Source: Library

Forgotten Fairytales: Clever Molly

Posted September 20, 2022 by louisesr in Age 5-7, Childrens / 0 Comments

Forgotten Fairytales: Clever MollyForgotten Fairytales: Clever Molly Published by Usborne on 1 Oct 2020
Genres: Childrens
Pages: 48
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Molly and her sisters meet a wicked giant who wants to eat them. Molly's quick thinking saves them... but to defeat the giant forever, Molly will have to return and steal three magical treasures. Based on an old Scottish tale, sometimes known as Molly Whuppie.

Lily loves this book so much, this is the character she wanted to be for World Book Day.

It’s broken down into 5 chapters, perfect for children who’ve just started reading by themselves.

Molly and her 2 sisters are hungry. They decide to go out in search of food and come across a giants house where they ask his kind wife for food. When the giant comes home he invites them to stay the night, planning to eat them for breakfast. The girls escape and head on where they find a king who’s offered a reward of half his kingdom for anyone who can defeat the giant by stealing his 3 treasures.

This story of a bold clever girl saving herself and her sisters is a traditional Scottish tale. A similar tale is told in Ireland. Molly’s full name is given as Molly Whuppie. In Scotland, “whuppie” or “whippy” can mean nimble or clever

About Forgotten Fairy Tales

People have been telling each other fairy tales for thousands of years. Then, a few hundred years ago, collectors began whiting the stories down. The ones that became famous were the ones that reflected the ideas of the time.

These stories had patient, polite princesses such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The takes with bold girls fighting their own battles were ignored.

The Forgotten Fairy Tales series brings to life the stories of those forgotten brave and brilliant girls…

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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
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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
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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
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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

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
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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.

Goodreads
five-stars

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!

five-stars

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.

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The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

Posted May 18, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

The Rising Tide by Sam LloydThe Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd
Published by Random House on June 24, 2021
Narrator: Anna Wilson-Jones, Charles Armstrong
Length: 12 hrs
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 448
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.

Goodreads
four-stars

HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn't strike cleanly, like a guillotine's blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence - the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy's husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder - what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a living nightmare . . .

Wherever her husband is, he isn't alone. Because their children are missing, too.

I read The Memory Wood earlier this year and absolutely loved it. It had me gripped from start to finish so as soon as I saw another novel by Sam Lloyd there was no question as to whether I was going to read it.

The start of this novel was brilliant and for the first 3/4 I couldn’t read fast enough, I was devouring every page. Coming from a fishing town I loved the descriptions of the sea and how it was almost a character in itself. You could feel the swell of the waves and the danger that they brought.

The whole way through I was questioning the reality of what I was reading, knowing that things couldn’t be as they seemed. I was convinced I knew which character was going to be responsible for what had happened, it couldn’t possibly be what it appeared to be on the surface.

I was wrong.

Then we hit the 80% mark. I have a theory that 80% is where the bombshells hit, the twists happen, the pace of the story increases. And that’s where this story fell apart. There was a twist. I found it a complete let down. Things didn’t ramp up and I didn’t enjoy the end of the novel. I read this with my reading buddy and after “the big twist” she put it down in disgust. Over 80% through and it ended as a DNF for her. Now, it didn’t annoy me that much but I did think it let down what had been shaping up to be a 5 star book.

four-stars

About Sam Lloyd

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, where he learned his love of storytelling. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. His debut thriller, The Memory Wood, was published to huge critical acclaim in 2020.

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