THE FIFTH LETTER – REVIEW

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Title: The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: February 23rd 2017

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

I actually only read this as I was on holiday, and it was one of the few books in English that someone had left on the reading table that the hotel had for guests to swap books once they’d read them. I thought I recognised the authors name, but then realised I was thinking of Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies), but I have found out since then that Nicola is Liane’s younger sister.

It was a very easy read and perfect for on holiday. All of the characters were very likeable and the story unfolds very well. I read it in a day, as I found I was desperate to know who wrote the fifth letter and what would happen to all of the women. It’s not a very complex story, so some may not like it, but I found it was just the thing for lazing by the pool. When I’m on holiday relaxing I don’t want anything too heavy going and this was just the ticket.

The Ice Twins – Review

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Title: The Ice Twins

Author: S. K. Tremayne

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 29th 2015

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

I’m sorry to say I really didn’t like this one. It sounded so promising and I’d heard good things about it from other reviews, but it just wasn’t for me. I found the characters to be dull and extremely unlikable. I really had to force myself to finish this one, and the only reason I did was because I was on holiday and only had a limited number of books with me. I found both Sarah and Angus to be extremely depressing characters. I know they suffered a great loss, but it is clear when you read the book that they weren’t likeable people before they lost one of their twin daughters. As negative as this review is, I have another of this authors books and will be reading it at some point, as it wasn’t the writing that I disliked, it was just the characters. I’d love to know if any of you have read this one and your thoughts on it. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it.

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED – REVIEW

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: YA/LGBT

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 11th 2017

What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.

I really, really loved this one. I’d read Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda last year, and included this book in one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts, so had to get it as soon as it was released. Molly and Cassie are great characters, along with all of the others. I love Becky’s writing style, as it flows so well and the characters are so relatable. This was the perfect read to get me out of my reading slump and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something light and breezy, with just enough drama and humour. I can’t wait for more from Becky and I’m so excited to see that she’s writing a spin-off of Simon called Leah on the Offbeat. I’m just gutted we have to wait until next year for its release.

I’m Back

So, I’m finally back again after a long hiatus. I thought I’d sorted myself out after the last break, but life does seem to take over and I hit a huge slump and just lost all motivation. I tried picking up different books, but my mind was on other things and I just couldn’t seem to concentrate. I could see the words on the page, but they just weren’t sticking.

I feel awful about abandoning my blog for so long, but I’ve been back reading everyones posts over the last few weeks and feel I’m ready to get back into it. I recently went on a two week holiday to Gran Canaria and managed to get through 8 books while I was there, so I think we can say my slump is finally over.

I’m going to try and get reviews up for the books I read on holiday and get myself back into a routine of weekly posts. I’m currently reading Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, and enjoying it so far, so there will be a review of that going up as soon as I finish it. I hope everyone in the community is doing well and hopefully you’ll be hearing from me soon.

 

Do-Gooder – Review

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Title: Do-Gooder

Author: J. Leigh Bailey

Genre: YA/LGBT

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Publication Date: 15th September 2016

No good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.

However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

I enjoyed this book up to a point. The writing is good and the setting is certainly not one found in your typical YA novel. I liked the way that you learnt more and more about Isaiah’s background and the actions that got him into the situation he was in. It’s quite a shocking situation for a YA novel and I think it managed to convey the horror without being too shocking for a YA audience. It kept me gripped and I couldn’t put it down, as I needed to know what happened to Isaiah and Henry. But, I felt the ending let it down. Much of the book is very adult in tone, but when it came to the ending I felt it was rather rushed and implausible. I felt that if the author thought a YA audience could handle such a shocking story, then why tag on such a weak ending. I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read this book, but I just felt it didn’t fit in with the rest of the story

I’d still recommend this book, as it is well written and the characters are well fleshed out. If you’re looking for something a little different, in a setting far removed from the norm, then give it a go. I’ll still be checking out what this author comes out with next.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

 

Finally another book haul

I was going to post this over the weekend, but have decided to do it now, as I’ve been away for a while and have other posts I want to get done too. I’ve bought quite a few books since my last haul post, so without further ado here we go…

The John Green Paperback Collection

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The hardback collection was in my wanted list, but was quite expensive here in the UK, so when I saw that Amazon had the paperback collection for £8 I snapped it up. The price went up after I ordered it, so I think I got a bargain.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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This is the second book in the Great Library series. I picked up the first one for £1 in an earlier haul, so when I saw this in a 3 for £5 deal I thought I’d add it to my collection. I haven’t read the first one yet, but have heard good things, so am looking forward to the series.

The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

These two were also in the 3 for £5 deal and I’d read some good reviews so thought they were worth adding to my shelf.

Irene, Alex & Camille by Pierre Lemaitre

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I’d seen a lot of good reviews for Alex, but hadn’t heard about the other books, so when I saw the three in the 3 for £5 deal I decided to give them a go. I like a good crime novel, so I’m looking forward to these.

You by Caroline Kepnes

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I bought Hidden Bodies on an earlier haul, not realising that it followed on from this, so when I saw a hardback copy of You for only a couple of pounds on Amazon Marketplace I snapped it up. This has had very good reviews and sounds like just my cup of tea.

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

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This was another one in the 3 for £5 deal and Sophie Hannah likes her, so it must be good. lol.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

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This one sounds quite horrific, but in a good way. I seem to be on a bit of a crime book buying spree at the moment. Once more it was in the 3 for £5 deal.

Beneath the Lake by Christopher Ransom

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Yet another thriller in the now well known 3 for £5 deal. lol. I have a few of this authors books, so know I should be in for a good read with this one.

The Rig and Crystal Force by Joe Ducie

I haven’t heard of this author before, but these sounded interesting and I’m always up for trying new YA authors. Once again in the 3 for £5 deal.

Girl, Missing by Sophie Mckenzie

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This is my last one and nicely makes up the numbers for my 3 for £5 deals. It looks like a fairly quick read and is the 10th Anniversary Edition, so I’m sure some of you will have heard of it or read it.

That’s it for now. I didn’t post all of the synopsis’ as I prefer to do that on my reviews and I don’t like to double post. Let me know if any of you have read any of these and if you enjoyed them. I’ll try and get a review up over the weekend, then hopefully I’ll be back into the swing of things and out of my slump. Hope you all have a great weekend.

 

I’m back from a little break.

I haven’t posted anything in a while, as life seemed to take over. I didn’t seem to have any time to myself, and when I tried to sit down with a book something else always seemed to come up and take up all my time. I decided to put the brakes on everything, book myself a weeks holiday to chill out, and now hopefully I can get back to normal.

I forced myself to relax, went on some long walks, read a book, and got out of my slump. I wanted to get something posted to let you all know what was going on and that I hadn’t disappeared for good, and hopefully in the coming days I will get a review up of the book I read last week, post a book haul of my latest purchases, and get one of the tags done that I’m behind on.

I’ll try not to disappear again without any notice. We all need a little break sometimes to recharge and when you hit a slump I think the best thing you can do, if possible, is to drop everything, get away from it all, and just chill. I’ve missed being here, but hopefully now I’m back for good.

 

Running With The Pack – Review

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Title: Running With The Pack

Author: A.M. Burns & Caitlin Ricci

Genre: YA/LGBTQA/Romance

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Publication Date: 8th September 2016

Finn is about to start his senior year of high school when he and his family move from Austin, Texas, to Woodland Park, Colorado. Everything is different—even the elevation—and Finn’s having a hard time getting used to his new home. Life takes a turn for the better when he meets Ivan Dubovasky at a farmers’ market. Finn finds not only a close new friend but a fulfilling volunteer position at the High Mountain Wolf and Wild Dog Center, which Ivan’s family runs. Before long Finn develops an affinity for the wolves under the center’s protection.

Things only get better for Finn when he starts a relationship with Ivan; and Ivan’s best friend, Adrian, who’s asexual, completes their small pack. But it all comes crashing down when the bully plaguing Adrian crosses the line and Adrian goes missing. Finn and Ivan are determined to bring their boyfriend home safe, but they might not be able to do it alone. Luckily there’s a special wolf ready to lend a paw.

I was looking for some diverse reads and when I saw this one the synopsis sounded interesting to me. I’m pleased to say that I really liked it and think it would be a great book for teens, both LGBTQA and their straight allies.

I thought it was very well written and dealt with the subject matter in such a relaxed manner that made it a very quick and easy read without getting overly technical. I’ve read other diverse books that read more like textbooks, with their overly complex descriptions of gender terms. If you’re writing for teens then the last thing they’re going to want is to feel like they’re still in the classroom rather than reading for enjoyment.

Finn, Ivan and Adrian are such likeable characters that you can’t help but feel for them. There will be many teens out there who will relate to them, and I think it’s great that we’re seeing more books like this that deal with the subject of gender and sexual identity. The only negative thing I would say is that I don’t think the book was long enough. I wanted to learn more about the characters and would love to know what happened to them after high school and college. I’ll definitely be keeping and eye out for new books from the authors and would recommend giving this a go if you’re looking for something diverse and not too heavy.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

 

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Thank you Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek for tagging me. I have a few tags to catch up on and this seemed like the quickest, so I thought I’d do it first. I know, I’m lazy, but I don’t have a Waiting On Wednesday today and wanted to get something posted before the end of the day. lol.

This tag was originally created by Kate @ Girl Reading who does great booktube videos, so go and check her out.

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Now, on to the questions:

E-Book or Physical Book?

I love a physical book, but I’m finding that I’m reading more e-books lately. It’s so easy to throw my kindle into a bag and take it anywhere. I’ll still always have plenty of physical books though, as I like a full bookshelf.

Paperback or Hardback?

Hardbacks are great, but they’re too costly for me to buy every book I want and they take up more space than paperbacks too.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online is great for bargains, and you can find books that aren’t in stock at a high street store. I do love a good browse around a physical store though, and there are a couple of discount stores close to me which is a bonus.

Trilogies or Series?

I don’t mind as long as there’s a proper ending. I hate it when a book leaves you hanging, and even though I love a good series sometimes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. Trying to stretch out a series to ‘just one more book’ can ruin it.

Heroes or Villains?

Heroes. I like a good villain, but I’ll always root for the good guy.

A book you want everyone to read?

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I loved this book and think everyone should read it.

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Recommend an underrated book?

Tony & Susan by Austin Wright. This seems to be a bit of a love it or hate it book. I read it years ago and I loved it.

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The last book you finished?

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton. I really enjoyed this one. I’ve read a few of the Stephanie Plum books so knew what to expect and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Last Book You Bought?

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. I’ve heard good things about this book, so I’m hoping I enjoy it. It just arrived today, so it’s going on my shelf until I have a space in my tbr for it.

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Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Nothing is weird as long as it’s dry and flat. lol. I hate creased spines, so if I have to put a book down and don’t have a bookmark handy then anything lying around will do.

Used Books: Yes or No?

Definitely Yes! I’ve bought quite a few from the Amazon Marketplace lately. You have to find a good seller though, as sometimes they’re listed as like new or very good, and they’re most definitely not. I only paid £2 for The Shining Girls in hardback, so you can save a fair bit buying used.

Top Three Favourite Genres?

YA Contemporary, Mystery, Horror.

Borrow or Buy?

Definitely buy. I love my collection and would hate to not own a copy of a book that I loved.

Characters or Plot?

It depends what you mean. You can’t have a book without both. If you mean which drives the book more, then I love a good character driven book. But if it’s a mystery then the plot comes first.

Long or Short Books?

Short. i.e. 250-350 pages average. I’ll read a longer book, but I’m not a quick reader. I think 600 pages is about the max otherwise I’d start to feel I’d never finish it.

Long or Short Chapters?

I don’t mind. Not too short though (I’m looking at you James Patterson).

Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (one of my favourite authors)

The Fog by James Herbert (I saw it today in a charity book sale)

The Stand by Stephen King (As we’ve just mentioned long books, this one came to mind)

Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

Both. If it can affect your emotions then it’s a sign of a good book.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Our world. I’ve never really gotten into Fantasy/Sci-Fi books. I prefer to read about things I can relate to.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

No. I like to read at my own pace and would tune out and miss most of the book if I had to listen to it.

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

All the time. I know it’s bad, but it’s the first thing you see and if it doesn’t grab you then you’re not going to pick it up.

Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

TV. I don’t think a movie can cover everything from a book. They always leave too much out. There are some good ones in both, but I think TV gives more scope.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

The Howling. Classic movie. OK book.

Series or Standalone’s?

Standalone’s. I prefer a story to be wrapped up in one book.

I’m not going to tag anyone, as I have so many of these tags to catch up on, but feel free to give this one a go if you fancy.

 

Waiting On Wednesday 24th August 2016

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

The upcoming release I can’t wait for is:

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Title: Chaos

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: 20th October 2016

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

I love Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books. I haven’t read one in a while and don’t know when I’ll get to this one, as I haven’t read all of the others yet (this is the 24th). The series has been going a long time now, but I’m yet to be disappointed, so I’m hoping this one is just as good as the rest.