Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Unwilling to Break by Teresa Schulz

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Emma Johnson thinks she has a good marriage. Everyone has their problems, right? 

However, all this changes when she becomes payment to Albanian drug dealers, in lieu of her husband Greg's debt.

Emma is not that easy to break though.

With a fire in her belly that can only be quenched by revenge, she will do whatever it takes to rescue her children and make him pay.

My review:

If you want a quick exciting read, then this is the book for you. It’s fast paced, and makes your blood boil more than once. I was warned that there are violent scenes within this novel, but really there is only one uncomfortable part and the rest of the book is fine. I have read some much more explicit books that carried no warning so this was a walk in the park and I would recommend readers to ignore the warning and enjoy the book.

Emma suspects that her husband Greg is up to no good and she also knows deep down that he lying scumbag. She also knows that she still loves him so when he surprises her with a second honeymoon trip to Sydney, she feels flattered.

Not for very long though. Greg has a plan to get Emma’s life insurance money to pay of his debts and before long Emma is in the hands of a human trafficking circle. But as the title suggest she is quite clearly unwilling to break.

Fueled by the love for her children and the hatred she now has for Greg, Emma manages to survive her ordeal and her only focus remains those two kids back at home and justice that needs to be served to her the man she called husband.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will definitely look out for the author again.

Thank you to the author and TBConFB for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 16 December 2016

Skewed (Mercenary #1) by Marissa Farrar

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The most powerful mobster in New York wants me dead—trouble is, he’s also my father. I'm a woman on the run from the most feared mobster in the country. Worse, he's my own father. I have my sister to keep safe; and a hot, deadly hit man on my trail. Only one thing to do - see who gets the first shot. But don't worry about me, I'm no sweet young thing. In fact, I may just be as deadly as the guy who's out to end me. 

My name is Verity Guerra. I'm on the run from the most ruthless mafia Don in New York—my father. For the past few months, my sister and I have been in Witness Protection, and I’m determined to live long enough to testify against him. I knew he'd send someone after me. But I didn't bank on a hit man known only as X, with cheekbones sharp enough to grate Italian cheese, and muscles that won't quit. But what he doesn't know just may kill him. Behind my pretty fa├žade, I’m a cold-blooded killer. Too bad X is determined to end me, or I might just fall for those piercing blue eyes. 

Call me X. I’m a contract killer, hired to make sure Verity Guerra turns up dead. A beautiful face won’t stop me from doing my job. Killing isn’t just my work—it’s in my blood. But her dark eyes, silky hair, and tattoos mask a lethal killer. Finally, someone worthy to be called my mark. When her little sister goes missing, we have only one question—do we stop trying to kill each other long enough to get her back? 

Turns out love and hate aren't so far apart. Can we fight our desire for each other … or will we both end up dead? 

My review:

Skewed is the first book in the Mercenary series of books about the dark world of New York mafia. The novel concentrates on the meeting of two lost souls Vee and X. X is the hired help supposed to kill Vee and Vee is the daughter of a mobster who hired X to kill her.

When X is ready for the kill he is interrupts two men, braking into Vee’s house and shoots them instead of Vee, who then attacks X, knowing he must have been sent by her father to finish her off.

X things he has all the facts about Vee, the cold bloodied killer, but when he sees how much she cares about her sister, he starts changing his mind. In the end it’s either working together to survive or die.

There is an instant attraction between Vee and X and it feeds the story throughout. Theirs becomes a journey of survival, revenge, love and sacrifice. It’s a clever story line, quick read and a great start to the series for anyone who enjoys crime, mafia, romance kind of story.

Thank you to the author and TBConFB for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Available to purchase from:
Amazon US

Friday, 9 December 2016

All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Synopsis from Amazon:

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.
Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want . . .

My review:

All I Ever Wanted is the most heart-warming book I have read in 2016 and probably in about the last three to four years. It really touches you right at the core, warms your cockles and makes you believe in love, hope and happiness.

For me, the real stars of this novel are the two children, ten year old Joel and four year old Nancy. Following their parent’s estrangement, Nancy stops talking in public. She will only talk to her mum in whispers and in the safety of their home. Joel is the only one to really understand Nancy throughout this time and the two together just melt your heart. Lucy Dillon has managed to portray the importance of letting children be children and work through their emotions in their own time. Sometime you have to become a child to truly understand one.

All the characters in this book were brilliantly developed and I gained a real insight into their lives. From Caitlin, always feeling like a failure, Eva who has to re-learn everything about herself and the people she loves and Patrick, the controlling workaholic, who actually has a heart of gold and always wants the best for his children and wife.

Of course, in more ways than one, it is the children (and the pugs) that save this family. I won’t say anymore as not to spoil the story for anyone but I can wholeheartedly say that this book will make you laugh and cry and want more. It is simply beautiful.

Thank you to the author, publishers NetGalley for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 25 November 2016

Too Close by Gayle Curtis

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other - more than just brother and sister; they'll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.

But when the secrets of their mother's disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .

As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together - whatever the costs.


My review:

I can honestly say I don’t know how I feel about this book. I have given it 4 stars because it left me with some emotions and the story did make it interesting enough to follow through and finish the book. But I just can’t make my mind up on whether I liked it or not and I think this is the first time I am so torn over a book – on the other hand that is not really a reflection on how well the book was written, hence the score.

The story has enough twist and suggestion to keep the reader going and the bond between the twins is certainly very well portrayed. It also proves how much of an influence your parents have on your future life and on how a person develops as a human being.

Why I am torn is because there were no likable characters in the book. I felt sorry for Cecelia and Sebastian due to the amount of abuse they received from their own father and the fact that their mother disappeared, but it was their own relationship and their own actions that made me dislike them both so much. I found them both selfish and greedy and extremely self-centred characters with no thinking about anyone else that their action could have an impact on.

Saying all that I would still recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of crime, mystery, psychological thriller sort of thing, because I feel that this book would make a great talking point – just to see if anyone else is left feeling like I am feeling right now. It also wouldn’t stop me picking up another book from this author.

So all I can say is: read it and let me know what you think!

Thank you to the Twenty7 for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Published in paperback form 01 December 2016 by Twenty7 (also available on Kindle) and available from:

Amazon UK

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bedlam by B.A. Morton

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you lost the love of your life, how far would you go to get them back? 

Joe loves Kit. Everyone thinks she’s dead. Joe knows she’s not. Detective Joe McNeil would do absolutely anything. When Joe breathes life into a crime scene victim, he discovers what anything really means. Nell will use whatever is necessary to ensure she survives, including Joe. Is she really a victim, or merely the weapon being wielded by a much more cunning foe?

Against the background of a multiple murder investigation, Joe struggles between his love for missing Kit and his growing obsession with the enigmatic Nell. Plunged headlong into a spiralling nightmare of kidnap, murder, and betrayal, his relentless search for the truth jeopardizes his career, his sanity, and his life. But for Nell, the risk is even greater. A haunting tale of obsessive love, ultimate sacrifice, and deadly consequences.

My review:

This book is fabulous. If you like crime and mystery then this book is for you. I loved it and it is up there with my top favourite books of this year. There is also a hint of supernatural elements throughout the book which only add to the novel’s mystifying storyline.

The book goes straight into the thick of the plot without any unnecessary fluffiness and the ball is rolling from page one. We meet Joe McNeil, the fallen-from-grace detective, who is lost in his own world of grieve after the disappearance of his girlfriend Kit, never giving up hope of finding her.

And then he meets Nell, the strange girl that seems to have power over him; the girl that seems to whisper in his ear without being close. Nell, who thinks he can save her, from whatever danger she can see coming. And somehow he knows she is connected to Kit and that without Nell, he will never find out what has happened to the love of his life.

This is a novel of suspense. It’s fast paced, with great developed characters and plenty of mystery to keep the reader going right until the end. There are plenty of very clever twists and turns and I can honestly say this book kept me guessing right until the end.

Thank you to Babs Morton and TBConFB for access to this great book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book is available from:

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Evan's job is to help people die. 

Evan is a nurse - a suicide assistant. His job is legal - just. He's the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.

Evan's friends don't know what he does during the day. His mother, Viv, doesn't know what he's up to at night. And his supervisor suspects there may be trouble ahead.

As he helps one patient after another die, Evan pushes against the limits of the law - and his own morality. And with Viv increasingly unwell, his love life complicated, to say the least, Evan begins to wonder who might be there for him, when the time comes.


My review:

I have finished this book three days ago and I still don’t really know what I think. I know I enjoyed it, but it’s the subject that has my head spinning.

Euthanasia is a brave subject for any author and I feel that this book does it justice by covering all emotional and physical sides to assisted death. Evan moves in to the department as an assistant and realises quickly that he in his eyes there is not such think as a silent witness. When he makes a snap decision to lend a helping hand to one of his patients rather than stand quietly in the corner, he is forced to leave the department and look for work satisfaction elsewhere.

Evan’s experience then changes to assisting patients that would not qualify for euthanasia in the legal way and that’s where he sees the ugly side to death.

Amongst all this, his own mother Viv’s health deteriorates until he is faced with a decision that would most certainly change his life forever. 

I had real sympathy for Evan. He was alone at times nobody should be alone. In three way relationship with an established couple, he never feels like he could truly admit his line of work. His own mother pushes him away and Evan kind of looks like a spare wheel throughout the book.

It’s an interesting one. This novel opens up questions in your mind about your own morals and thoughts on how you would like to be treated when it’s your time. It does bring a question anyone other than you is entitled to decide how and when you die.

Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for access to this great book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Book is available from:


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Blakemort - A Psychic Surveys Christmas Novella by Shani Struthers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After her parents’ divorce, five-year old Corinna Greer moves into Blakemort with her mother and brother. Set on the edge of the village of Whitesmith, the only thing attractive about it is the rent. A ‘sensitive’, Corinna is aware from the start that something is wrong with the house. Very wrong. 

Christmas is coming but at Blakemort that’s not something to get excited about. A house that sits and broods, that calculates and considers, it’s then that it lashes out – the attacks endured over five years becoming worse. There are also the spirits, some willing residents, others not. Amongst them a boy, a beautiful, spiteful boy… 

Who are they? What do they want? And is Corinna right when she suspects it’s not just the dead the house traps but the living too?

My review:

This is a second book by Shani Struthers that I have read and again she did not disappoint. This book is scary, bone-chilling and spine-tingling – basically all the things you would expect from a ghost story based on true events. Blakemort is part of the Psychic Surveys series, but can be read as a stand-alone book.

Told from the point of you of a little girl, Corinna, moving into the house called Blakemort at the age of five with her brother Ethan and their mum; the story quickly unravels and takes you on a journey of the area’s dark past that history tries to forget. Unfortunately the dead have no such choice and their evil takes over the house and its occupants, tearing the family apart, trying to destroy the love they have for each other. It feeds on fear and hate and turns the family upside-down.

The writing is brilliant, the story fast paced. It chilled me to the bone and as usual I forgot that I shouldn’t read Shani’s books in the dark at the dead of night as I freak myself out too much, but her writing is so good, you just can’t put the books down.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a spooky story with depth of characters, whether they are dead or alive. It’s a solid four stars from me as I would have probably liked a little more history on the house itself.

Thank you to Shani and TBConFB for access to this great book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Book is available from:


Friday, 28 October 2016

Hide and Seek by M.J.Arlidge (Helen Grace #6)

Synopsis from Amazon:

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has spent her whole life running.
From the past. From herself. From everyone who's ever tried to get close to her.
She's spent her whole life hiding.
Behind the badge. Behind her reputation as one of the country's best detectives. Until - framed for murder - she became one of its most high-profile prisoners.
Now there is nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
Because HMP Holloway is a place of dark days and long nights with dangers at every turn. Despised by the inmates and reviled by the guards, Helen must face her nightmare alone.
And then a carefully mutilated body is found in a locked cell.
Now Helen must find a ruthless serial killer. Before the killer finds her.

My review:

If you are looking for a fast paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this is it.  I haven’t realised that his book was part of a series, it is actually the sixth book in Helen Grace series, and although I have obviously missed out on the back story of the characters in this book, I still enjoyed this book as a standalone novel.  I will for sure look out for the other books and read them in order in the future.

Helen finds herself locked up in Holloway prison for a henious crime she didn’t commit.  And then a murder happens. And then another. With her detective background Helen can’t help but try to find out the truth whilst trying to dodge attacks from her fellow inmates.  Being a disgraced cop in prison does not make for a safe combination.

On the other side we have Charlie Brooks, Helen’s friend and colleague, on the hunt for the man who framed Helen for three murders.  She has to overcome her boss, her colleagues and her family in order to prove Helen’s innocence.

The pace of this book is set brilliantly, the story told from various characters’ points of view.  The timeline is handled tastefully and keeps you going and wanting more.

Thanks to the publisher, M.J. Arlidge and NetGalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book available from:


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult


 
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ruth Jefferson is a labour and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience.  During her shift, Ruth begins a routine check up on a new-born, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient.  The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child.  The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery.  Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime.  Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy.  Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family - especially her teenage son - as the case becomes a media sensation.  As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others - and themselves - might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candour, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion - and doesn't offer easy answers.  Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My review:

Jodi Picoult has been one of my favourite authors ever since I picked up a battered, library copy of her novel The Pact.  This highly talented author creates characters that get under your skin and keep you awake at night, one minute sympathising with them and next minute screaming them down. 

She skilfully picks a subject that is almost taboo in our modern society and turns it into a piece of work that makes you think and question your own beliefs.

Small Great Things is one of those novels that everyone should read.  A book that should be made mandatory as it covers one of the most skirted around subjects there is – racism.  Racism is like a black hole that eats you up and never lets you go.  We all have an idea of what the word ‘racism’ means to us but trust me; this novel will make you question everything you know.

As the blurb suggest Ruth Jefferson is a labour nurse (midwife).  She does her job well and still gets punished for the colour of her skin.  Both Ruth and her lawyer Kennedy are both very strong women and extremely likable characters that develop and kind of grow up throughout the difficult relationship they are thrown into.  This lawsuit changes the lives of more people than you’d think and I have a feeling that in a way it has changed me too.  I found myself feeling sorry for a person I thought I would clearly hate and that surprises me even now.  But as the book suggests some of us are lucky to be born a certain way and some of us have to work extra hard to try and fit in and nobody is saying that will ever work.

I applaud Jodi Picoult on her brilliance and bravery to talk this important issue and thank you to the publisher, Jodi Picoult and NetGalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book available from:

Amazon US

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Shave My Spider by Tony James Slater

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tony James Slater is quite possibly the world’s worst traveller. And yet, he’s thinking of doing it for a living… Faced with buying a car and getting a real job – or taking the money and blowing it on a six-month adventure around Asia… well, there really is no contest! 

Who wouldn’t want to visit exotic places, like Borneo, Cambodia and China? Who wouldn’t want to tackle the world’s most dangerous hiking path, tangle with the Vietnamese Mafia, and suffer days in the dreaded Mongolian saddle…? 
And who wouldn’t want to try five-organ soup? 

All he has to do is survive long enough to realise his dreams. His rainbow-haired wife, Roo, is determined to keep him in one piece – but he’s not going to make it easy. Six months around Asia will make-or-break them… 
Literally. 

Join Tony and Roo on an epic journey through the weirdest and most wonderful things the continent can offer. Share their hopes and fears as they battle the wildlife, the elements, and the laws of probability to explore six fascinating and exotic countries. Together, they will prove one of the cardinal rules of travel: that nothing ever goes according to plan. Especially when you don’t have one. 

Full of mischief and mayhem, this hilarious adventure is one you definitely don’t want to miss. One thing’s for sure; it ain’t no holiday! 

This is a comedy travel memoir, covering Borneo, Vietnam, Mongolia, China, Laos and Cambodia.


My review:

I have never read a book that made me giggle more; a book that would inspire me travel and put me off at the same time.

Tony is hilarious and I will be seeking out his other books. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the book sounded like a good idea and it seemed like something to lighten my days a little.

Well, it certainly did that. I giggled my way through this brilliantly funny travel journal, getting some funny looks at the gym. It really did brighten my days and made the countries Tony, Roo and Vicky visited so much more appealing. My favourite most possibly being Vietnam. It sounds amazing!

Things do go wrong for Tony, but those mishaps are so worth the books we get out of them. Tony’s humour has a natural, effortless flow and teamed up with so much interesting information about the visited countries, this makes for a fabulous and entertaining read.

Thank you so much to Tony and TBConFB for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book available from:

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Code Girls by Daisy Styles

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It's 1941 and the country has been turned upside down. For the aristocratic Walsingham family this means being pushed unceremoniously upstairs while their grand home is taken over by the Army. But for newcomers Ava and Maudie this is a chance to get something more from life. They are at Walsingham Hall to become code girls and break German encryptions.

So being sent downstairs to work in the kitchens isn't exactly what they had in mind. But they do their duty, make new friends and soon even romance looks to be on the horizon. Though life is tough, it has never been more exciting.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Lord Walsingham is hiding something. And Maudie and the girls realize that the safety of their country might actually be in their hands after all…


My review:

The story is built around four girls that meet through co-incidences of wartime Brittan. Ava and Maudie think that they have been called to train as Code Girls, but end up below the stairs to cook and serve the code girls instead. They immediately bond with Ruby, who has been born into service through generations of servants at the Walsingham Hall. And then there is Bella, born into the Walsingham family, but always shunned, who follows her dream in to the war service and ends up helping the girls below stairs in her spare time.

Like many others I thought the title is misleading. I don’t always read the blurb on the back of the book; therefore my expectations were of a novel covering the life of the actual code girls. However as the story progresses you find that the title actually fits, but it takes nearly two thirds of the book to get to that point.

The novel has some great story lines, covering most years of the Second World War, but I didn’t feel that the flow was there. I found the love stories of all four girls unrealistic and the girls themselves annoyed me at times which made the whole book seem a bit simple to me. I am still giving it 3 stars as it was an easy, enjoyable read, something to relax with on holiday perhaps and it did cover some interesting information from the wartime, although do not expect historical accuracy.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for access to this book in return for an honest interview.

My rating: 3/5

Published by Penguin and available from:

Friday, 9 September 2016

Darkly Dreaming (Darkly Vampire Trilogy #1) by Chloe Hammond

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Rae escapes the troubles in her life by dreaming, until the wake-up call of her fortieth birthday approaches. Then she and her best friend retrace their student trip through France. They expect to find the sun-drenched days of their youth; instead they stumble into a nightmare. Infected by a rebellious vampire, Rae struggles with repugnance towards what she has become, while desiring the beautiful Pride leader, Guillaume. Against her will she is drawn into the Pride's power struggle. 

Will Rae succumb to the exhilaration of the hunt? 

In this dreamless existence, will the intoxication of liquid dreams found in fresh blood prove irresistible? Can she win Guillaume's confidence and love? Or will the whole pride be destroyed by the High Council?


My review:

This novel is not just another vampire novel. It is so much more and I send huge thanks to Chloe Hammond for allowing me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rae and Layla are just normal women, both at a sort of loss of what to do with their future, when they decide to relive their youth and revisit their favourite places in France. What they do not anticipate is that they won’t be returning to their ‘normal’ lives.

In a way of a bizarre accident, they get infected by the vampire virus and transform into beings they never thought existed. They have to come to terms with their new existence, looks and lives, taken in by a Pride of vampires living on a rural farm to learn about their news gifts and skills.

Without giving away too much, of course nothing goes that well for them. Life is never easy and with the added complication of being that different, it is harder than ever for Rae and Layla to fit in and be happy, or at least content.

The reader can definitely see where the author was influenced by other vampire stories, I could identify various TV shows and books, but Chloe has managed to pick out the best bits and put them very skilfully into her book and make them her own.

What I loved most about this novel is the relationship between Rae and Layla. You can clearly see when they disagree with something the other one is doing, but they still support each other in such a beautiful way. They really would die for each other.

The writing is colourful, characters likable and the story flows so well, it just sucks you in and spits you out at the end wanting more. And thankfully this is only the first instalment in the trilogy. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

My rating: 5/5

Available from:

Amazon US