Month: June 2022

Bright Burning Things Book Review

Posted June 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Bright Burning Things Book ReviewBright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
Published by Bloomsbury on 7 December 2021
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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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.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

Being Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya.

Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands.

Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever.

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.

Being the mother of a 3 year old and a 5 year old the premise for this book really interested me.

“Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.”

Loving your child too much, living in fear are totally normal feelings for most mothers, as is needing a glass of wine at the end of the day to cope with the stresses that you’ve faced. But with Sonya, everything is done to the extreme. Loving your child to the point you almost suffocate him. needing that glass of wine so much that it’s gone in one mouthful (followed by 2 further bottles). Sonya’s life is spiralling out of control and she’s taking Tommy down with her causing her neighbour and her father to intervene.

The entire book is told through Sonya’s eyes, we get to experience just what she is seeing and feeling and it is terrifying. For me the thought of potentially losing my child or doing something that would put them in danger would be enough to stop me from progressing down a dangerous path, but when we meet Sonya she is too far gone and the consequences are inevitable.

There are parallels in here with Hansel and Gretel with Sonya likening their neighbour to the witch, but really it was her father and step-mother who reminded me most of their fairy tale counterparts; although Tommy is let down by Sonya I think she is let down the most by her father who seems to have (perhaps not always intentionally) caused her heartbreak throughout her life.

This is a book that plays on your emotions, to see the heartbreak caused by the separation of Sonya and Tommy is very impactful and the journey back to the family dynamic is a tough read

three-half-stars

Tour – Retreat To The Spanish Sun

Posted June 23, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour – Retreat To The Spanish SunRetreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas
Published by Random House on June 1, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours

'Warm and life-enhancing, I wanted to move to Spain with these wonderful characters' Katie Fforde

'A fabulous read celebrating the good things in life - fun, friends, family and food' Jill Mansell

From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story...

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property... but now they're all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter's pug. Combined with the online course she's trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn't the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying 'house-sitters wanted', Eliza can't resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner's Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies... and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

Readers have fallen in love with Retreat to the Spanish Sun
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'Perfect for a summer holiday read'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐'You'll be craving tapas, Flamenco and the southern Spanish sun after reading this 5-star book'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'A lovely read from Jo Thomas, her books never fail to make me happy'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐'A lovely, warm and sunny read'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'Fabulous location, delicious descriptions of food & drink & wonderful characters, an all round feel-good book'

If you love Jo's books, her next Christmas novel, Keeping a Christmas Promise, is available to pre-order now

Today is my turn on the Tour for the fabulous Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas.

As a “woman of a certain age” this book appealed to me. The idea that you hit your mid forties and realise that you no longer have an identity outside of mum is all too real. As my children are 4 and 6 (hello geriatric motherhood!) I have a long wait until my kids leave home but I can imagine that it’s tiring going from them leaving and being an empty nester to them all returning and upturning your life (again). I don’t know whether my time of life affected my reading, I so understand where she’s coming from in having put everyone else first for so long that it’s hard to remember who you actually were before the kids come along.

Oh to get the chance to house sit in the sun!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having been in the rain of the UK for the past 2 years, this is the closest to a sunny holiday I’ve had in some time. I can’t wait until I’m on Spanish shores again. This has really whet my appetite for it!

The opening to the book was a little rushed; we pretty much had “oh the kids are back, they’re driving me crazy, I need some space, hello house sitting in Spain” which is fair enough as the “meat” of the story happens once Eliza is rediscovering herself (see what I did there, meat – pig farming 🤣 – it’ll mean more once you’ve read the book).

Anyway, as a bit of a foodie I loved learning about Iberico ham and pig farming. I loved the escape to the sun, the friendships, the romance. It really wasn’t the quiet break that Elixa had been hoping for – but then that wouldn’t have made such a good novel.

This was my first Jo Thomas book and I’m not sure why as I love this genre of “feel good fiction” the sort that has so much going on, not always positive, but that written in such a way as to have a constant smile on your face while reading.

I highly recommend reading this, especially if we get a little bit of sun, while armed with an antipasti platter and a nice glass of something alcoholic!


Blog Tour: The House Sitter Book Review

Posted June 15, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 2 Comments

Blog Tour: The House Sitter Book ReviewThe House Sitter Published by Bookouture on 14 June 2022
Narrator: Kristin James
Length: 9hrs 9 mins
Genres: Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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.

Goodreads
four-stars

‘You’re just the girl I’ve been looking for,’ Iris told me, her blue eyes sparkling, when she offered me the job as her live-in helper. Little did she know, I thought the exact same about her. And she was wrong to trust me...

As I clean Iris’s large, old house in Pacific Heights, my boyfriend Seth works outside, tending to the lawn and fixing the broken gate. I can’t help but notice Iris’s steely eyes watching our every move. Does she know why we’re really here?

Most days we live in perfect harmony, but today Iris is confused. She thinks we moved in uninvited. I pass her a tablet from the medicine cabinet, knowing she’ll soon calm down and remember how lucky she is to have found us.

Later that night, the police arrive to find Iris’s perfect house turned upside down, the telephone lying on the floor, its cord severed. They walk through each room, calling out, but the house remains totally silent.

You will think you know what happened that night, but when the police discover something unexpected hidden amongst the wreckage in Iris’s bedroom, you’ll find you don’t know a thing.

Today I’m on the blog tour for The House Sitter by Ellery Kane, thank you so much to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in this.

This is actually quite difficult to review without giving anything away. There’s a lot going on, with twists upon twists but so much of it would have the potential to spoil the story for you. I was actually writing notes as I was reading with my thoughts and suspicions, and I can’t share them with you, which is really frustrating!

The book opens with a 911 call, the caller is reporting an intruder, there’s screaming, a gun shot, silence. The rest of the book is told in dual timeline, before and after. Before starts with Iris meeting Seth and Lydia, inviting them to come and work for her. After, Iris is missing, assumed dead and Seth and Lydia are living in her house. In the before we follow Iris’s developing relationship with both Seth and Lydia before her disappearance. In the after we learn more about what has happened to Iris, Lydia and Seth before they met each other. We also get to follow the police investigation as Maureen takes on her first case under the watchful (and disapproving) eye of Walt.

There’s a definite male/female split in this book, I loved all of the female characters and all of the male characters were *choose your preferred derogatory term*.

I really wished that I was reading this with a buddy. I had so many thoughts and suspicions as I was reading. I would highly recommend reading this with someone else, take nothing at face value and pay close attention to the language used, it’s very clever.

I listened to the audio of this, at the start I got very frustrated by some of the voices used by the actress but by the end I had completely changed my mind on it. They were perfect.

four-stars

Tour: The Friendship Pact Book Review

Posted June 14, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Tour: The Friendship Pact Book ReviewThe Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis
Published by HarperCollins on June 14, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-stars

Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

Happy Publication Day!!

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis, thank you so much to HarperCollins for inviting me to take part!

For the better part of her childhood, all Tae Holmes had wanted was to be an adult, only as it turned out, adulting was overrated.

I do like it when as soon as you open a book you start highlighting passages that you appreciate!

This was my first Jill Shalvis book having only recently started to read romance again after a long break. One of my friends recommended Shalvis to me and she’s definitely an author I’ll be reading more of. I was a little concerned that I hadn’t read the first book in this series but from what I understand, the location is the only link and not the actual characters so I’ve not missed out by starting on Book 2.

Tae has been raised by her mother, April, who is only 15 years her senior. She’s been told that her father died overseas before she was born but within the first few pages we’re given a hint that things might not quite be as Tae has been led to believe. I do like the relationship between Tae and April, often seeming more like best friends rather than mother and daughter. I don’t completely agree with all the decisions that April has made but she’s made them with the best of intentions.

Tae has recently set up her own events company and has acquired a new client, an adventure company for athletes with disabilities. This gave me major Invictus Games vibes. Having only dealt with Jake so far, Tae has the rug pulled from under her when his silent partner turns up at their first event. His brother Riggs (what tv show do I know that name from, every time I read it I can hear it being said on the tv and can’t for the life of me remember what show it was on), anyway, his brother Riggs has invested 50/50 in the business. The same Riggs who was friends with Tae at school but then ruined it with taking their friendship to the next level.

I’ve decided I really like second chance romance. Finding out what went wrong the first time round and whether they’ll get together again. I mean, it’s a romance, we know it’s going to happen but the push and pull, will they – won’t they that takes us on the journey is great fun. I loved the relationship and banter between Tae and Riggs, even though there were times when they really frustrated me (just how stubborn can one man be!)

four-stars

Tour: The Lost Ones

Posted June 12, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Tour: The Lost OnesThe Lost Ones by Marnie Riches
Series: Detective Jackie Cooke #1
Published by Bookouture on 7th June 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 338
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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.

Goodreads
four-stars

The girl is sitting upright, her dark brown hair arranged over her shoulders and her blue, blue eyes staring into the distance. She looks almost peaceful. But her gaze is vacant, and her skin is cold…

When Detective Jackie Cooke is called to the murder scene, she is shocked by what she sees. Missing teenager Chloe Smedley has finally been found – her body left in a cold back yard, carefully posed with her bright blue eyes still open. Jackie lays a protective hand on the baby in her belly, and vows to find the brutal monster who stole Chloe’s future.

When Jackie breaks the news to Chloe’s heartbroken mother, she understands the woman’s cries only too well. Her own brother went missing as a child, the case never solved. Determined to get justice for Chloe and her family, Jackie sets to work, finding footage of the girl waving at someone the day she disappeared. Did Chloe know her killer?

But then a second body is found on the side of a busy motorway, lit up by passing cars. The only link with Chloe is the disturbing way the victim has been posed, and Jackie is convinced she is searching for a dangerous predator. Someone has been hunting missing and vulnerable people for decades, and only Jackie seems to see that they were never lost. They were taken.

Jackie’s boss refuses to believe a serial killer is on the loose and threatens to take her off the case. But then Jackie returns home to find a brightly coloured bracelet on her kitchen counter and her blood turns cold. It’s the same one her brother was wearing when he vanished. Could his disappearance be connected to the murders? Jackie will stop at nothing to catch her killer… unless he finds her first…

Today is my turn on the tour for The Lost Ones by Marnie Riches, thank you so much to the team at Bookouture for inviting me on to this.

This is the first in a new series by Marnie Riches and I am already looking forward to the next one.

Detective Jackie Cooke is an excellent character, she is what I expect from a Detective in North West England, over worked, under paid and under appreciated by her family. She has a lot going on both in her work life, trying to catch a serial killer while being held back by her boss and in her personal life, trying to cope with her mother and her errant husband as well as twin boys and a pregnancy. How she’s holding it all together is beyond me!

When Jackie is called to investigate the brutal murder of a teenager with Downs Syndrome, it brings back memories of her brothers disappearance when they were children. She’s barely got started on that murder when more body parts start to appear, not belonging to Chloe.

I loved that this included humour and that Jackie wasn’t a stick thin, can do it all detective. She was more real (more my size) and a lot more “normal” than some characters tend to be.

four-stars

About Marnie Riches

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.

Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.

Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.

When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.


The Shadow Man Book Review

Posted June 11, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

The Shadow Man Book ReviewThe Shadow Man by Helen Fields
Published by Avon on 4th February 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-half-stars

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

And he’s watching.

This is possibly one of the darkest thrillers that I’ve read for some time. Helen Fields wastes no time with setting the scene and getting to know characters, instead she is straight into the action establishing the tone for the entire novel from the start.

Being inside the twisted head of The Shadow Man, knowing what is going through his mind when he is carrying out his actions gives you a great insight to how delusional this character is and means that you know there is nothing that he won’t do to get what he needs. Coupled with this we have chapters told from the POV of Elsbeth, Meggy and Xavier. You know that there are interactions that have happened between them and The Shadow Man that you haven’t seen, but seeing their reaction to him and their desperation leaves your imagination to what else has happened working overtime. There’s not actually a lot of scene’s where they’re all together, what scenes there are will chill you. But the scene’s where Elsbeth, Meggy and Xavier are on their own are haunting

Interspersed with these scenes are the chapters featuring forensic psychologist Connie Woodwine and Detecive Brodie Baarda who are leading the hunt for The Shadow Man. I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between these two total opposites, even though it was on occasion a little bit clunky. Connie’s tell it like it is attitude is fantastic, and Baarda’s Etonian English approach to people are completely at odds with each other but they work.

The synopsis of this novel calls it heart pounding. There’s plenty of novels out there that have descriptions similar to this, very few of them live up to it. The Shadow Man does. When I get nervous or worked up my foot starts to tap, it doesn’t happen often, I’m pretty level headed. On a couple of occasions reading this I found my foot slamming itself repeatedly into the floor, or me reading sentences peering through my fingers. You honestly have absolutely no idea where this book is going to go next, who is going to survive and what they’re going to have to go through in order to survive. There was more than one occasion where I felt my stomach churning as I was reading. This is more than a thriller

four-half-stars

The Castaways Book Review

Posted June 10, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

The Castaways Book ReviewThe Castaways by Lucy Clarke
Published by HarperCollins on March 1, 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
five-stars

You wake on a beautiful, remote island.

Sparkling blue seas, golden sunsets, barely a footprint in the sand.

Yet this is no ordinary escape.

Next to the wreck of a plane, a stranger paces. Another sharpens a knife, scoring a list of the dead onto a palm tree. Others watch from the shadows of a campfire – all with untold stories, and closely-guarded secrets...

This is no ordinary holiday.
This is no ordinary island.
This is no ordinary beach read.

Wow! What a book! This was my first book by Lucy Clarke and what an amazing book it was!

Erin and Lori are meant to be having the holiday of a lifetime together, instead the night before they have a row and Erin misses her flight. The plane never makes it to it’s destination.

“For so long I believed that I should only feel pleasure when I no longer feel all the other things: the sadness, the loss, the fear. But emotions don’t come parcelled neatly. They’re shaken together and messy. Happiness laced with sadness. Hope tangled with fear. Love shadowed by loss. It isn’t about waiting until I’m in a better place. Striving for a happy life. It’s about feeling life.”

This is a dual timeline, dual perspective novel. Told from the POV of Erin, 2 years after the plane which was carrying her sister disappered and from the POV of Lori, in the time on the island after the plane has crashed (there is a small amount of the novel covering before the disappearance but all the action takes place afterwards).

Two years after the plane disappears Erin is still looking for her sister, she is sure that she’s still alive, surely she’d feel it if she were dead? She’s also sure that someone is hiding something. Now, I’m not saying that Erin is obsessive but she’s dedicated her spare room walls to the discovery of her sister. I think as well as having been close to her sister and missing her, wanting to know what happened, there is also some survivors guilt in there. Erin should have been on that plane. If Lori is dead, they should have died together, if she’s still alive then maybe whatever predicament she’s in could have been lessened if Erin were with her.

I love how the reader always knows slightly more than the characters, but at the same time, we don’t know everything. I found that I was completely immersed into their world and desperate to know what had happened. Had Lori survived, if so, why hadn’t she made contact with her sister?

“You know that feeling when you read a good book, and you’re totally transported to the world within those pages? Your imagination has travelled there – and yet your body is not fooled: it knows you haven’t left the sofa.”

As a reader we know that Lori survived, the plane crashed and she was on an uninhabited island with the other survivors from the plane. She narrates the first month after the crash. But we’re at 2 years later. What has happened in the mean time? Has her name been carved into the tree showing those on the plane who didn’t survive?

five-stars

22 Seconds by James Patterson

Posted June 9, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

22 Seconds by James Patterson22 Seconds by James Patterson
Series: Womens Murder Club #22
Published by Penguin on 2 May 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
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.

Goodreads
four-stars

22 seconds... until Lindsay Boxer loses her badge—or her life.

SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer has guns on her mind.

There’s buzz of a last-ditch shipment of drugs and weapons crossing the Mexican border ahead of new restrictive gun laws. Before Lindsay can act, her top informant tips her to a case that hits disturbingly close to home.

Former cops. Professional hits. All with the same warning scrawled on their bodies:

You talk, you die.

Now it’s Lindsay’s turn to choose.

You always know what you’re going to get with a James Patterson novel. Short, punchy chapters. Characters you’ve got to know over time and lots of murders. This one also involved drug cartels and illegal gun shipments.

This is the 22nd book in the Women’s Murder Club series which was created by Patterson on the premise that women tend to collaborate far more than men, hence by working together they get the job done. In all honesty, I didn’t find this one to be much of a Murder Club, it was more the Lindsay Boxer show, with her working closely with Joe on the case. Hopefully we’ll get to see a bit more of the other ladies in the future books.

Alongside the frustration with the other characters not being prevalent in this novel, was the chapters. The majority of the chapters are focused on Lindsay, which is fine. But then you’ll get a chapter which is from the POV of one of the other characters. There is nothing to tell you that the perspective is changing. It’s only when you get a couple of paragraphs in and are getting confused as to why it’s jumping around that you realise we are looking at a different character. Just a name under the chapter number would have made it a much pleasanter reading experience.

What I particularly liked was the attention to Julie and how Lindsay and Joe had to consider the risk to their lives and the impact on Julie, ensuring that only one of them was in a high risk situation at any one time. All to often in novels the main characters have a child but if they’re not involved in that particular scene then they seem to get forgotten about. I was really impressed that Julie was present on every page, even when she wasn’t part of the scene.

four-stars

Nine Lives Book Review

Posted June 8, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Nine Lives Book ReviewNine Lives by Peter Swanson
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on May 27, 2022
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke--until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.

First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they're located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next...

Nine strangers, seemingly unrelated. Each one of them receives a list containing their name. Most of them looks at it and promptly forget about it or ignore it, they don’t know anyone on the list apart from themselves so dismiss it. However, they soon start to turn up murdered.

Swanson has stated that he drew inspration from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None for this book and there were definitely some heavy parralels to be found between the two. However, there is a warning to be had in imitating a master of the craft. You’re work, no matter how good, is never likely to live up to the original.

“The awful thing about loneliness, Jack thought, not for the first time, is that it isn’t always cured by other people.”

There are a lot of characters to keep on top of in this, there’s obviously the 9 people on the list, there’s also the murderer and there’s the police who are (not really) investigating. I did find it quite difficult to keep on top of who was who, I didn’t feel that I really got a chance to get to know the characters all that well.

“He’d always wondered what was worse: to feel emptiness and not know what would make it go away, or to feel emptiness and know exactly what was missing. Tonight, for whatever reason, he seemed to have the answer. He understood with evangelical clarity how fleeting our lives are, and how foolish it is to mourn those who’ve left too soon.”

three-half-stars

Top Ten Tuesday – Books With a Unit of Time In the Title

Posted June 7, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

This just happens to coincide with my review of 22 Seconds by James Patterson. I’d like to tell you it was intentional, but I am honestly not that organised!

So my top 10 books with a unit of time in the Title

  1. 22 Seconds by James Patterson
  2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  3. One Day by David Nicholls
  4. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
  5. My Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan
  6. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  7. In Seconds by Brenda Novak
  8. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  10. The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

I have read all of these, however, I haven’t yet reviewed them all on here. Maybe I should use this as a prompt to try and remember what I thought of them and then I can add reviews


The Stories of my Life Book Review

Posted June 6, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

The Stories of my Life Book ReviewThe Stories of my Life by James Patterson
Published by Hachette UK on June 6, 2022
Genres: Autobiography
Pages: 400
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.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

How did a kid whose dad lived in the poorhouse become the most successful storyteller in the world?

  • On the morning he was born, he nearly died.
  • His dad grew up in the Pogey– the Newburgh, New York, poorhouse.
  • He worked at a mental hospital in Massachusetts, where he met the singer James Taylor and the poet Robert Lowell.  
  • While he toiled in advertising hell, James wrote the ad jingle line “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid.”
  • He once watched James Baldwin and Norman Mailer square off to trade punches at a party.
  • He’s only been in love twice.  Both times are amazing.
  • Dolly Parton once sang “Happy Birthday” to James over the phone.  She calls him J.J., for Jimmy James. 

How did a boy from small-town New York become the world’s most successful writer? How does he do it? He has always wanted to write the kind of novel that would be read and reread so many times that the binding breaks and the book literally falls apart. As he says, “I’m still working on that one.” 

This is a strange one for me to review. I had mixed feelings about it and I’m not entirely sure they’re the fault of James Patterson. I had expected this to be an autobiography, and in a way it is – just not in the traditional sense. This is a group of stories of various events that have happened in James Pattersons life but there is no logical groupings and they’re non linear, which is confusing. For example, we have a couple of chapters about working with Bill Clinton and the books they wrote together and then shortly after that we have them meeting for the first time on a golf course.

For the first quarter of the book I was getting very annoyed at the constant name dropping, I had it in my head that this was showing an arrogance on Pattersons part. However, as I read more of the book and got to understand Patterson more I came to realise that it wasn’t arrogance or showing off but that he is genuinely excited and surprised that he has the level of fame that he does and that he has met the people that he has.

I read an arc of this so it was unfinished and the formatting was terrible, this is something that i know will be fixed before it goes on general sale, Im also hoping that it will be more readable. it did feel like an editor still needed to do their job on it.

There is very little about writing in this, I had really hoped for more. Patterson does tell us about books and authors that he loves, and touches on his writing process but its nothing deeper than what he’s revealed in other interviews. One thing that Patterson does do very well in this book is too give credit to other people, be they people he’s worked with in advertising or people involved in the publishing process.

Ultimately, I was disappointed in this book, I much prefer Patterson’s fiction work.

three-half-stars

Book Blogger Hop – What is your method for writing reviews

Posted June 6, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Ah writing reviews. Without them I wouldn’t remember a thing about the books that I’ve read. I don’t know whether it’s mum brain or middle age but I have got a memory like a sieve. There are so many books that I’ve read where I didn’t write the review straight away and now I just wouldn’t be able to.

So, yes, straight away. As soon as I finish a book. Before I started blogging I would have just logged into Goodreads and wrote down my immediate thoughts. Since I started blogging I have a diary with a page for each book, I write notes as I go along about things I found important and want to mention, feelings that I have as I’m reading and interesting quotes. I also use the highlight facility on my kindle and have post it notes with me for physical books.

Since I started blogging I feel that my reviews have improved, they still have a long way to go to be where I’d like them to be but I can see a difference from what they were a few months ago.


Stacking the Shelves

Posted June 4, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

As I’m away this week visiting my parents I thought it was going to be a quiet one for books.

I was wrong

There were 2 things that I didn’t take into account.

  1. Random Things having loads of amazing tours coming up
  2. Start of the month meaning that the new Kindle deals are available

So, firstly, the Random Things Tour Books I received

  • The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney
  • The Eye of the Beholder by Margie Orford
  • Deep Water by Emma Bamford
  • Listen To Me by Tess Gerritsen

The kindle bargains that I treated myself to

  • Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  • The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase
  • Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby
  • The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
  • Cracking The Menopause by Mariella Frostrup

I won What She Left Behind by Mily Freud in a competition on Twitter

I may have also got 2 more tour books to read from publishers

  • The Way Back to You by James Bailey
  • The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

I really need to stop buying books, or figure out how to read at least 10 a week!


Let’s Talk Bookish – Have you ever considered quitting blogging?

Posted June 3, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Oh if ever there was a question that was meant for me then this was it!! Not only did I consider quitting. I did quit. For about 8 years.

I used to run a blog called BookBliss, I had to for around 3 years and I did really enjoy posting to it but I found the whole WordPress side of things really difficult and I could never get it to do what I wanted. I got so frustrated that I hated the look of it and doing the maintenance side of blogging (such as setting up the archives, doing back ups and anything like that) was so time consuming that I just lost heart and gave up, especially when I could never get it to look “professional” (I know this is a hobby but i have standards and want my blog to look good).

Fast forward to now and I’m back. I have Nose Graze doing the hosting for me, they supply my theme, the Ultimate Book Blogger plug in and they do all the updates. I literally come in here and create posts and publish them. There is so little additional work that needs to be done as they have formatted my main posts for book reviews, the menu’s for archives are set up by them and automatically updated when I post, they have shortcodes set up for so many things that my blogging life is so easy. I can concentrate on writing posts and engaging with other blogs. I love it!


My Name is Parvana Book Review

Posted June 2, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

My Name is Parvana Book ReviewMy Name Is Parvana by Deborah Ellis
Series: Breadwinner #4
Published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press on May 1, 2015
Genres: Childrens, Autobiography
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
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.

Goodreads
four-stars

The fourth book in the internationally bestselling series that includes The Breadwinner, Parvana's Journey and Mud City.

In this stunning sequel, Parvana, now fifteen, is found in a bombed-out school and held as a suspected terrorist by American troops in Afghanistan.

On a military base in Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan -- and Parvana.

In this long-awaited sequel, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.

A riveting page-turner, Deborah Ellis's final novel in the series is at once harrowing, inspiring and thought-provoking. And, yes, in the end, Parvana is reunited with her childhood friend, Shauzia.

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.

When the book starts 15 year old Parvana is already being held by American soldiers on suspicion of being a terrorist, we quickly learn that although she speaks near perfect English she is refusing to speak. Over the course of the novel we learn of the events that have led up to her being held and the reasons behind her silence.

This is the fourth book in the series and although it was strong enough to be read as a standalone, I would have liked to have had a better understanding of the relationships between Parvana, Mrs Weera and Shauzia which would have been gained from reading the earlier books in the series.

This book is aimed at the 10 year olds + age range, it’s part of the Accelerated Reading program, as are all of the other books in this series. Although not an easy book for this age range to read, it tackles some difficult subjects but is done in an easy to understand manner which I don’t think younger readers would find too difficult or traumatising.

Although aimed at children I think it’s a good read for all age ranges, I wanted to read a novel centred around the trouble in Afghanistan but I didn’t want something that would be too heavy going. This book was perfect for it.

four-stars