book reviews · Bookish

Containment by Vanda Symon (Review)

Happy Friday! Today I’m pleased to be part of another fab Orenda blog tour, bringing you a review of Containment by Vanda Symon, book 3 in the Sam Shepard series. This is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. I was sent a copy of this book free for review purposes.

Containment is the third book in the Sam Shepard series. This book reads just fine if you’ve not read the previous installments. Sam(antha) has been promoted to Detective Constable in the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Dunedin. Sam’s life is a little chaotic and she has a lot of problems, but thankfully, her flatmate Maggie will pull her up on them and her colleague has her back at work.

The book immediately jumps in with the drama, when containers wash up on the shore along with the remains of a body. As first officer on scene, Sam gets to control the investigation and it’s her job to figure out just who, how and what the heck happened. The public are making things difficult as people are looting the containers that washed up. Unfortunately, one of the looters doesn’t respect Sam’s authority as an officer, but a member of the public has her back.

DI Johns uses that event as an excuse to try and sit her on the bench and assign her to more menial tasks, tasks that end up becoming quite relevant to the case. DI Johns is a wonderfully written unlikeable character and I found myself frustrated at him for his behavior. Meanwhile, Sam is clever, a little stubborn and pretty tough, but she’s also very human, very believable and has plenty of ups and downs along with the struggle of working in a team dominated by men.

Containment is incredibly immersive – as I have aphantasia, sadly, this level is description is a negative for me as I just can’t put my head in the environments no matter what, I just can’t *see* it (and with the current state of affairs, I struggle to get in to things a little more than usual in general, I’m noticing), but it is incredibly descriptive of New Zealand – I know for many people, this immersiveness is incredibly enjoyable. Combined with such a well written and balanced character, I think people could very easily get absorbed in to reading Containment and lets face it, that’s something a lot of people want from their reading material right now.

Containment is an excellent, dramatic police procedural that will hook you in, right from the start; with a strong, believable female lead who worries about her home life and her work life, this book is great for those who really like to get cozy and lose themselves in an atmospheric and well-paced procedural.

About the Book

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

book reviews · Bookish

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (Review)

Greetings! Today I am chuffed to be on the Orenda tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. Orenda just have so many awesome releases recently! This one is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats. I was sent a copy for free for review purposes. Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Deep Dark Night is the fourth installment in the award winning Lori Anderson series. I haven’t read the previous installments, but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lori is a single mother and bounty hunter, working for the FBI with her partner, JT. Specifically, an Agent Monroe, an absolute git of a bloke who really left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a really well-written and unlikable character, especially compared to Lori, our protagonist, whose pretty awesome and relateably human. Her and JT have an excellent dynamic and you can’t help but cheer for the pair of them, both in their work and personal lives.

The book starts off as a fairly slow burn, luring you in as Lori prepares for a high stakes poker game in a penthouse at one of the cities tallest buildings; against a mob boss named Cabressa in a bid to entrap him for the FBI, using a very high valued chess set to lure him.

Things seem worrisome as Lori doesn’t seem to excel at poker, however, she walks in like she owns the place and seems to put on a convincing act. Things seem to go to plan until something entirely unexpected occurs. The entire city is plunged in to darkness, the penthouses panic room system is triggered and Lori, JT and the other players are locked inside. It turns out, they’re being held hostage by a voice over the speaker system. But who is it, and what’s their true agenda?

It turns out, none of the players are who they say they are, except for maybe Cabressa. They’re instructed to find out which one of them is Heron – someone who seems to be muscling in on Cabressa’s turf. The person over the speaker seems to already know, so why does he want them to find it out? The drama ramps up at a steady pace while the players and the reader, try to figure out what on earth is going on, while slowly, they get picked off and “Heron” is no closer to being found.

Perfectly balanced suspense, drama and action, Deep Dark Night is a tense ride with a perfect female protaganist whom I found myself really hoping came out on top of the whole situation. Realistic and relatable as opposed to some superhero that defies mortal limits; Lori Anderson is a believable and interesting character.

Far more complex than anticipated, this book really kept me on my toes and I couldn’t deduce the outcome until nearer it being revealed which was awesome. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.
My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

book reviews · Bookish

Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows (Review)

Happy Weekend! Today I am on the BOTBS tour for Finding Milly by Nathan Burrows. It’s out now in both Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited. I received a copy for my participation in the tour.

About the Book

Jimmy Tucker is dying. There’s only one person he wants to tell. His daughter—Milly. But when he gets home from the hospital, she’s vanished without a trace.

The inoperable brain aneurysm deep within Jimmy’s head could burst at any time—a cough, a sneeze, or a blow to the head could kill him instantly. With the police not interested in Milly’s disappearance, Jimmy takes things into his own hands and begins to look for his only daughter. But it doesn’t take him long to realise that his daughter is not the woman he thinks she is.

As he gradually discovers Milly’s shocking private life, Jimmy enlists the help of Gareth Dawson, an ex-crook with a big heart. But Gareth can only help Jimmy up to a point.

As the pressure mounts, can Jimmy uncover the truth about Milly’s disappearance before it’s too late—for either of them?

Finding Milly hooks you right off that bat. Jimmy Tucker has an appointment at the hospital, only to learn that the cause of his recent headaches are an untreatable anyeurism and he doesn’t have long left. He wants to tell his daughter Milly, but she isn’t about when he gets home – not unusual, but she doesn’t turn up later either. His wife, Milly’s mother, passed away ten years prior. Milly is all he has left and his love for her is prevalent throughout the book. So where is Milly?

Jimmy uncovers some strange things about his daughter. He’s reported her missing to the police, but he’s not one to just sit and wait for them to do their thing. With the help of some other people, he gets to the bottom of things, racing against his remaining time on the ticking time bomb in his head.

This book is a kind of a slow burn but very steadily paced and you’ll have read half of it before you even realise. Well written, Finding Milly really draws you in with it’s well balanced plot and immersive locale. It has a constant level of tension and excellent character development and dynamic between them. Really fantastic read.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Beast by Matt Wesolowski (Review)

Happy Sunday! Today I am pleased to be on the Orenda Tour for Beast by Matt Wesolowski, out now in Paperback and Kindle formats. I received a copy of this for free as part of the tour.

Beast is the fourth book in the “Six Stories series.” I was interested in The Changeling and when I first heard of it, but never got the opportunity to read it, so I was pleased when I got the chance to read Beast and I’m happy to say that it reads perfectly fine as a standalone and you don’t need to have read the previous books.

The book has odd and interesting presentation. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it and it’s a little bit different from the way things are usually presented. It’s offered in a social-media sort of post, like a true-crime podcast over six episodes; the focus of this book being on what happened to vlogger Elizabeth Barton. The format suits the modern day need for everything to be via social-media somehow and it’s obsession with the challenges that go around, many of which are plain absurd or just downright dangerous. “Lizzie B” opts to try the DISD challenge – Dead In Six Days. It quite literally shouts “bad idea!” and yet, she does it anyway…

Online Journalist, Scott King picks up Elizabeth Barton’s story and speaks to 6 people who knew both the victim and perpetrators, uncovering a whole web of dark, frightening and grim that you don’t expect to come from “oh, so this vlogger did a dumb challenge” – oh no. It’s so much more than that. The blurb mentions a “vampire tower” so I wasn’t expecting what I read to feel so… real. Vampires are very much fiction. Or are they? They may not be in the conventional sense of horror and folklore, but there sure are monsters in the world.

The book is so well written – the locations feel very real and with the mention of the “beast from the east” which was an actual event that happened, it was really easy to fall in to this world and think it to be a very real environment. On top of being so immersive, the book itself was easy to read and to digest in chunks thanks to it’s format so it’s a great one for if you’re a busy person and are limited by what you can read at any one time – that’s not to say you wont want to sit and read it cover to cover though!

The very end of the book had me taken aback and it was painful to read. I wasn’t expecting the book to end on such a note. I was still like “woah” when I closed it. Without going in to the actual ending, it’s safe to say, we never really know what’s actually going on in the lives of the people who present themselves to us on social media. Often, they show us the shiniest, most polished and best parts of their lives – there’s a lot we don’t know about these people and they’re a lot more than the persona they portray online.

It’s pretty incredible how much Matt Wesolowski managed to put forward through this more unique format. The tension. Oof. I was on the fence about it and wanted to give it a try – I’m glad I did. Let’s just say, Changeling remains on my want to read list but now I’m putting Six Stories and Hydra up on there too.

About the Book

Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

body · book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister (Review)

Greetings and salutations! Yesterday was valentines and we all know adults tend to bonk, but what’s it like now compared in history? Well, I was curious to read about it, and so I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister was released on February 6th 2020 in Hardback and will be available on February 20th 2020 in eBook format. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes.

I used to always think history was boring. Friends from other cultures helped me realise maybe that wasn’t the case. A friend with a pretty great history podcast made me realise one of the reasons I thought it was boring in the past was because of the way it was presented to me. Now, I’ve enjoyed the tid-bits from the Whores of Yore twitter account for a while. Witty yet informative, so I figured, without the character limit, in a book? That should be very interesting indeed. Plus it’s sex. The topic of sex always manages to induce some winks and giggles so I was pretty confident that this book would entertain, inform and be enjoyable.

Fannies, weenies, butts, boobies, a really dodgy looking oyster and some torturous looking objects, A Curious History of Sex comes with many historical photographs and illustrations to have a giggle at. I find myself feeling thankful for modern technology, but ultimately, our ancestors were just like we are currently in modern society. One thing hasn’t changed though it seems – people STILL shove random phallic shaped objects in places they’re not meant to go in search of the big O.

Yet, there were condom-type devices found, spanning back through history, even one in Tutankhamun’s tomb. It’s surprising that these very obvious and uncomfortable looking devices were used and yet people today seem reluctant to use them as they “affect sex” when they’re thinner than ever and made of much better materials. If men in history could wear sheaths made of intestines and other things, I can’t fathom why someone can’t cope with a condom that has been specifically design for the phallus. Just one of the many thought provoking things I came across while reading this book! Don’t get me started on their “pleasure devices”.. some look entirely terrifying!

I like to think I’m pretty “woke” on things these days, (woke, that’s the word the kids are using, right?) but looking back to how they were for our ancestors is amusing, entertaining and informative and gives me gratitude and insight for the modern day.

I’m pleased to say, A Curious History of Sex ticked all the right boxes. Innuendo unintended. Or was it? Engaging, witty and not a droll moment throughout. Of course, some parts interested me more than others, but it’s been a wholly fascinating experience. I think there is something that will interest anyone in this book, while also amusing. This is probably my favourite non-fiction read. Or it’s very high up there to say the least. I’ve read some great non-fiction books but I don’t think any top the balance of this one.

I absolutely love the way the information is put across and I wish all books on historical topics could be this entertaining. I mean, the topic being a (curious) history of sex can be considered entertaining in itself because “lols sex” but I think the author could make any topic as equally entertaining and interesting with her engaging writing and witty way of framing the content.

A fascinating read for sure, one that I would highly recommend.

About the Book

This is not a comprehensive study of every sexual quirk, kink and ritual across all
cultures throughout time, as that would entail writing an encyclopaedia.
Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex
history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.

The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the
ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed
have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that
stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue
around the world. Attitudes will change and grow – hopefully for the better –
but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it
has come from.

Drawing upon extensive research from Dr Kate Lister’s Whores
of Yore website and written with her distinctive humour and wit, A Curious
History of Sex
covers topics ranging from twentieth-century testicle thefts
to Victorian doctors massaging the pelvises of their female patients, from smutty
bread innuendos dating back to AD 79, to the new and controversial sex doll
brothels. It is peppered with surprising and informative historical slang and
illustrated by eye-opening, toe-curling and hilarious images.

In this fascinating book, Lister deftly debunks myths and stereotypes and gives unusual
sexual practices an historical framework, as she provides valuable context for
issues facing people today, including gender, sexual shame, beauty and
language.

About the Author

Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, where she researches the history of sexuality and curates the online research project Whores of Yore. Kate is also a columnist for iNews, Vice and the Wellcome Trust where she writes about the history of sex. Kate won a Sexual Freedom Award for Publicist of the Year in 2017. She runs the popular @WhoresOfYore twitter account.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Till Morning is Nigh by Rob Parker (Review)

Bracken is back on a whole new adventure! I’m so pleased to be on the blog tour for “Till Morning Is Nigh” by Rob Parker, the latest Ben Bracken Thriller. Following The Penny Black, Bracken is set to get himself into a whole heap of trouble… again. Read on for my thoughts! Till Morning is Nigh is available now in eBook and Paperback formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s no secret that Bracken is one of my favourite protagonists to date. He’s not your typical “hero” and he’s plenty flawed. In Rob Parker’s latest offering, Bracken has a chance at a whole new life. More.. legally this time, though all still very questionable. He’s not hiding off-the-grid. He’s been given a chance. He’s got a family now and a new job consulting with the NCA.

He’s now part of a team, something different to what we’re used to from this lone wolf. However, will he play the part or will he go off and do what he wants? Does his new family effect his decisions? He has a newborn son with his partner, Carolyn, whom already has two children from her previous relationship. That’s a whole interesting story there, but it’s a spoiler for previous books, so if you’ve not read them, I’d recommend you do. 😉 It’s noticeably softened Bracken but you’ll have to find out for yourself what it means for his adventure.

A race against time with a topical, political theme, Till Morning Is Nigh is unsettling and tense throughout as Bracken goes above and beyond – as per usual, gets himself to a whole heap of trouble – as usual and puts himself firmly amongst the grey.

A little slower of a pace than his other books, this is an excellent thriller with well-built tension that had me genuinely unable to put it down – I wasn’t kidding when I say it’s unsettling and tense. While a work of fiction, the topical theme hits close to home with the current political tensions and the threats of extremism and only led to a more immersive read. I had to follow it through to the end for my own sanity. The ending didn’t fully sit with me, some of the action elements didn’t feel totally believable but I put it down to adrenaline and went with it, I’m totally fine with that, that’s literally my only criticism and it’s barely a criticism. I really enjoyed the book as a whole and I can’t get enough of Bracken. So I am pleased to say this is yet another excellent offering from Rob Parker.

About the Book

Dragged half dead from a river, Ben Bracken, fugitive ex-soldier, is in a bad way.

But, too valuable to discard and too dangerous to set free, an old friend offers him a choice: abandon his identity and become a desk-bound advisor to the National Crime Agency, or go back to the prison he broke out of – a place where he is extremely unpopular.

Bracken is forced to accept – and he’s becoming a different man.

But all this changes when, days before Christmas, an undercover narcotics officer is murdered in horrific circumstances, and only Bracken has the inside track on the key suspect. Throwing himself into the fray, Bracken finds himself in a very present-day ideological conflict, uncovering a plot which has huge implications for both Manchester’s political, socio-economic landscape, and the nation at large – coming to an explosive conclusion amidst the twinkling fairy lights and frost-tipped boughs of Christmas Eve…

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Kult by Stefan Malmström (Review)

Happy Friday! Looking for something to read over the weekend? Today I am on the blog tour for Kult by Stefan Malmström and am bringing you a review. Kult is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited. I received a copy of the book for free as part of the tour.

Luke is an American former criminal who went with his girlfriend, to check on his friend Viktor and Viktor’s daughter, Agnes, only to find Viktor dead and arriving just in time to see Agnes breathe her last. It appears to be a murder suicide, but Luke is convinced that isn’t the case and decides to investigate things himself, getting himself in to trouble along the way, although he appears to be on to something and notices a link between his friends death and past as a part of the Church of Scientology.

Kult utilises the authors own experiences to present the reader an insight to Scientology, creating an.. intriguing history to the present day events within the book. You can understand why some people may have found Scientology alluring, and just how “convincing” they could be. However, as someone on the outside, looking in, it seems bizarre, messed up and absurd.

Who was taking out these former members of the Church of Scientology and why? Stefan did a great job at building a creepy and chilling environment, mixing reality and fiction, creating a world that made my skin crawl but I couldn’t exit until I found answers. Dark, gritty and disturbing, Kult makes for a compelling read.

About the Book

THE PAST WILL NEVER LET YOU GO…

When a four-year-old girl and her father are found dead in the Swedish city of Karlskrona, the police quickly conclude it was a murder-suicide, a tragedy requiring no further investigation.

But Luke Bergmann, a reformed criminal still haunted by his violent past, believes they are wrong. The dead man, Viktor, was his best friend, and Luke knows he would never commit such a horrific crime.

When more bodies turn up, Luke is certain the same killer has struck again. Alone, he embarks on an investigation which reaches back through decades to his friend’s involvement with a sinister cult and dark secrets are exposed as Luke struggles to keep his own long-buried demons hidden away.

And when Luke finds himself in a killer’s sights, his search for the truth becomes the fight of his life.

Can Luke get justice for Viktor and his daughter and prove his best friend was not a murderer, or will the shadows of the past overwhelm him?

Fans of The Killing, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jo Nesbø and Will Dean will love this dark and gripping début thriller.

NOTE: KULT is inspired by shocking and tragic real events.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Penny Black by Rob Parker (Review)

Happy weekend! Today, it’s my pleasure to bring you a review of The Penny Black by Rob Parker. This is the third installment in his Ben Bracken thriller series and is available now on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. Rob very kindly sent me an ARC of his book. Thanks, Rob!

The Penny Black is the third installment in the Ben Bracken thriller series, and while you can read it alone, I feel it may feel a little lacking if you’ve not read the previous books as it makes reference to past events without spending a whole lot of time going back over them. (I was actually on the tour for his previous book – Morte Point and hosted a fab guest post if you fancy a peek after you’re done here!)

Bracken is on the run and has bunkered down in the small town of Horning, with an unsavoury job at a boatyard and living a fairly minimalist lifestyle, under a new identity, going by the name of James, keeping his head down and cracking after his escape from prison during the riot and after the events of the previous book. All in all, he seems pretty contented – that is, until his past catches up to him.

Ben is a good guy whose done bad things, in my view. His ego gets him in to quite a few pickles, he could fill an entire jar. What seems like just deterring some youth’s from breaking in to someones boat, turns in to being a part of a much bigger situation – one Bracken hadn’t accounted for. Big things are happening in that little town, and Bracken just can’t help himself.

The Penny Black is the name of Bracken’s new local. It’s also the title of this well written, fast paced thriller, that just keeps you guessing. I figured his past would come back, but I had no idea what was in store. I was unable to put it down as the action unfolded. Bracken isn’t a clear cut “good guy” or “hero” or whatever you call him, he’s a murky sort and to date, is one of my favourite characters in a thriller.

The book ends in action and pretty abruptly. There’s no frilly ending, just a resolution to the conflict/obstacle and it’s over. Some people might not like that sort of ending, but for me, it just feels like it’s an invitation to read the next installment (Til morning is nigh) coming later this year. I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a fan of series where one book runs in to the next and I find myself most invested in their protaganists. Rob has me as a fan for life.

About the Book

I’m dead, for all intents and purposes. Nobody knows I’m alive…

Ben Bracken is on the run for his life. Keeping a low profile from the agencies seeking to silence him, he finds refuge in the quiet town of Horning. Working in a boat yard and lodging with an older couple, Eric and Dot, Ben uses this time to plan. He needs to escape, and realising his only chance will reveal his whereabouts to some unsavoury characters, he plans every detail. Little does he know, even that won’t be enough…

Just before he walks away, murder strikes the quiet town. Ben cannot leave until he is sure that he has not brought any further trouble to the townsfolk. Will he be able to exact revenge? One thing is certain, there is a lot more going on in the town of Horning than meets the eye…

The Penny Black is action packed from beginning to end, keeping you guessing right the way through.

book reviews · Bookish

The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey (Review)

Gooood afternoon! It’s the end of the week and I’m bringing you a review of The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey as part of the BOTBS tour. I was given a copy for free for my participation in the tour.

Izzy works at her local newspaper, usually writing about tech, she’s thrown in to the deep end when she is tasked with dating one guy a day for an entire month. 31 days and 31 dates. Poor Izzy!

She sets up her dating profile and comes up with a shopping list of what she does and doesn’t look for in a man. She states how everyone has their shopping list, whether they write it down or not, but some guys manage to break out of those check boxes – she’s not wrong!

Izzy’s first date was what one may deem as a success. Off to a good start! Admittedly a little disappointing. Girl, we want the tea! Okay, so there ended up being plenty of that later on – phew! Some of the guys are interesting, some are incredibly cringey, some great. There was quite a wide selection of guys in Izzy’s month and it made me laugh. While I’ve never signed up to a dating site before, I’ve had the ups and downs of online dating and tinder terrors relayed to me in technicolour detail on multiple occasions and I laughed how some of these stories echoe’d my friends’ experiences.

This was a really enjoyable, laid back and easy read for me. I found myself smiling on multiple occasions and appreciated the humour. I really liked the main character, Isobel, her best friend Donna and her boss, William. They all felt like really sweet people and it was nice to see their personal growth, even if at the end, I think Donna has made a few questionable decisions! Nothing to heavy and keeping it light hearted, I rather enjoyed this read.

About the Book

Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

About the Author

Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey lives and breathes writing. ‘Morgen with an E’  is an author, speaker, tutor, editor, and podcaster. As well as being a competition judge, she is a columnist for Writers’ Forum magazine. 

Morgen’s fiction books include crime and mystery novels, and short story collections. They are mostly set against a Northamptonshire background, whether there is crime involved, a dog-detective that can talk, or a serial dater on a mission! 

Her non-fiction works are aimed at all levels of writers whether beginners or those who want to refresh their skills – Morgen also tutors in person and has several online writing courses available. She runs her own mentor group on Facebook, very much a collaboration, and she invites all authors to join. Her Writer’s Block Workbooks are a go-to for every author. 

When Morgen is not editing, speaking, reading, or writing, she’s walking her dog, out with friends or at literary festivals. The only time she sits down and does nothing is at the cinema but even then she’s making mental notes!

Morgen Bailey on Social Media:Author Website:        www.morgenbailey.com
Twitter & Instagram:        @morgenwriteruk
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book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Shelf Life by Livia Franchini (Review)

I hope you are all having a wonderful bank holiday monday! Today I am on the tour for Shelf Life by Livia Franchini which comes out tomorrow and I have a review for you guys. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Ruth’s fiance has called it quits on their relationship after many years together, something I feel really was a good thing. It’s easy to be blinded by love, but our first introduction to Neil – her now-ex, throws up some red flags. He feels manipulative and like he is gaslighting Ruth. Later on, these red flags become more apparent, so I feel she had a lucky escape!

But going it alone means Ruth needs to figure herself and her life out. Using their final shopping list, she tells her story. It’s a concept I found to be really intriguing, though I honestly thought it fell a little flat and I wonder if I’d have picked up on it had I not already know that was what the situation was, but that’s just fine for me, it was interesting to see how this concept evolved.

Shelf Life is a pretty candid look at Ruth’s life in both the present, and in the past, as she learns about herself and gets through her break-up. The author has written her really well and my heart hurts for the poor woman. She’s such a sad character and seems so fragile. She needs help but she seems so alone. I really felt for her, she felt incredibly authentic and I was so hoping things would work out well for her. I’ve read books that are sad, but this one really felt like a punch in the gut. I honestly feel really mixed about it but it’s a refreshing change of pace for me to read something that doesn’t just wrap up in a neat little bow because life isn’t like that.

About the Book

Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.

And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.