Wednesday, November 17, 2021

What Might have Been by Holly Miller


Is Lucy's life 'meant to be' . . . or meant to be different?

Lucy's life is at a crossroads. She's just walked out of her unrewarding job and has no idea about her next step: use her savings to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, or move to London to try and revive her career? It almost seems like fate that on that same night she meets Caleb, a stranger in a bar, and runs into Max, the one-time love of her life.

Should Lucy stay in the seaside town she grew up in, and in doing so, get to know Caleb better? Or should she go to London and reconnect with Max again after he broke her heart a decade ago? It's just one decision - but sometimes one decision can change the course of your whole life . . .

I received a copy of this from Netgalley, and the publisher Hodder and Staughton in return for an honest review. 

I read this as a buddy read with a few of the TsundokuSquad girls. 

Ever wondered what your life would be like if one moment had went differently? I loved this book! I laughed, I felt sad, and I cried like an absolute baby. I loved the way the book was set out, each chapter with a ‘go’ part, and a ‘stay’ part. I kept changing my mind all the way through whether I wanted the book to end on ‘go’ or ‘stay’, and both lives had amazing things happen. Lucy is lush and deserves so much happiness. Max is amazing… but so is Caleb… see my problem lol? There were a few great characters in the story, and I really liked the story behind Lucy’s mam and dad, a proper love story. 

If you like romantic tear jerkers this is definitely one for you. Thanks again to Netgalley and the publisher Hodder and Staughton for my e-arc.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

George Orwell’s 1984 Graphic Novel by Matyas Namai


Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” 

Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, even his own home, the Party watches him through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party’s seemingly omniscient leader, Big Brother. The Party controls everything in Oceania, even the people’s history and language. Now, the Party is forcing the use of an invented language called Newspeak which will prevent political insurgency by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Such thoughtcrime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes. But a seed of dissent grows in Winston—one that will bring him into direct conflict with the Party, and with devastating consequences.

Rarely has one book ever been so rich in political and social criticism as 1984. Originally published in 1949, this new graphic novel edition of the dystopian classic, powerfully illustrated by Matyáš Namai, reveals Winston’s fight against the Party in all its horror and futility.

I received a gorgeous physical copy of this book from the publisher Palazzo Editions, after my Netgalley e-arc didn’t download properly, so thank you so much to them for that. 

I’d not read 1984 before, and was intrigued to learn the story of Big Brother, so I was excited to see a graphic novel available. This was very easy to read and easy to understand the story of 1984. 

I was surprised at some parts, shocked at Winston hiding in the only corner of his house where the cameras can’t see you. The thought that the government could be watching you at all times, in your own homes through your tv, is a scary thought. So do I get the rebellious side of the people who wanted to revolt? Of course. I didn’t see the person who was undercover being the person it was, I thought it was going to be someone else. 

I liked the relationship between Winston and Julia, it was like finding a bit of happiness in the darkness. My daughter asked if she could read it as she has done some school stuff on 1984 (she’s 13), but there are some graphic pictures in the book so I don’t think it’s suitable for young teens.

Thanks again so much to Palazzo Editions for my gorgeous physical copy, and thanks to Netgalley for my e-arc.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Looking For Alaska by John Green


In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette, but even in the dark, I could see her eyes - fierce emeralds. And not just beautiful, but hot too.

BEFORE. Miles Halter's whole life has been one big non-event until he starts at anything-but-boring Culver Creek Boarding School and meets Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up and utterly fascinating she pulls Miles into her world, launches him into a new life, and steals his heart. But when tragedy strikes, and Miles comes face-to-face with death he discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

AFTER: Nothing will ever be the same.

Poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling, this novel will stay with you forever.

I read this as a buddy read with my fab pal Kath. I’d only ever read one of John Green’s books, The Fault in Our Stars , and I loved it, so was looking forward to reading this one. 

I really enjoyed it. I think the thingI liked the most was the way the kids spent their free time. It was just like I imagined a boarding school to be like. They hung out, snuck around with buried alcohol (yes, you heard that right lol), smoked cigarettes secret out of the windows or down at the smoking hole. It was just proper friend time and bonding. 

I loved The Colonel, he was my favourite character. A cheeky chap, with witty come backs, and I think he would just be a cool person to hang out with. I did like the main characters Alaska and Miles, and there were times I felt so bad for them both. And yes I cried a bit too.

Looking forward to reading more of John Greens books! Thanks to Kath for reading alongside me :)

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Whistling by Rebecca Netley

Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome has taken the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.

Her charge, Mary, is a strange child. Distracted and secretive, she hasn't uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William - just days after their former nanny disappeared.

With her charge defiantly silent, Elspeth turns to the islanders. But no one will speak of what happened to William. 

Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. 

Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. 

Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .

As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.

But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?


I received a copy of this book from the publisher Penguin Michael Joseph, and netgalley in return for an honest review.

We read this as Tsundoku Squad’s October book, seeing as it sounded spooky and it’s Halloween soon. I gave this 4 stars each week and am quite happy with the final 4 stars from myself.

I enjoyed this story, and it freaked me out a few times, especially when reading it at 12am in the pitch black with everyone else asleep 😂 The lullaby at night in the halls of Iskar, the creepy whistle, the ever so slightly scary dolls, and a child so torn with grief she has rendered herself mute. 

The Island of Skelthsea was described well and I could picture the rocky shores, whipping waves ans utter darkness. All in all it was a good story, not something I would usually read so I was happy I enjoyed it. 

Thanks again to Penguin Michael Jospeh , Negalley, and of course Rebecca Netley for my e-arc.

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she's left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

I had been waiting to read this one as I’m reading all of Heidi’s books in publication order, but I realised this book is the first in the Wynmouth Series, and Heidi’s soon to be published next book is the second in the series. So I jumped on it to be ready for Underneath the Christmas Tree.

I love all of Heidi's books I’ve read so far but I think this one may be up there for my favourite! There was just something about this one that made me feel extra warm inside and happy. 

So Wynmouth sounds absolutely gorgeous, lush beach, friendly residents, and cosy places to hang out. I love the fireplace in the pub, it just made it sound very cosy and comfy, somewhere to sit wrapped in a jumper with your friends. And Sam the barkeep, ok so I love him. I think he is my favourite so far of all the men folk from Heidi’s books. There was just something about him, something so very kind and sweet. 

The Secret Seaside Escape is actually packed with surprises. I did guess one or two, and was glad to realise I was correct, but there were a couple I didn’t guess too and was pleasantly shocked!!

If you like warm heartfelt books then please dive into this one, it’ll be sure to make you feel better on these cold autumn/winter days.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Rebel Suffragette by Beverley Adams

The suffragette movement swept the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Led by the Pankhurst's, the focus of the movement was in London with demonstrations and rallies taking place across the capital. But this was a nationwide movement with a strong northern influence with Edith Rigby being an ardent supporter. Edith was a controversial figure, not only was she was the first woman to own and ride a bicycle in her home town but she was founder of a school for girls and young women. Edith followed the example of Emmeline Pankhurst and her supporters and founded the Preston branch of the Women's Social and Political Union. She was found guilty of arson and an attempted bomb attack in Liverpool following which she was incarcerated and endured hunger strike forming part of the 'Cat and Mouse' system with the government. During a political rally with Winston Churchill Edith threw a black pudding at a MP. There are many tales to tell in the life of Edith Rigby, she was charismatic, passionate, ruthless and thoroughly unpredictable. She was someone who rejected the accepted notion of what a woman of her class should be the way she dressed and the way she ran her household but she was independent in mind and spirit and always had courage in her own convictions. As a suffragette, she was just as effective and brave as the Pankhurst women. This is the story of a life of a lesser known suffragette. This is Edith's story.

I was asked to be on the tour for Beverleys book and was more than happy to say yes!

This was an interesting read. I knew stuff about The Suffragettes as most of us do, mostly the big names we’ve learnt about in school. So to read about Edith Rigby was quite fascinating. 

She was a very strong willed woman and I’m glad to know she was fighting our corner so hard, and we now have the rights we do today. My daughter is eyeing this book up so I’m sure she’ll be having a flick through it too!

Thank you so much as always to Pen and Sword Books, Rosie, and of course Beverley, for my copy of the book.

Pen And Sword Books are offering free P&P when you use the code REBEL on their website, so hop to it!!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun


In the summer of 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became known as the High School Beauty Murder. There were two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, who had a rock-solid alibi, and Han Manu, to whom no evidence could be pinned. The case went cold.

Seventeen years pass without justice, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she's lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened.

I received a gorgeous proof parcel from Head of Zeus for which I’m very thankful for (the chocolates were amazing by the way). And I was excited to be asked to be on the tour!

This is possibly the first translated fiction I’ve read, and it was a good experience. I also read this alongside my friend Kath who received a proof too. I was good to hav someone to chat with about it while reading. 

This book is short, and quite an easy read, I was thrown off a little at the start with the peoples names and was a bit confused as to who was who, but I soon figured it out. 

To be honest I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this book, maybe a little more of a thriller , but it does keep you guessing! Me and kath had a couple of discussions on who it was, what had happened etc. Totally different to what I was expecting and still I’m not quite sure if I really know what happened! I think I will be giving it a re-read so my rating might change !

Thanks for letting me be on the tour HOZ, and please everyone check out the other stops on the tour!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Meet Me in Tahiti by Georgia Toffolo


Zoe has spent her life facing battles: fighting her parents for independence, struggling with her feelings for local bad boy Finn and, after a car accident at eighteen, adjusting to the fact she would not walk again. She remained strong until the day Finn, the person she thought she could trust, broke her heart... Now a successful travel writer, Zoe is excited to review a new luxury hotel in the beautiful South Pacific - until she meets its owner...

Finn was never good enough for Zoe. He knew it. Zoe's family knew it. The village of Hawkes Cove made sure he knew it. Proven when he let her down in the worst way possible. Now a successful businessman, he thought his past was behind him, until a journalist turns up to review his new resort...

As Finn shows Zoe the exotic wonders of the islands both face the fact their shared past might just be the beginning of a future. But only if Zoe can win the biggest battle of her life...facing up to her heart's desire.

I almost missed this book and noticed it the day before publication day!! So of course I ordered it straight away to go with the others. I loved the first 2 books in the series so was excited to get on with this one.

I love the fact they’re all intertwined, characters from the past books pop up every now and again, and the history between all four girls is always at the heart of the story. This book, book 3, is Zoe’s story. If you’ve read the other books you’ll know about Zoe and the accident. I’ve been waiting to read more about her, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Zoe is a very strong woman, she has faced massive things before in her life, but she hasn’t let anything stop her from doing what she wants to do. I loved reading about her, getting know her, and I was cheering her on the whole way through the book to get what she wanted! I really I liked Finn too, he seems a real nice guy and I wanted things to work out the way they wanted it to.

I shall say no more, except I’m really excited for book 4 to come out next year!! Meet Me At The Wedding looks to be a fab book, I’m just hoping it isn’t the last one!

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Every story has its secrets.

Every mystery has its motives.

“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.” 

The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered. 

London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie. 

The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Pan Macmillan and Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.

This was Tsundoku Squads September read, our 9th together. We were quite excited for this one, especially as a few of the group are big Agatha fans. I’ve actually only read one Agatha myself but had heard about her disappearance and it intrigued me.

I’m sad to say I found myself not really enjoying this one much. I think we all agreed we were expecting more Agatha and really this could have been a story about Nan and not even mentioned Agatha at all. I enjoyed parts of Nans story, but didn’t like her from the start knowing she was having an affair with Archie, Agathas husband. I admit I skim read he last half maybe, after not getting on with it much at all.

I have heard good things from others though so please don’t let me put you off!

Thanks again to Pan Macmillan, Nina de Gramont and Netgalley for my review ebook.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

It's Friday the 13th and Diana is an ambitious young appraiser at Sotheby's in New York. She's about to go on a long-awaited holiday, where she knows Finn, her surgeon boyfriend, will propose and the next stage of her carefully planned life will begin.

But it is Friday the 13th of March 2020.

The new virus hits. Finn can't leave the city, and suggests she goes without him. In the Galapagos, unable to get back to her real life, Diana learns about the devastation hitting the world as she hears intermittently from her boyfriend. She's discovering a new side to herself and a new kind of life, when everything changes . . .

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Hodder and Staunton, and netgalley, in return for an honest review.

I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan, so there’s no denying I was ridiculously excited to see this book on Netgalley, and even more excited when I was approved! I read this one as a buddy read with 5 of my pals, and we all really enjoyed it (all book reviewers and all approved on Netgalley).

There was a bit of controversy around this book before it came out, people saying they weren’t sure about reading a book based on the pandemic, which is still very much going on. And I get that, I’ve hardly been anywhere in almost 19 months, but I knew Ms JP would write it well. The book is mostly all about Diana and The Galapagos, with Covid mentioned sporadically throughout. 

The book is told from the perspective of Diana, who jets off to The Galapagos alone, only to get there and find everything is closed due to the pandemic, and she is stuck. I loved the Galapagos parts of the story, the descriptions were amazing and I felt whisked away while reading. I really liked Diana, and was rooting for her character all the way through. Finn I wasn’t as fussed on, I felt Earth sorry for him with what he was going through working on the Covid wards. Jodi’s descriptions of how Finn was feeling and the people who lost their lives, it was all very real and close to home. And there was a certain point me and my pals were a bit shocked.

I won’t go into much more detail but yes read this book, then read it again, and fall in love with The Galapagos. Well done again Ms Picoult!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Boy Parts by Eliza Clark


Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle. Placed on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery, promising to revive her career in the art world and offering an escape from her rut of drugs, alcohol, and extreme cinema. The news triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centred around Irina's relationship with her obsessive best-friend, and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention.

I read this as a buddy read with my fab pal Kath (go check out her review on her Bookstagram account kathvbooks). I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Kath sporadically throughout reading this and can’t wait to do another buddy read with her. I was drawn to this after reading that its set in my home town.

So at first I wasn’t sure on how I was feeling about this one. Irving talks photographs of male models she finds in Newcastle, the photos range from topless to full on erotic poses. Irina has some issues, there is a lot of drug taking, drinking, and just plain nastiness . She isn’t a dry nice person at all and you can tell she wants things her own way or no way. She’s a bully to her friends, and manipulates the guys she photographs into doing whatever she wants.

Kath mentions Eddie in her review, and I agree that we both fell for him, and he just seemed so sweet. He just wanted to be liked and unfortunately the friend he met and made was Irina.

There was a lot of has someone been killed or not throughout the book and it had us quite confused at times. But I actually enjoyed the book, and after the first few chapters I got quite addicted to finding out what was going on! A different read, but well written and a good book.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

In the midst of war, he found love In the midst of darkness, he found courage In the midst of tragedy, he found hope.

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo - until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all - and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face - they must journey to find each other again.

This was Tsundoku Squads August read.

I fell for this book hard and really loved it. Nuri and Afra were such great characters, and they both absolutely stole my heart. 

For me, and the rest of thesquad, I kept thinking this book was set so long ago, but really was set in recent times. And it made it even more so real with the awful things going on today in the real world. The descriptions were brilliant, and the love that poured from the pages was amazing. So many feelings were thrown around in this book, but I loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet read it.

I’m hoping Christy Lefteri’s newest book ‘Songbird’ is just as good!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Because Of You by Dawn French

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.

The old millennium turns into the new.

In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.

Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.

Anna leaves with empty arms.

Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.

The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.

Perhaps beyond ...

I read this as a buddy read with Lisa @tot_and_tales, this was my first buddy read and it went very well, I will definitely do more of these. I wasn’t sure where this book was going to go, two ladies, Hope and Anna, both give birth on the same day in the same hospital, on the same ward. One lady leaves with a baby, one lady leaves without. 

This book was a strange one, it’s the first time I’ve really been rooting for somebody who I know has done something wrong. Me and Lisa agreed it plays with your morals a little.

I loved quiet Isaac, he was my favourite character throughout, I just think he seemed like the sweetest person. Hope was a good character, she seemed very loving and her family did too. Julius is a shit, I’m not even going to lie. Anna is strong, and seems like a lovely Person. I did feel so bad for her throughout the story, and I’m glad she grew some balls. When you read you know what I mean. 

But Minnie is the main character in this book, I liked her, she seemed very young and vulnerable, but grown up at the same time.

I’m not going to say much as to give spoilers, but let’s just say by the end my heart was broke and my face was soaked with tears. Definitely read this one.

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What Might have Been by Holly Miller