Tag Archives: relationship

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Review 

Read no further if you haven’t read the first book Outlander as there will be spoilers from the first novel, but none from Dragonfly in Amber

I really enjoyed Outlander where I was swept into the world of Claire and Jamie Fraser. Claire travels back through time to the 1700s where she meets a young highlander Jamie Fraser who she falls in love with. These are hefty books but beautifully written with amazing language, wonderfully put together passages of language. 

We return to this world in Dragonfly in Amber but twenty years on, Claire is back in the 1960s with a grown up daughter, returning to Scotland to reveal several truths that will blow the worlds of those near to her wide open. But fear not avid readers, we return to Claire’s memories to find out what happened next in her love saga with Jamie.

This sequel has all the passion of the first book in the series but tinged with sadness, knowing that Claire is back in present day means that the reader is second guessing how this could have happened and what may happen next. Some of the old friends and foes return and in places it’s a case of life and death! It’s another bulky novel but it doesn’t feel that way because of how engrossed you become in the storyline and needing to know what happens next. 

From a historical fiction lover’s viewpoint, I was really enamoured with understanding the rising of ’44 and the historical perspective not only of Bonnie Prince Charlie who I had heard of but never really studied, but also the court of the Parisian King Louis and his followers. It was interesting to see how much more advanced the French were in those days than the English. For example, I’m sure this doesn’t count as a spoiler but there is a very funny scene where Claire’s French friend gets her to wax her legs and armpits and Jamie’s reaction to this is just hilarious. I can’t wait to start Voyager

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Review 

I can’t say why this book appealed to me other than to say that the title really intrigued me. Two words that in the Western world we would never associate with one another ‘erotic’ and ‘Punjabi’. I guess that’s because our little knowledge of other cultures sees anyone who is religious as being strict, conservative and definitely not about to write erotic stories! And that’s exactly what Nikki thinks too. Nikki is a young Punjabi woman born and raised in London as an East-West mix. Nikki is a member of feminist groups, she doesn’t believe in the culture of her religion which she sees as binding, controlling and far too conservative for the modern woman. Certainly she isn’t happy when her sister Mindi asks her to post her profile on the marriage board of the temple in Southall. Nikki doesn’t want her sister to have an arranged marriage, something she certainly couldn’t imagine herself. 

But while she is at the temple, Nikki sees an advertisement to teach storytelling to lonely widows in the community and is excited by the prospect. Currently working in a bar after quitting her law degree she has been at a loose end and is unsure where to go or what to do next. But her plans to teach the Widows English reading and writing goes astray when they have other ideas about what stories to tell. 

I really enjoyed this novel. The story was for the most part light, and enjoyable but there was also a dark undertone. The suppression of women in certain cultures. Murder, bullying, hatred, racism and fear. But it was not an unhappy novel despite these undertones. Instead what we see is women brought to life by stories, gaining their freedom, enriching their lives and rising from surpression. I think for people who have grown up in a completely western world, who may possibly have a lack of understanding of other cultures this book provides an interesting and different perspective, to gain understanding that people are people no matter where they come from, the religion they follow and certainly not the colour of their skin. 

The story is funny, honest, bright and leaves you with a sense that justice has been served. 

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory. Review 

This was perhaps my favourite of the Tudor Plantagenet series by Philippa Gregory. It tells the story of the three Grey sisters. Jane who is otherwise known as the 9 day queen and the only one I’d actually heard of, and her sisters Katherine and Mary who were equally persecuted by a bitter and attention seeking brat, I.e Elizabeth I. 

The Last Tudor is not as we would initially think about Elizabeth I herself which is what I expected, but instead about the other remaining Tudor’s Jane, Katherine and Mary. 

The novel is split into three parts with each sister narrating each section in order of age. Jane of course was well known (so hopefully no spoilers) as the young queen forced onto the throne after King Edward’s untimely death and 9 days later is thrown into the tower under arrest as Queen Mary takes her throne back. Jane was of course beheaded for treason. 

The story then takes up with Jane’s younger sister Katherine, a seemingly frivolous girl who loves animals especially her little monkey Mr Nozzle. Always cheerful she marries for love, seeing herself as doing no wrong and yet encountering Elizabeth’s wrath. The same goes for Mary the youngest of the sisters and a little person. She too marries for love only to be imprisoned herself and pushed far from court, but it is she who is bravest and endures the most at the hands of the spiteful ruler who expects attention only for herself.

I really enjoyed this novel because I think that as people we often idolise the Tudors. They were the first monarchs I learnt about in school and of course Mary and Elizabeth were the first queens to rule as a female monarch and not the wife of a king. It was interesting therefore to see another take on it where Elizabeth is shown as actually rather a B*tch! Her obsessive behaviour, her refusal to stand up for anything and to Convict people who she saw as a threat not only to her throne but to her own life as the ‘virgin’ queen. All she really wanted was to be the most beautiful and most admired. 

I really felt passionately like I hated Elizabeth! While I felt unsympathic towards the pious (and slightly annoying) Jane Grey, I felt the true passions, loved, hopes and dreams of Katherine and Mary and felt like writing to William Cecil for their release myself! 

As always with Philippa’s books she educates, mixing fact with a little fiction to make the characters come to life, while reminding us that these events are ones which truly happened in England’s past. A book which truly makes you think. 

Behind Closed Doors by Kathryn Croft. Review. 

I want to say initially that having seen some of the really bad reviews of this book on Goodreads, I really cannot understand them. I get that everyone’s entitled to their opinions but it’s really lost on me, how, if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers you couldn’t enjoy this book. 

Now that’s out of the way, I want to say a little something about Kathryn Croft. I was first introduced to her when I read her novel While You Were Sleeping last year. Kathryn started out as a self published author but was soon snapped up by publishers Bookouture, and there’s a reason for that. Kathryn is a really good author and writes fantastic psychological thrillers. She’s also a really great person and you can read my interview with her here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/author-interview-kathryn-croft/

As well as my positive reviews of the other two novels I’ve read by her here: 

While You Were Sleeping: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/while-you-were-sleeping-by-kathryn-croft-review/

The Stranger Within: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/the-stranger-within-by-kathyrn-croft-review/

Now, Behind Closed Doors is one of the novels Kathryn wrote as a self published author which means she wrote, edited and marketed that book herself. Which frankly to me makes it even more amazing! I really enjoyed it start to finish and couldn’t put it down! 

Olivia has just got divorced from her husband and moved into a flat with her 10 year old daughter Ellie. Soon after moving in, she befriends and becomes close to their upstairs neighbour Michael. But things start going downhill from there, Michael can be a little strange at times and Ellie hates his sister Chloe. To top it off, Olivia is having to deal with an ex-husband who doesn’t want to let her go, and now she’s got a stalker as well. As things start to get even weirder, Olivia doesn’t know where to turn or who she can trust anymore. Who is really out to get her? 

This novel was a real page turner. What baffled me most was that a lot of previous reviewers said the ending was obvious. I simply cannot agree, there were plenty of red herrings thrown in and just like our first person narrator Olivia, I didn’t have a clue who to trust, no sooner did I think I’d worked it out, I became suspicious of someone else. I did start to work out who it was eventually but not until about 95% of the way through, and even then I wasn’t expecting that ending! I’m still reeling and pretty certain I’ll have a book hangover for a few days while I try and process that! 

Well done Kathryn on another suspenseful, psychological thriller! 

Her Last Tomorrow by Adam Croft. Review

This book has been on my TBR for ages after I read a piece about the author in Writer’s Mag. Her Last Tomorrow has an intriguing premise; would you kill your wife to save your daughter? 

Nick and Tasha’s lives fall apart when their 5 year old daughter Ellie disappears one morning. Then Nick receives an email ‘kill your wife if you want your daughter back.’ 

The premise was really clever, the kidnapper was a complete surprise and the novel was written well. It was certainly gripping as the reader wonders what will happen next, what will Nick decide, will he kill his wife? Will he get his daughter back? 

The only thing that bothered me about this novel was that I couldn’t really connect with either of the main characters who were both very self-centred and didn’t really come across as that bothered that their daughter had gone missing. I also found parts of it very unrealistic. 

But overall I enjoyed it, it did have a great psychological twist and was very fast paced. 

Darkling by KM Rice. Review 

Woaaaahhh… I’m still reeling from this one. This is a self published book and I can’t remember where I heard about it but it’s been on my tbr for quite a while and I’ve just read it through kindle unlimited. It’s not a long book, only about 170 pages but wow does it cut you deep! 

Willow lives in a village where darkness has fallen forever. It’s been a long time since the people of her village saw the sun. All they know is that something out in the woods brought this darkness, and it will take a sacrifice to bring back the sun. 

This book is one of the darkest, most incredible books I’ve ever read. Wintersong meets Roseblood this was creepy as hell but so, so good. I slipped inside this story and it consumed me, I was there, seeing events unfold with my own eyes, feeling the passions, the fear, no the terror of the characters. And for once there was no disappointing back story, this back story was fantastic. Yes there were a few holes in the plot but we’re talking about a book that hasn’t been through the process a traditionally published book has and frankly I was impressed with how well put together and how well edited it was. 

I don’t want to say anything else about the plot because it would spoil it and that’s why I haven’t included my usual gifs and pictures either, all I can say is seriously go and get yourself a copy of this book, I guarantee that you will not be able to put it down! 

Launching a New Book Product! 

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting my blog again! 
Just a quick post from me today to say that after a long time thinking about it I’ve decided to go ahead and launch my own book related product!! It’s really exciting but before I can proceed I need to do some research into what my potential customers would like to see and the sort of cost they would expect to pay. Subsequently I’d really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to take my survey