Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Bonkers: My Life in Laughs by Jennifer Saunders


Hello Readers,
I have a little soft spot for celebrity autobiographies on Audible especially when they are read by the person themselves. Bonkers: My Life in Laughs is Jennifer Saunders story and her narration adds to the comedy and compliments the book wonderfully. It honestly felt like Jennifer Saunders was sat in the room with me and at points, I couldn’t help but imagine Eddie from Ab Fab.

Jen states at the start of the book that there are a lot of vague memories, so time frames are lax and fluid. Jen also admits that she might not have the necessary skeletons in the closet that would bring her memoir up to the rollercoaster ride, tear-jerker level of autobiographies often put out there by celebrities these days. Jennifer has lived a fairly normal life, all things considered. She prefers a low-key life so don't expect drama and dirty laundry being aired. Jen has had her fair share of band luck and trials, but either they aren't that dramatic or she does an excellent job of under-dramatising them.

 I loved listening to her tell the story of her life and the fun tales of her childhood, the exciting adventures of her teens and early 20's, the way she stumbled into comedy

This book relates to all areas of Jen's talented life: her happy childhood; her friendship with Dawn French; her professional life – writing French and Saunders, and Absolutely Fabulous; her marriage and family life; and her recent illness. The first half of the book is about those early days, when Saunders was scrounging about for something to do with her life and Dawn French fell into her lap and how they developed their comedy act. It is wonderful to hear her speak about her various strong relationships with co-workers throughout the years. She talks about French and Saunders from the beginnings, doing stand-up and landing their first TV gig and how they were fortunate enough to come along at a time when a comedy troupe was in need of a female act, and how they met The Young One's gang. Jen talks about comic strip, and how thrilled she was when she got a parking space at the BBC. I would say that story in particular shows how down to earth Jen is, but there are lots of wonderful stories that really just speak masses about her character and Familiar faces pop up left and right. 

The book is full of insights, personal anecdotes and extremely funny situations. For example, my favourite story completely stripped down to the bare bones was when Jen, Ruby Wax, Goldie Horne and her assistant were in India and Jen accidentally drank water from The River Ganges Ruby shouted ‘Jennifer, you are going to die.’ On the way back to the hotel there’s an incident with Goldie’s Assistant and a dog bite. Then they are all walking back to the street to only find one rickshaw and the driver told them to all pile in. He was a thin man pedalling an ancient rickshaw with four very well-fed women in the back. The journey Uphill got slower and slower, until eventually Ruby got out and decided to push and obviously a passing cow, with horns, headbutted her bum. Once back at the hotel Jen went to her room and drank a bottle of whisky. Her mother had always said it was good for killing things, so she took her advice. Apart from a cracking hangover, she had no real ill effect. I had to listen to this section around three times the first because I couldn’t stop laughing (not at the dog incident the rest).

It is also very moving in places. Jennifer Saunders has been a very private person and her book reveals just enough of her life, without revealing everything and Her account of battling breast cancer is as honest as it is uplifting and Jens refusal to accept pity and to just carry on with her two-woman show, through sickness and depression.

I have to admit that I am a big fan of Jennifer Saunders before, I am an even bigger fan now and I would recommend this book for fans. As someone who can’t tell a straight story without at least 6 tangents this book was great cause Jen does the same thing. There were so many fascinating snippets about her work life and her personal life and about her work itself. She even told funny stories about her time working on Shrek 2. Jen tells the story of a self-confessed lazy daydreamer who through a little luck and a lot of talent climbed the ranks of female performers and built a successful comedy career. Jens wit and humour shone through in every tale and I thoroughly enjoyed my listening experience. Her tone and voice make the book better than it probably would be just in writing and makes the humour come across as it should as well.

I went to the Ab Fb premier just to see Jen, Dawn and Joanna and it was everything I thought it would be and more.

L x


Monday, 28 January 2019

Podcasts

Hello Readers,
I know the audiobook argument is still raging strong. I have fallen out of love with audiobooks and I have gone to the dark side I love podcasts! I haven't been asked by any of the podcast to mention them, all feeling are my own and I wanted to share the love. Confession time I have had an interest in true crime and serial killers for a while, I also have a love of myths and legends and I love being spooked out. I have honestly lost track the number of times that I’ve been that immersed listening to ‘And That’s Why We Drink’, ‘Haunted Places’ or ‘Serial Killers’ that I’ve heard a noise and I’ve had to turn the lights on or shut the door you know real stuff that’s going to save me.

Myths and Legends by Jason Weiser
Total to date: 133
Average run time: 35 minutes
I have listened to most of the episodes and I just love everything about this podcast! The presentation is straightforward, complex stories are broken down which means the narratives are made to be relatable despite how old the stories are and are entertaining. the original stories behind King Arthur and his legendary knights, Robin Hood, or Aladdin. Jason’s show brings you folklore that has shaped our world. Some are incredibly popular stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories that might be new to you but are definitely worth a listen. Jason also relighted my love of Baba Yaga! I have listened to some episodes over again and enjoy them just as much as I did the first time. These are stories of magic, kings, Vikings, dragons, knights, princesses, and wizards from a time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous, wonderful, and terrifying place.

And That's Why We Drink (ATWWD) by Em and Christine

Total to date: 103
Average run time: 1 hour 30 minutes (does not feel that long at all)
Murder and the paranormal finally meet! Every Sunday (Monday in my world) I join Em and Christine for chilling ghost stories and terrifying true crime stories with a sprinkle of friendship and occasional warm fuzzy feelings. Em handles the paranormal stories while Christine gets the true crime also on the first of every month Em and Christine read out listener stories. We also have the loveable Gio, Juniper and Eva. I honestly love how honest and real Em and Christine you honestly feel like your sat listening to a close friend tell you a story. Also, the names of the episodes get bonus points A Ghost in the Nude and a Pasta Peddler, A Demonic Cold Sore and the World's Smallest Violin and finally Exorcism Colonics and a Hot Sauce Love Potion. The world's a scary place. And that's why we drink!

Haunted Places by Parcast Network Narrated by Greg Polcyn

Total to date: 56
Average run time: 55 minutes
You’ve heard of haunted houses, haunted cemeteries, haunted islands but do you know how a normal place can become paranormal minefield? Every haunted place on earth has a frightening, real backstory. Greg (Co-Host of Serial Killers) takes you on an audio tour of a new haunted place, and its haunted history, every episode. I find Greg's voice soothing at times and I love getting a new perspective on places that ghost shows have gone!  I enjoy the style of Greg’s storytelling and the visual created with these stories There is brief history and then a story in the first person, to get you visualizing the scares personally. I’ve had to turn the lights on while listening to this or stopped the episode until its daylight. 


Serial Killers by Parcast Network Narrated by Greg Polcyn and Vanessa Richardson
Total to date: 100
Average run time: 50 minutes
Serial Killers takes a psychological and entertaining approach to provide a rare glimpse into the mind, methods and madness of the most notorious serial killers with the hopes of better understanding their psychological profile. Vanessa is not a licensed physiologist or psychiatrist but she has done a lot of research for the show! With the help of real recordings and voice actors, we delve deep into their lives and stories. This is a little more scripted than ATWWD and there is a more formal feel about the information that is been given out.


L x

Friday, 25 January 2019

The Extinction Trials: Exile (The Extinction Trials #2) by S.M. Wilson


Hello Readers,
Today we’re talking dinosaurs! Again. Today we are looking at the second book in The Extinction Trials series by S.M. Wilson. The third book in the series The Extinction Trials: Rebel and is out 07/02/19. Both books so far have such a beautiful cover and the third fits in lovely. This might be a little bit of a love letter review sorry guys. Also, spoiler warning!

Exile picks up pretty much right where The Extinction Trials left off, not long after the team had returned from Piloria. Storm and Lincoln are both struggling in their own way to come to terms with what they went through and we get to see a bit of a different side to them both. The winnings that Storm won in the first book after she decided to announce her "half siblings" meant that Lincoln’s sister got the medical attention she need, and the siblings of the two teammates they lost on Piloria are now living all together in a single house and it’s something she’s not at all used to. The story is told from the perspective of Storm and Lincoln again, I felt the focus this time was a little more on Storm and her background which I didn’t mind.

Storm is now an aide to the Captain Regent on paper but in reality, she's mapping Piloria and telling him all she knows about the dinosaurs. I really enjoyed getting to see a bit more of the politics behind the Stipulators. Meanwhile Lincoln is working in the lab on the T-Rex virus, but the scientist in charge has them start investigating human DNA, in hopes of finding out more about the blistering plague when his daughter is struck with it. It was great to be reunited with old friends but I did take a shining to some of the new characters fairly quickly. That being said we have a new unpleasant character in the form of Silas, who's after Reban's job and thanks to DNA research he knows exactly how to get it.

The whole time we were on Earthasia I was longing to get back to Piloria and be surrounded by gorgeous greenery and the dinosaurs and it didn’t take long for my dream come true. Silas decided it was time to crack out the dinosaur viruses and basically kidnaps all the previous finalists because they're getting a nice little return trip to Plioria. It wasn’t long before Storm and the team were heading back out to Piloria on a slightly different mission this time. That does mean we get to see Leif again, and it was fascinating to see the relationship between the three of them after the events of the previous book and watching them rebuild their friendship, was heart-warming and exciting to see. Their goal this time around isn't to steal some eggs, but to plant untested viruses that might rid the island of the giant predators. But they have their own priorities finding a cure for the plague that's sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive. Within minutes of them being in Piloria we were reminded that although Piloria is gorgeous, it is a deadly land where the humans are definitely not in charge.

The ethical themes that focus on our attitude toward the environment are again present in the second book. “Do dinosaurs deserve to die?” however in this book it really does go a step further as we see Storm and a few others face the idea of killing the dinosaurs. Obviously, the title of this series it’s meant for the dinosaurs but also for the state of humanity and that couldn’t be more apparent than in this book. You still don’t know who to be scared of, the humans or the dinosaurs. Sure, the dinosaurs kill but they do so to survive it's not their fault that the humans overpopulated their continent and now are eyeing up their land.

The writing is rich and vivid, with the story being so intense and twisting yet the scenes were so detailed and well written. There is action, danger and adventure and we're left, once again, wanting more. Although Exile didn’t feature quite as much "dinosaur action" as the first book, we get introduced to some new dinosaurs species we didn’t get to see in the first book. The dinosaurs were just as terrifying yet awe-inspiring as previously. There was more focus on the characters development and the complicated feelings they had towards each other. Things are starting to head in a certain direction, one that might not be so good for the dinosaurs and I'm excited and nervous to see how it plays out and I can’t wait for book 3!

Honestly, everything about this book series is great, from the beautiful cover to the characters, to the intense main story. Overall, this book series is just incredible, exciting and the perfect for people who want to try something different.

The Extinction Trials: Rebel and is out 07/02/19



L x

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Guideline update transparency


Hello Readers,
To keep up to date with the new government guide lines

Any form of reward, including money, gifts of services or products, or the loan of a product, is ‘payment’ – whether you originally asked for it or got sent it out of the blue (e.g. ‘freebies’). Influencers receive freebies because of their high public profile and because brands or businesses hope they might post about them in return. If you have not purchased a product or service yourself, but received it free, make this clear.

Practices we have seen, which we consider do not go far enough to comply with the legal requirements, include: using ambiguous language without additional disclosure in a post (for example ‘thank you’; ‘made possible by’; ‘in collaboration with’; or ‘thanks to…’)

Past relationships matter too. Even if you don’t have a current relationship with a brand

Any blog posts that Thank anybody be it a person or a publishing house I have been gifted for free. I thought this was clear but under the new guidelines (updated 23/01/2019) saying Thank You is no longer considered an acceptable declaration. So, I am stating it clearly in this post before it bites me in the bum. For transparency I have been lucky enough to gifted products for free by the following
·         NetGalley (e-books)
·         The Author Murray Bailey (books)
·         Quirk House Books(books)
·         Pan MacMillan (books)
·         The Author  Mike Russell through Jay (e-book)
·         Matador Publishing  (books)
·         The Author Lana Grace Riva(book)
·         Canelo publishing (books)
·         The Author Richard Titus(e-book)
·         Geeky Melts (Wax Melts)
·         Thrust Books (book)
·         Stephanie Perkins twitter competition (book)
·         The Author David Meredith(book)
·         The Author Neena H Brar (e-book)
·         The Author Nikki Rae (e-books)
·         Edelweiss+ (e-book)
·         Harpercollins (e-book)
·         The Author Leonora Meriel (e-book)
·         LibraryThing (e-books)
·         Booktasters NonFiction (e-book)

 I will be adding this post via a link to my review policy page. 

I will now be adding “this was provided free of charge from ******** ” into my reviews after the thank you because for me personally it’s more important to say thank you. I've used the word transparency because if there is any change in the guidelines I have already mentioned the people I have been lucky to work with and why not be open about it even though I thought I was.

L x

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

Hello Readers,

Today we’re talking dinosaurs! The first page of the book is a map everyone loves a map. This might be a little bit of a love letter review sorry guys. Also spoiler warning!

The cover sticker that’s actually not a sticker promises The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and it wasn't far off the mark, we live in a world where the dinosaurs exist on their own continent called Piloria.  Piloria is where trees and all kind of vegetations grow, dinosaurs’ rule and the ecosystem is healthy. Then we have Earthasia which is overpopulated, births are controlled by the government, dystopian world our protagonists begin in. Space is scarce and mankind has built up as much as possible and people live in caves, energy and food are rationed. Education is minimal ( a couple of days a week) and is mostly focused around searching for new, efficient food sources.

The plot moves quickly, surprisingly political and is set in a world that is similar to ours however their world is lacking basic necessities. I am in a love-hate relationship with the concept; living in a world that’s so deprived and overpopulated that the human race wants to wipe out the dinosaur continent of Piloria in able to survive which brings ethical themes that focus on our attitude towards the environment. Storm's stance is firm that mankind has no right to wipe out all the dinosaurs because we have ruined our own continent. I am with Storm on this one! We shouldn’t be killing whole species for more space guys, especially a world that we know little about think of ecosystems and other implications.

The trials have been created to wean down competitors down from all over Earthasia to a mere 100 to see who can travel and survive Piloria. This year the task is to find the eggs of three of the most “dangerous” species; the T-rex, velociraptor and the pterosaurs. The winner will be granted a luxurious life gaining accesses to unlimited food, medical care, better accommodation and money. The book was also quite gory in sections but not in a bad way but it did take me by surprise (SPOILER) the bit with the Megalodon I was cheering for the giant shark sorry humans I love the shark more. 

The story is told from two different points of view: Lincoln and Stormchaser (Storm) both want to win but for very different reasons. I really enjoyed reading the different points of views and reading about their different intakes on everything regarding the story-line and its development.  Lincoln will do anything and risk his own life to protect his family, while Storm has no family and is developing a relationship with dinosaurs. Storm and Lincoln are both well-developed and make an interesting pair of characters, who are contrasting and yet they manage to complement each other. I loved the steady build-up of trust and friendship between Storm and Lincoln, and how the start of a romantic relationship wasn't overshadowing the story and seemed genuine.

Storm and Lincoln form a team with some other finalists during the trial to increase their chances of success when they are sent to Piloria.  Each member of the team has their own motives for being a part of this group and even though they form a great team, no one is to be trusted with so much at stake. The journey we take with Storm, Lincoln and their friends is emotional and action-packed, and never once felt boring.  I loved all the characters, apart from Galen of course but if you read it you know why, although I love the way he was portrayed and he actually made me curse him out loud a couple of times.

The dinosaurs were awesome, I did find myself Googling a few of the dinosaurs as I was a little rusty and had been labelling dinosaurs wrong. It also made me realise the amount of research that Susan has done like the feather argument on certain species and other details.

The writing is rich and vivid, with the story being so intense and twisting yet the scenes were so detailed and well written. I usually find some books try this tactic and fail.  The Extinction Trials keeps such an intense pace but wasn't choppy.  I couldn't help but rush through this book I was gripped by the story and the action. I think the way the book is split into six parts, and the alternating points of view really help you fly through the book.

Honestly, everything about this book is great, from the beautiful cover to the characters, to the intense main story; it’s just amazing and the ending left me wanting more so I picked up the second book right away. Overall, this book is just incredible, exciting and the perfect book for people who want to try something different.


L x

Friday, 18 January 2019

Smears!!


Hello Readers,
Smear Test is the dreaded fear-inducing word for most women. I have had to talk my friends into going and now I'm doing it on the internet. I think we really need to get over it, guys. I get it! You don’t want anyone to see your vagina! You think it's going to hurt! You're embarrassed! But you know what is going to be worse? Looking into the eyes of your family telling them you have advanced cervical cancer because you were too embarrassed. 

I know smear tests aren’t a test for cancer, it's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix in some cases, cells need to be removed so they can't become cancerous. Smear tests are the best way to pick up any abnormal cells that could later turn into cancer. Cervical screenings in the UK can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing.

Why do I have a bee in my bonnet?
Screening rates are at their lowest for two decades.
I've seen the effect treat takes on a person.
Some of the excuses are beyond stupid and petty

If I can help or at least try help remove some of the taboo and comfortableness around the Smear Tests I’m going to do it, it’s another cause close to my heart. Back in the early 2000s, My Grandma was diagnosed with cervical cancer (If you have read my CoppaFeel post same Grandma). Even though I was around 7, I can still remember seeing what she went through and wouldn’t wish it onto anybody. I saw my fun-loving still going out clubbing Grandma calm down through treatment it was strange. But we were lucky she kicked cancers butt and lived a further 10 years growing old disgracefully (her words not mine).

Scary Words
Smear Test
Go in don’t make eye contact lie on the couch and think of fun things simple. I actually get on with the nurse who did my last one and we had a laugh and a joke about it! Why not! It’s a little awkward for everyone

Abnormality
Let’s break down abnormality. An abnormality in a smear test doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got cancer, abnormalities are split into 4 levels, and even the most serious can be treated before cells become cancerous. See nothing to worry about guys!

The Jade Goody Effect
In August 2008, Goody appeared on the Indian version of Big Brother but left the show early after learning that she had cervical cancer. By February 2009, the cancer had gotten worse, and Jade now was terminally ill. She died, in the early hours of 22 March 2009, at the age of 27.
Despite such a tragic end to a life, figures from the NHS prove that Jade did a great job in raising awareness of cervical cancer and the number of women aged 25-29 asking for a smear test shot up by a third. In March 2009, smear attendance was 70% higher than expected.

According to the NHS website, 1 in 4 women skip the cervical screening, with the proportion increasing to 1 in 3 among those aged 25 to 29. A survey carried out by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust between 2016-17. Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. It aims to improve cervical cancer prevention and treatment, and so reduce the impact on women and their families.

Let’s hear the excuses from the survey
35% of all women reported being embarrassed to attend because of their body shape
34% had concerns over the appearance of the vulva 
38% were concerned about whether they smelled "normal"
31% said they wouldn't go if they hadn't shaved or waxed their bikini area
35% wouldn't go if they had to take time off work,
16% wouldn't miss the gym to attend
14% would rather miss a smear than a waxing appointment
20% would rather not know if something was wrong

At the end of the day its 5 minutes out of your day every three years. Ladies if you do one thing this year, please go and have your smear test!  Let’s discuss this and remove the taboo. 







Next week is Jos Cervical Cancer Trust #SmearforSmear week so I want to see your selfies guys 


L x

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Spotlight: Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh & About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You by Stephen Benatar


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Sophie and Matador for sending me a copy of Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh & About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You by Stephen Benatar for free in exchange for a spotlight

Spotlight
Title: Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh & About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You
Author Name: Stephen Benatar
Genre:  Romance, Comedy Thriller
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Publisher:  Troubador Publishing
Pages: 352
Cover Image:

Synopsis:
Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh
Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh is both a love story and a comedy-thriller, rather than any stark account of homicide. It is set in 1954, before it was legal for two men sexually to love one another and follows the attempt of an MP’s twin to blackmail him. The MP and his partner decide they have to scare off this sibling but when their tactics unexpectedly result in death, they have to resort to desperate measures to avoid suspicion falling in the right place.

About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You
About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You can be seen as a latter-day Brief Encounter, occurring some forty years later, in 1986. It concerns Stella McCabe, an attractive middle-aged woman who is thinking of leaving her husband and becoming the sort of person she would like herself to be - independent and far less conventional. Her world is diverted when she meets a man of half her age who turns out to be a Chippendale-type stripper - and, ridiculously, starts to fall in love with him. Is Vince the catalyst she needs or can a selfish husband undergo a change of heart?

Links to buy:

Stephen Benatar was born on March 26th 1937. He began writing as a boy of about eight, wrote his first novel at nineteen, and then, over the next twenty-five years, eleven further novels – each of them rejected. At the age of 44 his novel The Man on the Bridge was accepted by Harvester,

 As well as in America, Benatar has now been published in Italy, France and Spain, a small beginning but his reputation is beginning to grow. He has no wish to be famous simply for the sake of being famous, but he wants his work to survive.

Lx 

   


Monday, 14 January 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer


Hello Readers,


Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers
Due to be released: January 29th 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme.
I love a good Beauty and The Beast retelling and I have previously read and reviewed The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross. This is a long one sorry guys.

You have to resign yourself to the fact that the "beast" or prince is a jerk most of the time. He's is a self-absorbed spoiled kid who never grew up and because of his cold-hearted nature has been cursed to be a beast and has to fall in love with someone and get her to love him back before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls.

Enter Belle, a local girl who is shunned by her fellow villagers for being 'different' aka being a bookworm or an inventor. Belle's father stumbles upon the Beast's castle and is taken as a prisoner, so Belle gives up her freedom in exchange for her father's release. Together, Belle and the Beast learn that physical appearances are a shallow way of judging people and the curse is broken.

However, in A Curse So Dark and Lonely the ‘beast’ Rhen is sensitive, caring, but tortured and hopeful for change. He's still a pain in the butt until you get to that typical character growth but that's to be expected with any Beauty and The Beast story so suck it up, Princess.

Belle in this story is named Harper. Harper is a strong female lead who happens to have cerebral palsy and is beyond fantastic. I loved how Brigid writing style made was clear about what caused it, how it influenced her growing up (therapy, etc), and what it means for her as an adult.

In this Beauty and The Beast retelling, Prince Rhen is the ruler of the fantasy kingdom of Emberfall and has been placed under a curse where he keeps repeating the autumn of his 18th birthday until he can get one of the women his commander kidnaps to fall in love with him. Rhen also occasionally turns into a beast and terrorises his people and causes more and more bloodshed each reset. Time outside of the enchanted castle keeps moving and Rhen barely has a kingdom left to rule and there are threats looming. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the last.

Let’s get back to the inspiring Harper she lives in the DC area and is used to being underestimated by everyone, even her own family, because of her cerebral palsy. Her mum is dying from cancer, her dad is gone and left them in debt, and her brother's in a lot of sketchy trouble. But when she spots what looks like a kidnapping, she rushes over to help she intervenes and is taken instead to Emberfall. Harper's a fierce main character who really drove the story and it was wonderful to see a lead not only be an intelligent female but who had cerebral palsy, yet was never defined by it. Anyway, she's kind of awesome and I loved her.

Brigid Kemmerer manages to put her own fresh spin on a well-loved tale; she tells a story of a fantasy land that lives parallel to our own modern-day world. Brigid writing is incredibly addictive right from the start. There's a really interesting and the world building and the settings are so vividly written.  I loved the contrast between Harper’s modern-day DC and the fantasy realm of Emberfall.  Seeing the protagonist adjust throughout the story and develop as her situation changes make her all the more realistic. Even though the book is told in alternating points of view it remains gripping, addictive and magical.

There is a wonderful dialogue in this book about feeling accountable for things that you have no control over. Whether that be mistakes that your loved ones are making or the deteriorating health of a loved ones. Some times you have to come to terms with things that are out of our control.

L x

Friday, 11 January 2019

The Haunting of Violet Gray by Emily Sadovna


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Emily Sadovna for sending me a copy of The Haunting of Violet Gray for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers

When I saw Emily offer this book on Instagram and after reading the blurb I needed to get my hands on this book. This book has witchcraft, time travel and conspiracies like gimmie! having almost all of my favourite things combined in one book its everything I could want and more. We're just going to beak down my favourite elements, witchcraft, Cat is drawn to a beautiful mansion where she is seduced into the world of modern witchcraft. Time Travel, The gift of astral travel. Conspiracy No spoilers!

This novel centres on a mysterious young woman called Cat, who showed up two years ago with no memory of who she is or how she came to be there. The haunting of Violet Gray is a gripping, suspense-driven tale of witchcraft set in the present day with haunting reflections of life on the south coast in 1940. This is most definitely the kind of book you can get yourself lost in and has you hooked and turning pages to see the mysteries unravel.

Cat is an interesting, confused protagonist, searching for answers. It is unclear who she can trust initially, though this confusion is slowly clarified through interactions with the other characters. One day Cat answers a job advert to be a cleaner at a beautiful mansion, Cat is drawn into the world of modern witchcraft and finds herself haunted by a supernatural presence in the house. Upon discovering a witch’s journal, Cat anchors her mind to the summer of 1940, where she witnesses events that lead to a secret occultist ritual, the deadly outcome of which has remained a secret ever since. Cat is plagued by the paranormal happenings of the house and the desperate whispers of a long-dead girl.

An oppressive atmosphere is generated through expressive descriptions of settings and the characters involved.  It’s not long before the two stories begin to intertwine with one another, and Cat is left to piece together the clues of a mystery much bigger than herself. She quickly realises that she is central to the plans of others and must use all of the strength, concentration and all the bravery she can muster in order to fulfil her own destiny.

I feel like it did some great things playing with the idea of that dynamic between politics and witchcraft and then also generation z and witchcraft. This is a spellbinding promising first novel and I am looking forward to reading the next instalment of Hunter's Moon.

L x

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

I Dare You Twice (Kate Blakemore Book 2) by Murray Bailey


Hello Readers,

Thank you Murray Bailey for Sending me I Dare You Twice for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers

Having read I Dare You, I was so hooked that I immediately read the sequel which picks up 3 years later. Kate has developed into something of a PI, helping people who have been let down by the police. Fourteen days ago, teenager Jemila Dacks disappeared from a locked room, and the local police are stumped and Kate is brought in to try and locate the missing girl. Kate and her boyfriend are working two different missing person cases. Kate is investigating a missing girl in Canada while Scott is looking for his twin in the Middle East. I found I wanted to skip the side story based in Syria. However, I stuck with it and found it to be realistic and helped me appreciate what Kate’s partner was doing and why. But the past comes back to haunt them and Kate's life is in danger.

Kate leaves Canada and travels home to the UK before following the clues to Paris. There’s a lot going on and there are puzzles along the way to keep you guessing right 'til the very end. I loved the code that took Kate into the catacombs of Paris and felt I was with her face to face with creepy skulls and bones. I personally don’t have a problem with the story jumping to different locations and characters as I feel this helps keep the pace up.

Overall it was a good follow up with many layers to keep me thinking. I reviewed the previous book and think people who haven't read the first book before reading this one could struggle unlike the Ash Carter series (yes, I read the second book first). This was a fun read that generally keeps you guessing about who can be trusted and who can't. Kate has developed nicely as a character and is drawn into two investigations. It's fresh and a page turner and did keep me guessing.

L x

Monday, 7 January 2019

I Dare You (Kate Blakemore Book 1) by Murray Bailey


Hello Readers,

Thank you Murray Bailey for Sending me I Dare You for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers

This book is about an ordinary lady called Kate and she goes through no end of trouble and murder and mayhem to discover what has become of her American boyfriend when he is snatched off the street and disappears. Since the day her boyfriend is abducted, Kate is torn between trusting him and giving up on him Gradually she uncovers information and tries to discover the truth. Kate ignores family and friend’s advice and decided to investigate, as a result, the body count starts to rise and she is soon on the run from the Police. However, finding the truth means risking her life as well as her loved ones' and one back and others are following her every move, she has to live on the run while pursuing the clues she believes her boyfriend left for her. the questions go from “What happened to him?” through to “Who can I trust?”.

There’s a great build up and climax and (Spoiler) be warned that when you think it’s all over, it isn’t. This book grips from the first page with plenty of thrills twists and turns right to the end. The book is an intelligent well-written story, the story starts with some unconnected events and eventually the events start to make sense, the story becomes gripping, really hard to put down. The attention to detail is great, the story is very well thought out and has lots of depth, certain aspects are left to the imagination.  The only slight complaint I have is that the ending seems to be a bit in a rush, though Kate really deserves it, having been through a lot. The other little complaint is there is a slight stereotyping on Arabs.

Books in the series
I dare you
I dare you twice 
L x

Friday, 4 January 2019

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library series) by Genevieve Cogman


Hello Readers,

Thank you, Jamie and Pan MacMillan for sending me a copy of The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers

The Mortal Word is the fifth title in Genevieve Cogman's wonderful Invisible Library series
Books in the series
  • The Invisible Library
  • The Masked City
  • The Burning Page
  • The Lost Plot
  • The Mortal Word


A quick round-up on The Invisible Library series is a multiple-parallel-world fantasy in which our universe contains untold a wide range worlds, many of them inhabited with humans in some alternate version of history, with only a few beings aware of the multiplicity or able to travel between worlds.

The balance between worlds is maintained by the Library and its Librarians. Librarians have unique technology, their own form of magic and the ability to traverse worlds using gateways from their huge and timeless Library into local libraries on the individual worlds.

Our protagonist, the time-travelling, parallel-worlds jumping, Librarian agent Irene Winters finds herself in complex and treacherous circumstances. She is plunged into the middle of the peace negotiations between the high Order Dragons and the high Chaos Fae, with the Librarians acting as peacekeepers. If the talks go wrong, the outcome could be the war that destroys worlds. Attempts to broker a peace treaty are jeopardized when a high-level dragon is found murdered, and unsurprisingly the dragons are quick to point the finger at their sworn enemies, the Fae and even the impartial Librarians.

Joining Irene on the investigation is her talented detective friend the Victorian Great Detective Peregrine Vale, with Irene being placed in charge, along with some backup from former Library apprentice Kai. It appears that the evidence is pointing towards a dangerous fae known as the "Bloody Countess". But is she really to blame or is it someone else trying to stop the peace process? what Irene and her group discover threatens the lives of all involved in the conference, including the Librarians being kept as hostages and threatens the future of the Invisible Library itself.

Despite the murder, the peace talks must go on. As a representative of the Library, Irene must oversee the meeting to ensure that the process goes smoothly but someone is determined on disrupting the talks with poisoning and sabotage attempts, causing even more trouble for Irene and her team.

The novel is full of the usual thrills and spills, wry humour, and genuine emotional pathos and a page-turner. You just never know what’s coming next, from possessed felines to poisonous apples – it is wonderfully unpredictable and at the end of each chapter, you are left wondering what everyone’s motivation is.

L x


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Distortion (Phobos book 2) by Victor Dixen

Hello Readers Happy New Year,

This review may contain spoilers for both Ascension and Distortion

Today we are going back to one of my favourite book series set in space the wonderful Phobos series by Victor Dixen. Books in the Phobos series Ascension, Distortion and Collision (18/04/2019). When I read Ascension by Victor Dixen earlier this year I immediately fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. I was lucky enough to launch the blog tour for the book in November but I was unfortunate to not have read the book before the launch.

I am so happy I took my time to read it and thoroughly enjoy it, I feel that Victors books are not to be read in a rush. Just a little housekeeping before we delve in too deep the books were originally written in Dutch and then translated into English. The final instalment will be a highly anticipated read of 2019 for me.

Having loved Ascension, I had pretty big expectations for Distortion and I was so worried about the second book as the Phobos series is a three-book series and sometimes the middle book suffers from middle child syndrome. Specifically considering the intense build-up to the second novel and the dramatic cliff-hanger ending of Ascension. I didn't think the plot could surprise me anymore and I was so wrong. 

The book starts with the momentous question: to carry on to Mars or to turn around and head back to earth?

The second instalment of The Phobos series continued to explore the development of the characters, whilst retaining their integrity and not relying on cheap plot twists just to keep your interest. the inevitable drama that was bound to ensue like most reality shows, allows the reader to get an in-depth look at the characters. A lot of the books focus is strengthening the relationships between the twelve and how the insta-love between the contestants shows their youth and sad childhoods, and how much they enjoy their current roles. I really enjoyed this but there is a part of me that thinks they still don’t really know each other. I’m thinking this is bound to be an exciting aspect in the next book or that I don’t trust anyone in book worlds either way works.

We see the Mars Pioneers landing on their new home. New layers are revealed as the book continues, the descriptions of the advertisements that the competitors made for the show is a clearrepresentation of the world and money-orientated society that they're a part of and chose to left behind. I did enjoy the new landscape, accommodation and the farming area and how all the characters interacted with it. I found interesting and it was really easy to imagine and picture the new lives of the 12. Like Ascension, this book is complete with annotated and detailed diagrams that really help with understanding and world building

Another fabulous book from Victor Dixon, great writing, and the concept of this series still remains unique and exciting. I am beyond fully invested in this series and I need book three desperately.

I feel like so many of my questions were answered but many more questions have been created and now I’ve ended up on the edge again Victor Waiting till 18/04/2019!
L x