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.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Gone by Leona Deakin (Review)

Happy Wednesday! Today I am on the blog tour for Gone by Leona Deakin which is out on the 9th of August in eBook format and will be available as a paperback at the start of October. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour. If you would like to find out more about the book, check out the other tour spots on the poster below!

Four people receive a birthday card, then seemingly disappear from the face of the earth. Dr Augusta Bloom is pulled in by her investigative, former MI6 partner, who knows one of the missing people. Bloom is hesitant to take the case at first, but can’t help but be pulled in by the lure of the mystery and so down the rabbit hole she goes and discovers things are not at all as they seem. In the meanwhile, she sees an interesting patient, a young teenager named Seraphine, who attacked her schools caretaker…

Gone is an interesting psychological thriller which is well written with an excellent protagonist and her relationship with Marcus, the former MI6 guy was a fantastic dynamic. The book has a pretty slow-burn pace, which builds up the tension and intrigue nicely, though it does start off with a WOAH moment that grabs your attention.

There’s a lot of psychological elements, but they are explained simply enough that you don’t feel you need a degree to understand them. I was concerned early on that it would feel like it portrays people with mental health issues as dangerous but I didn’t feel as though it did that as I read on. I feel the authors expertise really shone through here as Leona has experience in psychology and working as a police psychologist.

I felt a little confused at times, though I’m not sure if that was just myself being tired but wanting to find out what happens next – but all in all, a really interesting thriller that has a stand-out premise, different from your typical psych-thriller and it’ll be interesting to see Dr Bloom’s next case.

About the Book

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

book reviews · Bookish

Smoke in her Eyes by Anna Belfrage (Review)

Happy Thursday! Today I am on the blog tour for Smoke in her Eyes by Anna Belfrage which is out now in both Kindle and Paperback editions. It is also available as part of Kindle Unlimited! I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour.

First, can I just take a second to say how absolutely beautiful the cover is for this book? It’s absolutely stunning. Though I admittedly have a thing about moons… but yeah. b e a u t i f u l.

Smoke in her Eyes is the second book in The Wanderer Series by Anna Belfrange. It’s a tale of a guy who has been searching for his beloved for 50 life times and his lover, Helle. Helle can’t see her past lives, she just sees snippets and glimpses of them, however, her partner Jason, he remembers everything, including the pain of searching for her for so many lifetimes. Finally they are together! But will they live happily ever after? Not if Sam Woolf has anything to say about it.

Sam Woolf is this books bad guy, and he is a right rotten sort. He wants to destroy Jason and make Helle his own. He’s entitled and jealous and just generally horrid. Himself and Jason have some paranormal abilities, special abilities he has no qualms about using to meet his own ends. He’s also written so incredibly well. It’s easy to hate him.

Then there is Juliet. Jason’s lover from a past life. Someone he still cares deeply about. Juliet is putting a huge strain on Jason and Helle’s relationship, after a horrible accident, she’s in the hospital and Jason wants to be by her side because she has no one else. I really feel for Jason here. It’s understandably tough. Will he and Helle make it through? Will Sam Woolf get his way? You’ll have to read it and find out.

Smoke in her Eyes is a beautifully written book about lovers who have finally gotten together after actual lifetimes with some spicy, steamy scenes that are tastefully written. Anna Belfrage has created an incredibly immersive world and intriguing characters. Her world building lead me to feeling like they were almost part of MY world. The only thing I’d say is while this can be read on its own, I think you should read the first book in the series prior for a better understanding of what brought the characters to this point and their own world.

About the Book

Six months ago, Helle Madsen would have described herself as normal. Now she no longer knows if that terms applies, not after her entire life has been turned upside down by the reappearance of not one, but two, men from her very, very distant past.

Helle Madsen never believed in mumbo-jumbo stuff like reincarnation—until she came face to face with Jason Morris, a man who purportedly had spent fifty lives looking for her. Coping with being reunited with the lover from her ancient past was one thing. Having Sam Woolf, her vindictive nemesis from that same ancient past join the party was a bit too much. Suddenly, Helle finds herself the reluctant heroine of a far-flung, time-transcending epic story, one in which pain and loss seem to play a very big part.

This time round, Jason and Helle are determined to make it to the happily ever after. Unfortunately, Sam Woolf will stop at nothing to crush them. That ride into the golden sunset seems awfully far away at times…

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. 

Her first series, The Graham Saga, is set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland. It tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of time-travel, romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters. There are eight books in the series so far, but Anna is considering adding one or two more…

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Fortune never stops rolling. 

If you want to know more about Anna, why not visit her website, http://www.annabelfrage.com/

Twitter @abelfrageauthor

Author page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/annabelfrageauthor/

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch and bringing you a review. The book is available now on Kindle. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Nova has upped and left her husband, fleeing domestic violence, with her daughter Lily in tow. She moves to the middle of nowhere but is still anxious he will find her and Lily. When she wakes up and goes to check on her daughter one morning, it appears that may be exactly what had happened. Lily is gone. Naturally, she calls the police in hysterics.

Officer Ellie James is on the case upon investigating, it appears that Lily doesn’t even exist and Nova is the one with the criminal record, but to officer James, things don’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the truth. However, her job is made more difficult by uncooperative work colleagues who seem generally incompetent, but are also prejudiced against Ellie for a previous incident.

Clara is Nova’s new neighbour and landlady. She lives on a farm and owns the land and the building that Nova is renting. Things aren’t all they seem on the farm, and Clara is clearly hiding something.

Without a Trace is a fast-paced, psychological thriller which had me glued to its pages. The drama didn’t let up, and just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author would throw a curveball. I hate to use the common “twists and turns” trope but this book was it. So many twists. The outcome was not what I was expecting at all. I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing was the ending felt a little rushed and I found it a little unsatisfying, though I was pleased to get to the end of the case and find out the truth! This book really build up the tension and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it.

About the Book

Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

About the Author

Carissa Ann Lynch is a USA Today bestselling author. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, children, and collection of books. She’s always loved to read and never considered herself a “writer” until a few years ago when she couldn’t find a book to read and decided to try writing her own story. With a background in psychology, she’s always been a little obsessed with the darker areas of the mind and social problems.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds (Review)

I am delighted to be participating in the tour for The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds by bringing you a review! The book is out now in Kindle, Paperback and Hardback editions and is the first book in The Indigo Chronicles. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour. Please do check out the other tour stops below!

Firstly, I’d like to mention that this book is Young Adult and does have a trigger warning at the start of it as it contains scenes of sexual abuse, death and mental health issues. It also contains scenes of a sexual nature. Personally, I was fine with those parts, but some people may not be. I was a little surprised by the sexual scenes in a YA book – it’s definitely for the more mature young adult.

The book currently has two covers as shown in the tour banner, I absolutely adore them, and I opted to feature my favourite of the two – the paperback version in this post.

Ella is a university student in London, but she was raised in Spain. She’s also sort of famous, thanks to her parents. Her mum married a legendary owner of hotels, a man who is nice enough and seems to care for the family, even though he’s not actually Ella’s father.

One day, Ella steps off a bus, dropping books everywhere and consequently, means a guy who will change her life enormously. This guy is named Zac and he is not a human.

This book is not my usual genre but I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. Entirely compelling, I enjoyed the entire thing and my criticisms are few. There was a small thing that bugged me which was just a minor inconsistency that didn’t effect the story or anything. The second thing that bothered me is I HAVE TO WAIT TO READ THE NEXT BOOK. Aha. ha. Seriously. I also wish Ella’s Spanish upbringing came through more mid-late book but there’s a whole lot going on and the story is complex, it wasn’t necessary, it’s just something I’d have personally liked to have seen.

Past and present are woven together. We get some tales of people from the past and tragic events (some of which actually occurred) and find out how and why they matter in the present day and to our current characters. I really enjoyed how the story would flip to past lives of people and their history. Like short stories tied together by fate. Ella and Zac – the guy who changed the course of her life – are really strong characters. I found myself really cheering for them and hoping for the best outcome for them.

The plot, was absolutely wonderful, it captivated me and I just had to keep reading and find out what would happen as Ella and Zac’s romance blossomed and more obstacles ended up in their path. The book ends entirely set up for the next installment in the series – Son of Secrets which I can’t wait to be able to read! I can’t wait to find out what happens next. N.J Simmonds has entirely captured me through her storytelling.

About the Book

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

THE PATH KEEPER is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

About the Author

Natali Drake, who writes under the pen name of N J Simmonds, is an accredited member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. When she’s not busy working on her YA fantasy romance series she is also a freelance writer and brand consultant. She has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications with two of her essays appearing in THE MOTHER BOOK published by Selfish Mother. In 2015 she co-founded the online magazine THE GLASS HOUSE GIRLS and is a regular contributor.

Originally from north London, Natali studied Feature Writing at City University and began her career in corporate publishing and marketing before moving to Spain to write, and to raise her family. She now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

book reviews · Bookish

The Silver Sting by Angela Dandy (Review)

Today I am on the Random Things tour for The Silver Sting by Angela Dandy which is available now in Kindle and Paperback formats. I am pleased to be bringing you a review. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Gabby has divorced her (ex)husband and gone to visit her aunt and uncle at Magnolia Court – a would-be gorgeous retirement complex with cottages for the residents and public amenities – had they not been badly wronged with the developer doing a bunk with all of their money, half way through the project, scamming the residents of Magnolia Court.

Aghast at the situation, her family and their friends in cottages falling apart, Gabby is determined to get justice for them. The residents are wary as they had tried, to no avail, to trace the man who put them in this situation – much to their expense, with nothing to show for it; but Gabby isn’t easily deterred.

I really enjoyed this book. Every element of it was fantastic. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the pacing, the plot, the conclusion. It was a warm, satisfying conclusion after following Gabby and a group of wonderful, strong characters and their “Silver Sting” as the plotted to right the wrongs done to them. I really liked how the author gave a little background story to each of the residents and made them that little bit more interesting. There is a moment later on in the book (I won’t go in to details, because it’d be a spoiler) which really made me root for them even more than I already was. I felt hopeful for their plan but frustrated it was needed in the first place. I felt invested in their cause and was cheering for them.

I really enjoyed this book and the quirky characters. I’d absolutely recommend cozying up with this. I found myself unable to put it down!

About the Book

It has been thirteen years since the elderly residents of Magnolia Court were scammed out of a comfortable retirement by an unscrupulous developer who took their money and ran.

A twist of fate leads Gabby, Uncle Max and Aunt Hetty’s niece to uncover the developer’s whereabouts.

Pointed in the right direction by Gabby, the residents draw on their life skills to overcome one obstacle after another in order to recover what is theirs by right.

No one should underestimate the tenacity and ingenuity of this charming and endearing bunch of senior citizens. Age and infirmity are set aside as they set out on their quest to seek retribution.

About the Author

Angela Dandy is the author of thriller Lakeside and several published short stories. A retired project manager, Angela has travelled widely and enjoys spending time with people of all ages and walks of life. Angela’s aim in writing thrillers is to aspire and capture the imagination of her readers by weaving colourful and resourceful characters into her carefully crafted plots. Most importantly she aims to entertain!

book reviews · Bookish

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan (Review)

Today I am on the Random Things tour for Her Husband’s Mistakes by Sheila O’Flanagan which is available now in Kindle and Hardcover formats as well as Audiobook. I am pleased to be bringing you a review. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Roxy is a married housewife with two children, living in Ireland. Her father has recently passed away; so of course, she looks after her mother during this time. She returns home to find the next door neighbour on top of her husband – something she refers to now as “Rodeo Night.” She up and left with the children and went back to staying with her mother.

Her father had a chauffeur business which Roxy helped out with during his final days and ended up taking over after “Rodeo Night.” Roxy doesn’t really know what to do and her life is a bit all over the place, but she is strong, determined and wants the best for her family. She is very much the “typical housewife” but starts to discover new things and find herself, whilst driving her dad’s car and trying to decide whether or not to forgive her husband..

I feel Roxy is a very strong character and quite relatable. She learns to put her own needs on her agenda instead of doing everything for everyone else while disregarding herself. Her husband is an unlikable character who doesn’t seem to support Roxy and puts his guilt on to her. I feel the story was a long journey for Roxy and was pleased to be with her for the duration as she evolved in to what I think may be a great role model for her children. The ending is concludes nicely but doesn’t tie everything up, so you, the reader can imagine the next chapter in Roxy’s life.

Overall, this was a really pleasant read with a strong female for a main character and well written. I feel it would be lovely beside the pool or to pick up to take on holiday. I was hoping to read this out in the sunshine myself, but apparently, somebody pinched it. Lol! Thankfully, a good book can be enjoyed anywhere!

About the Book

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

book reviews · Bookish

You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson (Review)

Happy Humpday! Today I am on the Random Things tour for You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson and bringing you a review. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour. Please check out the other tour stops too!

You Are What You Read isn’t the usual type of book I’d reach for, but when I was presented with what it was about, I decided I had to try it – and I am really glad that I did.

We are regularly bombarded by news on a day to day basis; glaring, negative headlines in our faces and this has led to a skewed perception of the world and current affairs. Before that news reaches us, the initial person who witnessed it has their perception of it, then it’s passed on to the gatekeepers, moulded in to something to “grab” the reader/viewer before it reaches us. The news that eventually reaches us can be incredibly biased or misleading. Jodie Jackson really dives in to the process of how the news reaches us and our perception of it.

The author covers a lot with thought-provoking detail and always cites her sources to back them up (they’re numbered and can be located in detail in the back of the book). While I have always understood that the media has bias, that many people don’t read beyond a headline (and find out the topic isn’t as bad as it seems/that the headline is actually misleading) and that things are framed to generate clicks, I never realised quite how much goes in to how the news is presented to us and how beyond those initial things, how much of an impact the news has. Not just some bad news articles, but the way we are bombarded with it and the way we consume our media.

I found this book incredibly interesting and I would highly recommend it to literally anyone and everyone. We are all affected by the news. Even if we avoid watching or reading the news, someone will relay news events to us and their perception of the already biased and crafted stories can then influence us. Our perception of reality is affected by the news, no matter what. The media need to be held accountable for what they present to the people. Incredibly thought provoking and enlightening.

I really enjoyed how Jodie broke it all down and pulled apart just how the news is manufactured for our consumption and the consequences of that, the balance of it all and how we can improve our media diets. Knowing there is a problem, understanding the problem and then solutions to the problem, she covers it all.

About The Book

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and powerless after watching the news? Does it make you feel sad about the world, without much hope for its future? Take a breath – the world is not as bad as the headlines would have you believe.

In You Are What You Read, campaigner and researcher Jodie Jackson helps us understand how our current twenty-four-hour news cycle is produced, who decides what stories are selected, why the news is mostly negative and what effect this has on us as individuals and as a society.

Combining the latest research from psychology, sociology and the media, she builds a powerful case for including solutions into our news narrative as an antidote to the negativity bias.

You Are What You Read is not just a book, it is a manifesto for a movement: it is not a call for us to ignore the negative but rather a call to not ignore the positive. It asks us to change the way we consume the news and shows us how, through our choices, we have the power to improve our media diet, our mental health and just possibly the world

About the Author

Jodie Jackson is an author, researcher and campaigner.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London (UK) where she investigated the psychological impact of the news.

As she discovered evidence of the beneficial effects of solutions focused news on our wellbeing, she grew convinced of the need to spread consumer awareness. She is a regular speaker at media conferences and universities.

Jodie is also a qualified yoga teacher and life coach.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid – Review

perfectliars2

Today, I’m on bringing you a review as part of the tour for Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid, out now in Paperback, on Kindle and as an Audio Book.

They have it all. And they’ll do anything to keep it that way.

For fans of The Girlfriend and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies as well as TV hits Doctor Foster and The Replacement.

Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. – she knows there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

Gripping and unputdownable, Perfect Liars tells the story of a group of friends bound by their dark pasts and their desperate need to keep their secrets hidden from the world around them. How far would you go to protect the life you’ve built?

Perfect Liars PB 1

If you liked the show Pretty Little Liars or Doctor Foster, you’ll like this book; unless you need to like the characters, then.. perhaps not… The story has three main characters who attended boarding school together. Out of the three, two of them are wealthy, one is on a scholarship but all three of them are well written, awful people. Teenagers are often pretty terrible people, but grow in to decent people. How about these three? As it turns out, no, they don’t. Instantly, I took a dislike to all of the main characters.

The story is relatively easy to guess and the blurb gives away a lot, but it also gives the impression that maybe one of the characters isn’t so bad after all, that maybe she’s likeable? Nope. Not in my view at least; however, I don’t need to like the characters to enjoy a book. There’s no “good-guy” in this story really – they’re all pretty awful people, even as adults.. The only character that doesn’t suck as a person is the only one who isn’t married to this heinous human beings. I loved to hate these characters. They were well written and very “human”. They were quite believable and I find with stories like these, it’s not always the case.

The book opens up with the end, and switches between present day and the girls’ time in boarding school and their individual perspective. The book focuses heavily on their guilt and how it effects them, even in their current lives. The book flows brilliantly, it’s well paced and well written, making up a little for its predictability. Despite knowing the way the story would go, I couldn’t put it down. The characters and the story itself I found all to be very believable which I found made it stand out compared to other books in the genre.

rebecca-reid-2 1
Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph, the Independent, Stylist, Glamour, the iPaper, the Guardian, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others. Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC, BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Perfect Liars is her debut novel.

Rebecca lives in North London with her husband.