Fearless by Nicola Clare

Fearless by Nicola ClaireTitleFearless (Scarlet Suffragette, Book 1)

Author: Nicola Claire

Genre: Historical Romance

Page Count: 300

 

Synopsis

Free spirit. Brilliant. A Liability?

Doctor Anna Cassidy has been trained by the best; the former Chief Surgeon for the Auckland Police Force. She knows how to dissect a body. She knows how to treat any ailment. And she knows how to find a cause of death.

But society is not ready for a female surgeon.

Fighting for what she believes in has been ingrained in Anna since she was a young child. But the battles she faces now are not all based on equality. A murderer stalks her fellow Suffragettes and the police inspector in charge of the case could be Anna’s downfall.

Experienced. Dedicated. Something to hide?

Inspector Andrew Kelly holds duty and honour in the highest regard. His role as a detective proves just that; he never stops until justice is served. Love is something he has forsaken, for reasons he’d rather you didn’t know.

But Anna is not a woman a man can ignore.

Fighting his instincts with cold determination is something Kelly has become accustomed to. But a murderer is loose in his adopted city, bringing memories to the fore of a killer who walked in the shadows of Whitechapel, and shining light on a dark past the Inspector is trying hard to forget.

A gritty, twisted, and authentic Victorian romantic suspense, sure to rip you apart… just like old Jack.

My father had insisted a good surgeon empathised with their patients. And distracted themselves from their cadavers.

Review

Firstly I must point out that I’m not generally a lover of historical romances, but Fearless is not your typical romance novel. It’s dark and sinister, with a strong female protagonist and several twists I didn’t expect.

Another thing I didn’t expect from this book was that I was going to love it as much as I did. It’s up there with The Butterfly Garden as one of my top reads of 2017 so far.

I must admit I was drawn to this book mainly due to the Jack the Ripper connection and I wasn’t disappointed.  There are plenty of references to the Ripper throughout the book without it detracting too much from the story at hand.

Like most books I have read recently it has its up and downs. The whole romance situation between Anna and Inspector Kelly reminded me why I don’t like romance novels. However, there is something at the end of the book which give a little substance to the reasoning from one party at least.

I loved the whole Suffragette aspect. It’s something I’m aware of but quite how difficult life was for women in the 1800’s. It definitely makes me extremely thankful for everything they did back then so I could have the life I have.

I’m not sure I’m completely converted to the whole historical romance genre but I’m waiting with baited breath for the next instalment of the Scarlet Suffragette series which is due to be released in April 2017.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Run Girl by Eva Hudson

Run Girl by Eva HudsonTitle: Run Girl (Ingrid Skyberg FBI Thrillers Book #1)

Author: Eva Hudson

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 174

 

Synopsis

A strange new city, a missing girl, and a race against time.

In Europe to help broker a peace deal between warring African nations, Secretary of State Jayne Whitticker is in the middle of delicate negotiations when her favourite grandchild disappears from Paris.

Special Agent Ingrid Skyberg is hauled out of her FBI training session at Scotland Yard to head the hunt for the 18-year-old girl, who the FBI believe is now in London. The problem is, Ingrid has only one lead, just a few hours to track her down and can’t call in the local cops for assistance for fear the story is leaked to the press.

Will she succeed in her unexpected mission? Or will her failure lead to the collapse of the crucial peace talks?

With so much resting on her decisions and subsequent actions, one thing’s for sure: Ingrid will give everything’s she’s got to find the girl and save the day.

She took a deep breath and straightened her spine. This might be the toughest job of her career, but it was also the most prestigious. She had an opportunity to help

Review

I chose this book as I was looking for something quick and easy to read and this fit the bill perfectly. An added bonus was that it was also interesting with a whole lot packed into its limited pages.

It’s simply written and, being a novella, the author gets to the point almost straight away. The majority of the characters are engaging although the missing teenager did irritate me a little at times.

The characters aren’t too complex. In my opinion, this book sets introduces the characters just enough to hook you. In my opinion it makes you want to read more of the series.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Book Review – Younger

Today’s book review is Younger by Suzanne Munshower. This was another of my Kindle First choices.

They look at the shoes, the watch, and the bag. Then they decide where to seat you.

Synopsis

When PR pro Anna Wallingham gets dumped by her last client, she finds herself running out of options in LA, where looks trump experience. Desperate to prove she is still relevant, the fiftysomething accepts a shady job offer from Pierre Barton, secretive billionaire owner of Barton Pharmaceuticals. Isolated in a facility outside London, she agrees to test a new top-secret product guaranteed to make her look thirty years younger. Anna is starting to look on the outside the way she feels on the inside: ageless. But she soon discovers that her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances, leading her to research just who stands to gain—and lose—with this miraculous product. When Pierre drops dead in front of her, she takes off on a dangerous journey across Europe hoping to stay alive long enough to uncover the truth.

With the hard-won knowledge that younger isn’t always better, Anna is determined to escape and reclaim her life before it’s too late.

Review

I’m not really sure where to go with this review as the book was in no way a thriller, which is what it was sold as.

It began with a lot of promise. Her boss arrives at her apartment and promptly dies. Anna changes her name and goes on the run across Europe.

The book goes on to explain how Anna got to where she is now. This is where I lost interest. We hear about her shopping trips (which became a little tiresome) and the ‘life coaches’ appointed to make her sound and act appropriate to her newly come by age (I didn’t care)

I was almost a third of the way through the book before I found anything remotely resembling a ‘thriller’ and even then it fell a little flat.

The characters, although plentiful, didn’t engage me in the way I had hoped and I found myself uninterested in whether or not they found the answers they were looking for.

Overall, the book was OK, but maybe just not my cup of tea.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Book Review – Three Simple Rules

I’ll get straight to the point. Three Simple Rules comes under the classification of erotic fiction. Now, this isn’t something that I would normally read, but since I am expanding my reading horizons I thought I would give it a go.

“It’s better to have regret of what you’ve done, than what you failed to do, it whispered.

Synopsis

I would do anything for my dream job. Now I have to.

In order to save my skin at the office, I’m forced to sell it at an exclusive and illegal blindfold club. He paid thousands of dollars for one night to own me, but when my blindfold comes off, I want more. More nights, more rules, and more from this unavailable and uncompromising man.

Rule number one, no questions. Rule number two, no lies. But, rule number three? That’s the hardest one to obey.

This book contains strong sexual content including M/F/F and is intended for mature audience

Review

Considering the last time I read any erotic fiction it was the 50 Shades trilogy, I wasn’t expecting anything too spectacular from this book. However I have to admit that it was pleasantly surprising and so much better than 50 shades. I’ve already added the next book in the series (Three Hard Lessons, which is all about Payton) to my kindle.

I found I really enjoyed Nikki Sloane’s writing style, although like most fiction of this genre I have read there does seem to be an touch of repetitiveness.

The characters of Evelyn and Logan were easy to relate to but I struggled a little relating to Payton in the beginning.

Don’t get me wrong I did have a couple of issues with parts of the story. One of the MFF scenes did leave me thinking why?

If you’re looking for a quick fast paced read with sizzling sex to boot then I would recommend this book.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

A-Z Book Survey

The lovely Emma over at The Stationery Geekette has tagged me in an A-Z Book tagSurvey. Since I love a challenge as much as I love books I think this is a fab idea. She was inspired by Charlotte over at Wonderfully Bookish, however the original A-Z Book  Survey came was created by created by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner way back in 2013.

A – Author you’ve read the most number of books from

Patricia Cornwell

This could be one of several authors as I tend to binge read once I find an author I like. Off the top of my head I think it is probably Patricia Cornwell as I have read most of her early books and really want to get back to her later books.

Other authors that could come close include Roald Dahl, John Grisham and Kathy Reichs. All of these authors have provided me with some fabulous reading material over the years.

B – Best Sequel Ever

Red Queen by Christina Henry

I’m not sure I would say this was the best sequel ever, but it is the most recent one I’ve read and really enjoyed and I can’t think of another at the minute.

C – Currently Reading

TSG Book Box

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I usually have two books on the go one on my Kindle and one paperback. My current kindle book is Wintersong by S Jae-Jones and was the March book from TSG Bookclub Box. My current paperback choice is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

D – Drink of choice while reading

A hot drink of some kind

This would more than likely be a cup of tea, although depending on my location I could be persuaded with a hot chocolate or latte.

E – E-Reader or Physical Book

Both for totally different reasons

I must admit that from a practical point of view I prefer my kindle to a physical book. This is mainly due to the ease of being able to carry around hundreds of books which means I never run out. It also means I can read in bed long after my OH has turned the lights out. However, I’m not prepared to give up physical books completely. I love the feel and the smell of a new book.

F – Fictional character you would have dated in high-school

This is hard and I don’t think I have an answer.

I was quite a swot at school so books always came before boys. Plus I think there may have been a bit of an issue if I’d have dated any of the male characters from the books I read in high school as they would have been far too old for me. I never really got into the young adult books from my teens; I seemed to switch from Roald Dahl/C S Lewis/Penelope Liveley to John Grisham/Danielle Steel.

G – Glad you gave this book a chance

Fearless by Nicola Claire

This was a book my mum had shared with me for my kindle and while we both love a good crime/thriller book, my mum also loves her historical fiction and romance.

This book has both and more and I once I got into it, I was hooked. I’m no eagerly awaiting the next book in the series Breathless which is due in April 2017.

H – Hidden gem

I don’t have an answer for this as it can’t have been hidden very well if I’ve read it! Unless I’m interpreting it a little too literally 🙂

I – Important moment in your reading life

Finishing my first hardback book and owning a Kindle.

I’m not sure I can pick just one moment as there are a couple the immediately spring to mind. The first was finishing my first ‘adult’ book – Message from Nam by Danielle Steel. This was quite a big thing for me as the book was a hardback novel and made me feel grown up when reading.

The second is being bought my kindle. Initially I couldn’t get used to it as I was so used to have a book in my hand but it definitely came into its own when we went on holiday and I could take a well over a week’s worth of books without having to sacrifice my clothes!

J – Just Finished

The last book I read was Betrayal by Tim Tigner.

This is the second book I’ve read by Tim Tigner and it probably won’t be the last. You can read my full review very soon.

K – Kinds of books you won’t read

I don’t think there are any.

I’m the kind of reader that will give most genres of books a try. However, I’m not a lover of romance unless it’s in additional to another storyline/plot.

L – Longest book you’ve read

The Lake House by Kate Morton.

I can’t tell you the longest book I’ve ever read as I have only started tracking my reading history recently so I will have to go with the longest book I’ve read in the last 12 months.

M – Major book hangover

Dominic Grey Series by Layton Green

I think my most recent major book hangover was when I finished all the Dominic Grey series by Layton Green. I picked up the fourth book in the series The Shadow Cartel as part of the Kindle First promotion and quickly went back and found and read the first three books.

N – Number of bookcases you own

Just the one.

Personally, I only own 1 bookcase and at the minute that is only half full. Last year I had a mass cull of my paperback books as there were a lot that I’d inherited and they were just gathering dust so I made the decision to get rid of them.

Overall in the house we have four separate ‘library’ areas which include all the kids books too.

O – One book you’ve read multiple times

From a fiction point of view, I tend to be a ‘read it once’ kinda gal as I have so many books to get through. I’m also assuming children’s books don’t count it (The Gruffalo anyone!!) That leaves my productivity books which I refer to regularly so my answer would probably be Getting Things Done by David Allen.

This book is great and, when I implement it correctly and keep up with it, it improves my productivity immensely. I have a copy on my kindle and a paperback on my desk so I can refer to it whenever I wish.

My son recently began reading Roald Dahl books at bedtime so from a purely fiction point of view it would probably be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

P – Preferred place to read

Anywhere.

Provided I ‘ve got something to read I’m more than happy to read anywhere and everywhere. Unfortunately, since life and family tend to get in my way, the most likely place to find me reading is in bed.

Q – Quotes that inspire you

I love quotes in general but here are a few of my favourites specifically from books that have stuck with me.

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ― Dr. Seuss

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

R – Reading regrets

I have no regrets about any of the books I have read, apart from maybe jumping on the 50 shades bandwagon.

However, one thing I wish I had started to do earlier is to track the books I’ve read over the years. I’d love to be able to look back now and see what books I read when I was 20 to see how my reading style had changed.

S – Series started and not yet finished

Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell

I have read quite a lot of her books to date but have recently tended to go with my free downloads on my kindle over purchasing new books so I do have a few to catch up on.

T – Three of your all-time favourite books

Picking just three is harder than I thought but the ones I keep coming back to are

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis

My favourite books do tend to change over time so choosing books that stood the test of time was quite difficult. I have chosen to go with books that I know I could read again despite knowing the outcome.

I first read To Kill A Mockingbird at school and unlike most of the other books I read during my English GCSE, I actually enjoyed this one and have read it again several times.

I loved all the Harry Potter books, this was my favourite even though it marked the end of an era.

I loved all of the Narnia book but this still remains one of my favourite books when I was younger. I can’t wait until my children are old enough for me to read this to them.

U – Unapologetic fangirl for

I’m not sure I’d class myself as a fangirl 100% but I’d probably have to say Harry Potter

V – Very excited for this release

Match Up

Match Up is a collaboration written by twenty-two of the world’s top thriller authors, who have paired up their best-loved characters in eleven short stories. I’m particularly looking forward to the pairing of Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.

W – Worst bookish habit

This most definitely has to be not knowing when to put a good book down.

There have been moments in my past where I have been reading while making dinner because I just had to know what happened next.

X – X Marks the spot: Start at the left and pick the 27th Book on your shelf

Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult

I haven’t read it yet, but I already love this book. The rose gold spine is gorgeous, plus it’s a hardback, which is rare on my bookshelf these days (I can’t justify the price to myself)

Y – Your latest book purchase

I haven’t actually received is yet as it is the April TSG Bookclub book – The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

However, if we are talking books that I can actually start reading now then the last one I paid money for was Alfie the Doorstep Cat by Rachel Wells. I also regularly download books from Bookbub for free, the latest one being Dark Heart by Catherine Lee.

Z – Zzzz-snatcher (book that last kept you up late)

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

Although this book was quite disturbing, I found I couldn’t put it down. Read my full review here (blatant self promotion there!!)

 

 

I enjoyed completing this list, even if some parts were a little harder than others.

I’m tagging Alex at Better Together Home, Johanne at Jo’s Writing Space and Rebecca at Lawyer In the Making

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Book Review – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson had been on my kindle TBR list for ages and after reading the synopsis again I decided to give it a go.

Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.

Synopsis

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

Review

I feel I must start with a bit of a warning about this book. It has some disturbing content and may be a little bit unsettling for some readers. It will most definitely not be for everyone.

Aside from the blurb, I knew nothing at all about this book and hadn’t read anything by Dot Hutchinson before. After reading the book, this will very likely change.

The story is dark and twisted in a way I’ve not come across since reading Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted. However I felt compelled to keep reading.

The story is told from two points of view. Firstly there is Maya, a former captive from the garden, who is retelling her story and refuses to be rushed. Secondly there are the FBI agents in charge of the case. The book alternates between past as Maya recounts her horrifying tale of captivity and the present as the FBI conduct their interview with her.

This type of storytelling worked really well within the book as it allows the reader time to process what had happened to the girls in the garden without becoming too overwhelming. In my opinion, it helped to add a little suspense to the story and kept you hanging on as each little mystery was revealed.

The character development is good. However, I found the overall storyline little lacking in places and the ending twist didn’t quite deliver the sharp intake of breath I expected after reading the rest of the book. Nevertheless I’m not going to let a slightly lacklustre ending spoil what was one of my favourite reads this year.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

 

TSG Book Box – J’Taime

*Disclaimer: This is a totally unbiased review of a product I purchased myself. I am in no way affiliated with Emma-Louise Smith or The Stationery Geekette

Firstly I must apologise for the lateness in writing this post and must point out that the last date for ordering the next box has now past. However they April box will be on sale from 1 April if you wish to order.

Anyway, back to my review. As I mentioned last month there are now three different box options to choose from (standard box with paperback/kindle voucher, deluxe box with book/kindle voucher or a basic accessories pack), This month I went for the kindle option.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, this month’s box was titled Je T’aime. As the name suggests this month was all about love whether that be hearts and flowers or self-care and the contents supported this 100%.

The chosen book was Wintersong by S Jae-Jones and focuses on the bond between siblings and since I had opted for the kindle book I received an Amazon gift card code so I could download my book.
Other items in this months box were a handmade bookmark, a face mask, some hot chocolate, a chocolate rose and some hand cream. Unfortunately I never got the chance to sample ANY of the chocolate as my kids got there before me (but since this month  we are all about love I let them off).

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

Book Review – In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

I obtained this book via Amazon’s Kindle First scheme where you can pick up a copy of next months new releases for 99p (free if you’re a Prime Member). My February choice was In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen as anything relating to Bletchley Park intrigues me immensely.

Synopsis

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

Review

After the first couple of pages I did wonder if I would be able continue much further due to the stereotypical 1940’s English upperclass language – there were a few too many jolly goods for my liking.  However, I persevered despite finding myself reminiscing of episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth at times.

The opening of the book provides the reader with a full list of characters, which can sometimes be a little off putting for some especially since there were so many to remember. That said once you began reading it wasn’t that difficult to keep track of the various characters and their connection with the plot.

As far as the mystery aspect of the story goes, there are twists and turns throughout the book which, for the most part, keep the reader guessing.

Overall In Farleigh Field turned out to be a much lighter read than I was expecting considering the subject matter but nonetheless an entertaining read.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Book Review – The Russian Renaissance by Ian Kharatomov

My own reading challenge and the book group I’m part of have a book set in Europe as one of the prompts hence my choice of The Russian Renaissance by Ian Kharatomov. This book was read on my Kindle.

SYNOPSIS

Constantine can no longer hide in Europe. As he discovers a century-old secret, he must flee back to Moscow, chased by assassins.

Only one man can save him. Eugene Sokolov: an officer in the world’s most elite rescue unit, a martial arts legend… and Constantine’s brother.

They face an enemy unlike any other. In a game run by a KGB spymaster, the fate of Russia will depend on their survival.

Review

I’ve not read a thriller of this kind for quite some time and I must say I enjoyed it. There is a good mix of Russian history, action, suspense and intrigue as the three main characters – Eugene, Constantine and Asiyah – fight to avoid a full blown revolution and environmental disaster while battling past demons.

I found myself rooting for the characters of Eugene and Constantine and found them easy to relate to. Asiyah on the other hand didn’t quite give me the same connection. There was something about her character that didn’t quite gel with me and I didn’t have the same concern for her safety as I did for the Solokov brothers.

I have vague memories of some of the events mentioned in the book and even those before my time were detailed enough that I didn’t need to be reaching for Google every 5 minutes.

There is sufficient explanation of the environmental issues. I must admit I glossed over slightly but not enough to lose track of the story.

On the whole I enjoyed the foray into the world of Russian politics. I felt the book had just the right amount of intrigue and action to balance out the deeper subject matter.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Book Haul: The Works

You may have seen in an earlier post that I have been attempting to declutter my books using the KonMari method. However, books spark a lot of joy in this house so we didn’t really get rid of many.

It didn’t help when I came across the multi buy offers available at The Works and bought some books for myself and the kids.

Check out what we got in our latest book haul.

Kids Books

I purchased 15 books in total for the kids taking advantage of the 10 for £10 offer online and later the 5 for £5 in store.

As you can see we got several books by Sue Hendra (Barry the Fish with Fingers; Doug the Bug that went boing; Keith the Cat with the Magic Hat; No-bot). We already have a couple of her books and both kids love them. Hopefully these will be just as good.

My eldest daughter loved Hairy Maclary when she was younger, so when I saw this I knew it had to join our collection.

We chose Evie’s Mad Hair Day especially for my youngest daughter.  She’s going through a bit of a phase where she doesn’t like having her hair brushed and this seemed such an appropriate book for her.

Some books will be added to our seasonal book rotation but most will go straight onto the bookcases.

My Books

These books all came from the 6 for £10 offer online. All the books came from the thrillers/crime fiction as this tends to be my go to genre, but there is a good choice of other books for anyone who isn’t a fan.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Have you made any recent book purchases?

I’d love to hear from you so feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x