Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

The Other EmilyThe Other Emily by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Thomas & Mercer

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.

Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens—and terror escalates.

Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.

My Review

Author David Thorne has never gotten over the love, Emily, of his life disappearing. He returns to the same place to write his novels & visit a killer who he believes knows what happened to Emily. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Maddison he can't believe his eyes, she is just like Emily. the more time he spends with her the more she seems like and reminds him of her but Emily would be ten years old and Maddison is like she was back then. What is going on? How can Maddison be so like Emily and can the serial killer Jessop give him any answers?

This book has a bit of everything in it, it is weird, there are doppelgangers, romance, relationships, chats with a serial killer.....David needs to know the truth but he is also loving Maddison being there, it is like having Emily back.

This book is a bit of a genre mash up we have fantasy mixed in with the usual suspects, some creepiness, violence and a bit of a love story. The reader goes on a journey with David desperate to find out what happened, despite having a chance of happiness - some questions just need to be answered. The serial killer is a wee bit different too from some of those we see in books, the guy is in jail, guilty but still has a bargaining chip & feeds on emotions of others. I would like to read more about him actually I would have liked to have . I think this will be a marmite book, I liked that it was different and a mesh of genres, I would have loved it to be thicker. More history on the characters, more backstory and I hope we see David in another story, 4/5 for me.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver blog tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver, just out, click HERE to order from Amazon.

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Tim Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 512

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Rebekah Murphy has been missing for five months. Why is no one looking for her?

Rebekah Murphy knows too much . . .

She knows she's alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home, she must live to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.

What she doesn't know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn't know enough . . .

He doesn't know where to find Louise Mason.
He doesn't know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago.
He doesn't know the identity of the man last seen talking to her.

What he does know is that he retires in one week - and if he doesn't find out where Louise went, no one will . . .

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realize is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle - and it will cost them everything to finally solve it . . .

My Review

Rebekah is running, running for her life, she is hurt - she is desperate and other than that we don't really know what is going on, that is the opening chapter. We flip to the before and learn about Rebekah, her life and what takes her eventually to the Island, where she is now present day. The chapters flip between Rebekah trying to survive and then, the past as we run up to the present. Someone wants Rebekah dead, she is stranded on an Island alone and can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt her let alone kill her. Rebekah wasn't alone when she arrived so where is her brother and where is the person she is running from?

The then lets us know Rebekah's current relationship, stressors, family life, the now is her trying to survive on a deserted island, harsh elements, loneliness. There are twists, timeline jumps, little nuggets *missing pieces* of information as you delve further into the story.

There is a whole ton of mystery, different paces depending on if you are past or present & add into that we have Detective Frank Travis who is due to retire soon. Frank is looking into the disappearance of a missing artist who has a link to Rebekah's brother and is desperate to finish the case before he goes. Could Rebekah's family have had anything to do with her current predicament? I found myself flipping back and forth on theories and unwilling to put the book down because I wanted to know, just like Rebekah who, why and is she going to get out of it. 4/5 for me, this was my first time reading this author, I would read him again!

View all my reviews

Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon (as Goodreads blurb is has spoilers!)

A dark and suspenseful novel of lies, betrayal, and identity - perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

It was meant to be an evening to honour and celebrate Evelyn Caldwell's award-winning, career-making scientific research - but Evelyn has things on her mind.

Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better, newer woman. A woman who is now pregnant - but shouldn't be - and is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.

A woman who shouldn't exist.

The Echo Wife is a propulsive new novel from an international rising star about identity, murder, and the choices society forces women to make.

My Review

DO NOT READ THE BLURB ON GOODREADS - it has spoiler info (imo). Evelyn is a scientist, making huge strides and there is even an event in her honour. Everyone is asking where her husband is, Evelyn keeps her face on but does let it slip he is likely at home with his new fiance. So for me I thought oh my God, a book about a powerful woman who has been left by her husband for a younger model. However that is just scratching the surface, my God the book has so much more to come and it is explosive.

Evelyn is a bit of a coldfish, professionally brilliant but emotionally stilted however when you start to get into what she actually does as a job, her background, her family life you start to understand it a wee bit better. Evelyn works with cloning, she is making breakthroughs and succeeding in her field, nothing will get in her way. When something comes to light that could threaten it, Evelyn will let nothing get in her way, no matter the cost!

Oooft, so much involved in this one, science, relationships, betrayal, infidelity, ethics - oh the ethics - the things that are done in the name of research and selfish shocking behaviour. Morals are in some serious questioning and just utterly shocking at some points in the story. Really hard to go into without spoiling it (although if you read Goodreads blurb you will get the jist because - spoilers!). I just thought it was so clever, I was thinking it was going to be a relationship cheating/replacement with a younger model story but it is so so much more, would love this to be a movie! ​I read it in a day, this was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4.5/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

April Giveaway

Happy Easter/April.

Up for grabs is a x4 packet of Dairy Milk Caramel & x1 yellow bunny resin bookmark, as pictured.

And the chocolates

Open to all, use the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Coming Up for Air by Sarah Leipciger

Coming Up for AirComing Up for Air by Sarah Leipciger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Double day

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Three extraordinary lives intertwine across oceans and centuries.

On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a heartbroken young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toymaker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Canada, where a journalist battling a terrible disease, drowning in her own lungs, risks everything for one last chance to live.

Moving effortlessly across time and space and taking inspiration from an incredible true story, Coming Up for Air is a bold, richly imagined novel about love, loss, and the immeasurable impact of every human life.

My review

We open in 1899, the narrator is about to commit suicide by taking herself a plunge into the river Seine. We hit the 1950s where a toymaker is about to make a huge breakthrough/invention and then our third character, present day in Canada has cystic fibrosis, struggles to breath and is about to embark on a life changing decision.

This book is loved by so many and whilst some of it is very emotive it is also quite stark, dark and i struggles to follow the three different stories/narratives/jumps. I would get into first person's story and start to settle then jump to the toy maker or the kid with the bad lungs who we also visit in present day.

There was a few scenes of animal cruelty that I really really struggled with and one I really don't think it brought anything or relevance to the story. I read horror/crime and all manners of books but I really struggle with animal stuff and when it pops up and seems (to me anyway) to have nothing to add to the story it really impacts how I get on with the rest of it. The mice thing ok I can see a link to what happened, the deer just no, unless it was to highlight the way the man/woman take control of X situation, well she does - he doesn't. Still I really really struggled with it.

That said other parts of the story are really engaging and or shocking/emotive but again so so much of it goes quite dark (it does open with a suicide) so I went back and forth on a 2.5 or 3 star rating. In the end I went with 3, I didn't find it easy reading for most of it but it does engage and I had no idea where it was going. I am absolutely in the minority, so many people loved this book so I totally recommend it but caution to prep yourself for two graphic animal abuse scenes and some really macabre themes. I love gabbing about books that make you feel like this or think about them, I think it would be a belter of a book for a book club discussion/debate so if you have read it please let me know what you thought!

View all my reviews

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

AriadneAriadne by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 386

Publisher - Wildfire books

Source - Vine

Blurb from Goodreads

A mesmerising retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Perfect for fans of CIRCE, A SONG OF ACHILLES, and THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS.

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

My Review

I don't think I have read any retellings or if I have it has been one and a long time ago. Ariadne and Phaedra are princesses in Crete, their father King Minos and this is the retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur. I remember the Minotaur story and the labyrinth maze as a kid but didn't know its origins. The book looks at so much more than just King Minos and the Minotaur there are other Gods and legends mentioned, their stories and how they link or relate(d) to each other.

A running theme within the stories of females suffering because of the choices of men (Gods) and the after effects and ripples of that. Absolutely relevant (in some aspects) even in our modern day real life the parallels, greed, infidelity, power, lust, fascination, sex, obsession, wrath of Gods, death, blood lust, parenthood - the list goes on and on.

Ariadne is the main character, we follow through her innocence growing up then exposed to sex, abhorrence with things she bears witness to and experiences. Family ties, cause/effect, there is a level of this that some readers may find hits an emotive spot in them, depending on your life experiences identifying with some of the characters, stories and themes.

This doesn't read like a debut and it has renewed my want for reading myths and legends, some of the stories I hadn't heard since I was a kid and even then only snippets. I LOVED have a character we could walk through these with and quite a few I hadn't heard of at all. Retellings seem to be popular at the moment and I can't wait to grab some more, 4/5 for me this time. I will be keeping an active eye out for Saint's future works!

View all my reviews

Friday, 2 April 2021

Your Turn to Suffer by Tim Waggoner Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour, for my stop I have my review (as always non spoiler), enjoy.

Tim Waggoner
Publication date: Mar 2021
“His ability to weave the surreal with the hyper-real is his greatest talent.” — Signal Horizon. Lorelei Palumbo is harassed byasinister group calling themselves The Cabal. They accuse her of having committed unspeakable crimes in the past, and now she must pay. The Cabal begins taking her life apart one piece ata time – her job, her health, the people she loves – and she must try to figure out what The Cabal thinks she’s done if she’s to have any hope of answering theircharges and salvaging her life.

Out to BUY in ebook, treebook and hardback from AMAZON or the Publisher website FLAMETREEPUBLISHING now.

Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner writes both original and mediatie-in fiction,and he has published over forty novels and four short story collections. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

Your Turn to SufferYour Turn to Suffer by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

“His ability to weave the surreal with the hyper-real is his greatest talent.” — Signal Horizon.

Lorelai Palumbo is harassed by a sinister group calling themselves The Cabal. They accuse her of having committed unspeakable crimes in the past, and now she must pay. The Cabal begins taking her life apart one piece at a time – her job, her health, the people she loves – and she must try to figure out what The Cabal thinks she’s done if she’s to have any hope of answering their charges and salvaging her life.

My Review

Weird eyes and a weird message "Confess and atone--or suffer." Lorelai thinks it is just a strange encounter with a woman with freaky eyes. Things however start to go wrong quickly, freaky happenings, people she knows behaving strange and things just get worse and worse, darker, more threatening until Lorelai realises this thing is bigger than her and if she doesn't "confess and atone" she will indeed suffer and she won't be the only one!

The thing about Flame Tree Press is the books are always dark, freaky and have dodgy happenings, Your Turn to Suffer is right at home. Some of the scenes are really dark, uncomfortable, brutal - things you often come to expect in horror books. Animal brutality, human brutality and duo world, ours and another you will go to with Lorelai to "help" her appreciate her predicament and work on her atonement/confession.

Super dark, gore fest at times but it has more than that to offer, some scenes are emotive, hard, shocking, echoes of a cult but like none we have ever seen. One for horror fans and if you go through a lot of horror, this will maybe offer you something different, fresh, 4/5 for me this time!

View all my reviews

Monday, 29 March 2021

The Embalmer by Alison Belsham

The Embalmer: A gripping new thriller from the international bestseller (Mullins & Sullivan 3)The Embalmer: A gripping new thriller from the international bestseller by Alison Belsham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Orion Trapeze

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Has the ancient Egyptian cult of immortality resurfaced in Brighton?

When a freshly-mummified body is discovered at the Brighton Museum of Natural History, Detective Francis Sullivan is at a loss to identify the desiccated woman. But as Egyptian burial jars of body parts with cryptic messages attached start appearing, he realises he has a serial killer on his hands. Revenge, obsession and an ancient religion form a potent mix, unleashing a wave of terror throughout the city. Caught in a race against time while battling his own demons, Francis must fight to uncover the true identity of the Embalmer before it's too late...

My Review

Guys this is not for the faint hearted, from the opening chapters it is graphic, brutal, we know what embalming is and we get an insight into what the killer does to his victims. He isn't called the embalmer for nothing and soon a body, mummified, turns up and the police investigate, hello Detective Francis Sullivan. If you have read the previous books in the series you will be familiar with Francis and Marnie - it is totally complicated.

Marnie, poor Marnie cannot catch a break. Every book she ends up involved in what is happening she also has a bit of a history with our Francis so there is tons of threads to the story, if you haven't read the previous you can get away with this one but I would go back.

The bad guy is icky, brutal - in what he does to his victims and his disregard for them, Belsham doesn't hold back in describing what happens so not for the faint hearted. With mummification there is nods and links to Egyptian mythology which I found really interesting as I do like that kind of stuff yet never seem to get round to reading it. Police investigation, gruesome murders, friction between Francis, his colleagues, Marnie, his family. There is a lot going on but you can follow it easily enough, nothing distracts away from the threads and you are pulled in quite quickly. I have read the previous books and very much look forward to the next in the series, maybe not be eating noodles next time just incase, boke, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

I Survived by Victoria Cilliers

I Survived: A True StoryI Survived: A True Story by Victoria Cilliers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 288

Publisher - Pan

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A chilling, eye-opening story of marriage and attempted murder, revealing the truth about a case that made headlines around the world.

On Easter Sunday 2015, experienced skydiver Victoria Cilliers undertook a parachute jump, a gift from her husband, British army sergeant Emile Cilliers. Her parachutes failed to open and she plummeted 4,000 feet to the ground, sustaining life-threatening injuries. Miraculously, she survived. Then the police arrived at her door. Someone had tampered with her parachute and they suspected Emile.

In I Survived Victoria describes how she fell for Emile, and how the charming man she thought she knew gradually revealed a darker side, chipping away at her self-worth until she found it impossible to sift truth from lies. Can she really believe that her husband – the father of their two young children – tried to kill her? As more shocking revelations come to light, and she has to face his trial and relentless media scrutiny, she struggles to come to terms with the past. Even a guilty verdict does not free her because Emile is not ready to let her go . . .

Powerful and honest, I Survived is the story of a woman who was put through hell and yet found the strength to forge a new life for herself and her children.

My review

I remember seeing this in the news, a husband tried to kill his wife by a rather unusual means AND for her to survive. This is Victoria's story, her life, career choices, her relationship before she met Emile and after the attempted murder.

The book will be very hard going for some readers, the gaslighting is absolutely shocking and even after the attempt it continues and his hole over her. It made for tough going, to see how he controlled, manipulated and hurt her (non physical before the attempt). I got so mad at some of her choices and allowance of behaviours. That said I understand it was because of the control, depending on your background you will experience a range of emotions and reactions to her choices/decisions.

It makes for an interesting and shocking read, survival, abuse, hope, personal journey, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 21 March 2021

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil MindAn Evil Mind by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 483

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Gift

Blurb from Goodreads

A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the Sheriff's Department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery - a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years. The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception - can he be believed?

The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they're forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behaviour psychologist and lead Detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD, Robert Hunter, is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man. These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could've foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed ... until now.

My Review

So I am playing catchup with the Hunter books and now reading them in order, this is book six in the series. Absolutely can read as a standalone but the previous are so good I would advise going back and reading them first. When an accident uncovers a brutal serial killer the police didn't even know was operating, the FBI have their hands full. The suspect claims he is innocent, a guy played in a bigger game and he will only talk to one person, Robert Hunter. As Hunter does what he does best he gets the guy to talk, a guy who isn't a stranger to Hunter and a can of worms, heartache and shocking discoveries will rock the FBI, smash open the case and Hunter.

So this book is a bit different from the others, the killer is a shocking controlled methodical sicko! We see the book go back and forth from present day to the past and we learn more about Hunter and his person life, things that have impacted on who he is now and how he interacts with others.

Absolutely a page turner, brutal, shocking and one of the most controlled and cunning bad guys, echoes of Hannibal Lector for me. I felt so much for Hunter this book, no idea what the future Carter books will hold but I have a few on my tbrm waiting, 4.5/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The Trusted by Michelle Medhat Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blogtour, please check out the other stops as we all have different content.

About the author -

Author bio:

USA Today Best-Selling Author, Michelle Medhat (known as Mish to her friends) writes fast-moving, ruthless political spy thrillers blended with thought-provoking sci-fi. Readers and fans call her addictive The Trusted Thriller Series “007 on acid with aliens” or “Bond meets The X-Files”. Her books are loaded with incredible technologies, but in every case, they’re grounded in real science. Mish’s passion is taking technologies of today and thinking about what they could be tomorrow. She enjoys pushing the envelope on the art of the possible, and turning the maybe into potential reality. And it’s not just creative speculation either…because, for 28 years of Mish’s life, she’s lived and breathed science, engineering and technology, including programming chips for different bleeding edge applications, established and run technology software companies, developed programmes to bring sci-tech closer to the public, and was heavily involved in the early 90’s in bringing to the UK the first notion of technologies we now take for granted, such as film-on-demand (hello Netflix and Prime Video!), pause and rewinding live tv, virtual reality and sensor applications (now known as the Internet of Things). Despite all this sci-tech focus, Mish actually read Business Finance and Law at University, but her love of technology shone through, after she landed a marketing role to support an electronics design business within a University. Love being the operative word, as she met during that interview, her future husband Professor Sam Medhat, who has been her inspiration throughout all of her books. Mish has lived and worked in many places across the world, including Dubai, where she along with her husband, were the co-founders of Dubai University. She currently resides in the UK, and she is Director of Operations and Strategic Development at the UK’s professional body for Innovation – the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE), which she co-founded with her husband where she helps government, business and industry and academia improve their innovation capabilities. Over the years, the Institute’s Foundation has donated millions of pounds to the science, engineering and technology education sector, and has helped to improve the lives of over 700,000 people by providing educational opportunities. In her spare time (which is a laugh as Mish has none!) - so apart from trying to invent a time machine which could her some more hours - Mish also enjoys writing, reading (thrillers and adventures novels from all genres), painting and singing.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

The Trusted (The Trusted Thriller Series)The Trusted by Michelle Medhat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 293

Publisher - Mindblowing books ltd

Source - Review copy

Blurb from the back cover

Sam Noor keeps his double lives seperate with expert precision. But whe the MI6 agent's wife discovers the life, he fears that both his worlds may shatter. Distraught and conflicted, Noor concentrates on his latest mission and discovers a weapon that could cause a global catastrophe..

Drawn into the fight against a sinister terrorist group with powerful connections, Noor must uncover the faction's secrets by any means necessary. Even if it puts the woman he lives in the line of fire.

But Noor has no way of knowing a supernatural war rages within his nation. And the winner could take charge of humanity's very soul.

Against forces that defy his reality, can Noor protect millions of innocents from a bloody end?

My Review

Ellie and Sam are very much in love, despite being married for many years, Ellie is looking forward to spending time with Sam. When Sam's job spills over into his personal life the gig is up - Sam is MI6 Ellie can't believe everything about their life is a lie. Whilst Sam tries to juggle his personal life things are work are becoming tense. The biggest terrorist group in the world is becoming more dangerous, the government are struggling to keep up and there may be other things at work than the humans anticipated.

Think James Bond with echoes of Marvel with a pinch of X files. We have nanotechnology, super smart terrorists, secret agents, relationships, friendships, missions and extraterrestrial God like beings outside our universe.

It is a page turner - I had no idea where the plot was going and really wanted to know. An action packed book despite being under 300 pages, oodles of geekery which will will delight many readers. Certainly different from any books I have read in a while. Whilst it will appeal to sci-fi/fantasy lovers I think it will also appeal to fans of spy/thrillers because it covers so much ground. Book one of a series - I look forward to seeing where the story goes and what is next for the characters!

View all my reviews

The book is available to buy CLICK HERE available in ebook, 99p at time of posting and treebook. Or to win an ebook copy (UK only) head to Twitter and RT the pinned tweet and follow our account HERE.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Make of Break by Catherine Bennetto

Make or BreakMake or Break by Catherine Bennetto
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 496

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Gifted/comp

Blurb from Goodreads

Jess, a 29-year-old Londoner with a Kate Beckett fringe and a tendency for dramatics, gets taken on a surprise trip by her long-term boyfriend, Pete, to attend her best friend’s last-minute wedding in South Africa. Jess imagines sun, sand, wine and safaris. And returning to London with an ethically mined diamond on her left hand...

But this holiday isn’t set to be quite the fairy tale Jess has planned... Suddenly she finds her world tilting on its axis, and things are only set to get worse when Jess returns home…

When the truth comes out, will it be... Make or Break?

My Review

Finally a holiday for Jess & Pete - her whole life revolves around her job and helping out her sister and kids. Could this be the holiday he finally proposes then everything will be great, her job (music industry) is fab, her sisters kids are the nucleus of the family, what could possibly go wrong? Well the holiday (Cape Town, South Africa) is beautiful but things don't go great early on - they are there for their friends wedding and that is the only thing they really have scheduled together. Soon is seems they aren't spending much time together and drama galore unfolds.

There is a lot of banter, jokes, crassness/vulgarity (there's a word), she has so much anxiety I think will wind some readers up yet others will find her super relatable to. Family orientated but an absolute riot at times we go on a bit of a rollercoaster with her. Friendship, relationships, family, choas - Cape Town sounds lovely, It isn't a location I have ever thought of but after reading this I would like to see it.

Some of the book made me laugh out loud, some gave me the boke, I cringed, I was mortified, I was annoyed by Jess, I wanted to slap her, I wanted to hug her. This was my first time reading Bennetto, I would read her again. Poolside reading although it touches on a fair few issues and as long as bad language and sex themes doesn't bother you I think you will get a kick out of this, 3/5 for me.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 756

Publisher - ATOM

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella's side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward's version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward's eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward's past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

My Review

Guys this is absolutely a marmite book, I have seen such split reviews at very opposite ends of the spectrum. Also, despite being a chonky almost 800 pages this book ONLY covers book ONE from Edwards point of view. Everything we read in book one was from Bella's point of view this is all Edward. We have a lot of his thoughts and feelings around what is happening at any given time which was a bug bear with some but I really liked that.

The book also offers some information into some of the other characters and I genuinely hope if she brings out the other books to match the originals she keeps this vein where we learn more about the other characters. Meyers gives us in Edward what E L James didn't with Christian, he is very focused on her, her safety and of course he loves her.

I loved these books when they first came out and they are about a "teen" couple so there is angst but the original books had that too. I was surprised how little Jacob was mentioned, I think over 200 pages has passed before we hear him mentioned and not much after that. As I said the book is very marmite, I happened to really enjoy it and hope she does the rest of them. If I hadn't been feeling so crap I could have sank this in one sitting, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

999 My Life on the Frontline of the ambulance service by Dan Farnworth

999 - My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service999 - My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service by Dan Farnworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Simon and Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Dan Farnworth brings vividly to life his astonishing experiences as a medic working on the frontline of the UK Ambulance Service. When the 999 call goes out, he has little idea what he will find - and how he will cope with the challenges he faces when he gets there.

Having worked in the emergency services for more than fifteen years, Dan Farnworth has seen it all. There was the time he was called to take away a dead body - only for the 'corpse' to jolt back into life and demand to know what he was doing in her house. Earlier in his career, he unwittingly disturbed a crime scene as he shared the sad news of the victim's death with her son. Along with the 18,000 other paramedics in the UK who serve us day and night, Dan constantly finds himself pushed into extraordinary circumstances where he not only has to deal with those he has been sent to help, but also their worried families and friends - and even with irate drivers who object to his ambulance getting in their way as he desperately works to save someone's life.

My Review

I always think Joe Public should read these kind of true stories type books, have a bit of appreciation for the service and what the workers go through. This is Dan's story or rather stories, a paramedic who takes us through his career from starting out, during, to present day.

Emotive, shocking, horrific, sad. Farnworth takes us on a few of the callouts he has attended, some heartbreaking and how it impacted on him. How the job takes a toll on his personal life, his mental health and what he did as a result of that.

I would say this book has a more personal look, the actual affects on Farnworth himself, his personal life and a fair bit about him. Some of these books focus purely on the job and things they encounter, this has a bit more laid bare approach and a lot about the author himself. 4/5 for me this time, I do like reading true stories about other professionals, makes you appreciative to the services out there and the people who keep them going.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Lover At Last by J R Ward

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)Lover at Last by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 1 day

Pages - 608

Publisher - Piatkus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: it seems Qhuinn has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young. It’s hard for Blay to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. And Qhuinn needs to come to terms with some dark things before he can move forward…

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.

My Review

If you haven't read the previous books I would suggest doing so before reading this as there are so many things relevant to that which has passed you really need the back story. Ward usually focuses on a particular couple or love story in the books which threads to a few other story lines. If you have read the previous you will know the back story with the guys Qhuinn and Blay, unrequited love but really good friends, feeling being denied/ignored/hurt. This book has a huge focus around the two as well as the back nods to XCOR and Layla. Layla and Qhuinn, Trez & IAm and Assail and Marisol (Marisol being a new introduction).

As with the previous books lots of graphic sex scenes, body fluids - a bit more fighting in this book although I noticed a huge absence in some of the characters as we are looking at different stories and characters so not a lot of the main Brotherhood. They are in it of course just not featured much as we focus on the duos mentioned above.

Some sad themes in this one, touching on loss, rejection, pregnancy & personal growth and acceptance as homosexuality features a wee bit more in this one. 3.5 for me this time, I have I think another six or seven on my tbrm and looking forward to seeing what is in store for the brotherhood and extended characters.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 4 March 2021

While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

While Paris Slept: A NovelWhile Paris Slept: A Novel by Ruth Druart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 512

Publisher - Headline

Source - Vine

Blurb from Amazon

Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...

My Review

Duo timeline, multiple characters - we open in 1953 with Jean-Luc and Charlotte, alternating chapters. Happily settled in America with their son, recovering from the horrors of the war things are going relatively well. Until the past comes knocking and turns their world upside down - everything they love and cherish will be threatened because you can never forget or outrun your past.

Flipping to Paris, 1945, the war is in full grip and Jean-Luc is doing what he has to to survive, working on the railways near a camp where Jewish people are being held. Charlotte is helping out at a German hospital, each facing inner turmoil or judgement being so close to the German's and bearing witness to some of their evil and cruelty.

This is an emotive story, from reading different narratives and characters we see what it was like to live through the war, different perspectives. The worker, the carer, those trying to escape the Germans and the effect it had on them all in years to come. The struggles each faced, the love, loss, sacrifices, risks, danger and how it was in Paris with the German rule. I can't believe this is a debut, it is so well written, captures the reader early on and I wasn't expect to be swept along or have an attack of the emotions. Historical fiction isn't normally a genre I pull toward but I have been finding in recent years I am and enjoying although that seems the wrong choice of word because of the content. 4.5/5 for me this time, I will be looking forward to the next offering by this author.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 25 February 2021

One by One by Chris Carter

One by One (Robert Hunter, #5)One by One by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 512

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

'I need your help, Detective. Fire or water?' Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD's Homicide Special Section receives an anonymous call asking him to go to a specific web address - a private broadcast. Hunter logs on and a show devised for his eyes only immediately begins. But the caller doesn't want Detective Hunter to just watch, he wants him to participate, and refusal is simply not an option. Forced to make a sickening choice, Hunter must sit and watch as an unidentified victim is tortured and murdered live over the Internet. The LAPD, together with the FBI, use everything at their disposal to electronically trace the transmission down, but this killer is no amateur, and he has covered his tracks from start to finish. And before Hunter and his partner Garcia are even able to get their investigation going, Hunter receives a new phone call. A new website address. A new victim. But this time the killer has upgraded his game into a live murder reality show, where anyone can cast the deciding vote.

My Review

A dangerous and callous killer, victims picked at random, each death more gruesome than the previous. Hunter and Garcia are on the case once again, the killer is reaching out to them and showing them the murders in real time, online. When they take it a step further and broadcast live online, inviting Joe Public to take part - like the sickest reality show you will ever see. How do you begin to hunt a killer that has targets no-one can predict, is super smart and the world is watching every step of the way.

This is book five in the series and you can absolutely read as a standalone but the previous books are so good you should go back and read them first. Not for the faint hearted or squeamish as the books/killers are really graphic. Short chapters WHICH I LOVE but are brutal for the old just one chapter before bed.

A super smart killer, the cops are scrambling trying to get a lead but for once Hunter and co are many steps behind. Pacey, gorey, shocking, what we have come to expect from Carter but still manages to keep it fresh. 4/5 for me this time, got the next few waiting to be read, it won't be long!

View all my reviews

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Allegation by R G Adams - Blog Blast

Today is my post for the blog blast, for book, "Allegation" by author R. G. Adams, check out my non spoiler (as always) review for my stop.

Allegation: the page-turning, unputdownable thriller from an exciting new voice in crime fictionAllegation: the page-turning, unputdownable thriller from an exciting new voice in crime fiction by R.G. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

An evil monster exposed?

Or an innocent father condemned?

A scandal will shake a small community to its very foundations.

Sandbeach, South Wales.

Two women have come forward to make historical sexual allegations against a pillar of the local community, Matthew Cooper.

The case lands on the desk of inexperienced Social Worker, Kit Goddard, who must remove Cooper from his home and family while the investigation is carried out. Although intrepid and intuitive, she is ill-prepared for such a high-profile case.

Kit finds herself navigating a local minefield of connections and class, reputations and rumour. Unsure whether her interference is a heroic intervention or a hurtful intrusion, she knows one thing: it will have an impact. The question is whether this impact will be to expose a lie, or destroy an innocent life...

My Review

Kit Goddard is a social worker who finds herself landed with her first big/challenging case, still relatively new, it is a big ask. Throw into the mix it is historic allegations against one of the pillars of the community, money, charm, well connected, father of three - married Matt Cooper has everything. It is Kit's job to talk to the family, the children, wife and assess if there is a risk, is it a genuine accusation or is someone after money and is Kit about to ruin lives over malicious claims?

What a fantastic debut, Kit isn't just an inexperienced new social worker thrown in at the deep end, she comes with her own emotional baggage having been a kid known to the services herself. We follow her through many challenges just to do her job, I actually was howling at one interaction with one of her colleagues, we all know someone like her. The team is a very mixed bunch and I enjoyed the dynamics of the team. I found the whole process on the investigation really interesting, how she interacted with the kids and the authentic feel with the obstructiveness of the family.

Threats, anger, sex abuse claims against minors, small town reaction to such a shocking allegation against "one of their own" - even how some of the internal issues/obstacles when she is just trying to do her job. As well as that we get to see the very human side of Kit as more of her own past and vulnerability is exposed. I liked her, she has spunk and as I said one interaction with a colleague was absolute gold *air punch* - I hope this is a long series, I very much look forward to the next one. An engaging read, pulled in quickly and as the nature of the book is allegations of a sexual nature - it does feature/investigate although nothing graphic or gratuitous, 4.5/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Friday, 19 February 2021

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

One Summer in ParisOne Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - HQ Stories

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.

Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.

Grace can’t believe how daring Audrey is. Audrey can’t believe how cautious newly single Grace is. Living in neighboring apartments above the bookshop, this unlikely pair offer each other just what they’ve both been missing. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding this unbreakable friendship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them…

My Review

Meet Grace - organizer extraordinaire, super wife and mum, getting ready to celebrate her 25th anniversary with her husband. He has his own surprise, he wants a divorce and like that Grace's world falls apart. Her anniversary trip for them to Paris will not go unused, Grace is going on the holiday of a lifetime to pick up the pieces of her life and face her past and present.

Meet Audrey, a young lady with a harder home life than first appearances, she is good at hiding things. When the opportunity to go to Paris turns up she jumps at it, despite not being able to speak French, she is determined to give it a go.

A chance encounter brings Grace and Audrey into each others paths and a friendship blossoms. Audrey has much she can teach Grace and Grace has much she can offer Audrey. They are both so so very different, age, personality, life styles, attitudes and both exactly what the other needs.

Oh man I was rage at some points, some characters are so oblivious and selfish, infidelity obviously features and this isn't a spoiler - tells you in the blurb. Lots of mixed emotions and its a bit of an emotive rollercoaster, I think depending on what has happened in your own life dear reader will depend on how you are impacted by the book.

Friendship, personal growth, joy, sadness, loss, family oh there are so many themes within the book. I have read Morgan before and I will read her again - I think the book will have mixed reactions from people, again depending on your life experiences but I think pretty much everyone would enjoy it, 4/5 for me!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Random Acts of Kindness day

So apparently today is Random Acts of Kindness day

As you may know we already have a comp or two listed just now - check HERE

One is an Amazon x1 £5 voucher (UK only as Amazon won't allow me to gift outside my own country) and a love themed bookmark (it is the month of love) and a light up mermaid bath light. Not everyone is into mush and the poll last night on Twitter was a yesr for something horror themed. So I am adding another giveaway, worldwide, of the following, as pictured!

X1 material facemask, horror themed, with characters from horror movie "House of 1000 corpses" - it is quite thick material, tartan print on the inside.

And a wee zombie style bookmark.

Postage is ridiculous just now but as they are light the competition is open worldwide.

To enter, as usual, just fill in the Rafflecopter entries. Please only fill in entries you complete, draws are checked and every single giveaway we have disqualifications. Good luck and thanks in advance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well from I first started reviewing

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

More Competitions available at

Blog archive