Book Reviews – January 2023

Ad | Some books gifted in return for a review | These titles are marked with an * | All opinions are my own

Hello and happy new year again! Today I am sharing some of my most recent reads with you, and what I thought about them! I am starting with one of my favourite reads of last year – the whole series in fact – as not one book disappointed me! I’d love to hear if you have read any of these and what you thought – let me know in the comments below.

The Seven Sisters series

by Lucinda Riley

The Blurb

The Seven Sisters:
Maia D’Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved adoptive father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died.

The Storm Sister:
Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father’s sudden, mysterious death.

The Shadow Sister:
Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father – the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world.

The Pearl Sister:
CeCe D’Aplièse has never felt she fitted in anywhere. Following the death of her father, the elusive billionaire Pa Salt – so-called by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe and named after the Seven Sisters star cluster.

The Moon Sister:
After the death of her father – Pa Salt, an elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters from around the globe – Tiggy D’Aplièse , trusting her instincts, moves to the remote wilds of Scotland.

The Sun Sister:
Yet Electra’s already tenuous control over her state of mind has been rocked by the death of her father, Pa Salt, the elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters from across the globe.

The Missing Sister:
The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister?

What I Thought

When I thought about doing a 2022 round up of my top 10 favourite reads, I realised it might be a little bit boring – as seven of them would be the seven titles in this amazoing series.

I listened to them all on Audible and was so glad I did, after seeing so many recommendations for the series. I absolutely adored the first book and really liked the main character, Maia. When I started to listen to book two, I thought I was really going to struggle as a couple of chapters in, I felt it was not the same and I didn’t feel the same connection with the second sister, Ally. But they say don’t judge a book by its cover, or maybe in this case the first few chapters, as I soon came to adore the second sister and her story in the same was as I had Maia’s. And so it continued, with all the sisters, and all these books. I loved the way they are written, switching between the past and present and with so many amazing female characters leading extraordinary lives.

From Autralia to Brazil, royalty to gypsies, Jewish persecution to the original Black Lives Matter revolutionaries, these wonderful stories were created with solid and powerful female characters at the centre. The books take you all over the world and through some of the most amazing and interesting periods of history, as the sisters track their origins.

I couldn’t pick a favourite – I loved them all! I was so pleased to see that there was an eighth book beng released all about the sister’s mysterious, adoptive father – Pa Salt – being released, and then slightly gutted it won’t be out until May, but I have it ready on pre-order and can’t wait to hear more about this intriguing but wonderful family. I can’t recommend this enough and absolutely flew through all the books – I even had to buy extra Audible credits as I couldn’t wait to listen to the next one. HIGHLY recommend this series, it will not disappoint!

Where To Buy

Buy from my Amazon shop

The Shite Before Christmas*

by Serena Terry

The Blurb

From Sunday Times bestselling author and TikTok sensation @MammyBanter

One month to go. One stressed mum. Can she pull off the perfect family Christmas?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Like every mum, Tara wants a perfect Christmas for her family – but no-one else is lifting a finger and she’s losing her elf-ing mind.

From a vaping teen, explosive potty training and a disastrous Nativity, to a distracted husband acting very out of character, the final straw is Tara’s glamorous, feckless mother moving herself back in for the holidays.

Can Tara pull off the holly jolly Christmas of her dreams? Will she deck the halls and not her family? Or is this a Christmas catastrophe waiting to happen…

Hilarious, heartwarming and festive as f*ck – the new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Mammy Banter: The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum.

Mammy Banter was a Sunday Times #4 hardback fiction bestseller on 5 March 2022.

What I Thought

I didn’t realise who Serena Terry was until I read the blurb for this book and realised I had been following her on TikTok (and then Instagram) for a while!

I absolutely loved this book – funny, realistic, relatable and heartwarming in equal measures! Mums of busy families will identify with so many parts of the story, or will recognise a friend in it’s characters. Serena Terry really catches the spirit of a busy family during the build up to Christmas and is able to inject humour into most of the situations – be it dealing with tiny humans, teenagers, pregnancy or a mother who I envisaged as being like Madge from Benidorm!

Most women will identify in some way with Tara and that really helps you enjoy the book more – the fact it is so relatable and honest. A must read for all Mums at this time of year!

Where To Buy

Buy from my Amazon shop

Untypical Tales*

by Owen Janssen

The Blurb

Did you know that you can heat up a cup of coffee by yelling at it? How about the fact that bananas are radioactive? Or that Google hires goats as gardeners? Or that competitive slapping is a sport in Russia?
Our world is chock-full of fascinating facts, unbelievable but true stories, and mind-blowing trivia.

This book is your one-stop guide to all the extraordinary, shocking and enthralling information you didn’t know you needed to learn.

Impress your friends and family with a vast knowledge of topics guaranteed to stimulate interesting conversations!

If you want to learn some of the world’s most intriguing stories to pass the time at work, fuel the fire on your next trivia games night, or are looking for top-notch entertainment for that family road trip, then you need this book.

Inside Better Than Balderdash, you’ll discover:

● Insane facts about world history

● Bizarre stories of inventors and inventions that sound 100% made up

● Unbelievable true stories of survival

● Unusually strange trivia and fun facts about science and nature

● Shocking truths about famous and infamous people in history

… along with many more crazy fun facts and terrific tales from every facet of this wacky world.

Suitable for adults, teens and kids … Better Than Balderdash is guaranteed to be the best book gift for anyone you can think of, including yourself (less)

What I Thought

A fun, interesting and different kind of read. I got through this book pretty quickly but really enjoyed it and found out lots of interesting facts, which may come in handy for the pub quiz one day!

A great read for any age!

Victorian Murderesses*

by Debbie Blake

The Blurb

The Victorian belief that women were the ‘weaker sex’ who were expected to devote themselves entirely to family life, made it almost inconceivable that they could ever be capable of committing murder. What drove a woman to murder her husband, lover or even her own child? Were they tragic, mad or just plain evil?

Using various sources including court records, newspaper accounts and letters, this book explores some of the most notorious murder cases committed by seven women in nineteenth century Britain and America. It delves into each of the women’s lives, the circumstances that led to their crimes, their committal and trial and the various reasons why they resorted to murder: the fear of destitution led Mary Ann Brough to murder her own children; desperation to keep her job drove Sarah Drake to her crime. Money was the motive in the case of Mary Ann Cotton, who is believed to have poisoned as many as twenty-one people. Kate Bender lured her unsuspecting victims to their death in ‘The Slaughter Pen’ before stripping them of their valuables; Kate Webster’s temper got the better of her when she brutally murdered and decapitated her employer; nurse Jane Toppan admitted she derived sexual pleasure from watching her victims die slowly and Lizzie Borden was suspected of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe, so that she could live on the affluent area known as ‘the hill’ in Fall River, Massachusetts.

What I Thought

A new true crime book that did not disappoint. The cases were well selected and researched and I enjoyed the read. A couple of the cases I had read about previously and a couple I had heard of but was interested to learn more derails about from this book. There were also some new cases to me that I hadn’t heard of before which was great!

Interesting cases from both Britain and the U.S. which true crime fans will enjoy. I felt it was missing an introduction or conclusion and would have been interested to read this from the author about their inspiration or thoughts perhaps, but it did not take much away from the book itself which is well worth a read.

Where To Buy

Buy from my Amazon shop

Hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on these books – I would love to hear if you have read any and what you thought about the, – let me know in the comments below! Take care and keep reading,

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