Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S Jae-JonesTitleWintersong

Author: S Jae-Jones

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult

Page Count: 368

 

Synopsis

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen, Liesl feels that her childhood dreams are slipping away. And when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. But with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.

Review

Wintersong was chosen by Emma-Louise for the February TSG Bookclub Box. I’d heard a few good reviews about it before I got around to reading it. Unfortunately I didn’t fall in love with it.

The book is a retelling of the film Labyrinth (which I love) and bears similarities to a poem by Christina Rosetti called The Goblin Market. So far so good.

I loved the descriptive world building and beautiful writing. For a debut novel the writing was impeccable. It’s a well written fantasy and I can understand the 5 star reviews and the hype. It just didn’t cut it for me – I didn’t connect with the characters very much or fall in love with their story.

So why didn’t I love it?

The romance was all over the place. One minute they’re all over each other, the next they can’t even bear to be in the same room. Also for a YA novel the content is a little more ‘mature’ than I would have expected at times, definitely not for the younger age of the proposed demographic. I’m not sure I missed the point, but I also feel like the reader is being given the wrong ideas surrounding the sex as Liesl is expecting it to fix her.

Although the Goblin King was the one character I actually liked for the most part it felt like he was secondary character in the story a lot of the time. I understand the story focuses on Liesl but it also about her connection with the Goblin King and I didn’t really see that.

I struggled to keep up with the plot and where the story was going. Just when I got a handle on things, the goalposts moved and we switched direction leaving me bewildered.

My final disappointment was the ending. It was so anticlimactic. Don’t get me wrong, I was anticipating the majority of what was going to happen, but I expected a little more in the way of consequences.

There was no explanation. What happened to everyone afterwards? How did it happen before? There are too many aspects of the story that are thrown at the reader and then left unresolved.

I’d like to hope that there was a reason for the ending – a second book maybe? If that’s the case then it would make a little more sense and hopefully answer all my questions.

Despite all my disappointments I would recommend this book purely down to the writing. Wintersong is beautifully written and extremely descriptive. Fingers crossed for book two.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

TitleFangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 460

 

Synopsis

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)

Review

Fangirl is a book by another new to me author. I’d read loads of reviews and the majority of people have raved about it. All I can say is I don’t think they were my kind of people.

I definitely had high expectations about this book and to be honest, at best it was OK. I’m not the within the target demographic of the book so this may go some way to explaining my disappointment.

There is no real plot to speak and the ending is somewhat abrupt. I would have preferred a little more if I’m honest. It felt as if I was reading about a small snapshot of Cath’s life without a beginning or an end.

I really didn’t like the references to Harry Potter or the fanfiction scattered through the book. If I’m honest I skimmed over the whole Simon/Baz fan fiction as I found I didn’t care in the slightest about it. Did it affect my reading pleasure? No, I don’t actually think it did, in fact I didn’t actually see the point of it.

So what kept me reading? Most definitely the relationships between the characters. I especially loved the growing relationship between Cath and Reagan. At times I actually found myself caring about the characters and truly wanted to know how things worked out between everyone.

I don’t regret reading Fangirl, but I may think twice before picking up any of Rainbow Rowell’s young adult books in future – they just aren’t for me.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

Betrayal by Tim Tigner

Title: Betrayal

Author: Tim Tigner

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 306

Synopsis

WHAT WOULD YOU DO
if you awoke after a mission . . .
in an Iranian hospital . . .
as the only survivor . . .
of a terrorist attack?

FBI AGENT Odysseus Carr is about to find out.

But should Odi trust the man who saved him . . .
or the man who sent him . . .
or none of the above?

Presumed dead after a staged terrorist attack, FBI Agent Odysseus Carr is running for his life with the doctor who rescued him. Meanwhile, the same power players who sent Odi to his death are now manipulating an FBI profiler into blindly tracking him down. She’s not just their best, she’s also his sister.

As Odi unravels a devious plot of profound political manipulation and global consequence, the hunted becomes the hunter, and the real terror begins.

Betrayal changes a man . Betrayal makes him worry about things he never worried about before. It makes him worry about things like self - preservation. Ponder motives. And plan his revenge

Review

Betrayal is the second book I’ve read by Tim Tigner, I read Flash back in December, and yet again, I loved it.  The title is very appropriate, just about every character is betrayed, sometimes more than once during the book.

It’s action packed, fast paced political plot keeps you hooked until the end wondering if the main characters make it out in one piece.

The story is unpredictable and almost believable in this current day and age. That said there are a couple of sections that made me go ‘Really??’, before reminding myself it was just a book. Regardless of that I found myself reading ‘one more chapter’ until it was past midnight and I had run out of chapters to read.

I loved the characters, especially the twins Odi and Cassie, and found myself willing them on throughout the book. I also liked the fact that their actions weren’t always what you would have expected from the main characters.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of political/espionage thrillers, although I would advise you hold off on the coffee while drinking!!

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

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

 

6 Months to Change My Life – Review

Back in September I set myself a set of goals in order to make some changes in my life.

Unfortunately I have fallen very short with almost all of my goals, so much so that I decided to abandon them at the beginning of the year. I spent some time reassessing my situation and trying to work out where I went wrong.

How Did I Do?

Personal Development

I have set up my planner and have almost set up my GTD system. However I haven’t been using them as much as I’d have liked recently.

Since the beginning of the year I have read a total of 13 books so I have managed to keep up with this.

Relationship

Again this is a 50/50 win. We haven’t been having as many date night away from home or our movie nights but the counselling is going well.

Health and Fitness

The less said about this the better. I haven’t reach my target weight, nor have I begun any kind of exercise routine.

Career/Blog

This is one area where I have actually made some progress. I’ve been trying to post regularly and have begun to look into ways to monetise by blog.

I have also been looking at some possible jobs in my local area which fit in with my family life so all in all I would say this was an area that I am winning in.

Charity/Giving

Again, I have made some progress on my goals for this area. I have been giving blood as often as I can and have been helping others where possible too.

The only thing remaining is to make a decision regarding the Dyspraxia Foundation role.

Friends/Family

Things haven’t worked out too well in this area. I have made some moves towards reaching my goals but unfortunately they haven’t quite gone to plan.

Finances

Not gone quite as well as planned due to some unforeseen expenses. However we have some money saved some I’m not counting it as a loss just yet.

Physical Environment

There is no way to put this other than to say that this area has been a total fail. That said I have got some new bedding, towels and paint for our bedroom so I did make some effort.

As far as the clutter goes, it’s still there smirking at me with all it’s friends – I’m blaming Christmas and birthdays for it all!

Wellbeing

As many mums will tell you, taking care of yourself is usually low on the priority list. Well, this mum is no different. No matter how hard I try to find regular time for myself I usually end up cleaning up after the kids or something equally as mundane.

Fun/Recreation

It’s easy to see where my priorities lie. I have managed to book a family holiday and had an amazing time for my 40th birthday.

We have also had some amazing family fun so overall this area is on track.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

After giving it some thought I think my main issue is trying to do too much in one go. It’s also pretty easy to see, after analysing my wins, where my priorities and focus lie. I love reading and writing so any goals relating to these areas are easy for me to reach. Whereas, things like exercise and eating healthily, aren’t things I overly enjoy (although I love the results) so I find goals in these areas harder to focus on.

Next Steps

I’m not giving up on my goals just yet, although I will be making some changes. I’m planning on reducing the number of goals I aim for within each area and will be focusing on the goals I find harder more often.

I will be back very soon with more information on my goals for the next 6 months so watch this space.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

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

Review: The Stationery Geekette Bookclub Box – September

*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

Well this month’s box has arrived and I’m as impressed with the packaging and contents as I was with the August box (check out my review here). As last month we have the little paper doily with the address on and some washi tape securing the box, which I think is a lovely touch.

This month’s theme was mystery and we had received a few spoilers on Emma’s social media outlets over the course of the month so those people (like myself) who have no patience can check out the book and check we haven’t already read it.

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So this month, the book we received was The Lake House by Kate Morton and I’m really looking forward to getting started reading this, although I need to finish my current book first. As last month it was wrapped in a gorgeous purple patterned tissue paper and secured using a really cute book themed washi (which I own).

The other items in the box included:

  • A gorgeous Holmes candle from Meraki Candles. Its a lovely musky candle with sandalwood and amber undertones and it smells divine. I’m not a huge fan of overly floral scents so this is perfect for me.2016-10-05-11-40-37
  • A Uniball Signo Sakura 0.38 with a cute moustache clip. I love these pens and they write really well on all the paper I’ve tried so I’m really pleased to have received another one for my pen collection.

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  • Finally we received some book review inserts from PlanwithHannah. To be honest, I’m a little torn about these as I already have a book journal that I keep in my TN so initially I was unsure if they would be used. They are also a little plain for my liking, however the quality of the paper is fantastic so I have decided to use them in my blog planner for making notes on book reviews for my blog.

2016-10-05-11-39-58

This month’s note was handwritten which gave a slightly more personal touch and the challenges are back, only this month they are on the website. I will be trying extra hard this month to complete all the challenges in the hope that Team Cassiopeia can win this month. I’ve already downloaded mine and they are printed and in my planner.

Emma has knocked it out of the park again with this months box. I did wonder if we would end up with the same kinds of things with a different theme each month but I’m pleased to say that we haven’t.

If you are interested in purchasing next month’s psychological thriller themed box then head on over the the TSG: Bookclub Box group over on Facebook or check out TSG Bookclub on Etsy where the October box is now on sale (but only for a couple more days)

If you want to know more check out the website here

Thanks for reading

Debbie x

6 Months To Change My Life: Week 1 – My Goals and Actions

accomplish-1136863_640

Back in March of this year a group of lovely ladies from UKPA decided that they were going to set a bunch of goals to make improvements to their life. Unfortunately I missed out on the first round but, since their 6 months were up last week they  temporarily opened their doors again as they prepare to start a second round and this time I am made sure I was there with a vengeance.

As the name suggests the idea is to set yourself realistic goals that can be reached within the given timeframe and will then hopefully propel you forward with your longer term goals. Personally, I have been ‘winging it ‘ a little over the past few months with many areas of my life so this seems like the perfect solution for me to start moving forward and I now have a group of wonderful people who are looking to make their own changes and will be there to offer support and accountability.

I have broken my goals down into my Level 10 Life categories and at first glance there may seem to be quite a few, but I am confident that I can achieve them and as they say ‘Go Big or Go Home!’

Anyway, here are my 6 month goals which I hope to have achieved by 18 March 2017. I have also broken them down further into 90 day goals and the further still to 30 days goals.

I’ve seen a few of the ladies in the group break down their goals on a weekly basis too which I think is a great idea and one I have decided to follow, although my current list covers this week and next.

week-1-actions

For the first time in ages I feel a lot more positive and motivated about my life and I’m hoping with the help and support of the ladies in the group and my readers this will continue and come March I will have made some amazing progress towards my long term goals.

There are a few ladies from the UKPA group blogging about their goals, if you want to read about them you can check them out here.

Do you set yourself regular goals? What are your plans for the next 3-6 months? I’d love to hear from you and hopefully we can support each other on the road to reaching our goals.

Debbie x