Tuesday 30 April 2024

Taste of Blood by Lynda La Plante

Today is my review as part of the #TeamTennison project, enjoy.

Taste of Blood (Jane Tennison #9)Taste of Blood by Lynda La Plante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Pages - 403

Publisher - Zaffre

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Detective Jane Tennison made a bad choice.

She was the one who put in a transfer to the quiet, local police station in Bromley, keen to escape the relentless pressure of her former West End department.

Now she regrets her decision. The tedium of petty crime investigations even makes her question remaining in the force.

But then a complicated domestic assault case lands on her desk - one that might still result in a murder charge if the victim dies of his injuries.

The warring neighbours who witnessed the assault intrigue Jane. The case has a sinister underbelly, she can sense it. And when Jane discovers a handsome young boy had recently disappeared after the tragic death of his girlfriend, every family in the private close becomes a suspect.

As Tennison hunts for the link between the crimes, she uncovers a truth more shocking than she could have contemplated. One that will either make her career - or break it.

My Review

Jane has transferred to a smaller/quieter station, really what was she thinking, we all know she loves to be in the thick of it. The new place mostly investigates small crimes - not a long more than petty squabbles in some cases and it isn't long before Jane questions her choice. An ongoing feud with neighbours turns into an assault with one landing in hospital, badly injured. Jane and co have to investigate and as is with Jane's track record there may be more to the incident and squabbles than first thought. Neighbours can often have secrets and some darker than others, could that explain the erratic behaviours by some of the residents?

So whilst this book looks at an assault and then ?a missing person (older case) we find Jane doing what she does best, digging where folk don't want her to until she gets her answers. We also get a lot more of the person side with Jane, family, relationships and touching on loss and issues that often come hand in hand. She is a bit more tetchy and feisty in this book, she has found her feet and her voice and is a strong character who doesn't suffer fools gladly.

At one point I wanted to hug her, I also went through a few irritational moments with her. This book has a very domestic feel to it both in the investigation and her private life. I like that, this is book nine, we have been with Tennison from the start so it is nice to get a bit more meat from the characters as well as the police stuff. 4/5 for me this time, a few themes that will be emotive to some people. Huge fans of La Plante and really enjoying the Tennison series, looking forward to the next book and seeing what is next for oor Jane.

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Saturday 27 April 2024

The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson

The Happiest Ever AfterThe Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Polly Potter is surviving, not thriving. She used to love her job – until her mentor died and her new boss decided to make her life hell. She used to love her partner Chris – until he cheated on her, and now she can’t forget. The only place where her life is working is on the pages of the novel she is writing – there she can create a feistier, bolder, more successful version of herself – as the ­fictional Sabrina Anderson.

But what if it was possible to start over again? To leave everything behind, forget all that went before, and live the life you’d always dreamed of?

After a set of unforeseen circumstances, Polly ends up believing she really IS Sabrina, living at the heart of a noisy Italian family restaurant by the sea. Run by Teddy, the son of her new landlady Marielle, it’s a much-loved place, facing threat of closure as a rival restaurant moves in next door. Sabrina can’t remember her life as Polly, but she knows she is living a different life from the one she used to have.

But what if this new life could belong to her after all?

My Review

Aw Polly! Working in an environment where the men dominate, take all her ideas and pat themselves on the back for a good job. Home life isn't much better, her husband remains self involved, lack of attention to the little things despite saying he would try more after betraying her last year. When one finally act of selfishness on his part and his sister Polly gets the push to be like the character in her book and take off, Polly is ready for putting herself first for a chance. Life likes to mess with you and poor Polly ends up in a new town trying to piece everything together whilst her husband is feeling hard done by and continues to be a selfish pie!

The thing with Johnson books is she makes characters you love and characters you hate. Rooting for some and bursting for others to get their comeuppance. We all know a selfish partner, a busybody, a nasty selfish horror. The book draws you in and keeps you hooked despite it being very normal people in very normal settings.

Secrets, amnesia, love, lies, good hearted people, things going wrong, people rooting for each other and maybe just maybe a wee bit of karma for a few of those we desperately want it to. Warm hearted, emotive in parts, characters you genuinely care about and want to know what happens, even the bams, 4.5/5 for me.

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Wednesday 17 April 2024

A Glasgow Kiss by Sophia Gravia

A Glasgow KissA Glasgow Kiss by Sophie Gravia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 292

Publisher - Orion

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

A headbutt or a strike with the head to someone's sensitive area

Meet Zara Smith: 29, single and muddling her way through life as a trainee nurse in Glasgow. With 30 fast approaching, she's determined to do whatever it takes to find love - or at least someone to sext! Cheered on by best friends Ashley and Raj, Zara embarks on a string of dating escapades that are as hilarious as they are disastrous. From online dating to blind dates, hometown hook-ups to flirty bartenders, nothing is off limits.

But when Dr Tom Adams, aka Sugar Daddy, shows interest, it's a game-changing moment. Zara has had a crush on Tom since her very first day at the aesthetics clinic she works at part-time. As things heat up between them, Zara can't help but wonder: is this it? Or is it another disaster waiting to happen?

Filthy, hilarious and painfully relatable, Zara Smith is Bridget Jones for the millennial generation, from the writer of the Sex in the Glasgow City blog. Fans of Fleabag, Girls and Lucy Vine will love A Glasgow Kiss.

My Review

EVERYBODY has been talking about this book for ages and I hadn't gotten around to it but FOMO (fear of missing out) and it was (and still is at time of posting) only 99p on kindle so I got it. Zara is a student nurse trying to get to her end goal of becoming a nurse and working at an aesthetics clinic in between. One of the docs there is older and HOT but he is her work college so one can but drool and dream. We follow Zara and her dating disasters and what happens when your love life crosses over into your work life EEEK.

Guys this is your warning now, if you don't like spicy books this isn't for you, if you don't like graphic scenes with very descriptive body fluids scenes, this isn't for you. Zara has some "interesting" moments with those she dates and some very cringe moments. She is like Bridget Jones if Bridget covered more graphic/body fluids than the innocent/more gentle side of Bridget J we know.

I laughed, I cringed, I was mortified, I got annoyed at her and wanted her to have a backbone at times. I air punched at one point but that was more to do with someone I hated to someone I actually switched to liking. It is entertaining, shocking, boke inducing at times, friendship, relationships and the old when someone makes dumb decisions when dating someone they are hooked on. Zara tends to fall/forgive quickly which some will identify with some with be irritated with. Modern day dating, shameless, I had a riddy for her at parts but you definitely wanted to see where it went. Loads of folk LOVE this book, I liked it and will read book two but defo not in the omg it is amazing. I would say for those who haven't dated in a long time it is an eye opener of modern day dating, whilst it is fiction, from folk I know who are currently dating in these times, it isn't far off the mark in the truth stakes, it is wild out there, folk be wild lol, 3/5.

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Wednesday 10 April 2024

Can I speak to Josephine Please? by Sheila Brill Random Things Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for "Can I Speak To Josephine Please?" by Sheila Brill, for my stop please enjoy my non spoiler review, this is a RandomThingsTour.

About the author:

Since leaving the teaching profession in 1992, Sheila has worked as a Managing Editor, a tutor for foster carers and written for and edited a magazine for families, carers and teachers of children and young people with complex needs. She is a Public Involvement Partner, working as a Co-teacher at the University of the West of England, and an interviewer for paediatric nursing candidates. Originally from Glasgow, Sheila lived in London before moving to Bristol, where she now lives with her husband and son. Since completing her memoir, she has written and broadcast flash fiction.

You can buy your copy now available in kindle, audio and paperback from Amazon UK.

Can I speak to Josephine please?Can I speak to Josephine please? by Sheila Hilary Brill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 2 days

Pages - 356

Publisher - Resilient Books

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Theirs was an unlikely life together. Sheila gave birth to Josephine on 11th May 1993 and for twenty-three years they co-existed in a loving mother-daughter relationship, but one with a difference. Josephine suffered catastrophic brain injury at birth, never spoke to Sheila, rarely smiled and was barely able to see the faces of the people who loved her. Without a how-to guide, people around Josephine strove to make her life better through years of multiple medical procedures, tortuous therapies and uncomfortable equipment. But this isn't a misery memoir; it's the story of a person who touched the lives of so many people - a bright and beautiful young lady who could 'work the room'. despite her enormous limitations. She brought out the best in people. Expect to cry, expect to laugh, but don't expect to be indifferent to this story.

My Review

Buckle up guys we have a bit of an emotive road ahead of us. Meet Sheila, Josephine's mum we learn about the family - Sheila getting pregnant and being cared for by her Father in Laws colleagues, best of care. However when Sheila goes in to labour, the senior doc who was going to over see the labour and birth ends up not being there. A catalogue of mistakes, missed opportunities and downplaying leaves Sheila's new born baby with a catastrophic brain injury. We follow the family in the days/weeks/years after the wean is born. They are told to prepare for the worse (after the birth) as wee Josephine is very poorly and could die anytime.

It makes for really hard reading, Sheila is brutally honest about everything, her fears, what she seen and experienced, the difficulties facing not just being a new mum but one to a child with such profound and specialised needs. Add into that the fight for accountability and proving that everything that was done or lack of actions caused Josephine to have the difficulties she had.

It sounds very doom and gloom and don't get me wrong some of it is harrowing and heart breaking to read. However there is so much positivity to the book and the absolute specialness that Josephine had and overcame despite pretty much all the odds being against her.

It is a very raw at times read, dark, inspiring, uplifting, heroic and even gasp inducing moments. I think also if you have never had a child or loved one with additional needs, reading this book will offer a huge insight into it, how you can be mindful and actually help someone who has a loved one with these needs. I could actually hug Sheila after reading this! It seems Josephine was a very special young lady who touched the lives of those she came to know and love. Not for the faint hearted but I would absolutely recommend it to just about anyone, 4.5/5, I think this will stay with you long after you have finished the last page. I am very interesting in seeing the documentary film type they made and have contacted the author about where to view it!

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Monday 8 April 2024

April giveaway

Happy April you guys, here is hoping wee see some sunshine and weather change soon - more time for reading outside (one of our faves), only managed it twice this year so far.

So, what is up for grabs? Well, x1 book protector as shown.

Put my hand beside it so you can see it for scale, size ish.

And if that isn't enough, you know my wee I love reading magnetic bookmark, I finally found someone selling them again and bought more, so x1 as shown, also up for grabs.

This will be open worldwide as they are both lightweight. To enter, as always, use the Rafflecopter below, please only use the entries you have/plan to actualy complete.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not a Happy FamilyNot a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able over 4 days

Pages - 433

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets--especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don't come much richer than Fred and Sheila Merton. But even all their money can't protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you'd know.

Wouldn't you?

My Review

Oh you guys, you know we are big Lapena fans in this house anyway. Well this one we meet the Mertons, Fred and Sheila start the story being horrifically killed. As the book goes on we go back to the evening of their death and the big family dinner/reunion. Ooft the family are dysfunctional and that isn't the half of it. As the investigation into their deaths proceeds we learn more about them and the family, dudes we have a lot of not very nice people!

I think sometimes a book hits harder depending on how your life experiences are. My dad bought me this book and isn't it ironic how the book imitates life. People being more interested in what they can get when a loved one dies, this has ALWAYS been a huge bug bear of mine, such a disrespect to the person who has passed. The Mertons are RICH and we all know how many can make people.

So whilst you have the who done it/investigation aspect of the book the behaviours of the family really got their nails into me. I think sometimes we see the absolute ugliness of people when someone dies, greed, ugly sides of their personality and whilst it is a part of the book it isn't the heart of it but it packed a punch for me. Purely from the aspect that time and time again we have seen this when someone has passed. The Merton children are very different from each other and have turned out very different so hearing of their characters and reactions to their parents demise was interesting in itself, not including all that comes after. The book kept me guessing as Lapena always done, 4.5/5 for me this time. Prepare for some shady behaviours and not very nice people!

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Thursday 4 April 2024

The Know by Martina Cole

The KnowThe Know by Martina Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 629

Publisher - Headline

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Joanie Brewer' s children meant the world to her. She'd do anything to protect them, even resorting to prostitution and petty crime in order to feed and clothe them. So when her beautiful teenage daughter is raped and murdered, only one thing will stop Joanie's pain - seeing her daughter's killer brought to justice. Joanie knows who he is and she'll do whatever it takes to nail him...7

My Review

This one has some hard hitting themes, from the opening prologue you learn a child has died and been the victim of a predator. There are quite a few references to deviants so just a heads up not for the faint hearted. Joanie is working in the world's oldest profession, a lady of the night. Her oldest son is starting to make a name for himself and coming into his own with all things within the criminal world. Her eldest daughter has absolute middle child syndrome and is acting out trying to find her place and who she is. The youngest Kira is the antithesis of them all, sweet, innocent, loved and adored by them all well maybe not Jeanette so much (middle child) but even she can't keep up being mad at the wean.

The story has many dark themes, sa, murder, rape, violence, drug dependency, absolute deviants so you can imagine how seedy things get. The language can be pretty offensive and some of it not used nowadays but reflective of the characters and their time/place. Racism and white supremacy rears its ugly head in this one too so something to really grate on and hate many characters for.

When you think things couldn't get any worse, Cole keeps you on your toes and keeps shocking and bringing it. If you have read her books before you know what to expect. Short chapters and if you want a break from your own reality and sinking into shady characters and all manners of skulduggery, this is as good a place to start as any. It is a standalone too, 4/5 from us but proceed with caution, it is pretty shocking.

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Tuesday 2 April 2024

Dark Rooms by Lynda La Plante

Dark Rooms (Tennison, #8)Dark Rooms by Lynda La Plante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 3 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Zaffre

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Helena Lanark is the only one who knows about the horrors which once occurred in her family's house. The heiress of an immense family fortune, she now resides in a luxurious care home; her mind and memory fading fast. Jane Tennison is leading a murder investigation into the recent brutal death of a young girl, her decomposed, starved body discovered in an old air raid shelter in the garden of the Lanark's now derelict house. Initially the focus is on identifying the victim, until another body is found hidden in the walls of the shelter. As the investigation and search for answers intensifies, Jane travels to Australia. There she discovers the dark secret that the Lanark family has kept hidden for decades. A secret that not only threatens to bring down a family dynasty, but also places Jane Tennison in mortal danger . . .

My Review

Welcome to book eight in the Tennison series, you can read it as a standalone but the series is so fab and you would miss so much backstory/character development if you start here. Jane is into yet another new team but this time she will be the lead on a case her superiors aren't enthusiastic about. During work being done on an older wealthy owned estate a body is found chained up in an air raid shelter not on the building plans. Jane being the lead heads down and uncovers another body, this one causing more annoyance from Janes "superiors". Jane is like a dog with a bone and will stop at nothing to find out what happened and get justice and as always to the truth.

This book is really busy, it has a lot going on, the investigations, dealing with the original owners - the attitudes, more inappropriate attitudes, sexism, abuse of position, inappropriate conduct from Janes male counterparts. Honestly I feel in this one we see a different side to Jane, we get the usual where she is absolutely dedicated to the job and victims and regardless of who she may annoy or upset she is getting to the bottom of her case(s). I feel she was a bit more almost wreckless this time, in some of her behaviours, speaking freely about her case to the guy she has in doing work on the house.

We also see Jane dabbling with a relationship and maybe it was ripples from her previous relationships and why she is a bit different/guarded this time. Yet that being said there was also an incident within her home and something she did that I was shocked. Nothing overly major but just from what we know of Jane I felt it was so out of character, she seemed to have a different side showing this time. Not bad but just risks that I didn't expect from her, character development maybe, response to all she has been through, age, I don't know but it is certainly interesting to see her flash a bit off the straight and narrow so to speak.

Family secrets, scandals, touching on some horrific themes, SA, murder, abuse of power/status, police investigation and as always Janes metal at not being badgered or bullied into dropping something or behaving a certain way. I think that is why we are big Tennison fans, she has some flaws (don't we all) but she comes from a good place and always an advocate for the victims who can no longer speak for themselves, 4/5 from me.

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