have helped a wee bit as I did feel lost at times. I am hoping if this is a series then book two will embrace and include the space cats as I just feel there was so much they could have added and been part to. Who doesn't want more cats, psychic cats, cats, lol, 3/5 for me this time. It was nice to try a different author and it is no mean feat to create a whole different universe let alone beings but a wee space on a website or glossary in any following books to help the readers get to grips with all the new creations would be great, well I think so.

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Thursday 13 February 2020

Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Cold Fusion 2000" by author Karl Drinkwater, a BOTBSPublicity tour.

Book Description:

Alex Kavanagh is a pedantic physics geek – a teacher who hates teaching, a lover who’s always getting dumped, a writer whose articles all get rejected, a 28-year-old still living at home and bullied at the bus stop by teenagers – and he’s just had the worst day of his life. Things can only get better, right?

Enter his ex, Lucy, in what seems to be a chance meeting. Her betrayal marked the point when his life went nuclear. But – holy protons! – he still loves her.

Two problems. First, she isn’t who he thinks she is. Second, she’s going to leave him forever in 72 hours.

Cold Fusion 2000 is a haunting novel about a man who’s too rational to believe in ghosts and too short-sighted to see what was in front of him all along.

About the author

Author Bio:

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.






For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

Cold Fusion 2000Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 302

Publisher - Organic Apocalypse

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Can love defeat the laws of physics?

Alex Kavanagh is a pedantic physics geek – a teacher who hates teaching, a lover who’s always getting dumped, a writer whose articles all get rejected, a 28-year-old still living at home and bullied at the bus stop by teenagers – and he’s just had the worst day of his life. Things can only get better, right?

Enter his ex, Lucy, in what seems to be a chance meeting. Her betrayal marked the point when his life went nuclear. But – holy protons! – he still loves her.

Two problems. First, she isn’t who he thinks she is. Second, she’s going to leave him forever in 72 hours.

Cold Fusion 2000 is a haunting novel about a man who’s too rational to believe in ghosts and too short-sighted to see what was in front of him all along.

My Review

Alex Kavanagh is a geek - well I am a geek he is a proper nerd, heavily into physics, a teacher who has lost any passion for teaching. A bit socially awkward and never gotten over losing the love of his life Lucy. Unlucky in love, in a job he hates, living with his mum Alex is in a bit of a rut when Lucy appears back in his life could things finally be turning around for Alex? Lucy is different and finally he has a chance to tend to those old wounds, get answers to his questions and maybe have another go. However Lucy isn't quite what she seems and will only be back in Alex's life for a short time, can Alex finally get over his past to enjoy his future?

The opening chapter 1992 – June 2000 gives you a sentence run down of Alex’s year with a head nod to a song from that time. I absolutely love that, one wee chapter totally took me down memory land and I remember all of those songs, this book could have a wee playlist and it is a belter!

There is reference and nods to physics/maths/ numerology (I think you would call it) and some of it was a bit over my head. It gave me much discussion with my o/h who is a proper nerd and I had to ask some questions about, does it mean this, is it reference to that. I think if you are interested in physics and a smart wee chop you will get a kick out of the passages that have these wee snippets in them.

The actual story though, even though Alex is twenty eight he seems much younger, more innocent or dejected, moody and socially a bit awks. I wasn't sure if I liked him too much, felt sorry for him, liked him, wanted to hug him and went back and forth on it however I think he is a bit of a complex character you appreciate a bit more as you got further into the book.

The book is very much relationships and personal growth but hugely and cleverly littered with nods to science, significance of numbers and some other wee delights that for me had to go look up or gab to someone else about. The relationships were reminisce of some of my own from a time when I was much younger and I think Alex is a character pretty much any reader can if not identify with then appreciate in part, especially as the book progresses. Once Lucy entered I found it harder to put down and wanted to know exactly what was coming next, keeping me on my toes throughout. I have read and loved Drinkwaters other books, he branches into other genres so if you haven't read them do check them out as they are all very different!

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Tuesday 11 February 2020

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, #1)44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 325

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Bought after seeing Smith at Edinburgh Book Festival

Blurb from Goodreads


The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.

My Review

For reasons unknown I thought this was going to be a crime book lmao, I know I know I am a riot. Anyways welcome to 44 Scotland Street, Edinburgh. Flats where we meet Irene, an overbearing mother who is intent on getting the best/most for her five year old genius Bertie and nothing will get in her way. Pat has just moved into the flat and Bruce shows her about, attractive Bruce and by lord does he know it! Domenica is her neighbour across the way, widow, flashy, down to earth and fabulous. We also meet Matthew, owner of and art gallery and knows hee haw about anything really, his father uses his wealth to acquire jobs for him to keep him "busy" and Pat is now working with him but she actually knows a thing or two about art.

It is really a voyeurs book, you get to nosey into these characters mundane lives, who they are as people and how they judge others and themselves. Smith pokes fun at the hoity toity Edinburgh attitudes and self importance. By God that Irene is a nightmare, Bruce is so vain and shallow, I thought Domenica was fab and a well known author pops up in the book too.

There are wee drawn pictures in the book which I quite liked, you don't see that in a lot of books so it is nice when it pops up.

The stories themselves, it is a bit like watching the Royal Family (comedy tv show with Ralph Little) about "normal" people and their everyday lives. Nothing huge happens yet you are compelled to keep reading especially when they get themselves into a bit of a pickle. Daft decisions or actions you easily read thinking oh dear lord why did they do that or what will happen next. A good introduction to these characters and I want to see what happens next so book two was ordered just as I finished this one! 3.5/5 for me this time, witty, funny, silly a book type version of friends but instead of a group of boy/girl friends we have very different people in neighbouring flats and following their lives as they judge/interact with each other.

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Monday 10 February 2020

The Other People by C J Tudor

The Other PeopleThe Other People by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages -

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or 'the thin man' as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it's like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn't seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe's daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they're dead.

My Review

Gabe is late going home, it is just what happens with Gabe, he is sure he see's his wee girl in a car infront of him but he can't have because she is at home with her mum, isn't she? Three years have passed since that day, since life as he knew it changed forever. Gabe lost his wife and little girl, the police don't believe him so Gabe has been investigating/travelling the same routine/places trying to find a lead. Katie works in the service station where Gabe always goes, she has her own issues trying to make ends meet without looking into what haunts this man. And then there is Fran and Alice, on the run from whom we know not, just they are in grave danger. Add into that Alice keeps having these episodes that defy logic and Fran is struggling to keep them one step ahead from those who hunt them.

The chapters flip between the three stories, building up a picture of what all three go through and wondering what if any connection they have. We know bad things have happened but each story is being teased out chapter by chapter whilst weaving in and out of the others stories. Alice's has a touch of something spooky, with her passing out and who is the girl in the mirror?

There is a character that is helping Gabe, a friend? a mysterious figure who goes by the name The Samaritan, assisting Gabe in his quest. I so so want them to have their own book, so much so I reached out to the author. He is one of those characters who doesn't have huge parts in the book but when he does you want more.

As the book goes on it draws you in, the hairs on the back of your neck creeping up as "The Other People" become apparent and you realise just what is happening. A tense book that grabs you very quickly, drawing you in deeper and deeper desperate to find out where it is all going and how it will all end, 4/5 for me this time. I have read Tudor's previous books and look forward to her next offering.

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Friday 7 February 2020

Queenie by Kimberley Chambers

QueenieQueenie by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Every second able over 3 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


For young Queenie, life in the backstreets of Whitechapel was a lesson in survival – Hitler’s bombs hit those with nothing the hardest. When danger strikes close to home, Queenie finds an ally in Mrs O’Leary, whose two sons are the kingpins of the East End. But while the O’Learys are the light in Queenie’s life, fate has a different path in store.


Now married to the useless Albie Butler, Queenie is raising her children to fight their own battles. If the O’Learys taught her anything, it was that surviving meant doing whatever you had to, no questions asked, and family always comes first. The Butler boys will make sure their mother’s name becomes East End legend.


My Review

If you are a Chambers fan then I have no need to say how long some of us hoped and waited for this book. If you are new to her writing then as this is Queenie's story, a prequel, here is as good a place to start as any. However, it is no secret I LOVE the Butler book's and whilst they have predominantly been about the boys, Queenie was always there. Now, with this book, we learn her story, how she came to be the woman we met over those books and that immovable relationship with her boys, particularly Vinny.

It is the time just before the war (world war 2) when it isn't quite kicked off yet. Queenie and Viv are close as close can be. We get a look at their lives, with their parents and poverty and pre war and then the steps taken during the war that have long reaching effects on Queenie.

It is so hard to go into it without spoiling anything and we do not do spoilers. We get to see Queenie as a child, a teen and adulthood. Events that lead to shaping her as a person and seeing why family is absolutely everything to Queenie, particularly her boys and her sister. At times she is hard to understand, I couldn't fathom some of her choices/actions. Others you get it, you get why she is the way she is and who she becomes.

I have loved the Butlers since i read the first book, I will need to go back and re read the rest of the series, they are always the first books of Chambers I recommend to people. Think the Kray brothers but there are three instead of two. In Queenie we meet their mum as a child, becoming a woman and how their story begins.

If you enjoy the previous books you will love this one. If anything instead of quenching your thirst it only has you wanting more. I always have the fear picking up a Chambers book because I loved the ones so much that came before so you figure, how long can you keep churning out fresh books, keep packing punches and keep the reader on their toes? yet she does it, every single time and has done it again, 5/5 for me this time. Do I want another Butler book? HELL YES, I do so hope we get another and will be patiently waiting for the next book, Butler related or not!

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Sunday 2 February 2020

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

American DirtAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days (in and out as able)

Pages - 400

Publisher - Tinder Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Lydia Quixano PĂ©rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

My Review

For Lydia and Luca (the main characters) life as they know it is about to change forever. The opening chapter had me holding my breath and where we meet Lydia and Luca and the event that changes everything for them. The event kicks off their desperate journey to try and escape from Acapulco, turning into migrants desperate to escape to safety and all they endure and face to survive and gain their freedom with their lives.

The amount of controversy this book has caused. It is a FICTIONAL account of two humans, a mother and son, going from a pretty good life of luxury to losing everything and becoming migrants. Some people are livid at the author, some are livid at the portray of migrants in the book, have a look online and you will see. I myself got some messages because I was just reading the book, I cannot comment on the upset and hurt of others, only how I found the book itself.

Some of the chapters are harrowing, I actually caught my breath a few times reading the horrors some of the characters experience. Abuse, violence, rape, extortion, murder, danger it is unimaginable sitting in your warm safe home reading, albeit a fictional account but created after her own research. There are many books cited that Cummin's looked into during her years of research, I absolutely will be reading some of them and the true life accounts. It is heartbreaking and soul destroying to think of what some of our fellow humans have to endure to try and get to safety, to create a life free of danger and those "humans" they encounter, exploiting and abusing them. If this book helps to shine a light on the very real horrors out there and gets people talking, reading the real stories surely that can only be a good thing. I am mortified at how ignorant and unaware of things going on out in the real world you often don't know about because it hasn't touched your own life.

I found myself on an emotional roller coaster reading this and some of the people who have messaged me talked about the real accounts of life for migrants, devastating. Any book that helps people become aware of real life situations and issues out there, spreading awareness, remember this is a fictional account but of something that is very real in our lifetime, I think it is a good thing.

The book itself takes us between the journey they are experiencing and flips back to the before, how they came onto the radar of the cartel and examines of course the actual journey they undertake. I think whether you love or hate it, are angered or shocked (for whatever reason) no one can deny it is getting people talking and spreading awareness. This is A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT but it is getting people talking, thinking and debating about very real and serious issues, 4/5 for me this time.

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Saturday 1 February 2020

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "The Longest Farewell" by Nula Suchet, a LoveBooksTour.

Please check out the other stops on the tour, we all offer different content.


When Nula's husband James, a British documentary filmmaker, becomes forgetful they put it down to the stress of his work. But his behavior becomes more erratic and inexplicable, and he is eventually diagnosed as suffering from Picks Disease, an early onset and aggressive form of dementia. Suddenly their lives change from comfortable middle-class creatives through inexplicable behaviour, the shock of diagnosis, coping with the ongoing illness, not coping with the illness, to the indignities of care home life. The Longest Farewell is a moving description of James utter mental and physical deterioration, and the effect that it had both on him and on the people from whom he was involuntarily retreating, particularly Nula. Her life is completely taken over by James illness: her frustration at trying to cope, her guilt at having to hand over his care to professionals in England, are just part of her at times harrowing story.

With James in care and left with seemingly little to do but wait for his death, Nula meets Bonnie, another resident at the care home suffering from the same condition. In turn she meets Bonnie's husband, the broadcaster John Suchet and the similarity of their positions becomes a bond between them. After the deaths of James and Bonnie, and some guilt-induced false starts, Nula's story takes a bitter-sweet turn: they become partners, and eventually marry. The Longest Farewell is a heartfelt yet inspiring account of dealing with dementia, and of unexpectedly finding a happy ending.

Buy Link

About the author

Nula Suchet

Nula Suchet was born in Ireland, part of a large family. After a difficult early life she became an interior designer who worked internationally in the UK, Europe and the US. Now retired, she lives in London with her husband, the broadcaster John Suchet, who she met in the care home where their spouses were being cared for with dementia. Her book, The Longest Farewell, on dealing with her husband's dementia and the heartbreak that came with it is available now.

You can find the author on Twitter




For my stop I have my review.

The Longest Farewell: James, Dementia and MeThe Longest Farewell: James, Dementia and Me by Nula Suchet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 280

Publisher - Seren

Source - Review book

Blurb from back cover

Dementia crept early into the life of James Black, insidious and unannounced. The result was a long farewell to him as he changed from a happy and successful film maker into a completely dependent care home resident, and stranger to his wife Nula.

Yet after seven stressful years, Nula's life unexpectedly changed when she met a man whose wife was also a dementia patient in the home. Her friendship with John Suchet become a relationship, but theirs is a difficult road. There is joy, but also despair and guilt. Is even a moment of happiness allowed when their loves ones are in a slow decline towards death? Theirs is a story that plumbs the depths but also reaches a happiness that they thought they would never experience.

My Review

Told in first person narrative we step into Nula's world, from the very beginnings of something not being right, to diagnosis and thereafter living with her husband's descent into dementia. I have read a few books about dementia now, Suchet's is different in that this is her story, her footsteps, her life living with the devastation brought about by dementia. Written almost in diary format, Sachet writes down her experiences and shapes it together into this book, her pre, during and post dementia.

Often we hear or see dementia affecting our loved ones as they age but some people see their lives turned upside down by it coming much earlier. This is what happens with James, James is still young, fit, has a career and a very happy marriage. Nula starts to notice small things, things that can be explained away however as more incidents happen Nula can no longer ignore it. With her very honest recollections we, the reader, live each of them and walk down the road as dementia strips her husband of everything that made him him.

Often when we hear dementia we see older adults, elderly and devastating as they loose who they are, their memories, their abilities. In this book, as well as all of that we see a different side, that of a wife losing her husband, the intimacy, the suspicion from people when they see a middle age man "acting out". The struggles of simple things such as going out for a meal, trying to travel, trying to get help when she finally accepted she needed it and what she endured before she got to that stage.

The book also looks at an unlikely friendship, a kindred spirit experiencing the loss that Nula is living and the guilt that is associated. How do you experience joy, a moment for yourself, happiness, friendship without guilt when you are watching the person you love slowly lose everything about themselves. An emotive book, it makes you want to grab your loved ones and hug them hard, appreciate what you have because you never know the minute. 4.5/5 for me this time, I need to look up the book written by John, the friend she makes who is also experiencing the same loss/heartache as his wife goes through a similar journey to James.

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