#bookreview: I love my computer because my friends live in it by Jess Kimball Leslie

Format: E-book
Publish Date: 25th April 2017
Publisher: Running Press
Pages: 240 Pages

The Blurb
I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It is tech analyst Jess Kimball Leslie’s hilarious, frank homage to the technology that contributed so significantly to the person she is today. From accounts of the lawless chat rooms of early AOL to the perpetual high school reunions that are modern-day Facebook and Instagram, her essays paint a clear picture: That all of us have a much more twisted, meaningful, emotional relationship with the online world than we realize or let on.

Pre-order/Purchase this book: Amazon UK

The Review

I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It: Stories from an Online Life was a spur of the moment request from Net Galley. I read the blurb and knew I had to give it a go. I love learning about new technology and how it’s going to aid our lives in the future. I’m a little bit of a contradiction because although I love all things traditional – paperback books, time away from a screen, etc – I also love computer-aided ‘things’ – Social Media, Computers in general, smartphones, etc.

Hands-down this book is one of the funniest things I’ve read in 2017, as well as being brutally honest and thoughtful. Jess Kimball Leslie essentially takes you on a journey starting with her childhood,  detailing her teenage years and then the list of jobs she has within the technology industry. You’ll find out about the things to do with the growth of the Internet, when we all LOVED MySpace (remember Tom?) and onto the present where we learn about the dominance of Facebook and the art of the selfie.

Nostalgia is probably the best word to describe this book because it made you realise just how rubbish the Internet was back in the day. I remember when you had to wait about 5 minutes for the computer to load ANYTHING, if your family were on the house phone you couldn’t use the Internet, and how MySpace was the best thing since sliced bread. If you’ve never experienced the anger of the dial-up modem, you’ve never lived. However, if you’ve never been apart of the 90’s Internet, I’m not sure if you’d appreciate the book as much. Saying that, it may be an eye-opener for those that are used to fast broadband and their Social Media addiction!

If you’re after a funny, light-hearted and nostalgic read I love My Computer is just for you.


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#bookreview: The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 6th March 2017
Pages: 320 Pages

The Blurb
When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend—who also happens to be her boss—leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley (England’s answer to Martha Stewart), is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.

Emma’s husband, Rob, is a high profile academic, and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But, as Anne soon discovers, underneath the dust, grime, and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.

Rob is working on a new book about an ominous 1970s cult, a lawless refuge for the mentally ill run by a power-hungry psychologist. There is something about the grainy photographs, the childish lyrics from a cult song, which stir an unexplained fear within Anne and she begins to half-remember a nightmarish childhood.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

Anne Morgan is a Chef by trade, but when her relationship with Head Chef Anton ends due to his infidelity, she decides that the catering industry is just not for her. Once super-glued to the kitchen, she now sees herself as housekeeper to famous blogger/author Emma Helmsley and her husband Rob. Deemed the “power couple”, Emma and Rob are like two peas in a pod, they’re caring; passionate, yet messy and haphazard. How can anyone live a life in such chaos? During her time at the Helmsley residence, Anne learns far more about the family than she bargained for, she now holds a head full of secrets.

I think Suellen does a great job by highlighting the fact that people’s lives aren’t always perfect and that everyone has their problems and imperfections. From looking at ‘celebrity’ social media accounts you’d automatically presume that bloggers and authors lead the perfect lifestyle – perhaps they do – but naturally they’re going to experience some unlucky situations every once in a while. Emma and Rob, although peas in a pod, naturally drifted apart because of how busy they where. I felt quite sorry for Emma because although she lead the ‘perfect’ lifestyle, she suffered at the hands of other people and her insecurities. Rob has an ex-wife and daughter who he sees quite regularly. If I was Emma I think I’d naturally hate the situation, you’d have to be civil, but it must be hard to deal with.

The Housekeeper has been portrayed as a psychological drama, but sadly I’m not sure where this comes into play. Drama yes, but psychological not so much. Rob does focus his time on a new book, researching into a cult leader/power-hungry psychologist from the 1970’s – I guess this could be the element of psychological we’re told about.


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#bookreview: The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick

The Returning Tide Book CoverFormat: Paperback
Publisher: Orion Books
Published: 23rd March 2017
Pages: 400 Pages

The Blurb
Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations…

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the efforts of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

The Returning Tide will sweep you away to the beautiful Cornish coast, full of secrets and mystery, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

A tale of two sisters – Adele and Amelia – become part of the war effort in 1943. So used to being together, the separation from one another brings difficulties for the sisters. They are given the job as Wrens (part of the Women’s Royal Naval Service) which sees them haunted by the Second World War in later years, but what act from their past changes their lives forever?

Not only do you learn about the war, you are also part of the present day where Lara (a relation of Adele’s) discovers moments from her family history. She finds out about Adele’s placement in Portland in America, as well as, her life in Cornwall. I bet it was a great experience for Lara to learn more about her ancestry, but also, unlocking the hidden truths about why Adele and Amelia suffered the way they did.

Liz does a fantastic job at transporting you to different locations just through her words. Cornwall places an important role and because it’s somewhere I’ve never been it was great to read about it. It’s always a place I’d love to visit giving that it’s landscape is beautiful and family and friends have always praised their visits. To me, the location felt like it was included to add a moment of calm from the otherwise emotional and sad story. I’m sure the intention was merely for location, but I just felt like the place would naturally calm the characters down in a moment of madness. How random am I? ha ha.

The Returning Tide is an emotional story that will most definitely play with your heart strings and make you feel lucky for what you have! Also, learning that the book is based on real events close to Liz’s heart makes it even more emotional and heartfelt.


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#bookreview: Margot and Me by Juno Dawson 

Margot and me coverFormat: Paperback
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: 26th January 2017
Pages: 417 Pages

The Blurb
Sometimes love has to cross all kinds of barriers…

Fliss is on the way to visit her grandmother in Wales – the grandmother who she doesn’t get on with – with her mother who is recuperating from chemotherapy. But her mum is getting better, that’s the main thing, so Fliss can concentrate on being grouchy and not looking forward to meeting her grandmother Margot, who is so cold and always so unforgiving of Fliss’s every mistake…But when the six months is up, Fliss consoles herself, she and her mum will go back to London and back to Real Life!

In the meantime Fliss needs to get used to her new school, not upset the scary girls, and just keep her head down (whilst still making sure that everybody knows she is from London, of course). Then Fliss discovers a diary at the back of her bookcase. It is from the 1940s and is set in World War II, and, Fliss realises, is actually Margot’s diary from when she was a young woman during the Blitz. Intrigued, Fliss begins to read. There she discovers a whole new side to Margot, a wartime romance and also Margot’s deepest, most buried secret. And it is then that Fliss discovers something terrible in her own life that she is going to have to come to terms with…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

So, it all begins with Fliss and her Mum moving into her Grandma’s farm, due to her Mum’s illness – the big C. Fliss being the strong independent woman that she is doesn’t really like the idea, especially when she’s leaving her life behind in the big smoke! Fliss loves fashion, so the thought of farm life repulses her. Plus, Margot is stone-faced and boring – why can’t they just stay in London? They’ve been fine before Margot stepped in!

You’d be wrong in thinking that Fliss is a spoilt teenager and always after her own way, she’s actually a vulnerable teenager struggling with the fact that her Mum has Cancer. She’s putting on a brave face and uses her outlandish fashion sense and mannerisms to compensate.

During a quick look around the farm, Fliss finds an old diary written by Margot which sees her moving to a Welsh farm during the Blitz. The diary full of tales of the War changes Fliss’s opinion of her Grandma and she actually sees some similarities between the two of them. Perhaps Margot is frosty and stone-faced because things happened to her that drained her life of love and happiness – living during the War can’t be easy.

While the majority of the story focuses around Margot’s diary, you still see Fliss learn from her own actions and develop into a beautiful young girl. Moving to the small Welsh town means that she has no friends, has to go to a new school and learn to live in a place that closes it’s doors around 6pm, don’t expensive the London Night Life around there! She forms new friendships and (sadly) new enemies, but they make her stronger. There’s perhaps a crush on a teacher that pops up too!

Margot and Me is a book that should be read by the older generation, as well as the Young Adult audience that it’s intended for. It’ll open the eyes of those thinking teenagers are superficial and moody and make the younger audience realise that the older generation have experienced situations just like themselves and that they were young once!


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#bookreview: Secret of the Fireflies by J.G. Nicholls

wp-1489050892570.jpgFormat: E-book
Published: 4th March 2017
Pages: 226 Pages

The Blurb
Set during 1960s Britain, where Corporal Punishment is still an enforceable sentence for murder, Frank Dyson goes on the run after unintentionally taking the life of a stranger. Taking his young son and faithful dog with him, he escapes the city of Manchester and under the cover of darkness follows the route of the main train line to Chester. By the morning, a full-scale murder investigation is under way, naming Frank as public enemy number one.

Events become more complicated when he is forced to abduct Sally, a young girl who recognises him from a newspaper report. Unbeknownst to Frank, Sally harbours her own secret, one which becomes a crucial part of the fight to survive. With the police hot on his trail, Frank cleverly stay one step ahead but the choices he makes in order to protect his son have dire consequences for them all.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Sally is an inquisitive young girl who likes to get her hands dirty. So, when the news of a local man Frank Dyson is on the run for murder, her mind goes into detective mode. One afternoon, she sees him walking the fields so secretly tries to follows his movements. Sadly for Sally, she is seen by Frank and held hostage – he can’t afford for people to know his whereabouts.

I was expecting Secret of the Fireflies to house some gruesome hostage style scenarios, what with Sally only being a little girl. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how soft and caring the novel turned out to be. There wasn’t any horrible situations for you to comprehend, more that you felt empathy for the characters and their heartache.

Sally’s parents were well documented showing you, the reader, just how hard it must be for a child to go missing, especially with the added murder investigation to comprehend with. I honestly can’t imagine being in that situation.

The thing I liked most was how Sally, Frank and Frank’s son traveled to places that I grew up in. They visit Chester, a beautiful city in the North West. If you’ve ever visited you’ll know the black-and-white revival architectural screams out to you, you’ve got the River/waterfront and the Roman Walls – what more could you ask for! I always get a little excited when places I know pop up!

During Sally’s ordeal she has an unexpected helping hand from something she can only see – the fireflies. They help guide her away from danger, usually when Sally least expects it. I loved the concept of the guardian angel in the fireflies, but wish that it was elaborated more, they only made a brief appearance within the novel and I wished they’d popped up and supported her more, but that’s only one niggle from this amazing debut by J.G. Nicholls.

Secret of the Fireflies is a heartwarming story that you will most definitely read in just one sitting.


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