Tag Archives: friends

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Review 

Oh wow! My hearts still pounding in my chest. What a shocker of a novel! 

I first came across Clare Mackintosh when I read an interview with her in Writers Magazine. I liked the sound of her thriller genre novels and I’ve been waiting to read them for ages. My only regret being that I waited so long! 

I Let You Go is Clare’s debut novel and it focuses on a hit and run incident. There are several perspectives in the novel and I’m going to be a bit shady about the entire plot because there are a couple of massive twists that I do not want to spoil for anyone! 

I really enjoyed this novel, it was a page turner without a doubt. I couldn’t put it down, the storyline gripped me and changed my view of British thriller writing irrevocably. It seemed like everything I thought was true was wrong! There were so many twists and turns that it made my head spin but in a good way! 

I can’t wait to get stuck into Clare’s second novel I See You because if it’s anything as good as this one I’ll find myself literally thrilled! 

Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson. Review 

As usual this novel had lots of Milly’s warmth and love written between its pages. But while it didn’t spoil the quality of the novel I felt that this one was a little bit too sad for me. Other than the last 30 pages or so it seemed like it was a bad time for all the whole way through! 

That doesn’t mean it was a bad book, I still enjoyed Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage but I felt it was very different from the usual chirpy style of Milly’s books. I guess what it was, was more realistic! 

Viv Blackbird takes a job at Wildflower Cottage Animal Sanctuary for one reason and one reason only. But as time goes on she suddenly finds herself far more emotionally invested in the sanctuary than she would ever have thought she could be.

Geraldine has worked at the sanctuary for many years, running from a horrific past she has nowhere else to go and desperately wants to stay at the place that has become a sanctuary for her as well as the animals. 

Stel, Viv’s mother has had a bad time with men, she always manages to pick the losers but now she seems to have met a real gent. Someone who wants to give her the world. It seems almost to good to be true… 

There were a lot more characters in this novel than Milly’s others but at no point did it feel busy, or hard to follow. Each character’s story was interesting, heartwarming and at times really sad. I felt that Milly dabbled in a little thriller and suspense in this one too and surprisingly it really worked well! 

I can’t say this was my favourite novel written by Milly Johnson but it was still easily deserving of 4*. 

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson. Review 

I’ve loved Milly Johnson’s novels since I picked up a sample of Its Raining Men in Waterstones, Meadowhall a few years ago. I was really excited to receive my copy of The Queen of Wishful Thinking from the publishers Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. 

As usual I really enjoyed the book. This one deals with a lot of sensitive issues, as is expected with the romance/chic-lit genre it focuses on two people who are unhappy and find happiness with each other. But it also deals with the more serious issues of infertility, abortion, infidelity and euthanasia. I also love that there are funny anecdotes at the beginning of several chapters which are extracts from The Daily Trumpet as usual posting hilarious misprints. Being a Yorkshire lass myself I found the one about a 12 year old called Beyoncé-Jane particularly funny, because I know for a fact that there’s probably kids called that in S.Yorks. 

Anyway, back to the storyline; Bonnie is in a loveless marriage with Stephen who controls everything about their lives, to top it off she’s also unhappy in her job, until she unexpectedly lands a job at a new antique store called Pot of Gold and gets more than she bargained for when she falls for her boss Lew. Lew is having problems of his own with his golddigger wife who is fast becoming unrecognisable. Having just recovered from a heart attack, Lew just wants a quiet life. And his feelings for Bonnie are developing as well. 

Alongside the love story, as aforementioned there are lots of other issues going on, but it all comes together very nicely. Milly has a skill of putting together novels which make you equal parts laugh along with the characters and fall apart with them as their world comes crashing down around them and they struggle to pick the pieces up. But friends are on hand, support is there and these friends go to outrageous lengths to protect their own. 

And of course in the end they all get to live happily ever after which is the best part about all of Milly’s novels! 

Roseblood by AG Howard. Review 

Thank you to the publisher Abrams and Chronicle Books Ltd for my copy of Roseblood in exchange for an honest review. 

‘When the phantom touched me, when his eyes held mine, I felt it. And I still feel it now.’

Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did! There’s always that worry when you receive an RC that you’re not going to like the book. Although Roseblood had been on my tbr I had no idea what to expect. But there was no need for me to worry. Roseblood is an addictive, gripping, fantastic, magical, horrifying tale of dark love, dark friendship and the terrible things that creep behind mirrors. 

Roseblood is a sort of retelling of The Phantom of the Opera but over a century after the events of Gaston Leroux’s novel, made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber theatre production. Rune is sent to an opera school in Paris called Roseblood after the death of her father. She has a brilliant voice but every time she sings, she gets sick, her mother hopes that schooling her voice will help her to become a great opera star. 

But she is haunted by the Phantom boy she discovers in the grounds of the school. At first she is sure that he is the Phantom from the story, sent to her to become her muse. But gradually her suspicion grows that this phantom may be someone or something else. 

This story is mesmerising, gripping from start to finish, the electric feelings between the characters draws you in deeper and deeper as the horrific secrets of the Phantom and his legacy are revealed. 

I really cannot express how much I really enjoyed this book, I had no previous experience of The Phantom of the Opera so I was going into it completely blind as what to expect, but it was everything it promised to be. Creepy on the supernatural side, romantic for the YA side and devilishly delicious throughout! 

Highly recommended to anyone who likes supernatural YA fiction. 

Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour By Alan Titchmarsh. Review 

I’ve always had a (not so) secret love for Alan Titchmarsh’s novel ever since I read Only Dad many years ago. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour is such a lovely little read and very refreshing after the two tomes I’ve read recently! 

Mr Gandy is suddenly (if tragically) released from his unhappy marriage around the same time as he is forced into early retirement. Inspired by a book he finds about 18th century young gentleman going on the Grand Tour (modern day gap year), he decides to embark on a tour of Europe of his own, much to the disgust of his eldest son who views it as him squandering his inheritance. 

What Mr Gandy finds, is not only beautiful hotels, culture filled cities and art, but also friendships and love. Alan Titchmarsh writes surprisingly profound messages about love and life and often gives you a good laugh as you go along! 

I really enjoyed this short novel particularly the travel parts, as I’m in Italy myself at the moment it was great to see Mr Gandy’s views and actually be able to picture them myself! 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Review. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finished reading Lord of Shadows and screamed with frustration that I’ve got to wait another 2 years for the last book in this series? 

I’ve been dragged head first back into the world of Shadowhunters, I’ve fought beside them, strapped on gear and felt the love for each and every one of them tear me apart. I was certain that this series wouldn’t touch me in the same way as TMI and TID but it has. Oh it has. 

Before you read any further I should advise that although this review with be spoiler free, there will be spoilers from the first book Lady Midnight there has to be otherwise I can’t discuss it at all. So if you haven’t read Lady Midnight you should wait before reading this review, although you can read my review of LM here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/lady-midnight-by-cassandra-clare-review/ 

I enjoyed Lady Midnight don’t get me wrong, but it feels now that it was just Cassandra Clare wetting her lips before she truly brought back the tragedy and destruction of the Shadowhunter lives in Lord of Shadows. 

We pick up where we left off in Lady Midnight. Emma, Julian and co are getting their lives back together after Emma killed the corrupt and murdering warlock Malcolm Fade, now they’ve got a host of sea demons to contend with. Emma is still pretending to date Mark to prevent her and Jules’ love from becoming the fearsome curse of parabatai love. 

This novel is very action packed, there’s a lot of moments where you just can’t put it down because you need to know what happens. I love the relationships which are developing between some of the characters particularly Emma and Jules but there’s also some other more surprising ones. Plus we get to finally find out Diana’s secret and there’s lots of Magnus and Alec in this one which of course just adds to the amazingness. Because who doesn’t want more Malec? 

What I am beginning to think though is that at this rate Cassandra Clare is going to give George RR Martin a run for his money at killing the ones we love and destroying us in the process. I’m currently on holiday and sobbing uncontrollably on a sunbed because of a fictional character is not dignified. 

On a serious note though, I don’t think I will ever, ever, ever, get enough of the  Shadowhunters and Cassandra if you’re reading this and could write The Queen of Air and Darkness any quicker it would be much appreciated! 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Review. 

I’ve been so excited to start reading this book for ages now but with everything else on my tbr it took me so long to get round to it that I decided a couple more months wouldn’t hurt in order to wait for the sequel Lord of Shadows to come out. I guess a big part of me was also afraid about reading this novel. I loved TMI so much, loved Jace and Clary and Simon and Isabelle and Alec and Magnus. I loved the extra tastes of their story that I got in the The Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I also loved TID because it was so different, set in the past and telling the history of some of the characters from TMI as well as filling in the gaps and answering questions that TMI didn’t. For reference if you’ve never read either series then I would read them in the order TMI followed by TID. 

Anyway much as I’d love to talk more about Shadowhunters I’m going to have to get back to this series or we’ll be here all day! TDI follows the characters of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn. Best friends since forever, they have sworn to support each other in the closest way any Shadowhunter can, by becoming parabatai a connection which binds their souls together, they can feel each other’s pain, fear, emotions and most of all they must never, ever fall in love. Parabatai who fall in love are breaking the law and if discovered by The Clave (the government of sorts) they will be stripped of their marks and cast out of the community I.e not allowed to be shadowhunters anymore. But the problem is, they’re beginning to feel things for each other that they really shouldn’t be feeling. 

To top it off, something weird is happening in their area of Los Angeles. Mundanes (humans) and fairies are being murdered and the Carstairs and Blackthorns are roped into hunting down the killer and finding out what’s going on before one of them is hurt or worse. 

My fear was unfounded, it took about 100 pages and I was suddenly swept back into the Shadowhunter world as if I’d never left it. I loved the cameo appearances from Jace and Clary and I enjoyed getting to know the new characters who were children in the first series. The love story is never going to be the same as Jace and Clary’s but it is just as great in a different way, as for the ending it left me flabbergasted and also secretly glad that I waited for Lord of Shadows because now I can dive straight back in and find out what happens next! I also have to applaud Cassandra Clare’s handling of autism in this book, I thought it was well done, well explained and without prejudice. 

Now I’m off to read Lord of Shadows! Check back here for a spoiler free review of that one in the next couple of days.