Month: May 2022

With A Mind To Kill (007) Book Review

Posted May 31, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

With A Mind To Kill (007) Book ReviewWith a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
Series: James Bond #2
Published by Penguin Random House on May 26, 2022
Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Length: 7hrs 24mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


It is M's funeral. One man is missing from the graveside: the traitor who pulled the trigger and who is now in custody, accused of M's murder - James Bond.

Behind the Iron Curtain, a group of former Smersh agents want to use the British spy in an operation that will change the balance of world power. Bond is smuggled into the lion's den - but whose orders is he following, and will he obey them when the moment of truth arrives?

In a mission where treachery is all around and one false move means death, Bond must grapple with the darkest questions about himself. But not even he knows what has happened to the man he used to be.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s a long, long time since I read a James Bond novel. Many years ago I read one of the original Bond’s written by Ian Fleming but it’s so long now that I couldn’t even tell you which it was. I have however, watched all of the films many times.

It says a lot for the writing skills of Anthony Horowitz that he has been entrusted to continue on the James Bond novels, as well as the Sherlock Holmes novels, although I believe that he has said this will be his last

At the start of this novel there is a brief update on what happened in the previous novels

In You Only Live Twice, James Bond was sent to Japan, where he tracked down Ernst Stavro Blofeld on the island of Kyushu. Following a pitched battle in Blofeld’s ‘Garden of Death’ Bond received a traumatic head injury which resulted in amnesia. He spent the next year in a Japanese fishing village. He was reported as missing in action. His obituary was published in The Times.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, the twelth and final James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, Bond returned to London after having fallen into the hands of the KGB. He had been brainwashed and ordered to assassinate M with a cyanide pistol. The attempt failed. Bond was deprogrammed and sent to Jamaica to kill the freelance assassin ‘Pistols’ Scaramanga.

With A Mind To Kill begins 2 weeks after that mission ends.

Both You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun are referenced throughout Horowitz’s writing and Fleming’s work has obviously heavily influenced this storyline (I believe there were notes that he had for future stories which were made available to Horowitz’s previous 2 books, but not for this one).

What immediately struck me was how this novel is following on from where Fleming left off. This hasn’t moved to a modern day setting but is still set in the 1960’s when the original books were. Horowitz is (I think) the fifth author to take on the Bond novels and I found it interesting that he has chosen to pick them up in this way, staying true to what Fleming would have (presumably) done, rather than modernising them as other authors have done.

Bond still has an eye for the ladies with Russian Katya Leonova playing his ‘love interest’, as ever with Bond you are asking the question as to whether she is simply a conquest or the real deal, and whether he is capable of the feelings everyone else actually succumb to.

I found him to be less arrogant in this novel than I expected, he’s more subdued than the Bond that I am used to seeing on my screen, more level headed. He will do anything to protect his country and his colleagues, the danger to his life seems to be secondary in his thoughts.

I listened to the audiobook of With A Mind to Kill which was narrated by Rory Kinnear who has played Tanner in 4 of Daniel Craig’s Bond films and has also voiced other audiobooks of Harowitz’s work. I really think he was the perfect choice, he captures Bond expertly and was easily distinguishable between all of the characters. Reviews of Harowitz’s previous novel, A Line To Kill, have commented that Kinnear had a tendency to overact, while I’ve not yet listened to that book myself (it is sat in my Audible downloads) I can confirm that this definitely wasn’t the case here.


About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as “The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century.” (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled the House of Silk.


Top Ten Tuesdays – Comfort Reads

Posted May 31, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 9 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hmm so, this kind of works on the assumption that as readers we reread books when we’re looking for comfort. I NEVER reread books. I tried it a couple of times and was really disappointed. Two books which I’d previously loved and they were both DNF for me the second time round. Maybe I just don’t like knowing how something is going to turn out.

There are however authors that I class as “feel good fiction” these are the books that I know are going to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. If I’m a bit down and I need a lift then these are the authors that I turn to, in no particular order

  1. Jill Mansell
  2. Milly Johnson
  3. Lucy Diamond
  4. Cathy Bramley
  5. Heidi Swain
  6. Carole Matthews
  7. Sarah Morgan
  8. Trisha Ashley
  9. Veronica Henry
  10. Jenny Colgan
  11. Sue Moorcroft

I know it’s top 10 Tuesday and there’s 11 of them but I couldn’t cut any of them out.


How I read ebooks

Posted May 30, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 1 Comment

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer at  Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013. Each week the hop starts on a Friday and ends the following Thursday. There is a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 

This weeks question was “Do you use the Kindle app on your phone or ipad to read books?” and it was submitted by Elizabeth over at Silver’s Reviews.

I love ebooks, they’re so handy, I can carry multiple books with me wherever I go and, more often than not, they’re a lot cheaper than a physical book. I mainly use the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. Why did I go for the all singing, all dancing version? It has extra storage space, a longer battery life and it plays audible books! I have a serious book buying obsession and if I had to limit myself to physical books I’d need a bigger house!

However, I do still use the app on my phone for reading books. There are 2 main reasons for this

  1. I ALWAYS have my phone with me so if I find myself waiting at the doctors, for my daughter to finish school, in the chip shop. I can just whip out my phone and continue my book from where I left off. It’s amazing how many slots of 10 minutes you get throughout a day and if you read a chapter of your book rather than scrolling Bookstagram you get through a lot more books.
  2. Test To Speech. When you go into the accessibility section on your phone there is the ability for the phone to speak aloud whatever text is on the screen. Now, it is a robotic voice (think Siri or SatNav) but if I own an ebook and I’m sat in work doing data entry then rather than having the radio on, I would have my book playing.

Do you use the Kindle app?


Bookouture Tour: The Daughters

Posted May 30, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 0 Comments

Bookouture Tour: The DaughtersThe Daughters by Julia Crouch
Published by Bookouture on 26 May 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 312
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


My husband says his first wife’s dead.
His daughters say he killed her…

Ever since Carys married Bill, she has tried to look after his daughters. Particularly sweet, troubled Lucy, who was only six when her mother died.

Over the years, Carys has done everything she can think of to help Lucy. Now, she has found a therapist who specialises in cases like hers. His methods are unusual, but Carys is desperate.

Sitting in the sunlit waiting room, staring at the framed diplomas on the wall, Carys allows herself to hope. Then Lucy comes running out of the room, wailing, her eyes wild.

Lucy says she saw her father kill someone.

Carys is certain that the memory isn’t real. Bill wouldn’t hurt anyone.

But then a body is found buried in overgrown woods near their home. And Lucy says if they keep looking they’ll find her mother next…

I had so many mixed feelings about this book. I’ve read quite a few by Julia Crouch and I know that she is an expert at crafting a good story which will keep you guessing. But I also know that her stories are a slow burn. This started as a slow burn, more of a slow simmer really and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to like it.

The first chapter is meeting a lot of characters, I had to read it more than once to get my head around everything. Now, I will caveat this with the fact my daughter changed bedroom this week and keeps getting lost in the middle of the night. I’m beyond tired from having to guide her round the house when she’s trying to find the loo at 1am. So, I struggled with the first chapter, but it might not be the fault of the chapter, it might just be that my head wasn’t working right.

When Lucy starts seeing a hypnotherapist she suddenly starts to remember details from her childhood, including what really happened to her mother. Are these repressed memories? Are these planted memories? Or are they just a teenagers overactive imagination?

Throughout this book I was questioning who to trust. Lucy is damaged but can you trust what she’s now saying? Is Ajay (the hypnotherapist) the real deal or is he planting things into Lucy’s head? Carys is too good to be true. Can she be trusted or is it all a facade to throw you off?

This then begs the question – Was Alice killed? Did she commit suicide? Or is she still alive?


Around the Blogosphere

Posted May 29, 2022 by louisesr in Discussion, Features / 2 Comments

My reader has been particularly busy this week. Book blogging is all about the community and I loved reading other people’s opinions on books. I get so many recommendations from reading other book blogs, not just from reviews but from lists and opinion pieces as well. I’m trying hard to make this blog a mixture of posts so that there’s something for everyone.

Here’s a look at some of the posts that I’ve enjoyed this week.

  • Once Upon a Time reviewed The Daughters by Julia Crouch as part of the Bookouture Tour. Look out for my post on the tour coming tomorrow.
  • Reading Between The Dunes has some alternative beach read selections, these were all books that I’d never heard of before
  • Stephanie at Adventures of a Bibliophile has been reading Japanese fiction, this includes one of the books that I’m really excited to read over the summer (Before The Coffee Gets Cold)
  • Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books has recently celebrated her 5 year blogivesary and asked the rest of the blogging community if we had any questions for her. She has answered these this week
  • Lotus Writing Therapy has reviewed The Midnight House by Amanda Geard, the cover of this reminded me of an Eve Chase novel, who I love so I was excited to see what she had to say
  • Janet at From First Page to Last has interviewed Jinny Alexander, I love hearing about a writers process and how they get from initial thought to published book
  • Jen Med’s Book Reviews has reviewed The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean, while I loved his most recent work, First Born, The Last Thing to Burn was a DNF for me (although I’m in the minority) so I wanted to share what someone else thought of this novel
  • Dedra at A Book Wanderer is taking part in 20 books of summer and has some great looking books lined up to read

What are your top blogs to follow? How do you find blogs to follow?

When I first started blogging I googled “top book blogs” and “top uk book blogs” which provided me with links to a variety of posts. It was quite frustrating that posts over 12 months old often featured blogs which were no longer active. The fact that someone had enjoyed a blog enough to put it on a top blog list but then the blogger had given up made me kinda sad. It also led me to Feedspot, which aggregates active book blogs and looks at their current traffic, how active they are, their social media presence, domain authority and freshness. This is their list of the Top 100 UK Book Blogs – guess who managed to rank at number 27?!?!


Stacking the Shelves

Posted May 28, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 5 Comments

I was trying to be “good” this week, honest I was. I really thought I was going to have a quiet week book wise. It didn’t quite happen

Esme King messaged me at the start of the week to tell me about her novel Reasons to go Outside. This looks like a fabulous read, I’ve already shared the epilogue here on Thursday as I loved it so much. I’m also recommending this one to my irl bookclub.

I then got a message from Charlie King to ask if I’d like a copy of her book Wolfgang and the Baby Lunatic, this is one I wouldn’t have considered based on the name but having read the synopsis, and all the glowing reviews it’s had so far I’m really eager to read this, I’m thinking it might be like a mummy banter type book, funny but covering the serious issues affecting mothers. As my irl book club is formed from a birthing group I’m part of from when I had my little monsters, I figured they might like this one as well. I’m sure when they formed the group they had no clue how much I was going to bombard them with options!

I’m trying to read more independently published and debut novels so when Sarah Bell shared about her book, The Murder Next Door, on Twitter I went and had a nosey and downloaded that via Kindle Unlimited.

Georgie over at Penguin RandomHouse kindly sent me an audio copy of With A Mind To Kill by Anthony Horowitz, read by Rory Kinear, I’d actually already downloaded A Line To Kill (Horowitz’s previous book) last month and haven’t got round to listening to it yet.

I did manage to limit my NetGalley books this week, I only got two – Hooked by AC Wise, a feminist take on what happened to Wendy and Captain Hook after Neverland and One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke, I read The Castaways earlier this month and loved it so I’m excited for this.

I was reading Years of Reading Selfishly on Wednesday and there were a few books on their that caught my eye, I added them to my wishlist and then they just somehow got added to my cart, I’ve no idea how it happened 🤷‍♀️ A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon, Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart and The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson


Little One Book Review

Posted May 27, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Little One Book ReviewLittle One by Sarah Denzil
Published by Independently published on 11 January 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 344
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


"Take my hand, little one."

Fran finds her standing by the swings. A little girl, Esther, no older than seven years old, by herself in the dead of night, her pretty but old-fashioned yellow dress covered in grass stains and her hair dishevelled. She says she's waiting for Father, and that strikes Fran as particularly odd.

After Esther is reunited with her family, Fran can't stop thinking about this pious child whose imaginary friend is God. Fran's instincts tell her something is very wrong. Why does Esther keep running away from home, and how did she get that bruise on her leg?

Fran's husband warns her not to get too close, but one morning, Esther and her family disappear. Where did they go? Why did they leave their furniture behind?

Fran knows in her gut that something terrible is going to happen to that child, and she can't stand by while it happens. No matter the cost.

After all, she found her. But can she save her?

Wow. That was a rollercoaster ride. I’ve got to say that from the synopsis you think this might be a missing child type thriller. It’s not. The synopsis gives nothing away as to what this book is about. And if it gave any more details then it would spoil it, I’m also not going to spoil the book for you by trying to summarise it (plus, who wants a review that regurgitates the synopsis?). With this in mind it is quite difficult to write a review without spoiling anything for those who have not yet read it.

“Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world. No, it’s the hardest job in the world, and probably the loneliest. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.”

The first half of the book was enjoyable but kind of plodded along, you really got to know Fran and build a relationship with her.

By the midway point I had an idea of where the story might be going and what some potential plot points could be but I was still unsure. My ideas of where the story might be going – completely wrong! Those potential plot points – nope!

You hit the midway point and this novel takes a turn and becomes an unputdownable, non-stop thrill ride. I absolutely loved the second half and cursed anybody who interrupted my reading time. It was all bam, bam, bam action and twisty, twist with plot twists. There is no way anyone hitting the half way mark would have predicted what was to come.

The final twist – SO GOOD!!! and so well written, completely believable and not just thrown in for shock value.

I will be looking up Sarah Denzil’s other books and will definitely be buying more of her work in future.


About Sarah Denzil

Sarah A. Denzil is a Wall Street Journal bestselling suspense writer. She is also known as young adult author Sarah Dalton.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather.

She is the author of international bestselling psychological thriller SILENT CHILD, which topped the bestseller lists on Amazon in the US, UK and Australia.


How I Track My Reading

Posted May 27, 2022 by louisesr in Features, Let's Talk Bookish / 3 Comments

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme that was originally created and hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books starting in August 2019, and was then cohosted with Dani at Literary Lion from May 2020 to March 2022.  Aria at Book Nook Bits has been the host since the beginning of April 2022. Let’s Talk Bookish is a meme where participants discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Topics for each month will be posted a month in advance on Aria’s blog.

This weeks topic on Let’s Talk Bookish is tracking reading, and I have such a lot to share with you about it!

Last year I failed miserably at tracking what I was reading. I couldn’t even tell you how many books I read. When I reached the end of the year and everyone was providing updates on how much they’d read during 2021 I got increasingly frustrated and decided that this year would be different.

From the start of the year I have been tracking my reading in Goodreads, I have set a reading challenge of 100 books as I would hazard a guess that this was somewhere close to what I read last year.

However, since I started this blog I have a new way of tracking my reading that is internal to the blog and I’m in love with it.

The plug in that I use is called Book Library and is provided by Nosegraze you use it in the same way as you would the Goodreads book tracker but there is so much more information available. Being part way through the year it’s taken quite a lot of time and effort to get it set up (I’m not 100% complete yet) but it’s so going to be worth it at year end. Once I’ve got all my previous books logged then just adding them as I read them will be easy enough to keep on top of. You’ll be able to see this in action in my monthly wrap up posts but I’ll give you a couple of examples of what it includes here.

Book Library

Here you can see a list of the books that I’ve added so far, I can add display this either as a list or by month. I can filter on a particular book or on format read, whether or not I’ve read them and whether I own them or not. Being perfectly honest, things like whether or not I own them and the format of them isn’t something that I’m particularly interested in so I haven’t been updating these areas. One thing that I particularly like is that you can include the series, the no of pages in the book, whether you have a signed edition etc. It’s a great way of keeping track of all the books that I own.

Now the exciting bit! The analytics 😁 You’ll see I have this filtered on ‘This Month’ but I could choose Last 30 Days, Last Month, This Year, Last Year or All Time. It’s crazy but I’m really looking forward to being able to see how this changes moving forward.

Analytics Overview

I’m sure you’re looking at this and going “hang on 7 different series read and 10 standalones doesn’t equal 18 books” this is because I’ve read 2 books from the same series, so although I’ve read from 7 different series, I’ve read 8 books from those series.

You’ll also see I’ve only written one review. This isn’t strictly true. I’ve concentrated on getting posts up on to the blog and I’m updating this when I have a bit of free time. This plug in doesn’t automatically update blog posts into here, you have to manually update them (you literally add the book id from when you input it and the post id) I just haven’t got round to doing this yet.

Analytics – library

Now we’re on to the library. If I was up to date with this and just adding books as I was purchasing/loaning them then this would be slightly more exciting but as I’m doing a mass data dump it’s not entirely accurate at the moment. When looking at the pie chart if you hover over a ‘slice’ then it will tell you the actual numbers that you’ve added. Looking at this it’s pretty obvious what genre I read most of. One of my goals that I’ve set is to read across more genres so I’ll be interested to see how this changes over the course of this year.

The amount of stats available for this is brilliant, what was my longest book read, my shortest book read, how many of each genre did I read, when were they published? As you can see most of them have been published in the last 12 months, except for 2 rogue books where I’ve been reading Karin Slaughters back list.

I’ve not included format in here, but you can also report on the format of books read, mine isn’t accurate as I haven’t been adding it in when logging books.

Although there’s a lot more this plug in can do I’m only going to show you one more thing. Ratings.

Analytics – Ratings

Obviously I’m a new blog and I haven’t added all my books yet. I started with the books that I’ve read this month (so I’ll be able to share my stats in full at the end of the month) and I’ve had a really good reading month with some fantastic books so this is all looking very positive at the minute. It will be interesting to see what this looks like at the end of the year.

So, there you go. Tracking reading. I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum (not tracking at all) to the other (tracking with loads of analytics). Do track what you’ve read?


Reasons To Go Outside Extract

Posted May 26, 2022 by louisesr in Excerpt / 0 Comments

Reasons To Go Outside ExtractReasons To Go Outside by Esme King
Published by Hachette UK on May 26, 2022
Genres: Women's
Pages: 368
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


Pearl Winter hasn't been outside in forty-three years.

Since she arrived on Dartmoor as a girl, an isolated family cottage has been her whole world. A place of safety. But now fifty-nine-year-old Pearl is utterly alone - except for the postman, the local crows, and memories of the summer of 1976.

Teenager Connor Matthews feels like a stranger in his own home.

Since his mother's death he's been adrift from his remaining family, troubled by the reality of moving on, and unable to see a future ahead. But when Connor begins a summer job as Pearl's gardener, an unexpected friendship opens the door to a fresh start for them both. If only Pearl and Connor can take the first steps . . .

Reasons To Go Outside publishes today but it’s not one that I’ve seen a lot about in my feeds, either on here or on Twitter/Bookstagram.

On Monday I received a message from Esme asking if I’d like to read it and as soon as I looked at the synopsis i knew I wanted a copy. It arrived on Tuesday and although I was already half way through a book I sat down and read the first couple of chapters, I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet as I already had some commitments but this is up at the top of my TBR.

Even from those first few chapters I knew this was a book I wanted to share with you guys so I went back to Esme to ask if I could possibly share the opening chapters, happily, Hachette have agreed and have reproduced them for us here

I’d love to hear what you think of it


Hidden Book Review

Posted May 26, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Hidden Book ReviewHidden by Emma Kavanagh
Published by Random House on November 5, 2015
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.

To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?

As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...

Emma Kavanagh, has written a very clever novel which sucks you in from the very first page. Not least because she starts the novel, just after the shooting has happened. The first chapter is told from the POV of Charlie, who is assessing the carnage around her, who she can see, who’s alive, who’s dead, who’s unlikely to make it. At this point the names mean nothing to you but then the story goes backwards 6 days and we start the process of getting to know the characters while slowly moving towards the present day.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view; Charlie the reporter, Imogen the Psychologist, Aden the police officer and The Shooter. Between them they shed light on the events that have led up to the shooting, not just the immediate 6 days prior to it, but the relationships and incidents from the past which have led everyone to this point and led to the lives of the main characters being interwoven.

At first I got a bit confused by all of the different people, not just the narrators but also their families and work colleagues who also have major roles in the storyline. However, it didn’t take me long to get comfortable with all the names, personalities and the relationships/history they had with the other characters.

About half way through I had to go back and reread the first chapter, the one describing who’s been shot and the state they’re in, by this time I had formed an attachment with certain characters and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t misremembered anything. I think it was a very brave move that Emma Kavanagh made in setting up the novel in the say she did.

There’s a lot of clues thrown in as to who the shooter is, there’s also a lot of clues to throw you off the scent. Although I figured out who it was I think it’s from reading so many crime novels and having an idea of how a crime writers mind seems to work, although she did have me alternating between a number of other characters for a time!


25 New Releases for Your Vacation

Posted May 25, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 4 Comments

There are so many amazing books releasing over the next few months, here are some of the ones I’m most looking forward to hunting down in the airport. Most of these are from authors who I have previously read and loved.


The Four Winds Book Review

Posted May 25, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Four Winds Book ReviewThe Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Published by macmillan on 2 February 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 452
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow, just wow. This is a book that really gets you in the feels.

I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about American History, there’s a few major political events that I’ve looked up but other than that I’m pretty oblivious. I had no clue about the events leading up to the depression in the 1930’s and so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to what this would actually be about.

Holy shit, bleak doesn’t cover it. Kristin Hannah does such an amazing job of painting a picture of what it was like to live through the drought and the dust storms you can actually feel yourself struggling to breathe.

Elsa is such a wonderful, complex character, she’s not your usual leading lady. Her life is a struggle from the very beginning of the book and life doesn’t really let up on her. But she’s so easy to love, you really root for her, you want her to have the love that she deserves and the life that she deserves.

I really don’t think that anything I write in a review will do this book justice. Kristin Hannah is truly one of the best writers on the market at the moment. In The Four Winds she has taken a bleak period of time and made it accessible to the masses, something that you are desperate to read more about, with a character that you are deeply invested in. This book is historical fiction writing at it’s best.

Kristin Hannah pulls all the punches, her descriptions are so vivid you can really imagine what it was like to live with nothing. Reading this book will make you thankful for what you have, no matter how little you currently perceive that to be.

I read this shortly after reading Firefly Lane and the difference between Elsa and Cloud couldn’t be more stark. Elsa shows us just what a mum is willing to do to ensure the safety of her children and to try and get the best life for them. This is a woman who, when pushed, will give up everything that she loves, if it means a better future for her children. I’m not usually one for posting quotes from books but there is the most wonderful quote about motherhood in here

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

5 stars just doesn’t seem to be enough


Top Ten Tuesday – Book Quotes

Posted May 24, 2022 by louisesr in Features / 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks prompt for Top Ten Tuesday is book quotes, there are so many ways that this could go – my favourite quotes from in books, my favourite quotes about books, I’ve decided to share with you my favourite quotes about books and reading. I’ve been a reader all my life, I love that books take me to a different world, even if that world is one of serial killers.

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”

Napoléon Bonaparte

I’m hopefully raising a family of readers. My children think it’s a great afternoon treat to head off to the library and my 6yo has just discovered the libby app. Although she is a very capable reader we take it in turns to read books, some nights she will read them herself and other times I will read to her. My son is 4, he can’t read yet but he’s working on recognising his letters (he gets so excited if he sees a word that includes the letters in his name), he gets 2 stories read to him every night.

“I guess there are never enough books.”

John Steinbeck

When I was a child there just wasn’t enough books for me, before I’d finished primary school I’d read all of the books in my school and all of the books in my local library. Now, I read daily but I’m pretty sure I’m never going to run out of books again.

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

JK Rowling

I think this is so true, there is a book for everyone. I know people who can’t understand why others would read fiction but they will immerse themselves in autobiographies or books on sport. My brother always said he hated reading, and then he discovered Terry Pratchett and devoured them all.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr Seuss

Who does’t love Dr Seuss, he has so many great quotes. One of the things that I love about books is that even if you’re reading fiction you can learn from them. Not just the best way to dispose of a body but I recently learn about ALS and depression. I’ve found that the books that used to be known as Chick-lit, which are now normally labelled Women’s Fiction often have some of the deepest topics in amongst the humour.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

CS Lewis

My husband laughs at me for the size of my cups, the only dainty cup that I possess is a cup and saucer that I got in this months Illumicrate box. If I’m having a cuppa I want to know that it’s actually going to be big enough to quench my thirst. In all honesty, I never really check the length of a book any more, I have a lot on my kindle so I’d have no idea how many pages they are until I come to post a review. When I was younger I always used to gravitate to the longer books, I thought I was getting more for my money with them 😁

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

George RR Martin

I read such a wide variety of books, I’ve gone to different worlds and lived different jobs, I’ve lived through a zombie apocalypse and world wars. When I’m reading a book I get so immersed in the world that I’m living in for that short time.

I can survive well enough on my own—if given the proper reading material.

Sarah J Maas

I’m an introvert, I don’t tend to go out very much, I’m quite happy sitting inside on my own – as long as I have a book to keep me company. Even if I go out I usually have both my kindle and a paperback with me, if I get stuck in a queue or have 5 minutes to myself, I’m not going to get bored if I have a book with me

A room without books is like a body without a soul.


I drive my husband crazy as I have books everywhere (I have so many I couldn’t possibly limit them to my bookcases). We have 2 huge bookcases in our study which are stacked full, there is always a paperback on top of the placemats in the middle of the kitchen table, my bedroom has a couple of books on the bedside table and a book trolley on the other side of the room

It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that when I’m in the company of others – even my nearest and dearest – there always comes a moment when I’d rather be reading a book.

Maureen Corrigan

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’d almost always rather be reading a book.

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.

Paul Sweeney

I finished Lessons in Chemistry a couple of days ago and I honestly felt bereft when I was no longer living in the world of Elizabeth Zott. It was one of those books that could never have been long enough.

What is your favourite book related quote?


While Paris Slept Book Review

Posted May 24, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

While Paris Slept Book ReviewWhile Paris Slept by Ruth Druart
Published by Hachette UK on February 23, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow. This book was so much more than I expected it to be.

Set during WWII and looking back at it from 1953 later While Paris Slept is told from multiple view points. That of Jean Luc a railroad worker, Charlotte a nurse and Sarah who is Jewish. Towards the end of the story we have a few chapters narrated by Sam, Sarah’s son.

This is a book about just what you will endure for love, how it can see you through the very worst of times.

What struck me throughout this book is the heartache that everyone endures while all trying to do the right thing. There is no “bad guy” in this book, just a group of people who are trying to get through life in the very worst of times and who suffer, no matter what choices they make. Everyone admits to making mistakes but these were done with the best of intentions and it’s only with hindsight that it’s possible to see that an alternative course of action may have worked out better. Your heart goes out to every single one of the main characters as they pay for these mistakes, knowing that their actions have brought them on but knowing that the alternative would have been just as heartbreaking.

Ruth Druart tackles some seriously tough subjects throughout this book, from living in occupied France and being a ‘survival collaborator’, to surviving in Auschwitz, to doing what is best for your child – no matter how much it hurts you. She handles all of these with such sensitivity and has obviously researched extremely thoroughly.

This is a book that will break you heart repeatedly and will stay with you long after you read the last page


About Ruth Druart

Living in Paris for the last thirty years inspired me to write, and my debut novel, While Paris Slept, came out in 2021, followed by The Last Hours in Paris, to be released in July 2022. Both books are set during the occupation of World War II, a time which intrigued me as I imagined the French having to live and work alongside the occupiers.

I love the power of story, and believe that sharing stories from different perspectives and different backgrounds can help us understand the world better. Having studied psychology at Leicester University, I have always been interested in the workings of the mind, and especially in what motivates people. I find people fascinating and love creating my own characters, each one flawed and touching in their own way.

I don’t believe in the single story, and in my books I like to present different perspectives, leaving the reader to make up their own mind as the characters face moral dilemmas and difficult choices. I hope you enjoy reading them.


Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Posted May 23, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Life’s Too Short by Abby JimenezLife's Too Short by Abby Jimenez
Series: The Friend Zone #3
Published by Hachette UK on April 20, 2021
Narrator: Christine Lakin, Zachary Webber
Length: 9hrs 6mins
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from 'daily adventure' to 'hourly nappy change'. The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua.

Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

“One Day Syndrome. You live your life like there’ll always be one day to do all the things you put off. One day you’ll take the trip. One day you’ll have the family. One day you’ll try the thing. You’re all work and not enough play. Money can’t make you happy unless you know what you want,”

Oh how I loved this book. I don’t think I have ever binge read a book so fast as I did with this, I couldn’t put it down! I haven’t read a huge number of romance in recent years, I downloaded this on a whim one night when I was maxing ot my library cards. There were other books I’d intended to read first but then someone else was waiting for this so I bumped it up to the front of the queue. Vanessa and Adrian are just so adorable. She is busy living her best life and he’s busy working. This is a couple who shouldn’t work together but throw in a baby and a dog and it just works!

“Don’t get a cat,” she went on. “It’ll walk around pushing your drinks off the coffee table. You’re not emotionally strong enough for that.”

What really makes my heart sing about reading a romantic comedy like this is that it’s not all sunshine and flowers, it discusses some really serious issues. Do you remember the ice bucket challenge from 2014? Do you remember why everyone was pouring buckets of freezing cold water over their heads? Amyotrophic Latral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Motor Neurone Disease (Lou Gehrig disease in the United States). ALS is a major theme running through the book. It also touches on bereavement, substance abuse and unwanted pregnancy.

Vanessa has lost a number of family members to ALS, due to this she has decided that she’s not going to let the possibility of her life being shortened stop her from living the life she wants. She’s quit her job and started a YouTube channel as a travel blogger, not expecting to get so much support and become a celebrity in her own right. She spends her life travelling the world and raising money for ALS research. When her younger sister gives birth but cannot look after the baby due to her addiction, Vanessa steps in to care for her and moves in next door to Adrian

“You know how when you ask someone what they’d do if the sun was headed for Earth and they had twenty-four hours left to live? And everyone always says they’d be with family, eat their favorite food, go someplace they’ve always wanted to go? Nobody ever says they’d spend the last day curled up in bed crying- because they wouldn’t. That’s not what anyone wants to do with their final hours. I mean, yeah, you’d cry. And you’d be scared because you’re gonna die. And you’d find yourself looking at the sky throughout the day, knowing what’s coming because that’s just human nature. But for the most part, you’d just enjoy the time you had left. Especially because there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no escape, nowhere to hide. So why bother? Obsessing over the end is pointless. If you spend your life dwelling on the worst possible thing, when it finally happens, you’ve lived it twice. I don’t want to live the worst things twice. I try really hard not to think about the bad stuff. But every once in a while I’m human and I look up. Yesterday was just one of those days that I looked at the sun.”

There are so many quotes in this book that I want to share. It’s a novel about positivity, tackling life head-on and not letting the bad things get you down. I have laughed, I have cried. I’ve downloaded the first book in this series and the newest release from Abby Jaminez. I can’t wait to read them!


About Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network winner, New York Times best selling author, and recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for her novel Life’s Too Short. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and has amassed an international cult following.

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house.