📚Top Ten Tuesday – Books I want to be stranded with📚

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week we are discussing books that we want to be stranded with on a desert island! I have quite a few for this so I’ve managed to narrow it down to 5 with extensive reasons as to why I want to bring these with me.

1 – IT by Stephen King. I’ve chosen to bring this one with me because to be honest I have been trying to read this book for about 4 years now and I just for whatever reason cannot. And I thought, hey, I’m stuck on a desert island with absolutely NO REASON not to read this book, so why not take it with you and actually read it!

2 – The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This is one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE books in the whole entire universe, one I never get tired of reading, so of course it’s in my bag when they decide to drop me off at some random island and leave me there forever.

3 – The PJO series by Rick Riordan. I will never get bored of reading these books, they bring so much joy and light to my life. They are perfect for when you need to give yourself a happiness boost! Plus, the chapter headings alone are enough to give you those laughs that keep going until you’re crying, which is a reason enough for me to bring these with me.

4 – Wicked series by Piper Lawson. Ya girl is stranded for fucks sake, I need something to keep me entertained and bring some excitement to my life!

5 – How to Survive on a Deserted Island by Tim O’Shei. Now I haven’t read this one (as I don’t plan on ever getting stuck on an island) but the title alone is enough to make me want to bring it along, if nothing else it will give me something to read when I’ve gotten through the rest of my books haha.

And there are my 5 books I will be taking with me when the aliens decide to transport me to the nearest deserted island!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Neighbor, by London Clarke – A Review.

Hello friends and fellow bookworms! I’m here today to bring you my review of The Neighbor, written by London Clarke and published by BooksGoSocial on the 10th March 2021. You can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Also huge thank you and shout out to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this one to read and review!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

From the start the atmosphere of this book was tense and frightening, set in a secure community it’s made even scarier by the thought of something going wrong and spoiling the idyllic lifestyle they’ve all made for themselves. I love the whole secure/gated community thing, it makes it feel so much creepier when things start to go wrong…

We’re introduced to Claire (who seems like she’s one bit of bad news away from becoming completely unhinged) and her family of 4 girls. Throughout the book the 5 of them play key roles in making the story, the children act like proper children of their age too, which gave it a real relatable feel.

And then once we start to meet others in the community and Steel… Well, the characters just absolutely made this book for me. They were so well crafted and linked with each other and the story so well. I felt as if I knew them personally, which made it easier for the rest of the book to influence me.

As the backstory builds, so do the creepiness levels, shadows and bumps in the night become frequent, and the book started to really unnerve me. I’m not usually easy to scare but this book definitely managed to scare me.

The author did an excellent job with setting the scene and making us feel as though we were there, we were hearing things go bump in the night, we felt the way Claire did, we too were drawn in by characters in the book that we shouldn’t have been…

And the supernatural element was weaved so effortlessly into the story that even someone who doesn’t believe in those kinds of things couldn’t help but be drawn in and enjoy the rollercoaster that was this story.

I did worry as we got deeper into the book that there may be too much going on, too many strands and plot lines to bring together, but as we neared the end of the book and it eventually reached it’s conclusion everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place.

The whole story from start to finish, including the smaller plot lines were absolutely made to work together and flowed perfectly. Every single plot used within this book was superb in it’s own right.

I finished this book and felt not only a profound sense of fear, but also a sense of awe. I hadn’t read anything so scary for a very long time, I was covered in Goosebumps towards the end and read it with my eyes open so wide I’m surprised they didn’t pop out of my sockets!

On the whole, The Neighbour by London Clarke was a superb read, and I will definitely recommend it anyone who is in need of a good thrill…

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Face At The Window, by Ruby Speechley – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms, I’m here to bring you my review of The Face At The Window by Ruby Speechley, published on the 28th July 2021 by Hera Books. And you can read the synopsis on Goodreads here.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC of this one to read and review!

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

TRIGGER WARNING – Domestic violence. This topic is heavily featured in this story, so please be aware before searching out this book and reading my review.

This book was just not it for me, it didn’t do anything wrong as such it just wasn’t as good as I was expecting… Individual aspects of this story were brilliant, but as a whole book it just missed the mark. The Face At The Window was good, but it just wasn’t good enough.

The plot could have worked so well, if the author just focused on the idea of a woman scorned and the baby being taken from his Mother, but it kind of drifted away from that as we got deeper into the story. To the point where I felt the ending could have been a completely different book, it added no value whatsoever to the rest of the story.

There was a point far earlier where the book where it could have naturally been concluded, that I thought would have made the book better.

I also guessed pretty much the entire basis for the plot within the first couple of chapters, it was glaringly obvious and I felt really disappointed by how easy it was to figure out where the story was headed.

I just wasn’t intrigued by this book, in the way I thought I would be, but I think that comes from having guessed the basis of the story early on. If that was hidden better I think I would have felt differently.

The writing style did elevate my feelings towards this book though, the author clearly has a flair for building up the atmosphere and the tension. I did feel anxious reading this book, and it really pulled at my heartstrings when I thought about everything that Gemma was going through.

Plus,. the two POV did add an extra layer to the story that I enjoyed, it did prevent the book from becoming stagnant, which it could easily have done, given that in Gemma’s POV there wasn’t a lot going on.

Character wise, Gemma was possibly the only character that I warmed to throughout the story, she felt real and relatable. But the others, Nick especially, were just irritating and in Nick’s case, downright dickheads. Because the book was split between two POV it did mean I didn’t enjoy the book that much, as I found Scarlett’s chapters to be far less enjoyable.

I thought that the author could have also introduced the minor characters more as well, we were left to fill in the gaps a lot with Becca (Gemma’s friend) and Amy (Scarlett’s friend). The author could have focused more on introducing them to the story than other aspects.

Especially as towards the end of the story it started to feel like it was two separate books, almost as if the author was trying to justify the way Scarlett behaved… It just felt like it didn’t fit with the rest of the story, or the blurb for that matter.

I wanted so badly to love this book but I just couldn’t. The writing of the main story was good, but with the whole plot being given away early in the story and annoying characters it definitely had areas to improve.

Let me know if you’ve read this one and what you thought in the comments!

Until next time, Em xxx

📚Top Ten Tuesday – Books I read in one sitting (or I would if I had the time)📚

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today’s post is all about books that I read in one sitting, or that I would have done if I had the time to. While there aren’t many recently that I’ve been able to read in one go, due to time constraints, there are definitely some from when I was younger!

1 – Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I could easily read this book in one sitting, I find it so easy to devour this one!

2 – Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. I remember vividly when this came out, I read it in one day where I literally only moved to use the toilet or to get a drink.

3 – Goosebumps Horrorland Series. If I remember rightly my re-read of this series a few years ago took place across one full day. Granted they’re only short books but I was so desperate to find out what happened that I just powered through them.

4 – Matilda by Roald Dahl. This is one from my childhood that I never ever tire of reading!

5 – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Not so much with my re-reads of this book but the very first time I read it I literally flew through it, I couldn’t put it down.

6 – Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine. Now this one was helped by how short the story was, I didn’t think it was going to be that short, but I devoured this in one sitting and it was SO worth it.

7 – Me and Mr Jones by Lucy Diamond. This one was just so easy to read that I completely lost any sense of time and carried on until I finished the whole thing!

And moving onto ones that I would love to read in one sitting if I could…

8 – The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack. This book gave me all of the feels and was so bloody good that I would love nothing more than to be able to re-read it in one go, without any interruptions so that I could fully immerse myself into the story.

9 – The Shining by Stephen King. I absolutely love the atmosphere of this book and I always get disappointed when I have to put it down as it spoils it for me, so to be able to read this is one sitting would be PERFECT.

10 – The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Now I probably won’t re-read this one but if I could erase it from my memory and then read it again I would do so in one sitting, I felt like I was constantly on edge and I needed to keep reading to find out what would happen next. Every chapter was a cliffhanger.

And there you have it, 7 books that I absolutely flew through in one sitting and 3 that I would love to have done so if I just had the time!

Let me know if you’re taking part in TTT so I can check out your post too.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Ariadne, I Love You by J Ashley Smith – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms! I’m pleased to bring you my review of Ariadne, I Love You by J Ashley Smith. Due to be published on the 20th July by Meerkat Press. You can read the synopsis for Ariadne, I Love You here on Goodreads.

Also, a huge thank you to NetGalley and Meerkat Press for the ARC of this book to read and review!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

The shorter length of this book lends itself incredibly well to the story it has crafted for us to read.

I want to say I enjoyed this book, but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to explain it, yes I thought it was a good read, but to enjoy something implies (to me) that it brought fun and delight to me while I was reading it. This book brought neither of those things, but in a good way…

Ariadne, I Love You was a haunting read, not in a scary way, but in a way that it will stick with me long after I’d finished reading it. It was as if someone had laid a blanket over you and wrapped you up in it to keep you warm, except the goal was to make you feel as haunted and as hollow as possible – that’s how I felt when I finished this book.

Throughout the story we descended into madness alongside Jude, we felt his desperation and yearning for Coreen through the pages and you could feel the heartbreak that Jude felt for his lost love.

All in all, the emotions of this book started as a steady stream before bursting into the sea, with waves that crashed over you forcing you to feel the same way that Jude felt. It really got under your skin.

The ending of this book was something else, and it left me with this taste that there was more I wanted to read but I would be terrified of doing so because I just would not know what to expect.

I loved this one for how ambiguous it was, at several points it was open to our own interpretation as a reader and I liked that, it felt like it allowed us to put our own stamp on the story, and led me to enjoy it even more.

On the whole, Ariadne, I Love You was a truly atmospheric read, forcing emotions to crash over you until you had no choice but to feel every aspect of the story, and watch yourself as you crashed into madness alongside Jude.

📚Books I loved and will always re-read📚

Hi friends, I wanted to do something a bit different today and discuss some of my favourite books that are my go to re-reads!

I am the worst for re-reading books sometimes, especially when I have ARCs or new releases that I want to read… I recently re-read the Percy Jackson series even though at that point I had 100+ books on my TBR. In my defence, I am very much a mood reader and none of my books were taking my fancy.

1 – The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, I would re-read this series straight after I’d just read it if I could, I love these books so much they have a special place in my heart.

2 – The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Much like PJO these books have a special place in my heart and I will never tire of reading these (or watching the films, they’re a guilty pleasure of mine).

3 – The End of Mr Y by Scarlet Thomas. I am OBSESSED with this book, let me tell you. I find something new to love about it every time I re-read it (also hit me up if you’ve read it, I would love to discuss it with you!)

4 – The Shining by Stephen King. I mean of course this one was going to make my list, I’m pretty sure I read this at least once a year. It usually features around Halloween time and then I thoroughly scare myself by going and watching the film.

5 – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I am also obsessed with this book, it’s the first Dan Brown book I ever read and it really ignited my love for his books so I always go back to this one.

6 – Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I may have had a small (large, huge, massive, fucking ginormous) crush on Patch as a teenager, which has definitely not *cough* stuck with me into adulthood, so I used to read this book like every other week.

ALSO, shout out to everyone on booktwt who has made me realise that having a crush on fictional characters is totally normal and in fact encouraged by other readers, you guys are the best <3333333

IT ME!!!!!

There are also some recent reads that I would love to re-read in the future because for various reasons they really stuck with me…

The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack | Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine | Dreaming of Florence by T A Williams | The Scam List by Kurt Dinan

I won’t review these books when I re-read them because there’s no point, I might do a little comparison post to see if my feelings are still the same but otherwise I’ll just enjoy my re-reads in peace.

Be sure to let me know if you have any particular faves that are falling apart because you re-read them so much!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Devourer Below, by various authors – A Review.

Hello friends and fellow bookworms! I’m here today to bring you my review of The Devourer Below, which is a horror anthology written by Josh Reynolds; Evan Dicken; Davide Mana; Georgina Kamsika; Thomas Parrott; David Annandale; and Cath Lauria.

The Devourer Below was published on the 6th July (so I’m a bit late with my review but life has gotten on top of me) and is being published by Aconyte Books. Also a big thanks to NetGalley and Aconyte Books for the free ARC to read and review!

I’ve rated and reviewed each individual story below, but my overall rating of this one is 3.5 stars.

Running The Night Whiskey by Evan Dicken – 3 stars.

I did enjoy this one, even though it was a bit slow to get started and to get to the main point of the story. That being said, I understand why it was a bit slower, it was the first story in the anthology and it needed to set the scene more so and introduce us. I would have preferred a bigger focus on the ghouls and their backstory and less on our characters getting chased etc. My favourite part of this story though was how it constantly alluded to something bigger going on, as if our characters were just pawns in a game.

Shadows of Dawning by Georgina Kamsika – 4 stars.

This was one of my favourite stories from the anthology, more so for the way the emotions were portrayed. You could feel Lita’s emotions through the pages, and her relationship with Priya was beautifully written. Whilst I didn’t enjoy the actual story so much, I felt the way the characters were written and how they expressed themselves made this an enjoyable read.

The Hounds Below by Josh Reynolds – 5 stars.

This was my one of my two FAVOURITES of the entire set of stories! It was a really simple idea, one that I’d seen done a thousand times before but the author just seemed to have this ability to make it feel so much creepier and set you on edge whilst you were reading it. And the ending, I did not see coming at all – I actually thought I’d guessed what would happen but I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Labyrinth by Thomas Parrott – 5 stars.

This one was my other favourite of the stories, anything with a Greek mythology vibe I am instantly going to love! From the start this story had a secretive feeling to it, which was enhanced throughout the story, and at the end when we were left with more questions than answers. The whole story linked so well together, especially with how the Greek mythology merged with the idea of The Devourer. Everything about this story was just so well done.

All My Friends Are Monsters by Davide Mana – 3 stars.

I didn’t quite get the same feeling from this as I got from the others, it didn’t feel (for me at least) as if they got the same brief as the rest of the writers, it didn’t seem to fit as well with the other stories. It was a very well written story and it read brilliantly, it just didn’t fit with the others and the overall feel of the book.

The Darkling Woods by Cath Lauria – 2 stars.

I can’t really say much about this one except it felt as though it didn’t have a plot, it didn’t wow me or make me scared or make me jump or thrill me like the other stories did. It also ended quite abruptly without tying up the lose ends which I found frustrating.

Professor Warren’s Investiture by David Annandale – 1 star.

From the start, I knew exactly how this one would end, it was so predictable. I found the story to be overly simplistic and without any additions to the story to bring that wow factor, it fell quite flat. It made an impression on me, but it was the wrong one, sadly.

Sins in the Blood by Thomas Parrott – 5 stars.

This was a great way to finish of the series, it felt as if it brought a natural ending to the collection of stories. It also helped that the story itself was brilliant, it built up the tension and atmosphere so well! I didn’t know it was going to end, it kept me guessing from start to finish, which was good because the characters were really likable so you were rooting for them but you weren’t sure if they would survive… It was a really simple idea but excellently executed.

Bleed, Dax Varley – A Review.

Eeeeek, I’m back again with a review for you! This time it’s my read of Bleed by Dax Varley (I loved this one SO MUCH!) You can check it out here on Goodreads.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

I want to start by saying that I wish I didn’t read this one on my lunch break, my stomach was churning within the first few pages as everything that was written was so vivid.

From the start I knew this book would be one for me, it grabbed my attention with it’s oddness, I’ve never read anything like it before, it was something special.

Our 5 main characters were so incredibly written that I felt like they were my friends! They were all from different stereotypical high school groups, but with their supernatural elements they all came together to form a tight knit group determined to get to the bottom of what was going on at their school…

The supernatural elements of these characters weren’t overwhelming in any way, they still behaved like normal teenagers – which I loved.

As the book progressed I particularly enjoyed how each character got their own specific chapter and then minor plot lines following their interaction with the evil that is infecting their lives. For me, this gave the book an edge and brought something different to the story.

I didn’t want this book to end because I was enjoying it so much, but even the ending was top notch, I couldn’t fault it and I loved how they all had to play their part. It finished the book perfectly.

Throughout the whole book the balance of supernatural and typical teenagers was kept, and with the added horror elements, supernatural themes and the evil being, Bleed ticked all of my boxes!

I cannot rate this book highly enough, I absolutely loved it.

Let me know if you’ve read Bleed by Dax Varley, and what you thought of it.

Until next time, Em xxx

📚The ULTIMATE Recommendations book tag!📚

Hello friends, I’m here again with another book tag, I’m trying to do one per month to bring a lil bit of variety to my blog, so I hope you enjoy reading my take on the ultimate recommendations book tag.

If you would like to take part in this tag then please consider yourself tagged!

Recommend a book from your favourite genre.

Okay so my fave genre is definitely horror/thriller, so I would have to recommend The Shining, or Salem’s Lot, or Pet Sematary, in their own right they are all excellent books and I can’t recommend them enough. I speak highly of most King books but these are just *chefs kiss*

Recommend a short book.

One that I’ve read recently and really loved was Psychosis by Matt Dymerski. It’s a collection of short horror stories and they all really packed a punch in different ways. It was different to anything I’d read before…

Recommend a book to screen adaptation.

Gone Girl. I actually watched the film of this before I read the book, but they both still were absolutely brilliant.

Recommend a book out of your comfort zone.

This was a really hard one as I only usually read books within my comfort zone, but I’ve decided on The Scam List by Kurt Dinan. It was so far out of my usual reads but I absolutely loved it! You can read my review here.

Recommend a book series.

If you haven’t already you should read the Hannibal series, it’s honestly such a brilliant read and one of my favourite ever series.

Recommend a standalone.

Based on my recent reads I would definitely recommend The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack. I will shout about this book from the rooftops I think it’s my favourite read of the year.

Recommend a book you don’t talk enough about.

Definitely The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. I wish more people that I know or interact with had read this book because I would just love to talk about it with someone! It was such a thought provoking read and I need to discuss it with someone.

Recommend your staple book.

I don’t really have a staple book, if I like something then I’ll recommend it!

Recommend books that got you into reading.

This would be the Goosebumps series, I used to consume these at a crazy rate when I was younger and they definitely encouraged my love of reading when I was younger. I also have to say thanks to Roald Dahl because his books were also a huge influence on me as a child.

Until next time, Em xxx

The Perfect Wife, Blake Pierce – A Review.

Hello friends! I am back with another book review, which this time is The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce – you can read the synopsis on Goodreads here.

Overall rating 1 out of 5 stars.

I want to start by saying I try really hard to find positives and good parts of books, so that even if it didn’t quite hit the spot there are still positives to discuss… There were none in this book, none at all. From start to finish I sat with this look of what I can only describe as incredulity on my face.

Within the first few pages of the book we were introduced to Jessie and her husband, Kyle, of which Jessie clearly resented her husband for making them up sticks and move to what sounded like a beautiful home, instead of their cramped LA apartment (I mean totally obvious reason to hate your husband…)

Throughout the book this theme of hatred/dislike/arguing between Jessie and her husband just continued, to the point their constant cycle of rows and making up felt like it was meant to be the main plot of the story, instead of just a little something to fill time.

It started to feel less like the thriller we were promised and more like some bad romance/drama type book.

From the very beginning I picked up that there were secret society vibes and within a few chapters I was already getting sick of it.

(If you’ve ever watched Hot Fuzz I was getting real village of the year winner vibes from these people, except Hot Fuzz is actually good and this book was not).

At points, the plot got so mixed up and convoluted with different aspects I had to go backwards and forwards between pages trying to understand what was going on.

Character wise I just could not warm to any of them, Jessie thought she knew best ALL THE TIME, her husband Kyle wasn’t much better, and as for the minor characters they were so stereotypical and had a severe lack of diversity. Everyone was white middle/upper class American’s with incredibly stereotypical gender roles.

As for the ending of this book, the only positive is that it meant it was over and I didn’t have to suffer through anymore of this bizarre, stereotypical book.

I definitely did not enjoy my read of The Perfect Wife and am considering unhauling the other Blake Pierce books I have on my TBR if they are all like this…

Until next time, Em xxx