ARC – Ghost Town Girl, Debra Cunningham – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of Ghost Town Girl by Debra Cunningham, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and BooksGoSocial – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 1 out of 5 stars.

I came so exceptionally close to DNFR this book even just after a couple of chapters… The chapter formatting and layout of this book was absolutely horrendous, and there were several (read hundreds) of sentences where the space bar seems to have been broken and two or three words were jammed together.

Because of this lack of proper distinguishable chapters it was really hard to keep track of who was narrating the story and the location they were in, or the story itself. It just didn’t flow.

I also felt that the book lacked a clear direction, there were large sections that just felt like space fillers and didn’t contribute to the story. There was too much of our characters stuck in the forest or the desert (it wasn’t clear whether it was forest or desert, the author seemed to describe both) and not enough plot.

There were far too many strands towards the end of the story too, which really started to confuse things for me.

Because of this I felt it really hard to connect with the characters, I feel like we didn’t get to know them enough and they weren’t as developed as they could have been. I do think if we had a better connection with them the book would have been better, I personally would have had more emotion towards their situation.

And the ending was really disappointing, it felt very meh. It was as if the author wanted to tie everything up quickly and threw together what she could.

Ghost Town Girl was just nothing like the blurb and a really disappointing read.

Let me know if you’ve read this book as I’d love to know what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – 337, M Jonathan Lee – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of 337 by M Jonathan Lee, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and BooksGoSocial – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

This is my second book by this author, and let me say I was really pleasantly surprised by this book, it was so good.

I found 337 very easy to read and get caught up in the storyline, I was completely sucked in by this book and the need to know what was going on. The author does a really good job of slowly building the suspense and creating this sense of foreboding that just grabs you and compels you to continue reading.

I think in one of my notes for this book I described it as a slow burn that keeps dropping these little breadcrumbs, like Hansel and Gretel, to keep you interested in the story. And this approach definitely worked.

The way 337 is written is what I got the most enjoyment from in this book. It was as if Sam was word vomiting onto the page, we see everything through Sam’s eyes and it kind of flits between different events and times, filling in those gaps and adding tonnes of value to the story.

The attention to detail within this book was absolutely INSANE.

The characters weren’t really expanded upon, but I feel this actually was a positive of the book, because it really felt like we were Sam, and seeing the world through his eyes only.

Despite the story only really centring on Sam and his Grandma it was packed full of plot and had plenty enough to keep us on the edge of our seat and interested.

I had goosebumps when I finished this book, it felt so poignant and I loved how everything fell into place in the end, it felt very much like fate. I don’t want to give too much away but I just closed this book and felt very fulfilled.

On the whole, I really enjoyed 337 by M Jonathan Lee.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Face of Evil, George Morris De’Ath – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of Face of Evil by George Morris De’Ath, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and Aria & Aries – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 2 out of 5 stars.

From the start I thought Lydia was rude, insensitive and an awful character… I didn’t warm to her at all, she was very up herself and I found her really hard to like. I really struggled with how she constantly thought she was better than everyone else, it made her very irritating as a character.

I’m not sure if the author has tried to deliberately make Lydia as unlikeable as possible, if that’s the case then they’ve certainly achieved their aim!

Because the book focused on Lydia I found it very hard to enjoy. I also feel like we didn’t get a fair share of the other characters, they were very 2D and flat and as such were hard to form an opinion on.

I felt very indifferent to the book on the whole, it didn’t exactly fill me with enjoyment to read it but I didn’t hate it.

It wasn’t the most original plot, it felt like a cheaper version of Silence of the Lambs and didn’t really offer anything new that I hadn’t already read. There were no real shock factors.

I also felt the book alluded to a lot of backstory that was never fully expanded upon and I feel would have made Lydia more likeable and generally added more the story.

There were sections of this book that I enjoyed, namely the interactions between Lydia and the killer she was interviewing, they were written really well and were a breath of fresh air through this book.

However, the remainder of the book just didn’t hit the spot for me.

I will admit I was shocked by the turn of events within this book, but, once it started to unfold I very quickly guessed where it was headed and what was going on. I don’t want to give too much away but I pretty much guessed what was happening/had happened previously…

The final ending of the book just was not it. It added absolutely nothing to the story, and actually went against the image of Lydia that had been portrayed to us throughout the book.

Sadly, this book just was not good, in my opinion. As we focused a lot on Lydia it was hard to enjoy due to the nature of her character, and with the boring and predictable story I just didn’t enjoy it.

Please let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

Top Ten Tuesday – Spring cleaning freebie!

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 weeks topic is Spring cleaning freebie!

The examples for this post are books you’re planning to get rid of, books you’d like to clean off your TBR by reading them or unhauling them, books that feel fresh and clean after winter is over… So, I’ve decided to do a mix of them all!

1 – Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella. I picked this one because the spine on my bookcase keeps jumping out to me, it’s beautiful light colours which make me think of spring sunrises.

2 – The Guest List by Lucy Foley. This one has a beautiful and pristine spine and the cover is white, which just screams fresh and clean.

3 – The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I’ve picked this because I’ve been planning a reread for AGES, so I’ll be clearing them off my TBR list.

4 – The Green Mile by Stephen King. This is one that has been on my TBR for years so I want to finally read it. It’s also green which is the perfect spring colour!

5 – The Tanglewood Tea Shop by Lilac Mills. This book just sounds like the perfect spring read so I’m going to make a real effort to read this one over the coming weeks.

As you’ll see I’ve only picked 5 because I’ve not long set up a TBR jar so I want to make full use of that instead of committing myself to set books. If these get pulled out then great, if not I’ll have to wait until they do!

Let me know if you’re taking part in Top Ten Tuesday so I can come check out your post.

Em xxx

Promise You Won’t Tell, John Locke – A Review.

Hello friends! I’m here again with another January read, I was really disappointed with this one as I’d had so many good reads prior to this and then I just felt really let down…

Anyway, before I give away my entire review here is my review of Promise You Won’t Tell by John Locke and you can read the synopsis on Goodreads here.

Overall rating 1 out of 5 stars.

Let me start by saying I’m SO glad this was free on Amazon because I would not have paid money to read this book.

I have a lot of issues with this book, and while I usually would try and find some positives to write about too I don’t feel this one had any.

The plot was at points downright crazy and unbelievable and when it wasn’t either of those things it was just plain terrible. What annoyed me most was that it could have been such a good book, if it had gone with the whole young girl being sexually assaulted, as it could have brought awareness to a younger audience and had a positive impact.

However, the author decided that he would rather be flippant about such a serious topic.

This book did not accurately portray the situation that it attempted to and everything within this plot was outlandish and just crap.

Character wise, Dani was the most unlikeable character I’ve ever had to read about, she was annoying, incredibly over the top and at points inappropriate. The whole book was from her POV, at points as if she was narrating the story to us and then as if we were Dani seeing it ourselves – there was no consistency with the way it was written.

Side note – there were points where Dani (an adult) was talking about and describing Riley (a minor) in ways that were just not appropriate and made me feel uncomfortable.

Riley wasn’t much better, at first I liked her, I felt sorry for her, but then as the story went on and we finally reached the end, I’d lost any ounce of respect for her.

There were a few other minor characters involved in the story too, who were just annoying, that’s the only way I can describe them. They added barely any value to the story and seemed like typical privileged white males, who think that women owe them something.

I also have an issue with how the author tried to portray Dani as if she was unsure if she was bisexual or lesbian or straight, the way he went about it was wrong, it made a mockery of people who are genuinely confused. It felt cheap and as though the author had only included it to just attempt to be seen as inclusive, when in fact it was the furthest from that.

This book just was a terrible read, that’s the only way I can summarise it!

Let me know if you’ve read this one though and what you thought as I’d love to hear your views.

Em xxx

ARC – Unethical, Marla L Anderson – A Review.

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the free ARC of this book to read and review. All opinions and thoughts below are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Hi friends, I’m so excited to be able to bring you this review of Unethical by Marla L Anderson, this book was published on the 28th January 2021.

Overall rating 5 out of 5 stars.

My first words when I completed this book were “wow” repeatedly. Unethical was absolutely brilliant.

There are few books, that I’ve read at least, that focus on a member of the ageing population, who is also incredibly ill and this book felt like representation of those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The story itself thrilled me, it was so fast-paced and had to many twists and turns I nearly got whiplash trying to keep up! There were no lulls in the story, every time you turned the page the story got better.

At points I was quite frightened by this story, it made me really question if something like this could be happening already… Without giving too much away it wouldn’t surprise me if there were similar programmes for other diseases.

The stand outs of this book for me though were the characters, each one was blended perfectly into the story, bringing something different and standing out in their own way.

Jo was wonderful, the grit and determination she showed towards her Father was excellent, the author didn’t shy away from making it clear how much she struggled with him and how easy things would have been if she just left him, but also showed us how much love and compassion Jo had.

Scott was by far my favourite character, he had so much depth! And his backstory was a really clever little addition. The way he kept supporting Jo, even from the start was admirable.

Kessler again was absolutely brilliant. The author wrote his decline through the book so well, I don’t want to give too much away as this is part of the story but it was so cleverly done.

Suzanne I had mixed feelings about, I think she was the best written character through the book. The author really put the work in to make us feel every possible emotion whilst we read Suzanne’s parts.

The ending of this book made my heart break and swell at the same time, I don’t want to be cryptic but I don’t want to give anything away!

On the whole, this book was excellent. Every word written built suspense, fear and excitement and I couldn’t wait to keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen.

Unethical by Marla L Anderson was amazing, I’m so grateful that I got to read this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Chalk Man, C J Tudor – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here to bring you a review of one of the books I actually got for my birthday last year, yes it has taken me that long to read it! It is: The Chalk Man by C J Tudor and you can view the synopsis on Goodreads.

Overall rating 5 out of 5 stars.

This was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and we’re only a few weeks into 2021…

The prologue escalated quickly and hooked me in from the second I read it and really set the tone for the rest of the book.

Throughout the entirety of The Chalk Man I felt like I was on the edge of my seat, every time I turned a page or started a new chapter I wasn’t sure what to expect, which I really enjoyed. I had no idea what was going to happen and that thrilled me.

Every time I thought I’d guessed where the book was heading, I was thrown completely off track and I was wrong about well everything. Every aspect of this story was woven so cleverly, and only when I finished the book did I fully understand each different aspect.

My favourite part was how all of our questions were answered in the end, because there is nothing I hate more than when we’re left with questions!

Even though The Chalk Man was written solely from Eddie’s POV we didn’t miss any details, the writer ensured we learnt about the group of friends and their role within the story, minor characters who turned into huge parts of the book, and small details that were integral to the story.

One of the books selling points was how it switched between 2016 and 1986 every chapter, always from Eddie’s POV, making sure we got the historical details that we so desperately craved that built up to one of the best stories I’ve read this year.

At points, I felt scared, disgusted, traumatised and shocked by The Chalk Man – all the signs of a good book!

I just absolutely loved reading this book, it’s definitely one of my favourite 2021 reads.

Let me know if you’ve read this one and what you thought! Em xxx

NetGalley Update!

Hello friends, if you follow me on twitter (I’m @WhatEmsReadingX if you don’t already follow me) you’ll have seen I was using February to attempt to make a good way through the ARCs that I had from NetGalley, some of which had been sitting on my kindle for far longer than I want to admit…

My first update was on the 1st Feb 2021:

Feedback ratio: 67% 🔸 36 approved / 24 feedback sent 🔸 9 books on TBR shelf

And as of 23rd Feb 2021:

Feedback ratio: 97% 🔸 36 approved / 35 feedback sent 🔸 1 book on TBR shelf

I tried so hard to work my way through as many ARCs as possible and I did it! WOOOOOOP.

The only reason I have 1 remaining book on my shelf is because it isn’t being published until July and I know if I read it now I’ll forget what happened and writing my review would be super difficult.

The books I read were:

337 by M Jonathan Lee – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Conventicle of Magpies by LMR Clarke – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Players by Darren O’Sullivan – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The House of Whispers by Anna Kent – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ghost Town Girl by Debra Cunningham – ⭐️

I was really lucky to read some truly excellent books and my reviews for all except The Players and The House of Whispers will be coming on my blog in the next 5 weeks or so.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me in achieving my goal of clearing my shelf, I am taking this as a win because my final book to read isn’t published until July, which is months away!

Until next time, Em xxx

Black Edge, Charlotte Byrd – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here again with another review for you! This time it is Black Edge by Charlotte Byrd and you can read the synopsis on Goodreads.

Overall rating 1 out of 5 stars.

It’s taken me quite a while to come to a conclusion on this book and to make my decision on how to rate it because I just felt so frustrated.

I started off this book feeling intrigued by the invite that Caroline received, I wanted to know more and the short chapters contributed to building that excitement that I felt. I’d never read anything like this before and I was really excited by what could happen.

One aspect I particularly enjoyed was the way that Mr Black pushed Ellie to go for her dreams, and to follow her heart, it made a real difference to the usual men not taking an interest in a woman’s dreams unless it benefits them.

But, the more I read of this book the more my enjoyment waned.

Whilst the sex was good, that’s all it was, there was nothing standout, despite the authors best attempts at introducing what some would say are ~adventurous activities~ in the bedroom.

The characters just really pissed me off, to put it bluntly. Ellie constantly acts like she’s better than everyone, Mr Black is quite petulant and spoiled, Caroline is completely irritating and not the kind of friend you need and Tom is a complete arsehole.

I also really struggled with seeing how the characters just couldn’t communicate, a lot of the “issues” they had in this book could be solved if they just spoke to each other, like adults do!

And Ellie quitting her job because even though she’s a feminist and refuses to allow her step Dad to pay off her tuitions she’s more than happy to accept it from some guy who she’s only known for 12 hours… It screams romcom to me, something you’d see on channel 5 (in the UK) where a woman quits her crappy job and suddenly everything is PERFECT and she gets the job of her dreams and the man of her dreams. Just no.

On the whole, I feel lead on by this book. It started off promising me a hot and steamy romance novel and I was left disappointed and angry.

Let me know if you’ve read Black Edge and what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

📚The “Guilty Reader” Book Tag📚

Hey guys! I’m sharing my answers to the guilty reader book tag, I wasn’t tagged in this and I found it on Pinterest but if you want to take part, consider yourself tagged.

Q – Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

A – If giving it to the charity shop counts as gifted then yes! I did try to read it first but I just couldn’t get into it, so I freed up some space on my shelves. 

Q – Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t? 

A – Nope, I’m quite open about books I haven’t read, I just end up adding them to my TBR list or my to be purchased list.

Q – Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it? 

A – Technically yes, but my Mom lent me the book and we live together so it just moved rooms and stayed in my room instead haha.

Q – Have you ever read a series out of order? 

A – Yes and no. Ages ago I read Red Dragon, but none of the others. So in 2019 I read the whole series in chronological order. Starting with Hannibal Rising and making my way through the rest. You can actually read the reviews here.

Q – Have you ever spoiled a book for someone? 

A – I hope not! I do try and keep my reviews spoiler free but I always mark them as spoilers if they do have any.

Q – Have you ever dog eared a book? 

A – Yes but I’m getting better now I’m older and will literally use anything as a bookmark to prevent me from doing this.

Q – Have you ever told someone you don’t own the books when you do? 

A – Only a couple of times, when I really didn’t want to give that particular person the book because I knew I would never see it again. 

Q – Have you ever skipped a chapter or section of a book? 

A – Definitely, if I’m really hating on a book I’ll skim read it to see if it gets any better. 

Q – Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked? 

A – Nope, I’m an open book when it comes to my book-ish opinions. 

Q – Have you ever told someone you haven’t read a book when you have? 

A – Again, I’m open about everything I’ve read (even 50 Shades, it was shit btw) and I share every book I’ve read either on my blog or Goodreads, so you only have to search me to see what I’ve been reading.

Wow, I’m actually not as guilty of a reader as I thought I would be! And if you want to take part in this one consider yourself tagged!

Em xxx