Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Stranded by Sarah Goodwin (ARC)

I’ve been so lucky getting to read really good books lately, and Stranded by Sarah Goodwin is one of those books I absolutely enjoyed reading. It has a very simple premise: A reality show/ social experiment type of thing with eight contestants that are to live on a secluded island and try to survive for a year, pretending that the world is ending and they are the only remaining survivors. I mean, what a very interesting scenario!

I was absolutely hooked from the very beginning. Maddy is the protagonist of the story. She had a unique upbringing and lost her parents prior to joining the show. I loved her voice and characterization because she’s very relatable, and she’s not your usual KatnissBellaor Hazel Grace; and she’s basically just a socially awkward adult who grew up without any friends at all. I know it may sound weird for me to say that I loved that she is all that prior to meeting the other seven contestants, but it’s just fun to see how she’d overcome all of those things and see her in group dynamics. There were times in the book that I got frustrated and annoyed by her, but in hindsight, her whole demeanor kinda worked with the whole set-up of the ‘game.’

It has a “Lord of the Flies” feel, with the whole power-grabbing, and we see here how wicked people are with the things they’re willing to do in order to survive. See, after their initial rations run out, it became clear that this whole thing was very serious – and it really did turn graphic, I’m telling you. It’s fascinating in a sickening way, and I think this is what makes this book worth reading. I got really into it midway, and I just couldn’t put it down. It’s very engaging, compelling, exciting, frightening, and just a whole lot entertaining.

I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an exciting and delicious thriller. Absolutely worth your time and dime!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, Avon Books UK via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2021 by Avon
Pre-order your copy below:

About the Author
Sarah Goodwin is a novelist who grew up in rural Hertfordshire. She was raised on ‘The Good Life’ ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie’ by her parents, who turned a blind eye to her dabbling in herbal medicine, feminism, eco-warrior ideals and witchcraft. They were understandably unsurprised when she developed the lifetime ambition of building a hut in the woods and living there like a soothsayer.

Her second preferred career, was author.

At Bath Spa University Sarah studied for a BA in Creative Writing and self-published many novels across various genres, including YA magical realism, contemporary women’s fiction, romance and horror.

Sarah graduated in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. After writing several historical novels, she decided to return to her roots and write instead about the wild, the darkness and survival, which led to her coming up with the idea for ‘Stranded’ which would become her first professionally published novel.

Book Review: My Heart Went Walking by Sally Hanan (ARC)

Expected Date of Publication: February 15, 2022
Publisher: Fire Drinkers Publishing

My Heart Went Walking is a family story set in the 1980’s Ireland, which follows Una as she navigates life through love, loss and redemption. When Una found herself pregnant at 16, she decided to leave her little hometown, leaving her family behind, and her bestfriend Cullen – the father of her child. Little did she know that this action would cause everyone’s lives to change dramatically.

I’ve been trying to read books from new authors and as I have discovered, it is a kind of a hit and miss for me. This one though, is definitely a massive hit. Initially, I really thought that this would be a very difficult read given its quite foreboding summary but after reading the first chapter, I found myself just breezing through it.

The story was poignant, bittersweet and very heartwarming. I loved that not only we get the main character’s POV, we also got the POV of the other two characters she’s very much involved with.

I loved Una’s dynamic character. I liked the fact that she didn’t act like a damsel in distress in the situation she unexpectedly found herself into and when she set her mind into something, she’d really go and see it through. I mean, despite her young age, I loved that she’s got the nerves of steel. I wish I had the courage she shad when I was 16.

This is a family story and there’s nothing particularly new about the plot, but I really liked how the author made each character relatable and very human. Una’s sister Ellie is the perfect sister but not annoying in any way. The bond she shared with Una may have been tested, but at times, blood really is thicker than water. I loved that Una’s mom was realistically portrayed as someone who is not perfect but would do everything for her children. There really is no other love like a mother’s love for her child.

I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’ve always been fascinated by the beautiful sceneries I’ve seen on travel blogs and videos and some books set in Ireland which I’ve read in the past, so I guess I was really looking forward to reading more of these beautiful settings which are not too many here. It’s understandable though, because this book is more plot-focused which I appreciate too. That’s just me nitpicking so don’t mind me. Hah!

To sum this up, Sally Hanan’s debut is an absolute gem! The ending was perfection leaving me smiling and feeling so good. I really cannot wait to see what she has in store for us in her next book!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, Fire Drinkers Publishing via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
Sally Hanan is an Irish import to the US. She made the eight-hour crossing back in the ’90s with a husband and two young children in tow. Since then she has managed to raise her above-average kids, develop a solid addiction to Facebook, and clean up when someone is about to visit.

On a more professional note, Sally has been counseling people for more than twenty years and is a certified life coach and a former teacher at the Texas School of Supernatural Ministry. She also runs a writing and editing business on the side, because she gets bored easily and she loves fixing words as well as people.

*Buy Link to follow*

Book Review: He Gets That From Me by Jacqueline Friedland (ARC)

I got this from Netgalley a couple of days ago and started reading it yesterday morning and was able to finish it by midnight. This book just sucked me in from the very beginning. I totally devoured it. I seriously could not put it down, and I just had to finish it right away!

He Gets That From Me has two storylines that weave in and out of the narrative: One is with Maggie Fischer, a young mother who helped out a gay couple as a surrogate in order to afford to go to college, and the other one are the Rigdales, the gay couple who are trying to build a family of their own. But nothing in life is black and white as ten years after the twins were born, the Rigdales and Maggie found out a shocking revelation about one of the twins.

This book just holds the readers’ attention from start to finish because of its well-conceived and deftly drawn characters. It was told through a dual POV — Maggie Fischer and Donovan Rigsdale, and I loved that their voices are so authentic, so vivid that it feels like I personally know them. Even though I couldn’t fully relate with Maggie, I could feel her pain and her anger towards her life and her situation. With Donovan, maybe I am biased because I am a gay man myself, but I feel like I could resonate with him more and that I understood more where he’s coming from. It’s really the emotional complexity and intensity of their situation that really pulled me in.

The writing puts me inside these characters so that I know them and feel them because Friedland wonderfully captures a little of the essence of that humanity in these situations they found themselves in. It navigates two families’ responses to such unintentional incidents along with the resolution that each party could think of in order to resolve it. It wasn’t very pretty that I could tell you, but there is much to be gleaned from it. It’s absolutely engaging with a brilliant structure too!

After finishing it, I sat back and reflected on what its central message was: what family truly means, how far you will go for your child, and that love (this is cheesy) will always lead that way no matter what.

I’d definitely recommend this book. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. There is so much to this book that a short review does not do any justice. I just have to say that this is by far the best book I’ve read so far this year – an absolute must-read!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, SparkPress via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Paperback, 256 pages
Date of Publication: September 14th 2021 by SparkPress
Pre-order your copy below:

About the Author
Jacqueline Friedland is the author of award-winning novels Trouble the Water and That’s Not a Thing. A graduate of The University of Pennsylvania and NYU Law School, she practiced as an attorney before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband and four children. For contact info, tour dates, and book clubs please visit http://www.jacquelinefriedland.com and Instagram @jackiefriedland

Book Review: To Find Him and Love Him Again, Volume 3 (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #12) – Harper Fox

What a fantastic epilogue (?) of the series! It felt like just yesterday when I’d read its first book, Once Upon a Haunted Moor. In this last volume of the ’10th’ book, we get to see yet again the slew of characters we’ve met and fallen in love with since the series’ was released in 2013.

I was trying to read this slowly and in between other books on my TBR list, but because of the build-up of the events from the last volume, I was also dying to know how they will ever find themselves into the present– into their reality. Who will be the hero this time when both Lee and Gideon are powerless to control this alternate reality they were thrown into. It was just very fascinating how the author was able to intricately connects everything, each character in such powerful scenes that will make you sob and sigh with relief at the same time.

This volume three wraps up the series very nicely, with all the feels that only the likes of Harper Fox could so eloquently conveyed. I’m still hoping that we’ll get more of Gideon and Lee, even a little novella here and there, because this series, for me, is one of the most beautiful works I’ve read from this genre. It’s definitely worth your dime and worth your time.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 245 pages
Published May 2nd 2021 by FoxTales

Do check out my review of each book in the series below:

Once Upon A Haunted Moor (Tyack & Frayne #1) – Harper Fox
Tinsel Fish (Tyac
k & Frayne #2) – Harper Fox
Don’t Let Go (Tyack & Frayne #3) – Harper Fox
Kitto (Tyack & Frayne #4) – Harper Fox
Guardians Of The Haunted Moor (Tyack & Frayne #5) – Harper Fox
Third Solstice (Tyack & Frayne, #6) – Harper Fox
Preacher, Prophet, Beast (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #7) – Harper Fox
Underhill: A Halloween Story (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #8) – Harper Fox
Once Upon A Western Shore (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #9) – Harper Fox
To Find Him and Love Him Again, Volume 1 (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #10) – Harper Fox
To Find Him and Love Him Again, Volume 2 (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #11) – Harper Fox

About The Author
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn’t letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she’s yet to discover them.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Book Review: An Unexpected Kind of Love by Hayden Stone (ARC)

First, let me just tell you that I devoured this book in one sitting after receiving a copy yesterday. It’s that engaging and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is also the debut work of the author! Yay!

This story is basically the gay Notting Hill, and who doesn’t love Notting Hill? I mean, tell me, who doesn’t love Notting Hill??! Right? We got the hipster, anti-social, struggling bookstore owner Aubrey Barnes meeting a C-list American actor Blake Sinclair who’s filming in Soho, and we have a crew of crazy and chaotic side characters!

I loved the series of meet-cute between Aubrey and Blake. There was immediate chemistry between them. The first half of the story was quite engaging and with the right pacing as well. It was told through Aubrey’s perspective only, and I really liked his dry sense of humor, his banter with his friends, and just the way he interacts with Blake. It was just adorable.

Aside from our main characters, I really enjoyed Lily, who’s apparently Aubrey’s best friend and confidante. She’s just very interesting and mysterious at the same time. I’d definitely read a book about her if there’s one in the future.

If I were to nitpick the story, I’d say the scene at the tube station didn’t quite work for me. I won’ spoil it, but the setting of this book is very Gen-Z, right? We have social media, and almost everybody has cellphones, so it’s weird that Blake didn’t even think about the repercussions of his gesture and the way he reacted after it came out; I’m like – surely, he knew that this would come out. Also, the grand romantic gesture of Aubrey flying to New York was a bit cliché, but I love cliché, so that was okay. After that, the whole thing felt just a wee bit rushed. It’s still very much enjoyable, but I wished we’ve gotten more before the time skip in the epilogue.

Overall, this was a very feel-good romance. It has solid characters, the story was very engaging, and it has a happy ending, so I’m one happy bookworm!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: August 9th 2021 by Entangled Embrace

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pre-order your copy on the link below:

About Hayden Stone
More animal than mineral, Hayden Stone is a writer of queer fiction, especially with kissing. He currently lives in Victoria, Canada, and has previously lived in Vancouver, Canada and London, UK. He knows which is the business end of a trowel, the horror of the wrong kind of leaves on the track delaying trains, and a bit about ancient ruins. Hayden likes strong coffee and is owned by two cats.

Pronouns: he/him

Book Review: To Find Him and Love Him Again, Volume 2 (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #11) – Harper Fox

This is the second out of the three volumes of the tenth Tyack & Frayne story. If you’ve not been following the series religiously, you have got to stop reading this volume now because it won’t make sense. You really have to start from the very first book.

I thought this second book was quite interesting. Due to the events from the last volume, Lee and Gideon found themselves in London, albeit not together and living their individual lives in a pandemic, post-Brexit London that is. The whole thing was just disorienting. There was like this magic casted into their universe that resulted to major changes in their lives. It was interesting witnessing the what-ifs and what could’ve been but also a bit confusing because of the intersecting timelines of each character, not just for Lee and Gideon but old characters from the earlier books – it made Inception way easier to decipher.

Here, we get more insights about Gideon’s character being a ‘beast,’ we see Lee’s life pre-Gideon and without Gideon. It’s basically an alternate reality but we also get some answers to some questions, particularly about Gideon as mentioned above.

The first volume ended with a cliffhanger and this one did too, so I think I made the right choice of waiting for the third and final volume to be released. This may not be as engaging as the previous books in the series, but I liked that it’s different and very on-brand and consistent with the tone of the series. The whole paranormal stuff just gotten way over the top and I live for it!

I’d of course recommend this to the followers of the series but please be reminded that you’ve to get the rest of the volumes first!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published August 15th 2020 by FoxTales Publications

About The Author
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn’t letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she’s yet to discover them.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Book Review: What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie (ARC)

Young aspiring writer Ginny Anderson and her family are moving into the mysterious Woodmoor Manor to spend the summer. Having recently found out about Agatha Christie, her curiosity towards the mystery surrounding the spooky manor was piqued even more. There, she discover moving mannequins, heard whispers in the dark, and saw weird shadows, among other things, suspecting that she’s the only one noticing these. She also befriended a boy in town named Will to help her investigate and try to solve these mysteries.

This was a very fun book to read. The characters are well-developed, and all are very likable too. I particularly loved the dynamics between Ginny and her older brother Leo. As for the mystery part of the book, I thought it was well-paced within the story. I loved that there’s this creepy atmosphere about the place and even its people. There was no gore in the book since it’s intended for the middle grade, but the author is still very effective in setting the mood here.

If there’s one criticism I have for the book, it’s probably its ending. It just felt anticlimactic for me. I mean, it was happy and all, but I would’ve pushed a bit, and expanded it a bit more. Overall, as a middle-grade novel, it’s absolutely a fantastic read – there’s mystery, great characters, fun and adventures, and just a feel-good ending. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 14th 2021

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Kids via Netgalley for an impartial review.

Pre-order your copy below:

About the Author
Lindsay Currie is the author of spooky middle grade novels. While she’s never experienced anything truly paranormal, Lindsay enjoys researching her city’s forgotten history and learning about the events that shaped the many ghost legends in Chicago. When she’s not reading or writing a mystery novel of her own, Lindsay can generally be found taking long walks with her family, chilling with one of her three dogs, or searching the graveyard for her next antagonist.

Lindsay has two middle-grade novels out currently – THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET, and SCRITCH SCRATCH. Coming soon, WHAT LIVES IN THE WOODS!

To find out more about Lindsay, please visit her website at http://www.lindsaycurrie.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/lindsayncurrie Instagram: @lindsayncurrie TikTok: @lindsaycurrieauthor

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Book Review: To Find Him and Love Him Again, Volume 1 (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #10) – Harper Fox

My review for the ninth book of the series, Once Upon A Western Shore was posted last May of 2018 and I initially thought that was it for Lee and Gideon but since the series is all about the supernatural stuff, I knew that there’ll probably be more from them down the road, and readers of the series would be glad to know that not only will they be getting one additional book, but three volumes of a very long storyline altogether! I’ve actually had to wait for the last one to drop earlier this year before starting the first volume.

What I loved most about this series is how the author depicted Cornwall with its atmospheric, magical and sometimes dark background to a slew of characters that readers like yours truly came to love since the first book. Harper Fox is a genius when it comes to this. She knows how to properly set the mood of the story and this is consistent all throughout the series.

In this first volume, we see the surface of what’s about to unfold in the future for our beloved couple, Gideon and Lee. The normalcy of their domestic life together with their daughter Tamsyn almost feels like a prelude for the sh!t that is about to go down and I’ve just realized that this is literally what this volume is about. There were warning signs already and I’ve to tell you, the last few books in the series I’ve to read them at daytime because I remember having a nightmare about Bodmin haha, it was so bizarre and it scared the hell out of me. I got the same feeling for this first volume, this creepy feeling about it. I mean, that’s good and all, because it shows just how good Harper Fox is n keeping up with the whole vibe of the story.

If you’ve been following this series, you’d absolutely loved this like I did. If you haven’t heard about it, you’d have 12 books to read through and I’d guarantee that you won’t be regretting it. This is another solid five stars for me.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published April 25th 2020 by FoxTales Publications

About The Author
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn’t letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she’s yet to discover them.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Book Review: The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

I’ve recently received a copy of this as a gift, and I wasn’t expecting much from it. I am not that familiar with Patterson’s style. However, I’ve read his Women’s Murder Club series and a couple (I think) from his Alex Cross, ages ago and I seem to remember generally liking his writing. And with President Bill Clinton as a collaborator, I thought this would be an interesting read given the premise of the book.

I do find the beginning of the book a bit slow and unexciting. I thought there are just too many details that won’t affect the plot without being too verbose. The title, by the way, was a catchy one. I mean, it’s the ‘President trying to save the US’ premise but with twists and turns that was quite compelling.

I find the President’s characterization a bit too much, If I’m honest. He is a former marine and a prisoner of war in Iraq who has lost his wife to cancer and has a blood disease too! I mean, the dude just couldn’t get a break in life. But hey, he’s the President, and it’s his responsibility to stop a virus from destroying the country!

Over time, I find myself not wanting to put it down! Hah! It’s admittedly quite engaging because it’s the state of affairs in the US and the entire world nowadays. Everything is online, and cyberterrorism is a critical issue facing particularly powerful nations such as the US.

I think it’s interesting to see a scenario like this and see what the President would do in such a situation, and with Bill Clinton at the helm of this story, it makes it more believable. We get insights into what a ‘good’ president / or good people in the government are willing to do for the common welfare of the country.

Overall, I thought it was enjoyable. I find the poignancy of the message from the President at the end quite touching, although it could get a bit preachy too, but hey, this is politics at the end of the day. I’d recommend this for people looking to read an excellent political thriller!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 513 pages
Published June 4th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company and Knopf

About The Authors
James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. His books have sold in excess of 375 million copies worldwide. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers.

James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books for young readers including the Middle School, I Funny, Treasure Hunters, Dog Diaries and Max Einstein series. James has donated millions in grants to independent bookshops and has been the most borrowed author of adult fiction in UK libraries for the past eleven years in a row. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.

William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States. After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. His Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. He served as the UN Envoy for Tsunami Recovery and is now the UN Special Envoy to Haiti.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Book Review: The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard (Paranormal Princes #1) by Charlie Cochet

This was a cute little read. There’s this cute world building, almost like a cutesy version of Once Upon A Time but where there is a fairy tale world and the real life merging. Did I say cute? lol Okay, so it’s just over a hundred pages, with Owin, an ocelot shifter and his assigned bodyguard Grimm, a wolf-shifter exchanging banter all throughout the story.

At first, I was just annoyed with Owin’s acting like a little diva towards Grimm every now and then but I appreciate his growth over the course of his whole ‘quest’ – something that he needs to fulfill to show his worth as one of the crowned Princes of this Shifter World led by the naughty king of all shifters, Alarick.

What I loved most about the story is that it’s cute and quick. Initially Owin and Grimm’s banter felt a bit too much but since everything feels like happening simultaneously, there’s no room to overthink it. It isn’t as memorable as the other stories and characters from the author but I guess, not everything is on THIRDS level.

I do love the epilogue though. It was sweet and funny. I’d still recommend this one for some light and fun reading and I’d most likely be reading the next story in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 154 pages
Published September 19th 2019

About the Author
Charlie Cochet is the international bestselling author of the THIRDS series. Born in Cuba and raised in the US, Charlie enjoys the best of both worlds, from her daily Cuban latte to her passion for classic rock.

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found devouring a book, releasing her creativity through art, or binge watching a new TV series. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.