Before I say anything else, I must comment on how wonderfully Christmassy that cover is! It's glittery and just lovely! Definitely has that stand out factor with some of the other Christmas covers out there.
Anyway onto the book itself. I had previously read Rosie's debut How to Get a (Love) Life and really enjoyed it's lightheartness, so was eager to read Rosie's next book.
How to Stuff Up Christmas is again a very enjoyable, lighthearted (although sad in places) story that once again had me laughing and gave me a form of escapism. Eve is also looking for an escape, her now ex-boyfriend Liam cheated on her and Eve doesn't want to be around at Christmas with all the memories of last year. Eve decides to get away from it all by going on a pottery course over Christmas in Pangbourne and ends up staying in a gorgeous little houseboat. But Eve might be in for an unexpected surprise this Christmas.
The village of Pangbourne and the boat that Eve stays on, sounded so picturesque and idyllic. I may not live in a city as such, but I would love to live in a village that of Pangbourne where everyone knows each other by site and is peaceful and tranquil- apart from the geese you come across. Eve is a lovely character and I do feel sorry for her at times, but she also frustrated me when it came to Greg. I think I say this for many novels like it, I just want to shake her (gently) and tell her to listen to her heart and not her head. If this didn't happen though then we wouldn't get the funny story that is How to Stuff Up Christmas, so frustrations aside, Eve makes this a joy to read. As with every chick lit/romance story, there is a little bit of predictability, but this never deters me as the story is always still enjoyable.
I loved the little recipes throughout the book and how they featured in each chapter. Eve's sudden penchant for cooking has made me want to pick up on my culinary skills (I say that lightly). It was a lovely added extra.
Another wonderful, funny and lighthearted read to read this Christmas from Rosie and I look forward to her next story. ...more
I think I can safely go ahead and say that out of all of Abby Clements books I have read, The Winter Wedding is my favourite.
The story starts with a lovely prologue of Hazel and her twin Lila and a little background into their story. Chapter one then starts from present day and I already knew I was going to love this story.
Abby always creates characters that you can easily build an affinity with. I really and genuinely liked the main character Hazel. She always puts others before herself and her unconditional love for her twin sister Lila is palpable. She does seem to pull the short straw in places and I think this is why I felt a connection with her as a character as things don't always go the way as planned.
As with all of Abby's books they are just so easy to get into and once again I found myself finishing this a lot quicker than I thought I would. They are fast-paced but not in the sense of any major drama or action, just a brilliant, true-to-life story that you can easily get swept up in.
I was particularly enthralled with Hazel's wedding preparations for her sister and her other clients and the lead up to the big day. And of course where Hazel's own love life was going to go. I really did not know where this story was going to take me as there was lots of unexpected little twists and turns throughout.
Full of festiveness and of course romance of all kinds, this was a joy to read this Christmas....more
Follow Me was a highly anticipated read of mine this year as it just sounded so different from other thrillers that I have read, but still manage to be very current and up-to-date with today's world.
This is a brilliant modern day thriller that has a unique take on the social media obsessed of us today. This is what mainly had me so fascinated to read this, as despite social media being so prevalent in what we do in our day to day lives, I had not come across a novel that actually had it as the main focus and a murder focus at that!
I love a thriller that keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing and Angela Clarke really delivers here. Not once will you have any idea of what is going to happen. Follow Me is so fast paced and action packed, you don't have time to really sit back and think about who the murderer could be. Dubbed the #Hashtagmurderer, it really is a race against time to catch them, before they claim their next victim. With only cryptic clues from the #hashtagmurderer's own twitter account to go on, the jubilee police force have their work cut out, and it only seems to be Freddie Venton, wannabe big time journalist that is taking these tweets seriously. Drafted in as their Social Media Advisor after being in her right place at the right time to get her big story and wanting to avoid police charges, Freddie has her work cut out to convince the police to listen to her.
Leading on from Freddie, Angela has created some seriously punchy characters and two great female leads, Nasreen and of course Freddie. I was so intrigued by their mysterious side story and what it was there did all those years ago, especially with them being complete opposites of each other. Her writing is so engaging and fast moving, you will literally find yourself racing through. I managed to read this in a few hours, it was that compelling.
There were a couple of things that I did find slightly unrealistic in a case like this, like the police not having much of an idea about social media- well I would hope they do realistically, but this was just a small niggling thing and it didn't detract from the overall story. Follow Me still had an enthralling premise and scarily probably not far from the truth of what could happen, with a hashtag murderer on the loose! Definitely made me think about what I say online and who is following me!
Full of hidden agendas and lots of mystery around the central characters, this is a very dark and cryptic tale that will easily keep you on the edge of your seat and constantly guessing....more
Where do I even begin to describe how much I adored Every Time a Bell Rings?! Inspired by the beautiful film that is It's a Wonderful Life, comes the story of Belle, who has to make the hardest decision of her life on the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin.
I may still have a few Christmas books to read but I think it is safe to say that Every Time a Bell Rings has become my all time favourite Christmas story. I simply fell in love with everything about this, from the characters to the setting, to the wonderful message I took away.
Carmel never fails to create characters that you instantly build a rapport with. Belle felt so real, I could easily imagine her living down the road from me and her story is just so heartbreaking that I wanted to be there for her. You get to know her so closely as the story flicks back and forth between present day and Belle growing up and going through foster care- a span of 17 years. Then there is of course Jim, ah Jim the big ride as he is referred to in this story and the relationship that he has with Belle over the years. Both originally met in foster care under the wonderful woman that is Tess, I loved reading about them all and again felt like I knew them. Ah I could go on but really don't want to spoil this beautiful story.
Despite it's heartache in places, I enjoyed reading this so much. It still managed to have that Christmassy feel and it literally warmed the cockles of my own heart. I am also a sucker for anything magical and magical this story was! I have never feel so many different emotions and get so wrapped up in a story as much as I do Carmel's. She is without a doubt one of my favourite authors.
As with the story, It's A Wonderful Life (if you haven't then you must!) you come away feeling that life is not so bad after all, just that sometimes you need to look at things a little differently to truly appreciate what you've got.
A stunning, heartwrenching but heartwarming read that you must must must read this Christmas!...more
I have literally wanted to read ALL the Christmas books this year, so when I saw the gorgeous cover for Lily and the Christmas Wish, I could not wait to pick this up.
This is such a cute, magical story that I picked up and then realised I had finished it within 2 hours. Lily and the Christmas Wish is a great read for all ages and the fact that I finished this so quickly, shows you how easily it was to get lost in this gorgeous little story.
Keris Stanton transports us to the wonderful little village of Pinewood at Christmas time, with shops like Kates Kakes and of course wonderful characters. Lily and her brother James are so sweet and don't get me started on Bug the Pug! I desperately want a talking pug now.
I think what really stood out for me whilst reading this was how it managed to be diverse in it's story telling, that I found very refreshing.
A wonderful, magical short story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Christmas time....more
If like me, you read A Place for Us at the beginning of this year- my goodness time flies!- and loved it as much as I did, then you will delighted that this is a short story revisit to all those wonderful and eclectic characters at the enchanting place that is Winterfold. You could read it as a stand alone, but a lot of it would not make 100% sense, so read A Place for Us first.
I remember there being a couple of loose ends at the end of A Place for Us, nothing major, but would have liked them to be tied off nicely, so delightfully, A Winterfold Christmas does tie up these loose ends very nicely and I got a real sense of satisfaction knowing how everything feel into place. Although short, A Winterfold Christmas was a delight to read and it was so lovely to revisit all of the old characters in their lead up to Christmas and see where they were one year on.
Overall another, lovely short and festive read from the loveliness that is Harriet Evans....more
It's really getting to that time of year now where I just want to immerse myself in Christmas books, so naturally I could not wait to settle down with Judy Astley's A Merry Mistletoe Wedding.
If you are thinking that that book title rings a bell, then like me you should be thrilled to know that this is a follow up story from It Must have been the Mistletoe. I loved that first story so was looking forward to getting to meet some familiar characters again. It didn't take long for me to be reminded of where we were left from the last book and I had a real hankering to re-read the first book in the series.
This time round Sean and Thea are getting married and they want it to be on Christmas Day. They just want something simple, but as is life things are never that simple...
A multi-narrated book, which I love, it was wonderful to get to know all the characters from the previous book again and see where they were nearly one year on. I felt I had been taken back into the family fold. As with the last book, there were some characters that I liked more than others, but one character from the last book made me change my opinion of her, which was a surprise to me! Judy deals with some really delicate issues in this book such as past relationships, post natal depression, moving house and sibling disputes. They are all covered equally, and spoken about in a sensitive way and of course each character is going through something different.
Although Christmas is referenced to a lot in this and there is a big run up to it with the book starting in August all the way through to December, I still think I would have liked a bit more of a focus around the season, but that was not to say that it wasn't enjoyable.
Once again another cosy, warm read from Judy and make sure you grab the first one in this two book series- it will not disappoint....more
Detective crime novels are not always my go-to-place for a read as usually prefer books slightly less sinister, but Leigh Russell's peaked my interest so decided I was going to get stuck in.
This was actually pretty brilliant as crime novels go. Part of the Ian Peterson Murder Investigation series, Blood Axe can still be read as a stand-alone and I know this as this is my first Ian Peterson read. It works because every murder investigation is different, making each book a whole different story. In this case there is a brutal axe murderer on the loose and time is running out as ever before the murderer strikes again.
Blood Axe is such a convincing crime novel. Leigh writes with fantastic attention to detail that you can easily imagine it happening on a real crime investigation. I think this is what made the story so compelling as it felt realistic, it was also clear and understandable for those of us not privy to the inner workings of these investigations.
What I also liked about Blood Axe was that the detective wasn't your stereotypical moody guy who drinks a lot. Yes he has some home problems, but I was pleased to see that this wasn't the central focus of the book. I found then that I actually liked Ian. I was on his side the whole way through and wanted things to work in his favour. This was so refreshing compared to other crime novels that I have read.
Another thing that usually puts me off these types of novels is that they can be pretty predictable, but not Blood Axe. Leigh very cleverly and totally misleads the reader. I will be very surprised if any one managed to guess who the culprit was before the end.
So my verdict for my first Ian Peterson novel, pretty impressed. Blood Axe is definitely one of the most unpredictable crime novels I have read to date. Gripping and realistic in its delivery, you will speed through this....more
I read Jennifer's first full length novel A Beginner's Guide to Salad all the way back in January 2014 and absolutely loved it. So when I saw that she had released a Christmas book called The Mince Pie Mix-Up I was super keen to read.
This is one of the best Christmas reads I have read this year! It was festive throughout the story, unlike some 'Christmas' books that only hint at Christmas and it was a joy to read.
If you like Freaky Friday just as much as I do, or just like it, then I cannot recommend The Mince Pie Mix-Up enough. The difference in the story with this one is it is husband and wife Judy and Calvin who do the body swapping and is of course centred around Christmas time and what ensues is a hilarious, feel good story. It maybe the same concept as Freaky Friday, but it very much stood out as a story on its own and it was all down to a very strange dream and eating some burnt mince pies!
This was one of those stories that I just could not wait to get back into once I got home from work. I genuinely felt all warm and toasty whilst reading this. Jennifer has a brilliant knack at creating characters that you can really empathise with in one way or another and feeling that you are part of the family by the end. She also makes it very funny and light-hearted, I was laughing away quite a lot through this.
There is of course, like with stories similar to this, a wonderful message to take away from it and it is a perfect message to tie in with Christmas. I know I took a few lessons from this, the obvious one of them being that you don't know what it's like to be in someone else's shoes until you are!
I really could go on and on about this wonderful story, but I don't want to give anymore away. If you are looking for a really feel good, festive Christmas read then The Mince Pie Mix-Up is definitely one for your reading pile this Christmas....more
I am a big fan of Rachel Joyce's stories, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry being my favourite, so I obviously could not wait to dive into A Snow Garden and other short Chrismassy stories. You only have to take one look at this absolutely stunning cover to want to pick this up and read it,
A Snow Garden and other stories is a collection of seven short stories that start just before Christmas and lead up to the new year. Although these stories are all separate, they are all linked by something, which somehow made them feel extra special and almost like a full length novel. I adored how these stories entertwined with one another and how they are centred around Christmas and New Year.
What never fails to amaze me is how Rachel manages to convey emotions into words, it is rare that you will meet a bunch of characters and know exactly how what they are thinking and feeling. There is always a raw edge to Rachel's characters and even though we only meet some of them briefly, you will feel like you know them as friends and be able to relate to them in some way. Although these stories have a melancholy feel around the festive period, they still manage to leave you feeling uplifted as each story has a wonderful little message to take away. Rachel just has this ability to transport you into a story no matter how short and she leaves you with a cosy, warm feeling at the end.
I actually read one of the short stories, A Faraway Smell of Lemon last year, but was delighted to see it put in with this wonderful collection of short stories. It was a treat to be reintroduced to some old characters and one story that is linked to Harold Fry.
Beautifully told, the only thing I have left to say is to go and pick this book up and read it for yourself. It will also make for a perfect festive gift....more
As I am sure I say with every Trisha Ashley book I read, Trisha is one of my all time favourite authors ever since I read her book The Twelve Days of Christmas, all the way back in 2010. And it is still my most favourite of all her stories. But that isn't to say that I don't love all her other books and I quite honestly adored A Christmas Cracker. I feel like I've been waiting ages for this book to come out as I just could not wait to read it. You just have to look at the iconic Trisha book cover to want to pick it up and this one was even more stunning than the last with sparkly bits included.
Trisha's books always genuinely make me feel all warm and cosy. Every time I dip into one of her stories I have this longing to move to Lancashire. She just makes it sound so idyllic and peaceful. Each chapter is headed with a brilliantly cheesy/bad Christmas joke, which I loved and thought was a brilliant start to each chapter and kept me in the festive mood.
A Christmas Cracker has another instantly likeable and level headed character called Tabby. Tabby gets framed for a crime she didn't commit and finds herself in prison, jobless and without a fiancée. Tabby's outlook doesn't look good, that is until a guardian angel in the form of Mercy appears asking her to help out with her failing cracker business. Together they hope to save Marwood's Magical Christmas Crackers, but Mercy's nephew Randal doesn't trust Tabby as far as he could throw her. Stubborn and hard to work with, Tabby's future unfortunately rests on winning him round. They do however say that miracles happen at Christmas.
Once again with Trisha's books I was very quickly swept up in Tabby's story and quite an unusual story at that, which made it all the more enjoyable. All the characters very quickly felt like old friends (apart from the mean ones!) and every evening after work, I couldn't wait to get all cosy and settle down with Trisha's book.
I always have this idyllic vision of moving up to Lancashire when I read Trisha's stories. A lot of her stories are set here and I love how she refers back to characters and shops from her previous books. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was that two of the characters from The Twelve Dates of Christmas made an appearance!
Another brilliant book from Trisha that I heartily recommend....more
The Secrets of The Wild Wood is the long awaited sequel to The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt and I was so pleased to see the return of Tiuri, Piak and lots of other familiar faces. This story continues as to what happened in the aftermath of Tirui delivering the important letter to the King. One of his knights has gone missing after being sent on a mission to The Wild Wood, which is thought to be enchanted and very few people venture there. Now Tiuri with his new squire Piak are on their next mission to find the missing knight and go on an adventure even more perilous before.
As with the first book in this wonderful two part series, I really wish I had read this as a child as it just has everything you could possibly want from a children's book. There's action, adventure, knights, and the fight over evil, but of course it can be enjoyed as an adult as well.
This book seemed to read as bit older than the previous one and was a little more serious, but this didn't detract from my enjoyment of it, and made for better reading as an adult.
I do love this world that Tonke has created from her imagination, it was wonderful to escape into this world and her descriptions manage to make you picture it so clearly and feel as if you are right there amongst the action. The characters as well make the story all the more engaging with their camaraderie and true friendship for one another. You also never know which way the story is going to go and where Tiuri will end up this time.
Another brilliant sequel to The Letter for the King with more at stake and the battle for good versus evil....more
I recently was very fortunate to be able to go to the Harry Potter Warner Brother's Studio Tour and get to see some behind the scenes props and the making behind the Harry Potter films. It was here that I saw this book and others and I can't believe I did not know that these existed, so a big thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy.
If you are like me a die-hard Harry Potter fan, then you will need this book in your life. The Character Vault, like the Warner Brother's Studio Tour gives you behind the scenes information into each of the main characters in the Harry Potter films. This is everything from their clothes, appearances, their wands to how the actors and actresses got the part and their input into the costumes. It also tells us where the ideas for the costumes came from and how the props and costumes evolved as the films progressed.
There are also three additional extras that pull out, one being a little booklet of the Deatheater masks, the members of the Order of the Phoenix and the Deatheaters. These were great little extras that came with the book.
Bearing in mind the first film came out nearly 15 years ago, this book gives you some behind the scenes info that I literally had no idea about. There was one piece of information about the actor Matthew Lewis who plays Neville Longbottom that blew my mind! I am actually shocked that I did not even realise this information. So I guess the one thing that I will say with this is that is does obviously reveal how things were done, so if you don't want to spoil any of the magic of the illusion the films create, you have been warned. But to all those Harry Potter superfans, this is not a book to be missed.
This was a fascinating and beautiful book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and now have a serious hankering to re-watch the films again....more
Despite my grumble about the synopsis of this giving TOO much away, this was another fast-paced gripping instalment for the Lone City trilogy.
The Jewel had left us with an incredible cliffhanger that had me racing to start book two, which thankfully I was able to do as I started this series late and I literally raced through book two. It was another unputdownable story.
The White Rose answers a few of the questions that we had from book one and a lot more became clearer. We also get more background into some of the key characters and it seems that no one is safe in the Lone City. I must admit there was one revelation that left me feeling a tiny bit underwhelmed. I think I was expecting something bigger and the pace of the story did slow a bit. However it very quickly picked up as well as the action, so not all was lost.
I think what makes this story so all consuming is the characters. They each have their own struggles and very definitive personality traits that you can't help but build a natural affinity with them. The relationships between them just feel so real and almost palpable. There are strong emotions between them and you know they would do anything for one another. They are basically just irresistible.
True to form, we are left yet again with an OMG I need to read the next book now cliffhanger. I HAVE to find out what is going to happen next. BUT I have to wait until next year! Argh this is going to be hard, especially as last time I had the luxury of diving straight into the second book.
But all is not entirely lost, if you don't know already there is a short novella called The House of the Stone out now (it was out before book two, but just in case you didn't know). This is written in Raven's point of view, which I have of course already read and will have a review for soon.
Another taut, fast paced, riveting instalment from Amy Ewing, that will literally have you begging for more....more
Every now and then a book comes along that I literally cannot get out of my head. A book that creates a world that all consumes me and has me desperate to find out what will happen next, and that is exactly what I found with the Jewel.
Violet is on the cusp of losing her identity, tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, ready to be auctioned off to the highest bidder to become a surrogate. Violet is about to experience first-hand the very real cruelty of The Jewel. Dystopyian novels are one of my favourite genres- I have read a LOT of them, so it takes quite a lot for a book of this type to really grab my attention and not make me think that this is too similar to what I have read before, but not with The Jewel, this manages to be unique in its story delivery and it's unpredictability. The Jewel is a fascinating, yet brutal and in places horrifying read. There are no rose-tinted glasses whilst you are reading this, and one particular scene made my toes curl. But this did not stop me from reading on. I don't know how Amy does it but nothing about this story is predictable. It is literally on the edge of your seat reading.
This trilogy is literally my new obsession. I was actually so pleased I took so long to start reading this series as book two was out already and a novella, which I am reading as I write this. It meant that I could start book two straight away. It has been ages since I started a book series and immediately had to start the second one.
For me this book really is up there with The Hunger Games and the Slated trilogy by Teri Terry, not because they are similar, but because the anticipation in finding out what is going to happen next is so great.
Amy has created a fantastically compelling and page-turning story that will sweep you up in it's entirety and leave very little room for thoughts of anything else....more
Out of all of Lisa's books, hands down, The Twelve Dates of Christmas is my ALL time favourite of hers. It has everything you could want from a Christmas book. It's light-hearted, it's funny, it's cosy and it literally has the ability to feel all Christmassy and festive no matter what month of the year it is! The Twelve Dates of Christmas was originally released as a 6 part ebook series back in 2013 and I got up to date 6 before my Kobo went kaput and guttingly I couldn't read any further :( but two years on and the absolutely gorgeous paperback version as come out and I was able to get all cosy and festive reading it. The story put simply is about Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas and it is hilarious to read some of dates that she goes on. Claudia is just one of those characters that you can't help but adore and her friends Nick and Penny are equally adorable. Characters I have added to my best fictional friends list (you can have book boyfriends so why not book friends lol).
What really stood out the most for me about this book as it is a Christmassy book that properly made me feel festive. Everything that makes you think of Christmas is referenced at almost every opportunity and it was blooming marvellous. Some Christmas books don't quite manage to achieve this, so a big thumbs up to Lisa for calling a Christmas book a Christmas book and making it so. Lisa also has this ability to make you laugh and feel good with her effortless writing. Her humour is top notch at making you snigger, snort and guffaw at so much. It's just so on time and quick, brilliant. I don't want to say too much more as if you haven't yet read this, I do not want to spoil the absolute treat you are in for.
A funny, cosy, lighthearted and positively festive read that is THE book you should be reading this Christmas!...more
Every now and then I come across a book that leaves me feeling utterly blown away by what I have just read and this is exactly how One left me feeling.
One is a beautiful, emotionally charged story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi. This is something that you only ever hear about in the news or very rarely see, so for Sarah to write a story from the perspective of conjoined twins actually opened my eyes to a world that I am ashamed to say I had not given much thought to.
What Sarah does so well is that she writes this in the view of one of the conjoined twins, Grace. By doing this she gets across that Tippi and Grace, although conjoined, are individuals in their own right and deserve to be treated as so. I definitely understand the decision to do this as I don't think it would have come across as well if written in duel points of view.
Written in verse, One is the epitome of an unputdownable read. Initially upon opening this, I was a bit unsure whether I was going to like the writing style, but I don't think the powerfulness and the strong emotions would have come across so well. There is an unbelievably strong theme of underlying love in One; Grace and Tippi are there for each other more than the rest of us could be and it melted my heart.
The amount of care and attention to detail that has gone into this story is almost palpable. One is written so well, that the story feels real. I feel like I know Grace personally and that she could appear at any moment, her character has been crafted with such love and awareness. I definitely learnt a lot from this, not just about conjoined twins, but looking at the world in another perspective from your own and seeing and feeling things that they do.
I honestly think that this is a story that everyone should take the time to read, as without wanting to sound clichéd, this is a book that will stay with long after you finished reading....more
I am so so SO pleased to say that this lived up to my expectations and the hype. This was really cleverly written and a really fascinating plot premise. When Estelle's baby, Mia goes missing, it is unclear whether she wants her back; she doesn't report her missing and days later she is found with severe injuries in her now wrecked car. Not only that but she has no memory of how she got there, but is this just a cover up? Estelle ultimately is the only one who knows the answer.
I seem to be reading quite a few books lately that have unreliable narrators and I must say that this concept is definitely a hit with me as it makes it harder to guess the outcome of the plot. It appears to be that it is becoming harder for writers to deliver an ending that the reader does not figure out beforehand, so by having unreliable narrators, this is giving thrillers that edge again and making readers doubt what they think will happen.
Once I was really into Little Girl Gone, everything else on my mind just went out of the window. This became a highly suspenseful, plot twisting read that makes you forget your surroundings and desperate to get to the conclusion.
It also deals with a tough subject and it;s one that will pull at you emotionally as you do not want to bear thinking about that a Mother could have harmed her child. Alexandra has expertly woven this in to this thriller and made the read even more engrossing.
I do have to say that there was a tiny bit at the end that confused me a bit, but apart from that and the beginning was a little slow but, I cannot fault this story. Also if you are one of those readers that did not like Gone Girl or Girl on the Train then please do not let this comparison put you off as it's a brilliant read in its own right.
If you're looking for a book to really suck you in, then I definitely recommend Little Girl Gone. It is one of those books that you blink and you've finished it because it is so compelling....more
It has been a while since I have read a book that really scared me, but after reading this, it all changed. The Dead House tells the gritty story of a mysterious event that happened twenty five years ago. Elmbridge High School burnt down, killing three people, injuring many and led to the unexplainable disappearance of one girl- Carly Johnson. Little was known about the case until a diary was found in the school ruins. A diary written by her twin Kaitlyn, which reveals the eery events that led up to the fire. One of the most mysterious of them being that Kaitlyn never existed.
I will be the first to admit that I am a complete and utter wimp, so my god did this book scare me! There is a LOT of parnormal activity in The Dead House and I think this is what made me sleep with the light on on the first night of reading- something I have not done for many years. So I guess saying that this book scared me is a slight understatement!
Despite this book freaking me out and making me act like a child imagining monsters under the bed and demon like ghosts in the room, I could not stop reading! It is written in a documentary type style with snippets from Kaitlyn's diary, video transcripts and police interviews, making the story feel real and quite unique in its story delivery. You really feel that the evidence is coming together as you read and it definitely keeps you on your toes! I think this partly what will make you whizz through as the narrative changes and the piecing together of all the transcripts keep the fast pace of the story.
A small confession here- I was tempted to give up at the beginning as the story wasn't really gripping me, but then bam! This book became a compulsive read, I had to keep on reading. You will want to know what will happen next and eagerly read on.
With Halloween upon us, if you are looking for a spooky read then I cannot recommend The Dead House enough! ...more
I was so so intrigued to read Monsters after reading the fairly grisly synopsis and grisly is what I got!
Monsters in sum is the story of a twelve-year old girl who has what I would call an unhealthy interest in murder and all things grewsome for a child. When her parents die, she really isn't too bothered and means that she now lives with her Grandma apart from during the summer holidays where she goes down to Cornwall to stay with her Aunt and Uncle at their hotel. This summer is a little different though as there is a murderer loose and as you would expect most people are horrified, but not this little girl. She wants to find out who did it. Things get more interesting for her when Miles stays at her Aunt and Uncle's hotel and together they set out to find the murderer.
Monsters surprised me in that I didn't know what to expect, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did! We never know the main characters name, but this does not stop you from becoming completely and utterly morbidly engrossed in the story. I was also surprised that I enjoyed this so much as there are SO many hateable characters in this one book. Some of them even made my blood boil. Although it is good for writers to create likeable characters, I think it is even more brilliant when they create a character, or in this case characters that you don't like as it just gets me so involved emotionally in the story and desperately wanting them to get their comeuppance. Monsters really is the perfect title for this book. Miles in particular is a child that you do NOT want to meet and if I'm being honest I don't think I want to meet any of the characters in this book.
The writing style of this is actually really clever, because although it is blunt, there is a really grisly undertone as to what is happening beneath the surface. Undercurrent themes of abuse are referenced to and it definitely gives you that uncomfortable feeling whilst you are reading. This definitely isn't for younger readers!
Despite all that though, I could not put this book down. It may be a bit gruesome and grisly, but that is what makes this so compelling. If you are looking for a Halloween read (as it's not far away) I could not recommend this book enough. I definitely want to read more from Emerald now; she definitely stands out from a lot of other writers out there....more
I think this is only my second experience of reading a book that has been co-written and I never know what to expect, as I was wondering if there would be a break in the writing style or things wouldn't match up somehow. But anyway these thoughts were quickly dispelled as this is a well written and intriguing story.
The Secret Fire has split viewpoints between the two main characters, Taylor and Sacha and they could not be more different. Taylor is a straight A-student, good girl type living in England and Sacha is almost a school drop out who gets involved in some very dodgy things and hangs around with some very unsavoury people in France. Sacha's attitude is however understandable as he knows when he is going to die and cannot die before, no matter what crazy stunts he puts his body through. What Taylor and Sacha don't yet know is that Taylor is the only one that can save him, and with only eight weeks to go until Sacha's 18th birthday, time is running out for them both!
This is definitely one of those books that you need to sit down and really get into, it's not one that I found you could just read a few pages here and there and be gripped instantly, you need to read it at chunks at a time. Although saying that, this is still a really easy read. I also loved the different POV's of the main characters and really connected with them both, so this really helped with the story.
I do think it is increasingly harder for YA fantasy books to stand out, but The Secret Fire still managed to be different with Sacha's situation. There were a few things that didn't quite fit in for me like the otherwordly characters that pursue Sacha and Taylor- I would have liked a bit more explanation around them, but apart from that there was some really gripping bits to this.
The ending has left me with lots of questions and wondering what will happen next. I look forward to part two!...more
I was really excited to read this book as my friend Zarina heard I had a copy and had said it was a Dutch classic and was extremely popular back in the Netherlands, so I just had to get on and read it. This is a truly brilliant children's story that adults as well as children can read and enjoy. Written back in 1962, I can see why this is a timeless classic and not only that, but why it has been translated into so many languages.
The Letter for the King tells the story of Tiuri, a squire set to become a knight, something he has dreamed of for so long. But on the night before he is due to be knighted, he gets called away on a perilous mission that puts his life in danger and means that he cannot be knighted as he was set to be. What ensues is a medieval fantasy adventure that will sweep up adults and children alike. I must also mention the map that you get at the beginning of this book. It is beautiful and as we journey with Tiuri on his adventure, you can't help but look back at the map to see how far he has travelled.
It has been a long time since I have read a book in a medieval setting and to have it with a fantasy, almost other worldly setting just made this such a joy to read. I will definitely be reading this to my niece as she gets older. It makes me kind of wish I could have enjoyed it as a child too as it just has this kind of magical feel to it and love the anticipation as to what would happen next.
So as I said, this is a timeless classic to be enjoyed by people of all ages and those with that childish love for all things medieval and particularly knights!...more
When I saw that this book had been likened to The Girl on the Train, my curiosity was instantly heightened. I had really liked The Girl on the Train, so was interested to see what this book would be like, and also because of the success of The Girl on the Train, I was expecting great things.
Please Don't Leave Me Here starts in 2008 where Brigitte is married and a Mother of twins; fourteen years after a man was found dead in her apartment. Brigitte was investigated by the police, but claimed to have no memory of what happened. Now the case has been reopened and the question is; is Brigitte a loving Mother or a cold blooded killer?
Please Don't Leave Me Here had a really different kind of narrative. I have never known a book quite like this to dramatically change my perception of a character. The book may start in 2008, but it goes back to 1994 to the events that led up to the death of a man in Brigitte's apartment. How you feel about Brigitte and the judgment you make of her initially is completely thrown when we are taken back to 1994 when she is just 19. It is almost like reading about two different characters.
I loved how this book makes you question everything about Brigitte and what started as a book that I wasn't really that into, had me hooked the instant we were taken back to Brigitte's past and actually had me sympathising with her, when at first I couldn't bear her. Brigitte is definitely one of the most interesting characters I have come across in fiction, there is just so much depth to her, from herself to the relationships that she has with others. She is what makes this story so enthralling and I actually became more interested in what would happen to her rather than if she was a killer or not.
I can see why this has some similarities to The Girl on the Train, but I think Please Don't Leave Me Here is different in it's own right. So even if you didn't like The Girl on the Train, I think you will enjoy this.
A very intriguing and fascinating story, that although started off slow, quickly turned in to a engrossing read....more