Sunday 31 October 2021

Femlandia by Christina Dalcher | Blog Tour Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

Femlandia by Christina Dalcher - 4/5
"Miranda Reynolds has lost her home, her job and her husband – all thanks to an economic collapse that has brought America to its knees.

The shops are empty; the streets no longer safe. Miranda and her daughter Emma have nowhere left to turn.

There is one final hope, a self-sufficient haven for women who want to live a life free from men. Femlandia.

For Miranda, the secluded Femlandia is a last resort. Life outside the gates is fraught with danger, but there’s something just as sinister going on within."

Dystopian fiction was never really my bag until I read 'Q' by Christina Dalcher. I was then very excited for Femlandia to be released. I still have 'Vox' on my bookshelf but I will definitely be reading that soon. 

Femlandia follows Miranda who is in her forties and she has a sixteen year old daughter named Emma. America has suffered a huge economic collapse and right at the beginning of it, her husband Nick commits suicide. In present times everything is shut down, food supplies are limited and the women have lost their home and everything they owned.

Miranda's mother Win Somers set up a women-only commune called Femlandia decades before. Miranda never agreed with her mother that all men were evil and to be avoided, so Win took Miranda's best friend Jen Jones under her wing as she shared the same values.

The idea caught on and lots of Femlandia's were set up all across America. These communes are free from men and are fully sustainable and self-sufficient. Miranda thinks that maybe her only shot at staying alive is to join her closest one. Her mother has since passed but Sister Jen is still there. After getting to Femlandia she realises that maybe this isn't the utopia that it first appears to be.

The chapters alternate between present tense when Miranda and Emma are in Femlandia and also Win Somers' background and Miranda's childhood. These weave easily together and really help build the story.

Dalcher can really paint a picture with words and everything is described in such a way that you can just imagine being there amongst it. It is a very hard read at times with a lot of mention of rape and sexual assault. Femlandia, the commune, is anti-trans women too so that is something to be aware of before reading.

It is an interesting one because it could so very easily be true and that is what I love and Dalcher's novels. I am a thriller reader and she kind of merges thriller and dystopian fiction together. I love a twist and this one has them!

Friday 15 October 2021

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an ebook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza - 4/5
"Not every story is black and white.

Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were children, and they thought their bond was unbreakable. It never mattered to them that Riley is black and Jen is white. And then Jen's husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and everything changes in an instant.

This one act could destroy more than just Riley and Jen's friendship. As their community takes sides, so must Jen and Riley, and for the first time in their lives the lifelong friends find themselves on opposing sides.

But can anyone win a fight like this?"

This is a thought provoking book that delves into some really deep issues. 

Jen and Riley have been best friends since they were babies and are now in their 30s. Riley is an upcoming journalist and is Black. Jen is white and is married to Philadelphia police officer Kevin. 

The book opens with a shocking prologue of a fourteen year old Black boy named Justin being shot by police officers. One of those police officers being Kevin. 

The chapters alternate between the points of view of Riley and Jen and explores the issue of race in depth, making them completely reanalyse their friendship following this incident. Riley covers the story of Justin's death, interviews his mother and covers the funeral, all of which makes Jen think that she is taking their side. Jen claims to be saddened by the situation but Riley knows what it is like to live as a Black person and has very little sympathy for Kevin. 

Jen's chapters are interesting, especially at the start when the shooting is just revealed. They humanise the police, she's afraid that every time Kevin leaves for work he won't come home. She is adamant that he is a good guy and this was a simple mistake.

It definitely feels very real life and it evokes a lot of emotion. This is a book that makes for a really great discussion and one that I would recommend a lot. 

Wednesday 13 October 2021

In The Book Personalised Books | Review

[AD/Gifted - I received this item for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I have always been massively into reading and it's one thing that I am glad that the kids have ended up loving too. The lovely team at In The Book very kindly sent E a little gift in the post recently.

In The Book specialise in personalised books for both adults and children. When it comes to the children's books there are lots to choose from. You can opt for educational books like encyclopaedias, character themed ones and loads more in between.

E received the My Personalised Unicorn Adventure Book. You can add your child's name as well as message for the title page and you have the option to upload a photograph too.

Upon opening, E was delighted to see her own name on the front cover of this very special book. The addition of unicorns was perfect for her too.

The story itself is super cute with your child's name being the unicorns name! The unicorn then travels to different places and we follow along the way. The pages are bright and colourful and really engaging. E has even sat by herself a few times reading it again because she loves it so much.

You can choose to add a protective gift box with 'Just for you' on the front. E always makes sure to put it back because she wants to keep it forever.

This book starts at £19.99 for a softback but you have the option to upgrade to hardback, classic hardcover or add a gift box.

These would make beautiful Christmas gifts for the little ones in your life and it is something they would treasure.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a eBook copy for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger - 4/5
"When Wren Greenwood meets a good-looking stranger from a dating app, she expects a casual fling – but they connect immediately. Adam Harper is her perfect match.

She falls for him.

She confides in him.

And then he disappears… his profiles deleted, his phone disconnected, his Manhattan apartment emptied.

First, Wren blames herself. Then she hears about the other girls – girls who fell in love with Adam, and are now missing.

Wren needs answers, but as she follows the breadcrumb trail Adam left behind, it leads back to her own dark past. Suddenly, she’s no longer sure if she’s predator or prey.

She only knows one thing: whatever it takes, she’ll be the last girl he ever ghosts…"

I was in such a reading slump for around a month and this book was just what I needed to pull me out of it. It was my first Lisa Unger book and now I am excited to read the rest.

The synopsis doesn't even scratch the surface with what this book is about and how deep it is.

Wren Greenwood is a blogger-cum-"agony aunt" style writer with her own podcast. She keeps herself anonymous. In fact, Wren Greenwood isn't her birth name. Upon encouragement from her best friend Jax, she signs up to a dating site called Torch, has a couple of dates that go nowhere until she meets Adam. She is completely smitten and they see each other every day. One night, she tells him something she has never told anyone before and then she never hears from him again. 

It turns out that Adam has form and Private Investigator Bailey Kirk shows up at Wren's house, claiming that Adam had met his client's daughter Mia and she had now been missing for nine months. The two team up together to try and get to the bottom of it.

The book flits between past and present, the past delving into Wren's childhood and relationship with her father but also backgrounds to other women that Adam has had encounters with. I felt completely invested within the first 10 pages and I was desperate to know the outcome. It is written in a way that builds a lot of suspense early on and you feel like you just need to keep reading.

I am never a fan of COVID-19 being written into a book but it isn't the main focus of this one and it makes complete sense given Wren's father's theories when she was a child. It is a book that makes you think, especially about personal data and what can be found about you online. Nothing is ever really deleted and no matter how careful you are, things can still be found out. 

Wednesday 6 October 2021

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary - 4/5 

"Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend's wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.

But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie's ex, Dylan, who she's avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.

Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they've totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four-hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can't avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship...

Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly, is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?"

I devoured The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary then really enjoyed follow up novel, The Switch. I was excited for the next book and decided to listen to The Road Trip as an audiobook this time round.

The Road Trip follows five characters on their way to mutual friend Cherry's wedding to fiancé Krishna. Dylan is travelling in one car with his best friend Marcus and Addie is in another car with sister Deb and Rodney, a man who was in the wedding group on Facebook and needed a lift.

The two cars get into an accident with Dylan and Marcus's car essentially written off, so they have to travel in the girls' car. This is awkward as Dylan and Addie haven't seen each other since they broke up two years ago.

The chapters are told from the points of view of both Addie and Dylan but we also move from 'Now' to 'Then". The 'Now' chapters felt a bit long-winded at the start, but I loved the 'Then' flashbacks, getting to experience their developing relationship and subsequent break up. 

There was a little comic relief by way of the Rodney situation but The Road Trip still focuses on harder hitting topics such as depression, sexual assault and consent. It is heartbreaking at times and made me feel a lot of different emotions.

Beth O'Leary's books are like a warm hug for me and although I enjoyed the audiobook, I feel like I need to read it too!