Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson, illustrations by Alex Scheffler


From Goodreads

George wished he wasn't the scruffiest giant in town.

So, one day, he sees a shop selling giant-size clothes, he decides it's time for a new look. With smart trousers, a smart shirt, stripy tie and shiny shoes, George is a new giant.

But on his way home, he meets various animals who desperately need his help ... and his clothes!

My thoughts

I read this to my granddaughter as a bedtime story. I gave it a 10/10 or 5 stars.

The story and the illustrations were lovely and the moral of the story was fab. It proves that by showing kindness to others, that kindness will be returned to you. A lovely moral to the story and my granddaughter enjoyed it.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Blackwater: Vol. 3 (Blackwater Trilogy) by T.W.M. Ashford


From Goodreads

The Old God has arrived. Blackwater City is in ruin. Hunter is nowhere to be seen.

A week has passed since the Old God broke through into our world. Abdul and the other survivors have put together a plan to close the tear between the lands of the living and the dead before the Old God can gather enough strength for a full invasion, but they’re missing a vital piece. Can they find Hunter? And even if they do, has he the strength left in him to defy a god?

Blackwater: Vol. Three is the third and final book in the Blackwater supernatural thriller trilogy. If you like desperate vigilantes, shocking twists and all things Lovecraftian, then you’ll love T.W.M. Ashford’s darkest world to date.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Author via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I gave this final instalment in the Blackwater Trilogy a 4/5 stars or 8/10.

In this final instalment the goodies are trying to beat the baddies. This dystopian series turns a little more horror in this instalment than the previous ones which tended to air on the side of being a little more violent than horror in nature.

Can Abdul and the others find Hunter and more to the point if they find him, can Hunter help save the world from the Old Gods?

This has been a well written series, where the Author paints an alternative dystopian style future with his words. This final instalment brings the series to a satisfying conclusion, what conclusion that is you will need to read this series for yourself. If you have a vivid imagination that allows you to see other worlds and alternative futures with beings and monsters that you'll never have seen before, then this is the ideal series for you as much as it was for me.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton


From Goodreads

It’s the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.

Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.

Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century?

And, if so, could another single bullet save it? 

My thoughts

4.5 stars or 9/10 this was a recent read of my local Library Reading Group and not necessarily on that I would have chosen for myself. I really enjoyed the story and do like Ben Elton's writing style, it's ages since I have read any of his books though.

This was a thought provoking read about time travel and how our actions could change history, if we were able to go back in time to alter events that had happened.

This was quite a quick easy read despite the size of the book. Once you're hooked you want to keep reading to find out what happens to the characters and how their actions impacted on the future.
If you get chance to read this one, do please give it a go

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death

From Goodreads

I AM, I AM, I AM is Sunday Times bestseller and Costa Novel-Award winner Maggie O'Farrell's electric and shocking memoir of the near death experiences that have punctuated her life; it will appeal to readers of Cheryl Strayed's WILD or Joan Didion's THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING.

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital.

This is a memoir with a difference: seventeen encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal to us a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. It is a book to make you question yourself: what would you do if your life was in danger? How would you react? And what would you stand to lose? I AM, I AM, I AM is a book you will finish newly conscious of your own vulnerability, and determined to make every heartbeat count. 

My thoughts

I chose this for my local WI Reading Group read. I've read some of Maggie O'Farrell's novels and thought this would make a great book to discuss. I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10 and found it a very quick easy read.

Told as seventeen chapters, these seventeen different brushes with death are all mostly about Maggie herself, apart from the last one that goes into some detail about the problems that one of her children (daughter) faces daily due to severe allergies, that can lead to anaphylactic shock. As a parent one of our jobs is to protect our children at all costs. Sadly, sometimes things are taken out of our control and in this case, her daughter and the family live in a state of high alert at all times. We as parents aren't able to wrap our children up in cotton wool, no matter how much we would like to and we all have to get on with life. Maggie and her family get on with life as much as they can, but at times it can be quite restrictive socially and emotionally due to the possible repercussions.

I felt that Maggie was very open about her life and her brushes with death. Most of us will have had similar experiences from time to time during our life, but maybe not quite as many and then again some of us might have had more. We can all be sure of one thing, no one has any idea what any single one of us has been through in our lives or are going through at any time. Life has to go on and we all have to deal with what it throws at us, when that hand is dealt.

Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe by Monique X

Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe

From Goodreads


After her divorce, Monique decides to inject some fun into the drudgery of life as a single mother, by dating a wealthy older gentleman, which is known as ‘sugar daddy’ dating. It all starts quite innocently, but when Monique finds a thousand pounds in her wallet after one night of hot, steamy sex, she realises that sugar dating could be her way to survive as a single mother.

Soon life is a whirlwind of wealthy men, luxury hotels and glamorous experiences. She goes skydiving in Dubai and flies to Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Thanks to her sugar daddies Monique can take care of her children, she gets a new sense of independence, discovers her sexual drive, and experiments with a whole new range of sexual fantasies.

But when she loses her job and her ex-husband stops paying alimony, she is prepared to do anything to safeguard her children and keep a roof over their heads. Money becomes her main focus and she starts living on the periphery of the escort world. Now she realises the truth: she needs to find a way out. 

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, I gave this a 2 star or 4/10.

This is classed as a memoir/non fiction/autobiography, but to be honest I'm not sure what it was really trying to be.

Monique X has written a book about her life during the time she was a Sugar Babe, it was a way of her making a decent living in order to look after her children following her losing her job and her husband leaving her.

Despite, the fact that she didn't appear to overly enjoy the role that she found herself in, there was one thing in it's favour, it was a very lucrative way to make money and see the World at the expense of the Sugar Daddies.

At times I found this a bit of a chore to read, I started off quite liking it, but the poor spelling and writing soon became a big turn off. I sincerely hope that it's undergone some serious proof reading prior to publication. I did keep reading it though, as I find it very hard to give up on a book due to the Author having spent the time writing it and that the books can sometimes improve and if I'd given up I would have missed out on a gem. Sadly, this wasn't the case this time.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dracul by Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

From Goodreads

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a riveting novel of gothic suspense that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram Stoker's -- and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here...

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents' Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen -- a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen -- and that the nightmare they've thought long ended is only beginning .... 

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10. I found it a very plausible prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by Bram Stoker, the great grand uncle of Dacre Stoker.

This story is a story of several parts, the first part I struggled with a bit as I found it not as interesting as other parts. It tells the early years of Bram as a sickly child and how he was looked after by a woman named Ellen Crone. As events nearby to Bram's home begin to happen, it's not long before the furtive imagination of Bram and his sister Matilda go into overdrive and they suspect that Ellen might be involved with the events. Eventually Ellen disappears without trace from their lives and they are at a loss as to where she has gone.

In a later part on her return from Paris, Matilda is convinced that she has seen Ellen and that her appearance appears to have not changed as if she hasn't aged the years that she should have done. Did she really see her or not and if so, how can she not have aged in that time? I found that I got on a lot better with the story as Bram and Matilda became older in the later parts of the story and that it moved at a much faster pace then.

I enjoyed this prequel to Dracula, I have to admit that whilst I've seen many films starring him I've never read the novel by Bram Stoker. This was a story that I chose as a Halloween inspired read. I found it well written and at times you wonder whether it's actually fact or fiction, as there appears to be a lot of factual inspiration to the story.

I do enjoy J.D. Barker's writing and have never read any work of Dacre Stoker before. I do intend reading the sequel that he has written to Dracula and also reading Dracula itself at some point. I hope that this is not the last story that they work on together.

If you like your horror fiction with lots of gothic history then this is definitely the story for you.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Sordida by Jason Andrews


From Goodreads

Amercia Preen is a low-income shop worker living in a bedsit with the big dream of becoming an escort to earn a living and move away from the poverty-stricken area of Plymouth. With the intention of ripping off lonely men online, she meets Jake Parker, a client who requests that she role plays as a psychotherapist regularly. His admission of being poorly treated by an underground swinger’s club called Sordida, filled with some high profile; wealthy members leads her down a path of obsession.

In Amercia’s desire to become an escort for the millionaires, she is always dreaming of the lavish income and luxurious treats they can provide. When Amercia starts to realise that not all is as it seems; escorts are going missing, behaviours of those around her don’t look entirely genuine, then the nightmare begins.

Time for Amercia is running out fast... 

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publisher via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I gave this a 3 star or 6/10.

Amercia works in a shop part time, but also has another string to her bow she uses her womanly body to earn her more money. Due to information gleaned from one of her clients Jake Parker, she embarks on finding out more about an underground Swinger's club that he talks about, called Sordida.

Not one to shy away from things, Amercia soon finds herself embroiled in more than she at first bargained for. Are things as they at first seem though? Can Amercia keep her wits about her and stay one step ahead of what appears to be happening or will she find herself in too deep?

I enjoyed the premise of this erotic themed read, there was lots of promise some of which didn't fully deliver in my opinion and I feel that the writer will grow with subsequent books that he may write.