Saturday, 2 June 2018

A Spot of Bother * Mark Haddon

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz.

Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.

George is a simple man, he enjoys the simple tasks in life such as; a hot cup of tea in the morning, a new book in the evening and spending time on his studio. 
So when he finds a small lesion on his side, his whole world is flipped upside down and everything  isn't that simple anymore.

As George battles with his mind, his family are in a current battle of their own and falling apart at the seams. Katie, his argumentative daughter is planning to marry Ray, the "safe" partner, but when they have an argument and he storms out, Katie starts to question is she really marrying him for love, or because of her son Jacob? 

Jamie, his uptight son is in love with Tony. It's that simple. Except its not and he's lost him for good and Tony doesn't want anything to do with him. Making a mess of things, all Jamie wants to do is win Tony back, not to be standing outside his flat at 4am covered in alcohol and vomit. Jamie just wants him to come to his sisters possible wedding and prove to Tony that he truly loves him. 

Jean on the other hand, George's doubtful wife is caught up in her own web between George and David and doesn't know when to quit. She loves them both dearly, one more so than the other but who to choose is the question? Surely she must choose her own happiness first? 

As everyone deals with their problems and a possible wedding to plan just around the corner. George chooses this exact moment to slip away and go quietly insane. 

Though is there really a sane member of any family? 

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon is such a wonderful read and its the second novel I have read by this author and he did not disappoint. 

As you may remember I bought this in the new year with one of my many vouchers and gift cards that I received for Christmas last year.  I got this through my Kobo as I'm slowly starting to need more room on my book shelves. Though I am hoping to upgrade to a new Kobo once returned from my summer holiday in July so keep your eyes out. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book and felt that there is a good message behind the book regarding mental illness. Haddon shows it in the a different light and adds some humour into it so it doesn't seem all dark and gloomy, though there is still the seriousness off the illness and how he describes it is very well written.  

There we're at times throughout the book where I may have wandered off the beaten track, but it picked back up again. The main character George is hilarious, I personally loved George, his son Jamie and his grandson Jacob (Simply because he reminded me of my little Jacob) The way George tackles his depression, anxiety and mental state is different but in ways I can understand what he was probably thinking and how he got to that stage. 

At the time I didn't know how I felt about the ending, but looking back on it now it makes sense. Not everything and everyone will last forever, so make the most of what you have.  

I will be reading more of Mark Haddon's work in the future and I'm sad to find that this didn't get enough hype as what it deserves. It may be different from his other books but I loved it and I understand the simplicity behind it. I am so glad i started with his other book 'The Red House' and not 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. 

I will give this book 8 out of 10

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Layers Peeled * Lacey Silks

Layers Peeled by Lacey Silks

New life binds them,
Past ghosts haunt her,
Fresh secrets distract him,
...and history repeats itself. 

After surviving a heroic job, Allie summons the courage to finally tell Tristan the most shocking news of her life, that is until she's got over the announcement of him firing her from the firm. 

Allie can't believe it, after everything she's done for him, in and out of work hours, how could he be so nonchalant and fire her? What did she do wrong? 

Though Tristan has some surprises up his sleeve that she won't see coming, though none will top her secret. 

 But soon skeletons that they both thought had disappeared soon start creeping in, much faster than they both anticipated. With new cases to lead and their ever growing romance kick starting into life again. Will Allie ever get the life that she wishes for? and will Tristan finally be able to relax after all these years? 

There may have been secrets layers deep, but now the need to be peeled right back to the core to see what is resting right on there doorstep. 

Layers Peeled by Lacey Silks, is the second instalment in the Layers Trilogy and I loved it even more than the first one. It jumps straight back in to where it left off in Layers Deep which was great, so I didn't feel the need for a recap. 

With the story changed in many ways its hard to review without giving too much away. These books really remind me of the Knight series with its fast pace and chunky storyline which is wonderful since you all know I've been searching years for to find something similar. Ah! I can't tell you my happiness! 

Anyway, I loved Allie's character more, although she was slightly troublesome at sometimes and coming across as a bit spoilt, the sheer fact that her partner was trying to protect her and she just kept running head first into danger then wondered why she needed saving, this annoyed me. 

Tristan is just...Tristan, he doesn't need changing and gets better and sexier within the book (Though still not as good as Lucien!) I feel for him cause all he does is try to look after Allie and she just doesn't have any of it which as I said before is slightly annoying. 

There are still some parts of the book like in the first which made me feel a little bit weird, not uncomfortable, just strange. Though I still read regardless and I'm glad I did. 

Without giving too much away, I really enjoyed this book. I will be reading the next and last instalment in the series, but not as soon as the others seeing as they are apart of another couple story, again, a bit like how the Right series is panned out. 

All in all I will give this book a 8 out of 10

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Layers Deep * Lacey Silks

Layers Deep by Lacey Silks

He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them...
...and distractions can be fatal.

Allie Green isn't your average woman, she's a cop with a need for vengeance, with a dark past and knows how to hold her own in tough situations. 

Allie was a witness to a brutal attack when she was younger and has vowed ever since to dedicate her life to help save the public and her family from the most evil people on the planet. Though things aren't so easy when you've used every  possible resource to you. 

Tristan Cross is the head of an elite and bespoke security agency. Specialising from cheating husbands right down to the scum of the earth and everything in between. Though there's one job that he just can't shake, one mission that will destroy him if he doesn't succeed in finding the one person he let down. 

He is also Allie's only hope in finding the one person in her life who betrayed her family, the person who made her life hell. She is the only one who can rescue Tristan from his dark past, from the depths of the most evil criminals known to man. 

Together, both Allie and Tristan form a pack to get the justice they both deserve, for themselves and for others. Though things are a bit tricky when you have other desires waiting to she shared.  

Layers Deep by Lacy Silks is the first book I have read by the author and boy was it good. There was a bit of everything in it, most importantly, it's pretty much on the same par as the Knight series and we all know how I feel about that and how I've been searching for books like it since, and let me tell you! I thought I had found it last year, but I was wrong, this is it!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and although its short, I finished it in 2-3 days, I could not put it down. I finished it today and this is the quickest I have ever typed up a review for you all. 

However, whilst I did enjoy the book and I loved mostly that there was a storyline and a plot, I must admit that I did feel a little uncomfortable with the storyline, I'll admit I didn't really want to read about trafficking (It doesn't go into much detail so don't worry if you wanted to read) But it shows what it's like in a way I guess but then I understand cause there needs to be a plot and it works cause she's poses as an undercover cop and he works in high end security so it does work. 

Besides that it was a great story storyline and it worked, most of the other books I have read in the past (whilst trying to find something just as good as the "Knight" series) has never had a storyline to it as much, just the usual girl meet boy, falls in love etc. So it's been great to have another series with a plot to it.  

All in all, the book was fast paced and ended with a small cliff hanger, which I can't wait to get my hands on the next instalment. Watch out for this space as the next review will be coming soon! 

I will give this book 10/10

Monday, 16 April 2018

How to be Happy * Eva Woods

How to be Happy by Eva Woods

The smallest things can make the biggest difference.

Annie has been sad for so long that she's forgotten how to be any other way. Until she meets Polly.
Polly is everything that Annie is not. She's colourful, joyful, happy. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it's that your time is too short to waste a single day.
Annie Hebden is miserable, she's stuck in a job she hates, her husband has left her for her best friend, and she shares a flat with a twenty two year old barista who she hardly knows. 
Polly Leonard on the other hand is the happiest woman alive, she has tonnes of friends, a family who love her and she's got rid of her no good ex. The only downside is, she has cancer, and not the curable kind. 
Polly is determined to make Annie see that her life isn't as bad as what she thinks, not just because she doesn't have a terminal illness, but because she truly deserves to be happy. Polly assigns Annie to be her helper on the '100 Days of Happiness' starting from the day they meet up until Polly's last and final day. 
With roller coasters, jumping in a fountain and getting a new pet everything is turning out smoothly, as well as a new friendship that blossoms between both woman, who cry, laugh and argue but notably becoming the best of friends along the way. 
How to be Happy by Eva Woods, is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and after reading it, I strongly believe that this could be turned into such a great film. 
Each and every character is wonderful and well written, my personal favourites are George, Costas and Dr. Max. Each character has a story to tell and I found it hard to not dislike the 'bad' characters as they all have a reason to something they did (I'm not justifying that though) 
It's such a lovely book and has inspired myself to possibly start a '100 Days of Happiness' myself, just small little things each day that bring joy. The way the Woods has captured everyone and the emotions though out this book is lovely, theres love, sadness, life and death and theres also happiness, lots and lots of it. 
It has made me think a bit differently in ways that I probably should of thought a long time ago. If there is any book you should read this year, please let it be this one. 
I will give this book 10 out of 10!

The Girlfriend * Michelle Frances

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she'll wish she'd never told.

Laura Cavendish has told a lie, not a white one but an unthinkable one, a lie that no mother should ever let cross her mind. Though it has and there's no way that she can reel it back into the depths of her mind. 

Daniel Cavendish has a lot going for him at the moment, a good steady job as a doctor at one of the top hospitals, a new already renovated flat and his beautiful new girlfriend, Cherry. 

Cherry has had a rough life, or so she thinks. Growing up on the council estate and being an only child has its limits. She feels like she has been cursed and she doesn't know what she's done wrong, but it needs to change and fast. 

Though Cherry isn't all what she's cracked up to be, in fact she's quite the opposite to what everyone may think of as the 'perfect girlfriend'. She's far, far from it. She'll do anything to have Daniel all to herself. 

As their relationship blossoms, so do the events in Cherry and Laura's. Limits are pushed and families are ruined, until one day things go too far for Cherry's liking, and she's left thinking, "What if Laura ever find out?"

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances, was amazing. I picked up this novel whilst I was browsing through the ereader books on offer at the time and I'm so glad I got it. 

The book is fast paced and keeps you on your toes the entire time whilst reading and constantly wondering whats going to happen next. I found it really hard to put the book down and finished it within a week which is good for me at the moment. 

Whilst the story is fast paced, there are only slight twists within the entire book and it does start off a bit slow at the beginning. Going into lots of detail about each character and building up a big story towards the end. 

I found at times, I couldn't decide who's side I was on through the book, one minute it was for Laura and I understood her, then the next it was with Cherry. All the while changing through out the book with each new problem that arise. 

Reading this Psychological thriller has opened my eyes to more of these books and I can't wait to sink my teeth into more. I will be on the look out for more of Frances's books in the future and hope that it wont be too long. 

I will be giving this book 10/10

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How to Stuff up Christmas * Rosie Blake

How to Stuff up Christmas by Rosie Blake

'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone... 

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. 

Nothing could go wrong for Eve at the moment, she has a wonderful family, a fantastic set of friends and a handsome boyfriend who as just proposed to her on Christmas day. Until she finds a photo on his phone of a woman's perfect intimate parts. 

Fast forward four months and Eve is single and living on her own again, but at least she has their dog Marmite to keep her company, even if she is a bit detached from him. With the help of her friend Daisy, she decides to go on a month long holiday to Pangbourne to do a winter pottery course to try and mend her broken heart. 

Local Vet Greg is in need of some excitement in his life, with the stresses of work and another woman in his life he needs to get away or at least find something new. That's  when he saves Eve, who was currently drowning in the small river underneath her rented holiday boat. 

Eve and Gregg slowly start to become friends, but Eve can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something. Why does he have to get off so early and who is he always mysteriously texting? 
With new friends a long the way and her love for art starting to bloom once more, Eve can start to feel like herself again. 

But who is watching her from afar and can she really trust the ones she loves? 

How to Stuff up Christmas by Rosie Blake, is the second novel that I have read by the author and her most recent release. After reading the Hygge Holiday last month, I had to purchase another one of Blakes books and read it instantly.

I enjoyed the characters and the plot line of the story, if flowed nicely and wish that I had used this as one of my Christmas / Festive reads last year.  I think the character I enjoyed the most was Marmie the dog, simply because I loved his name and the way Blake had described him which I think was spot on. 

The story is your usual romance, where someone breaks up, there's a bad guy ex and a new charming man to sweep you off your feet, then fall madly in love with. Which if I'm really honest with you, I don't think there's anything wrong with them. I really love soppy cheesy romance books, even when you can see it coming from a mile off. I admit the ending was a bit far fetched, but none the less I loved it.  

There are also recipes at the start of each chapter which I find lovely and very cosy.

I will be giving this book 8 out of 10 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Very Accidental Love Story * Claudia Carroll

A Very Accidental Love Story by Claudia Carroll

Eloise Elliot is one of the youngest newspaper editors in the country. Respected and revered by her peers, she’s at the top of her game.

But, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, finding herself surrounded by some pathetic looking balloons and mangy sandwiches in The Daily Post’s conference room, Eloise is hit but a long sharp pang of loneliness.

Fast forward three years and she's a loving mother to a beautiful little girl. 
Yet it’s when Lily starts asking about her ‘daddy’ that Eloise really starts to panic. What will she tell her?

Eloise Elliot has hit a turning point in her life, she's hit the big 30 and whilst she's stood in her office on her own, surrounded by sandwiches, cake and balloons she realises that she's more lonely than she thought. 

Three years later Eloise has a Lily, her beautiful little girl who's ground she worships, but being the only person in her life she barely gets to see her little princess. Her job at the post has become more and more demanding over the past couple of years which means she only ever gets to see Lily when she's fast asleep.  

Though when Lily starts asking questions about her father, Eloise doesn't know what to say. How can she? "Your father was a donor" doesn't really fit the bill. Soon Eloise is on the case to track down the man she chose for her precious little girl, though just how tough can it be? 

Jake Keane has had his fair share of bad luck over the past three years, he's been in and out of dodgy situations and has now had to pay the price over the last two years, though when a woman comes to visit him, close to his parole date, he's in luck.  

With a spring in his step Jake takes on the world with a new found sense of positivity, he has a job which he's worked hard for, a lovely rented apartment and a new great friend Eloise. Though he still can't shake the feeling that she's up to something, he can't understand why she would bother with an ex-con let a lone in interested in anything that he does, so what is it that she wants? 

Soon Eloise has bitten off more than she can chew and she has to make the decision, is her job really worth it?

A Very Accidental Love Story by Claudia Caroll, is the first book I have read by this author. I remember Mr. B buying it me for Christmas one year and it took me ages to get around to reading it.  

I'll be honest with you, I got to about the fourth chapter and I just couldn't be bothered to read it, it's not until halfway through the book that the story actually starts and things change. I found Eloise quite annoying and a few times sighing at her rather than with her.  

She's so driven by her work, which don't get me wrong I'm all for if someone has the drive and are really committed to what they want to do in life. But it seems to me that she only really had Lily (her daughter) because she was either bored or just didn't want to be alone. Yet, when she had her, nothing changed. She still did un-godly hours at work such as 16 hour days and never ever saw her little girl which I found sad and quite annoying. 

All she kept doing throughout the book was stating how much time she'd missed spending with Lily and how she wishes she could spend more time with her (This actually irritated me quite a bit) but yet, she still didn't give up her job to see her little girl, or at least cut her hours back, because simply put it, her job was still more important than her only child. 

I didn't mind Lily, it's just she came across as acting out all the time and seemed a bit spoilt and her mother just gave her everything she wanted, simply because Eloise probably felt guilty. 

I did however like Jakes character and he seemed to have a better way at approaching life, he really did try with Eloise and it worked out in the end, but she could of done it a lot sooner. The way she also tried to change him and mold him into some "perfect" father to suit her rather than Lily was really annoying also. He seemed a lovely guy, yet she judged him on his appearance, which I'm not fond of. 

All in all, the book was okay, it got better towards the end of the book and I did want to finish it more than when I had started it. Would I be reading anymore of Carolls books? I don't know, maybe not for a while, but I may revisit in the future. 

I will give this book a 4.5 out of 10