Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie?
Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

Review: Wow! This book left me breathless, shaking with adrenaline and just blown away. Lisa Jewell has just written her best novel yet (and I am a massive fan of hers so I am allowed to make that call!). I just loved this book, the twisty plot, the intense characters and the family theme running through it that just reduced me to tears. This is just a must read this summer. 

It is hard to go into too many specifics about what I loved so much about this book without giving away any spoilers but I will do my best. This novel is written in 5 parts and has 4 different narrators. We hear from Mum Laurel's perspective, some from Ellie's perspective, a little from Floyd and there is another narrator in there that I won't giveaway. We also have sections written then and sections written now, as the blurb would suggest. This may sound a little complicated, but believe me, it totally works. I love the fact that it was heavily structured like this and the short sections from each narrator made it even more fast paced for me because I wanted to find out what happened then that let to now or what happened to one person and how that affected another-I love books like this!

In terms of the character, Lisa Jewell always writes these amazing strong family relationships that you don't see from many other writers of psychological thrillers. The family at the core of this novel are your typical family, a Mum, a Dad two girls and a boy and I loved the fact that we get to go through this story meeting all of these characters and they all have their own backstory and subplot. But the main characters here are Mum Laurel and daughter Ellie. This whole story revolves around Ellie's disappearance and Laurel's quest to find out what happened. Laurel is really down to earth. She values her family and she trusts her instincts and I love that about her. She is a typical mum when it comes to her children, but we also see her become a woman in her own right when it comes to Floyd. 

Of course there are villains in this book as well as heros, what would a good psychological thriller be without a villain or two. But these characters are written so that we as readers can sympathise with them to some extent and form a kind of trust with them in many ways. And of course there are twists with each character along the way, I've already said too much! Needless to say the characters in this novel are all full formed people you could meet on the street, work with, go to school with and I feel like I know them inside out now. 

This novel is set in North London and so is very easy to relate to in terms of setting. A lot of it takes place inside which I thought really added to the tension and was an interesting choice, but each home and setting is well-described and easy to put yourself right into. The tension in this book is unbelievable. I had to go and pick my husband up when I had reached 90% and I was physically shaking with the adrenaline of the story unfolding in front of me and as soon as he got in the car I told him to be quiet to I could finish, this book is that good!

The storyline is fabulous, totally believable, incredibly tense but also something you could totally see happening in your neighbourhood to your friends. I loved the family theme and the twists and turns during every section of the story. The structure was perfect and lends itself to binge reading, what more could you want from a book this summer? Go out and get yourself a copy now-you won't regret it!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 24 July 2017

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap Up

So the end of the 24 in 48 readathon has come. I am literally writing this as I finish it. 

Yes I managed to read for 24 hours!

Yes I managed to read the books I wanted to read (well four out of five of them!)

My wrap up video may be a little late because I am taking part in the BookTubeAThon this week so videos will be taken up with that...

If you haven't been following my updates on instagram, here's what I read:

I JUST finished The Heir in time.

I read a total of 1337 pages and 4 books altogether.

And now it is onto the next readathon.

Did you take part? Will you be reading during the next readathon?

Happy reading!

Review: Boys Don't Knit (In Public) by TS Easton

Meet Ben Fletcher, an Adrian Mole for a new generation

Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more 'feminine' side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course.

To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets 'stuck in'. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates...and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him...

Review: wow I really totally loved this book. I felt like I was watching a TV show about some unlikely lads and how they all got themselves in and out of trouble. I laughed so much reading this and just generally had a jolly good time. 

I think it was interesting that the whole premise behind this book is that Ben is doing things that are all requirements of his probation and yet I found myself forgetting so often that he had done something wrong and was now dealing with the consequences. I really liked Ben as a character and he really does seem like a decent stand up gentleman. There are even knitting magazines hidden under his bed where you might expect other kinds of magazines to be hiding as well. Ben's friends, as I mentioned above, are also interesting characters. They just remind me of the lads that I went to school with and one of them is even attempting to write a sort of Fifty Shades of Grey spin off novel-how hilarious is that?

This book is very very funny but there are also some decent messages for life in here too. Ben really does grow and change because of his court mandated knitting and community service. He really is a decent person to start with but gains a level of maturity throughout the novel. He also finds out what happens when a lie spirals out of control. There is a little romance in this novel, and not just between Ben's parents (who are very much as embarrassing as a teenage boy's parents should be) and I liked that there was just a smattering of that left in there. Despite the fact that there is some slightly offensive language in there and allusions to sex in some scenes, I think this would definitely be something entertaining for the younger end of the YA audience, with those disclosures in mind. 

This is a very British read, despite me having read the US version and translating certain things in my head as I went along and I loved that about it. I really enjoyed getting to know Ben and his friends and also getting to know a little bit more about knitting and football (soccer). I would definitely recommend this read, it was very funny and thoroughly entertaining!

To get your copy now, click here!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

BookTubeAThon 2017 TBR

Tomorrow sees the start of the BookTube-A-Thon!

This is a week long readathon which begins at midnight wherever you are on the 24th July and ends at 11:59pm on 30th July. This readathon is the biggest readathon on YouTube and is hosted by the fab Ariel Bisset.

Here is the information for the readthon, you don't have to be a booktuber to take part!

The BookTubeAThon comes with reading challenges to complete throughout the week as well as video chalelnges and Bookstagram challenges so keep an eye out for my videos throughout the week, I'm going all in on this one!

Here are the books I'm going to read to complete these challenges:

1. Read a book with a person on the cover


(depending how I have got on with the 24 in 48 readathon!)

2. Read a hyped book.

3. Finish a book in one day.

(also fulfils challenges 1 and 4)

4. Read about a character that is very different from you.

(Also fulfils challenge 1)

5.  Finish a book completely outdoors.

This one could be covered by any of the books because I already do a lot of reading outside! Keep an eye open for updates as to which one I choose to complete this challenge!

6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.

(Also will fulfil challenge 3)

7. Read seven books.

So in addition to these books I also have a couple of other books I would like to read but I am fairly flexible when it comes to 'making up the numbers' so here are a couple of other books I would like to get to from my July TBR and my current library book borrows:

Are YOU taking part in this readathon? I would love you to leave links to your posts/videos if you are! 

Happy reading!

Exclusive Extract from Kitty Hawk and The Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Today I am lucky enough to have an extract from Kitty Hawk and The Curse of Yukon Gold for you. Before I share the extract with you, here's some further information about the book. Don't forget to scroll down for author information and buy links!

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone. 

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Check out the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxboPL0ge3Q 

Chapter Two

Some Postcards And A Good Meal

It was a Thursday in June when "the letter" arrived. I had just walked in the front door after getting home from school and saw it there, propped up on the pottery vase in the center of our wooden kitchen table. A simple white envelope addressed to me with a return address that read Alex Tilley, Tilley Endurables, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

It was the response to my letter asking for money for my crazy summer project to go to Alaska to study humpback whales. I knew it was a crazy idea, but I had tortured myself over that letter for days. Writing and rewriting it. Discarding drafts and starting over time after time. I was convinced that I sounded too desperate, and of course I was, but crazy idea or not, studying the whales was something I wanted to do more than anything. But the question was, why would some company that had no idea who I was just send me some money? Who was I, after all? I wasn't some world-famous animal researcher or something. I was just a teenager.

I walked over to the table and looked at the envelope for a moment. I was scared to pick it up. And when I finally got up the courage to do so, my heart sank down into my already heavy stomach. The letter was awfully thin. That was a bad sign.

"Oh well," the little voice inside my head told me. "It was worth a try. You knew that it was a long shot."

With a resigned sigh I tore the envelope open and pulled the letter out. With another sigh I read, my eyes darting from line to line.

My summer adventure was on.

My crazy idea wasn't so crazy after all.

Maybe I convinced them that I wasn't just a kid. Maybe it was my carefully thought-out research plans that I attached to the letter that convinced them that I was worth supporting. Maybe it was the clever diagrams and photographs of the ingenious camera mounts I had designed to mount on the outside of my floatplane that would allow me to extensively document the activities of the whales as I flew above them. Or maybe it was that I had clearly thought of every possible way to minimize the cost of the entire expedition— by arranging to stay with Skeena's relatives in Juneau and eliminating the expense of room and board, by begging and borrowing all the photographic and technical equipment that I needed, and by saving up for my own share of the cost by working part-time over the winter and picking up extra money working odd jobs whenever possible.

Or maybe it was just that I was a kid, after all. And they simply felt sorry for me.

Whatever it was, it must have worked because the thin envelope contained a brief but encouraging letter from Alex Tilley, a gift certificate from the Tilley online store (in case I needed "any additional outfitting for my expedition"), and a check! I couldn't believe it! A check covering all of my additional expenses plus "a little extra for some postcards and a good meal," Alex Tilley had written.

The ecstatic scream that I let out upon seeing that check sent the crows flying off in all directions from the fir trees surrounding my house. Exploding out of the back door, I ran and ran and ran, screaming all the while and waving the check over my head like a prized trophy. I was halfway down the beach to the ocean before it occurred to me how easily a gust of wind could tear the check from my hands and send me on a fruitless chase down the endless beach trying to recapture my prize. I shuddered at the thought of writing back to Tilley to ask for a replacement check. They would definitely realize then that I was just some stupid kid, and they would call the whole thing off.

Safely tucking the precious slip of paper into my zippered jacket pocket, I continued my crazed run down the beach, waving my arms madly and doing a little end-zone celebration dance at the edge of the water, like a football player who'd just scored a touchdown.

Somewhere behind me a dog barked, and I looked up to see our neighbor, old Mrs. McCready and her ancient yellow Labrador, Wilson, walking past.

"Hi, Mrs. McCready," I called out to her, blushing and waving sheepishly. "I'm going to Alaska."

"I never doubted it, Ms Hawk," she replied, looking at me over the lenses of her half glasses. Some of the money I'd saved up to pay for my expedition came from doing various cleaning jobs around the McCready property, just up the beach from our house. "I hope that doesn't mean you're too rich to come over this week and clear the branches from the roof and yard," she said in her endearing, stern, old-lady kind of way.

"No, Mrs. McCready," I replied. She gave me a nod and continued down the beach with Wilson walking stiffly at her heels.

For a while I just stood there, closing my eyes and turning my face to bask in the warm June sunshine and feel the cool breeze racing in off the Pacific Ocean. Without even thinking about it, the pilot inside me instinctually gauged the direction and speed of the wind, making mental adjustments as though I were preparing for takeoff.

But in a way I was preparing to take off, wasn't I? I was going to Alaska.

An Adventure Beyond Words

The next few weeks were a complete blur. Somehow I managed to organize all my equipment and provisions, finalize flight plans, buy new clothes, arrange my accommodations in Alaska, reassure my mother that I was going to be fine (this took a little bit of help from Dad, of course), pack and load everything aboard my floatplane, and of course write a heartfelt thank-you letter to Alex Tilley.

Oh right, and somewhere in there I also found the time to write my school exams and somehow graduate from high school. I have no idea how I did it, but before I knew it, I was sitting in the cockpit of my trusty De Havilland Beaver out on the waters of Clayquot Sound, about to push the throttle forward to bring the
engine to life and head for Alaska.

"This is it," I said to myself. "This is where my adventure begins.”

About the Author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. 

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/ 

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Click here to buy your copy!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

24 in 48 Readathon TBR

Its 24 in 48 readathon time once again! I have participated in this readathon before but if you don't know what it is, you can click here to go the official website and that is where you can sign up too!

The readathon organisers shared this helpful summary of what the readathon is all about:

If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between, whatever you’d like.

I also made a video sharing my TBR and will hopefully be filming during the readathon to share with you when I wrap up what I have read!

Here are the books I would like to get to:

So basically the Selection series by Kiera Cass. I've been told I'll like these books and so I've been waiting for a readathon to come along so I can marathon them back to back. I don't know how far through them I will get and whether I will like them or not, but they are my intended reading for the weekend!

I am also reading a section of this book each day...

And so I will be reading a little of this during the readathon too. 

I'm going to be reading a combination of audiobooks, physical books and ebooks and will be drinking a combination of coffee, tea and wine!

Wish me luck!

If you are taking part in this readathon or have any thoughts on me reading the selection series, please do leave me a comment below, I would LOVE you hear from you!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Review: Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

"Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing." Ellen Degeneres' winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously... I'm Kidding, Degeneres' first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn't want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant.

Review: This one has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Sometimes when you wait and wait and wait for something, when it finally comes, it can be a little disappointing. Unfortunately that was the case with this read. I chose to listen to this one in audiobook. I was hoping for something insightful, something I hadn't heard before but this was broken down into short chapters, some of them just as short as a single joke and the others merely an extension of the monologue that she does at the start of each show. 

There were moments in the book when I laughed out loud, there is no question that this is a very funny woman and I do find her stories entertaining. So if you are looking for some entertainment during a holiday or a long car journey then this is definitely going to be the book for you. Because this was an audiobook and is read by the author, Ellen does sometimes address the audience. I liked this style and found it particularly spooky when she was picturing us reading  or listening to the book and 'maybe you're looking at a view of the mountains in Colorado' I was driving along a particularly picturesque road in Denver, looking at the snow on the mountains!

I did enjoy the way the book was structured and I did find it entertaining. I would definitely recommend listening to this on audiobook because it is read by Ellen and so you will have the jokes told with her timing and hear the way she talks about the language that she uses. I was hoping for a little more with this read though and I really hope that Ellen will bring out an updated version or another version of her memoirs for me to really get my teeth into!

To order your copy and see for yourself, click here!