Mini reviews!

Hello fellow book bloggers! I have a couple of mini reviews coming your way, these are just for two short stories that I read this year, that didn’t warrant a full review post on their own!

Bobo by Richard Schiver.

Overall rating – 1 star.

I am SO GLAD this book was a free kindle one because I would not have paid money to read this.

The whole story from start to finish didn’t make any sense whatsoever, there were points where I think even the author got confused with his own story, the direction it was taking and what he had already written.

There were several seeds planted within this book which could have been expanded upon to make a really interesting story, but sadly they weren’t and we were left wanting and waiting for more from this. I have a lot of unanswered questions after reading it.

There was no fear factor within this book, which considering it’s marketed as a horror on Goodreads is highly disappointing.

It was just an exceptionally poor book and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

Cinderella Is Evil by Jamie Campbell.

Overall rating – 4 stars.

I want to start by saying how misleading I found the title of this book, it’s a retelling of the traditional tale of Cinderella, but the title implies something that the book and plot don’t match up with.

That being said, I did enjoy this retelling. It was a glorious little read and I’m so glad I picked it up.

The book itself simply retells the story of Cinderella from one of the step sisters POV, and focuses on their lives, which I was really impressed with. It reminded me that there are two sides to every story and that not everything may be as it seems.

The one thing that let this book down was the writing, it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me, but I can gloss over that as I enjoyed this story so much!

I definitely enjoyed this story, I just feel irritated with the title and a little bit let down with the writing.

Until next time, Em xxx

His and Hers, Alice Feeney – A Review.

Hello friends and fellow bloggers! I’m here again with a review, this time of His and Hers by Alice Feeney. You can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Overall rating – 3 stars.

I’ve decided to rate this one 3 stars because I am in two minds about it. There are definitely aspects that I thought worked really well, but then there are other points where I was banging my head off the wall at how ridiculous it was.

From the start I felt that His and Hers was going to be a wild ride and I was right. At no point did I feel like this book let up on the drama and shock factor.

In some ways this was points in favour of the book, but in others it was definitely a negative, especially when some of the shocks didn’t add anything to the story and were there for shock factor alone.

The layout of the book, flitting between Anna’s perspective and Jack’s perspective was incredibly clever and helped to build the mistrust that stuck with me through the whole book. Every chapter from either POV brought another hint that implicated both characters, I was totally confused – in a good way.

The two POVs allowed the story to progress without it becoming stagnant, which made it feel like I got through this book quicker than I did.

One of my favourite things about this book is the depth of the writing, when Feeney was writing about a crime scene I felt as if we were there, seeing the scene through our own eyes. It felt so realistic.

There were also lots of links to the past and comments made about Jack and Anna’s previous relationship which brought another layer to the book, it added a personal feel and helped to bring the characters to life. While I didn’t form any attachments to any of the characters (they were all quite irritating) I did feel like they were 3D and had life in their eyes.

Towards the end of the book I did get incredibly frustrated, the ending really spoiled this book for me. I don’t want to give too much away but it just seemed so crazy, and unrealistic especially after what I’d read in the rest of the book…

On the whole, His and Hers was a good book. There were positives and negatives of the story, but it just didn’t stand out enough for me to rate it any higher than 3 stars.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Happy Family, Jackie Kabler – A Review.

Hello friends and bookworms, I’m so excited to share with you my review of The Happy Family by Jackie Kabler. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK in return for an honest review.

The Happy Family is due to be published on the 4th June 2021 and you can read the synopsis here.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

I’ve read books by Jackie Kabler before and I was not disappointed with her latest offering, I was completely addicted to reading The Happy Family, it drew me into the story and before I knew it I was halfway through without even realising. It was so easy to read and get swept up with.

Because the book was written in first person it felt as if we were in Beth’s head, which lent itself to the nature of the book so well. It felt as if we were falling apart, questioning everything and unsure of who we could trust… I felt myself becoming paranoid just reading the book, it really got under my skin.

There were points that felt unrealistic, with how Beth welcomed her mother back with open arms and with how she didn’t question certain things, but when you think that Beth is a divorced mother of two who really has her shit together (really refreshing to read by the way) you can understand why her mother suddenly reappearing out of the blue would throw her off kilter and lead her to make these decisions and assumptions.

Throughout the story Kabler dropped these small hints that built up the tension and lead into this great little backstory that eventually made it’s way to the forefront of the book and delivered the mother (excuse the pun) of all twists!

I did not expect the final third of the book to play out the way it did, and while I did guess some aspects of how it would pan out, there others that completely blindsided me and left me sitting with my mouth hanging open.

I also loved how the very end of the book showed everything coming a full circle, it rounded the story off and left me feeling really fulfilled with the story.

On the whole, I loved this book. It kept me guessing, had so many twists and turns that I thought I was on a rollercoaster and finished by wrapping everything up into this perfect little read!

Be sure to check out The Happy Family by Jackie Kabler on the 4th June when it’s published.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The House of Whispers, Anna Kent – A Review.

Hello friends I am pleased to bring you a review of The House of Whispers by Anna Kent.

A huge thanks to NetGalley and hq publishers for the advanced copy of this book. The House of Whispers by Anna Kent will be published on 27th May 2021.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

I’m going to start with the end of this book, which is an odd place to start but will allow me to explain my 3 star rating of The House of Whispers.

The very last pages, and I mean the last 2 or 3, absolutely ruined this book for me. It felt very much like a cop out and didn’t give us any closure at all. I felt let down by the author, as if they took the easy way out in ending this book.

The remainder of the book was average, it was a very slow burn which usually I would enjoy but this one felt like it went at a snails pace and I found myself wondering if we would ever get to the point of the story… I felt like I was wading through treacle for the first few chapters.

Once we met Grace things started to pick up a bit, and if nothing else the introduction of her character brought some life to the story, sped things up and made it quite an enjoyable read, from that point onwards at least.

I did enjoy the way there seemed to be an interview with Abi’s husband, Rohan, in every few chapters. It really interested me, gave us a different dimension to the story and kept me guessing why it was placed in the story.

Character wise, my opinion did change once I completed the book, but that was based on how the ending unravelled.

I will admit, I wasn’t expecting the twist that came our way but I also feel it was very thrust upon us, there were no hints leading up to it for us to piece together, we were just thrown in at the deep end.

Overall, I just feel really disappointed by this book. It took me a while to get stuck in, the ending was abysmal (the last 2 or 3 pages) and I felt the interviews with Rohan were never really expanded upon or explained. We were left with more questions than answers…

If you do read this book or have done so already let me know what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Players, Darren O’Sullivan – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of The Players by Darren O’Sullivan. A huge thanks to NetGalley and HQ publishers for the advanced copy of this book. The Players by Darren O’Sullivan is due to be published on 13th May 2021.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

The chapter formatting of this book really annoyed me, which is I’ve only given it 4 stars. For me chapter formatting and the overall format of the book are super important and I feel this was overlooked with The Players. There were points where the dialogue was oddly presented on the page and where words were misspelt or the incorrect word was used. It really bugged me 😦

I also felt that the first chapter was incredibly similar to a book I read last year, like practically down to the letter, so I felt like I was off to a bad start.

The Players is a multiple POV book, with one POV in first person (DI Karen Holt) and the remainder in third person. I enjoyed this way of writing because we got that personal feel from reading the first person chapters but there was no confusion then within the other chapters over who’s POV we were reading from.

The characters were a major high point of this book for me. Karen and her wife and their unwavering support of each other, even when things were difficult. Karen and her policing partner, Howard, how beautiful their relationship was. The Host themself and how we didn’t know anything about them until the author was absolutely ready for us to. The characters made the book for me.

Once we got deeper into the book it started to really make me think, and it had a very moral/ethical aspect to it, which I personally loved. And the way the author integrated the idea of technology and how that tech was used in the story really brought the plot to life.

I do wish the author had gone into more details of the crimes and killings, it felt quite tame, which was disappointing.

There were points where I was laughing with the characters, points where I was in shock and even points where I cried. I had no shortage of emotions reading The Players…

And the ending definitely added to that feeling of shock. I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I’m going to say!

On the whole, The Players was something new and exciting that I hadn’t read before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only hope is that the author/editor can correct the formatting and wording issues and that the author writes another book to continue the story.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Bad Karma, Debi Chestnut – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut. A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial publishers for the advanced copy of this book. Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut was published on the 15th Decemeber 2020.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

Bad Karma was such a good read, I absolutely loved every single second of this book.

It was so fast paced which I really enjoyed and from the very first page it felt like we hit the ground running and this pace continued the entire way through the book. The book never dipped or became boring, it just kept us on this crazy ride.

The book itself focuses on Zoey, who I loved as a character, and follows her through her need to find out who killed her Uncle and she eventually gets mixed up in a number of crimes that are rocking this small town…

Zoey herself was a really interesting character, everything from her job to how she handled herself to how she clearly had an emotional interest in the criminal cases, despite not knowing the victims or their families. She was everything I would want from a strong female lead.

There were several different layers to this story, but they were woven together really cleverly and nothing was revealed until the author wanted it to be. Because of this I felt Bad Karma was a really addictive read, I needed to know what was going on and I just couldn’t put it down.

The plot itself was fairly simple but was brought to life by the authors writing and how she described the surroundings and the spaces we were in. For me, this enhanced the book and even enhanced the plot and made it feel more real to me. There were points that I had goosebumps reading this book because of the way the author wrote about or described a situation – so I was really impressed.

Right up until the ending of this book I absolutely loved it! But sadly, the ending did a feel like a bit of a let down after such a brilliant book, it disappointed me.

That being said, I can’t criticise the other 200 odd pages of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely read any further books in the Zoey Callaway series!

Until next time, Em xxx

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James – A Review.

Hello friends! I’m back again with another review for you, this time it is The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and you can view the synopsis on Goodreads here.

I want to start off by saying how disappointed I am with this book, I expected it to be much better than it was and I feel really let down by it.

Overall rating – 1 star.

From the beginning I found it quite difficult to get into, it seemed like there were a lot of words (I know it’s a book but hear me out!) but it was exactly like when you’re writing an essay and trying get the word count up, you start adding in random phrases to bulk out your sentences, that’s what The Turn of the Screw was like.

The whole story was an effort to read, there were too many words trying to confuse us and scare us but in fact it was just boring. There was no indication of how much time had passed and coupled with a lack of clear structure it was really hard to visualise the story.

There was a complete lack of fear factor throughout this book, which I think is what disappointed me the most. I was expecting to feel frightened or unnerved and I just didn’t get that vibe. There was a lack of sense of foreboding that comes with a good scary story, in my opinion.

And considering our book focuses a lot on our Governess there is limited back story to her, she (quite literally) appears out of no where and into our story…

I found her to be incredibly odd, she had an unhealthy obsession with the children in her care, considering she hadn’t known them long. Unless she had… It was hard to tell without knowing how much time had passed.

As the story progressed I just found myself getting more and more confused as to how the Governess pieced everything together with limited evidence and a clear lack of rational thought. I thought she just seemed obsessive and very strange in the way she behaved throughout the story.

The Turn of the Screw was not a pleasant read for me and this was only made worse when I reached the end and felt like I’d just wasted a few hours of my life reading it.

Let me know if you’ve read The Turn of the Screw and what you thought of it!

Until next time, Em xxx

PJO review and discussion post.

Hello friends! I am here with my review/discussion post/word vomit all about my Percy Jackson and the Olympians series reread.

Let me start off by saying I am SO GLAD I decided to do a reread of the PJO series, it has brought so much joy into my life, right at a time when I needed it.

These will not be proper reviews of each book, there will be a star rating but it will mostly just be me banging out about how much I loved the books, maybe with a few quotes thrown in and definitely a few memes!

One of my favourite things about this series as a whole is how much I learnt after reading the 5 books, I answer quiz questions and people are like “how do you know that?!” thanks PJO👀 but at the same time it doesn’t feel like learning because the books are so much fun.

BOOK 1 – THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

Overall rating – 4 stars.

The way this book starts immediately draws you in and entertains you from the very first page and compels you to keep reading. This is made even better by Percy’s narration and the chapter headings, my personal favourite of which is “I become supreme lord of the bathroom”.

Straight away I warmed to Percy and his Mom, the love she has for him clearly oozes through the pages, especially in the way she tries to allow Percy to be as normal of a child as possible, given that he’s actually half God and is at risk of dying every time he goes somewhere.

And the characters only got better from this point onwards, Annabeth and Grover stand out (obviously) due to them being a focal point through the book.

Riordan has this wonderful talent when he writes, you truly believe you are at Camp Half Blood or on Mount Olympus with Percy and co, you could practically taste the fresh air of camp or the electricity from Zeus’s lightning strikes. I was made to feel like a part of the camp and quest too.

This book still makes me feel the same as I did when I was younger, I loved it!

This is LITERALLY how Zeus felt when Percy started riding the elevator to the 600th floor…

BOOK 2 – THE SEA OF MONSTERS.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

This one definitely has a dramatic opening, which I personally loved! I know they all open quite dramatically but for me, this one is the best opening chapters.

We also get introduced to Tyson, who I adore. A particular favourite part of mine about this book is how Percy feels embarrassed when Tyson is claimed and is his half brother, before he goes on a journey to realise that in actual fact he could do a lot worse – it shows us that Percy is still just a teenager and that he has the normal thoughts and feelings of a teenage boy. It felt real.

The chariot racing though has to be my favourite part! I feel like we’re riding in the chariot with them, you can feel the wind on your face and hear the shouts from the other cabins, it is described perfectly.

Sea of Monsters is also when Percy starts to open his eyes and realise how much he likes Annabeth and we really start to see them grow (which is a huge plus for a Percabeth fan like me!)

Oh and my favourite chapter heading from this one is “I have the worst family reunion ever”.

BOOK 3 – THE TITAN’S CURSE.

Overall rating – 4 stars.

This one is my least favourite of the series, nothing against it I just don’t enjoy reading it as much as the others, I think it’s the lack of Annabeth and the way her and Percy bounce off each other…

That being said, I love how we finally get to meet some other Gods, Artemis and Apollo for a start, and of course Artemis’s hunters are introduced.

I start this book with a very strong dislike of Thalia, I don’t like the way she treats Percy when they play capture the flag. I also dislike Bianca’s decision to join the hunters and leave Nico behind to deal with this overwhelming new life on his own. However, once we get to the end of the book (and this is testament to Riordan’s character development) I loved the two of them, they really grew on me.

This one was a little slow for me though, which is why it’s my least favourite.

My favourite chapter heading from this one has to be “I have a Dam problem”.

BOOK 4 – THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

I actually have two favourite chapter headings from this book, I couldn’t decide between them both and they are… “Nico buys Happy Meals for the dead” and “I open a coffin”.

EEEEEK, this one is my FAVOURITE of the series, I would rate it higher than 5 stars if I could. I feel like this is the one where things take a much darker turn and we start to realise how much danger Percy and the camp are actually in.

Throughout this entire book I felt as though we were in the labyrinth with our heroes, I could feel the same fear that they felt and as someone who is claustrophobic and scared of the dark it really got under my skin.

I love this book so much that I cannot think of what to write about it, except that I LOVE IT. Tyson going with Grover, even though they both dislike each other, Annabeth getting annoyed with the Sphinx because it isn’t a riddle she’s been given, Rachel hitting Kronos in the eye with a plastic hairbrush. It’s just a masterpiece.

There are so many layers within this story but everything weaves together to create an incredible story for us to enjoy.

BOOK 5 – THE LAST OLYMPIAN.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

I have lots of feelings towards this book and I admit, I cried when I finished reading it because it really is the best end to the series.

I get goosebumps when I read this book, from start to finish the whole thing is excellent. There are so many different aspects that all work together to create this book that will make you feel every emotion under the sun.

The description that went into this book were second to none, I felt like we were in Poseidon’s realm fighting alongside him, or in the Underworld with Hades and Percy and Nico, or in May Castellan’s kitchen when we learn why Luke is the way he is. I cannot fault the description and writing from Riordan.

Throughout the various battles there were heartfelt moments too, that helped us to tie up any lose ends and brought the perfect ending to the books.

You could feel the emotion through the page with the scenes with Hermes and the scenes with Percy and Annabeth when they finally got together (Percabeth for life) and when the Gods were discussing how to honour the heroes and Nico finally got the recognition he deserved. I cried a lot during this book lmao.

And my favourite chapter heading has to go to… “My parents go commando”.

This 5 book series is just a true masterpiece and an absolute joy to read and I’m so glad I reread them, they were absolutely worth it!

This is my personal favourite meme, I can see Percy doing water aerobics…

ARC – The Pastel Effect, Arly Carmack – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack. A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial publishers for the advanced copy of this book. The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack was published on the 25th November 2020.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

I honestly think The Pastel Effect is my favourite read of the year so far, I adored this book from start to finish and I genuinely do not have a criticism for it…

From the start I was drawn into this story and I loved the way it was presented to us a couple of teenagers trying to navigate the incredibly stressful experience that is high school. In fact, a lot of what was written resonated with me and reminded me of my own experiences in school and I think that’s part of the reason why I loved it so much, it felt very real.

The book itself was beautiful. Every word written and spoken was carefully crafted to bring us happiness, or sadness, or excitement. There we no shortage of emotions that I felt during my read of The Pastel Effect.

I loved the characters that we were on this journey with, every single one of them felt relatable.

The relationships that the author built up with Caroline and her Dad (Teddy) was stunning, I was moved so many times throughout this book. We were shown a strong relationship between Dad and daughter and we were shown Teddy as a single Dad and how he raised Caroline into this strong young woman. The whole backstory they had was amazing.

I loved how Tressa (Caroline’s Mom) had this influence throughout the book, without her actually being there as well. The author featured her beautifully and brought her to life through the pages of her diary.

Cody, I changed my opinion on at various points throughout the book, but when the latter section was from his POV my feelings towards him completely changed, I was in awe of him. His character was written so true to teenage boys!

The journey that we saw our characters go on, a journey of love and self discovery and joy and sadness and everything inbetween was truly beautiful.

One of my favourite things about this book was how it introduced topics that should be discussed and included in conversation. Namely, the topic of casual sex, the topic of consensual sex and the topic of therapy. The author wove these into the book perfectly.

The ending of this book made me SOB, it was the most fitting ending to the most wonderful book.

I have nothing but praise for The Pastel Effect and Arly Carmack and her writing. This was amazing and I honestly would put this as my favourite read of the year so far.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Chopping Spree, Angela Sylvaine – A Review.

Hello, fellow bookworms! I am here today (on publish day no less!) to bring you a review of Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Unnerving for an ARC of this book.

Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine is published today – 1st of April 2021.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

I can’t lie I am a little bit disappointed in this book… That it wasn’t longer because I would have loved to keep reading!

In all seriousness though I feel the length of this book did let it down a bit, don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved it, but I was left wanting more after I’d finished it, like a hunger that wasn’t quite satisfied.

That being said, the fast pace of this story lent itself well to the plot, it felt like a rush of adrenaline rushing through our veins while we read. It felt like we were rushing from pillar to shop to the security room in the mall with our characters and I felt the same fear and fright that they did.

The story itself was really clever, and not something that I saw coming. I was completely wrong with my theory for this story and instead was pleasantly surprised by the turn that the book took, especially the ending!

And because it was set in a mall (or shopping centre as we call them here) it felt very realistic, we’ve all been inside a mall/shopping centre so from the second the author started laying out the opening scene it was easy to envision ourselves in the characters shoes.

The whole vibe of Chopping Spree was spot on, it felt like Goosebumps but a little bit older and more teenage/young adult, and with it being such a short read it’s definitely going to keep the interest of readers who are looking for a scare.

And special mention to the 80s music that was dropped and referenced throughout this story, it brought me joy and left me singing to myself while I was reading!

Be sure to check this one out if you want a quick horror read, it’s definitely worthwhile.

Until next time, Em xxx