#bookreview: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

Keep You Safe Book CoverFormat: Hardback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 21st September 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
For readers who love issue-driven fiction, Melissa Hill has written a breakout novel exploring the “to vaccinate or not” debate and the tragic consequences of one mother’s decision on another.

Single mom Kate O’Donnell is living her worst nightmare. Her young daughter, Clara, who has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to be vaccinated, becomes critically ill when one of her classmates, Lauren-whose family chose not to vaccinate-contracts and spreads the virus. While Lauren has no trouble recovering from the disease, Clara’s condition worsens. With time spent by her daughter’s bedside, Kate loses her job and slides deeper into medical debt. But when another school parent points the blame at Lauren’s mother, Lucy, and the media begins an attack, we see two very different views on parenting and how badly things can spin out of control when all either of these two women wanted was to keep their daughters safe.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK

The Review

Keep You Safe is something completely different and a story that you’ve probably not heard much about – I know I certainly haven’t. This book is designed to cause some serious debate and quite rightly so. As someone noted on their Goodreads review, it’s definitely a ‘two sides to every story’ kinda thing.

You’re introduced to two families, both with younger children and both unable to vaccinate their daughters with the MMR jab. However, their reasoning’s behind why they’re unable to are incredibly different:

  • One cannot due to medical reasons, and;
  • Two won’t because of morals and ethics.

Which one would you agree and disagree with?

Personally, I don’t know what I’d choose. I am, myself, allergic to most injections due to the nature of what it’s mixed with, so they always made me poorly, but I think i’m grateful not to have succumbed to one of the nasty diseases you’re preventing. Then again, I don’t have children, so who knows?! Lots of questions!

My short paragraph above demonstrates just how much the issue of vaccinating your children is debated amongst groups. Melissa dealt with the issue brilliantly – not only was it provoking, it was written diplomatically. I liked how both families received the same amount of time within the book because I think it would appear biased otherwise.

Visit the other hosts on the tour – for stops see the photo below!


#bookreview: Living the Dream by Lauren Berry

Living the Dream book cover

Format: Paperback
Published: Virago Press
Publisher:6th July 2017
Pages: 336 Pages

The Blurb
A funny, satirical, sharp and honest look at modern British life from the perspective of two young women. The launch of an exciting new voice from Virago Press.

Emma Derringer is an assistant at a branding agency in London. Each morning she arrives at the office, types in her password (Fresh_He11) and shoves her jacket under her desk (DEAR ALL, Please keep your coats and bags out of sight and NOT on your chairs as they are unsightly. Thx). Most days Emma wears a mask of indifference that disguises either her boredom, her hangover or both. When her overbearing boss isn’t looking she pursues her career as a writer, sending articles, posting blogs and trying to get noticed for her talent, instead of mistakes on her PowerPoint presentations.

Clementine Twist arrives home from a stint in New York with a hefty overdraft, a crushed heart and a waning confidence in her budding career as a screenwriter. She moves in with her mum, gets a job in bar and spends her days composing emails to agents, producers and anyone who might help her onto the slippery ladder of the film industry.

As their 30’s loom and the freedom and fun of their 20’s gives way to the adult pressures of job satisfaction and perceived success, Emma and Clem realise it’s time to ramp up their efforts, and think about quitting the day job.

Amid life’s larger questions Emma and Clem have to answer to the daily challenges of big city life on a little budget, as well as inane questions about getting their nails did from their mutual frenemy Yasmin, the phone to increasingly technophobic parents and emails to ever more rejection letters.

Living the Dream is a razor-sharp comic novel of office life, friendship and the search for meaning.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK

The Review

Hooray, finally a novel that accurately represents a typical twenty-something’s life without the need to include children and boyfriends. Just because you’re in your late twenties does not mean you have to have children or have you life completely planned out. I for one think it’s insulting to those that don’t have children and don’t see them in their future. Yes, I know I’m nearly 30 and yes, I’m happily married, but I’m quite comfortable as I am, thanks. Anyway, enough of my ‘issues’, here’s the review!

Although they’ve previously lived separate lives, Emma and Clem are back together – thick as thieves. Emma is working as an assistant at a branding agency and Clem is working in a bar. They’re easy jobs, but both have creative dreams that they want to pursue. Living in London aids in their career path, there’s so much more opportunity and fun to be had. I honestly feel like there’s a slight disadvantage if you don’t live in a big city, especially if you’re after something creative.

I loved how Living the Dream was a humorous tale following the girls as they attempt to achieve their dreams, which by their own admission isn’t easy. Yes, there’s bad language and adult situations, but it’s not crude and that’s something I liked. Clem’s character was my favourite, she was less serious and although she felt ‘old’, she never acted it and often enjoyed herself. Although, being in debt can’t be nice – poor Clem.

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#bookreview: Final Girls by Riley Sager

I’ll start this post by saying a great big thank you for all your well-wishes! 🙂 Married life is treating me well. Although, it’s hard to remember your new last name!

Anyway, onto the review…

Final Girls Cover
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: 13th July 2017
Pages: 352 Pages

The Blurb
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well – maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK

The Review

Three different women, one common scenario – they’re all survivors. Each girl has been branded a ‘Final Girl’ by the media and their stories are plastered around the world for all to see. They’re called ‘Final Girls’ because that’s exactly what they are: each is a sole survivor of a gruesome massacre – everyone else died.

Final Girls is Quincy’s story with the other two Final Girls joining her in parts. Currently, Quincy’s life is going well. She has a supportive fiancé, a great baking business and is comfortable. However, when Sam, another Final Girl, visits her unexpectedly things go from bad to worse. The more Sam is a part of her life, the more Quincy realises that she needs her in her life. Without Sam questioning everything, Quincy will never come to terms with the severity of it all. Plus, this gives you a better understanding of exactly why certain people are involved in her life and just why they want to keep Quincy close.

Coop is someone that has supportive Quincy throughout the whole ordeal. He was the one she ran to when covered in blood and is her contact within the Police. They do have a slight unhealthy relationship, whereby Coop worships Quincy and she confides in him, rather than Jeff, her fiancé. I always got the impression that they were more than just friends, but apparently that would be stepping over the line.

In the words of Maroon 5, ‘it’s not always rainbows and butterflies’ in this novel, it’s dark; harrowing, and makes you question everything. They’re essentially a group of ‘messed-up’ people who can’t get over the unintentional feeling of sadness. I suppose you wouldn’t be feeling all joyful after the experiences you’d went through. Why are these girls the only survivors? Why does Sam come find Quincy to cause trouble? All the questions!

No spoilers, I promise. But, let’s just say that you will NOT expect the ending, especially the actual reasons behind the massacres and why each were the only survivors.

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Wedding Bells…

Well, that was a little unexpected, wasn’t it? You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a blog since 19th July. So, where have I been? One big event happened: I got married! Tom and I have been engaged for just over two years and on August Bank Holiday, last month, we got married. I’m not one for massive public signs of affection, but the day was bloody amazing and I’ve married my best friend and soul mate 💙

Now that the excitement and wedding planning has died down and Autumn is fast approaching (yay), I’m back into reading and blogging, and I’m super excited. Reviews and video blogs will be coming at you in full force. I bet you can’t wait!

Love and books,

Clare x

#bookreview: Amber Green Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Amber Green takes Manhattan Cover
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 29th June 2017
Pages: 427 Pages
Series: Amber Green #2

The Blurb
Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time!

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

We re-join Amber Green in the second installment of her “celebrity” life by following her as she moves to New York with her boyfriend, Rob.

Amber Green Takes Manhattan, as you may have already guessed, is the second in the series with The Stylist being the first. Usually, I’d say read the first book, but with this scenario you’ll be fine jumping straight in. This novel could be a standalone and you wouldn’t feel left out.

Amber and Rob embark on their American adventure quite early in their relationship, but both seem comfortable with the decision to move across the pond. Who wouldn’t wanna move to New York? However, you do sense Amber’s nerves because she is leaving a great job behind, but that’ll be fine, right?

I’ve been reading quite a lot of chick-lit recently, so I wasn’t sure if Amber Green Takes Manhattan would be a book too far. But do you know what? I absolutely loved Amber Green and her ways. Amber is the type of character that immediately becomes your favourite because she’s down to earth, normal and funny – a best friend figure. Not only that but she finds herself being placed into embarrassing scenarios that make you feel for her even more. She is great!

Rosie does this amazing thing where she takes an overly romantic situation and adds in some humour – the perfect combination. I liked Rob and Amber’s relationship because it screamed ‘normal’ and you found it easy to relate to them. Sometimes, it’s awfully irritating if a relationship is soppy and they shout ‘we love each other SO much’ all the time. Yes, I know it does exist, but when you’ve read a variety of books with lovey-dovey couples, it all just feels that I’ve read it all before.

Don’t worry, it’s not just all love and romance, the book has so much more included within: fashion, celebrity life and a bit of fun for good measure!

Amber Green Takes Manhattan had an air of ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ about it, which is probably because of the New York and Manhattan lifestyle. I’d love to be able to work in New York, how glamorous would it be?! However, you do realise that it’s probably not the best if you have little money – which Amber and Rob experience from time to time.

If you’re after fun, humour and adventure – this book is for you! I’d recommend you reading by the pool or on the beach. Any excuse for a holiday, right? 😉

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#bookreview: The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: 1st June 2017
Pages: 336 Pages

The Blurb
A heart-warming and inspiring story about living the simple life, which readers are already likening to All Creatures Great and Small, ‘like a Sunday Night ITV drama’

Sam has always dreamed of working with animals…

But her receptionist job in a London vets is not hitting the spot. Unsure whether a busy city life is for her, she flees to her Nana Peggy’s idyllic country village.

But despite the rolling hills and its charming feel, life in Hope Green is far from peaceful. On first meeting Joe, the abrupt and bad-tempered local vet, Sam knows she must get him on side, but that is easier said than done…

With her dream close enough to touch, will she get there, or will events conspire against her…?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

Vet’s receptionist Sam is fed up with the London life and so, decides to up-sticks and move to the countryside to stay with her Nan Peggy for a few months. Hope Green is a small village designed to make everyone feel part of the community – the only downside is that everyone will know your business!

During her stay in Hope Green, Sam encounters the rude temperament of local vet, Joe. When he’s looking after the animals he’s loving and caring, but is he nice to humans? not so much. It takes a while for Sam to comprehend why he’s acting the way he does. It’s in Sam’s nature to want to help people, so it’s no surprise that she tries to soften Joe during her stay.

Visiting Hope Green is a well-needed release for Sam, as she can leave all her troubles behind in her busy life in London. More importantly, she can leave people behind, too! On some occasions I did feel like she was missing London, but when she spent her time relaxing with her Nan and becoming a pillar in the Hope Green community, she softened. I’ve never lived in London, but it’s definitely a place that suits a particular type of person – I’m too much of a country bumpkin to join a busy conveyor belt like London. Each to their own, though!

What I loved most about The Vets at Hope Green was the relationship between Sam and her Nan Peggy. I’m incredibly close to my Nan and I love the time I spend with her, so it’s nice to read someone else enjoying their time with loved ones also. Adding in Peggy’s cute little dog Rufus and you’ve got a marriage made in heaven. I always feel it’s the little attentions to detail that make all the difference.

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