#bookreview: Sweetpea by CJ Skuse

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Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher:
HQ Stories
Published: 20th April 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

This review warrants a good ol’ keyboard bash of excitement because Sweetpea was BRILLIANT. Fnkjfndjnfjsdk ffni489b’#.glfkjgh896uhjkhjgf9huj950fnkjfndjnfjsdk ffni489b’#.glfkjgh896uhjkhjgf9huj950 – see what I did there? LOTS OF BASHING!

Sweetpea is not for the faint-hearted, or those that are shocked easily because you can guarantee there will be swearing, sexual and crude references, plus dark dark humour – all of which adds tonnes of dimension to the diary style story. One thing that I didn’t like, and there’s only one, please can we stop using the c word, please? I don’t know why, but it’s a swear word that I just can’t get my head around, the rest don’t phase me, just the c one. It’s all personal preference, though!

Rhiannon has a kill list, and a lot of people need to be careful as they might just be on it. Each chapter starts off with the list, detailing a selection of people that she wouldn’t mind bumping off. I’m not suggesting by any means that killing someone is acceptable, but there are a few people on the list that really don’t help their cause, and in her eyes, probably deserve it. Sometimes she’s lucky and is able to kill, others not so much.

Even though you know she’s a killer, you strangely find her endearing – she’s funny, blunt and honest, probably all the things you wouldn’t expect from someone like her. I’m not justifying her actions, but let’s just say that Rhiannon hasn’t had the best start to life, what with being involved in a nursery massacre and her being the only survivor. She did have a nasty head injury and I think her troubled mind probably comes from that experience – you’ve got to be a little troubled,  haven’t you?

There’s even talk about Sweetpea becoming a TV programme and I cannot wait – perhaps it’ll have the same kind of vibe as Dexter.

If you’ve not read any other books by CJ Skuse, take a look at my reviews for Monster and The Deviants.


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#bookreview: The Other Us By Fiona Harper

The Other Us Cover

Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 4th May 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

What would you do if you had the chance to re-live your past? That’s what happens to Maggie, a forty-something mother who is bored with her current life and wants a change. Maggie gets the chance to turn back time and make different choices in her life, but what will the consequences be?

This book is full of what-ifs: what if Maggie had said yes more often, what if Maggie picked Jude, rather than Dan? what if she had lots of money? Essentially, a whole bunch of what-ifs. Maggie takes you through her journey of self-discovery, detailing her past and enlightens you into what happened before she married her husband Dan and had her daughter.

I think we’ve all experienced what Maggie is going through, haven’t we? Not so much that we hate our lives (unless you do!), but sometimes we always wonder how things may have turned out if we’d picked something different. I don’t have regrets, but I do wish I’d done (a few) things differently. I wish I was a more outgoing when I was younger, but then it could have made me into the person I am today – who knows?

I think I felt sorry for Maggie because she was stuck in a rut and I doubt that she was feeling the best. However, I don’t think she should have wished for a different life – Dan was her husband, and although he was moody, that’s not really a good enough reason to want to see what it was like to be with her ex Jude. Perhaps it’s the whole let’s see what happens and if it hits me in the face, so be it!

I like how Fiona included dimension to other characters: Jude, Dan, and her best friend (the name has totally left my head) because they definitely aided in how Maggie was feeling. Out of the two men that Maggie was pinning over, I much preferred Dan because he cared more about Maggie regardless if she couldn’t see it; he loved her dearly.


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#bookreview: Spandex and the City by Jenny T.Colgan #blogtour

Spandex and the CityFormat: Paperback
Publisher:  Orbit Books
Published: 18th May 2017
Pages: 368 Pages

The Blurb
LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET

Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.

But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is super dating just as complicated as the regular kind?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

Join Holly and Ultimate Man in this modern day superhero tale of love, anguish and humour.

Bad things keep happening in Centerton and Holly always seems to be there when it does. Some people think she loves the attention, others are too occupied with the Internet and their social media feeds – the Internet (to them) is life and like oxygen.

Ultimate Man is a superhero who loves to wear purple – he’s strong, caring and a crime fighter. His nemesis Frederick Cecil wants to teach the world a lesson, but Ultimate Man is going to try and stop him, and it just so happens that Holly is going to be there when he does.

There were two main themes that kept jumping into my mind when I was reading Spandex and the City and they were thoughts about Batman and Superman: Batman because Centerton reminded me of Gotham,and Superman because Holly, to me, was Louis Lane – albeit a very bitter Louis Lane.

It was no secret that Holly was a negative Nelly and always saw the downside to situations. Part of me wanted to shake her, other parts sorta understand why she was feeling the way she did. I think she needed to relax a little and just enjoy the time spent with her friend Gertie and her brother.

Join the other fab’ blog stops on the #spandexandthecity blog tour!
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#bookreview: Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Good as Gone cover
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 6th April 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
Eight years ago, thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

In the years since, her family have papered over the cracks of their grief – while hoping against hope that Julie is still arrive.

And then, one night, the doorbell rings.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

This is a story all about 13 year-old Julie and her kidnapping, which is told through the eyes of her mother, Anna. All members of the family are impacted by Julie’s disappearance, especially sister Jane who witnessed Julie’s abduction.

You’d be wrong in thinking that Good as Gone is your typical ‘thriller’ because in reality, it’s so much more. You’re kept in suspense throughout, with little droplets of shock thrown in for good measure. Rather than a gritty crime scene (no spoilers here), there’s a puzzle for you to finish. Julie’s kidnapping is far more complex than anyone can imagine, and when people start making an appearance, it leaves Anna and the family questioning everything they’ve experienced, or felt.

Part of me wanted to read about Julie’s experience first hand because I’m a little sadistic in the fact that I’d want to feel what she experienced. Sometimes you can relate more to a character if you’re aware of how they are feeling. However, I also think it was clever to read about how Anna was feeling, so you’re left in the dark with what has happened. It focuses on Anna’s mental health and the relationships she has with other people. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to experience such a loss, more so when you don’t have any answers. Her relationship with her husband Tom and daughter Jane were strained, which added extra sadness onto an already sad situation.

I will admit that I preferred the second half of the book because I felt that the story hit speed during this time, compared to quite a slow, yet informative beginning. Given that it’s penned as ‘a novel of suspense’ I’m not too sure if there was a lot of suspense, more of why things happened and who people were.


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#bookreview: Last Witness by Carys Jones

{ This is a spoiler free review, plus blurb }

Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Aria, Head of Zeus
Published: 1st May 2017
Pages: 300 Pages
Series: Book 2 – Wrong Number Series

The Blurb
The page-turning sequel to the best-selling psychological thriller Wrong Number. Amanda Thorne is hell-bent on revenge. She will not rest until all those who have hurt her loved ones have been dealt with.

Her only option is to go undercover in the murky world of the gang kingpin McCallister so, with her loyal companion Shane by her side, she heads back to Scotland to finish what they started.

McCallister’s world is one of seedy nightclubs, drug deals and beautiful women, but he is a hard man to get close to. As Amanda gets deeper and deeper into his dangerous world, what secrets from the past will come back to haunt her, and will she be able to protect the last witness to the truth?

A compelling, heart-stopping thriller which you won’t be able to put down!

Purchase the Book: Amazon UK


The Review

First things first, I advise you reading the first book before jumping into this one – it’ll make more sense if you do. You can read my review of Wrong Number (the first book), here.

Amanda Thorne returns in this gritty, fast-paced and harrowing installment. I’m going to try my best to not spoil the story for you because it’ll be incredibly easy for me to ruin it if I start typing away. I’ve edited the blurb above, so that won’t spoil it for you either.

It’s no secret that Amanda and her sidekick Shane are trying to cause trouble for badman McCallister because let’s face it, he’s not a nice guy. He’s caused serious heartache for Amanda, which has changed her life forever. She’s had to move out of her home, become a guardian, and also admit to people that she’s struggling. When will the bad energy stop coming?

It’s always hard to relate to a character when you’ve not experienced what they are going through. However, with Amanda and Shane you feel sadness because if it wasn’t for McCallister’s actions they’d be happy and enjoying life. What gives McCallister the right to treat someone so badly? Do people not have a conscience anymore? I know it’s only a work of fiction, but it really gets me angry, people should be nice to one another and not cause them so much heartache.

Aside from the sadistic ways of McCallister and the avenging nature of Amanda and Shane, you learn more about Amanda’s passion for the dark net. The secret side of the Internet helps Amanda to find out information that no normal person would be able to find, plus allowing her to purchase a piece of equipment that could be deadly! I’m a computer geek, so to read about a strong female who loves a computer is refreshing. It shouldn’t be a negative thing that girls like to code, or be interested in computers and their technology, it should be praised! We need more novels like this (unless, I’m deeply unaware, so please let me know in the comments for others like this).

Carys’s writing style is fluid, fresh and enticing, which makes the experience of reading Last Witness incredibly enjoyable. I’d recommend you all giving this epic-thriller a go because, well, why not? I can’t wait for more stories for Carys.


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#bookreview: The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

The Good Daughter CoverFormat: Paperback
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Published: 23rd February 2017
Pages: 528 Pages

The Blurb
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

A staggering 528 pages that left me feeling a mixture of confusion and loss, whilst also leaving me a little disturbed. All of these feelings sound bad, but believe me when I say that this book was a good one.

Dahlia returns to her childhood home, where she experiences the declining nature of her Mother, Memphis. Seemingly a good idea at first, Dahlia soon realises that coming home wasn’t the best plan. A lot of the story revolves around secrets, especially those of her mother and why she kept moving Dahlia around the country. Every time Dahlia feels like she is getting somewhere, her lack of legal documentation or the ability to stay in one place, leaves her in a disadvantage. You can evidently see the frustration radiating out of Dahlia’s pores and I suppose it’s equally as frustrating knowing your mother is suffering from a mental illness, when all you want is answers.

Lots of why questions screamed out at me whilst reading: why does Memphis hide and keep things secret? Why does Dahlia not have a Birth Certificate or legal documentation and also, why am I questioning their mother/daughter relationship? The last question wouldn’t leave my mind because I just felt like there was something more to it. I just didn’t think they had a normal mother and daughter relationship, I believed they were something less biological.

I will definitely agree with some readers out there that this book was a slow-burner and sometimes a little confusing, as I couldn’t piece together who was being talked about, but once I got further into the story, the more it reaped rewards.


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