Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus and Steven T. Murray

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Helllllo readers, apologies it’s been a little while since my last review – I’m still getting back into the swing of writing reviews so often. No wonder I was exhausted all the timee but I do utterly adore it. Today’s review is a book my lovely lovely sister gave to me. If my sis were to start a book blog it would be literally all CRIME BOOKS, cause she loves crime books. Anyway thanks Char Balds hoping you’re enjoying UNIVERSITY FREE TIMEEEE. Enjoy the review.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

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Right, so the blurb is kinda extensive so I’ll try to sum it up super quickly. We follow the truly devastating story of Tobias Sartorius. Pia Kirchoff is embarking on her saddest case so far after finding the bones of an unknown individual in an underground jet fuel tank. Pia and her partner in crime Bodenstein must unravel the secrets that surround the body. On the other side of town, there is another incident, a 7-car collision caused by the attempted murder of a woman pushed off a bridge. The woman in question is Rita Cramer and as it comes to light  there are more and more secrets in the town of Altenhain. Tobias is back in town after serving ten years for the murder of two beautiful girls whose bodies were never found not that he can remember what happened – when another young girl goes missing and once again Tobias is missing his  memory is everything as it seems?

Right, down to the nitty-gritty (finally.) In terms of the story there are multiple story-lines mixed in together and pulled in very quickly. The writing is really engaging and definitely draws the reader in. In terms of characters profiles, despite their being MANY MANY characters all of them are really well-developed and examined. I thought Tobias could have been developed a little better – I think because he was so closed off because of all that had happened it was at times difficult to feel for him.

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I must admit at times it does feel a little stilted, I think it’s because of the translation but it is sometimes a bit awkward. I also found it a little difficult to keep up with alllllll the names. I don’t know whether I’m just really bad with names but I struggled a little when characters were mentioned super quickly and then weren’t mentioned until another ten chapters later. Some of the police procedures were very different from UK practices? I guess it’s just a European thing but it added to the slight awkwardness.

However, what I did like was that there were lots of twists and turns, lots of mixed messages, red herrings and throughout there were LOTS of possible suspects for certain parts of the mystery. It’s one of those books were I felt maybe a diagram would have been a good idea just to spell out all the twists and turns but it plays out really well – it’s not too confusing but I adored looking at the different alliances with different members of the village, the use of town anxieties, and gossip. It just helped to fuel my excitement.

Before I go on for utterly forever  I would definitely recommend this book for a read. It’s one that recaptured my attention and I literally didn’t put down for over 2 and a half hours on the train to London. It’s a really good crime novel and although there are wobbles it’s still a brilliant book!

LIIIIINKKKKSSS

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Once Taken by Blake Pierce

 

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and ready for another review for yours truly. I’m really into crime books at the moment – I’ve really gone off funny or romance books so there could be a few of these coming your way. Anyway, I read this book a little while back but I just hadn’t quite got round to writing a review and posting for you. I found this author just by searching on Amazon, finding her first book and buying it – WHICH NEVER HAPPENS, and I decided to buy the second book – so enjoy.

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Women are being murdered in upstate New York, their bodies found mysteriously hanging in chains. With the FBI called in, given the bizarre nature of the murders—and the lack of any clues—there is only one agent they can turn to: Special Agent Riley Paige.

Riley, reeling from her last case, is reluctant to take on a new one, since she is still convinced a former serial killer is out there, stalking her. She knows, though, that her ability to enter a serial killer’s mind and her obsessive nature is what will be needed to crack this case, and she just can’t refuse—even if it will push her over the edge.

Riley’s search takes her deep into a killer’s deluded mind as it leads her to orphanages, mental hospitals, prisons, all in an effort to understand the depth of his psychosis. Realizing she is up against a true psychopath, she knows time is short before he strikes again. But with her own job on the line and her own family a target, and with her fragile psyche collapsing, it may all be too much for her—and too late.

So, as like the first book ( YOU CAN READ MY REVIEW HERE.) this book follows the exciting life of Riley as she struggles to pull herself together at the end of the first book. She finds a number of pebbles in her bed which she is 99.9% sure have been left by the serial killer that tried to take her life. But, there’s a new case to be solved; bodies are mysteriously appearing wrapped in chains and hung up for all to see. Riley must try to put the past behind her whilst solving the case and keeping one eye open at all times.

So, what did I think? I actually really enjoyed this book and although part of me preferred the story (in terms of the murders) during the first book, I found the use of the chains and the interesting character of the killer exciting to read about. It’s odd with crime books because you kind of get into the head of the killer and this author does it incredibly well. Riley has this almost second sense when it comes to reading a crime scene, and although throughout we get a little look at the what the killer is thinking and the motives, we do get to follow Riley and see how she manages to piece everything together.

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Once again I thought the numerous secondary plot-lines were really well interlinked. Using a past crime from Riley’s life that we haven’t really got to experience (it happens before the first book) means we’re constantly on edge trying to piece together what has happened. I thought using Riley’s daughter a little more was really intriguing and I like the play-off between the two in their relationship as mother and daughter. The writing as before is really punchy, it moves quickly but not so fast that you’re gabbling to keep up. Instead it builds and builds until we reach the exciting climax.

The only slight wobble I had was at the end – no spoilers, but it was a little well tied up this time and I’m interested to see how the third is integrated into the story-line. It has been a little while since I read this so there might have been more of a link to the next but it doesn’t stick in my mind. Overall I think I enjoyed the first book more, I think it was creepier and I always struggle a little if we get too much from the killer’s point of view which I find we do here. I think to really amp up the excitement it needs to be kept more of a secret. Either way, I still would give this a solid 3*’s and can’t wait to read the next.

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Baggage by S.G. Redling

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Helllllllo readers, hope you’re well. I’ve got some superrrr exciting books for you this week – the first thing I need to do is apologise because I was asked to read and review this book forever ago and I read it and then the review kind of got stashed in my ‘must-post-on-the-internet’ pile. But here we are, on the internet and with a super brilliant review (hopefully) sooooo, enjoy.

Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.

A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep…

When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

So the book follows the life of Anna Shuler Rayler who is a 29 year old school counselor who when she goes to work on February 18th finds that the school she works at is surrounded by police, detectives, and the whole college is covered in crime tape. Finding that a colleague of her’s has been brutally murdered, Ellis Trachtenberg, just the day before. A  day of hell for Anna that she thought would forever be forgotten and yet now, a year later she is rising to the top of a suspect list. As it becomes more and more apparent that Anna  needs to find out what happened and clear her name her past that she has worked hard to keep locked away is coming close to being revealed to all.

So what did I think? I thought that the characters were really well built; I kept swapping between Anna and Jeannie and how I felt about both of them. At times I really struggled with Anna and then I would swap back to Jeannie and it definitely kept me completely consumed with the plot and what was going to happen. I thought the writing was a little slow to start off with, but after a chapter or so it definitely started to move forward – the writing had real suspense, the swapping from past to present worked incredibly well and I thought the big showdown towards the end (#nospoilers) was reallllly great. I thought the author was also brilliant at creating a really descriptive landscape to hold the book together.

I really liked the continuous swapping between the crime and also what was happening in terms of the life of Anna; we see her struggling to contain her past and using drink as a way of coping and this leads to a really interesting understanding of the main character. The author works had to contain all of these sub-plots together at once and overall I think it worked really well. There is an interesting concept worked in around some letters – I think this could have been developed more – I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone but it did leave me wanting more in terms of their involvement in the book.

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The only wobbles were that I thought that there were a lot of unnecessary details and when a book is kind of short it took away from the rest of the plot-line and made the movement of the book a little sluggish. I thought more suspects could have been easily incorporated to make it a little more exciting and add a little more suspense. I also found, and don’t hate me, that being inside the head of Anna for a little while became a little tiresome; she is an addict, she does exhibit a typical addict behavior but over time it does become a little tiring. The only final wobble was a cliffhanger ending – I just wish more of the loose ends had been tied up but that’s a smaller issue for me.

Overall I would definitely recommend this – I think if you’re a reader that likes thriller books that have a family feel to them and mix that into the suspense this will be brilliant read for you and also, if you like thrillers that have NO ROMANCE, this will definitely be one for you. A solid read with a few wobbles but a book I really enjoyed.

Linnnnnks

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Death Wish (Ceruleans #1) by Megan Tayte

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Helllllo readers, it’s Thursday I’m still going strong with the reviews from 2015! I’m going to write a really in-depth post about my current reading slump and how I’m constantly trying to ignore it by catching up with all the books I’ve read but are yet to get written up and posted about! If anyone has any really simple tips for helping with difficulties picking up a book then please comment below and help me. For now onto the review of a lovely fantasy tale.

IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows the story of Scarlett Blake who has recently lost her sister to suicide. Confused by the sudden turn of events she returns to the last place her sister was seen to try and piece together what really happened. Once there she starts to realise that all is not quite as it appears and that there are secrets surrounding the suicide that need to be explained – it just might be that Scarlett is the only one that can truly find out the truth, oh as well as the help provided by Luke: the blue-eyed surfer and Jude: the elusive drifter.

With the premise done onto the actual review – I thought Scarlett was really well written; her strength after the death of her sister and her constant want to find strength and not believe in what she’s being told was both exciting and helped to add pace to the tale. At times she does struggle with her self-esteem and she does have a few moments where she struggles deeply  with her emotions and does make rash decisions which are understandable in the situation. Both Luke and Jude are great additions to the story adding intrigue and mystery with their contrasting personalities plus there is a theme of romance for you love-lovers.

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The writing style is beautiful and lyrical and definitely spins the reader on an adventure, I did feel myself sucked wholly into the book in a way that I couldn’t put it down despite having little wobbles with Scarlett. The writing style also helps to create relatable and realistic characters. In terms of the plot I liked how original it was – it was unlike a lot of paranormal stories I have read before and I liked the continuing mystery not only surrounding the supposed suicide but also surrounding Scarlett and her own story. One wobble from this is that we don’t find out what is happening till very late in the story and this potentially opens more questions that it answers making it an unfulfilled read in some ways.

The only additional wobble was the ending and it seems that I’m not the only one – the use of the cliffhanger for me is a struggle because when we go to pick up the next book, unless it’s straight there, we lose something. Hints to the next tale may have worked better but that’s just me. However overall this is a brilliant read – it’s a difficult book to really review because I don’t want to spoil the twists and turns but overall good quality writing, a brilliant story that sucks you in and brilliant twist! Well worth a read.

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Close My Eyes Paperback by Sophie McKenzie

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Helllllllo readers and happy Thursday – it’s an odd day of the week for me because it’s so close to the weekend but still so far away. It’s been an interesting week – a lot of ups and downs and still trying to slowly get through this quarter life crisis. I’m currently using the excuse of not yet passing my driving test but I’m getting closer and closer to passing and then I have to start making life decisions – like nuh-uh, still not ready. For now imma going to ignore all of that and bring you a review – enjoy bookworms.

It’s been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing’s really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune – and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable – but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found…So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?

As the blurb suggests the book follows the life of Gen and Art who terribly lost their little girl when she was born stillborn; something that Gen is yet to recover from. As Art moves on with his life Gen is trapped in the grief of her daughter’s death – however when a lady arrives on her doorstep tell her, her sister was there at the birth and the little girl was fine alarm bells start ringing. As Gen starts to dig into the history of the birth, her life is turned upside down as she struggles to come to terms with the fact her baby may be alive – is Art involved? How could the doctor have orchestrated anything like that? What did happen the day her daughter was born – read le book to find out.

Did I like this book? Difficult question – it did at the start pull me in, Gen is written with gusto and understanding although quite a tiring character at the beginning she begins to grow with every page turn – gutsy and determined she really grew on me as a character. Art is also really well written – mysterious, a total gentleman but quick to act he really gave this book strength and helped to cement my interest. In terms of plot the book the book does move with pace; the story kicks in very quickly and immediately we start pulling together clues as we discover what really happened in the hospital that night and I did find myself gabbling through.

Although predictable there is an original storyline and the plot moves with pace. The writing is evocative and mixes in a number of interweaving character plot-lines and the secondary characters are built up so that they become more involved with the main premise of the book. One major wobble though was the author tended to really build up a scene in a couple of chapters and then the actual scene would be over maybe in a couple of lines. I think if these scenes had been slowed down it would have created a much stronger impact and helped to tell the story better on the whole.

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However, and this seems to be the same as many of the readers I’ve seen review this book it is mindbogglingly far-fetched lapsing on pretty ridiculous. As the plot grows we encounter a number of murders, attempted kidnaps and a whole lot of mixed up character relationships. It felt a little like the author thought how the hell do I sort all of this mess out. I did enjoy it but the ability to believe what was happening meant I read it without really investing in the plot or the characters which was a little tiring because I had made it so far through.

Once the story is over it’s a very abrupt ending which although underwhelming was the only way it could have really ended – we then suddenly fly a number years later and Gen is  recounting all that has happened – the ending is a little dark which I liked but it was overwhelmed with the feeling of it all being too over-dramatised to really make me feel anything at all.

Overall I did enjoy reading this – but almost from the sense of what on earth is going on towards the end. Would I recommend buying a copy of this book and searing it out no, but if you saw in the library and thought I want something a little dramatic and over the top with touch of romance and suspense – maybe.

Linnnnnnks

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A Single Step: Book 1 of The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’ve had a wonderfully bookish day; I’ve got a really lovely review for you today I really think you’ll enjoy. Although I get to review some really fantastic books every so often one appears and it’s just, well, perfect for me as a reader and that has to be the best thing about book blogging; finding books I never would have done before. Today I get to share one of these with you; without delay the review.

Meet Emma Grayson, heroine of The Grayson Trilogy, a series of mysterious and romantic adventure stories.

‘The gun continued to be levelled at me. “Answer it…but don’t tell him I’m here or he’ll get to listen to you die.” That concentrated my mind considerably, and as I reached for my phone I came up with a plan…’

Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love.

As the blurb suggest Emma Grayson really needs a new start after a terribly raw personal event and in the midst of it all she manages to secure a job with Lord Cavendish of Melton Manor Estate working in the stables and taking care of the horses. Although Emma is desperate to keep herself to herself she finds herself becoming more and more involved with the tight-knit community found at the estate. Throw in the rather wonderful Trent who keeps getting in the way and sparks begin to fly. We follow Emma as she attempts to right herself and recover whilst also getting experience the hustle and bustle of the estate.

The tale is told on first person narrative which from the very beginning allows us to really relate and connect with Emma especially in the first few chapters where we are reliving the tragedy. I found myself immediately warming to Emma despite her colder attitude towards people. She is both a little stubborn and on edge but I found her growth throughout the book delightful to read about. Trent is just as well written; a bit aloof and full of himself but he has a warm persona that I adored reading about. Supporting characters could have featured more strongly in terms of characterisation but this may be built throughout the series.

In terms of writing the description of the surrounding landscape really helped to bring the tale to life and although there is a lot of detail about the stable work it didn’t overwhelm (I am honestly terrified of horses but I didn’t feel it was too much of a feature.) I thought the mystery about the manor intriguing and the trips Trent makes with Lord Cavendish helped to raise the suspense making the read all the more exciting.

There were a couple of wobbles for me; I couldn’t quite decide what the genre of the book was. This is often not a problem but it felt a little disjointed; mystery, romance? There is also a lot of the facts of Emma’s past thrown into the beginning of the story and although it’s good to learn so much I think it did cause the book to drag a little. I think dispersing it throughout would have helped with the suspense a little more and also push the story forward. This is also causes a bit of confusion when we start learning more about Trent’s back story and it feels a little clumsy.

However, this a lovely story to get you mitts on and throw yourself into. There are a few problems but that doesn’t distract from the wonderful writing style the deeply raw character back-stories and the strong plot-line. There are so many special moments and a real understanding of the story of life on the estate the caring for horses. The plot rises and falls and builds strongly rather than haphazardly and that really does bring about a really special story.

 Linnnnnks

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Water Minute Mysteries 1-10 by P. Aaron Mitchell

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Hellllllo readers, it’s October where is the year going? It feels like only yesterday I turned 22 and yet, it’s been a month or so. This author sent me a lovely email that said he knew I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes books, and that if I liked them I should read this. That is definitely a way to get my attention and after reading I thought wow, there is definitely an inkling there.

Short stories of enigma with The Professor, who provides all the clues for you to figure out each story’s one and only explanation. Solve them yourself, or read the solutions.

That’s a very succinct blurb there and it’s very easy way to show you the writing style of said author. The books are very short tales where the narrator (The Professor) tells the story of an event or a story and gives us a number of secret clues woven into the tale. After we finish the story there is a solution, or an explanation of what’s just happened and it’s all wrapped up rather neatly at the end. Some of the stories understandably include deaths but others are more subtle relating to family traumas, objects and the like.

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So what did I think? Well I’m pleased report I liked them a darn lot. Told in a simple style that suits the mysteries each is written with a real understanding of how to confuse the reader. Although the stories are short they are told with lots of little inner workings that you can assume is going to add up to the solution but I was hopeless at getting to the bottom of many of them. The pace is written well, they bump along a little slowly but often then are set in one of two scenes rather than a long drawn out but that works because they are short tales. I was surprised how much the author managed to pack into the stories and found it really nice that they were so detailed.

In terms of the writing style it isn’t my cup of tea but here it worked. It was short, sharp and to the point and it helped to make the stories more like riddles. Long flowing descriptions of the surroundings and the characters involved wouldn’t have worked here and the tighter writing style is definitely brilliant here. Despite this over the ten stories we do get an inkling of the personality of the Professor. A little more suave than our Holmes and with a small adoration for young women he is a bit of a sweetheart. He has a charming side, and he comes over a lot more friendly I think although we only get glimpses of him as a character. He has a sense of humour although a little mocking but he comes across as a kind-hearted fellow.

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My only wobble was that many of the solutions require knowledge relating to guns, car and aeroplanes. Although this is necessary to create the mysteries some of the stories although made sense didn’t give me that mystery satisfaction when the ending was revealed. Sherlock although does know knowledge of said things tends to rely on human nature, blemishes on the characters and physical attributes so I could solve them a lot easier. But, I liked the difference and I was really impressed at the level of detail shown by the author. Some of the stories are a little difficult to believe but they are really good to read and think about whether something so shocking could have happened.The only thing I really didn’t like was the cover and it was such a shame because the book was so lovely to read.

Overall a really quick read although it may take you a little while to get to the bottom of the stories. The writing style although not normally my idea of reading fun worked well here and helped to make the stories really memorable. I think a few more that were based more on domestic clues would have helped readers to guess the stories but maybe it’s me and my terrible general knowledge. A great deal of fun and mystery that I really want to read more of.

Linnnnks

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught life 101

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*Sighs* this might be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday post so far. The actually topic is Ten books that would be on your syllabus X 101. Examples include YA, fantasy, classic literature, feminist literature, you get the idea. I’ve picked ‘life 101’ and I mean it, not in a literal way, but more of the way in which books teach you something. These books include teaching you how to pick yourself up, get over heart-break, family strains. These are the books that have given me something back.

1)       The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

This book, honest to the word, has helped in ways that I could have never expected it to. It talks of life in such an honest, wonderfully light and subtle way, but it talks of death, love and family too. The fact that author is dying as we read along makes it feel all the more destructive but it has a calming presence. It talks of never wasting time, living every day the way we want to and to take control. I haven’t really looked back since finishing this book.

2)       Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I’ve never reviewed this book for mylittlebookblog, but I think I might soon. The book follows the main character as he comes to terms with his sister’s death from anorexia. It highlights the struggle of family life, the tough decisions we have to make, and the loss of people close to us. It’s a tale that I always dip into now and again and it’s written in a wonderfully lyrical style. My and sister and I rarely got on a couple of years back but now we’re a solid pair of besties. She’s one in a million.

3)       ‘Giovanni’s Lover by James Baldwin

When I first started this book I didn’t think I would finish it let alone make its way onto this list, but this book taught me that there are some things, we cannot take back. I went through a lot of time not caring how I made other people feel because I barely cared about myself, at all. This book taught me that our decisions, our words, our actions towards others can be detrimental to people that we love. I know it seems trivial but I needed this to speak to me and tell me I needed to stop being an ass.

4)       Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Maybe a controversial choice, but this book helped to change the perception that I needed to plan out, almost exactly, how my life was going to pan out. I panicked about too many different elements in my life; relationships, career, where I was going to live etc. The mother bought this and told me to read it, get some perspective and calm the hell down. This was the starting blocks to letting go a little more and trusting me more.

5)       Remember to breathe by Simon Pont

I have written about this book many, many a time but reading this really helped to break through my wailing and make me think that the collapse of my relationship was merely a blip in the road. I’ve met someone who is miles better for me, and just gets me and this book helped to smooth over all the feelings that were raging at the time.

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6)       Factotum by Charles Bukowski

Another maybe, odd choice? I’ve always worried a lot about where I’m going to be, in terms of career and this book made me think. I know that what I’m doing right isn’t right for me, it’s not challenging me but the main character in this book is all over the place. He’s changing jobs every second, turning up late, drunk, forgetting things falling asleep. Although quite obviously isn’t the way to do it, the way that you can change your life and do something else, even something polar opposite,  made me positive that I’m never stuck. I can always go a different way.

7)       The Fault in our stars by John Green

This also wasn’t going to make the list but I thought, fuck it. It’s a book about adoration, love, belief and pain. But it’s a tale that teaches us that pain and hurt exist, but to live in the present, in the moment you might say if you’re feeling all gushy. This book is worth a bloody read.

8)       The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

I know this appears in all my lists but I couldn’t help myself once again. As I’ve come to terms with my anxiety many things I thought were ‘control-freak,’ tendencies were in fact my anxiety. I’ve struggled with losing friends in the past, holding on despite deceit, awkward silences and their brush-off manner. This book taught me it is okay to lose people, not because you want to but because it’s better, often for both of you.

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9) Pearshaped by Stella Newman 

Another tale about relationships but taken from the other side this book looks at the problems of unhealthy, manipulating and downright awful relationships. We are allowed to say when something is not up and stand up for ourselves. This books says that, loud and clear.

10)       Finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

I picked this because, some of the quotes features are so profound and special. I often like to ask people if they would like to be friends with Alice or be Alice, because her sudden change in perception is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are so many twisted bits of knowledge woven in and we see Alice grow as a person. It’s a classic book that means a lot to me and many readers and I’m glad it’s made the list.

I wrote a lot more here than I thought I would surprisingly but I thought this was a list where you really needed to explain why they made the list. This isn’t an extensive list (obviously) and when I read Wild, which I will do, I might have to include that as a bonus book because I think it might just change my outlook on everything but we’ll see. Another day another book.

I do love it when people comment and ask me and the choices, the reasons, and just hearing what you would add so if you have anything pop in down in the comments below. Lots of love and hugs, lizzy. X

Storm Rising by Rachael Richey

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Helllllllo readers and welcome to another review|*cheers*| I made a blunder the first time writing this review stating Rachael Richey wrote The Beauty Thief when in fact Rachael Richtey wrote it! How close are those names, that’s crazy! Anyway back to this review, this is my first review from this author on the back of reading it I really want to read more from her. Brilliant writing and one I think you will utterly adore.

Frontman of the grunge rock band NightHawk, Gideon Hawk has had enough of the rock star life. He is jaded, disillusioned, and haunted by the memory of an unresolved heartbreak. On a whim, he leaves the band in New York and heads to England in search of answers.

After attending the funeral of her estranged mother, Abigail Thomson makes a shocking discovery in her parents’ attic. The still-raw memories that surface, along with even more startling discoveries, force Abi to face a devastating truth that leads to a series of life-changing events. She and Gideon must race against time to reclaim the life stolen from them a decade before.

The book jumps between two periods of time, from 2005 to flashbacks of 1994/5 when both Abi and Gideon were teenagers.

We begin the tale at the funeral of Abigail Thomson’s estranged mother who Abi has not seen let alone spoken to in ten years. Meeting her father again, feelings begin to unravel and when stashes of undelivered letters addressed to Abi are found in the attic, our story really begins. The letters are from Abi’s teenage first love, Gideon Hawk who just so happens to be the frontman of the band Night Hawk, but in an attempt to ditch the limelight after a concert held in New York he sensationally quits the band. The book flits between the burgeoning relationship between Abi and Gideon set a decade before and the present day as we see the two very different lives begin to become parallel once again.

I really enjoyed this lovely little tale; although it may appears to take the stereotypical girl meets rock-star, their relationship crumbles, he attempts to escape the limelight, throughout there is a mysterious secret that builds from the very beginning. Why were the letters undelivered? Why did Abi have to tread on eggshells around her mother? Was her father also involved in the traumatic event that happened? The book twists and turns between the two time periods allowing the writer to give us dribs and drabs causing the story to intensify and made me gabble through the pages.

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The characters are written with style and warmth; Abi is a darling character, warm and bright I found her an unforgettable character. Determined, and charming and then suddenly a little helpless I really felt for her. Additionally witnessing her rebellious teenage years reminded me a lot of my own. Telling my parents I would be in one place when I would be stealing away to another. I thought that Gideon was a hot mess; a diamond in the rough, his charming and gentleman like character mixed with his rock-star attributes made me have a serious character crush. Judy and Chris make superb supporting characters who I also found really brilliant to read about.

I only have two little wobbles with the book as a whole; firstly at the beginning the book lacks some pace. It does take a while to get into the book and to be fair the secretive nature of Abi’s dislike at having to attend her own mother’s funeral really pulled me in but the writing could have been snappier and flowed quicker I think. The second I thought that Gideon’s sudden upheaval from the states could have been toyed with more just because it felt a bit quick or overly easy? For me I would have liked to have seen that played with a bit more and in the relationship and the bond between him and Abi in the present tense.

Despite this, I couldn’t put this down. Lyrical writing style, strong characters, a good solid plot-line and a smattering of well-built up characters (main and supporting) this book has everything going for it. A strong tale, one that I really enjoyed and one I think you will to.

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The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris by Evie Gaughan

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Hellllllo readers, and welcome to another review from yours truly. I cannot believe how many books I’m churning through. It reminds me of a scene in the film ‘About Time.’ If you haven’t seen it (you should) the film follows a family line where all the males can enter a dark space and they can return to an earlier point in time. I adore the line where Bill Nighy’s character tells his son and when asked what he does with said ‘gift,’ he states he’s read everything at least twice. I wish I had the power but unfortunately I’m just going to have to keep whipping through; book by book. Today’s is a buttery tale that made me feel super sweet; a beautiful tale and one I really enjoyed.

This is the magical tale of Edith Lane, who sets off to find her fortune in the beautiful city of Paris. Fortune, however, is a fickle thing and Edith ends up working in a vintage bakery in the positively antique town of Compiègne. Escaping heartache and singledom in Ireland, Edith discovers that the bakery on Rue De Paris is not exactly what it seems and that some ghosts from the past are harder to escape than others. A heart-warming story that is sure to appeal to all of the senses, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris is a mouth-watering journey of love, liberty and la vie en rose.

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First things first; mystery, bakery, Paris; how could you not want to pick up this darling novel and dip in and out of this story. Those three things instantly got me itching to read and the cover is sublime. As the blurb suggests the book follows Edith who, throwing caution to the wind, decides to apply for a bakery in Paris. On arrival things aren’t quite how they seem; she’s in Compiègne rather than Paris, her boss Madame Moreau is a little unfriendly and there is a little mystery surrounding the bakery. Why is unable to go down to see where the sumptuous products are created? Throw in the mysterious photographer Hugo and it’s getting a little worrying. Will this move to Paris be the move she’s always wanted? Or would she have been better staying in Dublin. All will be revealed.

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I really adored this book; I thought it was well constructed with a real understanding of how to build a plot-line. The characters are strong and loveable even the slightly stroppy Madame Moreau; each is built with a different set of characteristics which help the story to take form and shape. In terms of our main female protagonist she starts a little waiflike but as her French improves and she settles in her gutsy nature really starts to shine. I also adored Nicole who befriends Edith, her drive and tenacity mixed with her sweet nature was wonderful to read. Hugo is a dashing fellow and I thought his romantic touches were darling.

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I must admit the magical/mystery touch did take me a little while to warm to although no spoilers here as to what happens in the end. For me it felt a little inauthentic but the enchanting writing of the books as a whole it did fit in and I thought it was well integrated. I also felt that we found out the mystery too quickly and it could have been pulled apart more as to build the tension. As such an important part of the story it needed a bit more time. The writing style was honestly delightful; the descriptions of France, the idyllic little village and the delicious pastries the writing moved with pace and style; I really did feel transported inside the fictional world.

Overall this is a gorgeous book of love, wit, determination and pastry and from page one I knew that I would want to come back to this writer. It really is a cracking read with attention to detail and a real understanding of how to construct characters. If the mystery has been lingered on a little more I think I would have enjoyed the build-up more but a delightful read.

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