[ARC] The Unbalanced Equation – H L Macfarlane

Link to book – The Unbalanced Equation by H L Macfarlane

Rating – 4 out of 5 stars

A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this book to read for free in exchange for a review!

If you’re on the lookout for a women in science, workplace, enemies to lovers book then The Unbalanced Equation is the one for you! It has all of that, plus so much more that make this book a truly fabulous read.

Now to start, anyone who has read any of my blog posts knows that I’m an absolute WHORE for a split POV, especially in a romance novel, so when I saw that this book had split POV I was over the moon, it was like a dream come true. The feeling of which continued throughout the entire book.

The characters were the real stand out for me and having that split POV to see the story progress through both their eyes was just perfect.

Whilst we saw the book from Liz and Tom’s perspective (who I definitely have a crush on now I’ve read it, both of them that is) and they were just two wonderfully written characters. Their interactions with each other and the supporting characters in the book were excellently done and cannot be faulted. Just reading the chapters through their POV made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they were just such fabulous characters.

And the characters were only further supported by the plot, which oh my god WAS SO GOOD. I love a good enemies to lovers situation and whilst it was maybe one sided enemies to lovers it was still so worth the read.

The story itself was just the perfect mash up of different elements and each aspect of the plot worked together to create this story that had be snorting with laughter, gasping in shock and left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say if you like women in science (and enjoyed The Love Hypothesis, this is a book for you!)

And oh my gosh, the setting! Set in Scotland the author just managed to make the entire setting seem so beautiful and it definitely aided my enjoyment of the book.

The majority of that came from the authors ability to write such wonderfully crafted sentences and paragraphs that left me wanting to be in Scotland with our main characters, living their lives and experiencing everything they did. It was just a really easy book to get drawn into and enjoy, and that is all down to the authors writing.

On the whole, The Unbalanced Equation is well worth the read and I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to do a reread in the future!

Until next time, Em xxx

[ARC] Anybody Home? Michael J. Seidlinger

Link to book – Anybody Home? by Michael J. Seidlinger

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars

Huge thank you to NetGalley and Clash Books for the advanced copy of this book to read and review. 

Oh my god lord this book was fucking traumatising… I woke up at 4am one morning, and I was midway through reading this book and HONESTLY I thought we were falling victim to a home invasion, I genuinely was terrified and started to go through all these different scenarios in my head (turns out it was just my dad making loads of noise getting ready for work but this book put me on EDGE).

Seriosuly though, the entire book has made me want to just move into a lil house in the wilderness where no one knows I’m there.

Anybody Home? takes us through a home invasion, except it has a twist… It’s through the eyes of a director, a director who is instructing and advising the perpetrator on how to successfully undertake said home invasion.

I’d never read anything like it before, ever. Sure, I’ve watched a lot of horror films about home invasions, hell, some of them even scared me, but nothing, NOTHING, I’ve ever watched or read has been so excellently disturbing. It genuinely terrified me, I didn’t sleep and when I did sleep I had nightmares, it got under my skin in the best possible way.

From the get go the books intention was to put you on edge and build this atmosphere of fear and nerves and paranoia, and it certainly succeded in doing so… Despite us never actually learning the invaders names or really getting anything other than basic information about the family it still built this intense feeling of unease, and I personally think the ambiguity around the characters lent itself well to the story.

One thing I particularly enjoyed (if that’s the right word to use in this review!) was how the idea of the invaders doing these things just because they could or because they wanted to, it terrified me to my very core. It was the perfect way to keep us on edge whilst we were reading.

In the same breath, never truly knowing who the cults were that the narrator kept alluding to, and it being left open to interpretation was just the icing on the cake. Were they just horror lovers in need of a good scare? Were they people on the dark web, paying to watch? It just really added that layer of fear and unsease.

On the whole, Anybody Home? was an absolute masterpiece of writing and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Until next time, Em xxx

[ARC] The Murder List – Jackie Kabler

Link to book – The Murder List by Jackie Kabler.

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars

Huge thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK and One More Chapter for the advanced copy of this book to read and review. 

OH MY GOOD GOD what an AMAZING book this was! It was definitely a 5 star read and one that I will be recommending for months to come I’m sure. 

From the start I thought the writing was impeccable, and this standard was upheld throughout the entire book, every word and sentence cleverly crafted and written to provide the reader with a truly excellent book. Every single feeling I had, paranoia, shock, terror, were all down to the incredible writing style that Kabler has. 

And the atmosphere was just perfectly presented throughout the entire book. It was atmospheric and intriguing in equal measures, both of which compelling me to just keep reading for one more page, even long after I should have been asleep!

Character wise, I absolutely thought they were brilliant, whilst some of them weren’t as integral to the plot as others they were all afforded the same time and build up, it was hard to not feel attached to them. They balanced each other out perfectly and created just the right level of suspicion around them, never really knowing who was to blame until the last possible second…

And the plot, oh my lordy, it was amazing, in fact damn near perfect. The author had these different storylines interweaving with each other, creating an overarching story that just was MINDBLOWINGLY good. The twists and turns were off the chart, but also still incredibly believable. We were led on such a wild goose chase and I suspected everyone except who it actually was, so kudos to the author for that. 

Which does lead me to the ending. The ending was just mind blowing, and whilst it isn’t necessarily a book I would read again, that was more so because a lot of the books appeals and value was the shock factor of the ending and knowing what was going to happen would spoil a reread. 

On the whole, The Murder List was just a true JOY to read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will be recommending it for a long time!

Until next time, Em xxx

[ARC] Witch 13 – Patrick R Delaney

Link to book – Witch 13 by Patrick R Delaney

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars

As with another book I’ve read by this author I was absolutely blown away by the quality of this book. It was damn near perfection.

The writing was absolutely incredible and I cannot fault it, I was in complete awe. The characters, the plot, the atmosphere, the intrigue, everything was just perfectly crafted to create this story.

The entire book from start to finish was immersive, consuming and haunting. It was so atmospheric and at points I was terrified, it was eerie, dark and all encompassing. I’m pretty hard to scare, especially with books, so for this to scare me was no mean feat. 

Hand in hand with the atmosphere that the author built was the intrigue that was littered throughout the story, while I didn’t want the book to end I almost did, because I needed to have answers to my burning questions…

And the plot itself was just mind blowing, it was immersive and confusing and it felt as though I was feeling and reading everything at once, but in the best way. The plot didn’t always make sense at points, but I feel that just added to the vibe of the book.

I also thought the pace of the plot was well done, considering it was set in one night in one tiny town, it just felt like so much happened, but it didn’t feel overly busy.

I loved the mythical element of the story as well, witches and legends and mythical stories, it was just so perfectly haunting. 

On the whole, another incredible book from this author, that I cannot wait to reread.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Summer We Buried – Jody Gehrman

Link to book – The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman.

Rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane books for the advanced copy of this book to read and review!

TW: Sexual assault and domestic violence within the book. Neither of these will be discussed within my review.

A very intriguing slow burn book that will have you addicted and needing to keep turning the pages late into the night…

From the get go I found The Summer We Buried to be an intriguing and atmospheric read, it had that addictive feel to it and worked it’s way under my skin, to the point where I needed to keep reading to find out what would happen to our characters. Coupled with an incredibly well done underlying tense feeling, it was the perfect recipe for a thrilling book.

For me, the characters really made this story what it was. They all had their own past and things to keep hidden, that gave them a real air of mystery… Coupled with the very real and natural relationships they were forming throughout the story, Tansy’s two minds about the past, Selene’s need to keep her daughter safe, Jupiter’s situation and Zack who seemingly gets caught in the middle of everything (until as we find out later, isn’t exactly as it seems).

Individually the characters were excellently written and together they formed a mismatched group that just worked. That carried the story to its completion and did a thoroughly good job of it too.

The writing also really impressed me, and while it was a slow burn book it didn’t feel boring. The author had this very descriptive, almost poetic way of writing, that was beautiful and really brought the book to life.

And the plot was good too, there were a few twists that I picked up on that weren’t brilliantly concealed, but on the whole the story was really good! The twists and turns weren’t outlandish and they all just worked really well together to form a truly good story.

While entertaining isn’t the best word to describe this book, I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a slow burn that will still give you a thrill…

ARC – The House Fire – Rosie Walker

Link to book – The House Fire by Rosie Walker.

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

TRIGGER WARNING – discussions of eating disorders within the book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK and One More Chapter for the advanced copy of this book to read and review.

There were very few things in this book that I didn’t like or enjoy, and they were so minimal (and likely my own personal fussiness) that I couldn’t rate this book any less than 5 stars…

The one thing that bugged me was the author could have used headings or chapter titles to date and timestamp who was delivering the story, just to make it slightly easier to grasp who was telling the story and when. But like I say, that’s probably just my own pickiness!

Other than that, The House Fire was an incredible book! Definitely a slow burner (pardon the pun) but I feel that helped the book, it allowed things to develop more naturally and didn’t overwhelm us with information and things going on.

It definitely managed to balance that slow burn with the intrigue though, and it was very difficult to put down! I had this urge to just keep reading constantly, fearful that if I didn’t I would miss something vitally important. The same with the atmosphere, which again was incredible considering the slower nature of the story.

I think all of that comes down to the author’s writing, I couldn’t pick a fault with how the author wrote this book, it was impeccable.

Which was also reflected in the plot, the story that was woven together with all of these different layers, leading us on a wild goose chase at points and making us question everything about everyone… The story was so well done and I think it was the best part of the book for me.

I would definitely recommend The House Fire to anyone who is looking for a slow and steady read that will knock your socks off!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Evening’s Amethyst by M.K.Graff

Link to book – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59463678-the-evening-s-amethyst

Rating – 4 stars

THANK YOU TO NETGALLEY AND BOOKSGOSOCIAL FOR THE ADVANCED COPY TO READ AND REVIEW.

I want to start by saying I absolutely loved the cosy feel that this book had to it, it made me want to curl up in front of the fire with a cup of tea and just enjoy the mystery surrounding the story. It was just a really nice, easy read that made me feel like I was being wrapped in a warm blanket.

Character wise, I did start to struggle at the start with keeping track of who was who, it felt as if everyone merged into one, but the deeper we got into the story it became much easier to keep track. Mostly because every character brought something new to the story, they all added value in their own way and had their own well developed personalities.

The writing was also good, but that’s all it was… good. There were points that it felt basic, and as if things were being spelt out to us which really disappointed me as I was expecting more. On the same note, I think because there were things included in the book unnecessarily it became a slog to read at points and that’s when my frustration with some of the writing would begin to emerge.

However, the book completely redeemed itself with the plot. While the book had a cosy small town mystery feel to it, it certainly did NOT skimp on the drama or quality of the story!

The whole thing from start to end kept me on my toes and questioning everyone and everything. I loved how it was set in just a small town but still managed to seem like such a big story. We were led all over the place with the plot, red herrings thrown everywhere to make use really think about everything we were reading. It was so cleverly done.

I also have a real soft spot for the ending, it rounded the story off in somewhat of a happy way which is always a winner with me!

On the whole, I loved the cosy feel of The Evening’s Amethyst, I feel it lent itself well to the plot and the characters, I just wish the writing was a little better and didn’t feel basic at points.

Thanks again to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial who were kind enough to provide me with an e-arc of this book to read and review.

Em xxx

ARC REVIEW – The Rebound by Catherine Walsh.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Bookoturefor the advanced copy of this book to read for free in return for an honest review.

The Rebound by Catherine Walsh, published on 14.2.22. Read the synopsis here.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

I really struggled to write my review of this book because I just enjoyed it so much and when I enjoy a book I find it really difficult to just not type OMG IT WAS AMAZING over and over again, which to be honest The Rebound was amazing!

The entire book was set in Ireland, so immediately I was sold and knew I would adore this story, and thanks to the authors ability to perfectly set the scene I felt as if I was there, alongside our characters.

I completely fell in love with our characters, they were possibly the highlight of this story for me. Not only were they interesting to read, had really likeable qualities and were just generally awesome, there was real character development and growth throughout the story from them.

Specifically, with Abby and her sister Louise, and I’m really glad the author allowed that to also be a focus of the story and how they came together through the book. It helped me not only feel more endeared to the characters but also made the story feel more realistic.

Oh and I’m also obsessed with Luke, sorry not sorry.

Whilst the story wasn’t exactly anything new, it just had this refreshing feel to it. I think the location and the scene setting really played a part in making this love story feel different. And with the authors ability to write a story that just draws you in and is easy to read, it was the perfect recipe for a book.

My only major criticism is the lack of spice in this book, like ya girl is obsessed with Luke we could have done with some more smut, PLEASE.

Overall, I adored this book, it had almost everything I could have wanted from a romance book and I would definitely recommend it!

Happy reading bookworms! Until next time, Em xxx

ARC REVIEW – The Woman At No 13 by C K Williams.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and One More Chapter for the advanced copy of this book to read for free in return for an honest review.

The Woman At No 13 by C K Williams, published on 13.8.21. Read the synopsis here.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR DISCUSSION OF ABORTION.

I also want to preface this review by saying there is A LOT of discussion surrounding politics, the Catholic Church and their traditionalist views, the IRA, the troubles in Ireland and Brexit.

Woooooow, this book was a wild ride wasn’t it! I think by the time I reached the words “the end” I had come a complete full circle!

I was not prepared for this book to make me feel the way that I did about it. From the blurb I had an idea of how this book would go and when I finished reading it I felt it couldn’t have been further from that description we are given. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an excellent book to read.

Also, I had expected the book to written from a completely different POV to that which it was written, and to start with it bugged me a little bit. But as we got deeper into the story I felt it added real value to have it written from Jannis’s POV, it allowed us to see Kate (our main character of the story) from a less skewed POV that we would have had if Kate narrated the whole story.

And because Jannis narrated the story and tbh he was a little bit of a scaredy cat it really helped the author to build a super intense atmosphere. Although I shouldn’t say Jannis was acting a bit too scared because at points this book really did get to me and made me feel quite unnerved!

The one thing that did let this book down a little bit was the plot. I felt it got quite lost at points and personally, I thought the author was trying to use the book more to discuss the troubles in Ireland and be political (which is absolutely fine, I had no issues with the topics at hand) but it felt too far away from the blurb. The blurb became quite misleading one you started reading.

However, the writing of this book was undeniably a high point and really elevated the book. The quality of the writing together with the authors ability to build an incredible and tense atmosphere truly made the words stand out on the page and imbed themselves into my head.

Overall, I did enjoy The Woman At No13 and I felt that it was very well written and had some interesting themes brought up for reading and discussion. The only letdown for me was that it felt like the blurb misled us with the plot, and whilst I would have read it anyway if the blurb was different I felt disappointed by the difference in them.

I was hoping for a good whodunnit murder with a little bit of suspense thrown in and instead I got politics, the Catholic Church, the IRA, the troubles in Ireland and Brexit.

Happy reading bookworms! Until next time, Em xxx

ARC REVIEW – The Phantom Circuit by Austin Farmer.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Austin Farmer for the advanced copy of this book to read for free in return for an honest review.

The Hphantom Circuit by Austin Farmer, published on the 1.1.22. Read the synopsis here.

Overall rating – 2 out of 5 stars.

I’m in two minds about The Phantom Circuit, on the one hand there were parts I really enjoyed and though omg this is so COOL, but then on the flipside I just found it a slog to read at points, and I really did consider DNFR. I think the big blocks of text didn’t help and if the author had broken those up a bit more I absolutely would have found it much easier to read!

To brief you about the story… The Phantom Circuit is a modern day retelling of Bloody Mary, and instead of mirrors she uses ~other~ methods shall I say (don’t want to give too much away!) and as someone who was obsessed with urban legends as a child/teenager this was definitely something I thought I would love.

It did frighten me a lil bit, as I am still (at 26 years old) deathly afraid of Bloody Mary and so I want applaud the author for bringing that fear back into the forefront of my life…

The idea of this book was incredible, the author had taken quite a traditional legend and injected something new to the story. However, it just wasn’t executed in the best way.

Character wise they were kind of a focus of the book, but they also weren’t – it was pretty mixed and therefore hard to form a real opinion on them. I get what the author was trying to do, and I can see how the characters could have been such an amazing part of the story, they just needed fleshing out a bit more so that we could form an attachment to them and then start to root for them.

And I don’t think the delivery of the book helped with matters. The execution of the story is what lacked for me, it was all over the place and I felt like I was wading through treacle to read it. Some parts lacked relevance to the story and would have been better left out and as such would probably have helped with the flow of the story. I did enjoy the way the author had messages written from Dianne though, I found that really interesting and thought it worked well with the way Bloody Mary was appearing.

Overall, it definitely has potential! The premise is super cool and the idea of a modern touch on an old legend is interesting, it just needed some work on the execution of the story.

ALSO, a warning that it was going to discuss the pandemic would have been nice haha, I try and avoid that while I’m reading and it just suddenly got sprung on us!

Happy reading bookworms! Until next time, Em xxx