Friday, 10 June 2016

Redemption - A TBC Review


by Jessica Therrien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Redemption is the final instalment in Jessica Therrien's "Children of the Gods" trilogy.

All our favourite characters are back for more adventures and action. In this final book, the descendants' world is given an almost post-apocalyptic make-over.  The story moves
 at a a fast pace and character, world and plot development all hurtle along.

Will it all end in a "happy ever after"? Will humans and descendants finally embrace their differences and work together to create a new world?

Jessica Therrien successfully combines ancient myth with modern problems and ideology. Although all three books seem to have a different focus, all are well written, with continued character and story development. This final book definitely has some darker moments that would delight any fan of  post-apocalyptic fantasy  fiction.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Uprising - A TBC Review


by Jessica Therrien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Elyse and her friends are back for more adventures in this second book of the "Children Of The Gods" Trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would definitely say that the series is a strong new entry to the Young Adult paranormal genre.
Uprising sees our favourite heroes and villains return, this time though things are getting serious. Will Elyse and her friends escape the clutches of the council? Will they succeed in creating a world that is free and fair for the descendants? Will Elyse and William's whirlwind romance continue to grow?

This book is much faster paced than the first one, the characters are coming into their own and Jessica Therrien weaves a tale of excitement and wonder. The plot is more action filled and the descendants finally get to shine and show off their abilities.

It is definitely a Young Adult series and, as such, does not have the epic depths and complexity of more adult fantasy novels, but I nonetheless really enjoy reading these books.

My thanks go to #TBC, the author and publisher for giving me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling - A Netgalley Review

Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling 

by Katie Dalebout

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, my thanks go to Hay House Publishing and Katie Dalebout.

As an experienced journaler, i was looking forward to reading this book. It became very clear to me very early on however, that this book would be better aimed and marketed at a younger audience or clearly labelled "for new journalers".

The author, a 22 year old blogger and yoga instructor, formulated this book in the space of one week, after winning a contest. In my opinion, this is reflected in the quality of the book and content. I was not put off by the author's age, in fact, this made me think that there would be something unique or "new" hidden within the pages, instead, Katie Dalebout heavily relies on rewording and rephrasing works by established self help authors and therapists.

This book would be useful for a younger audience, who happen to deal with some of the same issues the author faced, however a more adult audience will not find a lot of useful information here.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Oppression - A TBC Review


by Jessica Therrien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oppression is the first book in Jessica Therrien's Children of God's series. We meet the main character, Elyse and her friends and are taken into another world, which exists within ours. Elyse was led to believe her entire life that she had a rare genetic disease, inherited from her parents, which means that she ages more slowly than others. We enter her life when she is 89 years old, but still looks very much like a teenager.

Jessica Therrien has created a story which has all the elements for a modern young adult tale and then added her own stamp on this popular genre by giving Children of the Gods a Greek mythology flavour. We meet the descendants and their incredible powers, derived from the Greek Gods of old.

The story unfolds at a good pace, likeable main characters and despicable "baddies" battle and scheme for order. An intriguing first instalment, this book will leave any young reader wanting to pick up the story in the next book.

Will Elyse find her happy ever after? Will she fulfil the prophecy? I am sure I will enjoy book 2 as much as i did this one.

Part supernatural romance, part action, this book is sure to delight especially younger teenage girls.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Conspiracy of Ravens - A TBC Review

Conspiracy of Ravens 

by Robin Roughley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Conspiracy of Ravens

I received an ARC of this book from TBC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to both the author, Robin Roughley, and TBC for the opportunity to read this book.

I have not read previous books in the DS Lasser series, so to me, the first and most important observation was that this book can be read as a stand alone. There are references throughout to previous history and relationships between the characters, but this does in no way impact the understanding of how the plot develops and how the characters relate to each other.

In this book, DS Lasser and the team are called in to uncover what appears to be, at first glance, a suicide. However, it soon becomes evident that more sinister things are going on and the story picks up from there.

Pretty much from the first chapter, the body count goes up and up and up... there are so many bodies and people who are attached, it feels like a set of russian dolls being taken apart. While this makes for a fast paced plot, it also gives some sense of confusion and it was at times hard to remember who is who and why and how they were connected to the other characters. The story line is jam packed with bad guys, i really did not encounter one single person i could say i liked.

The police team seems to be somewhat dysfunctional and chaotic, which leads to quite a few blunders.. corruption at the highest level is rife. The main character does not seem to have many "likeable qualities" about him.

One thing that really did take away from my enjoyment of the book was the persistent use of profanity, it was not used to portray one character's personality, but peppered throughout. With foul language being used by everybody, from the detective to the most corrupt politician to the main "villain". For me, this took away from the story, rather than add anything meaningful.

If you don't mind strong language but like a fast paced, dark and violent read, then this is definitely going to be a good read.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Flowers For The Dead - A TBC Review

Flowers For The Dead

by Barbara Copperwaithe

Utterly twisted, satisfyingly shocking and brilliantly clever... those are first descriptions that came to my mind when I had finished Flowers For The Dead. 

To come across something unique in a genre that is so massively popular is always a special treat. In this book, Barbara Copperthwaite achieves this feat, she creates a new dimension to a classic theme. 

We all have read the books with the notorious serial killer, are filled with glee when our favourite DCI or even PI nails them and they are locked up for good. In Flowers For The Dead, be prepared to not feel this kind of triumph.

Adam is a guy with a big heart, when he loves, he gives his chosen his all. He showers her in gifts, looks after and makes her feel cherished, in summary, the perfect guy. His chosen, however, does not usually reciprocate in kind, which leaves Adam no choice but to kill her with kindness, literally. 
The book follows Adam on his latest love conquest, we meet Laura and get to know in chilling detail, how thorough Adam's attraction is and to what lengths he is prepared to go for his love. 

I felt outraged, mystified, shocked and felt a sympathy while getting to know Adam, the most likeable serial killer you will ever meet. 

Be prepared for the unexpected with this book. It is definitely a 5* read, it delivers on all aspects.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sophie's Throughway - A Netgalley Review

Sophie's Throughway

by Julie Smith

Sophie's Throughway follows the main character, Sophie, from the day she receives her son's ASD/PDA diagnosis through the ups and downs that follow such an event. Plenty of humour and wit make this book an enjoyable read. It will particularly appeal to those of us with young adults on the spectrum, as we can readily relate to some of the situations and decisions Sophie faces in her life. 
The book seemed somewhat "unfinished" to me. A lot of sidelines opened and were followed for a bit, leaving quite a few scenarios unfinished and almost forgotten. Part chicklit, part romance... I am not entirely sure which genre this book is supposed to fit into. 
The author created likeable characters, started off on interesting plot lines, but then they all seem to lead to dead or open ends. As this is quite a short book, it is hard to give specific examples without disclosing spoilers. 
When I came to the end of the book, I literally checked if there were more pages or I had a faulty download as it is so abrupt. 
Apart from those points though, this is an enjoyable, funny and witty quick read. Thank you to netgalley, the author and Troubador Publishing Ltd for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Missing Hours - A Netgalley Review

The missing hours

by Emma Kavanagh

I would like to  thank Netgalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone and the author for the opportunity to read and review The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh.

Selena Cole, a young mother of two and recently widowed woman, vanishes and a successful young lawyer is murdered. Leah and Finn, a brother and sister police duo, are called in to solve these two, seemingly unconnected, cases. 

This was a fascinating read, packed with very well developed characters, detailed locations and gripping insight into the secretive world of Kidnapping for Ransom; the reader is taken on a journey unlike any other. The story is told from different perspectives, in different voices. "Case files" give a glimpse into a world that I previously did not even know existed. The story weaves together, unexpected connections and disconnections keep the reader guessing right through to the end.

In The Missing Hours, Emma Kavanagh has created a crime thriller unlike any others I have read. The K&R background, coupled with the more familiar underworld of drugs and murder, give this book an edge over other new releases. It is rare to find a book that deals with something entirely new, but this book does just that. 

A solid 5* read for The Missing Hours. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

CXVI Desperate Measure - A TBC review

by Angie Smith

I was kindly given an ARC by the author and TBC in exchange for my feelings on reading this as a "standalone" book... i had not read the first two books in this series.
I have to admit that I feel it is impossible to read this book on its own, once you have followed Greg Woods and his friends (and foes) on this most intricately woven adventure, you will not be able to NOT want to read the first two books!
I loved how the story takes us from Northern England, via London to exotic locations. The action is fast paced and plots weave together to make for a fascinating read.
You will be drawn to the characters, who come to life and pull you into the story, and become invested in their fates.
The author finishes the series as it started: with a BOOM that will stay with you for quite some time.
Angie Smith created a story of action packed espionage, romance, intrigue and plotting. You WILL want to pick up the first two books written in the series.
As a standalone you easily pick up who is who and it is an enjoyable read, there is obviously history between the characters that is a bit "mysterious" and it is a bit unclear in the early stages of the book how some of them relate to each other. However, the further you progress into the plot, the more you uncover about the characters and how they came to be involved.
If you are looking for a complex international espionage thriller, I can highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Alpha Drive - Netgalley Review

The Alpha Drive

by Kristen Martin

The reader is taken to the year 2055, where half the world's population is living in an alternative reality, Dormance. Emery and her friends are experiencing life in Dormance and it is not until Emery leaves for boarding school that Torin, a young hacker on the outside, makes contact with her and both work together to wake up the world.

The concept and idea for the basis of the book are brilliant and novel. However, the author fails to build the characters and the world they live in. The reader is pretty much taken straight to the action and into the (often very intense and strange) friendships and relationships. You are not entirely sure which side is playing which and I am honestly still not 100% certain why or how "dormance" came about. The story touches on several obviously important things and then fails to explain this importance and relevance. I am hoping that the sequel will reveal more, not only about the characters themselves but also about the world they live in and how these items are connected. There is definitely huge potential here to build on this and to expand and get readers drawn in, but more details are needed.

Thank you to netgalley and the author for providing an ARC in exchange for honest feedback.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Girl In The Ice - Netgalley Review

The Girl In The Ice

by Robert Bryndza

Robert Bryndza ensures that DCI Erika Foster makes an entrance with style. A solid 4 1/2* read for me.
After suffering personal trauma, DCI Foster is called in to take charge of a London murder investigation. The daughter of an influential Labour peer and Lord of the house is found brutally murdered, in a remote location. DCI Foster has to overcome many obstacles and get a new team on board to solve this case.
The story easily flows, the pace at which events unfold keeps the reader engaged and interested. What appears to be, is not always what it is and the reader is lead along the many twists and turns of this intricate plot. How are the deaths of 3 young prostitutes, 1 "local character" and 1 young upper class  woman connected?
I am looking forward to see what case DCI Foster will solve next.
The only thing that slightly dampened my enjoyment of this book was the unnecessary use of a profanity several times. I am not referring to the "garden variety" swear word, but the heinous, vulgar one. While, in one instance, I could see it as a way to portray a character and the mannerisms, the other two uses were (in my opinion) unwarranted and took from the overall impression of the book rather than add.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ten Days - A Netgalley Review

Ten Days

by Gillian Slovo

In "Ten Days", Gillian Slovo takes the reader on a time-line to chaos. How does one death plunge a nation into violence and disobedience? A London in the not so distant future is the background for this chilling read. From the drudge of a local council estate to the fancy lifestyle of the British Politicians, the reader is taken along on an insightful journey of how a quest for answers from those at the top can lead to civil unrest. 
Anybody who witnessed the 2011 riots on Britain's streets, will recognize the scenes described, in brilliant detail, by the author. The fascinating thing about this book is that the author seems to answer the most burning questions anybody had at the time: How could this happen? Why did this happen? 
At times it was difficult to remember that this was a piece of fiction as Gillian Slovo does such a good job of transporting us back to the news headlines, the constant media loops we were all glued to, the vivid descriptions of the scenes the main characters were facing.
We follow the unfolding of the events from several different aspects, a resident on the council estate of where it all starts, a police officer and the new commissioner of the MET, the home secretary and the prime minister. 
The author manages to address a number of society's problems and ties these firmly into the foundations of the book's objective. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Soul Room - A TBC review

The Soul Room

by Corinna Edwards-Colledge 

A beautiful book and perfect holiday read. If you are lucky enough to be reading this at the pool in a sun drenched country, you will literally feel as though you stepped into the story. If you are reading this, like me, in the wet winter months of the UK, you will feel as though Corinna Edwards-Colledge has taken you on holiday. Detailed and very vivid descriptions of the beautiful Italian country side, coupled with a story line that sweeps you along at points and lets you gently float along at others make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Maddie has taken a summer job in Italy to work on a vineyard she has not visited since she was a small child. She has all but resigned herself to a life on her own when a young man enters her idyllic safe haven. Life has so much more in store for Maddie than she ever dreamed of.

A story full of loss, love, hope, life and the entirely unexpected. 

Thank you to the author and TBC for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Crochet 1 Skein Wonders for Babies - Netgalley Review

Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies: 101 Projects for Infants and Toddlers

by Judith Durant

This book contains a wealth of patterns, neatly organised into categories such as Hats &Caps, Socks & Booties, toys, clothes, useful items and blankets.
All patterns can be worked from one skein of wool, though attention should be given to the size.
The patterns are well written, easy to understand and follow and many also incorporate a diagram, however the individual patterns give no indication to the difficulty level of each item made.
The patterns provide a wide range of presents or useful things for new mums, aunts, grandmothers or friends to crochet.
Most patterns give varying size guides, and for those where no other sizes are explained, this could be worked out from the pattern.
The basic stitches and a very useful key to read diagrams are included in the back of the book for beginners or those who need a little reminder of how stitches are worked.
Beautiful photos, clear descriptions and instructions make this a valuable resource for anyone who wants to create items for babies and toddlers.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Dog, Ray - Netgalley Review

The Dog, Ray

by Linda Coggin

This is a lovely, gentle book for younger readers aged 10+. Even though this is a book for children, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the character developments and the relationships that evolve. This book is about love, relationships, life... and death and life AFTER death. 

Daisy is killed in a car accident, she finds herself being reborn as a puppy. A mix up at the "job centre" means that her memories remain. Narrated from Daisy's viewpoint as a puppy and dog, this is a heart-warming tale of hope, love and friendship.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Recognitions - A TBC Review


by Daniella I. Norris

Amelia finds herself a single, working mum at the age of 40 (and a bit). Feeling somewhat unsettled and dissatisfied with her life she seeks the help of a hypnotherapist to help her resolve these issues. A sceptic at first, she finds answers to her problems.
This book captured me on many levels. A unique story, four very different and seemingly unconnected lives turn out to be very intertwined. 
The characters are well built, I personally felt a strong connection to Noah,
 I found the insight into this character particularly fascinating. 
The book works on its own, but I am very pleased to learn that it is part of a trilogy and I hope we get to find out more about Adele and the young shaman's apprentice. 

I was kindly given an ARC via TBC Facebook group in order to provide an honest review.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Secret Muse - A TBC Review

A Secret Muse

by  Mandy Jackson-Beverly

This is most definitely a 4 1/2 * read. I loved how the story developed and the vivid pictures Mandy Jackson-Beverly paints with words.

CoCo, a young art professor, learns on her 32nd birthday, that her life so far isn't all she believed it to be. Once she embraces her family heritage, the story begins to unfold.

This book has all the elements we have come to love about fantasy novels, vampires, witches, warlocks, magic, attraction.. along with breathtaking scenery that takes the reader into the heart of Italy. The magic of paintings gives the story a fresh, new twist.

The only reason I rated it 4 1/2 * is the sheer amount of characters that we are introduced to and some more explicit language towards the end. The characters are well thought out and all relate to each other, but there are points where you have to remind yourself of who is who.

If you love "Discovery of wtiches", then this is a must read!
I was kindly given a free copy via TBC facebook group in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Crochet Stories: The Nutcracker - Netgalley Review

Crochet Stories: E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker

by Lindsay Smith 

This is another great addition to the "crochet story series" from Dover Publications.
Lindsay Smith brings to life the story of "The Nutcracker", a firm favourite with children and adults alike. A book that would make a perfect resource for educators and parents but equally exciting to lovers of fairytales and the nutcracker.

This book retells the story by introducing each character pattern with excerpts from the story.
Patterns are well written and easy to follow and understand. Plenty of high quality photos are provided to guide even the novice crocheter through the process of making up the patterns.
Material suggestions and a very useful Techniques section at the back will give all the information that make this book accessible to crocheters of all levels and experience.

The Red Notebook - Netgalley Review

The Red Notebook

by Antoine Lorrain

Antoine Laurain has created a perfect miniature with this book. At 160 pages short, this little book is an amazingly detailed and heart warming piece of literature.
When Laurent finds an abandoned handbag, he is compelled to find it's owner. All he has to go by is the contents of the bag, a red notebook, a set of keys, perfume and all the other delightful little trinkets us women like to carry in our bags. 
Despite this being a very short book, the author manages to set the scenes and backdrops perfectly, all characters you meet are well thought through and the story flows nicely from start to finish. The characters are all likeable and charming, the description of the locations transport you to Paris and the many idyllic little places in this most charming city of all. 
This is a gentle, romantic, Parisienne tale. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

The Walnut Tree - A TBC Review

The Walnut Tree

by Caroline Wedd

The Walnut Tree follows young journalist Carrie's experiences as "the twentieth century landgirl" for a year. As part of her budding journalist career, Carrie uses a chance encounter with a young farmer to write her own column in her hometown's newspaper. She learns hands-on farming work and important life lessons.
This was not a book I read in one sitting, it was more like a gentle stroll through the countryside. Caroline Wedd perfectly sets the surroundings and detailed descriptions of situations, threads used to tie together characters' experiences and some very tough topics, wrapped in a gentle soft narrative, made this a book that will stay with you. On the surface, this seems to be a straight forward novel about a young woman falling in love with a less than suitable (in her mother's view) young man. The book conveys the complexity of relationships, the depth of bonds and intensity of feelings beautifully. The pace picks up towards the end, you will find yourself gripped and entangled in Carrie's world and the people who live in it.
I was very pleased and excited to see that Caroline Wedd will share more of Carrie and Jon's story in a second book this year.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Crochet Stories: Grimm's Fairy Tales - A Netgalley Review

Crochet Stories: Grimm's Fairy Tales

by Vanessa Putt

I had the pleasure of receiving a netgalley ARC of Vanessa Putt's Crochet Stories: Grimm's Fairy Tales crochet patterns. Vanessa Putt has created a truly wonderful resource for parents, teachers, childminders and any other professional who works with children. This book is a wonderful teaching resource as the author beautifully combines traditional Fairytales with her well written, clear patterns. 
The five fairy tales this book is based on are a mixture between well known classics and a couple of lesser known, the "old english" maybe hard to understand by very young children.
The patterns are all well written, with clear photos. Vanessa Putt gives ideas on how to personalise each figure separately. Beginners should carefully read the initial introductions by the author and use the information at the beginning of the book as a stitch and reference guide. 
I particularly enjoyed the Gingerbreadhouse pattern, although not very demanding to work up the pattern, the beautiful colour choices and creativity that can be put into the decorations are wonderful.
More experienced crocheters may want to adapt some of the more basic patterns, as these are straight forward amigurumis, this can easily be done. 

All in all this is a beautiful collection of patterns, with a new twist that will be a pleasure to have for many amigurumi enthusiasts. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Shtum - A TBC Review

Shtum by Jem Lester

One of the best reads I have encountered in years! I was very excited to be given a free copy of this amazing book and to read an advance. I started reading Shtum late on Monday night, as I kept turning the pages, got more drawn into the story of Ben, Emma, Jonah and George, I found myself almost unable to stop. Ben and Emma's 10 year old son is profoundly autistic. In a bid to secure a suitable residential school place for Jonah, Ben and Emma separate. This leaves Ben and Jonah in a position that finds them both moving in with Ben's elderly father, George. 
As a mother of two autistic sons, I related right from the first few pages with the struggle Ben and Emma were facing. Having battled the local education authority twice myself, I could understand the desperation, the exhaustion and the turmoil this alone brings to a family. At times I found myself wanting to strangle the main characters, Ben evolved from a doting, loving father to a self pitying, heavily drinking and irritating person and I felt some sympathy for Emma. However, as the relationship between George, Jonah and Ben develops and little glimpses into Ben's past as well as George's emerge, my outlook on Ben changed again.
If all of this was not enough to take us readers on to an emotional rollercoaster ride, we then discover that this book is like a kinderegg.. you are treated to a story within the story. 
As a German national, whose grandfather was executed as a sympathizer to Jews,  George's own story had me gripped.
Jem Lester has written a book unlike any other I have ever read (I know bookreads says i read 246 but believe me, I have read more than that). It touches on two topics close to my heart: autism and the plight of the jewish population during the second world war. The story is well written, the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the pace at which new background information is revealed, all make for a gripping book. You will not be able to tear yourself away, you will want to know "what happens next" and "what happened THEN". 
The life lessons Ben and Emma are taught will stay with you, the reader, too. I don't think I will forget this book in a very long time.