Wednesday 21 September 2022

The Lighthouse by Fran Dorricott

The LighthouseThe Lighthouse by Fran Dorricott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon books

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

No one expected them to go there. The question is: will any of them leave?

Six friends travel to a remote island north of the Scottish Highlands for an old school reunion. They’ve rented The Lighthouse – a stunning, now abandoned building that was once notorious for deaths at sea.

On the first evening, someone goes missing. The group search all through the night to no avail. But when the five remaining friends return to the lighthouse early the next morning, they are shocked to find James inside. He’s looks terrified – but won’t say a word about where he’s been.

The party vow to put the strange night behind them and enjoy the rest of their stay, but when more unexplained things begin to occur, tensions escalate. It’s clear James knows something, but nothing will persuade him to give up the secrets of the island. Is he protecting his friends from a terrible truth, or leading them into more danger?

A chilling, gripping and powerfully atmospheric suspense novel with a gothic edge.

My Review

A bunch of long time pals head for a few days away, remote island, stunning lighthouse, beautiful views and the island is theirs alone. They have a history with each other, five of them plus one of the crowds new girlfriends. Small things start happening, item(s) go missing and then one of the group goes missing and more strange things start happening, are the group truly alone or is one of them unhinged?

What a great creepy set up, you have two couples, two singletons, in house jokes and history between the five with the new girlfriend trying not to stand out too much. Two ladies first time away from their child, one of the group is an ex of the other, it has been a while since they were all together. Fun time, joy, jokes, snipping and when things start to go to pot anger, sniping, tears, secrets, accusations - it all kicks off.

Along with all the group drama there is another theme, haunting, ghostly, darkness - suspense and creepiness is weaved throughout. We hear from the characters pov and it changes with the chapters but is well done and flows. The way Dorricott writes you are submerged in the setting which is perfect for the creepy tale and everything that follows, perfect read for a dark night or secluded setting, 4/5.

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Monday 19 September 2022

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Without MeritWithout Merit by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 385

Publisher -

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

My Review

Merit is a bit of an odd ball, she acquires trophies that she has never won, they make her feel better and mean something to her. Acquiring her newest she falls under the watchful eye of an attractive young man and has the most wonderful encounter. Things never go quite right for Merit, she comes from a very different family, she has many layers and in Without Merit we get to meet and see them all.

Oooft guys! Talk about dysfunctional family, cringe, laugh, mortified, shock, emotive there is a whole host of topics, themes, situations and some very questionable and shady behaviours. Thus us my first time reading Hoover, I kept seeing her books all over Tiktok, had never heard of her before despite all my years of reading.

Merit is the main character, a teen skipping school and just having a bit of an identity type issue, I can't say she is a lovable character immediately but as the story goes on and we see just what Merit's family life is like you appreciate a bit more how she is.

There is also unexpected bits of humour dottered throughout, I laughed, smirked and had a Oh God NAW moment or two, I absolutely cringed a bit too and laughed out loud. There are some seriously hard hitting and dark themes that are hard to signpost without giving massive spoilers so just a loosey goosey heads up. I have a few more Hoover books to read and very much looking forward to them 4/5 for this first time dance with this author.

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Wednesday 7 September 2022

Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the tour for Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks, for my stop I have my review, non spoiler as always. Buy link, book out now, from Amazon UK, click HERE.

Hello, StrangerHello, Stranger by Rachel Marks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days (as able)

Pages - 431

Publisher - Penguin

Source - ARC

Blurb from Amazon

From their very first date, Jamie and Lucy know they've met THE ONE.

They're as different as night and day. Jamie's a home bird, while Lucy's happiest on holiday. He has a place for everything - she can never find her keys.

Yet, somehow, they make each other happier than they ever thought possible.

So why does their story start with them saying 'goodbye'?

And does this really have to be the end . . . ?

My Review

We start at the end, Jamie and Lucy have broken up, but how can they, they are perfect for each other, they know they have found the one in each other. What happened to bring about their break up?

We hear from both Jamie and Lucy alternative chapters and we go back and forth from present day(ish) when they have broken up but not knowing the how/why. Flicking back to how they met and their relationship as it grows, blooms and ultimately the moment we started, where they break up and what comes after.

This is different in that we start knowing they have split then go through their relationship as it becomes, blooms and breaks. Some of the themes are quite emotive and it is difficult to give a headsup without spoilers which we don't do.

Lucy is a strong woman who has very set ideas on what she wants out of life and isn't interested in the whole conventional expectations of a woman. Jamie loves her so much he just wants them to be together but what happens when things change for one and not the other. We see the judgements Lucy faces and pressure even from her own family, we see the difference in relationship dynamics, husband and wife, son and mother, daughter and mother and babies/children are a huge theme throughout.

I think the book will impact each reader differently dependent upon their own values, experiences and stage in life. Certainly different and I liked that we got both perspectives from a loving and committed couple who find their whole relationship rocked by one incident and the ripples, choices and effects of everything that comes from it. This is my first time reading this author, 4/5 for me this time!

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Saturday 3 September 2022

The Secret Doctor by Max Skittle

The Secret DoctorThe Secret Doctor by Max Skittle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - In and out around 2 weeks

Pages - 352

Publisher - Blink

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Welcome to the life of Dr Max Skittle. Therapist, relationship counsellor, social worker, friend, parent-figure - and, yes: doctor.
Join Max - and his patients - as he takes us on a rollercoaster journey through a year in the life of a doctor: from infected toenails, to wonky elbows, to erectile disfunction, to bed bugs; the happy couple expecting a surprise new baby; the teenage girl struggling with body image issues; the loving family grappling with grief, Max shows us all the highs and crushing lows that come with being a GP - and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives forever.
This is what really goes on in your local doctor's surgery - spilt urine bottles, existential crises, emails back and forth with social services, utterly unexplainable health problems and appointments always running late - told by a man who, despite it all, really loves his job.

My Review

I tend to enjoy these books as you get a look into the lives of the healthcare professional(s) and a day or more in the job they do. In this one we have the pseudonym Doctor Max Skittle so the doctor can give an honest account and keep his identity. Max is a gp and this is his story and some of his patients stories. Now heads up, Doctor Skittle swears, humour/wording some people may find offensive as often people forget healthcare workers are people and humour, often dark or sweary is a coping mechanism. So if easily offended these types of books, particularly this one wouldn't be for you.

Max lets us see behind the gp door, the ups and downs of being a doctor, the types of patients, problems, insights, conditions and sometimes inappropriateness of your every day person/patient. I think for me when you see the person behind the job it is so important. Especially now as so many people, not all but a lot scream, abuse, verbally and physically towards the doctor(s) who are trying to help.

We get to see the personal life, worries, issues that Max is going through, the celebrations, achievements, disasters, self doubt all whilst managing the patient load. Some of the interactions make you laugh, cry, want to reach in and hug the patient and or doctor, or a gasp out loud of someone brought what into their gp.

Interesting read, well as I said I do find these books interesting and educational laced with humour and emotion, 4/5 for me this time.

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