Thursday, 1 June 2023

The No,1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1)The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 233

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Warm, humorous and uplifting, Alexander McCall Smith's hugely popular novels featuring Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of Botswana's only female private detective agency, have become international bestsellers, sold over seven million copies, and been translated into 26 languages. These acclaimed productions, complete with vibrant music, bring the exotic world of the books vividly to life.

The Daddy introduces us to Mma Ramotswe as she embarks on her first case and takes on a new secretary, the resourceful and talented Mma Makutsi. Together, they must find the truth about a Daddy who appears to have returned from the dead—as well as investigating a wayward teenage girl and attempting to find a vanished child. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 10 September 2004.

The Bone sees the determined duo following Mr Patel's daughter to find out whether she has a boyfriend. They must also solve the darker and more frightening case of the finger bone found in a car—does it belong to a missing boy snatched by a witch doctor? First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 September 2004.

Starring Claire Benedict as Mma Ramotswe and Nadine Marshall as Mma Makutsi, these dramatisations are guaranteed to appeal to all fans of the engaging lady detective.

My Review

So I have read Smith before (the Bertie books) and assumed this one would be humourous too (it does say so), whilst there are snippets of "humour" there is a lot of dark issues within the book too. Domestic violence, spousal gaslighting, missing persons - it is a busy wee book.

The main character Mma Precious Ramotswe is a super strong individual, despite having some really hard situations to overcome she does, she is positive, has ideas galore and determined to make her business a success.

I love travelling to other places/cities/countries via books and in this one we hit Botswana Africa and I love descriptions of places/people and animals native to X place. Some of the things within the book may offend or upset some people, there are different cases explored and different topics. For being a thinish book it covers a lot, I believe this is a long series so will get book two when I come across it, 3/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 27 May 2023

If You Could See Me Now by Cecilia Ahern

If You Could See Me NowIf You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 306

Publisher - Hachette Books

Source - Think a book pal gave me it (was on my tbrm for years)

Blurb from Goodreads

From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you to wonder if Not Seeing is believing!

Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.

Elizabeth Egan's life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It's how she counteracts the chaos of her family—an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother's footsteps, leaving her own six-year-old son, Luke, in Elizabeth's care.

When Ivan, Luke's mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesnt know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth's eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?

If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart—and just a touch of magic.

My Review

When you think fantasy its all magic, dragons, space type stuff but for me I would consider this a wee bit in a fantasy type role. Ivan is an adult and what we would call an imaginary friend although he is very much real just not visible to adults/non believers. He goes from one kid to another as they need him. When he becomes friends with Luke he thinks it is Luke he is there for, Luke is looked after by his aunt Elizabeth, a no nonsense woman who has had a pretty rough hand dealt. Her mum was a free spirit and left her and her sister behind with their dad, her sister became a "free spirit" just like her mum and left Luke in Elizabeth's sensible care, only flitting back and forth between dramas and need for money. Her father is also getting on so she is looking after him and working full time and looking after Luke. When it seems maybe Elizabeth can hear Ivan and ivan realises maybe it is Elizabeth he is here for and both may have bigger impacts on the other that they could never have forseen.

Most of us had an invisible friend but imagine that friend was actually real, flitting between people and works for an agency all about befriending/helping those who need him most. It is a very different type of book, it has tragedy, sadness, neglect, family truths/secrets and Elizabeth is so strict/stern and even a bit cold but as the story goes on we understand why she is the way she is. As Ivan becomes more real (and complicated) to her we see her find herself a bit more and the impact she has on Ivan.

I read this on holiday when I was fighting off temps/sickness and feeling rough, it allowed me a little indulgence and thinking back to when I was a wean. If you want something a wee bit out there, different from the normal books you read, bittersweet, personal growth, love, sadness with some magical bits thrown in (not wizard magic, imaginary friend who is real style magic) then this is one for you, I liked it, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Rich Hall event

We went to Aberdeen to see Rich Hall with my o/h and his brother.

That is a list of his previous and upcoming gigs.

It was queued around the corner and hosted in the wee town hall.

I had never heard of Rich Hall but we seen him when we were in Las Vegas at The Laughter Factory, he is hillarious, a comedian and does country music songs/humour and makes up songs with information he gets from people in the crowd.

An unexpected surprise was he also had a book on sale, he wrote it during lockdown, "Nailing It" and we also got a CD free with that.

His co star joined him for a few numbers & he obviously did his solos.

His wife was at the start with the table selling the books and so friendly, making sure folk knew to come back after and get it signed and chat to him.

It was a great night, I would absolutely got see him again and wish I had known about the tour earlier.

Sunday, 21 May 2023

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us (It Ends with Us, #1)It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 5 days (in and out)

Pages - 386

Publisher - Atria books

Source - Mine was gifted by a friend & I bought a copy for BDWBs for workies

Blurb from Goodreads

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

My Review

Split across two timelines, past and present we follow Lily and relationships, as a child and witnessing her parents abusive relationship. Her first encounter with a boy and the friendship they share to present day where a chance meeting brings her to Ryle. Sexy, smart, a doctor who is very upfront he doesn't do relationships but is very attracted to her. We flip back and forth between the two and domestic violence reaches across the ages for Lily to being an observer of what her mother endured to finding herself in the very path she judged her mother walking.

This book has received mixed reactions, some could identify and loved it, others feel it almost glorifies domestic violence (especially after the announcement of a colouring book to come) and I think you need to read it and make your own mind up.

The book is in part drawn from the authors own past and things she witnessed (discussed at the end of the book, well the one I had) and the characters she created to highlight and show how someone can become entrapped. Absolutely covers some very emotive/shocking and horrific scenes, domestic violence, loss, gaslighting, manipulation to name a few. I think for many it is difficult to fathom how you can grow up in/surrounded with violent relationships and then be in that yourself. The author pulls in lots of factors surrounding domestic violence, as a child and then as an adult so different view points. There is also sex scenes which has featured in the books I have read by this author, there is a scene, stethoscope I was totally mortified but whatever floats your boat, 3.5/5 for me this time. Whilst some aspects were done/highlight some important issues and absolutely will get audiences discussing domestic violence/abuse there were also parts, for me, just no! This is book one of two, I will be reading the second to see what is next for our characters.

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Thursday, 18 May 2023

The Love Killers by Jackie Collins

The Love KillersThe Love Killers by Jackie Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days on and off

Pages - 294

Publisher -

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

POWERFUL MEN, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN AND EXQUISITE REVENGE... Beth, Lara and Rio -- three exotic women with a common cause and vengeance in their hearts.

They're out to avenge a murder and they'll go to any lengths. Their targets: the heirs of the Bassalino crime family. Their weapon: sex. The result: a bloodbath of sexual mayhem through the lethal corridors of organized crime.

Three beautiful women set out to prove that when it comes to revenge, the female is far deadlier than the male -- especially when they're "THE LOVE KILLERS. . .

My Review

A powerful woman, Margaret, activist, saving women from a life of abuse/exploitation, helping them to find their own voice is killed, an organised hit by mafia style criminals. Margaret was very loved and despite her killer being almost untouchable those who love her will not let it go unpunished.

Beth, Rio and Lara take matters into their own hands and take their own revenge, using their womanly ways they get close to the boss man and go after the main man by targeting the things he loves most.

I read Collins growing up so sex, violence, murder, abuse, manipulation are themes you often find so not for the easily offended. I loved the idea of these very different women going after very powerful men, can't say I loved the way they did it, each woman going after their target very differently. Some of the scenes are uncomfortable to read and you are dealing with some of the absolute dregs of humanity. It makes for a quick, shocking and dark at times read, 3/5 for me this time!

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Wednesday, 17 May 2023

The Woman On The Bridge by Sheila O'Flanagan

Today is my turn on the blog tour for book "The Woman On The Bridge" by author Sheila O'Flanagan, this is a RandomThings tour. The book is available to buy now as a treebook or ebook, link HERE for Amazon UK.

About the Author:

Sheila O'Flanagan is the author of 30 bestselling novels including What Eden Did Next, Three Weddings and a Proposal, The Women Who Ran Away, Her Husband's Mistake, The Hideaway and The Missing Wife. She lives in Dublin with her husband. / Twitter: @sheilaoflanagan

For my stop I have my review, enjoy, non spoiler as usual.

The Woman on the BridgeThe Woman on the Bridge by Sheila O'Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Headline review

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Dublin. The 1920s. As war tears Ireland apart, two young people are caught up in events that will bring love, tragedy - and the hardest of choices.

In a country fighting for freedom, it's hard to live a normal life. Winnie O'Leary supports the cause, but she doesn't go looking for trouble. Then rebel Joseph Burke steps into her workplace. Winnie is furious with him about a broken window. She's not interested in romance. But love comes when you least expect it.

Joseph's family shelter fugitives and transport weapons. Joseph would never ask Winnie to join the fight; but his mother and sisters demand commitment. Will Winnie choose Joseph, and put her own loved ones in deadly danger? Or wait for a time of peace that may never come?

Ireland's tumultuous independence struggle is the backdrop for an unforgettable story of courage and heartbreak, in which heroes are made of ordinary people. Inspired by the story of Sheila O'Flanagan's grandmother, The Woman on the Bridge is the unmissable, compulsive new novel from a bestselling author.

My Review

1920's Ireland, civil unrest and a country at war wanting to be free and amongst that we have Winnie - working in a shop, can do measurements without tape and likes the simple life. When the shop is damaged it brings a meeting with rebel Joseph. We alone with Winnie are dragged into the cause and finding ourselves caught between sides in the war and the dangers of being a civilian within it let alone the partner of a rebel.

I do enjoy books like this, I never used to read Historical fiction but find as I get older I am enjoying it more and more. Plus my history isn't the best so I generally find within reading books like this I stop and research & O'Flanagan does a great job bringing to life the characters and a time period of history.

Winnie comes from a working class style family, Joseph's family whilst having money are very involved in the troubles and supportive/activists with freedom. As Winnie and Joseph's relationship develops we see her being pulled further into the other side, strong belief's and the trouble and threats that come from this.

It is a love story essentially but not exclusively that, set around a rough and at times bloody period of Irish history and we get other veins of normality and harsh reality. Alcoholism, DV, family dynamics, love, loss, grief it is a mixed bag and envelopes the reader in the characters lives, trials and tribulations whilst giving us some important history with emotive moments.

I have read O'Flanagan before and will read her again, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday, 15 May 2023

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh

The Plea (Eddie Flynn, #2)The Plea by Steve Cavanagh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able 3 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Orion publishing

Source - bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When David Child, a major client of a corrupt New York law firm, is arrested for murder, the FBI ask con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn to secure Child as his client and force him to testify against the firm.

Eddie's not a man to be coerced into representing a guilty client, but the FBI have incriminating files on Eddie's wife, and if Eddie won't play ball, she'll pay the price.

When Eddie meets Child he's convinced the man is innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. With the FBI putting pressure on him to secure the plea, Eddie must find a way to prove Child's innocence while keeping his wife out of danger - not just from the FBI, but from the firm itself.

My review

It is no surprise to anyone I love Eddie Flynn, since I first came across him in one of the later books, I think I started mid series. Now I am working my way through the first three I missed originally. Eddie is getting pressure from all areas in this one, to secure and defend a murderer, a rising star/celebrity accused of killing his girlfriend. The FBI are leaning on Eddie to get him and make him agree to XYZ, why would Eddie do this? Well the FBI are threatening his family with leverage/evidence on someone he loves. Eddie has no choice but to try and secure the defendant but he is already represented and Eddie has no idea just how bad things could go! With Eddie's moral compass and his most treasured being threatened what will oor Eddie do?

Eddie is such a likeable guy, he comes from a dodgy criminal background, he was a conman now lawyer but even then had his own moral compass and we learn a bit more about his past in these earlier books. He still has contacts from his past and we see them pop up time to time and they themselves are colourful, dodgy and not quite as clear cut as our boy Eddie but brings their own personality/levels of skulduggery in different variations.

I like the way Cavanagh brings the chaos and havoc, the levels some dodgy *professionals* will act and behave, the good and bad sides of humanity. We get crime, shade, trial/court case, drama, relationships, strength, courage and some absolute blinders in the courtroom (and out) from Eddie.

I recommend these books all the time, I love Eddie, I love the series, I still have book three to read then I am all caught up and patiently waiting for the next. Recently we started to watch movies based on John G books and I said The Devils Advocate had echoes of A Time To Kill & I would LOVE to see Eddie on the big screen. If you haven't read these books I absolutely recommend 5/5 from me.

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Saturday, 13 May 2023

A Stepney Girl's Secret by Jean Fullerton Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "A Stepney Girl's Secret" - for my stop I have my review. The book is available to buy now, treebook & kindle from Amazon UK. This is a Rachel's Random Resources tour.

About the author

Author Bio – Born and bred in East London Jean was a District Nurse by trade and ended her thirty-year career in health care as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies in London Southbank University. She had published twenty sagas all set in East London with both Orion and Atlantic the most recent of which is the highly successful Ration Book series. She has also recently released her autobiography A Child of the East End.

A Stepney Girl's SecretA Stepney Girl's Secret by Jean Fullerton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days (as able)

Pages - 451

Publisher - Corvus

Source - Review book

Blurb from Goodreads

East London, 1940. Prue Carmichael never dreamed that she'd end up working at a railway yard. But when her reverend father is called up to Stepney, she and her family are uprooted from their country home for a new life in the turbulent city.

Determined to help with the war effort, Prue signs up for work and soon becomes intrigued by handsome train engineer Jack Quinn. But as the spark between them grows apparent, so does his troubled past - a past that Prue's mother would certainly not approve of.

In between cleaning train carriages and helping to shelter Jewish refugees, Prue manages to stay busy. But she has more than one admirer, and when Jack is recruited into Churchill's secret army, a very different suitor begins to pursue her.

As air raid sirens sound overhead, Prue Carmichael is facing her own battle - the fight between her heart and her head . . .

Amidst the ruins of war, will Prue and Jack's love find a way?

My Review

Meet Prue, daughter of a reverend who has been uprooted to Stepney with her family from the small quiet countryside to London (east end). The time is the 1940s and war is afoot. Prue immediately steps up, whilst her mother likes to play the part of doing good Prue is the real deal. She is the first to help out and signs up to do her part, as the men are being called up to fight more and more women are stepping up to do the jobs they would normally do. Whilst Prue's mother is more interesting in matchmaking Prue to the local priest Prue is determined to help out her community and catches the eye of a fellow worker whose reputation is less than pristine!

Whilst the threat of war is around we get to know more about the characters, the priest has his eye on Prue, Prue and one of her co workers have a spark and he is by no means acceptable or what Prue's mother would consider on their level, she is pushing for the priest.

The book tackles different issues, classism - I really wasn't a fan of her mum, the priests wife who gave a face for the public but wasn't actually the nicest or as selfless as her public portrayal. This added to how real and selfless Prue was. When an author does this and captures it well you absorb into the characters and their lives, love them or hate them. Relationships - family and the effects of war.

I have read Fullerton before and will read again, she has a way of creating and capturing an authenticity with time and place and the characters who grace us through the stories. From the shady, heart felt and genuine characters we have a whole mixed bag, 4/5 for me.

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Friday, 12 May 2023

Running scared by Mandasue Heller

Running ScaredRunning Scared by Mandasue Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - Pan Macmillan

Source - Netgalley & bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in Manchester, Running Scared is a nerve-shredding thriller by bestselling author Mandasue Heller.

When Alexis ‘Lexi’ James falls out with her best mate Nicole over ‘bad boy’ Ryan King, it’s just the beginning of a chain of events that go from bad to worse to deadly.

Returning home one night to her high-rise flat, she is faced by a terrifying scene that changes her life forever and matters are made worse when she is put into care in another town.

Years later, Lexi has left school and is back in Manchester. A chance meeting with Nicole and her so-called ‘other half’ Ryan ends in disaster and she vows never to see them again. Then one night she is saved from a vicious attack by a charming stranger. He takes her home and their acquaintance blossoms into something much deeper.

When her new man receives a call in the middle of the night and leaves in a hurry, she is horrified when he returns with someone she never thought she would see again. It soon becomes obvious that Lexi doesn’t know her new lover as well as she thought, and she is forced to make a decision that will have devastating results . . .

My Review

It has been a wee while since I read Heller and I forgot how much I enjoy her writing. She creates some real unsavoury characters, some we root for and can still get exasperated but some of their choices and behaviours. Meet Lexi, poor, estate kid, best pal has now got money, isn't a very nice individual and her home life brings its own challenges. When she has a chance to stay out, be with her friend and just enjoy a party.............everything changes!

The story spans over ten years, the first part is meeting the characters and then we flip forward to ten years later. Oooft guys, we see some really reprehensive behaviour, shady/dark sides of humanity, abuse, intimidation, SA, abuse of power/authority, drugs, violence, murder - it has a whole whack of everything.

Even when things get really dark you struggle to put it down, how can people be like this and you get the WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!? for some people's life choices/decisions, why, NO don't do that, OMG, AHHHHHHH. I read this in less a day, sometimes you just want to step outside your own world/drama just for a little while, Heller gives you that opportunity to immerse in some shady underworld style characters, 4.5/5 for me!

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Monday, 1 May 2023

Waiting To Begin by Amanda Prowse

Waiting to BeginWaiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 317

Publisher - Lake Union Publishing

Source - Wishlist Wednesday gift

Blurb from Goodreads

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

My Review

Set over two timelines 1984 we meet Bessie, 16 years old, best friends with Michelle and a sweet family. The second is 2021, Bessie is all grown, married and hasn't spoken to Michelle in decades, her best friend in the whole world. We flip between the two periods, meeting happy go lucky Bessie, loved and the world as her Oyster. 2021 Bessie is bitter, cold, self absorbed and despite a loving husband she is quite unhappy and I would say even lonely.

The two timelines go back and forth, each revealing a bit more information and bringing the reader into the circle. It covers some hard hitting topics as Prowse does tend to do, I don't want to give anything away as we don't do spoiler reviews but it centres around families, deceit, distrust, betrayal, loss, love, friendship and family to name a few.

We also see how things from our past, especially when we don't deal with them can have long reach and ripples long into our future. I have a few Prowse books on the tbrm, the pace isn't break neck by any standards but it reveals its layers as you go, 4/5 for me.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2023

The Secrets He Kept by Jackie Walsh

The Secrets He KeptThe Secrets He Kept by Jackie Walsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 263

Publisher - Hera

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

You know everything about your husband. Don’t you?
He loves you. He loves your children. He’d never put his family in danger.

One of these is a lie.

It started like any other day at the hairdressers where Sally works as a stylist… until her first client innocently shows her a family photograph; a photograph that causes Sally to collapse in shock.

In one moment, Sally discovers that Tom has been hiding an explosive secret – one that could tear apart the life they’ve built together. Faced with an impossible dilemma - search for the truth, or keep her contented life? – Sally is about to discover that even those closest to us have secrets… and that sometimes the truth is the last thing we want to hear.

My Review

The book opens with quite a pull (the tagline too to be fair), Sally is working (hairdresser) when a young girl comes in and shows her a piccy of her o/h and his dad. The dad in the photo is her husband and the child isn't one of hers. When Sally confronts Tom he denies it and even laughs it off, a bit gaslighty towards Sally and really it all kicks off from there.

I thought the book had a strong opening and it certainly has some reveals as we go along so it does keep you interested. That being said, a lot of the characters behaviours/responses were really questionable. I absolutely do not like the husband nor his treatment/attitude towards Sally as the story goes on. Sally, oh my God I wanted to scream at her several times like really gurl come on, why would you say XYZ, why would you do XYZ. I mean to be fair people in real life do make some seriously questionable choices and actions but I was so frustrated and annoyed over and over. Some things would happen and I would be like REALLY?!?!?!

That being said, frustrations aside I did want to see where the author took me and I read it in a day. I liked it but didn't love it however from the reviews I seem to be in the minority as so many loved it, 3/5 for me. Absolutely check it out you may well love it, certainly has a whole load of drama in it.

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Thursday, 20 April 2023

A Broken Family by Kitty Neale

A Broken Family: An emotional, gripping saga from the Sunday Times bestsellerA Broken Family: An emotional, gripping saga from the Sunday Times bestseller by Kitty Neale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 8 hours (one sitting)

Pages - 401

Publisher - Avon books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A gritty tale of family and a love that holds no bounds, from the best-selling author of Nobody’s Girl and A Father’s Revenge

Celia Frost has always thought herself a cut above the other residents of Lark Rise in Battersea. When her beloved son, Thomas, starts seeing Amy Miller, a girl from the bottom of the Rise, Celia disapproves, thinking her common.

When Celia's husband leaves her and Thomas announces he is to marry Amy, she is more determined than ever to split them up.Celia needs an ally, so she writes to her elder son, Jeremy, asking him to come home.

Jeremy’s arrival unleashes a tide of jealously and hate. He wants everything that belongs to Thomas – especially Amy. As Jeremy’s dangerous obsession for his brother’s wife grows, Amy must fight for her marriage, and her baby.

The heartbreaking new novel from the bestselling author of A Father’s Revenge and Nobody’s Girl.

My Review

I have only read one Kitty Neale book before this one and I want to say it was a blog tour that brought her to my attention, I forgot how much I enjoyed it and will be adding more of hers to my wishlist. Set in Battersea, South London, 1956 we head to a small community with different social standings. For example Amy Millar comes from a working class family, scrimping by, her dad in a low paid job with his post war injury, her mum working double jobs but they are loved and happy. Amy's boyfriend Thomas Frost comes from a different type of family, his dad owns his own business, his mother Celia is a keeping up with the Joneses and feels Amy is far too common for her precious son, her marriage is not an overly happy one. We have wee characters in between, old Winnie next door, Amy's mum looks out for, even missing out on stuff to ensure Winnie does not. Mabel, Amy's mums friend and town busybody who reveals in dramas and gets herself in hot water sometimes. It is quite the small community but the dramas are huge and a plenty.

So guys these types of books often carry some trauma and sexual assault is featured, not in graphic detail but it is mentioned and more than once so heads up. Classism, relationships, friendships, alcohol abuse, poverty and manipulation so there is never really a dull moment.

Amy's family are lovely, despite not having a lot to go around they care for their wee neighbour and absolutely neighbourly whereas Celia Frost has plenty and is just a horrible individual. Overbearing mother, can't let go of the apron strings and I had a hard time feeling any kind of sympathy for her at all she is just a horror. I sank it in one sitting and whilst this was only my second book by this author it will not be my last 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday, 16 April 2023

What Seems To Be The Problem by Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews

What Seems To Be The Problem?What Seems To Be The Problem? by Laura Marshall-Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 272

Publisher - HQ Stories

Source - Bought (Waterstones)

Blurb from Goodreads

In this powerful and deeply personal memoir, award-winning GP Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews introduces us to the patients who have shaped her radical approach to medicine.

Over the course of a decade spent on the frontline of the NHS, Dr Laura witnessed lives being adversely affected by one-size-fits-all treatments. Determined to create change, she began to envisage a new way to care that prioritised the lived experience of her patients.

Created with the help of doctors, artists and complementary health practitioners, Dr Laura’s pioneering holistic approach was revelatory. From those whose lives were changed by ‘ineffective’ drugs, to those for whom alternative therapies, kindness and trust proved transformative, her patients began to flourish.

What Seems To Be The Problem? is a heartfelt story of hope, and an urgent call for change in our NHS at a time when it is most in need.

My Review

I do like these true stories and reading about other peoples work stories, NHS ones I have been reading/buying as a go. This one is a wee bit different, Doctor Laura Marshall-Andrews gives us an insight into her journey as a doctor.

As I said I have read lots of NHS stories from different professionals and enjoy reading the patients and doctors experiences. This one is different as we get to see the normal doctor approach but Marshall-Andrews takes a more holistic approach and once she gets her own gp surgery we see what it is like to work with other professionals in a holistic manner and how it can affect and impact the patients.

I fist punched the air when she fought for a patient to stay on X drug because it had a huge positive impact on her life yet the higher ups wanted her switched to a drug that was not effective because of the cost. They argued about no evidence yet here is this human being gone from a miserable existence to being happier, healthier and managing to contribute to society. The doc also examines this, the cost of her health issues if she went on the ineffective drug, hospital admission costs, appointments, benefits etc huge costs which would be more than the medication. However the people who overview medication prescribing, costs to the surgery/budget wanted this lady on the cheaper, not effective or working for her because studies show, 1 person experience doesn't not provide conclusive evidence. I am so so glad she put the foot down but it shouldn't have to be like this. When it comes to patient care cost should not be a factor, I shudder at the healthcare systems in other countries but some of this stuff in this book also highlights it isn't just other countries.

It is a shorter book than some of those available and I feel this one offered a bit more of a different perspective on treatments, their practice being evaluated (I hadn't read any accounts of that from the stories I have read so far) and as always the patients - it is always interesting to hear patient stories, they are are so very different! 4/5 for me this time, I would read more by this doc.

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Friday, 14 April 2023

The Fake-Up by Justin Myers

The Fake-UpThe Fake-Up by Justin Myers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Little Brown, UK

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


Dylan and Flo are on the rocks. Of course they are in love. Obviously they want it to work. But sometimes it feels like the world is against them. Their flat is falling apart, their friends never stop meddling and the obstacles keeping them from their dreams are insurmountable. Maybe they just . . . aren't meant to be?

The break-up completely shatters them both. While Flo cries in her Mum's kitchen, penning ballads about heartache, Dylan is forced to sleep on his best friend's sofa and channel his pain into acting.

And, unexpectedly, their stars begin to rise.

Soon Dylan and Flo are on the cusp of everything they've ever wanted. There's only one problem: they can't be without one another, but their hard-won futures depend on their estrangement. Can they keep their relationship a secret from the world? Or has fate conspired to keep them apart for good?

My Review

Dylan and Flo are in love, their relationship is great apart from their backgrounds, their upbringings, their issues in their flat and being from different classes the issues that brings. Dylan has some hangups, he wants to put in as much as Flo but Flo comes from money and Dylan has his pride. Flo's friends and family think she can do better, their flat needs some serious TLC, Dylan just needs his one big break as an actor and Flo, voice of an angel just needs her opening, her chance and she will show the world how talented she is. As the strain becomes too much they decide to break up however it is never that easy and they both still love each other but now the world and their friends are watching.

Uck you know what it is like, take the money out of it and we all have had that one boyfriend or girlfriend that our friends/fam don't like, think we can do better than. That is the thing with Flo and Dylan, Flo is a singer, Dylan is an actor and both are looking for their big break which ironically things start looking up when they split and the drama comes with all that jazz.

It is a perfect poolside read or just wanting a wee escapism reading drama of others lives, breaking into the big time, relationship dramas and what happens when you get a bit of fame. Some not very nice characters, some nice, some shady behaviours, it was fine, light, barbed humour at parts, 3/5 for me.

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Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Just Got Real by Jane Fallon

Just Got RealJust Got Real by Jane Fallon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Competition win (with a bottle of pina colada)

Blurb from Goodreads

Joni never thought she would try online dating but somehow - with the encouragement of her grown up daughter, Danielle - she's signed onto an app. After a few weeks of chatting to Ant, they really hit it off and agree to meet up. However Joni has been so nervous about the whole prospect of dating again that she's been using fake photos on the site.

She turns up to their date and sees Ant, but can't bring herself to come clean.

The problem now is that she can't stop thinking about him. They'd been getting on so well. And so she works out a way to 'meet' him without revealing herself as the person he's been talking to online.

But a few months in, she discovers not only is he still on the dating site but he's really active on it, too. She's hurt, and looks at his phone while he's in the shower one morning only to find intimate texts between him and two other women, Saff and Mary. At the same time, she is beginning to realise that the only thing Ant seems to have been honest about is his profile picture.

After a couple of drinks one night, Joni decides to call the two women. Their experiences sound identical to hers. And they're angry.

But how can they get their revenge? What can hurt a person who doesn't appear to be emotionally involved with any of them? What is it he's really looking for, and how can they catch him out?

My Review

Joni signs up to a dating site after much encouragement (and railroading) by her daughter and she meets Ant, he is good looking and seems to be the real deal. Problem is Joni used fake photos and when she turns up to finally meet Ant and sees he is the real deal she bows out. Despite this she can't let what they had go so after orchestrating a meet they hit it off and are dating, everything is great. That is until she finds out Ant may look the real deal but he isn't the devoted boyfriend he seems, dude has other women on the go, the shade! The ladies get together to work out what to do but they have their work cut out and does Ant have more secrets than they know?

I have only read a few Fallon books but I plan to rectify that, the ones I have read I have sank in one sitting. She creates captivating characters, some shady, some flawed and scenarios and dramas we can all either empathise with or see happening to us or one of our own.

Characters are real, situations and shenanigans are easy to envision and before you know it your day has gone and you want to see what is coming next.

For me this was a bit echoy of the Tinder Swindler - he looked exactly like what he was presenting on the app but much more and shady going on. A good read, perfect for escapism, poolside reading or just stepping out of your own life to watch someone else's dramas for a bit, 4.5/5 for me!

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Friday, 7 April 2023

Someone Is Watching You by Tess James-Mackey

Someone Is Watching YouSomeone Is Watching You by Tess James-Mackey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 8 hours

Pages - 320

Publisher - Hodder Children's books

Source - Vine

Blurb from Goodreads

An abandoned prison. A deadly game. How far would you go for a dare?

Nia would do anything to win the approval of her boyfriend Scott and his friends, especially mean girl Olivia. When Olivia dares Nia to explore an abandoned prison, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to prove herself. Facing dark tunnels, distant noises and creepy mementoes left behind by incarcerated criminals will surely all be worth it.

But it isn't long before Nia and her little sister, Kayla, find themselves trapped inside. And then Kayla vanishes.

Suddenly, this feels like more than a game gone wrong. Someone is hellbent on making Nia and Kayla the prison's last inmates ...

An utterly compelling, terrifying thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, from remarkable new author Tess James-Mackey.

My Review

This is my first time reading this author but when I seen abandoned prison I was in, I love abandoned buildings! This however is an abandoned prison now lightly converted into a kids soft play type area. Much of the prison is of course off limits and some of it in states of crumbling disrepair. Meet Nia, she has a new boyfriend and group of friends, they are the year above so Nia could not believe her luck when Scott not only noticed her but is now hers! Being a tiny bit older (Nia is fifteen) and they are all still in school so Nia is doubly desperate to be accepted. The gang is led by Olivia who is one of those mean popular girls the group all pander to and Nia is determined to keep her man. Ah to be fifteen again eh! Nia is raging at her wee sister Kayla as she got Nia busted for a home party & now she is at soft play in the prison keeping mum and little sister company and her friends are keeping tabs via messaging.

Oh I wouldn't want to be fifteen again and certainly no in this wee group of frenemies, they always play dares as per Olivia and Nia feels hers is always worse. Anyways back to the prison, it is run down and when she gets dared to check it out Nia will not back down. Of course the wean wants to follow her and then goes missing and that is when things really kick off. For being young adult and the main characters teens the author does a great job creating creepy and tense atmosphere. The Whatsapp messages and goading/clipped and nippy messages takes you right back to your younger years regardless of your age or your social circle at the age.

The characters aren't really likeable and I think that self centred manipulation was captured well and sets up for all that follows, I felt so sorry for the wee sister who just wants her older sister to like and be with her.

I loved the exploration of the prison, I was having flashes to The Walking Dead programme so built quite an effective picture. The book features some adult themes (not in large measures), manipulation, control, coercion, toxic relationships, peer pressure to name a few. I think the thing that really gave a kick was the author has actually went to a soft play that was in an old prison, I would LOVE to visit. This was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 5 April 2023

By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate

By Any Other NameBy Any Other Name by Lauren Kate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

What she doesn’t know about love could fill a book.

With a successful career as a romance editor, and an engagement to a man who checks off all ninety-nine boxes on her carefully curated list, Lanie’s more than good. She’s killing it. Then she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to work with world-renowned author and her biggest inspiration in love and life—the Noa Callaway. All Lanie has to do is cure Noa’s writer’s block and she’ll get the promotion she’s always dreamed of. Simple, right?

But there’s a reason no one has ever seen or spoken to the mysterious Noa Calloway. And that reason will rock Lanie’s world. It will call into question everything she thought she knew. When she finally tosses her ninety-nine expectations to the wind, Lanie may just discover that love By Any Other Name can still be as sweet.

My Review

Imagine getting a coveted position working with an author you have loved for years, her work has inspired so much of your own life choices. The author in question, Noa, has writers block and Lanie needs to do everything she can to lift it, get the book completed and delivered on time or risk losing her own job. However Noa doesn't meet in person, attend events nor see anyone outside the top of the business and there is a reason for it, one Lanie may not quite be ready for.

Lanie is engaged to be married, her whole relationship ideals comes from one of Noa's books and the legacy/relationship/advice with her mum who had passed away. The book is multidimensional, shock, secret, romance, personal growth and honourable mention for the small passing characters in the park, an elderly couple who despite being almost reference characters come to have big impact on others.

It is absolutely one of those books you can just slip into and log off for a few hours and just immerse in the characters and dramas in the story, 4/5 for me this time. This was my first book by this author, I will be looking for her other works.

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Thursday, 30 March 2023

Do No Harm by Jack Jordan

Do No HarmDo No Harm by Jack Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

My son has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice…
Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see him again.

The man lies on the table in front of me.
As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
As a mother, I know I must kill him.
You might think that I’m a monster.
But there really is only one choice.
I must get away with murder.
Or I will never see my son again.


My Review

Oooft, fast paced/tense! We have Anna, renowned surgeon, Margot who is a theatre nurse and Rachel is a cop. We bounce between the three as the story unravels, we meet the characters, get to know them and from the very beginning - well even the blurb we know the jist. A surgeon is told - kill your patient or you kids dies instead and leave absolutely no room for second guessing.

So talk about a bunch of characters you don't like, meet this lot, individuals who should be trusted but are dodgy. Anna, surgeon, cold fish, unlikeable even a self saboteur in some instances (pre this horrible predicament), Margot, nurse and has some very questionable life choices/work *ethic*.

We bounce from one disaster to another, shady behaviours and choices and I don't just mean the bad guys, offt. Thrilling, shocking, violent, murders it is a very full bag and keeps the reader enrapt and guessing, what is coming next!

I didn't like a lot of the characters but even the dodgy/shady ones I absolutely wanted to know what was coming next. I also wanted to slap a few of them lol, sometimes you love to love characters and sometimes the ones you hate are just as captivating - if not more so, 4/5 for me!

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Wednesday, 22 March 2023

The Housewife by Alex Kane

The HousewifeThe Housewife by Alex Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 278

Publisher - Hera Books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Even perfect mothers have secrets…

Leah. She’s the perfect mum to ten-year-old Samuel, wife to loving husband Thomas, head of the PTA. But her closet is full of skeletons - and if the truth gets out, her world could be destroyed.

Annie. She’s the gangster’s moll with a brain. She might be a woman, but she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty to play the men at their own game. But what no one knows is the devastating secret haunting her.

Terry. He’s the king of Glasgow gangland, working his way up from estate to mansion. From drugs to guns, there’s nothing he won’t stop at to grow his dirty money. He might be a hard man, but his weakness is women.

As their three stories collide, the lives of each will never be the same. Because even perfect women hide dark secrets… Don’t they?

My Review

We open with someone being buried alive and trying to crawl out but the dirt keeps coming! Ooft nice shock opener. Meet Terry, gangster boss who keeps a tight leash on what is it, respect is earned and disrespected dealt with, harshly. We have two leading ladies in the book and flip between both, Annie seemingly comes from nowhere into Terry's life and fits in perfectly. Leah is miles away from the estate life and living with her hubby and 10 year old son Samuel. She has the PTA, drinks with the girls and a pretty tidy/nice life. As with all these types of books, everyone has secrets and things they need to hide but some are worse than others and some you just cannot outrun!

A lot of the scenes take place in the murkier parts so we see neglect, manipulation, drugs, coercion, shady and bad characters oh and murder of course! The book setting is Mainshill Estate in Glasgow, Mainshill Estate is fictional but absolutely drawn from real estates and if you are familiar with Glasgow then there are places you will absolutely recognise, see inspired Mainshill.

We see a glimpse of some of the darker side of humanity, the chapters are quite short and Kane creates a small world of dodgies, crime/gangsters and those who hang off their coat tails wanting a piece of the pie, ruled by them and the world they live in. 4/5 for me this time, perfect escapism with some shade, violence and stepping into a world of hardened criminals and some right dodgy biscuits :D

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