Tuesday 25 July 2023

All Of Us Are Broken by Fiona Cummins

All Of Us Are BrokenAll Of Us Are Broken by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out as able over 3 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Macmillan

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

It’s been a long time since the Hardwicke family has been on holiday. But thirteen-year-old Galen has wanted to see the wild dolphins at Scotland’s Chanonry Point for as long as she can remember, and her mother Christine – a lone parent since her beloved husband left – is determined she gets her wish. But their serene trip is about to be interrupted.

When DC Saul Anguish is called to investigate the shooting of an ex-police officer in Midtown-on-Sea, Essex, he quickly discovers that this is the first in a string of killings by Missy and Fox, a damaged young couple hell-bent on infamy, their love story etched in blood. In pursuit, Saul follows their trail north.

The paths of the Hardwickes' and the deadly couple are about to collide. When Saul and his forensic linguist partner, Blue, arrive on the scene, they witness the unthinkable: a mother forced to make an impossible choice.

Saul must uncover the truth about the couple. But can he find the strength to lay the ghosts of his past to rest before they break him?

My Review

Christine Hardwicke is doing her best, for her and her two kids Galen (teen girl) and Tom younger boy, since her husband left. In a bid to fix her broken family they head for a holiday to a the Scottish Highlands. Fox and Missy are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, they know how things will play out but all they care about is each other and noone and nothing is getting in their way!

Ooft explosive, breath holding at points, shocking, edge of your seat moments peppered throughout the book. We jump between chapters and characters to lead up to the opening chapter, an unimaginable standoff and not everyone is likely to come out alive dun dun duuuuuuuuun.

We also have DC Saul and side kick/partner forensic linguistic partner. We met them before in another book (if you haven't read it fear not you can pick up here but absolutely get the other cos its fantastic and you are missing out) - they are very different law official people and have a unique but strong bonded relationship, prepare some gasps if you don't already know their story. All of the above end up on the same path, Saul investigating, Fox and Missy causing murder/mayhem and chaos and the poor Hardwickes just are wrong place wrong time.

Cummins has a talent for sure, drops you right into an action or shocking scene then taking us back to get to know the players. It is brutal, fast faced, no one is safe and you will struggle to put it down when real life duties come a calling, 4.5/5 for me.

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Sunday 16 July 2023

A Tiding of Magpies by Steve Burrows

A Tiding of Magpies (Birder Murder Mystery, #5)A Tiding of Magpies by Steve Burrows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Point Blank

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When his most celebrated case is suddenly reopened, Detective Chief Inspector Jejeune‘s long-buried secrets threaten to come to light. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Lindy, faces an unseen threat of her own, one from which even Jejeune may not be able to protect her. Between fending off inquiries from the internal review and an open murder case that brings more questions than answers, Jejeune will have to rely on the help of the stalwart Sergeant Danny Maik more than ever. But Maik is learning things that cause him to question his DCI‘s actions, both past and present. In the current case, and in the former one, the facts seem clear enough. But it is in the silences, those empty spaces between the facts, that the truth is to be found.

My Review

Ooft Jejeune is under investigation from internal affairs, well his most high profile and celebrated case. Jejeune's girlfriend Lindy is under threat (and not aware) and Jejeune tries to protect her from an evil adversary who will stop at nothing. As well as all this we have a new case/death to be investigated, this is book five of a series, I would recommend reading them before this.

So I really like these books, they are different, murder mystery but also has birds mentioned, Jejeune is an avid bird watcher/lover and I do like learning about species and googling books that come up. There is talk of murdering birds in this one, like on a mass level, rewarded by the government (basically a threat to one species purity by another). I looked this up because I am nosey and it was an actual thing :(

I didn't find myself engaging as much with this one, the things you come to like about Jejeune isn't quite there in this one, to the point his colleagues notice his change too. Preoccupation with the threat to Lindy, his big case and a secret he has been keeping.

It is still an interesting story for sure but not my favourite of the series, I have another to read after this so hoping it gets back to what it was in the previous four books, 3/5 for me this time.

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Friday 14 July 2023

Everyone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena Blog Tour

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

About the author

Shari Lapena is one of the best-known thriller writers working today. Every one of her thrillers has been a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. She has spent a total of 76 weeks in the top 10 and has sold over 7 million copies across all titles and formats worldwide. Her debut, The Couple Next Door, was the overall bestselling fiction title in the UK in its year of publication and has been optioned for TV by Paramount. For more information about Shari and her books, you can visit Shari’s website here: https://sharilapena.com/.

Buy link for the book, OUT NOW, from Amazon UK.

Everyone Here Is LyingEveryone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Bantam books

Source - Arc

Blurb from Goodreads

Welcome to Stanhope! A safe neighborhood. A place for families.

William Wooler is a family man, on the surface. But he's been having an affair, an affair that ended horribly this afternoon at a motel up the road. So when he returns to his house, devastated and angry, to find his difficult nine-year-old daughter, Avery, unexpectedly home from school, William loses his temper.

Hours later, Avery's family declares her missing.

Suddenly Stanhope doesn't feel so safe. And William isn't the only one on his street who's hiding a lie. As witnesses come forward with information that may or may not be true, Avery's neighbors become increasingly unhinged.

Who took Avery Wooler?

Nothing will prepare you for the truth.

My Review

Ooft buckle in folks! Imagine your worst day, you are happily having an affair and out the blue it is ended, you are dumped. You are angry, upset, confused and head home early to try get your head around it but your kid is unexpectedly home too. You loose your temper, you leave furious and later your kid has gone missing. A bad day is about to get so much worse. And the thing is it isn't just the cheater(s), just about everyone in this book is going to have a bad day that gets worse!

A missing kid, affairs, shady neighbours, everyone is a suspect, tis like a modern day murder she wrote (for the hunners of suspects rather than muuuuuuurder), I was accusing everyone. This goes from bad to worse and just when you think ooft that person's day can't get any worse, it bloody does :D

I think the pull for these kind of books is how normal and relatable (ish ) well some of them lol, the characters are, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, neighbours - every day people. And the impact some decisions/acts can have not just on themselves and the ripples of their behaviours.

If I hadn't been working I would have probably got through this in one sitting, it is no secret we are big Lapena fans in here. Not everyone can write flawed/dodgy characters that doesn't turn a reader off or just annoy them, Lapena creates ones that whilst they can be unsavoury/shady you absolutely keep riveted, glued to the page and either root for them and or their demise. Already looking forward to the next one, this book is out to buy now, 4.5/5.

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Thursday 13 July 2023

Silent Sisters by Jenny Tomlin

Silent SistersSilent Sisters by Jenny Tomlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 385

Publisher - Hodder

Source - ?bought, it has been on my tbrm for years

Blurb from Goodreads

For years, Jenny and sister Kim suffered horrendous physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father. They survived in part because of their closeness and their determination to be there for each other. Both sisters left home at the earliest opportunity to escape but before long, Jenny was embroiled in a relationship with an abusive man that kept her locked in a cycle of violence and fear. Their lives followed parallel paths, with first marriage, then kids and always the terror that things would never change. Eventually, with a lot of love, grit and courage they helped each other to climb out of the pit of despair and truly free themselves from the legacy of the past. Every bit as harrowing and inspiring as Behind Closed Doors, this is a story of the power of unstintingly loyal love.

My Review

So this author has written a few books like this and there is certainly one before this if not more. The book before this is referenced and covers the authors abuse growing up at the hands of her parents, her and her siblings horrifically abused. Her father committing the worst atrocities a father could do to their child and their mother failing to protect them in any way. This book the author focuses on her adulthood, leaving home and finding her way in the world, adult relationships and sadly repeating the history of her mother, falling for an abusive partner.

The book is extremely graphic, the abuse this poor woman experienced at the hands of her father and then her partner, the book covers physical, mental and sexual abuse. It is hard hitting even if you are from a place where you have never experienced anything like this, if you come from a place where you experience this first hand it will absolutely trigger some of your own memories so just a heads up.

I hadn't read the blurb nor any of the authors other books so was surprised when a very famous name popped up as one of the family members, just shows you never know what goes on behind closed doors or someone's history.

I have read many true stories books like this were abuse features heavily but this one really hit hard, these woman have came through and survived so much, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 9 July 2023

Sh!t Bag by Xena Knox

SH!T BAG: A darkly funny story about life with an ostomy bagSH!T BAG: A darkly funny story about life with an ostomy bag by Xena Knox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 296

Publisher - Hodder Children's books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

'Come along with me on this sh!tty ride or bail out now. It's your choice . . .'

When Freya collapses and wakes up with a temporary ileostomy bag on her stomach, her dreams of the perfect summer go down the toilet. Instead of partying in the Algarve, she's packed off to 'Poo Camp' - a place for kids with bowel disease to 'bond'.

And things can only get worse. Someone has started calling her 'Sh!t Bag' . . . and it's catching on.

Freya decides to live up to the nickname, raging at her friends, her ex and the world. Only her campmate Chris seems to see past her new attitude . . .

Can Freya get her sh!t together or will she end up with just her bag by her side?

A fresh, fierce and funny story about what happens when life literally goes to sh!t.

My Review

Meet Freya, a regular sixteen year old, popular, hockey player, dating one of the popular boys, she has it all. Until she collapses and wakes in hospital to find she has an ileostomy and everything changes. Kids can be brutal, judgemental, and something like an ileostomy can have such a huge life changing impact, regardless of age. We follow Freya trying to come to terms with life now as she knows it, the impact on her body, her friends, her relationship, her family and her own body image. When she goes to a camp, against her will, Freya finds people similar to herself and trying to work through her rage and coming to terms with her new name and bag.

I think having the protagonist as a sixteen year old is a great move, whilst the majority of characters are teenagers the way the book is written, regardless of your age you can absolutely relate to the situations/interactions. Body image is something many of us, regardless of age and gender, struggle with and or have issue with as we grow. Add into that suddenly having an ileostomy so we go through a very important journey and education alongside Freya aka Sh!t bag.

The book looks at relationships, health journey, self acceptance, friendships and I think and this is so important and educates about stoma's, particularly ileostomy's. A book that teaches/educates in a non preachy and more with a *living example, you get to go with them as they endure/have their life experiences is so important. I love books like that, it helps give readers empathy and an understanding, in this case, how something as simple as a jokey nickname (pretty cruel as often can be) can impact on someone. It also shows strength of character and the vast array of emotions a person can go through having such a huge change to their lives/body and the importance of peoples attitudes to themselves and others.

It has quirks, humour, a lot of swearing (I mean the title should give the reader a heads up), anger, some teen angst but the books overall message is so much more than that. I would love to see more books that do this, I think "Sh!t Bag" is echoing for Ileostomy's what "Still Alice" did for Alzheimer's by giving you a person to relate to, going through it, and an insight into living with a medical condition, 4/5 for me.

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Friday 7 July 2023

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 287

Publisher - Mass Market Paperback

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE on the planet...

My Review

these books have been around for decades, I am sure I read Mort or Equal Rites as a teen but don't remember them much at all and this is book one in the series. I don't know if the characters we are introduced to are all throughout the series or just an opening/foundation building book. We get glimpses and back story on how the world came to be. Class divisions, for example we have a wizard who only knows one great spell and seems to be not very good at much else, maybe being lucky. There is a vip visitor (Two flower) to their side of the world and after getting into some trouble Rincewind (the wizard) is to be his guide.

I loved the suitcase, talk about a minute *character stealing the show lol, I loved when it was in a scene. I can't say I clicked with any other characters or had any stand out moments but there is humours, nonsense, silliness, plots for muuuuuuuurder, magic, spells, mystical creatures.

Fantasy book, quirky characters, skulduggery, adventures, so many people love this book and series, I think it was a good start and likely once I have read more of the series this book would have a better impact with me. Glad I started the series and plan to read more at some point 3/5.

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Monday 3 July 2023

Justice in the Age of Judgment by Anne and Doug Bremner

Justice in the Age of Judgment: From Amanda Knox to Kyle Rittenhouse and the Battle for Due Process in a Digital AgeJustice in the Age of Judgment: From Amanda Knox to Kyle Rittenhouse and the Battle for Due Process in a Digital Age by Anne Bremner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 248

Publisher - SkyHorse Publishing

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

In Justice in the Age of Judgement, Anne Bremner and Doug Bremner take us inside some of the biggest cases of recent times and offers her expert, thought-provoking insights and analysis as our legal system faces unprecedented forces fighting to tip the scales of justice their way. Why couldn’t prosecutors convict O.J. Simpson despite all of the evidence seemingly proving he killed his wife Nicole? Could a jury remain unbiased in the face of overwhelming public pressure in the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd? Why was Kyle Rittenhouse exonerated after shooting three people (killing two) with an assault rifle at a violent rally despite widespread media reports seemingly proving his guilt, and national calls for his conviction?

Justice in the Age of Judgement is an unparalleled and unflinching look at the captivating cases tried on Twitter and TV, where the burden of proof and fundamental legal tenet of “innocent until proven guilty” is under assault from the court of public opinion.

My Review

I love reading true crime books and those covering court cases. Everybody has heard of Amanda Knox and the case, it was hugely publicised and on the news so much. There are many cases in the book that you will know and some I didn't, all are fascinating.

The first few chapters the author takes us through how she came to take the case and then the next what it is like to be in the jury. We then go into the cases, the author gives facts and some commentary on her thoughts as we explore the cases. Her brother doesn't come into the book until much later and gives his take.

I found the examinations and views of the public, social media and how this influences and or influenced cases so interesting. There is information on Amanda Knox and how corrupt some things were, professionals involved in her case (I remember the trial in the news but not a lot of actual details). After seeing a high profile case (not murder) and then how some of it was spun in the media, portrayal and attack on individuals and peoples views it does make you appreciate just how shocking it can be. It makes you question agendas, why people are doing XYZ whereas in days of old you just assumed the police/courts got it right and it was looking at innocence and guilt whereas the reality is what you can prove and nowadays the sway/pressure of the public opinion.

The cases are quite short snippets, just a few pages (excluding Amanda Knox as she features more than once in the book) and I would like more in depth on the cases as they are really interesting. I would like to see more cases examined like in this book. Darrell Brooks I think, I still cannot believe what I watched on the days I managed to catch snippets from the court. The Depp vs Heard case (whilst not murder it was televised and public opinion was huge on this, even now still debated). There are so many cases that I feel this book could absolutely be a series of books, there is so much material/cases that could be used and examined but again I would like more depth on the cases as it is a very interesting read, 4/5 for me.

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Sunday 2 July 2023

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly LoveUgly Love by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 333

Publisher - Atria books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

My Review

Tate meets Miles, her brothers best pal, Tate has moved across the way and Miles is a current feature, the two are instantly attracted to each other. Thing is Tate is a girl who totally wants the whole love/9 yards, Miles absolutely does not do nor want love. He is very attracted to Tate and he would never disrespect his friend or sister but the attraction is too much too ignore. How can two people wanting the same but opposite things, keep their "relationship" a secret and not hurt each other because neither can give what the other wants.

So the book goes between two timelines, the now with Tate and Miles and the past where we get snippets of what happened to Miles for him to be so adverse to love and the concept of relationships/love. I got a bit twitchy, we know they are bootie calls (some graphic scenes) but the way Miles treats Tate at times I was like come on!

The book covers some sad/emotive topics and if you have read Hoover before you know she touches on some dark themes. I found some of it really good and absolutely wanted to get to the bottom of why Miles was the way he was. Sometimes I wanted to deck him, sometimes I wanted to hug him, Tate really got me wound up, doormat, where is the self respect, girl come on! The stuff that annoyed me really annoyed me but I was interested in seeing what was coming next for them. For all of that its a 3/5 for me.

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