Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Book Blogging is hard work and I almost quit and deleted the lot.

I decided to post something a little bit different today because I am behind with my reading and to be honest I have no current read books to review.

When I started this blog back in May I initially thought yeah, this will be easy.  I read loads of books anyway so hard how can it be to read a book, review it and then post it? Well, actually very hard. I started putting myself under pressure to read more and more when the reality was I wasn't enjoying the fact that I felt like I had to use every free second just to read a book. It stopped me loving to read and it started to feel more like a chore.  I needed to post a review regulary to keep people reading my blog and gain followers when the reality is I sometimes just don't have the time

I then discovered Netgalley where I could request proof copies and happily clicked away requesting more books than I needed and finding that actually I was requesting books that are not really my thing and then I have to review a book that I don't actually like.

I found myself feeling guilty for not reading enough books and reading books that I don't actually enjoy, just because it's the book that everyone else seems to be reading and so I should read it and love it to.  Truth was I don't even like some of them but I was trudging through them just because I felt I should.

Don't even get me started on the use of twitter.  Book Bloggers that have thousands of followers, blogs that have thousands of followers.  I am barely starting out and have managed to accumulate a grand following on twitter of 100 and followers of my blog zero. I felt like a failure even though I was new to this. I kind of assumed people would see this and like this and start interacting but nope.

Does that mean that my blog is rubbish? Why is no one liking my posts? Why does no one interact with me?   I post and comment and try my hardest to gain page views and receive very little in return.

I've had a good hard think about why I wanted to start this blog in the first place and that was to spread the love for the books I read and enjoy. So why then am I reading books that are not actually my cup of tea? Why am I getting hung up on followers?  That was not the reason I wanted to do this at all.

I took a step back and pondered whether to just delete the lot and forget all about it but there was this little niggle inside me that really doesn't want to do that.  Truth is I still love reading and reviewing, yeah it is more than a little addictive.

I have realised that I need to just be myself. Read the books that I love to read.  Not because I have to but because I want to and then post my little review.  If no one reads it or comments, so what.   Is it the end of the world if I don't have a load of followers? I actually don't want thousands of followers as that would put even more pressure on me.

I have decided that I am continuing because I want to.  I have and will always read and nothing will stop that ever.  I will post reviews when I get the chance and when I have no time than nothing will get posted.  The one thing I am doing is stopping getting fixated on page views.  If no one reads it, that's fine.  I am doing what makes me happy and that was the whole reason I started this blog.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll


Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.
It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.
Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.
With every passing Wednesday the warnings escalate, until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

My Review

This book was dark, creepy, unnerving and very unsettling.  The tension was kept right till the very end and I couldn't tear myself away from it.  We follow the story through Alice's eyes and also flashbacks to a young unknown boy until the threads are tied together in a very satisfying ending.

When Alice, a young reporter, receives a threatening phone call little does she know that what she first assumes is a prank call will result in her worst nightmare about to begin. Wednesdays are her stalkers day of choice and when Alice thinks back the prank call is not the first contact with her.

There is a whole host of potential suspects that are all blended into the story very nicely so much so that all the way through I was kept guessing who the real villain was.  I earmarked every male and sometimes some of the females as the potential stalker until the end reveal which I didn't see coming at all.

Even hiring a private investigator does not protect Alice in full.  The stalker is so determined to get his revenge that he will stop at nothing to get his message across.

I loved the depth of the bonds in the characters in this book and the scenes between Alice and her mother were very touching.

The flashback chapters gave us an insight into the hard childhood that the villain had to endure and a glimpse into why Wednesdays were is day of choice.

I have nothing but good things to say about book this and cannot wait to read more from this author.  I could say a lot more about this but would be difficult to do so without giving the ending away.  

Monday, 30 September 2019

The Lying Room by Nikki French

This book had me gripped from page one and guessing right until the very end.  I read this in two sittings and honestly didn't want it to end.


‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared  to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

Author: Nikki French
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Publication Date: 3rd October 2019

My Review

This book had me gripped from page one and guessing right until the very end.  I read this in two sittings and honestly didn't want it to end.

Neve is a people person, she is constantly surrounded by an army of friends and whenever someone has a problem she is their go to person.  Her home life is chaotic, she's juggling raising 3 children, a depressive husband and a teenager that is due to go to university but has been a very troublesome teenager.  There really is no wonder that Neve fell into an illicit affair with her new boss,Saul.

When Saul, is found brutally murdered in his flat Never goes into overdrive. She has to protect her family from the secret life that she has been living but it's far harder than she ever imagined.  She is also not the only person that has been keeping secrets and the book just keeps revealing more and more from not one but all of the characters.

I really loved the complex character of Neve.  She just came alive on the page.  You could literally feel her strength but at times you got to see her almost crumble.  One scene that really stood out for me was when she went out to spend time with Whiskey, the little family pet guinea pig.  It was very touching and such a normal thing to do.  It was nice to have a book that didn't have the expected cat or dog as the family pet and Yes, I am a guinea pig lover so that was a big plus from me.

As the book twists and turns and we get to better know Neve, and her friends it's not long before Neve is secretly looking at each of them as the potential murderer.

This book was very fast paced just how I like my books to be.  My only little niggle was the murder scene. It was a little far fetched.  However, having never been in that position myself who knows what would be possible to cover up a crime.

I could write about this chilling book for a long time however that would mean revealing too much of the storyline and I really don't want to spoil this for anyone wanting to read this so all I can say is just read it.  If your a lover of Crime fiction this in my opinion is a winner.

Friday, 27 September 2019

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal


Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…
Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.
After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.
Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

Author: Barbara O'Neal
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 16th July 2019

I purchased a copy of this book to read and review.

My Review

This book was a game of two halves for me.  So, firstly the title put me off.  At first glance I assumed it would be more of a fantasy book, which I am not so big a fan of but when I really looked at the cover and took the time to read the book description I immediately knew this would be a book I would enjoy.
When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel by [O'Neal, Barbara]

The book was for me a little slow places but I did persevere and I am so glad I did.  The book drew me in and the characters got under my skin and came to life. As I approached the middle of the book I struggled to put it down as the threads started to come together and the tragic pasts were revealed.

The two sisters are the total opposites.  Firstly, there is a Kit, she's worked hard to be a doctor and now works in the ER department.  He job and surfing is her life along with her cat, Hobo.  She's lives near to her mother and near to the sea.  Her sister Josie was wild and reckless falling in with the wrong crowd as a teenager she ran off to Europe where she was caught up in a terrorist attach and presumed dead.  When Kit spots a woman who looks the spitting image of Josie she sets off to New Zealand to find out the truth.

Mari, previously known as Josie, is not all she seems.  She is living the perfect life under the guise of a terrible lie.  The one thing she doesn't want to happen is for her sister Kit to appear out of the blue and destroy her web of lies but the things soon spiral out of her control.

This book seamlessly flicks between the past and the present.  Both the sisters did not have the prefect upbringing and when a lone boy named Drew enters the family they both fall in love with him but Drew is damaged beyond repair and they are saving him and much as he is saving them.  

I enjoyed getting to know the complex character of Drew.  His story was never fully revealed but the author cleverly drip fed enough information about him to make him intriguing and mysterious.  I still don't know if I loved him or hated him.

I loved the way that this book gently dug into each characters hopes and fears and portrayed them as the damaged individuals that they are.  The scars that they'd all accumulated along the path of life would probably never truly fully heal but they were starting to try and move on.  

Both sisters had one thing in common and that was their love of surfing. A sport that they undertook that enabled them to forget about life for a short while and be at one with the sea.

This book although a slow burner for me soon had me hooked.  A story of love, loss, heartbreak and unbreakable bonds.  Everything I love in a book.

Monday, 23 September 2019

The Girls who went to War by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi.


The personal accounts of three young women who joined up in 1940.

In the summer of 1940, Britain stood alone against Germany.  The British Army stood at just over one and a half million men, while the Germans had three times that many, and a population almost twice the size of ours from which to draw new waves of soldiers.  Clearly, in the fight against Hitler, manpower alone wasn't going to be enough.

Eighteen-year-old Jessie Ward defied her mother to join the ATS, Margery Poss signed up for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and nanny Kathleen Skin the WRNS.  They left quiet homes for the rigours of training, the camaraderie of the young women who worked together to closely and to face a war that would change their lives for ever.
Overall, more than half a million women served in the armed foces during the Second World War.  This book tells the story of just three of them - one from the Army, one from the Navy and one from the Air Force.  But in their stories are reflected the lives of hundreds of thousands of others like them - ordinary girls who went to war, wearing their uniforms with pride.
Authors: Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi
Publication Date: 7th May 2015

Publisher: Harper Element

My Review

A recent trip to the Imperial War Museum in London led me to bump into these authors signing copies of this book.  Of course I had to snap one up and I am so glad that I did.   I do have a love for any world war 1 and 2 related so this was right up my street.

The Girls Who Went to War: Heroism, heartache and happiness in the wartime women's forcesThis is based on the real life stories of three young girls that served in the second world war.   First we meet Jessie. she signs up for the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) next is Margery who signs up for the WAAF (Woman's Auxiliary Air Force) and finally Kathleen who desperately wanted to join the WRNS (Women's Royal Navy Service) but recruitment was tough and after a first rejection she had to first put in service as a land army girl, followed by a stint working on the ambulances before becoming an auxiliary nurse.  Eventually on her second application she was accepted into the prestigious WRNS.

This book does not fictionalise the war, it simply tells the stories of each of these remarkable women.  From their loves and heartbreaks to the horror of serving in the war until the day the war is declared over and the girls have to return to civilian life.

Unexpectedly, Jessie spent a big portion of the War in Humberside working the guns and trying to protect the City of Hull.  Having being born and still live in Hull myself that really struck a chord with me.  Hull was badly damaged during the war time air attacks and to think that someone like Jessie and many more like her were doing their best to try and protect it was is totally awe-inspiring.

I loved this book from page one and really felt that I was getting to know these inspirational ladies.  I cried with them, I felt their pain and I laughed with them.

If you are a lover of good inspirational war stories that this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva


Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of 'no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity', and you didn't know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy's real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

My Review

I was thrilled when this author contacted me to see if I would be interested in a copy of her book to review.  Of course, I accepted and then the fear set in.  What if I didn't like the book and I had to leave a review that was a bit sugar coated.  I've always prided myself in being totally honest when providing my feedback.  Thankfully, I can honestly say I truly enjoyed this book.

The Existence Of AmyIt was written in the first person, which is not a style I have read a lot of, but for this story it worked perfectly and drew me into Amy's world.  This felt very much like reading a very personal diary which although you feel you shouldn't be reading has a naughtiness that keeps you hooked.

Amy suffers from OCD and Depression and her symptoms are so bad at times that she is restricted from living her life.  She feels that she is simply watching life pass her by without being involved.  She has some big obstacles to face when her job sends her to the other side of the world.  A long haul flight is not something that her fears allow her to face easily,  In fact, her fears seriously restrict even the most basic of daily routines.

Amy sinks to her lowest point when her friend announces that him and his wife are moving to Singapore.  Amy feels alone and encases herself in her flat blocking out the world for weeks on end but what Amy is unaware of is that she doesn't have just one friend,  She has a whole army of people there to support and help her.

I am thankful that I have never suffered with any kind of mental health issues but this book allowed me to see inside the mind of someone who does and I certainly feel it has given me a better understanding of how people that suffer with these illnesses must feel.

I would highly recommend this book.  My only problem with it was that it had to end.  I would love to know how Amy's story continues.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Their Last Breath by Sibel Hodge


Detective Carter knows all about torture – but he’s never known a case as dark as this one.
The Six…
An abandoned building goes up in flames. Six women are chained inside and left to die – the truth is left to burn with them. Only one piece of evidence remains, but will it be enough to find their killer?
The Detective…
Retired detective Warren Carter has been suffocated by grief for his wife and is looking for a new start. But when he gets a call that cuts to the heart of the force, investigating a corrupt police officer, he has to accept. This time, though, he’s going to have to face his demons and work out who to trust when the truth is guarded by his own colleagues.
The Bad Cop…
It was supposed to be the perfect crime: they knew the system well enough to beat it and get away with murder. But they didn’t know Detective Carter, and how far a man will go when he has nothing left to lose…

Author: Sibel Hodge
Publication Date: 24 September 2019
Publisher: Amazon Publishing Ltd

My Review

Having read all of Sibel's previous books I was super excited to be approved for an advance copy of this book.  I hoped I was in for a treat and I was right.  This had everything that I expected from the book and much more. It was fast paced and gripping from the first word until the last.

Their Last BreathIt was nice to see the return of the characters, Detective Warren Carter and Detective Becky Harris, who had played their parts in previous books but you don't have to read these to enjoy this book to the full.

Warren Carter is retired but when we receives a call from the Professional Standards Anti Corruption Unit he is drawn back to the force.  Six women have been found in a burned building and there is all the evidence to support that this is a human trafficking issue.

Becky Harris is assigned to investigate a double murder.  Two bodies have been found bound and stabbed to death and words scrawled across the wall.  The circumstances are similar to a previous case and it's looking likely that there is a serial killer in town.

Harris is warned by her superior that she needs to tow the line and that her gut instinct needs to be reined in and she has to follow orders but when she contacts Carter and the cases start to show an underlying thread, Harris against all orders, follows her heart to reveal the truth. Carter and Harris are soon teamed up and the race is on to bring justice for the 6 dead women.

This is not just a police procedural story it is so much more.  intertwined is the heartbreaking story of  one of the refugee's. She so desperately wants to escape the prison that she feels she is in close to Syria and start a better life for herself.  She has lost everything and everyone in the world and feels that with a little help and a little hope that she can finally be free.  Little does she know of the danger that she is placing herself in.

The book flips seamlessly from case to case and ultimately is joined together perfectly to bring about the fabulous conclusion.  Those that we trust are not always the people that they appear to be.

This books covers the theme of trafficking which Sibel has previously published before but the clever way that she has of writing makes each novel fresh and standalone from her previous work. This books kept me reading late into the night and I am so please to rate this a 5 star read.   I loved, loved, loved this book.