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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