Monday 29 August 2022

Ten Years by Pernille Hughes | 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. This post contains affiliate links.]

Ten Years by Pernille Hughes
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: One More Chapter 
Publication date: 31st August 2022

Blurb:
Becca and Charlie have known each other since university.

Becca and Charlie have also hated each other since university.

Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean they can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither of them can walk away from.

And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…

Over the course of ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.

Review: 
Ten Years follows our main characters, Charlie and Becca over the course of ten years. Charlie's fiancĂ©e and Becca's best friend Ally sadly passes away. Charlie and Becca can't stand each other but after discovering that Ally left a bucket list that she wanted the two of them to complete together, they are forced to do a task each year on the anniversary of Ally's death. 

This makes them spend more and more time together and realise that they don't really hate each other after all.

I really enjoyed the character growth that we saw over the years. Charlie moving on with his relationships, Becca being angry thinking he'd forgotten about Ally, I think they were two very accurate portrayals following the loss of a loved one.

The backstories, Becca's especially, were emotional and I loved the little twist at the end.

Sunday 21 August 2022

Mad, Bad and Dead by Sherryl Clark | Audiobook Review

[ad/gifted - I received an audiobook version of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Mad, Bad and Dead by Sherryl Clark
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Verve
Publication date: 1st September 2022

Blurb:
A dead employee. A missing child. Anonymous phone calls in the dead of night. Judi Westerholme's troubles aren't over yet...

Already struggling to juggle co-running the local pub with her childcare responsibilities for her orphaned niece, Judi does not need life to become any more complicated.

Yet, as usual, complications arrive in spades: she starts receiving threatening, late-night phone calls before discovering one of her employees, Kate, shot dead.

Judi finds herself caught up in a murder investigation, as well as the hunt for the Kate's fourteen year-old daughter, who has been missing since the murder.

Add in the uncertainty of her relationship with Melbourne-based DS Heath and the fact that her estranged mother's nursing home keeps urging her to visit, and Judi might finally be at breaking point.

Review:
Mad, Bad and Dead is part of a series but was the first I'd read by this author. I don't feel like I missed anything but perhaps I would have liked to know a bit more backstory of our main character even though a lot of the gaps were filled.

Set in the fictional town of Candelbark in Australia, Judi runs a pub/bistro with friend Andre. She has a lot going on with the pubs finances, her ill mother and juggling her job and childcare for Mia then she starts receiving threatening telephone calls.

Her best staff member, Kate, doesn't show up for work so Judi calls to her house to find Kate dead in bed after being shot. Kate's fourteen year old daughter Emma has run away. What were they hiding and why doesn't Emma trust the police? Instead of leaving it to the police to investigate, Judi takes an active interest in trying to find out what really happened.

I love a crime thriller where you are trying to piece things together and I was fully invested in this story. I really felt for Judi with everything that was thrown at her and how resilient she was. I will definitely read more by this author. Listening on audio where the narrator had an Australian accent really helped to set the scene too.

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A massive thank you to Verve for having me on the #HotVerveSummer audio tour. You can find more information about the bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Which Would You Rather? by Graeme Puckett | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Which Would You Rather? by Graeme Puckett
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Brown Dog Books 
Publication date: 29th June 2022

Blurb: 
A black comedy where the hero is an incompetent psychopath.

Brian is a troubled and easily irritated man with flexible morals. Passionate about film, he sees film references in everything. As an artist, a surrealist, his love of art, and colour in particular, tend to guide his judgements and decisions. Many of Brian's challenges in life are a result of an inept social awareness and some fairly politically incorrect ways of thinking. Consequently, these challenges usually lead to even greater dilemmas involving an array of new crimes and misdemeanours for him.

Killing three of his neighbours – albeit in record time, of which he is extremely proud – do nothing to help Brian's situation. Inclined to lie and cheat his way out of, and into, trouble, his options increase once he has become a killer and the murders have been committed. Now, in Brian's mind, any lesser crime has become acceptable and free to use in his bid to escape detection.

Review:
I love love books that surprise you and this book was crazy in the best way.

Our main character, 53 year old Brian has been planning to kill his neighbour Tony. He has it meticulously planned, in his head anyway, and is a bit obsessed with the Hollywood glamorisation of it. However, it turns into a bit of a comedy of errors when he accidentally becomes a triple murderer. He tries covering it up but it just snowballs in the funniest way.

As we read on, we discover just how unreliable Brian is. He becomes infatuated with the female police officer investigating his neighbour's murders, decides to try roofie-ing her, mutilates his face because he saw someone with a cool scar and wanted one.... The list goes on.

This book was super entertaining and whilst reading, I kept thinking about how the author's writing style reminded me of a mix of Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favourite authors so this bode well for me as a reader. I would definitely recommend this one if you like dark humour.

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A massive thank you to Literally PR for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Isaac And The Egg by Bobby Palmer | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Isaac And The Egg by Bobby Palmer
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Headline
Publication date: 9th August 2022

Blurb:
Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams.
Something screams back.
And that, like everything which follows, is unforgettable.

This is a book about a lot of things - grief, hope, friendship, love. It's also about what you'd do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.

It's a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you've lived until now.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. Isaac and the Egg is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read.

Review:
My heart. This is a stunning book. 

When I first started reading, I thought this was the strangest book ever and wondered what I was letting myself in for. Isaac Addy is standing on a bridge, seemingly about to jump, when he finds an enormous egg in a clearing. Confused by it, he decides to take it home with him. The egg, with its long Mr Tickle-esque furry arms, is strange to Isaac. Is it an egg, is it an alien? Where did it come from and why is it here? 

Isaac is grieving the sudden death of his wife Mary, and isn't looking after himself. The Egg becomes his purpose, his project. They watch movies together, Isaac tries to teach him to speak and the Egg soon discovers that Isaac is hiding something in the top room of his house. What is it and will this force Isaac to face things?

I genuinely did not want to stop reading this. The exploration of Isaac's grief, the surrealism of Egg being in his life and discovering what really happened to Mary was beautifully written. Everything is tied together perfectly. I was almost in tears by the end. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. 


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A massive thank you to Headline for having me on the tour. You can find the information about the other bloggers taking part in this tour in the graphic below.

Monday 8 August 2022

The Mortification Of Grace Wheeler by Colette Dartford | Blog Tour Book Review

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

The Mortification Of Grace Wheeler by Colette Dartford
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Whitefox
Publication date: 18th August 2022

Blurb:
A stale marriage, an illicit affair. Who pays the price?

Faced with an empty nest when her only child goes to university, the flaws in Grace's marriage are sharply exposed. Finding excuses to escape the taut atmosphere at home, she is drawn into an affair that ignites a mid-life sexual awakening.

But when her secret is discovered there is a terrible price to pay, and Grace is not the only one who pays it.

Review:
I was so surprised by how much I loved this book - I couldn't put it down. Dartford's writing is stunning and it makes it very easy to read. Almost poetic at times.

Grace Wheeler is in her mid-forties and is married to Cal who is twenty three years her senior. Grace is Cal's second wife and they have one son together, Josh. Josh's move to university forces Grace to analyse her relationship with Cal. With Josh no longer there to take up her time, she realises the differences between them in age and thinks that she no longer loves Cal like she used to.

Grace takes up fishing lessons to surprise her son and, being unhappy in her marriage, begins a brief affair with her younger instructor. Cal then falls ill and Grace is forced to be a doting wife and look after her sick husband.

This book caused a whirlwind of emotions. I understood Grace's feelings but wanting to give her a good shake at other times. I felt empathy, I felt disgust, everything. Just a wonderful story to delve into.

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Thank you to Whitefox for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Friday 5 August 2022

So Happy For You by Celia Laskey | Blog Tour Book Review

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

So Happy For You by Celia Laskey
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: HQ
Publication date: 4th August 2022

Blurb:
Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. They’ve been through everything together, from Robin coming out to the death of Ellie’s dad. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honour, Robin is reluctant.

It’s not that Robin isn’t happy for Ellie, she just hates everything about weddings and marriage – plus the guy Ellie’s engaged to. There’s also the matter of the crazy (not to mention dangerous) wedding rituals that couples are resorting to in the hope of securing a lifetime of happiness.

Despite her misgivings, Robin finally says yes. But as the wedding day approaches, she gets the feeling that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. And it seems Ellie is willing to do anything for the perfect day. After all, marriage is about sacrifice…

Review: 
This book is insane, entertaining, crazy and I didn't really want to tear myself away. A book that opens with the line, "If you want to know the story of how my best friend and I ended up trying to kill each other, I should probably start with the night she asked me to be her maid of honor." I know is going to be a good one.

Everyone knows how much of a multi-million pound industry weddings are and our main character Robin and best friend Ellie's opinions couldn't be more different. Society puts focus on getting married. Single over the age of 27? You're seen as a "leftover". Over 35? "Rotten". At 34, Ellie is delighted when she announces her engagement to Kaivan but Robin is less than thrilled. She doesn't see the point in getting married, doesn't plan on marrying her girlfriend Aimee and whilst everyone else was campaigning for gay marriage, Robin would rather abolish marriage altogether. Don't even get her started on wedding traditions and rituals.

Robin is a very opinionated feminist who struggles to see anyone elses opinions but her own. I do love her dedication to her beliefs but understand how it gets her in trouble sometimes.

So Happy For You follows Robin and Ellie's friendship from when they met at school right up to Ellie's wedding weekend and how they end up trying to kill each other. This book is funny but deep at the same time. It is so timely too with Aimee being an OB-GYN who performs safe abortions, following her grandmother's death after an illegal one. This was a refreshing addition to a book in the wake of Roe v Wade.

All in all, a very enjoyable read! 



A massive thank you to HQ for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Monday 1 August 2022

Urban Scarecrows by Jim Chambers | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Urban Scarecrows by Jim Chambers
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Publication date: 25th May 2022

Blurb:
The Labour Party election victory of 2019 ushers into power a radical socialist government which swiftly mutates to a British form of totalitarian Marxism in its quest for social justice and equality. Dominic Green, a Labour Party activist and celebrity chef, is caught up in the economic and social crisis as the country lurches towards civil war.

Taunted by the jibes of his volatile Spanish wife, Rosa, he moves from denial to acceptance to opposition and becomes a totemic media figure in the struggles. His marriage is in terminal decline; Rosa cannot forgive his philandering or his support of the government. His family falls apart as Rosa leaves him and one son is incarcerated, whilst the other attempts to liberate his sibling. Labelled a turncoat terrorist he is hunted by the brutal SNPS state police whose attempts to subjugate the population includes 'urban scarecrowing'.

Who can he trust as he goes on the run whilst assisting the resistance movement? Will Rosa forgive him as she tracks his public pronouncements and his efforts to free their son? Will Dominic escape the clutches of the SNPS as the net closes? Will international outrage translate into military intervention as sections of the armed forces rebel? And can Dominic survive and recover his relationship with Rosa and their surviving son?

Review:
This was sort of a new genre for me and I was very pleasantly surprised. Urban Scarecrows is a political thriller but I would probably also class it as dystopian fiction.

Set following the Labour Party's election win in 2019 and carrying through to 2027, celebrity chef and activist Dominic Green is caught up in the country's economic crisis. 

One son is imprisoned and sent to a rehabilitation centre that is run by the SNPS state police in order to either recruit young people into the SNPS or train them for other jobs in society. His other son is an activist and his relationship with his Spanish-born wife is on the rocks. Dominic himself is then painted as a terrorist.

This is a slow burner at the start but really kicks up a notch about halfway through. It is a good insight into how things are portrayed, how words can be twisted by the media and highlights what could happen if power is given to different parties with extreme views on how society should be run. 

I really enjoyed the thrill of this novel and like the author's writing style. 

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A massive thank you to Literally PR for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.