Tuesday 31 January 2023

The Guilty Couple by C L Taylor

The Guilty CoupleThe Guilty Couple by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Avon

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was wrongfully convicted of plotting to murder her husband.

Now she's finally free, Olivia has three goals: repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, clear her name, and bring down her husband – the man who framed her.

Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her? Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…

My Review

We open with Olivia Sutherland, in the courtroom, defendant, accused of attempted murder on her husband. She is staring at the jury, she is staring at her husband, she cannot believe this is happening to her. Flip five years later, she is out, she wants nothing more than to see the wean who is a teenager now and clear her name because she knows she is innocent, her husband set her up, by why?

We have a wee insight into jail life with Olivia and then we are outside and free with her. I found some of her actions/choices so infuriating, I get it - I don't think many of us would be thinking straight and acting right but man she is so lucky, the chances she took!

The chapters flip between Olivia (wife), Dominic (husband) and Dani (personal trainer to Olivia and servicing officer) and as we hear from each we learn a little more as the story unravels of who the key players are, what they have done and what their focus is.

The book starts off sharp and pretty much keeps up the pace/focus of the reader. I wanted to know how and why, what is coming next and how Olivia is going to get through this without getting her butt thrown back to jail.

I do enjoy Taylor's books I think I have read them all now, I look forward to the next 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 23 January 2023

Together Again by Milly Johnson

Together, AgainTogether, Again by Milly Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages -

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Sisters, Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their childhood home the huge and beautiful Fox House following the death of their mother, the cold and impenetrable Eleanor Vamplew, to arrange the funeral and sell up. Born seven years apart, the women have never bonded and are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes templates of beautiful relationships even though her marriage to the handsome and charming Warren is a barren wasteland.

Marsha, the neglected middle child has put every bit of her energy into her work hoping money would plug up the massive gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart, only to find it never has. And now he has been forced back into her life.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian, until now. It is therefore a surprise to all of them to discover that Eleanor recently changed her will to leave everything to the daughter she considered a wretched accident.

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told - and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars, and of finding, in each other, the love they have all been deprived of. Together, Again is about vulnerability and strength, acceptance and family.

My Review

A family of sisters brought together by the death of their mum. One sister has been awol for a while and isn't how they remember her. Jolene is a well known author with her own problems, Marsha is your classic middle child syndrome and Annis the runaway aloof youngest who has changed so much and surrounded in mystery. Their mother was cold, aloof, keeping up appearances and everything was about her love for her husband. As the girls try to work their way through sorting mothers affairs as well as their own unexpecting feelings/issues.

Families, they can be rough as, there is no doubting the siblings all have their own form of issues from how they were treated and raised. The mother is a cold fish and whilst her passing is what kick starts the novel we do hear from her a little and get some insight as the book goes on.

Johnson creates characters you love, characters you hate, characters you pity and or want to hear more about. The book delves into secrets, lies, relationships, personal growth, love and trying to overcome the long reaches the past has on you. Whilst she looks at relationships of different varieties she touches on some darker and shocking themes, coercive control, gaslighting, manipulation, abuse but also brighter and happier aspects too. Using many of the true issues and hardships and or battles some of us face in real life so evokes emotional responses from the reader or just grasps them whilst she creates her characters worlds and draws you in.

It is no surprise I loved this, I am a big fan of Johnson's books, having a slump - read a Johnson, want to lose yourself in dramas that isn't your own, Johnson! 5/5 for me, I have read most of her books but do need to check Goodreads and Fantasticfiction to see what all I have missed.

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Thursday 19 January 2023

The Drift by C J Tudor

The DriftThe Drift by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Three ordinary people risk everything for a chance at redemption in this audacious, utterly gripping novel of catastrophe and survival at the end of the world, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. During a hasty escape from a secluded boarding school, her coach careened over a hillside road during one of the year's heaviest snowstorms, trapping her inside with a handful of survivors, a brewing virus, and no way to call for help. If she and the remaining few want to make it out alive, with their sanity--and secrets--intact, they'll need to work together or they'll be buried alive with the rest of the dead.

A former detective, Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She is in a cable car suspended far above a snowstorm and surrounded by strangers in the same uniform as her, with no memory of how they got there. They are heading to a mysterious place known to them only as "The Retreat," but when they discover a dead man among their ranks and Meg spies a familiar face, she realizes that there is something far more insidious going on.

Carter is gazing out the window of the abandoned ski chalet that he and his ragtag compatriots call home. Together, they manage a precarious survival, manufacturing vaccines against a deadly virus in exchange for life's essentials. But as their generator begins to waver, the threat of something lurking in the chalet's depths looms larger, and their fragile bonds will be tested when the power finally fails--for good.

The imminent dangers faced by Hannah, Meg, and Carter are each one part of the puzzle. Lurking in their shadows is an even greater threat--one that threatens to consume all of humanity.

My Review

I will firstly say I have read almost all of this authors books and do really enjoy her writing and how she creates characters/atmosphere. So I do look forward to her next books and this one was no exception. The book surrounds three different groups of people and it is tense tense tense.

Carter and crew are in an abandoned ski resort, they call home and work on the vaccine to deal with the deadly virus that has swept the globe. Meg wakes up with strangers in a cable car suspended in the air, they are all knocked out and start waking and trying to recall how they got there. Hannah and her travelling companions are on a coach after escaping from the boarding school when they end up trapped, danger all around and no way to call for help!

Ooft the atmosphere and tension, some of it gave me The Things vibes, you know something bad could be in someone next to you and it is life threatening. Also the isolation all the group have, the guys at the retreat/chalet can come and go but there is still immanent threat about so they are effectively stranded although maybe not as bad as the cable car and bus guys.

There are a lot of characters and three separate scene settings which I don't always love as it can be distracting however Tudor writes it well you keep track no problem and when something kicks off on one group you don't want to leave to the next chapter. Then you are with the other group and its the same thing, I just wanted to know everything already.

Tudor keeps you on your toes and absolutely immersed in the carnage that follows as each group tries to survive. I had no idea where we were heading or what each endgame was going to be, that isn't always easy for authors especially when you have voracious readers. Yet she keeps it fresh every time and in this book we get three separate groups/happenings/stories that keep you hooked and guessing.

I think I only have one more story of hers to read and I so look forward to it, I think Master King gave a favourable quote to one of her works and he wasn't wrong. Exciting, shocking, horrific scenes, a deadly virus and in amongst trying to survive some humans will still be awful and some will show amazing feats of strength, loyalty and character, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 15 January 2023

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 419

Publisher - Bloomsbury

Source - Friend gave me her copy

Blurb from Goodreads

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.

At least, he’s not a beast all the time.

As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

From bestselling author Sarah J. Maas comes a seductive, breathtaking book that blends romance, adventure, and faerie lore into an unforgettable read.

My Review

So I have never read this author but heard/seen the books/series all over book clubs, book tok etc but I got my copy off a friend who struggled to get into it. First heads up and warning, the opening chapter has animal death, Feyre is a bit Katniss Everdeen style character. Poor, struggling, she has her bow and arrow and is hunting to keep her siblings and father from starving. It is the event there that changes her life and sees her forced to live with immortal faeries that she and her fellow humans hate.

The book covers so much, family, character, strength, romance, survival, treachery, different beings, humans and faeries. I got Beauty and the Beast vibes from it too, instead of books/library it is paintings and a love of art. Some of the characters really annoyed me, like the whole family let the youngest, Feyre, go out hunting, risking herself whilst they stayed safe at home, only coming out with the lure of money from a sale from Feyre's hard graft. This is a tiny part but it really enraged me, some of the stuff that happens over in Faerie Lands. Like I love a riddle (I suck at them though) and any type of quest especially so much at stake however the shady underhanded behaviours of X was like really, why? How is that an actual show of power but that is just a wee thing that irked me too. There is a lot to like to be fair, it has magic, romance, hierarchy, evil, murder, lots of elements and the series is hugely loved by many, for me 3/5.

For me it is a good foundation and book one of a series, I will be reading book two to see what is next in store

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Saturday 7 January 2023

The Last Girl to Die by Helen Fields

The Last Girl To DieThe Last Girl To Die by Helen Sarah Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon Books

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

The island watched and wept…

In search of a new life, sixteen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.

Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.

The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?

My Review

This is a standalone. A young girl has gone missing, the police don't seem overly convinced, the family are at their wits end so hire a private detective, Sadie. The police don't like her interfering and worse when she finds Adriana, dead and mutilated. There is a killer on the loose, Sadie and the police are at logger heads, the locals are shaken, some helpful, some not so much and as with all small towns, lots and lots of secrets.

Oh guys Sadie is feisty! She will not take any nonsense from the local police, nor will she be threatened nor bullied out of town. Her promise is to her clients, the poor girls family and she won't stop digging until they get the answers.

Some of the scenes are absolutely brutal and what is done to Adriana, graphic descriptions as Sadie is a PI and going through her findings and us with her as the reader so be warned. There is a lot of anger, hostility, threats and brutality, Fields doesn't shy away from creating scenarios and characters that are reflective of the uglier sides of humanity.

It has a good pace, horrific murder and then trying to pull through secrets, lies and sure is there not always folk hiding stuff for one reason or another. Sometimes Sadie annoyed me I was like don't do that, don't say that, ahhhh why are you touching that! But she was also fierce and despite being scared in X situations she never backed off from trying to get answers and keeping her word. 4/5 for me this time, I do like Fields books and whilst this one had a few graphic shocks (I have a shell we got on the beach I can now never look at the same way) along the way it is gripping and well for me anyway, kept me guessing.

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Tuesday 3 January 2023

Heartbeat by Danielle Steel

HeartbeatHeartbeat by Danielle Steel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Dell

Source - Mum bought me it

Blurb from Goodreads

Bill Thigpen, writer producer of the No.1 daytime TV drama was so busy watching his career soar that he never noticed his marriage collapse. Now, nine years later, living alone in Hollywood, even without his wife and kids, his life and success are still reasonably sweet. Top-of-the-chart ratings, good-natured casual affairs, and special vacations with his two young sons. His life is in perfect balance, he thinks.
Adrian Townshed thought she had everything: a job she liked as a TV production assistant and a handsome husband who was a rising star in his own field. In as enviable life they'd worked hard for--the American Dream. Until she got pregnant. Suddenly all she had was chaos. And Steven's ultimatum. Him or the baby. The question was: did he mean it? He did.
Bill Thigpen and Adrian Townshed collided in a supermarket. And the very sight of her suddenly makes him want more in his life.... a woman he really loves, a real family again. But does he need the heartache of another man's baby, another wife? Neither does. But they couldn't help it.
Danielle Steel touches the Heartbeat of two wonderful people as their friendship deepens into love, as they meet the obstacles that life presents with humor, humanity, and courage.

My Review

Bill Thigpen is the writer of a super popular tv show, his marriage ended due to his over commitment to the show but he still sees the kids, not as much as he would like and he is keeping commitment free so as not to get hurt. Adrian Townsend is beautiful, successful news reader & the perfect (for her) husband, Steven, although she is esentially estranged really from her family/friends because of Steven. Life with Stephen is great (according to them as the reader I can't say I agree) until Adrian falls pregnant and Stephen gives her the worst ultimatum, its him or the child.

I have to say I really struggled with Adrian's whole behaviour/attitude to Steven and I know a lot of it is being in that type of relationship. It just shows the long hold a person can have even when one escapes their clutches but I found it insanely frustrating. Bill is such a sweetie and so patient/understanding and rare to find someone like that.

There is a central theme when discussing Steven or when he appears for pressure/emotional blackmail, underhanded tactics to try and pressure Adrian to choose him over the pregnancy so I think a warning is needed here just because it can be a lot for someone to read depending on their background.

I went back and forth on Adrian and was invested in seeing where the story went, 3.5/5 for me.

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