Fiddleback, Jeff Vrolyks – A Review.

TW – child abuse, abuse and gore. (Neither of these will be mentioned in my review but please be aware before looking up this book online or selecting it to read).

Aaaaand again with another November book review, I mean a lil bit later but better late than never!

Fiddleback by Jeff Vrolyks.

Overall rating 3 out of 5 stars.

ARGH I’m so disappointed by this book! You have no idea how much I was looking forward to reading this book and it just did not live up to my expectations at all. That being said, it wasn’t completely terrible, hence the 3 star rating.

We were thrown straight into this book with meeting Mae and her abusive parents, and within the opening chapters there was MASSIVE plot twist, which honestly shocked me to the core I didn’t see it coming at all.

From this point onwards the plot just kept hooking me in and was like being on a rollercoaster ride. I definitely was swept up in this story.

We were all over the place with this book but in a good way, despite being split between two characters, the sections from each of them were lengthy and didn’t just drop off every other chapter with a cliff edge.

However, the writing itself wasn’t brilliant, and there were definitely points where I grew frustrated with this and I felt as though there wasn’t so much thought put into the actual writing as there was the plot.

And the ending for me just spoiled the whole book, I was so disappointed in it… I don’t want to give too much away but it certainly felt like a cop out ending and it really ruined it for me.

On the whole, I definitely enjoyed this book I just really felt let down with the ending, it spoiled the whole book for me 😦

If you’ve read Fiddleback let me know what you thought! Em xxx

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Dreaming of Florence, T A Williams – A Review.

Hello fellow bloggers, and welcome to another review! This was another November read that is only a couple of weeks late being shared haha.

Dreaming of Florence by T A Williams.

Overall rating 5 out of 5 stars.

My review…

Dreaming of Florence literally whisked me away to one of my bucket list places within just a few pages, and it was just the feel good read that I needed during England’s lockdown, it was a gorgeous read.

From the opening few pages when Debbie literally crashed into the story I was hooked, and that feeling never faded while I was reading. I literally could not put this book down.

I think my favourite part about this book was the focus on Debbie as a strong and independent woman. From moving to another country completely alone (my worst fear), to the strong female friendships she had around her and the way she was happy to focus on herself and didn’t feel like she needed a man in her life to be content.

Each character brought something completely new to the story and played a pivotal role in how they progressed the book. All without feeling like we were bombarded with new people.

The writing of this book just sold Florence to me even more, it was written so beautifully, the scenes were set perfectly, I could picture every place in my head and almost felt as if I was there with the characters.

Whilst I didn’t want this book to end I certainly loved the ending, it had me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside! It was the perfect finish to such a wonderful book.

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

Em xxx

December TBR.

Here we go, the one I have been waiting for! It is finally time for me to start my December TBR which is basically just Christmas books, I have been dreaming about this list since the 1st November I’m SO EXCITED to read these festive books…

1 – The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements✅

2 – Six Geese a-Laying by Sophie Kinsella✅

3 – A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce✅

4 – Sex, Snow and Mistletoe by Laura Barnard✅

5 – A Cornish Christmas Reunion by Laura Briggs✅

6 – Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes by Jessica Redland✅

7 – The Christmas Truce by Rosalind Palmer Jones✅

8 – Christmas Wishes Come True by Jessica Coulter Smith✅

There is no doubt in my mind that I will make it through all of these books during December and that I will love them all, I’m kinda Christmas obsessed!

Inbetween making mince pies and Christmas biscuits (not wrapping my presents because I’m organised and I’ve done that already lmao) I will be sharing my progress on Twitter, visit me at @WhatEmsReadingX to follow how I’m getting on.

Happy December friends!

Em xxx

Tales of Lunis Aquaria, Tessa Hastjarjanto – A Review.

Hello friends! I’m here again with my first November read which I’m super excited to bring you all as I loved this one.

Tales of Lunis Aquari by Tessa Hastjarjanto.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

My review…

I started this book just as England went back into lockdown and it was just what I needed to read.

The introduction to this book was absolutely beautiful, it sounded so magical and really gave us a taste of what was to come.

On the whole, these stories were magical and brought me so much joy to read them, I felt like I was immersed in the world being described. The stories were beautifully written and featured some incredibly well thought out characters and creatures.

I felt like I was whisked away.

The only disappointment for me were that the stories felt like they cut off in odd places, as if they weren’t quite complete and could have done with a few more sentences to finish them off.

Despite this, I loved the stories, the characters, the worlds that we got to immerse ourselves in and I really hope there is a follow up on a couple of these stories!

Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought.

Em xxx

The Stranger, Albert Camus – A Review.

Hello fellow bloggers and reviewers! I’m here again with another review, this time one from my November TBR (which is going very well for a change!) This one is The Stranger by Albert Camus.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

My review…

Let me start this review by saying it definitely will not be a long one, and definitely won’t be my usual style.

My initial thoughts after finishing this book were confusion and a sense of being a bit lost, not really knowing what was going on within the book or what to make of it at all.

And now I’ve had time to think about it I’ve realised that’s the point. We are meant to question our very beings after reading this book, I mean it basically encourages you to have a full blown existential crisis…

On the one hand, I’m so glad I read this book, at points it was poetically written, it was beautiful and thought provoking and introduced me to another way of thinking.

But on the flip side, I struggled at points with the large blocks of text, I could feel my eyes wandering down the page and the fact that I closed the book and felt very empty and lost.

I’m definitely glad I read it but I don’t think I’d read it again, it’s the kind of book that doesn’t need to be read again but will still stay with you for the rest of your life.

Let me know if you’ve read it as I’d love to discuss with someone what they thought of it!

Em xxx

Horror Stories, Various Authors – A Review.

Aloha my fellow book blogger pals! I’m here again with another (kinda late) October book review, and I’m really excited about this one as it was one of my favourites that I read!

Horror Stories by various authors.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

My review…

Going For A Walk by Ron Ripley. This one started us off with a bang, I literally had no idea what was going to happen in this one and it ended up being something completely different to what I expected, which I loved. The ending was brilliant. This was just an all around good story.

The Doctors Questions by Eric Whittle. Another one that I absolutely loved, it was so fast paced that whilst I feel like we didn’t stop but in a good way. The only criticism I have is that the ending was very ambiguous which frustrated me.

Urbex by David Longhorn. Urbex was somewhat of a disappointment for me, I figured out what the story within the first few sentences. That being said, it was very well written and cleverly done.

Museum Quality by Ron Ripley. This one actually made me feel physically sick. I was going to skip it to begin with but I’m so glad I stuck with it, it cleverly built up a story that got just under my skin and not in a good way…

Tell Me Your Name by A I Nasser. I really enjoyed this one even though it didn’t have the same scare factor as the others it was incredibly well written and still managed to make me feel unnerved.

His Neighbours Garden by Ron Ripley. Omg I adored this one! Even though I figured out a little bit of what was going on nothing could prepare me for the ending, it shocked me to my core. I think this one was my favourite story from the collection.

The Sin Eater by David Longhorn. This one was a close second to be my favourite. The story itself was original, well written and I loved how it let us make our own assumptions at the end…

Kimberley by Sara Clancy. I had goosebumps from start to finish whilst I read this story. Every line I read I got more and more on edge and creeped out. The atmosphere that was built up was brilliant, I cannot fault this story.

Scarecrow by A I Nasser. Again, I enjoyed this one it had a sort of mature rated goosebumps feel to it which I really liked. It kept my attention throughout and I definitely didn’t want it to end!

Graveyard Shift. I’m quite disappointed with this one, I figured out the story from the beginning and it felt really rushed compared to the other stories which is super annoying because it didn’t have the same feel and atmosphere as the rest of them.

On the whole, I really loved these stories! They all brought something different but managed to maintain the same quality pretty much right the way through with an exception or two.

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

Em xxx

The Haunted, Niki Valentine – A Review.

Good morning (or afternoon depending on where you are/what time you’re reading this) my fellow blogger pals! Today I am bringing to you a review that I really struggled to write, mostly because I had no idea how to write this other than to say “the book was trash”… So yes.

The Haunted by Niki Valentine.

Overall rating 1 out of 5 stars.

My review…

I had incredibly high hopes for this book, I deliberately kept it to read during my October horror/thriller reads and after reading the blurb I thought I’d made the right decision… I was mistaken.

As a book marketed as a horror, paranormal and spooky I expected this book to be something that made me want to sleep with the light on, what I actually got was something I can only describe as like walking through treacle.

The book itself was very slow to start and didn’t feature much in the way of plot, we were quickly introduced to our main characters, Martin and Susie, through their sniping and nit picking with each other – which was boring to read.

As I read deeper into the book I built an intense dislike for both of our main characters, nothing about them was likeable. For the entirety of the book we were simply treated to them sniping at each other as they both “felt the effects” of the supposed paranormal being that was with them in the bothy…

The blurb describes how we will be chilled to the bone, and sadly that didn’t happen for me. Our paranormal being was never present enough to have an impact, he was like a passing shadow and didn’t bring anything to the story.

As for the plot, it was completely non-existent and the ending did nothing to round off the novel, except leave us with more questions than answers and a burning desire to never pick up this book again.

I struggled with this book, to find anything positive about it. Which is a real shame as I had looked forward to reading this since I brought it a few months back.

Let me know if you’ve read The Haunted and what you thought.

Em xxx

Staying sane during lockdown 2!

Hello fellow blogger friends! It’s something different today, and completely non-book related…

I know we’re being told this isn’t a second lockdown and isn’t a return to the measures we faced in March (which it isn’t) but it’s certainly not the freedom that we’re all used to having in our lives. Even for an introvert like me who isn’t bothered about socialising I’m starting to flag a little bit.

Hence this post on how I’m staying sane during lockdown 2! I’m still working, but from home so I have a purpose to get up and out of bed in the morning.

1 – I’m sticking to a similar sleep routine. I’m going to bed around my usual times and only waking up half an hour later than normal so that when I do return to normal work it isn’t such a shock to my system.

This is completely different to lockdown 1 where I was awake until like 2am every day.

2 – Getting dressed. I’ll be the first to admit during lockdown 1 I didn’t change out of my pjs for work, grim I know. This time around though I’m getting dressed, not in my usual work outfits cos nah, but just into some leggings and a jumper, something that tells my brain “this is not relaxing time”.

P.S. Yes this means wearing an actual bra which I didn’t do a lot of the first time around…

3 – Working from the dining table. As I have my laptop it would be so easy for me to sit on the sofa, but I’m forcing myself to work away from there so that when I sit down in the evenings it’s not a work space.

4 – Regular exercise. I started a new exercise regime during August and I’m pleased to say I’ve stuck with it!

I do have a broken toe at the moment which is preventing me from doing a lot of my usual stuff as I can’t really put weight on it yet, so I’ve adapted and changed my exercises up a bit so I can keep going.

5 – Schedule regular me time. For me, having a bubble bath is the BEST, I love coming out looking like a lobster because the water is so hot, it gives me LIFE. I make sure to always set aside time (on a Saturday, late afternoon) where I have my peaceful bath, with an obscene amount of bubbles lmao.

6 – Not being too hard on myself. During lockdown 1 I was far too hard on myself, I would berate myself for not reading more or for not exercising more, because I suddenly had all this extra time I should be filling it by doing things… I’ve since realised this is not the case, it’s an incredibly stressful time and there are absolutely no expectations on anyone.

7 – Putting my Christmas decorations up. Ya know what, I’m usually one of those people that says NO DECORATIONS TILL DECEMBER, but nah, I’ll be getting my tree up in my room next weekend because why not?! 2020 has been awful I NEED some festive cheer.

I’m treating lockdown 2 very differently to the first time around and so far after a week of it my mental health is much better this time around, it’s not perfect but I haven’t cried yet (except at a Christmas ad on the TV which doesn’t count) so I’m counting that as a win!

If you’ve got any tips for staying sane during lockdown 2 let me know, I’m always looking for ways to stop me going stir crazy…

Em xxx

📚The Bookshelf Tag📚

Hey guys, I found this tag ages ago and it’s been sitting in my saved folder ever since so I’ve finally gotten around to doing it! This one is The Bookshelf Tag.

1 – Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from. So my bookcase is an Ikea Billy Bookcase, I have had it for several years now and it was originally birch, but I brought new black furniture so I got some paint and it now matches the rest! Though I will be purchasing a new (bigger) one soon as I simply do not have room for any more books 😦

Live footage of me putting together my bookcase.

2 – How do you organise your books? I did a post on this ages ago, but it’s actually changed now and TBH it’s a bit of free for all as I’ve got no room but I’m hoping to organise it better once I get a new bookcase.

3 – What’s the longest book on your shelf? That would be IT by Stephen King, coming in at 1,138 pages!

4 – What’s the shortest book on your shelf? This one is Psycho by Robert Bloch coming in at 185 pages.

5 – Is there a book you received as a birthday gift? I had The Green Mile by Stephen King and Carrie by Stephen King for my birthday, which were several years ago and then this year I received like 10 new books *happy dance*

6 – Is there a book from a friend on your shelf? There is from my boyfriend, but from a friend I don’t think there is, they avoid buying me books because I already have so many haha.

7 – The most expensive book on your shelf? Probably my illustrated Harry Potter books.

8 – The last book you read on your shelf? This would be The Haunted by Niki Valentine. My review will be going up shortly.

9 – Do you have a complete series? I do indeed, I have several… The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis, Harry Potter by JKR and the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris.

10 – What’s the newest edition to your shelf? Erm, that is a very good question, it’s actually 10 books that were all added at once as they were received at the same time!

11 – The oldest book on your shelf? So I have a copy of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins back from 1982. But the one that was written the longest time ago would be The Divine Comedy by Dante.

12 – What’s a book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (AKA no one is allowed to touch it). Definitely my illustrated Harry Potter books, they’re literally my pride and joy haha.

13 – Most beat up book? My Hannibal series, they used to belong to my Mom so they have been read a lot.

14 – Most pristine book? It’s a choice between my Mistborn series or The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales, they are literally perfect!

15 – A book that doesn’t belong to you? All of the books on my shelf are mine!

16 – A book that is your favourite colour? My favourite colour is actually pink and I don’t have any pink books on my shelf 😦

17 – A book that’s been on your shelf the longest and you still haven’t read it? Definitely The Green Mile by Stephen King, it’s been on there for several years now.

18 – Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read? Out of the books on my shelf it would likely be The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

I say this about every tag I take part in but this was literally so much fun, I loved going through my bookshelf and sharing the answers with you guys. If you want to take part please consider yourself tagged!

Em xxx

Psychosis: Tales of Horror, Matt Dymerski – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms! Here I am again (a week or so late) but sharing another one of my horror reads! This was another short story collection so I’ve done a small review of each story and an overall review at the bottom.

Psychosis: Tales of Horror by Matt Dymerski.

Synopsis…Explore the true anatomy of horror through these 13 tales of despair and terror written by the author of the original short story Psychosis.”

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

My review…

Psychosis. This is the title story and the first one as we start this book and let me say it did not disappoint. I loved how this story played on the first person perspective, it really got under my skin and made me think and question a lot of things… The ending got me as well, I wasn’t expecting anything about this story it was full of twists.

The Bone Walker. Again, this was another good one. It was completely different to the previous story but it still grabbed my attention in the exact same way. The story was cleverly done and as it was written from the first person it allowed us to feel a deeper connection with our main character, perfect for the story…

The Fire of the Soul. Wow, this was just amazing. Admittedly, at points I did get a little confused but everything came together and I just I’m speechless. The writing was excellent, the story was excellent, bravo.

Come Closer. This one was very short and sweet compared to the others but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get under my skin like the rest of them… This one definitely scared me a little bit!

Scribblings. I found this one to be more intriguing than scary, which disappointed me a little bit. It definitely grabbed my attention from the start and I just HAD to keep reading to find out what was going on. The writing in this story was excellent and really lent itself to the content of the story.

The Lodge. Another short and sweet one that I loved and one that genuinely terrified me. It had a real creepypasta vibe to it, which I think is what scared me the most!

Correspondence. I found this one really hard to read and I couldn’t get through it very easily with the way the story was laid out. I’m still not clear on the plot either…

Strangers In a Graveyard. Ahhh I loved this one, my only criticism is that it wasn’t any longer! It featured one of my biggest fears (graveyards) and that definitely made it feel super creepy for me.

The Lonely Grave. Once I realised this was a follow on from the previous story I had chills. I was so scared by this one, just everything about it got under my skin, the atmosphere was excellent.

The Basement. I loved this one, the story was very cleverly written to make you feel the fear of our main character, it is as if you are in their shoes… I won’t say too much so I don’t give it away!

Erosion. DNFR.

Strange Things. I feel like this story had quite a few underdeveloped parts that made it lack the fear factor for me, which was disappointing as it could have been such a good story.

The Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I didn’t really get this one and how it fit into the book? It was weird and the ending didn’t really make much sense at all. A real disappointing end for the book.

On the whole, the stories in this book did something that is quite difficult and that was to scare me and get under my skin so for that I applaud them! However, the last few stories were not on the same level as the earlier ones, which is such a shame.

Let me know if you’ve read this book or any of the short stories within it as I’d love to know what you thought!

Em xxx