The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary

Link to book (GR) – The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Link to book (StoryGraph) – The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

Oh my goodness, as per usual a book written by Beth O’Leary was absolutely excellent! I was crying with tears of laughter reading this book, it was so good.

Whilst the book focused on Addie and Dylan mainly, we were able to meet an AMAZING range of side characters, Deb and Marcus who were a brilliant addition to the story. Every single character added another layer of fun, excitement, joy, sadness, and level to the story and they were so well written. They were all really well written to have their flaws and be open about them, which was really refreshing to read and I loved how that was portrayed through the split POV.

And as usual the writing was absolutely excellent and I cannot fault it, I love how this author writes and this book was no exception. I felt as though I was wrapped up in a fluffy blanket whilst reading this, it was just such a joy to read.

The fact, as well, that this book basically took place in a yellow mini is an absolute testament to the authors ability to craft a plot that was still so interesting and compelling, whilst relying on flashbacks and memories. It just demonstrated to me that books don’t always need to flit around the country or the world, they can just happen and be static and still be so bloody good.

I also really loved how each layer of the story was separate but still woven together to form the book and the way it all fell together at the end (with a happy ending, my fave!!!!)

And the stop/start of the chapters for then and now was really cleverly done as this helped to build up the intrigue and atmosphere of the story and definitely helped the book move along at a good pace. I never felt like it was dragging but it also felt like I’d consumed a good, long enough book.

It was such an entertaining read I literally could not put it down!!!!

Until next time, Em xxx

The Serial Killer’s Wife – Alice Hunter.

Link to book – The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

I went down the middle with my rating on this one because it wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t have that extra little something that made a book really stand out to me.

To begin with, the characters were really hard to gel with, I found them unlikeable and selfish, BUT I can’t help but feel that was intentional, so I tried not to let it sway me too much. (Also, if that was the intention for them to come across that way then I will happily say that it was well done!)

In terms of the writing though, it was good. The story flowed well, there was no awful dialogue that made me cringe and it was easy to read – I’m so easily pleased when it comes to writing.

Atmosphere wise though, I did think it lacked a bit here. Because the book was so speedy to get to the actual point of the story I feel it didn’t have time to really build anything up and it left me feeling lackluster. It was the same with the intrigue, although this may have been because I guessed the direction of the story. Both key elements of a thriller like this that just fell a little bit flat for me.

And finally, the plot… I did enjoy the plot, but I saw it coming. It was entirely too clear the direction the book was going to take, which was disappointing. I also felt that the epilogue was just a bit too much, the book would have been better ending at the end of the previous chapter and leaving us on that little bit of a cliffhanger instead of making it clear that the author wanted to write a second book off the back of it…

This may just be me, I feel like I’ve read sooooo many thrillers that it’s hard not to know the direction a story is taking, idk.

Overall, the book was good, I just feel it could have been executed better and had a little bit more about it to make it more thrilling and less easy to figure out the direction the story was heading.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – She Had It Coming – Carys Jones

Link to book – She Had It Coming by Carys Jones.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for the advanced copy to read and review.

I feel like this book needs a trigger warning for bitchy, borderline bullying teenage girls, because the second I opened this book I was hit with it and immediately I was taken back to my high school days, where I was bullied so that was FUN!

All that aside, something didn’t feel 100% right with this book, I think it was a mixture of everything… It was good but it lacked that little extra that made it thrilling.

Starting with the characters, I found it really difficult to get attached to any of them tbh, whilst I did think Pippa had some redeeming qualities (and I know firsthand how hard it is to be a teenage girl) I still struggled to feel anything for her throughout the book. I did think the way the author demonstrated motherly (and fatherly love to an extent) was cleverly done though.

And as I said above, I felt the atmosphere just really lacked that little bit of something that made it thrilling, for me until the last 4 or so chapters really.

Onto the writing now, I did think it was good but as the book was written in 3rd person I found it really difficult to keep track of which perspective the story was coming from. At points, it felt like Abbie was the lead character, but it was actually Pippa and then back to Abbie. It didn’t feel like the story every settled on one person and it wasn’t overly clear where the divide and change in the story was.

It was the same with the plot, I did enjoy the plot and I thought it had some real potential, but it felt kind of obvious what was going on and what was going to happen. I’m not sure if I’ve just read too many thrillers so I know what to expect or if it was just really transparent what was going to happen (I’m hoping for this books sake it was the first one!)


I hated how the author threw in the whole sociopath and narcissist bit at the end of the book, there had been ZERO mentions of this throughout the rest of the book and it was like the author was just going for the shock factor without any consideration for what those words and definitions actually mean. It really annoyed me.


On the whole, I think this book had the right idea, it was a good plot and premise, it just needed a better execution and that lil extra something to make it a real standout 5 star read.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Prep School for Serial Killers – Tara Platt.

Link to book – Prep School for Serial Killers by Tara Platt.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the advanced copy of this book to read and review.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, and to an extent I did, but it did feel like this book didn’t really hit the mark for me. There wasn’t a moment though that went by when I was reading this book that I ever thought about not finishing it, so that’s a win for me!

Character wise, I just found it really hard to warm to Anathema, but that was actually a really good thing because I felt it lent itself well to the dystopian and emotionally unavailable vibe that the book had going on! The characters were meant to feel unavailable to us, they were meant to feel a bit off and a bit prickly and the author did that so well.

The writing was good and the story flowed nicely, but I did find the blocks of text to be too much, it needed breaking up a bit more. And this may seem really nit picky, but it really bugged me and kinda ruined my reading experience, but I feel the book would have benefitted from a better distinction between the main body of text and the journal entries.

On the topic of the journal too, I didn’t enjoy how long it took for the journal to become relevant to the story… It almost felt that until around the 55-60% mark it was just used as a space filler and I found it hard to see how it would fit into the book and provide value.

Plot wise, I did find it a little hard to follow at points, I felt the book got lost in itself and I found it difficult to keep track of what the story actually was. Which was really sad as I thought the premise of the story was good! A dystopian world where children are trained to become serial killers seemed SO cool but it just wasn’t executed (pardon the pun) in the best way.

It just felt like certain elements of the plot caused the book to lose its way, there were too many things going on and the author would have been better focusing on one or two of them.

I also really liked how the ending was left open, but on the other hand I felt a bit like I’ve just read the entire book for that ending? It really had a mixed vibe at the end 😦

Overall, I did quite enjoy Prep School for Serial Killers, it had a great premise and some really clever, well thought out story lines. I just feel it would have benefitted from a closer focus on one or two of those story lines and a little change in the writing and way the book was presented.

Until next time, Em xxx

The Cousins – Karen M McManus.

Link to book – The Cousins by Karen M McManus.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars

LET ME TELL YOU I ABSOLUTELY BLOODY LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Everything from the characters, the atmosphere, the setting, the writing, THE PLOT everything about it was just top tier.

Starting with our characters, because (other than the plot) I think this was my favourite part of the book… They were absolute standouts, the way Milly, Jonah, and Aubrey were written was just excellent and how the book was split amongst their different points of view AND each chapter was written in first person – basically my dream book. I also feel that the way the characters were written meant the reader was able to form a really good connection with them, which I think helped strengthen that family protection vibe.

Then onto the plot (my other fave part) it was just so GOOD. The whole thing from start to finish was just superb, I can’t find a single fault with it, it was WILD and the ending wrapped everything up perfectly.

Everything was supported within this book by the intense atmosphere, brought to life by the island setting and the idea of family closing ranks to protect itself. The flashbacks to the 4 teenagers on the same island as well gave a feeling of almost ghostly vibes, which really helped with the remote island feel, without the author needing to make a point of talking about how creepy and eerie the island was.

As for the intriguingness of the story (is that a word, idk?!) it was SO intriguing, but not in the way that made you feel irritated that it kept leaving us on edge but in the way that made you want to stay up all night reading because you NEED to know what happens next.

And all of this just came together, tied up beautifully by the writing… It had the most amazing atmosphere, excellent characters, and a shock factor that made the sleepless night to finish reading this book so worth it!

Until next time, Em xxx

Revisting my old blog posts!

Hello friends!!!! I am back again revisiting a super old blog post of mine, this time it’s a book tag that I took part in way back in 2021, a lot has changed since then so I thought I’d redo it 🙂

Here is the original post link (the-ultimate-recommendations-book-tag), though I’ll be posting my old responses vs my new ones below too!

Recommend a book from your favourite genre.

OG answer – The Shining, Salem’s Lot, or Pet Sematary.

2023 recs – Anybody Home? by Michael J Seidlinger and Witch 13 by Patrick R Delaney are two of my FAVES from the last 18 months.

Recommend a short book.

OG answer – Psychosis by Matt Dymerski

2023 recs – not so much a short book but a book full of short stories… 13 Tales To Give You Night Terrors by multiple authors.

Recommend a book to screen adaptation.

OG answer – Gone Girl.

2023 recs – Ahh I’m not really one for watching TV or film adaptations of books because I usually just get frustrated when they miss bits out!

Recommend a book out of your comfort zone.

OG answer – The Scam List by Kurt Dinan.

2023 recs – The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji.

Recommend a book series.

OG answer – The Hannibal series.

2023 recs – The Hunger Games and Twilight series (I will reread these every year until I DIE).

Recommend a standalone.

OG answer – The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack.

2023 recs – The Unbalanced Equation by H L Macfarlane.

Recommend a book you don’t talk enough about.

OG answer – The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas.

2023 recs – The House Fire by Rosie Walker, this absolutely rocked my world and I should rave about it more.

Recommend your staple book.

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

My OG and 2023 answer are still the same, sorry 😦

Recommend books that got you into reading.

OG answer – The Goosebumps series.

2023 answer – still the Goosebumps series, although I do credit Twilight for rekindling my love of reading as a teenager so.

And there you have my updated 2023 answers! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and keep your eye open for me judging and redoing more of my old posts!

Until next time, Em xxx

Semblance – Logan Patricks.

Link to book – Semblance by Logan Patricks.

Rating – 2 out of 5 stars.

I finished this book quite a while ago and have been holding off on my review because I wanted to take some more time to evaluate my feelings toward this book in case I was being harsh – spoiler alert, I was… I have since rewritten my review and adjusted my rating now that my anger has simmered.

However, my overall feeling towards this book is disappointment. Disappointment that I waited so long to read this thinking it was going to be SO GOOD and then it ended up being, to be quite honest, a waste of my life. Or rather, the ending was a waste of my life and completely ruined the story for me. Maybe I’m a sucker for a happy ending (I defo am) but did it HAVE to end that way?! I was genuinely devastated and have actually since given this book away to the charity shop lmao.

Okay let’s start with the ending, when I tell you that the ending of this story ruined it for me (as you’ve probably gathered) I’m not being dramatic… Like, the rest of the book was SO GOOD, maybe slightly out there, but good nonetheless, and I loved the idea of a secret society of rich people, but the ending just spoiled everything. I also wish that we had more of an expansion on the secret society, it felt like that part was meant to be such a key part of the story and it was almost forgotten about.

And the writing did make me cringe at points, I can’t lie…

Character wise, OF COURSE I was obsessed with Shadow, I have a thing for unobtainable fictional men (who are also insanely hot) so he fit the bill. And as for Aria, I did find her to be a bit odd, I’m not sure if it was the fast paced nature of the story, but she went from being disgusted by the idea of a secret society to suddenly (because Shadow was hot) wanting to be involved and just going along with everything without question?! She just seemed really shallow it annoyed me – a lot.

I do however, feel like the story had redeeming qualities, it flowed well and was really intriguing, and the whole premise was actually read good, just perhaps not executed as well as it could have been.

Until next time, Em xxx

Revisiting my old blog posts!

Hello friends 🙂 it is me, back again revisiting an old blog post of mine because I am a SUCKER for embarrassing myself and seeing what utter shite content I used to put out there!

This time we are looking at The Finished Book Tag and you can see the OG post by clicking the link right back there and as before, I’ll be putting my OG answers first.


Do you keep a list of the books you’ve read?

OG answer – yes, since 2020 I have finally started to use GR properly to keep a track of everything.

2023 answer – yes and to an even bigger extent than before… I have a GR account and a StoryGraph account, plus a spreadsheet with my TBR and a spreadsheet of my read books and their ratings.

If you record statistics which ones do you record?

OG answer – I don’t record them atm, maybe next year.

2023 answer – I don’t specifically track them but I do use Storygraph and that tracks SO MUCH I love it.

Do you give star ratings for books and if so, what do you score books out of and how do you come about this score?

OG answer – Yes I do and I rate out of 5 stars.

2023 answer – Yes, I rate them out of 5 using the CAWPILE system and a very simple shreadsheet that has some formulas that calculate everything for me.

Do you review books?

OG answer – What else do you think this blog is for?!

2023 answer – see my OG answer!

Where do you put your finished books?

OG answer – On my bookshelf they go onto the relevant shelf in alphabetical order and on my Kindle they just go into my read folder.

2023 answer – On my shelf they go onto my read shelf and that’s a bit chaotic tbh, it has no organisation right now and my Kindle still maintains the same process.

Do you have a ritual for when you’ve finished reading?

OG answer – I’ll sit for a few minutes and digest the book, then quickly pop on my blog and type out a few notes ready for the review at a later date.

2023 answer – Pretty much the same as before, except now I use the CAWPILE rating system I like to make a note around each of the points so I can use this for my review. I then go onto Storygraph and Goodreads and update that I’ve finished the book and try and find space for it on my physical bookshelf.

There you go, another revisit to an old post – I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

Until next time, Em xxx

Mortmain Hall — Martin Edwards

Link to book – Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards.

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

The cover of this book was what initially drew me in to picking it up and then it lingered on my shelf for 2 years and I wish I hadn’t left it for so long, it was so good and worth the read!!!

It’s really hard to pick a standout element of this book for me because all of it was so just good, but if I had to pick it would be the plot… I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story, it was the perfect balance of murder and mystery, neither side taking up too much “space” within the story. And the crescendo at the end of the book was perfectly done, it couldn’t have reached a better conclusion.

I think a lot of that was down to the writing too, whilst there was a small bit at the start that felt a bit complicated it was quickly ironed out and with the way the book bounced around the characters it started to make perfect sense and the writing just fell into this natural, well written pace. And the atmosphere was done to PERFECTION! The story itself really lent to the atmospheric vibe of the book too and the intrigue that was built through the clever writing… I literally did not want to put this book down I needed to know what was going on.

I also loved the characters, especially Rachel and Jacob, I love how their friendship/potential relationship wasn’t a focal point of the story, it didn’t feel like it was being shoved down our throats, we were allowed to enjoy them as their own character. Especially Rachel, who was allowed to stand alone and be a BADASS female main character. And all of them were interesting in their own right, they all added value and a layer to the story.

For me, everything in this book just worked together to create something that was so intricately woven, but didn’t tie us up in knots trying to figure out the story AND meant that we were left with a clear ending and no cliffhangers!

I also really loved the very very end of the book, where it had the clue finder and the author went back through and showed us some of the clues they had left in the book, it was really clever and a super cool touch.

Until next time, Em xxx

Revisiting my old blog posts!

Hi everyone, something different today from me as I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and pull out some of my old blog posts to judge! The first one I’ve chosen is my unpopular bookish opinions post – which you can read here.

My original opinions were:

An ebook is just as good as a physical book | The Hunger Games series is overrated | “IT” is such a difficult book to get into | Harry Potter is the best book series ever written | None fiction books can be just as good as fiction.

OKAY so past me is a complete IDIOT. I literally am obsessed with the smell of physical books so no, an ebook is not as good as a physical book – sorry!

And no EMILY, the Hunger Games is not overrated are you a BLOODY IDIOT?! I did a reread in 2022 and honestly, it reignited my love for the series and if it wasn’t forever immortalised on the internet that I said it was overrated I would deny all knowledge of ever having said that…

IT is still a traumatising book to try and get into, I’m hoping to actually finish reading it this year but we shall see.

I also do not any longer think that HP is the best book series ever written. But don’t ask me whta I think is because I DO NOT KNOW!!!!!

I can’t really comment on the last one, I’ve not really read many nonfic books recently so I’d feel kinda bad judging that!

That was a fun trip down memory lane and judging past me! Stay tuned for more of me judging my idiotic opinions in later blog posts!

Until next time, Em xxx