My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall

Title: My Sister and Other Liars

Author: Ruth Dugdall

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Page Count: 364

 

Synopsis

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself.

The brain is not like the body: it does not let go so easily and is harder to control, and as I drift to sleep it takes me elsewhere, to the place of all my nightmares.

Review

After reading this book I can safely say that the subject matter is not for the faint hearted. The topics include self harm, eating disorders and crimes of a sexual nature.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ruth Dugdall and although the story is a little uncomfortable at times, it made for compulsive reading.

The book focuses on Sam, a patient in a specialist hospital dealing with eating disorders. We follow her story as she works with her therapist on the run up to her review hearing.

Sam believes she deserves to die due to events in her past and her doctor is trying to get her to open up. The story is set in the present, although we share Sam’s memories from the past as she talks to her doctor.

We hear about her sister and how she was attacked on Sam’s 16th birthday and left with disabilities. We are also introduced to her parents and a few other characters.

I felt the some of the characters were a little unbelievable, such as why a 16 year old was taking on the role of PI to find out who attacked her sister. Surely the police would have done a much better job than they appeared to have done.

I’ll admit to figuring out some of the secrets before they were written but the identity of the attacker eluded me almost until the end.

If you can bring yourself to read this dark and gritty thriller then I would highly recommend it

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Presidential Shift by C G Cooper

Presidential Shift by C G CooperTitle: Presidential Shift (Book IV of the Corps Justice Series)

Author: C G Cooper

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 174

 

Synopsis

The vice president killed…
The first lady attacked…
A president on the edge…

Cal Stokes, former Marine and owner of Stokes Security International (SSI), has had a busy year. Trying to calm his inner demons and forget the tragic loss of his men, Cal dives headlong into his work, taking the battle to the enemy. Now the president needs his help to uncover a leak in his administration and start the long road to cleaning up Washington, and wrestling power back from corrupt officials who threaten to plunge the American government further into the abyss. Will Cal uncover the truth before it’s too late?

Most Americans have no idea the level of corruption that exists within their own country.

Review

Presidential Shift is the fourth book in the Corps Justice series and although this is the first book I’ve read by C G Cooper, it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve already downloaded the first three books of the series as my interest was piqued by some of the existing relationships within this book. They had obviously been developed in previous book and I want to know more. That said, it is still possible to read this book as a standalone without it impeding the flow.

There were a couple of areas where I began to feel a little bit lost, especially with some of the Marine references – Semper Gumby anyone? Fortunately I was reading on my Kindle and was easily able to use the capabilities to find out what they were talking about and continue with the story.

The book pretty fast moving, steadily picking up the pace right until the end. Although, I must admit that I had my suspicions about who was behind everything from very early on. I did begin to doubt myself before finding out I was, in fact correct in my assumptions. It may be because I have a bit of craving for US political dramas at the minute. Whatever the reason, there were still lots of twists and turns.

My only issue is that by the end of the story I still had a couple of unanswered questions. Hopefully, the characters will pop up in future stories and their stories will develop further.

Although I had my suspicions, a main plot detail about one of the characters wasn’t mentioned until right at the end. Personally, I don’t think it would have ruined the ending. In fact I think it may have thrown me off the scent.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

The Spookshow by Tim McGregor

The Spookshow by Tim McGregorTitle: The Spookshow (Spookshow #1)

Author: Tim McGregor

Genre: Paranormal

Page Count: 114

 

Synopsis

Life used to be normal for Billie Culpepper. Drab even. That all that changed after an accident left her in a coma for three days. That’s when the spookshow really began, when Billie realized that she could see the dead.

And the dead could see her.

Now, they won’t leave her alone.

Accompanying two friends through a haunted house, Billie uncovers a terrible secret that brings, not only the police, but the homicide detective responsible for putting her into the hospital in the first place. He’s also the one man she sworn to stay away from.

Generations of teenagers and thrill-seekers had stomped in and out of the murder house over the decades.

Review

I picked this book up for free from Amazon (as I do many of my books) as the blerb drew me in. I’m glad it did, despite it being outside my usual choice of book.

Considering I usually avoid anything remotely spooky like the plague, I found this book more physic fiction than out and out horror. The story was scary enough to give you a chill without the nightmare scenario. All in all there was a great balance on that front.

It’s eventful and fast paced and I actually enjoyed it more than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not without it’s flaws. There appears to be a backstory between the main character, Billie, and the detective which gets a little confusing. I couldn’t help feeling as if I’d missed a crucial part of the story. However, I have since found out that this is the topic of the second book.

It’s as if this book is there to catch your attention and the following books in the series elaborate on the things you have learnt. I’m not sure I’m completely hooked with this series, but am willing to give the next book, Welcome to the Spookshow, a try.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Execution is Everything by Nick Warren

Execution is Everything by Nick WarrenTitleExecution Is Everything: A Jon Kaine Short Thriller

Author: Nick Warren

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 120

 

Synopsis

When you have 10 seconds to live, Execution Is Everything.

Dr. Jon Kaine has flown into New York to commit a crime, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the late-night bar he hides out in, the gang that runs it, and the beautiful woman who follows him inside.

Kaine is a psychologist – more used to business pitches than bar fights – but as the night descends into violence he’s forced to put his skills to darker use.

Submission. Affirmation. Respect. Three weapons in the ancient art of manipulating people.

Review

I completely devoured this book. I read it in one day as I couldn’t put it down.

I love the character development, especially the main protagonist. They are totally engaging and believable and extremely well developed for a book of this length.

The story is packed with plenty of tension and is totally different from anything I’ve read for a long time. I especially loved the psychology aspects within the plot, it adds something to the whole story. It was interesting to see how it’s possible to ‘outwit’ people just by knowing how they will react in certain situations.

It definitely left me wanting more and I’ve signed up for parts 2 and 3 so will update my review when I’ve read them.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

The Fairytale Box – TSG BookClub Box

I finally managed to collect my latest subscription box from The Stationery Geekette earlier this week after several visits to the Post Office.

This month the theme was fairytales and the book Emma chose was The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millward Hargarave.  The book blew me away before I even began reading. Every page is decorated with drawings and cartography markings and it looks amazing. There are also maps of the island inside the front and back covers. All in all the book looks beautiful.

Anyway, onto the rest of the items in the box. This month we have an amazing smelling was melt from Westroad Witches Wax Cauldron.

There was also a Happily Ever After tag from MTB Creations which I love. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet but it definitely will be finding a good use as it’s beautiful.

Next up we have a fairytale keyring. Mine is a cute little fairy/sprite.

Finally we have some stickers from LGD Designs on Facebook

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

*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*

Mrs Brimbles Box – April 2017

My first ever Mrs Brimbles Box arrived earlier in the week and if I didn’t know better I’d think it was made specifically for me.

This month’s theme was Book and Planner Nerds and it sums me up perfectly.

In the standard box you will find
  • 4 x 12×12 scrapbook paper – 2 designs, double sided
  • 1 x 12×12 journal card
  • 1 x decorative stickers – Book & Planner Nerds
  • 1 x planner stickers
  • 1 x decorative stickers – Nerd animals
  • 1 x A6 stamp set
  • 1 x pack of 15 tabs
  • 1 x pack of ribbon embellishments

As I chose the Big Box I also received some magnetic clips and some pens.

I absolutely adore everything in the box and will definitely be ordering future boxes. I love Mrs Brimbles designs all the characters/images herself.

Starting with the scrapbook paper, there are four sheets in total. Each side has a different design – there is a book one, a floral one, a stripy one and a scribble design one. I love them all and the colours are gorgeous.

I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do with them yet but I’m sure I’ll be sharing with you once I finally make up my mind.

Next up we have some journalling cards. There are a total of 11 journaling cards on a 12 x 12 sheet all of which complement the theme beautifully.

The stamp set is perfect and I’m pretty sure that I will be using every one of them at some point in my planners/journals etc.

I’d like to use them on the tabs that were included but I need to pluck up enough courage to give it a go.

My favourite items from this months box have to be the stickers. I love the geeky girls and animals. I’m pretty sure they will be making an appearance in my planner very soon.

Finally from the standard box we have the little embellishments. Mine are pink and purple bows some of which will be getting made into paperclips.

Additional Items

The Big Box contains a few additional items. This month they were a set of six magnetic page markers from My Prima Planner and a set of MAMBI pens from Create 365.

 

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

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