book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland and I am bringing you a review! This book is out on July 11th 2019 and will be available in paperback and kindle editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Finella, better known as Ellie, couldn’t wait to leave home. She was half way across the world when she received a phone call. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. Out walking with her Ellie’s brother, River, nearby a local waterfall, their mother suddenly vanished. They believed her to have fallen in and died, but with no body and no real answers, Ellie is not satisfied, however, her dad wants to plod on like normal and brushes over the entire thing.

It turns out, Finella is named after a huntress from folklore, and her mothers disappearance bears striking resemblance. Nobody seems to really know the truth about what happened.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a tense and dramatic story with parallels to folklore, the like of which inspired Finella’s name and had a significant presence in her life growing up. There’s a significant theme of water throughout the book which I really liked. Water represents the life cycle, if I recall correctly, and so it seemed quite relevant. There is some wonderful imagery in this book! Nothing is completely clear cut and laid out, it’s like real life. It’s complex. The author really builds up the tension so beautifully right up to it’s crescendo, and I couldn’t put it down.

I wasn’t prepared for the truth about what happened to Ellie’s mum, it had me on tenterhooks wanting to see how things would play out. It’s kind of hard to explain it without spoilers, so I’ll just say this – it was incredible. The ending? It was not at all what I was expecting. It was fast and dramatic and I was loving it! Incredibly well written, this shorter read (200-ish pages) is perfect for this summer.

About the Book

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

book reviews · Bookish

Stitched by Cheryl Elaine (Review)

Today I am pleased to be bringing you a review as part of the Baker’s Blog Tour for Stitched by Cheryl Elaine, out now in both Paperback and Kindle editions and also available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book, holy moly. I had to really think about my review for this one. This book is brutal. I’m going to say that straight up. It has such horrendous things happen in it, yet it’s not police procedural type-of-book and I feel maybe that made it feel more raw and harder to swallow, you don’t know about a team that are fighting for the victims, not really. This book was excellent, the things that happen in it are absolutely awful. I don’t want my praise of the book to seem like I condone the occurrence of it’s content at all and I feel like it DOES need a content warning because it isn’t made clear just how much brutality is within its pages.

You can gather from the blurb that there is domestic violence and murder, what you don’t glean from that is that it also features a whole host of other horrific instances. My face when reading it was quite the contorted one, but I couldn’t put it down.

Emily lives with her husband, Andy. Andy is an alcoholic and a wife-beater, amongst other things. The book immediately opens on a scene of abuse. Emily can not escape his abuse – and neither can the reader. I thought that was a significant thing to do. It’s unpleasant but it feels realistic. It’s an unrelenting situation. There are certain things that are incredibly repetitive in the book, the language used by both Emily and Andy, however, this works in this case as it’s seems very realistic for a victim and her abuser. The feelings of being trapped, that she’ll die at his hands, how did she end up in that situation? And for Andy, that she belongs to him, she needs a “firm hand” and to be “kept in line” and that it’s just discipline.

Later on, it gets more out of control and we discover a whole host of even more messed up things which I didn’t think was possible and the reason for the title and a certain sort of language used in the blurb begins to become apparent. I don’t want to post spoilers, but I do want readers to be aware that this book contains substance abuse, kidnapping, serial rape, serial murder, incest, mutilation, domestic violence and yet only the smallest sliver of justice, but I suppose this is also fairly realistic too, bruises and other wounds take time to fade and those mental ones take a whole lot longer – the book itself has a similar effect. I feel like I need a good shower, to cuddle my cat and to do something positive. It’s going to linger with me for a while. The author really gets to you with this gruesome, brutally raw book and I am not bad about it. It’s a damn good read. It’s so well written, I can’t really think of other ways to convey just how great it was written. It feels wrong to say I loved it when it was so…yeah.

It’s engaging, it is riveting, I couldn’t put it down and I had to know what would happen and if Emily would get freedom, if Andy would be caught, if Emily’s new neighbor, Donovan would be her savior. I was not prepared for the plot twist later on in the book, I was incredibly surprised to read it and I didn’t see it coming though I could imagine there was something amiss, but what I really didn’t see coming was the ending. This book doesn’t really have a happy ending, and that final twist had me actually shout at the book. I swear, by the end, my face hurt from all the faces of disgust and shock I pulled throughout reading it.

It’s complicated, but I would recommend this book, but you also need to consider if you’re mentally equipped to handle so much brutality in one story. I’ve done my best to try and make you aware of it and now only you can decide whether you’ll pick it up or not and if you’ll go to that dark place with Emily. I’m glad I did. I feel in shock, but I also feel a host of appreciation for things in my life and so thankful that I have never been in such an awful abusive situation. It should be the norm, but there are many women AND men who suffer like this regularly. They’re missing in society because of people like Andy and that’s heart wrenching.

About The Book

A gruesome tale of control, fear and brutality.

Marriage is not the bed of roses story books describe. More like a bed of torturous thorns.

And, how Emily bled.

Escape seemed an illusion, a mirage of a rocky road between overgrown thickets of despair. Emily couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel; she wasn’t allowed to dream or think for herself and had no alternative other than submitting to his rage.

Andy was a narcissist. Emily could not, and would not, disregard his superiority. Her naivety often clouded her judgment; she was damaged both mentally and physically. Would putting her trust in another lead her to a happy ending?

About The Author

Cheryl Elaine is a British Author, and resides in Yorkshire.  Throughout her life she has been an avid reader and wrote many short stories, which lead her on a path to the world of publishing. She released her debut novel – No Ordinary Girl, followed by her latest release – Stitched.

I hope you enjoy my dark and disturbing crime books, and if you fancy reading something lighter, why not check out my fantasy novel – Dragged to the Depths.

You can find out more about me, at the following places

https://www.cherylelaine.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/cherylelaineauthor

https://www.instagram.com/cherylelaine15/

book reviews · Bookish

Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra (Review)

Today, I am on the blog tour for Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra, out now on Kindle and coming soon in Hardback Edition on 8th March 2019 for International Womens Day!

Nowhere Girls is a dramatic, gripping tale of a woman named Sara, who just wants a better life, even if it means leaving everything she’s ever known behind her, and her friend Alba, who took a much different path. It’s an intense read and I’d highly recommend it.

Sara lives in Albania, poverty is rife, sexism is the norm, and corruption is inescapable. She has two best friends, Alba, who seems to glide through life by greasing palms, and Ina, a tragic soul with a life in disarray. Working as a journalist, she is mocked, underpaid and generally treated like rubbish, when all the while, it strains her family relationships with her husband and son. Meanwhile, Alba is working her way in to the upper classes, a taste for the “finer things” and everyone else is a means to and end.

This book really pulled at my heart with the way the author wrote about the struggles and hardships endured. I was constantly rooting for Sarah, hoping things would work out, that she would get a break and the respect she deserved. This book is no fairy-tale. It feels incredibly realistic in the sense that things aren’t magically okay. The characters have to work for their lives and for some, things turn out better than others.

Fed up, Sara decides that the family should to go to her cousin in Antwerp. Scared, but convinced this would be better for her and her family. Her cousin assures her that it can be her home. Having applied for a visa, the plan was set in motion, but her son was denied travel and needed to stay being in Albania. What Sara didn’t realise, was that she would have to endure the lengthy process of seeking asylum and whether she would be granted residency, whether she would see her son again, whether things would work out, or not.

I felt so many emotions while reading this tale, and Sara’s tension radiated through the pages. I shared her anxiety, her grief, her joy. It felt incredibly fast paced at times and a lot of things occurred. Admittedly, I know very little about Albania, but my heart aches for anyone who has to endure such hardship, but I also commend any woman who works so hard to deal best with the cards she’s been dealt. It also makes me extraordinarily grateful that I don’t have to deal with these levels of such toxicity, and I hope one day, no woman will have to endure what these women have had to go through.

About The Book

Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies. 

When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?

NOWHERE GIRLS is a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom.

About The Author

Now a fiction writer, Teuta Metra’s experience as an Albanian journalist has made her an expert on the struggles of women from her country.

Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons. 

book reviews · Bookish

The Judas Tree by Susan Bacoyanis (Review)

The Judas Tree is the second book in the linked series by Susan Bacoyanis, available now, published by Endeavour Media. It is a short read [185 pages] suited for anyone who is a fan women’s psychological thrillers. It’s available both in Paperback and Kindle formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited. If you’ve not tried Kindle Unlimited before, you can get a free, 30 day trial here!

Mary, a 46-year-old divorcee, is a damaged woman who endured many years of abuse and buried it, never dealing with her issues or her feelings surrounding what she went through. She is convinced that she does what is best for the greater good and that her actions are justified.

Having been left for a younger woman, she moves to England. Beginning an affair with her new neighbour across the road, Jonas, she is now the “other woman,” in a relationship with a married man. A man who is nasty, taunting her with the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” and already a clearly unfaithful man, he goes on to betray her too. Watching out of her windows, she sees that Jonas has other regular female visitors and is cheating on her, so she sets out for revenge in this dark, psychological thriller.

The history of Mary Tudor is woven through the book and the author explores abuse throughout; some of the acts are taken from real life events in an attempt to generate awareness.

There are so many twists and turns, this book is a wild ride and will grip you from start to finish as you witness Mary’s crusade for revenge and how she deals with her “three blind mice.” Despite becoming a murderess, you can feel empathy for Mary and all she has endured and the series of events that led to her doing the things she did.

My only criticism is that some of the police procedural didn’t ring true, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all as this book is not focused around a police investigation.

Filled with twists and turns, The Judas Tree will have you hooked from start to finish.

Mary Webster’s reaction to her lover’s betrayal is off the chart…Mary seems like an ordinary 46-year-old divorcee, beginning a new life in rural England, but she has depths of pent-up pain, the result of 20 years of marital infidelities and abuse. All she needs is a trigger to unleash savage emotions.


When she becomes entangled with Jonas, a married man, Mary suddenly finds herself in the opposite role of the ‘other woman’. Jonas has a nasty streak, however, and taunts with the nursery rhyme ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary…’.


But when Mary uncovers Jonas’s web of seductive lies, betraying not only herself but his wife and several young village women, she plots her revenge and acts out the real meaning of the nursery rhyme…
As things go from bad to worse, Mary is driven over the edge of normality. Because Mary is not normal … she is damaged. Her only redeeming quality is her belief that she is acting for the greater good …

Susan Bacoyanis’s intriguing psychological thriller The Judas Tree is a chilling tale of multiple acts of betrayal and the consequences of greed. It has deep echoes of Penelope Mortimer’s angry woman classic of the Sixties, The Pumpkin Eater.