Book Reviews

Book Review: The Flat Share By Beth O’Leary

 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast.
Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash.

Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

I confess when my daughter first told me to read this, I resisted. I tend to avoid books where there seems to be lot of hype about it, mainly because they tend to let you down, but this one did the opposite, it far exceeded my expectations.

Yes, it is chick lit. but the characters written are not only realistic but also likeable, you find yourself rooting for them and rooting for that happy ending. I have to admit personally the idea of sharing a flat this way would terrify me in real life, yet in this modern world, where housing costs are increasingly expensive, shared houses and flats are becoming the norm for some people, especially for students and young single professionals. This makes the ideas behind this book even more intriguing, I loved the idea of leaving the hand written notes rather than just text messages, it provides a contrast against the ‘real’ lives of Tiffy and Leon. 

If you haven’t already guessed I totally recommend this book and you can grab your self a copy in your local bookshop or via amazon.

I give this 5 out of five stars along with thousands of others.

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Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review: The Murder Game By Rachel Abbott

That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget.

The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore.

Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget.

But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth.

Jemma believes she and Matt know nothing about what happened to that woman… but what if she’s wrong? Before you play a deadly game, make sure you can pay the price…

From the four-million-copy bestselling author of Sleep Tight comes a psychological thriller that will have you gripped until the last page. Perfect for fans of Something in the Water, The Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient.

I got this book via Bookbub I have a feeling I paid 99p for it, the title and the blurb just caught my attention and I decided to give it a go. Although Amazon and Goodreads list it as the second book in a series it honestly, felt like it could be read as a standalone, I haven’t read the first one and the detective whose series it is part of does not play a major role in this story until the last few chapters.

This book is about secrets, desire, and betrayal, and I loved it. The first part of the book is told from the point of view of the outsider in this group of friends, the one who married into the group and has no idea of their hidden past, a past where it seems everyone has something to hide.

Normally, I get who the murderer is half way through the book, and yes in this I did get one person right but I did not get the whole picture, there are twists and turns aplenty as you unravel what different characters are trying to hide.

I highly recommend this book and it is very reasonably priced so if you want to grab a copy try here.

I give this book five out of 5 stars.

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Book Reviews

Book Review – Shadows in the Mind by Hemmie Martin

 

 

The death of a patient in a psychiatric unit leads DI Eva Wednesday closer to the world she’s been trying to avoid. Attempting to separate paranoid emotions from reality proves challenging, and having her mother in the unit adds another layer of complication. As Wednesday begins to put the pieces of her case together, she is compelled to hold on tightly to her own sanity as the lives of those around her unravel before her eyes.

The next book in the DI Eva Wednesday series and this one is a little more personal. My grandma had dementia so it really hit home in the way her mum’s deterioration progresses, and the impact this has on all the other family as they fight to come to terms with it and the fact that it may also be waiting in their own future.

The author does a brilliant job of balancing the home/work life balance and how it is impossible for one not to impact on the other, no matter how hard you work to keep them separate. My only grip is that occasionally the intricacies of the different characters issues did lead me to having to flip back a page or two, to double check that I hadn’t missed something but I think that sometimes reading during lockdown my mind does wander,

The only other negative I have is that I wish Hemmie would number the books on Amazon, I know there are a couple more books I need but I want to buy them direct and have them signed like the ones I already have but for the rest of you you can find Hemmie’s books here

I love this series and hope that book signings will resume soon so I can see Hemmie again and complete my collection but in the meantime I give this book 5 out of five stars.

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Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh

 

The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.

Hollywood actor Robert Soloman stands accused of the brutal stabbings of his wife and her lover, but he is desperately pleading that he had nothing to do with it. This is the trial of the century, and the defence want Eddie Flynn on their team.

The biggest case Eddie has ever tried before, he decides to take it on despite the overwhelming evidence that Robert is guilty. As the trial starts, Eddie becomes sure of Robert’s innocence, but there’s something else he is even more sure of – that there is something sinister going on in the jury box.

Because of this, he is forced to ask: what if the killer isn’t on the stand? What if he’s on the jury?

There are very few crime books where I get to the end before I am sure who did it but this was one.

This was a great read on many levels, you have the dynamics of the crime itself but on top of that there is the complexities of human interactions and emotions within the jury. I have never sat on a jury, and obviously those I know who have cannot talk about it, but I can imagine that on a longer case it might be normal for relationships of one nature or another to develop between jurors, likewise there would be some who would really wind you up. It is the dynamics of these interactions which draw you in to this cleverly crafted book.

As it is a well known book I don’t think I need to say much more but I will give it five out of five star.

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Book Reviews

Book Review – The Hunted And Other Twisted Tales By Paul J Kearns.

The Hunted and other Twisted Tales is an anthology.

The titular story, The Hunted, tells of two young vampires caught in a mortal battle with an ancient werewolf. They will have to use all their abilities to try and outsmart an enemy who is far superior to them in every aspect.

Within the other pages of the book you will find six more short stories crossing genres of horror, action and dark fantasy. They have a running theme of supernatural transformation and supernatural beings beyond the realm human of human understanding.

With elements of gore and dark humour these stories are not intender for the faint of heart.

This is a book that has me divided because I actually enjoyed the stories, my favourite and one I highly recommend is In The Basement, but I have to be honest I hated the actual book itself. So, let’s take this one bit at a time.

The stories themselves are well crafted and had some interesting plot twists, I liked them enough to have a favourite, as mentioned previously, and I would highly recommend this as a book to read on kindle.

Here is where it gets tricky, and I feel bad. I like the cover, black, white, and read classic horror colours and fangs, of course, leave you in no doubt what you are about to get, I did remind me of Hammer House of Horror, and some people might think it looks a little dated and simple but for me it was okay.

The problems start when you open the book and are met by stark white sheets rather than cream (a mistake I made when I first published Disintegration. and one that I have to confess I am stuck with as Amazon does not allow you to change). This is something that is part of the learning curve, the next bit is a personal bugbear of mine, if you are going to publish an anthology or short story collection you need to put in a contents page. I know it is not a long book and I did read it in one session, but it is still something I would expect to see.

Now, the next thing is something that I was also guilty of when I first published but have since gone back and remedied, and that is that the text has not been justified, when you do the copy for Kindle it doesn’t matter their software does it for you, but once you put it into the print form you really should, it just looks so much better and more professional. And again you could say that does not matter but when you are competing against so many other books you have to present your work as best you can, which brings me to the final thing, the editing.

Throughout the book it is just too inconsistent, one paragraph is indented then the next half a dozen are not, speech seems to be indented the majority of the time. I am not going to say it stopped me wanting to read the book but several times when I had to put it down it made it hard to find my place again which annoyed me.

All the issues are so easy to fix (except the white paper he is stuck with that) he just needs to find to find someone to help him with the editing or proofreading just to point things out, something we all needed when beginning our writing journey. I really hope he does find someone to help him because he has real talent with the writing side of things, and that he is not too upset when he reads this.

Because of the issues I have to give this book 3.5 out of five stars if it was edited properly there would be an extra full star there, but please consider reading this on your kindle as I say the stories are actually good.

If you want to find out more about Paul you can find him here.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review Super Mum? By Stacey Broadbent

This is not my usual type of book but I picked it up at a signing after meeting the author.

Have you ever had to repaint an entire room because your daughter likes to draw on walls? Only to have her draw on the new paint within a matter of days?
I have.

Have you ever had to scrub another person’s bathroom because your other daughter didn’t quite make it in time, and thought the best idea was to smear it on the walls and toilet seat?
I have.

All I ever wanted was to be a mum.
Turns out, it’s not quite what I imagined it to be. I’m not that perfectly dressed, refined mother who’s always portrayed on TV.
No. That’s not me.
I make mistakes. My children aren’t perfect. In fact, they can be downright devilish at times.

And I have three of them. Three!

What the hell was I thinking?

This is a crazy story of the desire for child number four, even though hubby is not quite on the same page. I have two kids fifteen years apart so I cannot imagine the craziness three, and that is from someone who is the oldest of five kids, but I think it was easier when there were less demands from social media to be the perfect parent.

The author takes you through a few weeks in her life, the book cover is illustrated by her son so it truly is a family enterprise and is a fun easy read. I think anyone with kids will recognise elements in this book I know a few times I laughed out loud knowing I had been in a similar position.

It is a quick read but I still give it a five out of five stars for making me laugh.

If you want to find out more about her books you can find her here

Audiobook Reviews · Book Reviews

Book Review – The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza

 

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

I started reading this in print form but then swapped to listening to it on audiobook, and I have to say this book really lends itself to that format really well. I love that the main character in this book is a flawed female, she is not ‘strong’ she is human, she can be strong but she also is broken and vulnerable, that makes her more relatable than some of the strong female characters you often find in police procedurals.

The overall story line is good, and plays with the idea that if you have enough money you can get away with anything, the characters are well written, as are the descriptive passages, you can visualise the scenes set for you.

Because I did listen to it on audio book I do have to also comment on the fact that the narrator nailed it, I completely loved her voice and the way she told the story.

I am so far behind and writing these reviews he has written a full series and is onto a second crime thriller series, and I am going to be honest I was unsure what to expect from this book when I first read it when it came out. I have read and loved Robert’s Romcom series following the exploits Coco Pinchard but I think it may be fair to say that he has now found his true genre.

I give this an outstanding 5 out of five stars and highly recommend checking this series out.

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Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Plan By Whitney Dineen

Bead shop owner Amelia Frothingham has been keeping a secret from everyone she knows.

She pretends to be the ultimate care-free bohemian chick, but the truth is, she’s the world’s biggest control freak. Much to the delight of her Southern family, Amelia’s life appears to be smooth sailing. That is, until bad boy rockstar Huck Wiley mysteriously blows into town like a spring tornado.

Like every other woman under eighty with a pulse, Amelia’s intrigued. So when Huck starts showing up in her shop with flirtation in mind, she finds herself getting sucked into the rock god vortex. But her previous attempts at long-distance love have always ended on a sour note, so Amelia has vowed never to repeat the experience.

What Amelia doesn’t know is that Huck has a secret of his own, and he has no intention of returning to Los Angeles before he’s good and ready.

Will Huck stay in town, scattering the beads Amelia has finally gotten sorted? Or will he head back to his glamorous life and take her last chance at spontaneity and love along with him?

Find out in this deliciously funny romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!

I grabbed this book as a freebie via bookbub and I sort of wish I had come across it another way. The book is the third in the series and, although it can be read as a standalone, the fact is, once you have read it there is not a lot of point in going back to read the others. As they are all interconnected around one family so by starting at book three you know the outcomes of book one and two, but I will confess to going on and reading book four, and I will be reviewing that at a later date.

I loved the characters and even though it is set in a small town the author manages to ensure there is a real diversity both amongst the local and those who are introduced in this story. This is a clean romance so for those who like things dark and steamy, you should probably give it a miss. but overall an enjoyable story.

I give this four out of five stars, partly for annoying me by giving book three away free instead of book one but also I would have just liked a little bit more interaction between some of the characters.

6. Saturday · So it's Saturday

Weekly Round Up -Saturday 2nd January 2021

Podcasts

I have let my back catalogue of podcasts build up lately, and especially in December, apart from listening to one or two that you have heard about before I had been letting others slide but this week I began listening to some I am way behind on starting with Court Junkie. As you know if you have read these before I love true crime and this one looks at the on going court cases and their back stories. You can listen for yourself here.

Music

I have been listening to more music and especially the latest Kylie album Disco, I am also working on the Spotify playlist for the book I am working on, so far it is a mix of 80’s pop and dance music but am sure there will be some more steamy tunes getting added as the book progresses.

This Kylie tune is on there and is also my ring tone…

Reading

I have been reading lots of dark romances and fluffy love stories the last few months, billionaires, mafia bosses, and gangsters, lots however, have also had strong female characters. I would like to palm this off as research but the truth is I have wanted quick easy reads that don’t require too much thought, but I have also been listening to the new Robert Bryndza series on audio book, I finished book one and loved it and am two thirds of the way through the second, I do need to go back and finish the first police series he wrote too. you can find the new series here on Amazon in all formats and I will be reviewing it.

Watching – TV

I haven’t watched much normal TV over the festive period this year but the one thing I know you are expecting me to post about is Doctor Who however, that is sat on TV waiting to be watched this evening, the only other programme on a normal channel I have been watching is All Elite Wresting, I have always said that Pro Wrestling shows are the best soaps around, this week sadly they have been mourning the passing of one of their stars so this clip is a week older.

Watching – Film

As I mentioned with books I have been reading lots of romance and the same goes for films, I have been watching lots of Rom Coms that do not require a lot of concentration my favourite of these was The Holiday with Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, the idea of a house swap is both appealing and terrifying, I would love to stay in someone else’s house but hate them being in mine going through my stuff and judging me lol. I know a lot of people will have seen this film years ago but just in case here is the trailer…

 

Watching – Netflix

The Netflix pic for this week is a festive Rom Com, it is of of the multitude of festive films I have watched but this made me laugh the most…

 

Don’t forget to leave your recommendations for what to watch or listen to in the comments below.