BOOK REVIEWS – aPRIL 2021

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This last month has been a good one for reading – I have found a couple of books have really grabbed my attention, so have definitely been picking them up more and more! So many great recommendations this month – just read on!

Every Last Fear*

by Alex Finlay

The Blurb

‘Prepare yourself for twist after exciting twist. A standout novel plotted with surgical precision’ KARIN SLAUGHTER

Keep your family close, because your enemies are closer.

Student Matt Pine has just received devastating news. Nearly his entire family have been found dead while holidaying in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI aren’t convinced – and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy thrusts his family into the media spotlight again. Matt’s older brother, Danny – serving a life sentence for murdering his teenage girlfriend – was the subject of a viral true crime documentary claiming Danny was wrongfully convicted. Yet Matt’s never been certain of his brother’s innocence.

Now his family’s murder is overlapping with Danny’s case, Matt is determined to uncover the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison – putting his own life in danger and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Read this gripping thriller, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Lisa Jewell.

What I Thought

So there hasn’t been a book review post in a couple of months and the reason is that I have had so much going on personally, I just haven’t been picking up a book as often. However, I was invited onto this blog tour and although I missed the launch week (sorry!) this was the push I needed to get back in to reading!

As you know, I do enjoy a good thriller and this one is fab. I didn’t want to put it down and flew through it in just a few nights as I needed to know what the hell was going on!

I enjoyed the way the story was laid out, chapters flicked between different time periods and between different characters. That might sound confusing but it really wasn’t and the author did it really well. Eventually all the pieces start to come together but there are still so many twists and turns you are never sure of what is going to happen in the end!

I will for sure look out for more from this author, it was recommended for fans of Lisa Jewell who I love, and I am sure any thriller fan will enjoy!

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon – paperback, hardback and Kindle

A Promised Land

by Barack Obama

The Blurb

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making-from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy

‘Gorgeously written, humorous, compelling, life affirming’ Justin Webb, Mail on Sunday

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency-a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective-the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

What I Thought

I listened to Michelle Obama’s book last year on Audible and loved it, so wanted to see what Barack had to say! I chose to listen to this on Audible as it is very long but I was really pleased he, like Michelle, chose to record the Audible version himself.

29 hours and 10 minutes later and I can honestly say it was definitely worth it! I really enjoyed hearing more about his experience during the election and his time as President. It was interesting and I was grateful that the more official stuff was interspersed with anecdotes and family moments.

I would definitely recommend this on Audible – I think the length of it may put off readers unless you are really committed, but it is definitely worth it!

Where To Buy

Buy on Amazon – Kindle, Audible, hardback

All The Tw*ts I Met Along The Way*

by Carolyn Hobdey

The Blurb

What happens when you so deeply believe something you were told as a child that it becomes the driving force behind almost every thought, feeling and action for the rest of your life – until you decide to take complete control and change your life entirely? For decades, Carolyn Hobdey believed she was ‘trouble’ and if she wasn’t ‘nicer’ she’d spend her days alone and unloved.  

All The Tw*ts I Met Along The Way tells Carolyn’s tales of crappy boyfriends, sickening sexual encounters, manipulative men, love triangles, unsupportive and unsupported medical diagnoses… and that’s just in the first few pages. From porn-addicted boyfriends who go from fitties to owners of ‘dad bods,’ to car crashes and boob jobs. Marriage to a lover who became more like a brother (and who came out as gay after their 15 year relationship) and later a relationship with a man and his ‘ready-made family’ that exposes a damaging case of coercive control and narcissism. Carolyn’s story exposes the unrelenting pull of the child-parent relationship – even in adulthood – and all the messiness, self-esteem issues and confusion that can cause. As she writes, “I didn’t want to be the trouble-maker, the one to cause my parents concern, anymore.”

What I Thought

I have never wanted to scream at a book so much in my life! A no holds barred memoir which chronicles Carolyn’s relationships.

The book was a real page turner, I thought the conversational style of the writing was perfect for her story. A good mix of humour and some really serious, heavy moments made for a good balance. I am sure the writing process as cathartic and Carolyn probably looked with different eyes at each situation she documented, but I fully understand how, at the time, things can seem so very different.

This is recommended for fans of Bridget Jones – this book is definitely the bigger, grittier sister but I really enjoyed it… if that’s the right word?

TW – eating disorders, infertility, rape, coercive control, emotional abuse, suicidal ideation

Where To Buy

Buy on Amazon – paperback, Kindle

The Secret Bridesmaid*

by Katy Birchall

The Blurb

Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job.

As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is secretly hired by brides to be their right-hand woman, ensuring their big day goes off without a hitch. From wrangling rowdy hen dos to navigating last minute portaloo cancellations, there’s no problem she can’t solve.

So when she’s employed by an actual Marchioness to help plan the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.

Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Cordelia, is rude, difficult and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient when Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. And when a rival society wedding is announced, things get even more complicated . . .

Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career, follow her heart and maintain her reputation – all while keeping her true identity hidden?

What I Thought

The perfect feel good, easy read for those lovely sunny days we are starting to see more of. And maybe even a holiday soon!

Sophie is a professional bridesmaid, which at first I thought sounded great, but the reality of the Bridezillas put me off pretty quickly! She is a really likeable main character which I find is important in this kind of chick-lit read. The plot was fresh and I liked that the main relationship involved the friendship of the two women, rather than a romantic one. Intersected throughout were messages from brides and suppliers which were witty and well done.

The author has made the jump from writing YA to contemporary fiction seamlessly and this is a fab read. Entertaining, charming and light hearted – a perfect Summer read for sure.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon – Kindle, paperback, Audible

Amok

by Sebastian Fitzek

The Blurb

This was to be her last day alive. The renowned criminal psychologist Ira Samin prepared her suicide thoroughly. The death of her eldest daughter had weighed too heavily on her conscience for her to carry on and she yearned for one last drink to raise a toast to oblivion. Her morbid plans are interrupted and she is called in to negotiate a gruesome hostage situation at a radio station where a psychopath is playing a morbid game.

While the show is on air, he calls people from the phonebook at random. If they pick up the phone with a certain slogan, a hostage is set free. If they don’t, then the hostage is unceremoniously shot. The man threatens to continue playing this game until his fiancée arrives at the studio. The only problem is that his fiancée died several months ago….

AMOK is a gripping audiodrama and tense psychological hostage thriller set in a Berlin Radio Station, from the internationally renowned author of the best-selling Audible Original Drama The Child.

What I Thought

Wow, wow, wow! I got this in one of Audible’s regular 2 for 1 sales and am so pleased I did. I literally couldn’t stop listening and every chance I got, I would put it on.

The storyline is amazing and I am sure the book would be a good read, but this Audible production was fantastic and really added a great dimension. I am currently also listening to the author’s other book that has been recorded this way, The Child, however it hasn’t yet grabbed me in the same way. The actors voices really add a new dimension to the normal, Audible experience.

This story is fab, well thought out and intriguing. You wonder what will happen next at every turn, while starting to develop a real fondness for Ira. Highly recommend a listen, you will love it!

Where To Buy

Buy on Amazon – Audible


Couldn’t recommend all these books enough – it has been a very good month for reading and I am sure you will enjoy them too. Do you have any recommendations for me this month? Let me know in the comments below! As always, stay safe,

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