Friday 12 May 2023

November 9 by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

November 9 by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Publication date: 10th November 2015

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon's last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. 

Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. 

Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben's relationship with Fallon - and simultaneously his novel - be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

I either love or hate a Colleen Hoover book and I'd seen mixed reviews about this one so I was a bit dubious. However, it really surprised me.

We learn that our main character, eighteen-year-old Fallon, was in a house fire and left with burns causing disfiguration two years previously. Whilst on a breakfast date with her estranged father exactly two years to the day, November 9th, they get into an argument. 

Ben, also eighteen, happens to be sitting in the booth behind them and steps in, pretending to be Fallon's boyfriend who was running late. The two of them end up having a wonderful day together, clearly there is a spark, but Fallon is moving to New York the following day. They decide not to exchange numbers or any other forms of communication but they will meet up at the same diner next November 9th and continue the tradition for the following four years.

I will be honest and say I found a lot of this book very cheesy. From the spicy dialogue to Ben's writing of a romance novel, it was all a bit nauseating. However, I loved the concept and the plot. I liked seeing how their lives were different each year, the supporting characters, Fallon's coming to terms with her scars and gaining confidence. 

I liked that it wasn't smooth sailing but, that twist! I had an inkling of what happened when Ben's brother punched him but seeing how it all played out was very satisfying. I enjoyed this one!

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Ali-Afzal | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

Would I Lie To You? By Aliya Ali-Afzal
My rating: 3/5
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 8th July 2021

She could lose the perfect life... if she tells the truth.

At the school gates in Wimbledon Village, Faiza fits in. It took a few years and a brand new wardrobe, but now the snobbish mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own.

But the perfect life costs money. When her husband Tom loses his job, Faiza realises she'll have to reveal her biggest secret: she's spent her family's entire life savings.

Unless she doesn't...

It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has six weeks to find £75,000 or risk losing the family she has worked so hard to protect.

I went into this book blind and it is a very unique premise. Faiza is married to Tom, a banker who is made redundant. They have three children, some of which attend a private school where she has to keep up appearances with the white school mothers. 

Faiza has had sole responsibility of the "emergency fund" for the past few years but, unbeknownst to her husband, she has been spending it frivolously and the full £75,000 is gone. Faiza begins lying on a small basis to Tom but her lies spin and grow out of control. But how far is she willing to go to keep her secrets?

I really liked the fleshed out characters throughout this book and they all have great backgrounds. We know them. Serious topics are covered such as finance, sexual assault, racism, culture, suicide and they are done well. For me, the book is very slow paced which made it feel a bit long. This is totally personal preference though, I just like a bit more fast-paced excitement. I did feel Faiza's anxiety grow as I read and was willing her to stop lying and tell her husband the truth.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

19 Claws And A Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica | 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.]

19 Claws And A Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication date: 4th May 2023

In these tense, macabre stories, bodies fall from the sky, perfect nails conceal grisly secrets and violence pulses behind gleaming fa├žades. From hellish visions to obsessive relationships, acclaimed author Agustina Bazterrica takes us to the dark heart of human desires and fears.

Shocking, brutal, yet glinting with sharp humour, Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird is a breathtaking dive into human monstrousness from a master of contemporary horror.

I don't usually read collections of short stories, no real reason why, but I was intrigued by this especially as I knew they'd have a horror focus.

When I started, my first thought was "what on earth am I reading?" Each story, although short, packs a punch and it goes without saying that there are massive trigger warnings throughout. From suicide, to rape, serial killers and more.

It feels strange to say given the subject of the stories but they really are beautifully and poetically written. I think Sarah Moses does a great job of translating this work too.

19 Claws And A Black Bird is definitely a book worth picking up to have you either gasping, going wide-eyed, feeling a little gross or like your head is fuzzy!


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