Review of End Of The Line.

I read this book in a day. Once I picked it up I couldn’t stop. The storyline pulled me in deeper and deeper, my need to find out what would happen next driving me onwards.

The End Of The Line is a thrilling tale of magic and the depths people will go to in order to harness the raw power of it, even summoning a demon. But for Amanda Coleman magic is the root of all evil. Her father was a powerful Abra – the name given to powerful, magical practitioners- he used his power to get what he wanted, both for himself and others, by using Amanda and her mother’s blood to enhance his abilities. But one day Amanda snapped and killed him, earning her the legendary title of Abra killer.

Amanda and her associates are con artists and they go on heists for their criminal boss, but when he dies and a younger newcomer takes over the gang the crew are hired to trap a demon and banish it in a remote part of Siberia. The cost of doing so will take everything they have, including the lives of their loved ones.

Well worth a read. Highly recommended.

Review of The Seduction Expert.

I received this title for review from NetGalley.

I found this book really difficult to get into and because of that I chose to read reviews others had posted. It seemed that everyone else was loving this book, which left me wondering why wasn’t I?

I couldn’t warm to the Baroness at all, she comes across as shallow, nasty, and spiteful. With reference, again, to other reviewers they all claimed to be loving the bad “guy” of the story. I found her an awful character and definitely could not find any reason to “love” her.

The story is all over the place, the book appears to have been translated into English and it’s not a great translation. Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t difficult to read, it’s just not great.

I want to stress that this review is based upon my personal experience of reading this book. I mention having read the reviews other reviewers left regarding this book and in no way am I mocking their responses to this book. Reading is a personal experience and if someone enjoys a book I did not, then there is nothing g wrong with that. I fully believe people should be allowed to share their own thoughts and feelings on whatever they have read, regardless of whether they enjoyed it or not.

Lastly, this story is to be continued, and whilst I haven’t given a glowing review of the first book and am interested in reading the next book to see where the story goes.

Review of Swallowtail Summer.

The first thing I want to say about this book is how enthralling it is. As cliched as this sounds, I really couldn’t put it down. The twists and turns of the story had me hooked, wanting to know if my theories were right or not.

Swallowtail Summer is a story about three families who are all friends and spend their summers at Linston End, the home of Alistair and his late wife Orla. But this summer is set to be their last at Linston End, Alistair has met a new woman and has plans to sell up.

Alistair’s life long friends, Simon and Danny, and their respective wives, Sorrel and Frankie, along with their children, Callum and Rachel, and Jenna, are all excited to see Alistair upon his return to Norfolk. Since Orla’s death he had been travelling, but he was returning home for the summer.

Little did any of them know just how much their lives were about to turned upside down once Alistair broke his news to them. The news that he had found love again with a woman named Valentina. The news that he was putting Linston End on the market, and once sold he was going to start a new life with Valentina.

The friends didn’t warm to Valentina, as Alistair had hoped. They found her sneaky and were very suspicious of her. Alistair could only see the woman he had fallen in love with, blinded by her underhanded behaviour towards his friends. But with the arrival of her step-children tragedy strikes and more than one life hangs in the balance.

I loved this story from start to finish. I had so many theories about how things would turn out for Alistair and his friends, some were way off the mark! The author has woven a tale of love and betrayal, secrets and lies, and the loyalty of long-standing friendship, it makes for a thrilling read.

Review of Roar.

This book appealed to me as soon as I saw the title. Thirty short stories by thirty women who were sharing their stories, their voice with the world. I have seen some fairly negative reviews on this book and did wonder if I had maybe picked a book that was not as good as I had initially thought.

The stories in this book are all inspiring, not really in a “grab em by the balls” sort of way, but in a way that shows there is always someone out there who is having issues in their life too.

Having read through the book I found I was disagreeing with the critics, but that doesn’t make their opinion any less valid, on the contrary, it allows us to see that this book is dividing opinions, and therefore it makes it worthy of a read.

I didn’t have a clear favourite story, each time I read one I would think about how much I felt what that particular woman was going through. Then I would move onto the next story and the same feelings were evoked again.

Each story is thought-provoking. Each story touches you somewhere deep inside and stirs up a whole host of emotions. From the story about the woman who feels invisible to the story about the refugee mother who feels fear each time she takes her children to school.

This book gives a voice to all women who feel alienated in one way or another. This book champions women the world over, giving the female population a voice to be heard, allowing our struggles to come forth and challenge them.

It may not be to everyone’s taste, and that’s perfectly fine. My opinion is that I found it very thought-provoking and humbling. I felt a deep sense of respect for these women who shared their stories, albeit through the author.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Review of Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay.

This is a very difficult read. No matter whether you’re a survivor of a sexual crime or not, this book will haunt you in ways you cannot conceive.

The anthology hits you right at the core of your emotions. Each story leaving you feeling the emotions that the survivors all went through.

This is a book that is very relevant right now. This is a book that allows people who haven’t been attacked to feel some of what goes through the head of someone who has had this sort of crime committed against them.

Be warned, there are plenty of triggers in this book. The book isn’t graphic, it’s just highly emotional.

Review of The Rumour by Lesley Kara.

This debut novel by Lesley Kara had me hooked from the start.

Someone has a secret, but it’s not who you think!

There’s a tense undercurrent right from the beginning of the book. As the story unfolds snippets of the secret come to the surface. I found myself second guessing every other character, thinking it was them with the secret.

The story starts off slowly, despite the tense undercurrent that was present right at the start of the book. The main character is introduced along with the secondary characters, many of them leaving their mark on the reader as the secret is revealed.

The secret is that a child killer is supposedly living alongside the residents of the seaside town of Flintstead. When Joanna, the main character, hears this she sets off on a quest to find out as much as she can about who the person is that harbours this awful secret; who is it that has been given a new identity and allowed to live among them?

Joanna becomes obsessed with the rumour that she helps to spread, as well as the story of the child killer who was given a new identity. Everywhere she goes in her daily life she wonders if the people she interacts with are the notorious child killer.

The book will have you hooked right from the start. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I thought I knew who the child killer was, then the story took a twist down a different path and I was sure it was another person. I had no idea it was the person who is revealed to be the killer until much later in the book.

The book is very cleverly written, the writer interjects the real killer’s thoughts every now and then but you really don’t get a sense of who this person is for quite some time.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The fast paced rhythm of the story kept me invested right until the end.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a brilliant debut novel.

Review of Bloody Brilliant Women.

When I saw this book was up for a review I jumped at the chance to read it.

History books are littered with heroic men who have shaped the world we live in today.

But what about the women?

The history books seem to have forgotten about the women. Of course we know about Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Stopes and a few others, but what do we know of engineer and motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose ingenious device for the Spitfires’ Rolls-Royce Merlin fixed an often-fatal flaw, allowing the RAF’s planes to beat the Germans in the Battle of Britain?

Or Dorothy Lawrence, the journalist who achieved her ambition to become a WW1 correspondent by pretending to be a man?

Or development biologist Anne McClaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation?

And then we have the women who paved the way for council housing in Britain, municipal swimming pools and humane laws relating to property ownership, child custody and divorce wouldn’t exist in quite the same way without these heroic women included in this book.

These trailblazing women, and many more, deserve the same recognition that their male counterparts were afforded. From the 1918 Representation of the People Act – which allowed some women the right to vote – through to the ousting of Margaret Thatcher from Downing Street, and beyond.

The book is a brilliant read, a humbling read, a read that will enrage you on behalf of these women for the way in which they were very often belittled. Bloody Brilliant Women was written using meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources. The author uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain. It’s a history for both women and men. A history for our times.

I hadn’t heard of half of these women and that made me both sad and mad at the same time. Why were these women overlooked? Very often what they achieved, created, defended, fought for and much, much more was more incredible than some of the men who have been included in the history books.

The book is very thought provoking. It’s very humbling. It’s a bloody brilliant read and I highly recommend it.

Review of The Not So Perfect Plan To Save Friendship House: An Uplifting Romantic Comedy.

This is a story of friendship. Of mistrust. Of coming together to celebrate friendship and work out differences.

Phoebe Stockton is the chef at the all female senior living home, her friend June is the manager, and they love their residents and cherish the friendships that they have with the ladies. But the owner, Max, drops a bombshell on them all; he is bringing his father Terence to the home. Technically speaking Terence owns the house, but his rude behaviour and appaling manner send Phoebe, June, and the female residents into a spin.

Then there’s Nick. Nick is “one of the girls” but when Terence comes to live with them he tries to smooth things over, which gets Phoebe’s back up. In her mind Nick can do no wrong, shes had a crush on him ever since he came to work at the home. He’s gorgeous, he’s charming, he’s funny, and he’s a hit with the ladies in the home.

Max then delivers another blow, he’s bringing his daughter into the fold. Tamsyn is brought in to replace one of the helpers who left suddenly after Terence pinched her bottom! Tamsyn is not at all interested in doing any work, instead she hangs around Nick, cosying up to him and getting on Phoebe’s nerves.

At the very beginning of the story we are introduced to Phoebe as she attends her mother’s funeral. Despite the sadness of the occasion the storyline is heart-warming and inviting.

This is a wonderfully uplifting story that immediately draws the reader in. Phoebe is a lovely character and very witty too. I felt for Nick because I had guessed what was really going on with him, but obvioulsy the reader doesn’t find this out until much later in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the characters, apart from Tamsyn, she irritated me but I expect that was the author’s intention. I would definnitely recommend this book.

Review of The Sapphire Widow.

 

Louisa Reeve appears to have the perfect life, the daughter of a successful British gem trader and the wife of Elliot, a charming businessman, who she has been married to for twelve years. Appearances can be deceptive though, and Louisa and Elliot’s life is not as perfect as it appears on the surface.

Despite having everything they could possibly want to make a comfortable life for themselves, there is one thing that they do not have, a child. There had been several miscarriages and then the tragic loss of their daughter, stillborn, eight years earlier. Louisa was often lonely.

Elliot was always on business, leaving Louisa to her own thoughts. She never doubted his loyalty to her. He’d had some trouble a year or so ago and this worried Louisa more than anything. Then one day her perfect world came crashing down around her. Elliot was late home, they were having guests for dinner and he had vowed he would be back before they arrived. But tragedy arrived at her door instead; the local police officer brought the news that Elliot had been killed in a driving accident earlier that day.

Elliot’s death opens up a huge can of worms that leaves Louisa desperate for answers but giving her only more questions. Beautifully written and with plenty of action this book will entertain from start to finish. As you read through you become engrossed in Louisa’s story, her emotions envelop you as the depth of Elliot’s betrayal is uncovered and the danger he has put his young widow in. This is a book I would definitely recommend.

 

Review of The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan.

What an absolute joy this book was!

This book will hold you in thrall right from the first page.  Narrated from the point of view of Masha and also Alice, you sense really early that Alice plays a pivotal role in Masha’s life.

Masha lost her son many years ago. She believes he drowned. She is a wonderfully complex character who I loved instantly. She frequents her local cemetery and tends to the graves of many people. She encounters a wonderfully eccentric woman, whom she dubs Sally, and this character adds a lovely layer of depth to the unfolding story.

Masha life is shrouded in grief. The loss of her young son has left a void in her life and the lives of those closest to her. The love that Masha had for her son has been transferred to her beloved Wolfhound, Haizum. The dog’s character is every bit as lovable as Masha.

The book deals with grief and how it engulfs people. It also deals with cancer. We discover Alice has cancer and her life seems to unravel because of this illness. The secret that Alice has been keeping for many years spills out towards the end of the book. The author draws us into Alice’s world by writing about how cancer is sucking the life out of her and exposing her secrets.

The characters in this book are colourful and they invite you into the story. Kitty Muriel is adorable. Elvis comes alive, having first being presented as just another eccentric. Masha’s friendship with both Sally and Kitty Muriel feels so vibrant and exciting. These two ladies offer Masha so much love and hope and those feelings jump out of the book and envelope the reader with the warmth that is being evoked within the story.

I am not writing anything about the plot because I want you to go and read this book and allow yourself to be drawn into the story. Every aspect of the story has such a colourful depth to it and to disclose any details would distract from the enjoyment you will feel once you read this book for yourself.

I loved everything about this book, from start to finish. I highly recommend it and give it a resounding five plus stars!!!