Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Review - The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley

From the moment I picked up The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley I instantly knew that I was on to a winner. Despite it not being the sort of book that I would usually choose to read as it was unquestionably a black comedy, I found that I enjoyed the book far more than I thought I would and am so glad that I gave it a chance!

In The Good Enough Mother we are introduced to Drea who becomes a mother to 14 year old Ava, who she has looked after for the last ten years, after her partner leaves her. On her own and now unable to afford the fees for the private school which Ava attends, Drea sets about finding a way to raise them in a rather unlawful way which most certainly gets the local community talking. Just what will the consequences of her actions be?

At its heart, this is a story about the mother-daughter relationship and whilst Drea’s approach to motherhood and some of the scenarios that present itself throughout the book may seem somewhat unconventional, there can be no doubt about the fact that she loves Ava very much. As the realisation dawned on them that they now only had eachother, it was a pleasure to see their relationship go from strength to strength - it was clear that Drea would do anything to look after Ava and vice versa with Ava being remarkably sensible for her age. They were a pair who you couldn’t help but hope that things would turn out well for. 

Whilst Anoushka’s style of writing throughout The Good Enough Mother won’t be to everyone tastes particularly with the frequent swearing which I didn’t always appreciate, there were many elements of it that were great. I loved the way in which she had written something that had real depth to it but which at the same time wasn’t all doom and gloom, to the point that I spent the majority of my time reading this book with a smile on my face. I also really appreciated the way that she’d made an effort to really set the scene for the reader, describing the town in which it was set in such a way that made it very easy to picture. 

Overall this is an absolute gem of a book that I am so glad to have discovered. My only hope is that it doesn’t become a hidden gem and that, like me, readers give it a chance because it most definitely deserves one and Anoushka deserves every success. For a debut novel I was very impressed and I hope to read more by the author in the future.

Review and Giveaway - Watch Me by Angela Clarke

Watch Me by Angela Clarke is the second book in the Social Media series that features Sergeant Nasreen Cudmore. A breathtaking and eye-opening thriller that had me on the edge of my seat throughout and was truly addictive, Angela Clarke has done an absolutely superb job with this book. 

When the novel first opens we meet Nasreen Cudmore who, at the age of 24, is just eight weeks into her new job with the team that forms the specialised Cyber and e-crime Gremlin task force. Arriving late to the office after a night out with colleagues which ended in her having a one-night stand with Jack Burgone, her new DCI, she’s feeling a bit worse for wear and certainly not prepared for what will turn out to be the biggest day of her career to date. Starting the day with a team meeting to discuss plans for a talk to be delivered to local schools following the suicide of Chloe Strofton whose suicide note was shared via Snapchat, things soon go from bad to worse when each member of the team receives a new notification on Snapchat. It appears to be another suicide note in which it is revealed that they have just 24 hours to save the life of the girl involved.

What follows this somewhat dramatic opening, is a fast-paced investigation that takes place over a 24 hour period. As a book which is told in this way, with each chapter counting down how much time they have left to save the girl’s life who also happens to be DCI Burgone’s younger sister, it is possible to really feel both the character’s tension and desperation. This, in addition to twists and turns galore which made the book completely unpredictable meaning that I genuinely couldn’t figure out who was responsible, created a real page-turner of a book that was impossible to put down. 

Having not read Follow Me, the first book in the series, I read Watch Me as a standalone novel. Whilst I did so without too many problems, I would recommend reading the previous book for background information and also to appreciate the characters and discover their histories. Where the characters were concerned whilst I can’t say that I always warmed to them I did think that they all worked well as a team although the way in which the men treated Nasreen did somewhat irk me. 

As a book that highlights the very real dangers that exist from society’s obsession with social media, Watch Me is an incredibly gripping novel that is guaranteed to keep you on your toes, get you thinking and put you off Snapchat for life! Having well and truly fallen for Angela Clarke’s writing throughout Watch Me, I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into Trust Me, the third book in this series when it’s released later this year. 


As part of this awesome blog tour, Angela Clarke has teamed up with a huge number of authors to offer a giveaway of both her own and their books on each day of the blog tour. 

Today’s giveaway is for a signed copy of The Damsel Fly by S. J. I. Holliday, the description of which sounds absolutely incredible: 

When a teenager is found dead in her bed in a small Scottish town, it doesn't take long for the rumours to start. Is it true that she'd been in a relationship with a teacher? Or is this just a ploy to take the heat off her vicious little sister? When social media frenzy spills into baying mob territory, it's up to DS Davie Gray and potential love interest DC Louise Jennings to get in there before another Banktoun resident meets a tragic end.

To be in with a chance of winning this book all you have to do is retweet my tweet which will be pinned to my Twitter feed on the 31st January 2017. Please note that due to postage, this giveaway is only open to UK residents. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Review - Chasing Shadows by T A Williams

Chasing Shadows by T. A. Williams is what you would describe as being a time-slip romance throughout which the author’s passion for history shines through. I’ve never read anything by T. A. Williams before so had no idea what to expect of his writing, however I was very pleasantly surprised by Chasing Shadows. It was a book that I would most certainly recommend! 

The story dramatically opens in the Pyrenees in 1314 after a terrible crime has been committed when we are then taken to 2016 where we meet Amy. After being involved in a horrific accident five years ago which left her blind, she has decided to go on a journey which many pilgrims would have completed in medieval times. With her destination being Santiago de Compostela, due to her blindness she is unable to complete the trip alone so is accompanied by a guide named Luke who also happens to be a Medieval History graduate. As they journey together and share many unforgettable experiences the question is whether they will become more than just friends?

During their trip, both Amy and Luke decided to create a story about a man and a woman who completed the same journey some 700 years earlier, which is where what we are introduced to at the start of the novel in 1314 becomes key. The way in which T. A. Williams linked both the story that took place in 2016 and that which took place in 1314 together was faultless, they blended together so effortlessly. Luke and Amy were superb characters and I have to say that I felt very connected to and hugely admired them both - they had both experienced something traumatic in their lives and as the novel progressed both confronted their demons. 

One thing that became very clear to see from reading this novel is how much thorough research T. A. Williams has put into it. I found it truly fascinating to delve into a period of history that I don’t know very much about and see another side to Spain and it was also thoroughly interesting to compare and contrast the story of 2016 and that of 1314. Thanks to the author’s marvellous talent for telling a vivid story with wonderful description, both periods of time were really brought to life and I often felt like I was on a journey with the characters, experiencing all that they were. 

When I first started the book I wasn’t sure if it would be the book for me, but by the fifth chapter I was well and truly hooked so I’m extremely glad I stuck with it! I can honestly say that it was an incredible reading experience, which taught me so much, stood out from the crowd and was most certainly a powerful, captivating and entertaining read. I’d encourage anyone to give this book a chance and know that I will most certainly be back to read more by T. A. Williams in the future. 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Review - Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Every so often you come across a book that really stands out from the crowd and I have to say that, for me, Relativity by Antonia Hayes was one of them. As a book that has already received praise from the likes of Christos Tsiolkas and SJ Watson that is clear to see on the cover, I went into the book hoping for great things, which I most certainly got. 

In this book we meet young Ethan, an exceptionally clever boy who is completely obsessed with anything to do with physics and astronomy. He lives with his single mother, Claire, who is extremely protective of her son and desperate for him never to know exactly what happened to him when he was a baby and the reason why his father has been absent from his life for so long. Growing increasingly curious about his past life, one day Ethan intercepts a letter that his father had sent to his mother, a moment that will truly change their lives. 

The story of this family was a beautiful one to follow and one that I think will be very hard to forget in a hurry. Throughout the novel I felt that Antonia provided us with a very real and honest insight into the family, meaning that I felt very much involved with them and their story. For such a young boy, Ethan was a brilliant lead character and my heart broke for him on more than one occasion whilst reading this book when I felt his pain but there were also many times when I felt his happiness too. It was most certainly an emotive tale. 

This was a book that completely blew me away as it succesfully managed to combine several different themes in a way that seemed so effortless. One thing I could tell was that Antonia Hayes had definitely done her research before writing this novel as the scientific concepts the book presented were discussed in great detail. As a person who is not particularly scientific I have to say that I sometimes struggled to understand these concepts but because I was so invested in Ethan’s story and finding out how things would turn out for the family this didn’t prevent me from enjoying the book. 

Relativity was without a doubt one of the most powerful novels that I have read to date and one that I am so glad to have read. I’ve never read anything quite like this book before, which was so accomplished that I often found myself forgetting that this was just a debut novel. I really hope that this book receives the positive recognition that it well and truly deserves not just now but for years to come and that this is not the last book of Antonia’s that I will have the pleasure of reading. This is a book that you don’t want to miss! 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review - What Light by Jay Asher

Quite a while ago now I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and thought it was an incredible little book so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into What Light. Although this book was very different to Thirteen Reasons Why and wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be, I still found it to be an enjoyable little read. 

In this book we meet Sierra, a young girl whose family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Once a year Sierra says goodbye to her friends from Oregon for a month and accompanies her parents to California where they stay in a caravan and sell their Christmas trees. Knowing that she’s only there for a short amount of time, Sierra knows that she can’t afford to get attached to anyone but when Caleb makes an appearance will she be able to resist him?

Throughout the book I felt we got a really brilliant and honest insight into how young Sierra was feeling about leaving her friends at home behind ever year, about her parents and of course about Caleb. One thing that I loved about Sierra was her outlook on life, how she was determined to not let other people influence her decisions and how she was always willing to give people a chance and get to know them before she judged them. I think that the relationship she had with her parents was pretty strong and something that was to be admired, particularly as a reader I found her dad and his views towards the boys Sierra tried to talk to throughout the book to be quite suffocating and controlling. 

I went into this book thinking that it was going to be quite similar to the powerful book that was Thirteen Reasons Why, however this was certainly not the case and I would say that What Light is a lighter, heartwarming read. I feel that overall Jay has executed this book very well, creating something that readers will be able to read and enjoy with ease and something that provides a fascinating insight into the Christmas tree business. The only thing I would have liked to see was an indication as to how life was for Sierra when she returned home to Oregon, maybe set a few months later. 

Although this is a book that’s set around Christmas, I feel that as a larger part of the book focuses on relationships, the idea of forgiveness and also conveys a few important messages it could be read at any time of the year. What Light was a well-paced YA story that managed to keep me interested from beginning to end and I wouldn’t hesitate to read more by Jay Asher in the future.