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

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

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

My 2017 Reading Challenge

In 2016 I decided to make a concerted effort to read more, I mean it’s something that I love doing so why not. I scoured the internet for reading challenges and found that they all seemed a little too ambitious for me at that time so I set myself a target of reading 25 books.

However, the challenges I’d seen kept popping up and since I also wanted to try and get myself out of reading the same types of books so I set myself my own little challenge to try and broaden my reading experience.

I’m pleased to say to say that I exceeded my total book target by reading 29 books in the year, however my additional challenge fell a little flat (I managed 11 out of 25) so I have decided to try again this year. I have updated my list slightly and added a few more since I want to try and read 50 books this year. I haven’t decided what books I’m going to read for each category yet, and to be honest some might not be filled in until I come across a book that appeals but nevertheless I am going to try my hardest to complete my own little challenge this year.

For those of you who are interested, here is my 2017 challenge which I will be attempting alongside my book target of 50 books.

  1. A ‘classic’ book
  2. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read
  3. A book about an interesting woman
  4. A book based on a true story
  5. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
  6. A book by an author you love
  7. A book by someone who shares your first name
  8. A book from a charity shop
  9. A book from a nonhuman perspective
  10. A book first published in the year you were born
  11. A book involving a mythical creature
  12. A book of historical fiction
  13. A book on spirituality
  14. A book recommended by a friend
  15. A book set in Europe
  16. A book set in the future
  17. A book set in the wilderness
  18. A book set in two different time periods
  19. A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017
  20. A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long
  21. A book that’s published in 2017
  22. A book where you learn something new
  23. A book with a cat on the cover
  24. A book with a colour in the title
  25. A book with a female lead/heroine
  26. A book with a month or day of the week in the title
  27. A book with a one word title
  28. A book with a red spine
  29. A book with multiple authors
  30. A book with one of the four seasons in the title
  31. A book you loved as a child
  32. A book you started but never finished
  33. A book you’ve always wanted to read
  34. A non-fiction book you own but have never read
  35. A novel set during wartime
  36. An autobiography
  37. An espionage thriller
  38. An inspirational book
  39. The first book in a series you haven’t read before

Have you set yourself a reading target? How many books are you aiming for? Do you participate in any reading challenges and if so, which ones?

Until next time

Debbie x

The Scary First Post

Hi there!

I’m both nervous and excited to finally get my blog up and running as I’ve been considering it for ages but never actually got started for one reason or another.

I’m hoping that there might actually be someone out there reading this but if not, never mind.

I’m very new to all this so here’s a bit of an introduction. I’m Debbie, a wife, daughter and mum of 3 crazy kids.

I’m hoping my blog will be an outlet for all my interests (which can be a rather eclectic mix and totally depends on my mood) and if I’m lucky there may even be one or two people who actually read my posts and if I’m really lucky they might even find them interesting and come back for more.

When I find time I love reading and always have a stack of books to read as well as a huge collection on my Kindle. I tend to lean towards thrillers/crime fiction but am currently trying to broaden my horizon by reading other genres and am always open to recommendations.

I am also a massive stationery addict and have been for as long as I can remember. I love anything stationery related and nearly always have more than one pen and a notebook with me wherever I go. This obsession had led me to several planning and journalling communities and I can honestly say that I have finally found my tribe.

When I’m not running around after my family, reading or planning I love chilling with my OH and catching up on the days events or just working through the backlog of TV shows we have on Sky+. I’ve recently been dragged into the world of Batman (and anything DC related) thanks to my OH and I’m starting to turn into a bit of a geek about it all myself.

I’ve got more things I’d like to write about including, but not limited to,

  • Bullet Journalling
  • Planning and Organising
  • Making my House a Home
  • My 101 Goals in 1001 days
  • My Family
  • My Capsule Wardrobe
I’d love to hear from you if any of these sound of interest, so please sign up for notifications so you never miss a post.
Also, being new to all this I would love to connect so please leave your details in the comments below so I can pop over and learn more about you.
Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon
Debbie x