⭐4.3 OUT OF 5 STARS⭐
The Snake And The Serpent by S.M. Humphreys is a well-written and well-researched read that will be sure to have you gripped.
Set in the early years of World War Two, it follows two sisters navigating life on different sides of the war
I found it to be a really interesting (if at times it does tackle plenty of difficult subjects) to read with the focus more on life under Hitler’s rule. It follows life as a citizen and also members of the resistance.
I loved the short chapters which kept the story moving at a great pace and ensured you were fully immersed. I was completely gripped and just wanted to keep reading on and on. For me, I have a love hate relationship with short chapters because, yes, they are great because they are so good that you keep saying to yourself ‘just one more chapter’. However, they get so addictive that they keep you up way too late reading because I kept saying ‘just one more chapter, they’re only short’ 😅
It does focus more on the political side of things which did occasionally lose my interest when it got more in depth and I found it went a little over my head.
Of course, it’s no secret that I simply love historical fiction and this was well-written and well-researched which made for a brilliant read.
Thanks to Kelly (Authoright) and Clink Street Publishing for my copy.
Book Review of Trine by Chris Faraday
4.3 out of 5 stars
Trine by Chris Faraday is a brilliantly action-packed and thrilling read.
If you love the weird and bizarre like me then this is the book for you!
It was really intriguing the way young Kristen was introduced. I think it really made me look at the book with a different perspective from then onwards and I'm not sure why. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it just had me even more on edge when reading it I think and I mean I'll let you decide if you think that's a good thing or not 😆
I think it made me sit upright with the fact that this very strange out-there book was grounded by a young child who was also in a way quirky and fit with that world too. It was unexpected and added a whole extra layer to an already fascinating book.
It had me so hooked and completely glued to the page throughout. The way that the world building was slotted into the action so that it never slowed was expertly done.
Overall it was a brilliant read.
Order Trine here: Trine: Amazon.co.uk: Faraday, Chris: 9781915202444: Books
Thank you, Amy (Angry Robot Books), for my copy.
Book Review of Love At War by Jill Barry
3.5 out of 5 stars
Love At War by Jill Barry is a fab historical romance that's a great read to get sucked into.
I loved how the characters bounced off of each other. I thought the full cast of characters just really worked. My favourite connection between the characters was Anne's relationship with her mum and dad. Whilst they went through difficult times I really liked how their relationship was written and put forward to the reader.
I always love historical fiction set in the war so I know most of you won't be surprised that I really enjoyed this. It was great to be sucked into this wonderful world and explore more in the war.
The chapters were short and made sure the story kept moving forward at a good pace. Sometimes I just wanted even more from the chapters too (I suppose that can be a good thing or not depending on your personal taste).
For me, at times it felt like the writing was a little strained and a little awkward in some places. It was like it was written tensely and was forced even when it was just simply dialogue at times and it just gave a little bit if an inconsistent flow to the book.
Overall it was a fab historical romance and an easy read to be sucked into.
Order Love At War here: Love at War: Amazon.co.uk: Barry, Jill: 9781739117337: Books
Thanks to Anne (Random Things Tours) and Jill Barry for my copy.
Book Review of Vulcana by Rebecca F. John
4.7 out of 5 stars
Vulcana by Rebecca F. John was a fascinating and also surprisingly emotional story.
It was completely absorbing and immersive and it really took me away into a time period I really love learning and reading about. The 1800s fascinate me and I really love books set in this time period. There were so many little details that had obviously been really well researched that really made it come to life.
I loved how it was based on a true story. I think when historical fiction is based on a true story it makes it even more interesting and I found myself completely hooked to Kate ‘s (Vulcana’s) story and life.
Kate’s personality was what really made the book for me. She was such a strong and confident woman in a time where women were only seen as stay at home wives in society. I really admired her courage and strength in the hard times: she was an inspiration throughout the book.
I found the setting to be really interested and I couldn’t help but get swept away in the brilliance of the story. I loved learning about her life and it really kept me gripped to the story. It moved along at a good pace too which meant I never really wanted to put it down.
I’d actually never heard of Vulcana before reading this, so I felt that I learnt quite a lot, and I also learned more about the time period too. This had been meticulously researched and it shone through and certainly paid off.
Overall it was an inspiring and fascinating read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Order Vulcana here: Vulcana eBook : John, Rebecca F.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you, Honno and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of From Cornwall With Love by Cressida McLaughlin
4.2 out of 5 stars
From Cornwall With Love by Cressida McLaughlin was a delightful easy read with great escapism.
This isn’t my usual kind of read, but I wanted an easy read to escape into after a lot of heavier reads recently. This fit the bill perfectly! It was such a great easy read.
I loved how it opened in the past and then flicked to the present and continued the story. I thought it worked really well.
The writing was exemplary. It seemed to flow so effortlessly, and it was crafted and written so well. Cressida obviously knows how to create a brilliant story to delight the reader and keep them hooked to the very end: incredible!
Sometimes, it seemed a little too good to be true (yes, there were some problems the characters had to overcome but some were a little too simple for me). Maybe this might be because I’m used to complicated and twisted plot lines of crime thriller, which this is of course anything but. I knew there wasn’t going to be crazy fast-paced twists, the plot did move along at a good pace actually, I just left wanting just a little more from it if I’m completely honest.
It is part of a series too, but can absolutely be read as a standalone as well.
Overall, this was exactly what I wanted from this book: a fab, easy read to escape into.
Order From Cornwall With Love here: From Cornwall with Love: escapist and romantic holiday reading, perfect for Summer 2023: Book 8 (The Cornish Cream Tea series): Amazon.co.uk: McLaughlin, Cressida: 9780008503697: Books
Thank you, Harper Collins and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Last Dance At The Discotheque For Deviants by Paul David Gould
4 out of 5 stars
Last Dance At The Discotheque For Deviants by Paul David Gould is such a brilliant crime fiction read for pride month!
I loved how it was crime fiction, but there was more to it with the unique array of characters and setting. The story was so much more than finding out what happened to Kostya.
I floated through the writing – it was a joy to read. It was so skilfully written too and so easy to read. However, at times, I found the flicking in time a little confusing and hard to keep up with. I think that was because of the number of flashbacks and the different amounts of time it flicks back to. If it were to be more consistent with this, I think it would be even better personally.
I think the friendship of Jamie and Dima is what made this book even more powerful for me as they wanted to find out what happened to Kostya. I also liked how it changed focuses of the story throughout.
It was also rather eye-opening in the sense of how the characters opened up and flourished as who they were meant to be, even if it was difficult and there were plenty of bumps in the road. I think a main theme I found interesting in this book was ‘discovery’. It was about the discovery of who they are as people, and it also explored how people how to discover how to live post-war and so much more.
I though the setting after the cold war in Russia was really interesting. I think it created a great mood setting for the entire book.
Overall, it was an impactful book perfect for crime fiction lovers who love a bit more to the story, and such a great match for Pride Month too.
Order Last Dance At The Discotheque For Deviants here: Last Dance at the Discotheque for Deviants: Unbound Firsts 2023 Title: Amazon.co.uk: Gould, Paul David: 9781800182202: Books
Thank you, Unbound and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of To Die In June by Alan Parks
4 out of 5 stars
To Die In June by Alan Parks is a thrilling read.
It had a really bold and dramatic beginning meeting the family of the missing boy, that got straight into things. I do like when books just get on with and aren’t afraid to go straight to the action. It didn’t just stop there, it continued at a great fast pace that kept me engaged throughout (even if it dragged things along a little too long towards the end for me).
I really loved the gritty historical crime noir feel that it had, and I felt that the writing managed to not go too dark and had lighter moments which worked well.
I thought it was really interesting how it explored religion in the victim’s family. I don’t see it often enough and I think it added a whole extra element to the mystery and really made me sit back and just made me step back a little bit and added extra food for thought. On reflection, it started off quite innocent in terms of the effects the religion had, and it did take a darker turn later on.
I found there was a great balance between the main mysteries and the character development of McCoy and his personal life. There were many layers to McCoy revealed in this book as his background was brought into things with recent cases. There were a lot of subplots to keep up with though.
The chapters were a great length for me and made you want to continue turning the page. I think it’s important in crime fiction like this to keep the chapters short in order to keep the reader engaged and this certainly did that for me.
Overall, it was a dark and thrilling read.
Order To Die In June here: To Die In June: Amazon.co.uk: Parks, Alan: 9781805300786: Books
Thank you, Canongate Books and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Tropical Issue by Dorothy Dunnett
5 out of 5 stars
Tropical Issue by Dorothy Dunnett is an absolute masterpiece.
I loved how all of the characters each had their own quirky personality that all worked so well together and bounced off each other so well despite their bold differences. I loved the intrigue surrounding Johnson Johnson and the contrast of Rita as a bold (perhaps a little controversial in today’s day and age), strong woman. I really loved how Rita was represented as I love strong female leads, but she also wasn’t all perfect. She did have her own difficulties, for example her dyslexia, but her ‘flaws’ weren’t always seen as a negative which was refreshing.
There was a great sense of setting in terms of the actual place and the historical feel (it was published in the 1980s, so it has a kind of nostalgic feel which I personally really liked).
The writing is absolutely exemplary and was just so brilliant to read. The writing style may not be to everyone’s taste as there are a lot of complicated, long sentences with plenty of commas which you don’t tend to see often today, but there’s no doubt they were all faultlessly crafted. I’m not often a fan of this kind of writing myself either, but when it comes to classics they just work, and this writing just worked.
The writing is also incredibly witty and there was a real sense of humour shining through. It was just so clever.
This was my first book by Dorothy, and it certainly won’t be my last! I’m already so excited to get reading the next one in the series (I’m lucky to also be a part of that blog tour in July!)
Overall, it was such a treat: this is how you do murder mystery!
Order Tropical Issue here: Tropical Issue (Dolly Book 1) eBook : Dunnett, Dorothy: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you, Farrago Books and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Seat 97 by Tony Bassett
3.3 out of 5 stars
Seat 97 by Tony Bassett is an action-packed book that really kept me guessing.
I really loved how it started. It had such great potential and the plot sounded really interesting and unique. The story was full of twists and turns that unravelled at a great pace.
I found it really interesting that we could see the investigation and what was happening behind the scenes with the police as well as seeing how Nick (the journalist) was discovering things too.
I really liked how it shared a different side of journalism. Stereotypically, journalists in crime books are presented as nuisances who don’t care what they have to do to get a good story, whether it’s the truth or not or what harm it will do. This book tipped it on its head and it showed that in reality, journalists are people too and can care about the truth and the effects of their stories. I thought it was really refreshing to read.
I found it really hard to connect with any of the characters. I would’ve perhaps liked to have got to know the characters more and got to know more of their little quirks as they fell a little flat for me and were a little forgettable if I’m completely honest.
It was fast-paced and really kept me guessing, although I would’ve perhaps liked to have seen the ending a little clearer and straight to the point instead of dragging on certain parts and not enough detail in other parts. I wasn’t expecting it, but I would’ve perhaps liked to have seen better motive personally.
I’m not quite sure on the writing style. For me, there was just something off about it and it didn’t quite work for me. There were several parts that had me questioning things and a few inconsistencies that just made me a little uneasy if I’m honest. It felt a little forced and a bit all over the place.
Overall, it really kept me guessing and was a quick, fast-paced read full of action.
Thank you, Rachel (Rachel’s Random Resources), for my copy.
Book Review of Abigail Returns by Pauline Tait
4 out of 5 stars
Abigail Returns by Pauline Tait is a quick, enjoyable easy read that’s actually quite a page turner too!
It kept its cards close to its chest and revealed stuff bit by bit. I thought this was done well and at a good pace if a little slowly at first.
I wasn't entirely keen on our main character Abigail, at first, although I did warm to her more throughout the story. I would've perhaps liked there to have been higher stakes. Perhaps a little more sense of danger would've made it a little more exciting and engaging for me (in case you didn't know, I love a bit of action).
I wasn't expecting it to go the way it did, but I quite liked how it surprised me. It was so much more than I was expecting especially when Abigail’s grandfather was introduced into the story – I thought that’s when things got exciting. However, perhaps the stuff relating to the criminal activity could’ve been researched a little more as it was quite vague. I would’ve loved to have more detail about that as I think it would’ve made things really interesting.
The foreshadowing was a little too obvious for me in terms of the American Tourist, but honestly, I just enjoyed the journey of reading it.
I thought the emotions were raw and realistic and I really loved the sense of setting too. In fact, I could’ve read this quite happily all day and just stayed in this world.
I read it in one sitting and found myself really enjoying it too. Recently I've been in a bit of a reading slump and have not quite been enjoying reading as much, but I feel like this has got me back on track. I felt it was the perfect length too.
Overall, I found it a quick, enjoyable easy-read and it was just a pleasure to read throughout.
Order Abigail Returns here: Abigail Returns: Amazon.co.uk: Tait, Pauline: 9781739244309: Books
Thank you, Pauline Tait and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Myriad by Joshua David Bellin
4.5 out of 5 stars
Myriad by Joshua David Bellin is an incredibly creative, fast-paced and at times puzzling too (as all good science fiction should be!).
The pacing was brilliant, and it continuously kept moving along and kept me engaged. It was such a creative idea. I was so excited for it and it didn’t disappoint.
I find time-travelling in books fascinating and I really appreciate how hard it is to write and to avoid loopholes. At times, I just felt that so much effort had gone into trying to avoid mistakes relating to the time travel and its effects and difficulties that it got a little overwhelming and confusing. It wasn’t always clear exactly what was going on. I would’ve perhaps preferred a little more clarity, but I was quite happy to cruise along, and it didn’t bother me too much.
It was an exciting take on time travel, it felt really modern. I loved our main character, Miriam too. The struggles she had to deal with were unimaginable, but I felt that both her character and how she reacted to those struggles was realistic. I must say I almost felt that with Vax, he had different personalities/ was different people because of how the time travel worked and how he reacted at different points in the story which was a little hard to get my head around.
The plot had so many twists and turns intertwined with each other, only added to by the time travel and going back to some of the more confusing areas and events. Honestly, I don’t believe I understood everything that happened in the end, but I didn’t really mind. It was one of those books where some things were revealed, and other parts are just not quite as clear and kind of fizzle out as sub plots. There was so much going on that I was distracted from parts that weren’t made clear, so I think it ended well and at just the right time for me.
Overall, it was a creative treat of a read!
Order Myriad here: Myriad: Amazon.co.uk: Bellin, Joshua David: 9781915202468: Books
Thank you, Amy Portsmouth (Angry Robots Books), for my copy.
Book Review of The Man In The Corduroy Suit by James Wolff
4 out of 5 stars
The Man In The Corduroy Suit by James Wolff was a unique take on the spy thriller genre with brilliant dialogue.
It started so strongly, and I was completely absorbed in the story of Leonard and Willa. Leonard’s initial investigation with the people who knew Willa I found fascinating. Then, towards the beginning I sort of got lost in all the emails and reports from the archives. I find that sometimes they worked really well and complimented the story, but other times, there was just a few too many that I didn’t see as entirely necessary.
The dialogue is sharp and always on point and realistic. The dialogue really carried the story a lot of the time for me as I felt it was just written so well and was completely believable. I felt the dialogue added a lot in terms of getting to know the characters and just overall understanding of the scene – it really was brilliantly written.
I just wanted to get to know more about Leonard and see a little more character development though.
I loved the way Leonard delicately sympathised with what he discovered. I thought that the more difficult parts of the novel were handled with great care, and I think that’s what really made it for me. The emotions evoked where what set it apart from most spy thrillers for me.
It was clearly intelligently written, although sometimes I did find it a little slow for me. Also, the unique way it was presented through various reports from the archives and email on top of other chapters I found unique, but sometimes they were a little hard to keep track of and get my head around their actual purpose. It wasn’t the most approachable book in terms of being able to read it easily and not having to concentrate too much on understanding it, but I don’t mind that.
Overall, it was a unique and enjoyable read.
Order The Man In The Corduroy Suit here: The Man in the Corduroy Suit: Amazon.co.uk: James Wolff: 9781913394844: Books
Thank you, Bitter Lemon Press and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Kill For It by Lizzie Fry
4.5 out of 5 stars
Kill For It by Lizzie Fry is a powerful and mind-bending story of two strong women.
The way it took the issue of gender inequality (specifically women) head on was really admirable. It was mesmerising how it all tied in too, if at times it did get a little dark.
It was well-paced and everything moved quickly, but not necessarily too quickly. I thought it was very well-balanced as I felt I really got to know Cat and Erin and it wasn’t short on action either. At times, I loved and also hated Cat and Erin, which is what I think made them such great characters. Their flaws weren’t hidden and I really liked that.
I found the way it was set up really interesting. I love when books have extra parts that aren’t what you’d expect in books such as the reports in this book and the responses on twitter to the reports. I thought that really added to the overall feel of it and made it really engaging too.
I found the dual point of view great to read and helped me understand the characters more too. The four parts were interesting, although I’m not sure they were entirely needed. Perhaps if it just continued as a regular story, I may have enjoyed it more, I’m not sure.
The prologue was powerful, and whilst many of you may know, I’m not a fan of prologues, I actually thought it worked well in this case.
It was honestly such a great read! It was so twisted and had me questioning everything which was brilliant! It had a great sense of danger in the setting (although I would’ve perhaps liked to have a bit more depth on where it was set to help add to the story) throughout which made it exciting to read.
Overall, I look forward to reading more from this author! I’m definitely going to watch out for more of her titles.
Order Kill For It here: Kill For It: How far will she go?: Amazon.co.uk: Fry, Lizzie: 9780751578003: Books
Thank you, Sphere Books and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of A Death In Denmark by Amulya Malladi
4.7 out of 5 stars
A Death In Denmark by Amulya Malladi is a sharp and classy yet also gritty read.
The opening was really powerful and drew me in straight away with such a striking event. I’m not entirely sure it was necessary in terms of helping with the plot, but it still certainly caught my attention, nonetheless.
The writing is sharp and well-researched and so great to read – I really loved the writing style. You can tell there has been a lot of knowledge packed into this book and it really shines on the page.
At times it was also quite intense and gritty, but I didn’t feel it went too far which was good. There was plenty going on and certainly kept me engaged throughout.
I really enjoyed the setting and loved how it really complemented the plot. It was interesting how politics was tied in too – I thought it added an extra element and really worked in the books favour. It wasn’t an easy read but I still found it a pleasure to read (I think that had a lot to do with how I really liked the writing style).
I did sometimes struggle to keep up with the characters. I think it was because there was a lot of unusual names that made the characters a little hard for me to remember who was who.
The pacing was a little inconsistent towards the end for me. Of course, it is hard to keep the pacing steady when so much is happening and everything is being unravelled, but it was a little too jumpy for me which made it noticeable.
Overall, it was a classy and gritty read that was sharply and knowledgeably executed.
Order A Death In Denmark here: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel (Gabriel Praest, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Malladi, Amulya: 9780063235519: Books
Thank you, William Morrow Books (Harper Collins) and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of A Game Of Deceit by Tim Glister
4.9 out of 5 stars
A Game Of Deceit by Tim Glister is a pulse-raising book sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!
This book was not messing around! From the very first chapter we were brought straight into the action with a shocking twist pretty much straight away. I loved how Tim just got on with it and wasn’t afraid to get straight into the action.
I loved the mystery and intrigue that comes with spy novels and they’re never short on action either. I find everything to do with MI5 fascinating and always love reading books like this. This was masterfully written too!
Knox was an intriguing character. I warmed to him instantly after Tim did a great job of characterisation and giving all the characters distinct personality traits that set them apart and made them stand out. Knox was so complex and delicately written.
The chapters were a great length to keep you engaged and to keep the story moving along at a compelling pace. There really wasn’t a point where I was bored. There were slower points to break things up, so it wasn’t all just action action action, but I thought it to be very well balanced.
The only reason why this wasn’t five stars was the prologue. I have a petty hate against prologues a lot of the time as I feel they sometimes ruin the story for me, and I don’t see them as necessary in most cases. Aside from that it was a smashing read and a real pulse-raiser to keep you on the edge of your seat!
Order A Game Of Deceit here: A Game of Deceit: A Richard Knox Spy Thriller: Amazon.co.uk: Glister, Tim: 9780861541713: Books
Thank you, Point Blank and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of The Secret Shore by Liz Fenwick
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Secret Shore by Liz Fenwick is an absorbing and charming novel of two lovers and their journey as they navigate World War Two.
I found Merry’s job as a mapmaker fascinating. I’ve never read a book with a mapmaker as a protagonist, and I thought it added an entire extra element to the already brilliant story. I love how Merry was presented as a strong female character, but also had flaws which made her relatable even as a historic character. Her views on the world were sometimes a little conflicting with her personality, but most of the time I admired her as a character.
There were several little subplots in addition, but it wasn’t too complex, and it was easy to keep up with (even if I sometimes got the soldiers names mixed up). I thought that the disappearance of Merry’s mother would be a major part of the plot, and whilst it did have some impact on the plot it was more of a side story and wasn’t the main focus as I thought it would be starting it.
Set in Cornwall, this book also offers great escapism whilst also having a compelling plot. A winning combo really.
Whilst it’s just over 450 pages, I actually felt it went quite quickly. It wasn’t too heavy to read, in fact it was such a joy to read I almost didn’t want it to end. It started off a little slow, but I soon became gripped and flew through it.
The only thing I wasn’t so keen on was that the rowing trips got a little repetitive. Perhaps there was just a couple too many.
Overall, I got completely whisked away in this heart-warming and charming novel.
Order The Secret Shore here: The Secret Shore: The new summer read historical fiction romance set in World War 2 from the bestselling author of The River Between Us: Amazon.co.uk: Fenwick, Liz: 9780008290610: Books
Thank you, Sarah Lundy (HQ Stories), for my copy.
Book Review of Bastard Verdict by James McCrone
3 out of 5 stars
Bastard Verdict by James McCrone was an explosive and well-researched book.
A lot happens straight away, and I found it to be explosive with events at first, which was great. Then it reveals everything bit by bit (a little unsteadily paced but nothing too bad) until the end.
There has obviously been a lot of research gone into this, especially into the politics side of things. As someone who doesn’t have a clue about politics, I was hoping to learn a little more about how things work (probably a bit naïve of me to think I’d be able to keep up with it and understand it) and at first, I was learning and managing to keep up. However, as I progressed it got a little bit too much for me personally and a lot of it went over my head and wasn’t of interest to me as much.
The storyline and subplots were very complex and sometimes hard to keep track of the many different characters as I progressed further in the story.
I found the setting intriguing and I found it was also a little strange hearing references to the late queen. It had a kind of nostalgic feel to it which I thought was really interesting.
The only thing that stopped me engaging was the amount of what I thought to be unnecessary details. I felt that perhaps if all the detail was put into character development instead of details that weren’t really needed or had too much detail describing the same thing and could’ve been more concise, I would’ve found it a bit better.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure this book quite worked for me, but if you’re into politics this may be of interest to you.
Order Bastard Verdict here: Bastard Verdict: Amazon.co.uk: McCrone, James: 9780999137741: Books
Thank you, James McCrone and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of The Misadventures Of Margaret Finch by Claire McGlasson
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Misadventures Of Margaret Finch by Claire McGlasson is a quirky read (in a good way!) packed with intrigue and a great sense of historical setting.
I was immediately drawn to the mysteriousness of this novel, but it also wasn’t too serious all the time. It had some light-hearted moments to which made it that much more enjoyable.
At first, what Margaret actually did and what her job entailed confused me a little, but I continued reading nonetheless because Margaret’s personality had me smiling from the very first chapter and I’m so glad I did. It was definitely worth it as all was slowly unravelled.
The characters are brilliantly well-written. The characters that really shone bright for me were James and Maud who I thought were great supporting characters, and of course, who couldn’t love the wonderful Margaret Finch? I loved her peculiar personality but also the way she really got hands on in ways you don’t always expect. Her troubled background also intrigued me.
I loved how it was set in Blackpool – a very different setting, in fact I’ve never read a book set in Blackpool before. I felt I could really engage in the story well. It also had a rich sense of historical setting. I loved how fact and fiction was weaved in together.
This is such a great example of a real colourful historical fiction that is so original and delicately written – it was stunning and certainly put a smile on my face!
Order The Misadventures Of Margaret Finch here: The Misadventures of Margaret Finch: Amazon.co.uk: McGlasson, Claire: 9780571363728: Books
Thank you, Faber Books and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Most Famous Short Film Of All Time by Tucker Lieberman
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Famous Short Film Of All Time by Tucker Lieberman is a thought-provoking and at times fascinatingly baffling read.
I wouldn’t describe this as a story as such. In fact, I’m not quite sure what to call it. I’ve never read anything even remotely like it and I really loved how it completely pushed the boundaries and experimented with the written word and literature. It was like several snippets of scenes intertwined together into something I thought to be quite harmonious and bewildering at the same time.
It’s not an easy read as there are so many problems of the world and people in general that are tackled (which were done well I must add). I had to take several points to think about what I was reading, which I found made it really interesting to read.
I liked the LGBTQ+ representation in our trans main character. The main character was easy to engage with however, I felt that there was something missing in terms of getting to know Lev and becoming totally invested in the characters.
It took a while for me to get my head around the layout as it was presented completely different to anything I’ve ever read. At times it was quite confusing, but I managed to keep up most of the time.
This book could provoke so many unique points of conversation and it was so great to read.
Overall, it was a really intriguing read that made me think.
Order Most Famous Short Film Of All Time here: Most Famous Short Film of All Time : Lieberman, Tucker: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Thank you, Tucker, for my copy.
Book Review of The Sixpenny Orphan by Glenda Young
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Sixpenny Orphan by Glenda Young is a brilliant historical saga of two sisters who are torn apart as children.
I really loved the dynamic of Poppy and Rose and I felt we got to really know them early on. I thought the addition of Sid was also really clever. He added a lot to the story and made things a lot more interesting.
Truthfully, I felt that it almost moved on too quickly. I kind of wanted the story to continue when they were children as I felt it jumped ahead ten years too soon. I think it would’ve been interesting to also zoom in a little to the war and the characters experience of it. Despite it being a major part of their lives presumably, there was barely any mention of it.
Once we got into the story more it flowed effortlessly. Glenda is no doubt a very talented writer and it was so great to read. It just had such a great sense of ease.
Towards the end the stakes were heightened, and it was incredibly compelling. I was so hooked and so much more kept getting thrown at the characters, but they pulled through. I would’ve also have perhaps liked a little more at the end in terms of how they got on later in life. I did like the 9 months later section, but I just wanted a little more. Perhaps this is a good thing though because I got so attached to the characters.
Overall, it was a great, heart-warming easy-read.
Thank you, Headline and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of I Know You by Russel Govan
3.5 out of 5 stars
I Know You by Russel Govan is a great story with an intricate plot and bright and exciting characters.
It started off so strongly and had a great setting. The characters were all introduced so well, and I really loved the atmosphere of the book. I must admit that once Eilidh ended up in the hospital in Ethiopia I got a bit lost.
It has an intricate plot line that you will miss if you don’t pay attention to it. Sometimes it was a little hard to keep up especially in terms of which character’s POV we were reading from (whether it was Eilidh or Walter). However, switching up the character’s viewpoint helped to keep things fresh and interesting, so I did enjoy the change.
There was a lot going on, and sometimes it was a little confusing. It was a little unclear as to what was happening when we kept going back in time to different places with different characters.
Eilidh’s friendship group, I found really fun to read. They had an electric energy, and I loved their support and banter with one another (their group chat was awesome!). Russel did a great job of bringing them alive.
The writing consisted of a lot of short sentences. I get that Russel may have wanted to use them to make the writing more engaging, but for me, it felt a little stop and start. It may just be my preferences, but I did get used to it as I moved on in the story.
Overall, I found that although it may have confused me at times, I actually quite enjoyed the complexity of this story.
Thank you, Russel Govan and Travelling Pages Tours, for my copy.
Book Review of The Medici Murders by David Hewson
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Medici Murders by David Hewson is an authentic and meticulously written book set in Venice.
The thoroughly enjoyable and well-constructed plot that keeps you glued to the page was complex and really intriguing. The characters are engaging (even if sometimes I lost track of who was who) and worked so well in the setting. I especially loved reading about the ‘gilded circle’.
There was great attention to detail in terms of culture and history of Venice which meant you could definitely tell that there had been a lot of research put into it. There was a rich atmosphere and links to the past that I really enjoyed. At times, there was perhaps a little too much information for my liking as often when I’m reading thrillers / murder mysteries like this I like to know a bit more about the characters instead. Perhaps just a personal opinion to me and other readers may like the focus on the detailed history.
It had a charming sense of authenticity, and it really transported you. Throughout, there was also an old-fashioned detective classic kind of feel that I really enjoyed despite being set in the present. I think that the murder of Lorenzino tied in nicely with the historic parts of it.
The writing was meticulous. You can definitely tell that David is a master in the thriller / murder mystery genre and he writes so well.
Overall, it was such a great read.
Order The Medici Murders here: The Medici Murders: 1 (A Venetian Mystery): Amazon.co.uk: Hewson, David: 9781838858582: Books
Thank you, Canongate Books and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Sylvia by Maithreyi Karnoor
4 out of 5 stars
Sylvia by Maithreyi Karnoor is a beautifully powerful and articulate read.
Firstly, this was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a straightforward novel and it was anything but (in the best kind of way). The plot was complex and very intriguing, it was almost like a collection of short stories with different characters all woven together with one common denominator: Sylvia. I found it fascinating to read.
The characters were really brought alive, despite the short amount of time we got to get to know them. I did find myself flicking back to the list of character names, which I actually found really helpful, and I felt added to the book instead of taking away from it as I sometimes feel is what happens in other books.
The first section was my favourite as I felt that I really got to know Bhaubaab and was really invested in his story. The second section left me hungry for more from the characters as I felt we only got a little taste of them, which I suppose can be good or bad, depending on what the reader is looking for.
The writing has a beautiful poetic flair to it and is so brilliant to read. It really makes you want to savour the writing and all the layers to it.
Overall, it’s an absolutely stunning book, inside and out.
Order Sylvia here: Sylvia: Amazon.co.uk: Maithreyi Karnoor: 9781915584038: Books
Thank you, Neem Tree Press and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out by Ryan Love
5 out of 5 stars
Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out by Ryan Love is a charming and heart-warming story that I got completely swept up in.
I’ve never read anything like it. It follows Arthur’s journey of coming out as a 79-year-old and also Teddy’s experience as a 21-year-old. It was so utterly original and touching in the most beautiful way, and I completely adored both the characters and the story.
All of the characters had such a great energy to them, and it really made the book that much more enjoyable. The character development in both Arthur and Teddy was brilliant too. I found Oscar to be really intriguing and inspirational as a character too.
I found Arthur’s charity worked extra interesting and I really thought it worked so well with the story and tied in so well with Teddy’s work at The Post.
This book really made a statement. I really applaud the guts it must have taken to write this and how Ryan has turned it into such a brilliant book with an incredible message behind it. It reflected upon homophobia and also mental health issues that comes with living in the world we live in today.
I also just wanted to say that Ryan’s personality and enthusiasm for this incredible book is absolutely infectious. I can’t wait to see what he writes in the future!
I honestly can’t believe this is a debut! It is so well written and just an absolute joy to read.
Order Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out here: Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out: The uplifting, feel-good read of 2023: Amazon.co.uk: Love, Ryan: 9780008541200: Books
Thank you, Sarah Lundy (HQ Stories), for my copy.
Book Review of The Fall by Louise Jensen
5 out of 5 stars
The Fall by Louise Jensen is a complex and pulse-raising psychological thriller packed with twists and turns.
The characters were all so interesting and colourful. I especially liked the relationships between Kate and Beth and similarly Caily and Tegan too, and I found Tegan really intriguing later on (she was one of my favourite characters).
The plot, whilst complex and without a dull moment was also easy enough to understand and get my head around which made it so great to read.
The way the end of the chapter and the beginning of the next one lead into each other added an extra fluidity to the book and was so clever. It was all masterfully written!
It’s such an addictive read; I flew through it! From the very beginning, I knew there was something special about this book. There was something about the writing which I was drawn to that I really loved and had me obsessed with the story straight away. I hadn’t expected there to be so much to the story and the extra subplots in the family, so it was a fantastic surprise. It certainly kept me on my toes. There were so many plot twists woven in expertly and I really didn’t see them coming (especially the reveal of who actually pushed Caily).
Whilst the ending was a little tragic, after finishing it, I saw that there could have been no other way to possibly end it. So, it was heart-breaking, but honestly I don’t think it could’ve ended any better.
What a book! Just wow! It was outstanding!
Thank you, Sarah Lundy (HQ Stories), for my copy.
Book Review of Viper’s Dream by Jake Lamar
4.9 out of 5 stars
Viper’s Dream by Jake Lamar is a fascinating and gritty historical crime noir.
It’s a story of race, crime, drugs and just general life through the good and the bad and so much more. It really had me gripped with its pulse-raising plot and dark characters.
It felt really authentic, and I really loved the setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in the 1940’s to 1960’s in Harlem, but I was absolutely fascinated by it. I really loved exploring Harlem through these pages and all the tales of what Clyde (Viper) and his associates got up to.
I would’ve perhaps liked to have seen just a bit more character development in Clyde (Viper) just so that I could get even more invested in his character as I felt I lost touch with him towards the end. Aside from that, he was such an incredibly well-written character that he really came to life. He had so many layers to him, and I felt you really got to know him. From his protectiveness of Yo-Yo (I was rooting for them from the very beginning) to his colloquialisms and the way he interacts with the other characters, I thought he was exceptionally crafted.
It switches from the present where Clyde is trying to think of his three wishes, to the past where he was introduced into the dark world of nightclubs, music, drugs and crime. In the past it explores the three times he took a life. It was easy enough to keep track of the timelines and I especially loved it when we went back into Clyde’s past life.
I thought it was uniquely written and I really enjoyed how it was so different to other historical crime novels. It’s so much more than just a plain old crime novel. The feel of it and the mood it set whilst I was reading it was so rich and powerful. It was outstanding!
Order Viper’s Dream here: Viper's Dream eBook : Lamar, Jake: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you, No Exit Press and Anne (Random Things Tours), for my copy.
Book Review of The Heart Ladder by Sibby Spencer
3 out of 5 stars
The Heart Ladder by Sibby Spencer was a complex and intriguing novel with plenty packed in to make you really think.
The middle was my favourite part as I felt we really got to understand the characters and it’s where I thought things started to get interesting.
I thought that the relationship between Dan and Fiona had great potential. I found myself enjoying the scenes both of them were in and I found they bounced off each other’s characters well.
Quinn as a character was really intriguing, yet also confusing and I thought we saw plenty of different sides to him which got progressively more and more interesting.
I found the pacing inconsistent, especially towards the end. I wasn’t so keen on the switching of scenes and characters so frequently, but then as I progressed in the story, I found it helped to create a fuller picture.
There were several flaws and inconsistencies in the writing, and I sometimes found it hard to follow and found myself re-reading several sections.
I found the final few chapters a little confusing and honestly a little random and out of place. I was unsure whether it was intentional to create confusion at the end, but it certainly puzzled me. I did predict the ending in terms of Dan and his father though. The final scene, however, flew a spanner into the works and I thought it was an exciting and intriguing way to finish.
Thank you, Sibby and Rachels Random Resources, for my copy.
Book Review of Dirty by Tonya Lampley
4.9 out of 5 stars
Dirty by Tonya Lampley is such an exceptional book that you can’t help but love it and get swept away in its pages.
It really intrigued me from the very first page and I was so tied up in the story.
I really liked how it emphasised and hinted at problems we face in today’s world like topic such as race, gender equality, self-love, understanding of the world and so much more. There are so may elements to it that really pack a punch and make you think and reflect. I think that there is at least something in there that most people will be able relate to when reading this, so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.
It was fast paced, and I really enjoyed how the story was constantly moving along and it made it a great read without a dull moment. I was completely hooked and just wanted to keep reading more and more. I absolutely devoured it!
The writing style was unique, and I wasn’t so sure on it at first. It grew on me throughout though and I think it worked well with the story. Honestly it was so so good, I absolutely flew through it. The only reason why it wasn’t 5 stars was a handful of flaws in the writing. Other than I absolutely adored it.
The character development was great, especially in terms of Deidre’s character, and the ending really made it for me. Also, it’s hard not to love Chantel – she was such a highlight in the book for me too. Such a great read – I’d highly recommend.
Order Dirty here: Dirty eBook : Lampley, Tonya: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Tonya for my copy.
Book Review of The Wizard's Stone by Herman P. Hunter
3.7 out of 5 stars
The Wizard's Stone by Herman P. Hunter is a great story to truly escape into.
Whilst not part of the story, I must say that the Foreword was really interesting and such a great introduction. It had me liking the book before I'd even got to the story.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and I was compelled quite early on and got invested in the story quite quickly.
I found that there was a great atmosphere to the book, and it was so great to visualise the setting. This made it the perfect escape for me.
I thought the characters were developed well, but I would've perhaps liked to have seen just a little bit more personality to come through.
It was slow-going but was consistent with this at first. I felt that not much happened and there was a bit too much unnecessary description for my liking at first. However, as I moved on in the story the description was balanced out with a bit more action which made it easier to get into the story.
Overall, it was a solid read, and I really loved the escapism it gave.
Order The Wizard’s Stone here: The Wizard's Stone (Audio Download): Herman Hunter, Steve Fortune, HPH Lore Forge: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Thank you Herman for my copy.
Book Review of Wartime For The Chocolate Girls by Annie Murray
4.6 out of 5 stars
Wartime For The Chocolate Girls by Annie Murray is a joyous and heart-warming tale of war and togetherness.
It’s the fourth book in The Chocolate Girls series but can absolutely be read as a standalone and after this one, I’m definitely going to have to go back to take a look at the others!
The characters development was incredible, and it was a joy to see the characters blossom in the hardest of times and pull together. I loved how the family pulled together in the hard times and got each other through. I especially loved Joy’s story throughout. There was plenty of twists thrown in to keep things exciting too. It had me completely engrossed throughout.
The only thing I wasn’t too sure on was the pacing. It jumped ahead constantly and quite unsteadily for me. It was alright to keep up with and I get that Annie may have wanted to paint the full picture of the family’s time during the full war, but I just wanted it to go into a little more depth as to what was actually happening instead of skimming over some events.
As you may know, I love historical fiction, especially set during the war as I feel that they almost have a sparkle to them, and I’m completely drawn to them. This book shone extra bright and completely whisked me away. It was such an absolute joy to read. It had the perfect happy ending for me, and I found this a lovely, easy read.
Order Wartime For The Chocolate Girls here: Wartime for the Chocolate Girls: A gritty and heartwarming World War Two Saga set in Birmingham (Chocolate Girls, 4): Amazon.co.uk: Murray, Annie: 9781529065008: Books
Thank you Pan Macmillan and Anne (Random Things Tours) for my copy.
Book Review of Einstein In The Attic by Dana Dargos and Said Al Bizri
4 out of 5 stars
Einstein In The Attic by Dana Dargos and Said Al Bizri is a unique and intriguing story of self-discovery.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t as action-packed as I was expecting it to be because it was more focused on the character development, which I found really interesting.
It was really though-provoking and really made you stop and think and reflect. I found that that added an extra element to things, because you weren’t just following Adam’s (the main character) story and development in life, you were also developing your thoughts on things that came up in the story.
One thing I wasn’t so sure on was the writing style. There was just something about it that didn’t really work for me, and I felt that it didn’t really flow too well. I wasn’t too keen on the switching between time at the beginning of chapters too, I felt that it switched a little too often and was hard to keep track of. It also started off really strongly and then kind of dwindled towards the middle/ending but it was still a good read.
Overall, it was a great, unique read that really interested me.
Order Einstein In The Attic here: Einstein in the Attic: Amazon.co.uk: Dargos, Dana: 9798215383094: Books
Thank you Dana for my copy.
Book Review of The Dead Are Gods by Eirinie Carson
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Dead Are Gods by Eirninie Carson is a deeply touching and moving memoir on grief and friendship.
It felt like such a personal account of grief – one of the best I’ve ever read. I really admire the courage it must have taken to write this and how openly Eirinie’s raw emotions are put across so powerfully.
It was so delicately, yet strongly written and really struck a chord with me. There was highs and lows and everything in between. It was simply breath-taking.
One thing I really loved was the email correspondence after each chapter as I felt it added a whole extra element of their personalities and the joy of their friendship.
The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the POV of the narration. It was unique, but I’m not sure it quite worked for me a hundred percent. Aside from that, it was a stunning and beautifully emotive memoir.
Order The Dead Are Gods here: The Dead Are Gods: Amazon.co.uk: Eirinie Carson: 9781685890452: Books
Thank you Nikki for my copy.
Book Review of Haunt by Christina Maraziotis
4.4 out of 5 stars
Haunt by Christina Maraziotis is an intriguing and immersive story that I completely devoured.
I don’t normally read books this long as I lose interest quite easily, but I adored this book. Whilst over 750 pages, I was so engrossed and attached to the story, I finished it in two days!
It has a slow and steady pace throughout and is very consistent with this, which I enjoyed (apart from the ending which sped up quite a bit). It felt easy-going and was just a joy to read. The slow pace gave me time to enjoy the writing and whilst literary fiction is not something I read a lot of; I did really enjoy it.
The story had a really authentic feel to it and a great atmosphere throughout. I also found the characters fascinating. Truthfully, it wasn’t immediately gripping for me until I got past the first thirty or so pages and then you do get really invested in the characters as the story moves along. I would’ve perhaps liked to see a little more character development, but I’m sure I’ll see more of that in the rest of the series.
I felt that the first half was a bit better than second as I felt the beginning just felt that it had a bit more of an ease in terms of the writing and the fluidity you want when reading. The ending though was fantastic despite messing up the pacing a bit.
Overall, this was such a great read and I’m excited to read the rest of the series!
Thank you Christina and Library Thing for my copy.
Book Review of Texas Rose Happily Ever-After by Katie Graykowski
4.6 out of 5 stars
Texas Rose Happily Ever-After by Katie Graykowski is a great contemporary romantic comedy with a great setting and loveable characters.
You can’t help but get swept up into the world and the joy and intrigue of this incredible book. I particularly liked the setting and the sense of community on the ranch and with the Rose family.
I found it great that whilst this is book 5 in the Texas Rose novels it can be very easily read as a standalone and it certainly doesn’t take away from the experience. I think I’m going to have to take a look at the rest of the series now – I want to be back at Texas Rose Ranch!!
It was generally fast paced, and I thought this worked really well and kept the story moving.
For me there was a couple of issues with the writing, but nothing too bad. I felt that at first it felt a little manic. There was so much to take in in the first few chapters and I felt that all the backstories could’ve probably been spread out across the book instead of crammed in straight away. There were also a couple of inconsistencies in the writing, but they can easily be overlooked and don’t affect the reading experience too much. I also wasn’t too keen on the ending as I felt it was a little rushed.
Overall, I was completely whisked up into the world and I loved spending time in this world and with these characters. I’d highly recommend this feel-good read.
Order Texas Rose Happily Ever-After here: Texas Rose Happily Ever-After: A Texas Rose Ranch Novel, Book 5 eBook : Graykowski, Katie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Katie and PR By The Book for my copy.
Book Review of 2034 by Bruno Beaches
4. 5 out of 5 stars
2034 by Bruno Beaches is an incredibly well-written dystopian novel that really makes you reflect on the world we live in today.
I was impressed straight away at the quality of writing and the unique writing style which I really loved and thought worked really well with this book.
Throughout I was so attached and invested in the characters and the plot. Bruno did a great job at character development even when there were so many characters and with the fact that this book is only just over 200 pages. The world building was also great.
This book actually felt scarily relatable as it explores a possible future that isn’t very far away. It explored an alternate timeline and future and I found it absolutely fascinating.
Unfortunately, I found the ending didn’t really work for me. The execution of the plot just didn’t live up to my expectations in the end. It felt unfinished and left me with more questions than solutions which is a shame because the beginning was so strong, and I really wanted it to end just as strongly as the concept is fantastic.
Overall, the world building and writing was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Order 2034 here: 2034: Amazon.co.uk: Bruno Beaches: 9781398450448: Books
Thank you Bruno for my copy.
Book Review of Deep by Aquino Loayza
4.4 out of 5 stars
Deep by Aquino Loayza is an intriguing page-turner.
It is sizzling with mystery and intrigue straight away. The quality of writing was also great! It felt really fresh and exciting to read. There was so much going on at all times to keep you intrigued despite being a slow burn novel and I absolutely devoured it!
At first, it was a little hard to keep track of all the characters names and who they were so perhaps they could’ve been presented a little better at first and not all straight away as it did get confusing. I also felt that it was hard to know where abouts the scenes were set, as you didn’t really get much of a feel for the setting at first. However, all of these problems were resolved around 50 pages in though, and the rest of it was exceptionally well-written and gripping.
In terms of the story and being able to connect with the characters, it started so strongly, and then I just felt towards the middle around the 150 – 250 pages mark, it kind of lost its sparkle. The middle for me, could’ve been a little shorter, but the ending more than made up for it.
Overall, this is a cracking debut, and I look forward to reading more from Aquino in the future!
Thank you Aquino for my copy.
Book Review of Until September by Harker Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars
Until September by Harker Jones is a stunning gay coming-of-age romance novel with fantastic character development.
I was so attached to the characters, and I really loved how well they were developed throughout. It was so interesting to read and explore the way they interacted with one another. The friendship group had a great dynamic and I loved reading about them as well as Kyle and Jack’s relationship.
It was incredibly well-written and so immersive. It was so beautiful and emotive and just such a joy to read.
When it began to get a little slow, Harker always made sure that there was a twist or something thrown into the mix regularly, which kept me gripped. It was great that it kept me involved in the story constantly. I honestly didn’t want it to end.
The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the prologue and ending. I could see what was trying to be done, but in my opinion, it just didn’t really work for me. It just created confusion and honestly, I don’t really think it was needed – I think it would’ve been brilliant and so much better without.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book.
Order Until September here: Amazon.com: Until September: A Gay Coming-of-Age Love Story eBook : Jones, Harker: Kindle Store
Thank you Harker for my copy.
Book Review of Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
4.9 out of 5 stars
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld is a warm and joyous romantic comedy that you can’t help but love!
From the beginning, I was drawn to the characters and just the overall feel of the book. It was fascinating to read about behind the scenes of a live comedy show. The characters are what really made it for me. Sally and Noah were incredible together as well as being so funny and a joy to read. It’s packed with loveable and charming characters that you can’t get enough of!
Truthfully, I wasn’t so sure upon first impressions as there was just something holding me back from getting fully immersed and swept up into the story, but just wait until you get to part two! It’s absolutely incredible and it just keeps getting better and better!
It was exceptionally well-written, and I was completely obsessed with the story. I’d strongly recommend!
Thank you Milly Reid from Doubleday for my copy.
Book Review of Beginning Of Arrogance by Bryan Cole
4.1 out of 5 stars
Beginning Of Arrogance by Bryan Cole is a great, gripping and thrilling fantasy book.
There was a lot to take in quickly (world building and lots of characters) as with most fantasy books, but I soon managed to settle into the story and get to grips with who was who quicker than I usually do.
There was great character development early on, and this continued throughout. All of the characters were brimming with personality.
As I moved further on in the story, the world building got stronger and stronger, and it was an absolute pleasure to visualise.
A handful of sections didn't flow too nicely for me, and I felt it dragged on a little bit in the middle, but nothing too bad. The only other thing that wasn't great was that I felt it had a bit of a masculine energy to it, so I found it a little hard to connect to at times.
I listened to this as an audio book and the performance of the characters voices when speaking was brilliant and really made the story come alive. The background sound affects created a great atmosphere too.
Overall, this was a great, strong read.
Thank you Bryan and Travelling Pages Blog Tours for my copy.
Book Review of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
4.9 out of 5 stars
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher is an outstanding and gripping romance mystery novel.
This was my first time reading a book by Colleen Hoover and in fact Tarryn Fisher, and after hearing so much about both authors, it would be an understatement to say I had high hopes and was really looking forward to this. It definitely did not disappoint!
From the very beginning, I was completely hooked, and I completely devoured it. It had me guessing all the way through and it was simply so unique – I’ve never read anything like it.
Part One, was my favourite, as we were just introduced into this incredible world of mystery and confusion and two adorable characters which intrigue you to no end.
I absolutely fell in love with the characters, in fact I fell in love with them three times over (you’ll have to read it to get what I mean)!
This book took me on an absolutely thrilling journey and I completely loved it!
My only fault was that it was slightly repetitive (if you read it you will know what I mean), but that’s just me being an impatient reader, as I get it was crucial to the plot, but it still felt repetitive. It was the only thing that took away from this incredible read.
And wow! That ending!
Thank you to the HQ PR Team for my copy.
Book Review of Water To Water by Karen A. Wyle
4.1 out of 5 stars
Water To Water by Karen A. Wyle is a fantastic standalone science fiction novel with incredible worldbuilding.
There was great depth in the characters, and they were well developed as well as the world itself. The worldbuilding was really strong and realistic that really made everything come alive vividly.
The pacing was a little unsteady. The parts without much action were slow, and this was pretty consistent, but then when there was some action it sped up quite a lot. Saying this, I would’ve actually liked to see a bit more action happening as I though it really livened it up and made it so much more gripping.
I wasn’t too keen on the inconsistent look backs into the past. I think perhaps it would’ve been better if it had consistently gone back ten years instead of specific look backs in the past that were a little harder to keep track of as they were sometimes a little confusing.
The writing was pretty solid, and there wasn’t much to fault about it other than the pacing. I really loved the dialogue and the way the characters were presented so clearly and vividly. Overall it was well-written, great to visualize and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Order Water To Water here: Water to Water eBook : Wyle, Karen A.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Karen for my copy.
Book Review of The Servant by Maggie Richell-Davies
4.9 out of 5 stars
The Servant by Maggie Richell-Davies is a beautiful, immersive and atmospheric historical fiction book.
It follows the lows and highs of Hannah's (our main character) life as a servant in the late 18th century. Maggie really captured the time period and life of a servant perfectly in my opinion. I really liked how the struggles of the poorer class and how they were treated was highlighted. Whilst I can only speculate at the writer’s intentions when highlighting that, I thought it really bold and I really admired that. The hidden messages behind Hannah's struggles and the way characters are presented are so subtly clever and well-written.
There was a slight issue with pacing. I found that as I approached the middle, the story slowed and started to get a little repetitive and then towards the end it sped up quite a bit, but honestly, I didn't mind too much.
I'm finding this review really hard to write as there was something so special about this book, but I can't quite grasp what that was and put it into words that make sense. The story is raw, beautiful, powerful and heart-breaking. I just absolutely adored it and would highly recommend.
I was so invested in the characters and the story throughout and this book fascinated me to no end. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
*Be sure to check trigger warnings before reading*
Order The Servant here: The Servant: Amazon.co.uk: Richell-Davies, Maggie: 9798642044322: Books
Thank you Maggie for my copy.
Book Review of Train Lord by Oliver Mol
4.4 out of 5 stars
Train Lord by Oliver Mol is a powerful and eye-opening memoir.
It was so well-written, and you can really tell that Oliver has a way with words. I felt I could really connect with Oliver through his writing, and it was such an interesting read! It tells the story of his ten-month migraines, life working as a train guard and his journey to recovery as a writer.
The writing and emotion invoked through the writing was so moving and such a pleasure to read. It was powerful, intense, vivid and raw – everything you want from a memoir.
The account of the events weren’t in order, and the story does go back and forth quite a bit, but most of the time it was okay to keep up with. Towards the end, it did get a little bit repetitive, but the last 50 pages or so brought it back and finished strongly.
You can’t help but be transfixed by this beauty of a book.
Thank you Oliver for my copy.
Book Review of With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth by Charlotte Baldwin
5 out of 5 stars
With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth by Charlotte Baldwin is a gorgeous poetry collection that packs a punch and is full of deep meaning.
I really loved the focus of nature throughout and also the symbolism used that connects nature with world issues that we face today.
Among my favourite poems was ‘With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth’ for the powerful message behind it and how it’s message was cleverly incorporated. Perhaps not a very popular opinion, but I find the poems with the books title a little underwhelming and they can often disappoint me, but this was certainly not the case with this poem. In fact, ‘With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth’ was one of my favourite poems.
Normally in all of my reviews, I try to include some constructive feedback to address something in the book that didn’t quite work for me, but this collection left me stunned. I honestly don’t think it could’ve been any better. I loved everything about it and I couldn't find anything that didn’t work for me.
Overall, I absolutely adored this incredible collection.
Order With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth here: With My Lips Pressed To The Ear Of The Earth - Charlotte Baldwin - Nine Pens
Thank you Charlotte for my copy.
Book Review of Enkidu Is Dead And Not Dead by Tucker Lieberman
4.6 out of 5 stars
Enkidu Is Dead And Not Dead by Tucker Lieberman is a unique bilingual collection of poems inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh.
I really loved the way the book was laid out and presented which made it easy-approachable and great to read.
I loved the raw exploration of grief and how there was a distinct sense of loss throughout. I also loved the story of emotions and development of emotions of the protagonist throughout. It delt with grief so delicately and was so special.
Being inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh meant it was rich in culture and so unique. Some of my favourite poems included ‘How I Thought It Worked’, ‘Regret’ and ‘Scratched In Amber’.
I found the concept brilliant but the poems began to get a little repetitive towards the end for me. Nothing too bad, I just found that the end of the collection didn’t strike me as much as the beginning.
Overall, I really loved this delicate and raw collection.
Order Enkidu Is Dead And Not Dead here: Enkidu Is Dead and Not Dead / Enkidu está muerto y no lo está: An Origin Myth of Grief / Un mito de origen de la pesadumbre: Amazon.co.uk: Lieberman, Tucker: 9781732906068: Books
Thank you Tucker for my copy.
Book Review of The First Rule by Steven William Hannah
4.5 out of 5 stars
The First Rule by Steven William Hannah is a fascinating dark fantasy mystery.
I found it very character driven as well as including plenty of action. I also thought the character development was brilliant. I was drawn to Venalia especially and I thought she was such a great character to bring the story along.
I found it to be surprisingly approachable and easy to read compared to other fantasies I’ve read that are similar. The storyline and characters were well-crafted, everything was so fluent, and it was a pleasure to read. I was totally whisked up into the great worldbuilding!
I’m not sure what it was, but unfortunately, I didn’t find myself really rooting for the characters as much as I wanted to. I just couldn’t quite connect to the story. I don’t know why that was, but that was the only thing that lacked for me in this brilliant book. I still enjoyed it regardless.
Also, just wanted to say that the plot twist 300 pages in was incredible!
Overall, I really enjoyed this fascinating story and look forward to the next instalment in the series.
Order The First Rule here: The First Rule (The Blind Age): Amazon.co.uk: Hannah, Steven William: 9798368317694: Books
Thank you Steven for my copy.
Book Review of Apprenticed To The Night by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
4.9 out of 5 stars
Apprenticed To The Night by LindaAnn LoSchiavo is a powerful and immersive poetry collection.
It was refreshing to read such an array of quite unique vocabulary. At times, perhaps more common descriptions could have been used (I found myself having to research the meaning of a few words in order to fully understand the poems which did slightly take away from my reading experience), but overall it was a joy to read.
The descriptions created vivid visions of the poems throughout. The senses were used really well, and I actually really felt engaged in these immersive poems. It’s actually hard for me to find poems that really engages with me and traps me in the world of the poem, but this collection was full of those kinds of poems that I really connect with.
One of my favourite poems was ‘Merletto [Lace]’ I really loved the visuals it created. I also really loved ‘Cento: Benighted Night’ and ‘Cento: Nightsong for Mother’ because of how they were so cleverly composed. As well as ‘Domus Pro Carcere [Home as Prison]’ for its sharpness and rhythmic fluency. ‘Distorted Mirror’ was also one I really loved because of the powerful message behind it. I could go on forever listing how much I adored these poems. There were so many poems that I really loved in this collection, and I look forward to seeing more of LindaAnn’s brilliant work in the future.
Thank you LindaAnn for my copy.
Book Review of Hungers as Old as This Land by Zachary Rosenberg
4.4 out of 5 stars
Hungers as Old as This Land by Zachary Rosenberg is a compelling and unique novella.
We are pulled straight into the action. I love when books just go bang bang bang straight away! I realize this won’t be to everyone’s taste but in a novella like this, I think it worked really well.
I would love to see this world expanded even more. I found it so compelling and intriguing.
There were a lot of character names and elements which are hard to take in at first. Also, I found that this caused a lack of character development in some characters because there are so many packed in. However, the characters we do get to know were exceptionally well-written and unique.
I especially loved the chemistry between Esther and Siobhan. I thought that both characters were very well-crafted and well-written and also unique and fresh to read.
Something I wasn’t keen on was that the date in which the scenes were set was at the end. I think I’d much prefer it if it was at the beginning as it would help make sense of that chapter straight away without questioning what timeline we were reading in.
A lot was packed into this novella making it a great, compelling read.
Order Hungers as Old as This Land here: Hungers as Old as This Land eBook : Rosenberg, Zachary, Burke, Kealan Patrick, Cain, Kenneth W., Ellis, Stephanie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Zachary for my copy.
Book Review of Empress & Soldier by Marian L Thorpe
4.6 out of 5 stars
Empress & Soldier by Marian L Thorpe is an immersive and gripping story of love and adventure in an intriguing world of politics and power.
Admittedly, the long list of names right at the beginning was daunting, however, I actually found it really useful and I found myself checking back to it throughout.
I loved the dual point of view and the contrast between Druisius and Eudekia and how both of their personalities kept the story fresh and gripping. Their unique personalities were also a joy to read.
In my opinion, the pacing was a bit inconsistent at times. For the most part it was consistent, however, sometimes it sped up without much cause before slowing down again. It didn’t affect the overall read too much, but it was noticeable when it sped up too much.
The dialogue and the way the story was told was sharp, refined and great to read. At times, I would’ve perhaps liked there to be a little more description to help visualize the scenes more, but most of the time it was a brilliantly immersive read.
I loved the interaction between the characters and I just loved reading about the characters and their everyday lives as well as whatever else occurs on the journey of their lives so far. My favourite character to read about was Eudekia as I found her incredibly intriguing, and I was drawn to her complex personality.
Overall, I loved how immersive and gripping this story was, and how incredibly well it was written.
Order Empress & Soldier here: Empress & Soldier (Empire's Legacy): Amazon.co.uk: Thorpe, Marian L: 9781990711039: Books
Thank you Marian and Coffee and Thorn for my copy and place on the blog tour.
Book Review of Who Is Jeff Walker? by Sanjeev Shetty
4.8 out of 5 stars
Who Is Jeff Walker? By Sanjeev Shetty is a fascinating and gripping book full of mystery and intrigue.
Initially, I must say I didn’t really like how the writing presented the characters and setting and I struggled to read it, but as I settled into the writing style, I couldn’t stop reading! It moved at an enjoyable pace most of the time and was really exciting to read.
I really liked the dual point of view and I thought they worked really well together (when they met up I wasn’t so keen). I also really liked the relationships (the friendship and comradeship) between all the characters. It made it even better to read and I really found myself hooked to the story and the characters.
Sometimes parts of the setting and characters could be a little inconsistent, as well as the pacing. The ending, unfortunately, had a few unclear plot holes, without clear resolution and didn’t really have the satisfying ending I was hoping for. I also predicted it halfway through, but still thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
I really got attached to the characters and I thought the story was complex. The characters and story really worked hand in hand together and it made for a great read.
Order Who Is Jeff Walker? here: Who is Jeff Walker? eBook : Shetty, Sanjeev: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Sanjeev for my copy.
Book Review of The Call Of The Rift: Flight by Jae Waller
4.7 out of 5 stars
The Call Of The Rift: Flight by Jae Waller is an immersive and gripping YA epic fantasy novel.
At close to 500 pages it isn’t a quick read, but is certainly enjoyable. The first 50 pages I must admit weren’t of the best quality. This may have been to set the scene as there was a lot of heavy backstories, but unfortunately it just didn’t really work for me at first. Although, it really does get better if you stick with it.
The pacing was a little inconsistent – nothing too bad, just sometimes it was slow and then sometimes it jumped and sped up quite a lot. The way our main character, Kateiko, was presented was also a little inconsistent and I felt that at some points the personality of Kateiko was lost.
I thought Kateiko’s personality most of the time is what made me enjoy the story the most. I also really enjoyed reading about her relationship with Tiernan which I thought kept things really interesting. The world and complete realistic sense of community that was created in this book was absolutely incredible!
I really loved the setting and how it was all presented and described – it painted a really vivid picture. The setting and history of the world was well-developed and complex which was just brilliant!
The final 150 pages or so were incredible! The writing quality was fantastic, and I really loved how everything was tied together. If only it was that good at the beginning, as I bet a lot of people would stop reading when the pace got slow. I’m certainly glad I stuck with it!
Order The Call Of The Rift: Flight here: Call of the Rift, The: Flight ;: 1 : Waller, Jae: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Thank you Jae for my copy.
Book Review of Irreversibly Changed by D.A. Mottram
4.6 out of 5 stars
Irreversibly Changed by D.A. Mottram is an enthralling read that keeps you gripped until the very end.
This was a fast-paced novel without a dull moment. I really enjoyed the paced it moved along at as it truly kept you gripped throughout.
One thing I couldn’t get away with though was that speech wasn’t started on a new line. I didn’t realize this would make such a difference to my reading experience. It meant that sometimes it was unclear as to who was speaking and you sometimes had to read over something a couple of times to make sure you got what they were saying.
I thought that the background to the characters could’ve been presented a little better, but I loved how the majority of the characters had a past that was affecting their future. I thought this kept it even more interesting. Perhaps Jordan’s personality could’ve been developed a little more, but I loved how Chelsea was presented. I’m intrigued to learn more about her past.
It was a short, but enjoyable read that had so much to it.
That ending! I don’t want to say too much because I’ll spoil it, but I’m certainly hungry for more!
Order Irreversibly Changed here: IRreveRSIBLY CHAngeD eBook : Mottram, D.A: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you D.A. Mottram for my copy.
Book Review of Under My Pillow by D.A. Mottram
3.7 out of 5 stars
Under My Pillow by D.A. Mottram is an action-packed children’s picture book.
I really loved how witty the characters were – they were brimming with personality. I especially like Elspeth! I thought she had great sass, and I thought that she really brought the book alive.
This book was also educational as in some cases there was some advanced vocabulary (such as incisors, molars etc.) as part of the story and in bold brackets it explained the definition in simpler terms still making it engaging. Sometimes, there were bold brackets to explain a ‘grown up’ saying, which I wasn’t too keen on, as this book was obviously for a younger audience, so it would’ve probably been better without those ‘grown up’ sayings in my opinion.
I wasn’t too keen on the main character being 12 years old. I don’t think his age really fit with the story. Realistically, a 12 year old is in secondary school and they certainly don’t act so childish. Perhaps if the character was a little younger, it would’ve worked a bit better.
I really like how this whole other world of fairies was created I thought it was actually really interesting. Although I felt the world and characters could’ve been developed a little more.
There were several plot holes. Truthfully, I think younger children would be unlikely to notice them, so it isn’t too much of a problem.
All the illustrations were created by children local to the author and I thought it made the book extra special.
Overall, it was a great story!
Thank you D.A. Mottram for my copy.
Book Review of Hearts and Spears by Somto Jefferson Uwazie
3.8 out of 5 stars
Hearts and Spears by Somto Jefferson Uwazie is a powerful and incredibly interesting poetry collection.
I really loved how the book was sectioned off. My favourite section being ‘Anger and Grief’ as I thought it really packed a punch.
The poems were approachable and pretty straightforward making them easy to understand and easy to read. One of my favourite poems that I was really drawn to was ‘War Profiteers’. I also really liked ‘My pals are gone’.
Something I really liked in this collection was the illustrations and images throughout. I thought they made the entire thing even more enjoyable and broke up the text whilst also adding to the poems.
The poetry, just like Somto’s other collection held controversial opinions. I must say I didn’t always agree with them, but it was nice to see how Somto expressed his opinions unapologetically and I admire that.
Also, just like Somto’s other collection, I really liked that there were quotes after each poems that can expand your thoughts after reading the poem.
All of these poems are full of raw emotion and are incredibly powerful Overall I did really enjoy this incredibly interesting collection.
Order Hearts and Spears here: Hearts and Spears eBook : Uwazie, Somto Jefferson: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Somto for my copy.
Book Review of A Shade Of Madness by Thiago Abdalla
4.4 out of 5 stars
A Shade Of Madness by Thiago Abdalla is madness (in a good way)!! Packed with what I love about the fantasy genre (action, adventure, intrigue, magic…), I loved it!
I really appreciated the recap at the beginning – I thought it was a great thing for Thiago to include and also really helpful. It is no doubt well-written and an enjoyable read.
I really like the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and I thought they added to the effect of each chapter. The chapters were also a great length and kept the story moving along at a good pace. It was a great book to escape into. The world in which it was set is well developed, the characters not as much, but I’m sure they will develop more in further books.
I really liked that it had multiple point of views because they were great to help paint the full picture of the book and I felt made the entire thing much more interesting. I also thought it was well balanced in terms of content, dialogue, description, structure and just the entire book overall. It showcases great writing skills.
As with most fantasy books, there were a lot of unique names that were hard to remember and keep track of, but that could just be me with my bad memory. Admittedly, I did struggle to keep up at times.
Whilst it’s close to 500 pages, it really didn’t feel long or like it dragged on at all. I was actually sorry to see it end, and I’m certainly hungry for more and looking forward to the next instalment!
This action-packed book did not disappoint.
Order A Shade Of Madness here: A Shade of Madness: Amazon.co.uk: Abdalla, Thiago: 9781957237077: Books
Thank you Thiago for my copy.
Book Review of Hell And High Water by John McKay
4.9 out of 5 stars
Hell And High Water by John McKay is an instantly compelling book which takes young telegraphist, George, aboard the HMS Virtuous and into the stormy Arctic Ocean during World War Two.
I really enjoyed how, whilst still a book set during World War Two (a very popular setting for many book I enjoy reading) it was unique and I learnt more about the Arctic Convoys, which you don’t often get to read about.
There was a fair bit of war jargon which meant it was definitely well-researched and the book itself felt full of knowledge. At times, the terms could be a little heavy and hard to take in as there were so many piled in at certain parts, but that may be because I don’t know much about the Arctic Convoys of World War Two. Perhaps for someone who knows more about them it’ll be an easier read. Despite this, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, it just took me a little longer to read and to take it all in.
Whilst not part of the story itself, I also loved the Foreword – I thought it was really special.
I loved the dual timelines too. I thought it worked well and was incredibly well-written. Sometimes though, I wasn’t keen on how they linked together, just like the ending. I felt it was all building up to a big moment and that big moment was dampened a little when it was revealed and I wasn’t quite satisfied with it if I’m honest.
I must say that the incident around 150 pages in gave me shivers. It was a horrifying scene, yet so brilliantly written that I had such a vivid picture of the scene and it was brutally realistic. Books rarely make me squirm, but this scene really got under my skin and it didn’t stop there. Many of the scenes were so well written and horrifying that I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for days. It was just an outstanding book!
Order Hell And High Water here: Hell and High Water eBook : McKay, John: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Thank you John for my copy.
Book Review of Empire Of Rebels: Rise Of Rebels by Tarik Bouchnayaf
4.5 out of 5 stars
Empire Of Rebels: Rise Of Rebels by Tarik Bouchnayaf is a thrilling epic fantasy novel.
At first, there was a lot of heavy backstories which can be hard to take in and was a little hard to connect with and repetitive, but please stick with it – it’s so worth it! Once you get past the first twenty pages or so it is absolutely incredible!
I really loved how fast paced it was as well as all the twists and turns throughout that kept you hooked on the story. It was such a great read that I read it all in once sitting, and it went by in a flash – I’m looking forward to the further books to come.
The characters and the story were well developed and whilst I would’ve liked to have a little more detail included into the personalities of some characters, I still felt that you really got to know that characters and were able to get attached to them. At first, there were a lot of names to try and keep up with, but that settles down and it really is a fantastic read.
The chapters are a great length and keep you fully engaged throughout. There was never a dull moment in this action-packed book, and I’m most definitely looking forward to the next one!
Order Empire Of Rebels: Rise Of Rebels here: Empire of Rebels (Rise of Rebels Book 1) eBook : Bouchnayaf, Tarik: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Tarik for my copy.
Book Review of Paper Hearts by S. K. Randhawa
4 out of 5 stars
Paper Hearts by S.K Randhawa is a fast-paced romance that kept me utterly hooked.
At around 140 pages, it’s a quick read but also a great read. Once you get into it, it is fantastic – I read it in one sitting!
I really liked the dual point of view, and I felt the story really benefitted from that. I loved how we got different insights into our two main characters pasts. How that was presented could be a little confusing and hard to keep up with but still very intriguing nonetheless.
The chapters were short which kept the story moving at a great pace. Sometimes it got a little confusing as to whether we were reading about the characters past or present as it switched quite often and there was a lot of ‘he’ and ‘she’ which didn’t really help. I think perhaps I’d have liked it if the main characters had signature characteristics for example, as that would’ve helped differentiate the past from the present, so we knew which characters were which and when the events were happening.
I like how in the authors note at the end, we could see why the story was written and I think it was great to include that context too.
At times, the writing could be a little laborious, but nothing too bad, just a little wordy. If you like that though, then it’s great!
It was a very character-driven book, meaning that the things that happened in the book were more of a side story, and it was more focused on the characters thoughts (and dialogue too) which drove the story on. I quite enjoy books like this as they are different to what I’d normally read.
Overall, I really enjoyed this quick but different read.
Order Paper Hearts here: Paper Hearts eBook : Randhawa, S. K.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you S. K. Randhawa for my copy.
Book Review of The Reprise by Connor Bryan
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Reprise by Connor Bryan is a heart-warming and intriguing novella with great messages and meaning throughout.
I really loved the story and the LGBTQ+ representation, which made a unique read and was quite refreshing as it’s not something I read often. I really liked the friendship group (the A Cademia) and how they fitted and worked with the story – it was very well written.
I really liked how it switched between the past and the present. I thought that was done very well, and it was never confusing as to what moment in time we were in. The chapters were just the right size that kept me fully engaged and also had plenty to them, meaning it never felt rushed. It had an easy-going and pretty consistent pace (apart from at the beginning which was a little inconsistent) which I thought was great and really fitted with the story.
There was never really a dull moment. I find that in novellas it’s important to make sure that each chapter/ scene pushes the story on and shapes the overall piece, which is hard to do when you just want to add little extra bits here and there, but this novella, there wasn’t any part that wasn’t necessary. It was great to read.
I just wished that the setting and characters had been developed just a little more (which is difficult to do in novellas to be fair). I enjoyed reading about the characters, but I just wished for that little bit more. A lot of the time, descriptions of the characters and their lives were just a bit too vague, and I would have liked to have just that little bit extra to make it just that little bit more interesting and give it an edge.
Overall, it was a great, quick read and I did thoroughly enjoy the story.
Thank you Connor for my copy.
Exciting News Regarding Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher's new book NEVER NEVER
I'm so excited to be able to share with you all the brilliant first chapter of NEVER NEVER by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher! Never Never is due to be released on the 23rd of February 2023, and I can't wait!
Here's a small synopsis below:
Charlie Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They've been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning… they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love… every memory has vanished. Now Charlie and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be… the more they question why they were ever together to begin with.
Forgetting is terrifying but remembering may be worse…
The Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us joins forces with the New York Times bestselling author of The Wives for a gripping, twisty, romantic mystery unlike any other.
Such exciting stuff! Now then, here's the first chapter... enjoy!
A crash. Books fall to the speckled linoleum floor. They skid a few feet, whirling in circles, and stop near feet. My feet. I don’t recognize the black sandals, or the red toenails, but they move when I tell them to, so they must be mine. Right?
A bell rings. Shrill.
I jump, my heart racing. My eyes move left to right as I scope out my environment, trying not to give myself away.
What kind of bell was that? Where am I?
Kids with backpacks walk briskly into the room, talking and laughing. A school bell. They slide into desks, their voices competing in volume. I see movement at my feet and jerk in surprise. Someone is bent over, gathering up books on the floor; a red-faced girl with glasses. Before she stands up, she looks at me with something like fear and then scurries off. People are laughing. When I look around I think they’re laughing at me, but it’s the girl with glasses they’re looking at.
“Charlie!” someone calls. “Didn’t you see that?” And then, “Charlie…what’s your problem…hello…?”
My heart is beating fast, so fast.
Where is this? Why can’t I remember? “Charlie!” someone hisses. I look around. Who is Charlie? Which one is Charlie?
There are so many kids; blond hair, ratty hair, brown hair, glasses, no glasses…
A man walks in carrying a briefcase. He sets it on the desk.
The teacher. I am in a classroom, and that is the teacher. High school or college? I wonder.
I stand up suddenly. I’m in the wrong place. Everyone is sitting, but I’m standing…walking.
“Where are you going, Miss Wynwood?” The teacher is looking at me over the rim of his glasses as he riffles through a pile of papers. He slaps them down hard on the desk and I jump. I must be Miss Wynwood.
“She has cramps!” someone calls out. People snicker. I feel a chill creep up my back and crawl across the tops of my arms. They’re laughing at me, except I don’t know who these people are.
I hear a girl’s voice say, “Shut up, Michael.”
“I don’t know,” I say, hearing my voice for the first time. It’s too high. I clear my throat and try again. “I don’t know. I’m not supposed to be here.”
There is more laughing. I glance around at the posters on the wall, the faces of presidents animated with dates beneath them. History class? High school.
The man—the teacher—tilts his head to the side like I’ve said the dumbest thing. “And where else are you supposed to be on test day?”
“I… I don’t know.”
“Sit down,” he says. I don’t know where I’d go if I left. I turn around to go back. The girl with the glasses glances up at me as I pass her. She looks away almost as quickly.
As soon as I’m sitting, the teacher starts handing out papers. He walks between desks, his voice a flat drone as he tells us what percentage of our final grade the test will be. When he reaches my desk he pauses, a deep crease between his eyebrows. “I don’t know what you’re trying to pull.” He presses the tip of a fat pointer finger on my desk.
“Whatever it is, I’m sick of it. One more stunt and I’m sending you to the principal’s office.” He slaps the test down in front of me and moves down the line.
I don’t nod, I don’t do anything. I’m trying to decide what to do. Announce to the whole room that I have no idea who and where I am—or pull him aside and tell him quietly. He said no more stunts. My eyes move to the paper in front of me. People are already bent over their tests, pencils scratching.
There is a space for a name. I’m supposed to write my name, but I don’t know what my name is. Miss Wynwood, he called me.
Why don’t I recognize my own name? Or where I am?
Or what I am?
Every head is bent over their papers except mine. So I sit and stare, straight ahead. Mr. Dulcott glares at me from his desk. The longer I sit, the redder his face becomes.
Time passes and yet my world has stopped. Eventually, Mr. Dulcott stands up, his mouth open to say something to me when the bell rings. “Put your papers on my desk on the way out,” he says, his eyes still on my face. Everyone is filing out of the door. I stand up and follow them because I don’t know what else to do. I keep my eyes on the floor, but I can feel his rage. I don’t understand why he’s so angry with me. I am in a hallway now, lined on either side by blue lockers.
“Charlie!” someone calls. “Charlie, wait up!” A second later, an arm loops through mine. I expect it to be the girl with the glasses; I don’t know why. It’s not. But, I know now that I am Charlie. Charlie Wynwood. “You forgot your bag,” she says, handing over a white backpack. I take it from her, wondering if there’s a wallet with a driver’s license inside. She keeps her arm looped through mine as we walk. She’s shorter than me, with long, dark hair and dewy brown eyes that take up half her face. She is startling and beautiful.
“Why were you acting so weird in there?” she asks. “You knocked the shrimp’s books on the floor and then spaced out.”
I can smell her perfume; it’s familiar and too sweet, like a million flowers competing for attention. I think of the girl with the glasses, the look on her face as she bent to scoop up her books. If I did that, why don’t I remember?
“It’s lunch, why are you walking that way?” She pulls me down a different corridor, past more students. They all look at me…little glances. I wonder if they know me, and why I don’t know me. I don’t know why I don’t tell her, tell Mr. Dulcott, grab someone random and tell them that I don’t know who or where I am. By the time I’m seriously entertaining the idea, we’re through a set of double doors in the cafeteria. Noise and color; bodies that all have a unique smell, bright fluorescent lights that make everything look ugly. Oh, God. I clutch at my shirt.
The girl on my arm is babbling. Andrew this, Marcy that. She likes Andrew and hates Marcy. I don’t know who either of them is. She corrals me to the food line. We get salad and Diet Cokes. Then we are sliding our trays on a table. There are already people sitting there: four boys, two girls. I realize we are completing a group with even numbers. All the girls are matched with a guy. Everyone looks up at me expectantly, like I’m supposed to say something, do something. The only place left to sit is next to a guy with dark hair. I sit slowly, both hands flat on the table. His eyes dart toward me and then he bends over his tray of food. I can see the finest beads of sweat on his forehead, just below his hairline.
“You two are so awkward sometimes,” says a new girl, blonde, across from me. She’s looking from me to the guy I’m sitting next to. He looks up from his macaroni and I realize he’s just moving things around on his plate. He hasn’t taken a bite, despite how busy he looks. He looks at me and I look at him, then we both look back at the blonde girl.
“Did something happen that we should know about?” she asks. “No,” we say in unison.
He’s my boyfriend. I know by the way they’re treating us. He suddenly smiles at me with his brilliantly white teeth and reaches to put an arm around my shoulders.
“We’re all good,” he says, squeezing my arm. I automatically stiffen, but when I see the six sets of eyes on my face, I lean in and play along. It’s frightening not knowing who you are—even more frightening thinking you’ll get it wrong. I’m scared now, really scared. It’s gone too far. If I say something now I’ll look…crazy. His affection seems to make everyone relax. Everyone except…him. They go back to talking, but all the words blend together: football, a party, more football. The guy sitting next to me laughs and joins in with their conversation, his arm never straying from my shoulders. They call him Silas. They call me Charlie. The dark-haired girl with the big eyes is Annika. I forget everyone else’s names in the noise.
Lunch is finally over and we all get up. I walk next to Silas, or rather he walks next to me. I have no idea where I’m going. Annika flanks my free side, winding her arms through mine and chatting about cheerleading practice. She’s making me feel claustrophobic. When we reach an annex in the hallway, I lean over and speak to her so only she can hear. “Can you walk me to my next class?” Her face becomes serious. She breaks away to say something to her boyfriend, and then our arms are looped again.
I turn to Silas. “Annika is going to walk me to my next class.”
“Okay,” he says. He looks relieved. “I’ll see you…later.” He heads off in the opposite direction.
Annika turns to me as soon as he’s out of sight. “Where’s he going?”
I shrug. “To class.”
She shakes her head like she’s confused. “I don’t get you guys. One day you’re all over each other, the next you’re acting like you can’t stand to be in the same room. You really need to make a decision about him, Charlie.”
She stops outside a doorway.
“This is me…” I say, to see if she’ll protest. She doesn’t. “Call me later,” she says. “I want to know about last night.”
I nod. When she disappears into the sea of faces, I step into the classroom. I don’t know where to sit, so I wander to the back row and slide into a seat by the window. I’m early, so I open my backpack. There’s a wallet wedged between a couple of notebooks and a makeup bag. I pull it out and flip it open to reveal a driver’s license with a picture of a beaming, dark-haired girl. Me.
Charlize Margaret Wynwood
2417 Holcourt Way
New Orleans, LA
I’m seventeen. My birthday is March twenty-first. I live in Louisiana. I study the picture in the top left corner and I don’t recognize the face. It’s my face, but I’ve never seen it. I’m…pretty. I only have twenty-eight dollars.
The seats are filling up. The one beside me stays empty, almost like everyone is too afraid to sit there. I’m in Spanish class. The teacher is pretty and young; her name is Mrs. Cardona. She doesn’t look at me like she hates me, like so many other people are looking at me. We start with tenses.
I have no past. I have no past.
Five minutes into class the door opens. Silas walks in, his eyes downcast. I think he’s here to tell me something, or to bring me something. I brace myself, ready to pretend, but Mrs. Cardona comments jokingly about his lateness. He takes the only available seat next to me and stares straight ahead. I stare at him. I don’t stop staring at him until finally, he turns his head to look at me. A line of sweat rolls down the side of his face.
His eyes are wide. Wide…just like mine.
How brilliant was that? I can't wait to read the rest of the book!
Order Never Never here: Never Never: TikTok made me buy it! The romantic thriller from BookTok sensation and Sunday Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us and New York Times bestselling author of The Wives: Amazon.co.uk: Hoover, Colleen, Fisher, Tarryn: 9780008620486: Books
Thank you the HQ PR Team for this opportunity.
Book Review of Little Black Crimes by Nathaniel Blackhelm
4.6 out of 5 stars
Little Black Crimes by Nathaniel Blackhelm is a book that confuses and haunts you like no book I’ve ever read.
I was so drawn to these stories – they were absolutely fascinating. They were also so cleverly written and went by in a flash. My personal favourite was The Misconception, which I thought was an incredibly written story.
I really loved how there was varying point of views (whether they were objects, people etc.) I thought that that kept it fresh and even more interesting. Sometimes it even had me questioning what point of view we were looking at the story through which was also great to keep me engaged and wanting to read more.
Just a warning that these stories are very dark, but brilliant if you like that kind of thing. There were many subjects that you don’t read many stories about, and I thought there were intriguing and unique (just check for trigger warnings though, there were some difficult subjects).
The stories inside were dark and twisted and I completely devoured this collection.
This is an incredible debut collection and I hope to read more of this author in the future.
Order Little Black Crimes here: Little Black Crimes: Stories: Amazon.co.uk: Blackhelm, Nathaniel: 9798358270060: Books
Thank you Nathaniel for my copy.
Book Review of A Tale Of Mermaids by Ann Parker
4.8 out of 5 stars
A Tale Of Mermaids by Ann Parker is a beautiful story of strength and friendship in hard times. It follows the interesting lives of our two main characters and explores their friendship when they meet on the Mermaid. This is an absolutely fascinating historical fiction – I devoured it all in one day!
While it’s a quick and fast-paced read, it wasn’t rushed and it was certainly very well-written. It was packed with adventure and twists making it an exciting read that kept you tied to the book right until the very end.
Unfortunately, I was expecting there to be a close friendship between the two main characters (Alix and Vivien) and that their friendship would be a focus in the book and that wasn’t the case. I didn’t feel that they even had that close of a friendship, from what I read, I only really got the feeling that they knew each other from being on the same ship, not that they were close friends. I don’t even think I can recall a scene when it was just the two of them. That, in my opinion was a little bit of a let-down, after I was expecting a very friendship-driven story, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it, nonetheless.
I really loved the insight to both Alix and Vivien’s interesting lives before they met on the ship. I did feel that the beginning of the book was a lot stronger than the end, as I found the beginning felt a lot better fleshed-out and just had a lot more to it in general.
Throughout, you got a great feel of the setting and I really love things set in that time in history as you don’t get books set in that time that often (the end of the seventeenth century) which I find fascinating which made it even more enjoyable.
It was no doubt a brilliant and high-quality read.
Order A Tale Of Mermaids here: A Tale of Mermaids: Amazon.co.uk: Ann Parker: 9781915122506: Books
Thank you Ann for my copy.
Book Review of Lines by Leon by Leon Stevens
4 out of 5 stars
Lines by Leon by Leon Stevens is a delightful collection full of humorous poems.
There was a wide range of poems that were short but sweet. It was a truly uplifting collection that really makes you smile. Just by reading this collection, I can tell Leon has a great sense of humour and you can really feel his personality coming through in the poems. Whilst I don’t know Leon, I feel I do through his poetry, if that makes sense. It was a fantastic read.
Once again (just like his other collection A Wonder Of Words), I really liked how the poems were sectioned off and I feel like that can often make or break a collection. The sections within this book/the order they were in really complimented the poems.
I must admit that I preferred his other collection (A Wonder Of Words) but still thoroughly enjoyed this collection. The illustrations inside really added a lot to the poems and the book itself just like they did in his previous collection. Unfortunately, the thing I missed in this collection was the insight as to when and why the poems were created. I felt that that was missing in this collection.
It’s a beautiful collection. It was rather fast-paced as the poems were quick with great rhythm making it a great read.
Order Lines by Leon here: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures: Amazon.co.uk: Stevens, Leon: 9781525560330: Books
Thank you Leon for my copy.
Book Review of Jeanette Baguette by Eve Young
4.7 out of 5 stars
Jeanette Baguette by Eve Young is a brilliantly special book that creates awareness around mental health, encourages positive outlooks on life and explores friendship and so much more.
At the beginning, it is a little manic and hard to get to grips with, but please do read on – it’s definitely worth it. Once I began to settle in to the unique writing style I really enjoyed it.
There is so much to this book, and I can’t quite believe how much was fit into around 400 pages. You learn so much about all the characters and the world in which it was set. There were so many characters but they were also so well fleshed out too. I really hope there is a sequel as I’d love to find out more about the characters and their backstories in depth a little more. I also think it’ll be very intriguing to see what they are getting up to next!
This actually felt like a really comforting book as it was all about how peoples differences but how everyone in the book, whilst different was also connected. It was really uplifting and so special.
I must say that there were several grammatical and spelling errors. For example, every piece of dialogue was grammatically incorrect. Once you get use to it though, it doesn't really affect how you read the book.
One thing that didn’t really work for me was the chapter titles which were a little inconsistent. At some points chapter titles were characters names and other times they related to things that happened in that chapter. When the chapter was a character’s name, the chapter was mainly relating to that character but at some points it was written in first person by that character and sometimes it was written in first person by Jeanette whilst the character it was titled after played a main part in the chapter. Then other times the entire thing was written in third person about that character. For me this jumping was really confusing and off-putting.
Aside from all of that, the amount of awareness this book creates about the world we live in is remarkable. Every single character has a unique disability/disorder or struggle with mental health which is nothing like I’ve ever read before. The story itself was so beautiful and heart-warming - it made for an incredibly special read.
Order Jeanette Baguette here: Jeanette Baguette: Friendships of the Extraordinary: Amazon.co.uk: Young, Eve: 9798810786009: Books
Thank you Eve for my copy.
Book Review of A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens
4.4 out of 5 stars
A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens is a unique poetry collection – absolutely nothing like I’ve ever read before but in a good way.
It was almost like a diary, with little notes before poems and there were even illustration throughout which were beautiful touches. I found it really interesting because at the top of most of the poems the author tells us why they wrote that particular poem and when which just puts the entire thing into perspective. I felt this made the poems even more meaningful. The notes helped you get to know the author even more and were so interesting to read. If you can’t tell, I really loved this unique aspect! They added so much to the overall book.
The poems themselves were short but powerful. One of my favourite poems was LTStSI (Life’s Too Short to Stay Inside) which was an incredibly clever poem with a great message. I also really loved Numbers, Letter from the Cat and especially April Fool’s. The Poems with Humour section was brilliant and really had me smiling.
I must admit that the Poem to Story wasn’t for me and in my opinion really dampened the ending. I get why it was put in, but I felt it let down the collection. Despite this the collection was wonderful and really enjoyable.
The NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Month where Leon wrote a poem a day for thirty days) section was so interesting. It was like you were following their train of thought. You were growing with them and floating wherever the poems took you. It was a great experience and I’ve never read anything like it before!
Order A Wonder of Words here: A Wonder of Words: Amazon.co.uk: Stevens, Leon: 9798351765099: Books
Thank you Leon for my copy.
Book Review of Knotted Musings by Somto Jefferson Uwazie
3.7 out of 5 stars
Knotted Musings by Somto Jefferson Uwazie is a unique and unconventional poetry collection that explores many world issues.
One of my favourite poems was Martyrdom, which I thought was incredibly powerful and a poem that really makes you sit back and say ‘well said’. Another poem I found really powerful was Vanity of Existence.
I found that there were a lot of words used in these poems that I had to go away and research which isn’t always great. I feel that it takes away from the poem and makes them less enjoyable because it pauses the flow of the poem whilst you go away to research that particular word and then a lot of the meaning and fluidity of the poem is lost. I often find it better when poems just use more well-known words because it flows nicer it also just makes the poetry a lot more approachable.
A unique thing I found in this book that really appealed to me was that at the end of each poem was a quote (often by the author) that linked to the poem. I thought it was a really nice touch and rounded of the poems really nicely. I have never seen that done before so I was pleasantly surprised by it. I do think that it really added a lot to the book and I found them really interesting points to consider and ponder. Some of these points may be controversial though, and I didn’t always agree with them wholly but I still found them interesting.
The poems were instantly compelling as they addressed many issues in the world. I always enjoy poems that are relevant to today as I always find it intriguing to see what other people’s thoughts are on what it happening in the world.
Often the poems felt a little formal, and I tend to read a lot more informal style poems (this is just personal preference) but I found these poems really interesting as they were mainly free verse with a touch of formality which made a unique collaboration.
A lot of the poems are less than a page, so this makes for a quick, but interesting read.
Order Knotted Musings here: Knotted Musings eBook : Uwazie, Somto Jefferson: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Somto for my copy.
Book Review of No Heart For A Thief by James Lloyd Dulin
4.4 out of 5 stars
No Heart For A Thief by James Lloyd Dulin is a complex dark fantasy book about spirits, war, magic and much more!
This dark fantasy book is very complex in a way that really makes you sit down and want to concentrate on the book so as not to miss anything. It is steadily paced, even if towards the end it felt ever so slightly rushed. This book was no doubt written very well and was still an impressive book despite this.
Unexpectedly, it was actually character-driven and did a great job at provoking emotion upon the reader whilst also ensuring that we had a clear image of the world too. It’s incredible how he made a 400 page book feel so quick – that’s fantastic writing!
Around 200 pages in, I was really wrapped tightly around the story. I found Kaylo an absolutely fascinating character who was so well fleshed-out and also very well-thought out and complex. It was certainly unique! A truly captivating story!
I felt the ending dragged on a little bit and lost the spark of the rest of the book, and it also left me rather unsatisfied unfortunately. Also, I’d like to learn more about Tayen, but I’m sure we’ll learn more about her later on in the next book/continuation of the series, and I look forward to it!
Overall, I enjoyed this beautiful and down-to-earth book; it was certainly a strong debut.
Order No Heart For A Thief here: No Heart for a Thief (Malitu): Dulin, James Lloyd: 9798987173602: Amazon.com: Books
Thank you James for my copy.
Book Review of Saved By Titanic by Samantha Maise
4.7 out of 5 stars
Saved By Titanic by Samantha Maise is a beautiful, historical romance book that really plays with your emotions.
It explores the tragedy of the Titanic and also the highs in life on and after it. I was so addicted to this story, and it was absolutely heart-breaking in the very best way. I found myself reading extra slowly in order to savour all it’s goodness (something I actually very rarely do) because truthfully, I didn’t want it to end!
Something I really liked was how well sympathy/empathy was created for all the characters, especially Genevieve. I was so invested in the characters and the story. Samantha did a great job at building and inflicting emotion on the reader.
I loved the friendships Genevieve made throughout and how the entire book empowered women.
I must say that there were several grammatical errors and awkward sentences. At the beginning it was also a little repetitive and the writing was a bit ‘clunky’. By that I mean there was a lot of short sentences that stated the obvious and it didn’t really flow very well. Fortunately that settled down as we moved on in the story.
I am absolutely in love with this beautiful and emotional book! The epilogue I felt rounded the entire thing off very nicely.
Order Saved By Titanic here: Saved by Titanic: Maise, Samantha: 9798822904163: Amazon.com: Books
Thank you Samantha for my copy.
Book Review of Coyote by Ashley Brandt
4.7 out of 5 stars
Coyote by Ashley Brandt is an atmospheric fantasy story packed with action and romance.
Whilst the entire book was enjoyable, I really got into the book about sixty pages in. After that, I felt fully immersed into the story and it was incredible. It was very dark and intriguing and mysterious, and I really loved the setting. I was so invested in the characters and the romance in this world was really interesting and well thought out.
It did take a while to get into it, but once I did, I fell in love with the story and the intriguing world. At first, I thought Raven’s relationship with Ramon was sweet yet complicated which I really like, but I thought it also felt a little unnatural and wasn’t believable at some points in the story. Keep on reading on about it though, it’s definitely worth it! More will be uncovered.
It was slightly confusing because some of the chapters had dates and places as subtitles and others didn’t. I think it would’ve been better if it was either done consistently or just not at all because I didn’t feel it added to the story too much.
The ending was inconclusive. I get that it may have been to create suspense or to build up more intrigue, but it didn’t really work for me. The epilogue gave me more questions than it answered which I didn’t feel was the best way to end the book unfortunately, considering how brilliant the rest of the book was.
The thing I really loved about this book was the world we were introduced to. It was so well fleshed out and surprisingly easy to visualize and believe. Overall, I adored this book!
Order Coyote here: Amazon.com: Coyote eBook : Brandt, Ashley: Books
Thank you Ashley for my copy.
Book Review of Cities On Fire by C H Wilkins
4.4 out of 5 stars
Cities On Fire by C H Wilkins is a fast-paced novel set in the future about superheroes, crime, special agents, secrets and so much more.
I would’ve liked the scenes to be a bit longer because we often only got tiny snippets (a page or so) and then it would change setting again, which could often get a little confusing.
The sense of action and adventure really felt real. The mysterious events throughout really intrigued me. It certainly wasn’t slow at any point (but could sometimes get too fast paced and a little unsteady).
There was a great fluidity throughout. It was brilliant at the beginning because you were drawn in straight away. The scenes (while short) were incredibly well written.
The world created felt so familiar and also so different and it was wonderful to read. I could imagine the world incredibly well and it seemed so real. It was so thrilling and novel.
I think I would’ve liked some more character development as we moved on through the book as I felt that we could’ve been given a better feel for the characters. Overall, though, this book had me hooked.
I really liked the idea of Madison starting new at the organisation, but I would’ve liked to have seen more of her in the story. It almost felt like she wasn’t even needed to be honest, but I think if she’d have been more involved, the story would’ve really benefitted from it.
This story is so thrilling! It’s an action-packed book that keeps you gripped until the very end. I’m so excited for the next one!
Order Cities On Fire here: Amazon.com: Cities On Fire: 9798363203121: Wilkins, C H: Books
Thank you C H Wilkins for my copy.
Book Review of Poems for the Unpoetic by E. Elizabeth
4.5 out of 5 stars
Poems for the Unpoetic by E. Elizabeth is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Throughout the book, E. Elizabeth explores Christianity, love, anxiety and everyday life as well as many other topics. In this inspiring book, she also encouraged positive outlooks on life that you can’t help but smile at.
In this book, there are so many lines that I want to print out and stick on my wall to inspire me each and every day. Some of my favourites include ‘You can do anything / under the sun’ on page 2 from ‘After You’re “Old”’ and on page 18 in ‘Breathe’ I really loved the lines ‘Just open your eyes, look out / into your mountains and breathe.’. I really loved these lines because they show how soothing and reassuring this book can be for anyone (even the unpoetic!). They made me look at my own life in a positive and optimistic way and gave me hope for the future.
Generally, I tend to prefer poems that don’t rhyme, however, the messages behind these poems were brought along in such clever ways and truthfully, the rhyming was a treat! The rhyming throughout meant that all the poems (because she uses rhyme so nicely) flow brilliantly and the entire book has a good, consistent rhythm. I’m sure these poems would also be great to read aloud at a reading because of the fluidity and the harmonic sounds the words will create.
One thing I really loved was how you can tell that E. Elizabeth always had the reader as a top priority when writing. She really cared about the impact her words are to have on the reader, and reading this book was a delightful experience.
It explored some of the darker times throughout life too. It made you reflect upon the initial emotional reaction to the topic and by the end, you can’t help but smile and fall in love with the poems and life. This book is such a joy.
This book also explored faith in some beautiful ways such as these lines ‘Just remember Who lit / your first spark’ from page 5 in ‘Crowns’. The nods to Christianity are subtle yet also strong and powerful. As someone who doesn’t have a religion, I actually really enjoy religious poems. I find, for me (without having much in-depth knowledge of any specific religion) there’s even more for me to learn. That means even more excitement and generally (with good poems like these) even more to enjoy.
A recurring pattern throughout this book is the powerful last lines. One thing I look for in poems is a strong final line because it can make or break the poem. Every one of these poems, I felt, ended strongly. The final lines decide where the poem goes and where and how the reader is left. E. Elizabeth did a great job and almost every single last line either left you pondering, soothed you, inspired you or simply made you go ‘wow!’.
At the back of the book, E. Elizabeth states that her goal when she writes ‘is to make you feel like you can connect to the message’ and she certainly achieved that throughout this comforting and empowering book.
A line from page 7 in the poem ‘Wash Your Windows’ described perfectly my experience reading this book: ‘fill your house with bright and joy.’.
Order Poems for the Unpoetic here: Poems for the Unpoetic - Kindle edition by Elizabeth, E., Zollo, Natylie. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Thank you E. Elizabeth for my copy.
BOOK REVIEW OF Melody Jackson v. the Woman in White by B.M.B. Johnson
3.6 out of 5 stars
Melody Jackson v. the Woman in White by B.M.B. Johnson is an exciting and empowering book for children aged around 9-12 years old.
It follows Melody Jackson (and her parents) and is the first in a series about our main character Melody. Melody is a curious child, and the Woman in White is a great mystery for her to try solving.
Melody’s feisty personality is what I really enjoyed from the beginning. I think many younger readers would really look up to Melody for not being afraid to be herself and it’s a message that really came across. The beginning really was fantastic, but then it really went downhill for me.
I must say I found this book very patronizing. It was always referring to Melody’s age (12) and how she was grumpy or about her hormones etc. I also found that at times it was very childish but at other points it dealt with scary-ish events which may be too mature for younger readers.
I loved the teamwork and relationship between Melody and her parents, and I thought it was exciting to read. The mystery was actually interesting and rather spooky, but I loved the elements of humour and banter between Melody and her parents which always lightened the mood. There were several problems with grammar, but they were purposeful (at least I hope) because they really added to the enjoyment of the book, and I think children would really like it!
The ending was underwhelming and left a lot of questions, so it didn’t really work for me unfortunately.
All in all, though, I think younger readers would really love Melody Jackson!
Order Melody Jackson v. the Woman in White here: Melody Jackson v. the Woman in White (It Happened On Lafayette Street Book 1) eBook : Johnson, B.M.B.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you B.M.B Johnson and Overlord Services for my copy.
Book Review of Sisyphus by V. S. Durruti
4 out of 5 stars
Sisyphus by V. S. Durruti is a remarkable book set in the near future. The events that are occurring are so relevant to today it’s quite uncanny, but this also make this book all the more real and relatable I felt.
It starts off really slow, but stick with it and you will not be disappointed. I felt that I got properly hooked around a hundred pages in. The middle section was incredible and so great to read. The last eighty or so pages I felt dwindled away and didn’t leave me satisfied with the ending.
The way everything was described, I could really imagine all the events happening. One of my favourite occurrences was how the healthcare service was under such strain that it was almost destroyed.
This book also touched on the power of friendship and community when times are tough, which I thought was really lovely to read about. This was especially evident in the town of the man’s friend and wife. When we met the characters of the friend and the wife, I felt things really got interesting from then onwards.
Throughout there is a sense that something bad was coming – we just didn’t know what. I felt it was really intriguing and made you want to read on even more.
I found the main character a little dull and it was hard to be empathetic or sympathise with him because he didn’t make me feel many emotions to be honest. The storyline though had me completely gripped.
There was a lot of really long description that I felt should have definitely been broken up, but V. S. Durruti is no doubt a very talented writer. The way the scenes really come alive and the atmosphere and feel of the setting is outstanding!
Order Sisyphus here: Amazon.com: Sisyphus eBook : Durruti, V. S. : Kindle Store
Thank you V. S. Durruti for my copy.
Book Review of My Love Is Deep (A Peter Travis Love Story) by Barbara Avon
4.4 out of 5 stars
My Love Is Deep by Barbara Avon is a delightful and engrossing love story. It follows the love story of Peter and Briana in the past and twenty years later.
This is such a lovely read. It’s quite easy to pick up the story quickly and then your hooked! I was so invested in the characters throughout.
I loved the dips into the characters’ past together and I felt it really added to my love for the characters. Peter and Briana are such a sweet couple!
It remained at a steady pace throughout and did pick up the pace towards the end, which was interesting to read. I predicted the ending easily, but I still really enjoyed reading it.
I’ve got to say that the first chapter is the worst cliché possible and one of my pet hates – the ‘it was all a dream’ opening. I can’t stand them, and don’t see the point of them – they do nothing to add to the story at all. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book.
It was simple to follow along and I felt it was just a lovely, feel-good and heart-warming story.
Order My Love Is Deep here: My Love is Deep (A Peter Travis Love Story) - Kindle edition by Avon, Barbara. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Thank you Barabara for my copy.
Book Review of Path of the Warrior by Melissa Stone
3.4 out of 5 stars
Path of the Warrior by Melissa Stone is an action-packed fantasy novel. It’s a story of family, friendship, and adventure full of different beliefs, magic, and mysterious new worlds. It’s an absolutely captivating read!
What should have been a fairly normal infiltration mission to capture the rogues of the Cult of Atraxia for Ashrinn and the crew on the Shrike has turned into a catastrophe. The cultists, Ashrinn and some of the crew end up in a completely different world where the Cult’s criminal beliefs are not so villainous. The cultists form an alliance with the Darkriders, and Ashrinn and the crew create allies with the Dragonlords. Dark magic and many mysteries are thrown into the mix and Ashrinn and the crew are told the capture of the cultists will lead them home. The rollercoaster of a journey this book takes its characters and the reader on is superb.
From the beginning, the scene was set and we were drawn straight into the action and filled with intrigue. The unique descriptions in this book really made it come alive and helped you to visualize the scenes so clearly. Throughout, there was also a great atmosphere maintained.
The world-building is absolutely fantastic. The scenes were incredibly vivid, easy to picture and so unique and mysterious.
It started off so strongly for the first 150 pages or so and then I felt it went downhill and didn’t pick up again after that unfortunately.
A downside to this book was that it had a lot of character’s names to remember, and I often found myself confused as to who was who. I also actually wished it was two hundred or so pages shorter because I felt that a lot of the middle section wasn’t needed, and I wished that they had just got on with the story. The middle kind of made me lose touch with the storyline, and then it just fizzled out to a stop at the end. Truthfully, I had no idea what was going on half the time.
Despite all this, I still liked how Melissa wrote and how nicely language was used.
Order Path of the Warrior here: Path of the Warrior (Keverynn Trilogy Book 1) eBook : Stone, Melissa: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thank you Melissa for my copy.
Book Review of Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South by Dasan Ahanu
4.7 out of 5 stars
Shackled Freedom: Black Living in the Modern American South by Dasan Ahanu is a gut-wrenching and powerful poetry collection.
Dasan uses such specifics and details incredibly well. I really loved the use of colloquialisms which meant you could really hear Dasan’s voice on the page, and I thought was a nice touch.
One of my favourite poems was ‘Bus Ride’ it was outstanding. All the poems have such engaging images and scenes, and they all carry incredible messages. This collection in just stunning.
All of these poems were brilliant, but for me, pages 19-22 were so incredibly powerful, impactful and effective on the reader. Those pages really set the standard for the rest of the book and Dasan didn’t disappoint. Every single phrase is such a statement. I bow down to Dasan. Just wow. He is incredible and writes with such skill and expertise.
My absolute favourite poem of the collection was ‘Learning Black’ on pages 65 to 66. It was remarkable. Everyone needs to read it – I almost cried. The final word ‘live’ finished it perfectly and so beautifully.
The entire thing is so so powerful and raw and literally screams in your face in the way the best poems should. This book is something everyone should read. The messages behind the poems need to be heard, and these poems are presented so skilfully.
There is such anger etched on the page in these poems and rightfully so. It really inflicts such powerful emotions on the reader.
The entire thing is masterful. This is poetry at it’s finest.
Order Shackled Freedom here: Amazon.com: Shackled Freedom: 9781735740812: Ahanu, Dasan: Books
Thank you Cindy for my copy.
No Pit So Deep by James Nathaniel Miller II (Book One in The Cody Musket Story)
4.8 out of 5 stars
No Pit So Deep by James Nathaniel Miller II (Book One in The Cody Musket Story) is an unputdownable, beautiful masterpiece. It’s a Christian romance story packed with suspense, action and emotion.
What a journey! This book was one of the most emotion-provoking rollercoasters I’ve ever read. Normally, I’m not that much of an emotional reader, but this book had my eyes brimming with tears. The way Cody was presented and how Post Traumatic Stress affected him really hit me hard. I certainly won’t be forgetting about this book anytime soon.
I was amazed by the quality of the writing and how vivid and realistic the scenes were. It was such a compelling and utterly beautiful story. The pages turned themselves.
The way the story unravelled, and the way the characters’ layers were revealed piece by piece at just the right pace was incredible. The entire book was just brilliant.
I must say that the ending slightly dampened things for me – nothing too bad. I just felt like the book kind of dwindled away. It wasn’t as strong of an ending that I was hoping for. Maybe there was a reason for that which will be revealed in the next book. I’m certainly looking forward to reading the next one!
I loved how the vulnerable sides of people were cast in a different light. For example, how Cody and Brandi had scars as insecurities but the journey they went on together meant that they began to accept them.
I have never come across anything quite like it and I doubt I’ll read anything quite like it in the future. It is such a special book.
Order No Pit So Deep here: No Pit So Deep: The Cody Musket Story (The Cody Musket Series): Miller, Mr. James N., Miller II, Mr. James Nathaniel: 9780692857304: Amazon.com: Books
Thank you James for my copy.
Book Review of A Thousand Moons by Aleah Kate Lozada
3.9 out of 5 stars
A Thousand Moons by Aleah Kate Lozada is a delightful, Christian based poetry and lyrics collection.
Right from the beginning until the very end it was so easy to read and is an easy approachable book for anyone even if they don’t normally read poetry. It felt like a really pleasing book and rather welcoming as if the book were giving you a hug.
The titles of the poems really stood out for me, and I felt they really added to the poems. A lot of the time I see titles that are just there to hold places and don’t add anything to the poems. These titles really complimented and worked hand in hand with the poems. A lot of the titles introduced different aspects and new angles to subjects that have been talked about for years which was nice and refreshing.
There were many lines you can use to learn from and take into your own life. One of my favourite lines was ‘You may not like it, but this is the truth’ from ‘Coming’ on pages 30-31. That line I thought was just so well said.
Throughout there was an interesting use of the page and form. I also really enjoyed the changes of point of view throughout. I thought it livened the poems and created a more engaging read.
I found a few poems started off strongly and then weakened towards the end when they had so much potential. However, this only occurred with a handful and the rest were fantastically high quality.
Aleah uses language beautifully. The technique and language used made me smile so many times. The entire book was delicately and eloquently written. There were many phrases that made me stop and just admire the language used. One of my favourite phrases was from page 32 in ‘Chill’: ‘chill wrinkled your body and wore on your mind.’ Which I just thought was a masterful line. The images that created literally sent shivers down my spine.
The final poem on page 43 called ‘Angels’ was a strong and powerful ending and finished the book beautifully.
Order A Thousand Moons here: A Thousand Moons: A Poetry & Lyrics Collection eBook : Lozada, Aleah Kate: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Thank you Aleah for my copy.
BOOK REVIEW OF THE SEA GHOST BY HELEN G HUNTLEY
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Sea Ghost by Helen G Huntley is a fast-paced, exciting read. Set in Victorian times, it’s a gripping action novel packed full of romance and plenty of pirates too.
Helen did a great job of setting the scene and introducing characters straight away. Early on, you build empathy and a connection with the characters, which makes this even more of an enjoyable read. By building empathy from the beginning, it hooks the reader and I was tied to the rest of the book after only the first page. I was so invested in the characters throughout – especially Judith, whom I felt I could relate to and I’m sure many other women will too. I really loved how strongly Judith was portrayed despite the story being set in Victorian times.
One of my favourite chapters was chapter one because I was really drawn to Judith’s strong personality. After chapter one, everything flowed effortlessly. The characters took the story to the next level and it didn’t even feel like there was a narrator because it was super realistic.
It felt so easy to read and everything that happened just felt like it was exactly what was meant to happen. It was just meant to be.
Most of the dialogue throughout felt so natural and believable. One of my favourite scenes was the conversation between Judith and Reif. That particular scene was my favourite of the entire book and made me really admire Helen’s storytelling skills.
At times, I must say that I struggled to visualize the scene. Towards the end when all the action was happening I felt there was a lack of description, meaning it wasn’t as high-quality writing as the rest of the book, but didn’t affect the overall novel too much.
I really like how the story was unveiled slowly in drips and drabs. It kept you hooked to the page throughout, just waiting to uncover another golden nugget of the story. I also loved how the character of the Sea Ghost had so many layers to him. I found him and the entire book completely fascinating. I devoured it in two sittings! It’s such a riveting novel packed with action and romance; you simply can’t put it down.
See Helen’s website here: Helen G. Huntley (authorhelenhuntley.com)
Order The Sea Ghost here: The Sea Ghost | Universal Book Links Help You Find Books at Your Favorite Store! (books2read.com)
Thank you, Helen and Overlord Services for my copy.
Beta-reading for BECCA C. SMITH
I’ve recently had the pleasure of beta-reading Becca C. Smith’s latest novel (available for pre-order now). It’s a refreshing read, that’s fantastically written. The characters are beautifully crafted and it has such an enthralling plot. I absolutely loved it!
See Becca’s website here: Becca C Smith - Home
Pre-order The Severed and the Hunted (Hexsphere Chronicles Book 1) here: Amazon.com: The Severed and the Hunted (Hexsphere Chronicles Book 1) eBook : Smith, Becca C.: Kindle Store