Sunday, 18 March 2018

Someone to Look up To by Jean Gill


From Goodreads

A dog's life in the south of France. From puppyhood, Sirius the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been trying to understand his humans and train them with kindness.  How this led to their divorce he has no idea. More misunderstandings take Sirius to Death Row in an animal shelter, as a so-called dangerous dog learning survival tricks from the other inmates. During the twilight barking, he is shocked to hear his brother's voice but the bitter-sweet reunion is short-lived. Doggedly, Sirius keeps the faith. 

One day, his human will come. 

My thoughts

I gave this a 3.5 stars or 7/10. My thanks to the Author and Publisher via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

This is an unusual book, whilst it draws on some real life events it's a work of fiction, the people and characters are in the main fictitious as the acknowledgements tell us, apart Michel Hasbrouck a renowned dog trainer.

This is a gentle story told from the perspective of Sirius (aka Izzie), a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. Jean Gill has got inside the head of Izzie and is able to relate the feelings and reasons behind the actions of this large dog, from it's life as a puppy to young adolescence.

Not everything that happens to any of us goes to plan and we are all responsible for our actions no matter how provoked they might be. This is no different for our pets, however as humans our actions can greatly impact on them through no fault of their own. Poor Izzie finds himself in this position and not everything has been his fault. As a result of his actions his life is turned upside down. Will he ever have a happy ever after?

If you've ever wondered what it might feel like to be a dog, then I suggest you grab a copy of this book. It could open your eyes into another world and it might just help you understand animals and their behaviour a little better.

It's an enjoyable, sometimes upsetting, thought provoking read that would make a great Reading Group read, as I feel that there is much that can be discussed with others about it.

Friday, 16 March 2018

The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss

From Goodreads
In City 42, Corporation look after you from cradle to grave. They protect you from the radiation outside the wall. They control the food, the water, the technology and most important of all, the continuation of the human race. Kira and Jed Jenkins were lucky enough to win Collection but when their friends start falling pregnant naturally, everything changes. How long has Corporation been lying to them? Is it really toxic outside the wall? As the group comes to terms with the changes in their lives they discover there is a much more powerful and ancient force at work, trying to bridge the gap between man and nature. 

My thoughts
I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10. My thanks to the Author and Publisher via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

It's no secret that I enjoy a good dystopian themed book and this is one that fits the bill nicely. In this debut story by Claire Buss we meet the occupants of City 42, their lives are pretty much controlled by the Corporation from birth to death. The Corporation control everything and leave nothing to chance, even how babies are created and what characteristics they may have. They make people believe that life outside the wall is toxic and dangerous. They monitor everything that goes on within the city walls, keeping their eye on everyone. 

Meet Kira and Jed Jenkins, their luck is and they have been chosen to win a Collection. As parents to be there are choices they have to make once they have collected their offspring in how the child is reared. In an unusual turn of events some of their friends begin to fall pregnant naturally, this is pretty much unheard of and it's not long before things begin to change in all their lives. What is happening to allow this to happen? It's not long before the Corporation are getting involved.

As events start to happen, is the Corporation all it portrays itself to be? Are the residents of City 42 starting to rebel against the Corporation or has there always been a minority that have never completely believed in all that they've been told?

This reads well as a standalone, it's well written and is engaging as a concept for a dystopian future. It's very thought provoking and would make a great reading group read there is plenty of material that can be discussed. From tweeting about reading this and communicating with the Author, I have found out that a second book is in the process of being written to continue on with the story of City 42 and it's inhabitants. I for one will be interested to see how this progresses and will look forward to reading more in the future. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper


From Goodreads

"Well, it's fair to say your background isn't conventional in terms of the average barrister…" Dolus points out. "Well that depends on your definition of conventional and who wants to be average anyway?"

Northern girl Amanda Bentley isn’t your average lawyer.

She spent her teenage years in the Working Men’s club and hanging out in the park to avoid going home. Fresh out of law school she lands pupillage at a top set of Chambers and is catapulted into a world completely alien to her own, fighting prejudice and snobbery at every turn.

Piling on the pressure, this year it is announced two candidates have been accepted but there’s only one job at the end of it. And her competition? Marty, her smarmy law school nemesis.

Throw into the mix an ill-advised romance with the staggeringly sexy Sid Ryder and Amanda quickly realises winning pupillage isn’t just about how good a lawyer you are.

But even if she does come out on top, all of it could be for nothing if her colleagues ever discover who she really is and one very dark secret. 
My thoughts

I was more than happy to give this an 8/10 or 4 stars. My thanks to the Author via TBConFB for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this debut novel and will look forward to reading more by this Author in due course.

Amanda Bentley isn't your typical lawyer. Coming from a working class background she has a lot to prove in order to proceed in her chosen career. As she takes on her probationary pupillage in one of the best Chambers in her area, she not only has to prove that she can do it and is good at what she does, she also has to beat another pupil to take the position in Chambers as there is only one place available. Marty is the other candidate that she is pitted against, he is her nemesis from law school. Marty appears to fit in well with his peers and she is often seen as a fish out of water.

Throw in a rather bad mistake on her part of falling for Sid Ryder a fellow member of the Chambers that she is in, despite having been warned that it's not good practise to get involved with one's acquaintances in Chambers. When has the heart ever listened to advice like this? Not very often.

Will Amanda succeed in winning the position or will Marty snatch it from under her nose or will her past stop her from getting on with her career?

I enjoyed this story and whilst I've read some reviews that have said that some of the events that occur in the probationary pupillage period in this story weren't strictly correct, this is not something that I can comment on from having no experience in Law as a career. However, as a story I think it worked well for me and I found it a believable enough scenario.

I found Amanda a likeable character and was championing her corner all the time. I wanted her and Sid to be a couple despite some of her misgivings, we can all get the wrong end of the stick at times and Amanda was no different than anyone else for doing this.

To find out how Amanda's life is affected during the pupillage and where she is once the year is up, then grab a copy and find yourself a comfy seat, so that you can immerse yourself in her adventures.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer


From Goodreads

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.

And now they are all his mother has left.

Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.

When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn't? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son...

But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?

Or is he something far, far worse? 
My thoughts
7/10 or 3.5 stars.
This was a relatively quick easy read. Whilst it's essentially a thriller, it's not all about the crime and is very character lead. Belinda Bauer engrosses the reader in the lives of the characters and the crime side of it almost seems secondary to the story.
There have been several disappearances are they linked or not? Predominantly the disappearance of the young child Daniel Buck takes centre stage and while his disappearance is being investigated, DCI Marvel is in charge of the investigation. As avenues are being followed by the Police, Anna Buck becomes involved with a psychic called Richard Latham, however she is very sceptical and unsure as to whether he is as good as he portrays himself. In a weird turn of events she herself starts having strange visions, is this for real or is she experiencing some form of mental exhaustion due to all the stress she is under? Marvel has had run ins with Latham before and is very sceptical of this 'Shut Eye' or wannabe 'Shut Eye'. A Shut Eye being the name given to a person who genuinely sees things that have happened.
This story is most definitely well worth a read, but don't expect it all to be crime driven as you'll be disappointed if you do.

Lion (aka A Long Way Home) by Saroo Brierley


From Amazon

The extraordinary story of a boy who lost his mother, and twenty-five years later found her on Google.

Five-year-old Saroo's elder brothers worked as sweepers in local trains to help their struggling
mother. One day, they took him with them, but exhausted little Saroo fell asleep on a train. When
he awoke, he was in Calcutta, surrounded by a crowd of strangers. Saroo, poor and illiterate,
neither knew his last name nor that of the town he came from. In a single night he had lost his
entire family and joined Calcutta's countless children who had nowhere to call home.

Saroo's story tells of his childhood in Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh, and his days as a street boy in
Calcutta; of his miraculous adoption by an Australian couple and, twenty-five years after losing her,
Saroo's search for his mother - via Google - and their ultimate reunion. Moving and inspiring,
Lion: A Long Way Home, is an unforgettable story.

My thoughts

I gave this a 3 stars or 6/10. This was one of my local Library Reading group reads.

I wanted to like this more than I did, but I felt that it was a little lacking if I'm honest I was expecting more from this. I felt that it read too much like a story rather than a non fiction book.

I can only imagine the heartache that Saroo experienced as a young child finding himself all alone at such a young age and he seemed incredibly fortunate that things turned out reasonably well for him, as his fate could so easily have been sealed so differently.

What determination he had to try and find his real family back in India and the time he must have spent trying to locate the area that he lived in.

I've not seen the film based on Saroo's life, but I've been led to believe that it's portrayed as far more harrowing than the book portrays it.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Keeping You: A Cheshire Love Story (Cheshire Love Stories #3) by Mollie Blake


From Goodreads

His past haunts him. Revenge drives him. Can her love save him?

After a chance meeting in a bookshop, young Suzy Harper is engaged by multi-multimillionaire, Lawrence Bane, to work on translating a French document. They embark on an intense relationship, but he is surrounded by mystery and shame as demons from his past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for, including her love for him.

This exciting erotic romantic thriller traces the increasingly intense and tender relationship between the inexperienced Suzy and her wealthy, troubled lover, Lawrence. There are two obsessions in Lawrence’s life—his passion for Suzy and his drive for revenge against the gangland boss who murdered his best friend.

Will Suzy be strong enough to accept Lawrence for the man he is? Will Lawrence trust the woman he loves enough to reveal his darkest secrets to her? Will their love survive the challenges that lie ahead? 
My thoughts

My thanks to the Author, Publisher and TBConFB for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first story that I've read by this Author and I am more than happy to give it an 8/10 or 4 stars. Mollie Blake has the ability to tell a story interwoven with erotic passages that may contain some bondage and BDSM amongst them, without making them overly gratuitous. They fit the theme of the story well enhancing the relationships between the characters.

In this standalone story in the Cheshire Love Stories series, Lawrence Bane meets and falls for Suzy Harper. At first Lawrence appears to be very controlling over Suzy, he likes to be in charge and at times I found their relationship to be quite claustrophobic.

However, running alongside the story about their normal day to day life and the burgeoning relationship between them, is a story that is lurking in the shadows of his past life that we the reader are fed bits of along the way. It's not long before we realise that the controlling side of Lawrence is his protective nature coming out.

As the past is about to collide with the present will Lawrence and Suzy survive what is about to happen or will their relationship fall at the final hurdle?

Well written and easy to read, this story by Mollie Blake will keep you engaged for many hours, why not see for yourself and grab a copy to read.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Coming Home to Island House by Erica James


From Goodreads

From Erica James, bestselling author of Summer at the Lake, comes an enchanting tale of one family coming together and finding their way.

It's the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her? 

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publisher and TBConFB for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 7/10 or 3.5 stars. Like many of Erica James's stories it's a very gentle story about romance and  relationships.  In this one I noticed several references to the Authors passion for motorsport, as one of her characters shared a similar passion.

The story centres around the Devereux family and their close relations. Romily Devereux-Temple hasn't been married to Jack for very long before he sadly dies. Not knowing the family very well Romily thanks to one of the stipulations in Jack's will is soon surrounded by a number of very dysfunctional family members, for a week at the very least.  Not one too shy away from things Romily welcomes them all with opens arms to Island House and so begins a story that shows how each member of the family involved begin to attempt to put the past behind them and move forward with their lives.

Set around the early years before and during WWII, we learn how they all deal with the war as best they can. As members of the family and household do their bit for the war effort. As with many families in those times, no family was left unscarred by the war and this family is no different to any other.

Whilst, I enjoyed the story on the whole it didn't shout out at me that I must be reading it above some of the other books that I had available to read, it didn't keep my attention and I found that I had to put it to one side at one point. I did find it an easy read and with short chapters, it was very easy to pick up and put down.