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

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

 

Blog Schedule

I’ve been a bit of a busy bee today, I mean three posts in one day is almost unheard of but I thought that while I have the time to spare I would spend a bit of time trying to get myself in front as far as my blog is concerned because, as I mentioned previously over the past few months I’ve kind of let my blog slip and haven’t really been posting.

I’m hoping that now we are getting back in to a routine at home with the kids are school etc I will be able to spend a little bit more time on my blog and with that in mind I decided to put together a blog schedule to help with things and also in an attempt to hold myself accountable.

My overall goal is to post on a daily basis but at the minute I’d be happy with at least three posts a week until I get myself into the swing of things. However in order to avoid posting on one particular subject every day for a week I have devised a bit of a timetable to maintain some variety to my posts.

After some deliberation I have decided on the following schedule, however it may be subject to change depending on how things go.

Monday – Planner Girls Collective formerly know as Confessions of a Plannerholic
These will be predominantly planner/stationery related, however there may be a few surprises in there too.

Tuesday – Family Life, Parenting and Relationships
This could be anything from craft activities with the kids to family days out to date night ideas.

Wednesday – Home and Lifestyle
This could be anything from room redecoration to cleaning tips and anything in between. I have a lot of projects/ideas I want to try and finish this year and will also be looking for ways to make money in order to reach these goals.

Thursday – Stationery, Planners, Productivity and Organisation
I could be covering anything from reviews and set ups to unboxings and my latest hauls. I will also be covering my journey to increase my productivity by following David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Friday – Anything Goes
Fridays will cover anything that doesn’t quite fit with my other days really so could be anything from book reviews to fashion, personal development to health and fitness and everything in between, basically whatever takes my fancy.

Saturday – Goal Updates
Anything related to my goals such as my weight loss, project zero etc. I will be aiming to cover a different subject each week.

Sunday – Weekly Roundup/Reviews
My aim on a Sunday is to post a weekly roundup of things I’ve been loving over the course of the week. This could be blog posts, Instagram photos, TV programs, You Tube videos etc.

The plan is to start working from this schedule on Monday with my first post for the Planner Girls Collective and then we’ll just have to see how it goes from there.

Personally, I can’t decide if I’ve been a little bit over ambitious but as the saying goes ‘Go Big or Go Home!’

What do you think of my schedule? Is there anything you’d like to see discussed? Feel free to drop me a comment with your thoughts.

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.

2016-10-05-11-38-51

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.

2016-10-05-11-41-02

  • 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

Ugly Bug Does Subscription Box – October 2016

Back in July I ordered my first subscription box from Michelle at Ugly Bug Does and I loved it. I had been contemplating ordering again but felt that as I didn’t really use stickers all that much in my planner (which was a bullet journal at the time) I couldn’t really justify ordering every month.

Anyway, I’ve now switched my planner from my bullet journal to a ring bound planner using DIY Fish inserts (you can read more about it here) and can finally start ordering all the fab stickers that are available, starting with an Ugly Bug Does subscription box.

I was late ordering the October box and snuck in just before Michelle shut the shop for a few days so I didn’t have quite as long to wait at some customers. My dispatch notice pinged on my phone on Monday and my box arrived safely through my letterbox on Tuesday.

As with my previous box the contents are a perfect mix of stickers and other planner related items. This month the theme is Autumn/Halloween and along with a selection of stickers there was a roll of washi tape, a fox paperclip, a pen and a planner charm. There is just the right mix between the Autumnal items and the Halloween bits and I love that everything in the box is both pretty and functional which means that everything gets used and isn’t just left in a drawer waiting for the right moment to be used.

So let’s take a closer look at the items, firstly we have the stickers which are from Ugly Bug Does. There are four sheets in total, three sets of functional stickers and a set of Halloween countdown stickers. The functional stickers include a fab selection of useful icons, checklist banners, flags, habit trackers, headers and half boxes and apart from the colours (which I personally associate with Halloween) isn’t really Halloween themed, which is perfect for those of you who aren’t a fan of all things spooky.

Michelle has also made the planner charms for the boxes and again it’s the perfect mix of Halloween and Autumn with a mix of spooky charms (mine had a skull, a witch and a skeletal hand) and acrylic leaves in gorgeous greens and browns, offset with some co-ordinating beads. The kids said that it sounds like the rustling autumn leaves when moved.

charm

Next up is the decorative fox paperclip from ScarlettMoonCrafts on Etsy. I love this little guy but think I one of my kids must have caught his tail at some point as it’s looking a little delicate. Nevertheless, he’s gorgeous and will be going into my planner where hopefully he will be safe from little fingers.

fox

 

Keeping with the autumn theme there is a lovely gold pen with bronze crystals. I’ve seen these pens around but this is the first one I’ve owned and I’m pleased to say that it writes really nice. This will probably find its way into my blog planner as the colour fits in well with my dividers.

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Finally, we have the washi tape which is a lovely autumnal watercolour with leaves, pumpkins, acorns and mushrooms/toadstools on. The colours are quite subtle and work really well against the white background.

washi

So there we have it, yet another fabulous collection of stationery from Michelle, all of which I will definitely be using and I can’t wait to get started with my stickers. I will also be anxiously awaiting the reopening of Ugly Bug Does ready to get my hands on the next subscription box.

Debbie x