Mini Book Reviews: Short & Not All Sweet But Definitely Worth a Mention.

I didn’t begin posting on the blog again until mid-January, but over the New Year I had my first major book binge for a while and flew through these in a few days before going back to work. Unfortunately, I’m one of those reviewers who HAS to write a review pretty much immediately after finishing a book and moving onto the next one, so while these four books didn’t get a full review, they are most definitely worth a mention.

What would YOU do if your child wasn’t yours?

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine – the absolute centre of Alison’s world. Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison’s baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.

The daughter she brought home doesn’t belong to her.

When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose. (From

Published by Headline in ebook Septemeber 2016 /paperback February 2017

There’s something fascinating about swapped at birth stories…I can’t even begin to imagine the horror. Adele Parks’ The Stranger In My Home tackles this subject in a compelling and unputdownable style with a twist I didn’t see coming AT ALL.  


Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa’s family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn’t a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa’s little girl is in danger of disappearing forever? (From

Published by Quercus May 2016

I don’t think there’s a mother or father among us who hasn’t been terrified at the thought of our children disappearing in the blink of eye. Linda Green captures Lisa’s panic, terror and guilt perfectly and realistically conveys the heartbreaking and devasting affect on the whole family. Yet, the villain in this book isn’t as straight forward as you might expect, and the book drives home that sometimes good people do bad things when they’re pushed to their own mental limits.


On her fiftieth birthday, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material: a state-of-the-art facility in Sweden where she will make new friends, enjoy generous recreational activities and live out her remaining days in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over the age of sixty who are single and childless are saved from a life devoid of value and converted into productive members of society. The price? Their bodies, harvested piece by piece for the ‘necessary’ ones (those on whom children depend) and sometimes their minds, as they take part in social and psychological experiments, until the day comes when they make their Final Donation and complete their purpose in life. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others. Resigned to her fate as a ‘dispensable’, Dorrit finds her days there to be peaceful and consoling. For the first time in her life she no longer feels like an outsider – a single woman in a world of married couples with children. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, everything changes… (From Amazon)
Published 2009 by One World Publications  
I’ve owned this book since early 2010, after reading an amazing review by a fellow blogger (who no longer blogs and sadly can’t be linked to) and rushing straight over to Amazon to buy it. Seven years later, I picked it up. And Damn, why I didn’t sooner … it was gripping and I read it in one sitting.  Haunting, plausible and spirited, this was a thought provoking read of a future that isn’t altogether unimaginable.  

Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city. For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London. Her neighbours think she’s just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie’s manager at work can’t remember her name. But all that is about to change …this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town. Evie works in the stockroom of an old-fashioned, family-run, London fashion department store. Hardy’s is a beautiful, wood-panelled jewellery box of a building, but it’s in dire need of a makeover. One day Evie overhears that if the entire store’s takings don’t turn round by Dec 26th – 3 weeks’ time – the family who own it will be forced to sell to one of the big chains. Hardy’s is in need of a Christmas miracle. Determined to save her beloved store, Evie hatches a plan to secretly transform it into a magical place to shop again. But has the time come for her to be noticed too? When an accidental romantic encounter with handsome, enigmatic Joel gives her the chance of a whole new identity, she takes it. (From

Published by Simon & Schuster 2011 

This year I got pretty ill over Christmas, a cold virus that lead to severe sinusitis and chest infection. Lovely. Anyway, I missed the last week of work and all the pre-Christmas fun of panto’s, meals out, parties. My youngest child also started secondary school this year so there were no angelic carol services to go to or visits to Santa. Seriously, it was so unfestive and depressing. So, I picked up this book which I’d had on the shelf since 2011 and for a few hours it relieved me of my misery. Heartwarming, fun, shopping = A great Christmas pick me up indeed.  


Have you read any of these books? Writing this actually makes me more determined to read some of the books I’ve had for years and never got around to, how many other hidden gems lurk on my shelves? 

January Reading: Psychologically Thrilling (Mini Reviews)

There’s something about January that screams READING MONTH. Maybe the lull of post Christmas craziness, having a little bit more time to yourself or just the fact that shutting the curtains on a cold, dark night and curling up with a good book in front of the fire is possibly one of THE best things to do.

This January I’ve become a bit obsessed with Psychological Thrillers, which luckily for me seem to be EVERYWHERE right now. They suit the cosy, winter nights perfectly.

So here are some mini reviews of the books I’ve really enjoyed this month.

Daughter by Jane Shemilt 

DaughterThis was addictive reading! I finished it in one day. It tells the story of Jenny, a respected Doctor and parent of three teenagers, and the disappearance of her youngest and only daughter. Switching back and forward between the time Naomi goes missing and a year later, it is tense, twisty and kept me guessing. I thought Jane Shemilt got the nuances of a teen drifting away from their parents and guarding secrets just right. The fear all parents have, that our children will be led down the wrong path or make disastrous choices is very well conveyed.

Throughout the book I was kept guessing…was it him/her? And right until the very end I didn’t know how it was going to end. But then it ended so damn ambiguously…I ended up with more unresolved questions than answers which was so frustrating!!! An addictive and well written book, slightly ruined by the abrupt ending but non the less a fantastic read and recommended.

Disclaimer by Rennee Knight 
Disclaimer Ok, so this one isn’t out until April 2015, but I’ve noticed quite a bit of chat about it over on twitter. This one follows Catherine, as she finds a book beside her bed which appears to be telling her own story and revealing a secret from the past she hasn’t shared with anyone…even her own husband.
I was hooked by Disclaimer right from the start. The premise was excellent and promised so much,I was desperate to know what happened and was prepared for an explosive twist. However, I felt it didn’t fully deliver. The final third of the book seemed to lack the taut, thriller ending I was expecting. This doesn’t mean it was terrible, in fact it was very well written and raised a couple of very subtle and interesting questions that got me thinking. It was just, well different from how I expected and in the end left me feeling the book lost a little closing impact. 

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkes 
The Girl on the TrainThe book everyone is talking about right now, The Girl On The Train lived up to it’s promise of delivering a highly tense, gripping thriller and I loved every minute. If you don’t already know, Rachel is an alcoholic who has lost her husband, home and job. In an attempt to keep up a pretence of normality, she continues to take the commuter train to London every morning. Then one morning she sees something which will draw her into a terrifying situation. But Rachel is an unreliable witness, to the police and the reader. 
Unputdownable. That’s how I sum this up. Although Rachel is the main character, the book focuses on two more women and it’s unclear until the end what their true motives are. While the ultimate conclusion wasn’t a complete surprise, the book managed to cast doubt on every character in this thoroughly engrossing book. 
The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell 
The Third WifeSo this isn’t a psychological thriller, but I do love Lisa Jewell’s books and there is a mystery at the heart of this one. Adrian’s third wife, Maya, died in tragic and unexplained circumstances a year ago. A mystery woman suddenly appears on the scene and takes a creepy interest in the family. Are the two connected? 
This book isn’t really about the mystery surrounding Maya’s sudden death and the stalkerish lady who’s just turned up. Despite that premise, it’s not a mystery/thriller at all. This book is really about the complexities and dynamics of a large, fractured, extended family. Relationships and resentments. And this is what Lisa Jewell does best. She gets people, and as always this is conveyed throughout the book. I admit to not loving this one as much as her other books, but it’s still a great read.

The Accident by C L Taylor

The AccidentThis is another mother/daughter book (there seems to be a lot about!) published in April last year. This time, Sue’s daughter Charlotte mysteriously steps in front of a bus. In looking for answer’s Sue discovers her daughter wasn’t exactly who she thought she was, but then Sue’s been hiding secrets of her own.

I was looking forward to this as I thoroughly enjoyed a previous book by this author. I was aware it was a big change in style from the romantic comedy she’d done so well and I think overall it was a good read, although lacked some tension I’d expect in this kind of novel. I didn’t warm to the main character as much as I wanted to, guessed how it was going to go and felt it was a little quick to end. However, the writing kept me engaged and I enjoyed the alternating past/present style.

All in all a FANTASTIC month book wise. How about you…have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Six Months Of Reading In Bite Size Reviews…(Part One)

I suppose by now, anyone who follows this blog is quite used to the long breaks and I didn’t want to bore you with yet another ‘where I’ve been post’. Life has been crazy the last few months with work, taking on two Uni modules at once, exams, and organizing Lu’s extremely active social life. I managed to read a few books. Actually, that’s a lie. I read a lot of books for Uni, but I doubt you really want to hear about those. Anyway, here are some bite size (mouse sized bite size at that) reviews of  the BOOKS FOR FUN I read  in the last few months.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom 

‘You must not become too friendly with them,’ she said. “They are not the same as us.’

‘How?’ I asked. ‘How are they not the same?’

1791: When seven-year-old Irish orphan Lavinia is transported to Virginia to work in the kitchen of a wealthy plantation owner, she is absorbed into the life of the kitchen house and becomes part of the family of black slaves whose fates are tied to the plantation.

But Lavinia’s skin will always set her apart, whether she wishes it or not. And as she grows older, she will be torn between the life that awaits her as a white woman and the people she knows as kin. 

I loved this book. Powerful, heart wrenchingly sad and sensitively written. A 5 star read.

The Second Life Of Amy Archer by R.S Pateman 

On 31st December 1999, ten-year-old Amy Archer went missing from her local playground. Her body was never found and the lives of her parents, Beth and Brian, were torn apart.

On the tenth anniversary of the disappearance, Beth is alone, still struggling with the enormity of her grief and the horror of not knowing the fate of her only child. But the fear and confusion have only just begun, and Beth’s world is turned upside down when a stranger knocks on her door, claiming to know what happened to Amy.

Beth is introduced to a little girl who is the uncanny double of her missing daughter, who knows things that only Amy would remember; the name of her favourite toy, the place where she scratched her initials, what Beth likes for breakfast. But this can’t be Amy, she hasn’t aged a day…

Now Beth is forced to question everything she has ever believed in, and push her faith and her sanity to the limits, if she is to find out the truth about what happened to Amy. 

I was expecting a deeply suspenseful, slightly supernatural unputdowner of a book with this one. In truth, I was a little underwhelmed. Hated the main character and in this story, that was NOT a good thing. Good enough to finish, but not particularly memorable. 
Shades Of Earth by Beth Revis 

Shades of Earth is the final novel in the teenage romantic science fiction trilogy, from New York Times bestseller Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns. Perfect for all fans of The Hunger Games. Across the Universe was longlisted for the prestigous Carnegie Medal.

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn’t the paradise that Amy had been hoping for.

Amy and Elder must race to uncover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But each new discovery brings more danger. And if their colony collapses then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been meaningless . . . 

No secret I’m a massive fan of this series and the final book in the trilogy was no let down, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. Highly recommended (Reviews of Across The Universe and A Million Suns)

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone 

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna is sixteen in 1995, fiercely determined to leave her quiet town and finally travel the world. Bennett’s seventeen in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time – an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves.

When Bennett suddenly finds himself in Anna’s world, they are inescapably drawn to one another – it’s almost as if they have met before. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs – and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces 

Billed as reminiscent of The Time Travellers Wife, this was a no brainer for me. I loved the romance and the nineties flashbacks. Beautifully and subtly done.

The Hit by Melvin Burgess  

Take it. Live it. F*** it.

A new drug is out. Everyone is talking about it. The Hit. Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It’s the ultimate high. At the ultimate price.

Adam is tempted. Life is rubbish, his girlfriend’s over him, his brother’s gone. So what’s he got to lose? Everything, as it turns out. It’s up to his girlfriend, Lizzie, to show him… 

Woah, this was not for the faint hearted at all. Violent, Gritty, disturbing… but strangely compelling. I’m not sure if it was brilliant or awful. Thought provoking nonetheless.

More next week…..