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October Book Reviews

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Good morning and welcome to Blogtober Day Two! Today I wanted to share some reviews of books I have read recently. I have included five and can honestly say I enjoyed every one of these – it has definitely been a good reading month! From thrillers to true crime to an Instagrammers self help book – this month has it all!

The Dinner Party by R. J. Parker

The Blurb

All your friends are invited. But which of them will survive?

An addictive and twisty psychological thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a peaceful neighbourhood.

Eight friends. Eight secrets. One killer.

A group of old friends gather in a peaceful suburban street for a dinner party.

They are expecting a fun evening of wine, food and pleasant company. But then they start to play the game…

It’s about trust and dark secrets – it tests marriage to its limits – and none of them can begin to imagine its consequences.

Because the next day, two guests are dead and the others are trapped in a nightmare…

What I Thought

Wow! This is the latest book I finished just last week and I had to include it and share it with you all. I really liked the blurb which is obviously why I chose to red it, but I honestly didn’t think that I would love it as much as I did. By the end I was unsure if I ever wanted friends or a dinner party ever again! I couldn’t put it down and it even made my Instagram Five Friday Favourites last week.

It had all the things a good thriller needs – suspense, great characters and that pull to keep you reading and wanting more. I loved the way the book was written – short chapters which still contained all the information you needed and good character development. No chapter was a waste, a ‘filler’, everything was written that was needed so you kept being drip-fed the story. Every time you thought you guessed what was going on the story took another turn and made you question everything you already knew!

Fantastic read, recommended to all but I know thriller fans would be very happy with this offering.

Where To Buy

Available in Kindle and Paperback versions

34 Years In Hell by Jamie Morgan Kane

The Blurb

In July 1983 James Morgan Kane returned home in the evening to find a corpse in his living room. Fearing that he would be blamed and sensing that his wife was somehow involved, he wanted to do all to protect his young family. Jamie worked through the night to dispose of the body all the while disbelieving the situation he found himself in. His luck ran out days later as he was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Jamie entered the U.S. prison system and was to stay there for 34 years with stints in San Quentin, Folsom State Prison and the notorious Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in California. He would rub shoulders with some of the world’s most infamous serial killers such as Charles Manson, Edmund Kemper, Charles Tex Watson and Herbie Mullin as well as gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican cartels. This book tells of his time: locked up with no hope of release, living the brutality of the unforgiving penitentiary system and finding his new purpose in life, as well as tales of his many run-ins with some of the world’s most dangerous inmates. 

What I Thought

I really enjoy reading non-fiction, especially when it is a biography/autobiography or true crime. This combined the two, telling the story of Jamie Morgan Kane and the horrific misjudgement that resulted in him spending 34 years in a number of pretty awful US prisons.

The story describes Jamie’s life before the incident which ended up with him being convicted of the crime that saw him imprisoned. His early life could have been a novel in itself – a truly awful story that makes you wonder how Jamie turned out to be the seemingly caring and hardworking guy he seems to have become.

The descriptions of prison life – the other inmates, the guards, the routine and the torturous conditions is truly terrifying. I don’t believe prison should be an easy ride but as Jamie was wrongly convicted (or so it seems), it makes what he went through so much worse.

An interesting read which I would recommend to all lovers of true crime and biographical stories. Jamie’s story is well written about his full, frustrating and sad life.

Where To Buy

Available in Kindle and Paperback versions

The Bad Place by M. K. Hill

The Blurb

‘Absorbing and twisty’ MARK EDWARDS.

The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…

Is history repeating itself? Is one of the five responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

PRAISE FOR THE BAD PLACE:

‘Dark, gripping and fast paced, The Bad Place grabs a hold and won’t let you go … Addictive summer reading’ Katerina Diamond.

‘Superb, smart, seat-edge stuff. DI Sasha Dawson is a brilliant creation’ William Shaw.

‘Utterly compelling and brilliantly realistic, The Bad Place is Mark’s best book yet. One that will appeal to crime fans everywhere’ Lisa Hall.

What I Thought

This book was based in the surrounding areas of where I used to live in Essex so seeing familiar place names mentioned was quite surreal – especially as the book was a thriller and an awful crime had taken place!

This is the first book in the Sasha Dawson series and I am really looking forward to more about her. Another goof thriller which kept me guessing and was truly heartbreaking at times. Intertwined with Sasha’s personal life and the struggles she had going on at home made it an all round fab read.

The type of crime may be difficult for some to take on so be wary – it isn’t pleasant but the book is well written and as a thriller does the job by keeping you guessing and wanting to read on to find out what happens.

Where To Buy

Available in Kindle, Audible, Audio CD, Paperback and Hardback versions

Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker

The Blurb

In Hashtag Authentic, social media guru Sara Tasker provides tips, advice, and guidance on how to turn your personal Instagram account into a profitable creative outlet.

Since setting up her Instagram account (me_and_orla) while on maternity leave in 2013, Sara has become a celebrated influencer and iPhoneographer, and through her calm, atmospheric, and authentic style has garnered legions of followers. Here, Sara presents the lessons she has learned along the way.

Sara’s nurturing voice and enchanting photography provide guidance on:Storytelling, with tips on finding your own visual style and personal niche.Making pictures, including composing for Instagram, finding the best light, and getting the most out of your camera phone.Archiving your life, with tips organized by themes like Craft & Making, Family & Pets, and Food & Ingredients.Sharing your world, detailing the keys to Instagram success and beyond. Hashtag Authentic is both an inspiring manual and an interactive tool for finding an online voice, growing a tribe, and becoming an influencer.

What I Thought

I had seen this book mentioned by a friend online so was really pleased to be offered it to review. As a blogger I rely quite heavily on social media. Instagram is one of my favourite platforms and this book is great for when you are lacking a little inspiration.

It is visually stunning and includes some really great information as well as prompts for helping you think about your own Instagram and what you want it to be. Highly recommended for all bloggers and influencers using Instagram, you will find some fab tips and ideas here.

Where To Buy

Available in Kindle and Hardback verions

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman

The Blurb

A harrowing collection of sixty narratives—covering over fifty years of shootings in America—written by those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

“If I Don’t Make It, I Love You,” a text sent from inside a war zone. A text meant for Stacy Crescitelli, whose 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, was hiding in a closet fearing for her life in Parkland, Florida, in February of 2018, while a gunman sprayed her school with bullets, killing her friends, teachers, and coaches. This scene has become too familiar. We see the images, the children with trauma on their faces leaving their school in ropes, connected to one another with hands on shoulders, shaking, crying, and screaming. We mourn the dead. We bury children. We demand change. But we are met with inaction. So, we move forward, sadder and more jaded. But what about those who cannot move on?

These are their stories.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You collects more than sixty narratives from school shooting survivors, family members, and community leaders covering fifty years of shootings in America, from the 1966 UT-Austin Tower shooting through May 2018’s Santa Fe shooting.

Through this collection, editors Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman offer a vital contribution to the surging national dialogue on gun reform by elevating the voices of those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.

What I Thought

As a big true crime fan, an area I enjoy researching and reading about is school shootings. Morbid, I know, but I like to educate myself about the gun culture in America and also the psychology of people who commit this sort of crime.

This book was a phenomenal read and I think everyone needs a copy, particularly those involved with creating laws around guns. The thought of sending my child to school and them not coming home is so out there and horrific, yet parents in America face this threat every day in a very real and possible way.

This book contains some truly strong and heartbreaking stories from survivors (both students and teachers), parents, emergency services personnel and more – all who have been affected by a school shooting in some way. The accounts of how they were impacted are truly astounding and almost unbelievable – except you know it really happened. To see the strength that these people have, and their ongoing fight to get better gun control laws in their country is so admirable after what they have been through

A humbling, haunting and inspiring read that the two authors have made a fantastic job of creating, it is well worth a read.

Where To Buy

Available in Kindle and Hardback versions


So there are five books I have recently read ad really wanted to share with you . I would recommend every one to you and I am sure some of these will make my top ten reads of the year list which I will be compiling in December. Have you read ant of these? Which one ‘tickles your fancy’ the most? Let me know in the comments below,

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for copies of these five books. I received these in return for an honest review. All opinions contained in this post are my own.

Affiliate links earn the blog a few pennies when used. They do not affect your purchase in any way and thank you if you do purchase through them.

8 replies »

  1. Okay, I loved this post!!! You seem to be a committed book blogger (which I really enjoy).

    I added three of your reviews to my “to read” list so THANK YOU!

    •Bree
    Letsbebreef.com/blog

    Like

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