Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope


A review copy was provided by Gill Hess and Transworld in return for an honest review:

Release Date: 27/02/2014

Balancing act is a  book that shows why you should never ever work with your family or close friends!

Susie Sullivan was abandoned as a baby and raised by her grandparents. Despite an unconventional up bringing she has grown to become a successful business woman

She is not only the name behind Susie Sullivan pottery. She is the life blood, the driving force behind the company that she started from the ground up. Susie Sullivan is now a household name. Her pottery is sitting in homes across the world. Life seems to be idyllic until her long lost father shows up

His arrival seems to trigger a shift in Susie's world. All of a sudden her daughters are not happy with playing second fiddle in a business they work hard for. Her husband is feeling estranged from her. They rarely spend time in the house together. He gets more attention from the parrot for gods sake!

While I understood Susie's love her company I found myself frustrated with her controlling behaviour. Her inability to let go blinds her to opportunities to grow the business even further. She is so focused on keeping the business the same at it's heart that she alienates those who should be closest to that heart, her family.

Although the book lacked suspense and was fairly slow paced It was certainly a comforting read. Perfect with a coffee on a rainy evening after a long days work.


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Showcase Sunday/Sunday Post 23/02/14


Last week on the blog:

I reviewed:

Received this week:


In the post

Thanks to:

Permuted Press
O'Brien Press
Gill Hess Ltd

In other news:

I'm going to Paris for a few days next week so I'll be on hiatus for 5 or so days. Ill respond to any messages when I get back.

I'm looking forward to checking out some Parisian book shops :) 

Have a good week! 

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Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen


A review copy was provided by Gill Hess in return for an honest review

Rebecca winter was just like anyone else. Until once night, after another dull dinner with her husbands pretentious friends she takes out her camera. Her photograph "Still Life with Breadcrumbs" was instantly picked up on by feminist groups, insisting that this photograph depicted the struggle women face when dealing with stereotypes. Rebecca becomes an overnight success. Her photograph is depicted on mugs, posters and even appears on screen. Rebecca Winter is a household name.

But that was then...and this is now.

Rebecca is 60 years old and at across road in her life. Her sales, along with her bank balance are in a downward spiral which forces her to rent out her New York apartment and move to somewhere less desirable.

It took me a long time to finish Still Life with Breadcrumbs. I didn't warm to it at first. It seemed to be virtually plot less and totally lacking structure. Then I realised that the writing was reflecting Rebecca's life. She feels like her life no longer holds any meaning. That she has been left on the "has been / past it" pile in life.

One character I did love was Jim bates. Jim keeps it real. Rebecca's photographs depicting a set of old trophies around man made crosses gain some attention from  the critics who describe it as "a struggle between man and nature. Jim is quick to dispel their ideals. They don't know "what the fuck they're talking about". Unlike Jim, the don't know the story behind this seemingly random set of items. They know nothing of the person behind the picture, or the pictures that will never be. Throughout the novel it seemed, to me at least, that Rebecca had a lot more luck than actual talent. Jim sort of drove that point home. 

There is a romantic element to this story but I wouldn't call it a romance novel. More the slow moving literary fiction type. I didn't fall in love with it, but I didn't despise it either.  


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Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville


A review copy was provided by Penguin in return for an honest review 

I was going to wait a couple of days before writing this review but I decided to just go ahead and do it. Thinking about it won't make it any easier.

This book was incredible. One of the best I've read in a long time...and I don't say that lightly. I only had 3 five star reads last year. This is my first of this year. 

I was putting this review off because it's extremely hard to talk about this book without spoiling it and spoiling this book, would be a crime against humanity. I know this will lead to me rambling on or just repeating the blurb in some form or other.

You can find the blurb on Goodreads so I'm not going to do that. What I will say is that this book hits the reader with one of those rare "What the actual fuck!" moments that makes you want to go back to the start and read the entire book again. I might just actually do that.

The ending throws the entire story into disarray. It will change every opinion you previously held about the story and the characters within. I have seen it shelved as YA fiction but I'm not sure I agree with that label. Yes the blurb is sort of young adult-ish but the writing itself is extremely sophisticated. The story is complex and requires a little more involvement that your usual young adult read. It's almost like a darker, more threatening version of The Boy in the Stripped Pyjama's. Adult readers who are into YA will certainly love it.

I cannot wait and to see the reactions when this book hits the masses. It's certainly deserves every scrap of attention it's going to get. I don't know what else to say other than please add this book to goodreads and make sure you read it. Then come back and message me so Ill have someone obsess over it with!

Eliza Granville is definitely going to be an author to watch closely. I eagerly wait to see what she comes up with next. 


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Mr Monster (John Cleaver #2 ) by Dan Wells


I got really tired of trying to hide the spoiler in I am not a serial killer. I came across as a deranged idiot in that review so I am just going to assume that if you are reading this review then you have read I am not a serial killer.

Please do not read on if you have not read the first book. This review will spoil the secret of the first book....I warned you!

After the previous events that took place in his small town John is trying to regain something that resembles a normal life. For his mother this involves completely ignore the events that happened, despite the fact that she witnessed her son killing a demon. She constantly tries to get John to be "open" about his feelings ( or lack of them) but when it comes to the single most disturbing even that has happened in either of their lives, she                                                                                           shuts down.....riiiight....moving on..

I enjoyed reading Mr Monster a lot more. This was probably because we had to endure a lot less of the paranormal activity and we got to delve deeper into Johns inner struggles. He has noticed that he has become attracted girls. One girl in particular. Her name is Brooke, she is beautiful. He is torn between wanting to be with her...and wanting to kill her...and you thought your relationship was complicated??

Soon the killing begin again and Johns suspects that another demon is to blame. His attempts to stop this one are not as successful and lead to his kidnapping. This demon is different. It senses something in John, a separation. He urges him to let Mr Monster in, to be who he really is. 

I won't give away the ending but I will say that the book was pretty much a carbon copy of the first one. The pacing , again is quite slow but I enjoyed it more than the first. I just don't think these books needed the paranormal parts. It adds nothing and they would be much more interesting without it. You could probably skip I'm a serial Killer and move straight on to Mr monster. You won't be missing out on anything. I will probably read the last book but I'm not holding out much hope for it. 


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Feature & Follow Friday 14th Feb


Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee’s View & Alison Can Read.    
The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends. Basically how it works is you follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. So looking forward to making new blogging friends & following blogs!

This weeks Question:

Question of the Week: Find a “new to you blogger” and feature their button on your post this week (or just a link if they have no button). Tell us why this blogger stands out to you.

My Pick is:

I picked peggy because we have similar tastes in books and I know if she gives a book a 5 star rating, I will love it. Go check her out!

Oh and Happy valentines! 

As Usual I am happy to follow back anyone who follows me through this meme. Just let me know how and where you followed so I can return the favor! 

Sarah Waters New Cover is revealed


Virago Press have just revealed the cover for Sarah Waters upcoming novel "The Paying Guests"

I love it! It's really different to her previous covers. I'm really exited to read this now! Here's the blurb:

The book will be set in a “tense” London in 1922, in the wake of the First World War, with disillusioned ex-servicemen, and the out-of-work and hungry demanding change.

In a genteel Camberwell villa, bereft of men, impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter Frances have to take in lodgers. When Lilian and Leonard Barber—a modern young couple of the “clerk class”—arrive, the routines of the house are shaken up in unexpected ways. “Passions mount and frustration gathers,” Virago promised.

Goodings said: “It is vintage Sarah Waters in every way—beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises; it is above all, a wonderful, compelling story.”
Fingersmith is up there as one of my all time favourite novels. Roll on September!

Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


I don't usually read a lot of YA books. I find it hard to really connect with them and usually loose interest after the first few chapters. There was a lot of buzz around this book so caved and bought it on Amazon.

It tells the story of Jacob, a spoiled heir to a huge chain of pharmacies. His co-workers hate him and he has few friends. The typical YA premise really. 

As a young boy Jacob was fascinated by his Grandfathers tales of an Island where strange young children lived. All of these children had special talents. Some could be seen levitating in photos. Others were photographed lifting objects hundreds of time heavier than themselves.

 As Jacob grew older he began to dismiss these stories. They were mere fairy tales that were told to entertain a child.

When disaster strikes Jacobs grandfather reaches out to him in the form of clues that he has left behind. He urges him to find the bird in the loop. He convinces his father to go with him to this mysterious Island to uncover the secrets of his grandfathers past.

The start of the book really drew me in. I loved the vintage pictures although the quality on the kindle paperwhite left a lot to be desired. I would recommend the paper back version for better quality pics. However there was a real lack of suspense in the story for me. Considering the subject of the cairn and the loops I felt there should have been more danger involved with every passing. Also I think the children being peculiar could have been taken a little further. After 70 or so years living in one place and time you'd think at least one of them would be a little insane? I would have liked a more detailed description of them raiding the town. It would show that their isolation had led to the development of a darker side of their characters

Argh you see this is why I don't read much YA. I ask too many questions and it end up tainting the book for me. If you can take the events in this book at face value then you will enjoy it. It's quirky and a little bit different. I am going to start the 2nd book now and hope for a little more suspense! 


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The Sunday Post / Showcase Sunday 09/02/14


The Sunday post is hosted by The Caffeinated book reviewer

Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, biscuits and tea

Last week on the blog

I reviewed:

Click on the cover to go to the review 

This week 

received for review:

Thanks to :
Arcadia Books
Pan Macmillan
Quirk Books

Bought or won:

None! I'm on a ban! 

Have a good week! 

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Feature & Follow Friday 7th February


Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Allison.

Question of the Week: If you could read a book for the “first time” again, which book would it be? Why?

It would have to be Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. I've always had a big interest in Madame Tussaud and her wax works. This story completely sucked me in. I didn't want it to end so I literally savored every page. I haven't loved a book as much since. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction. In fact I would recommend all her books!

As usual I am happy to follow back anyone who follows me through this Meme. Just let me know how/where you followed so I can return the favor.

Have a good weekend!

Orla's Code by Fiona Pearse


A review copy was provided by the author in return for an honest review.

Woo new genre!? Tech-Lit! With Orla's Code, Fiona Pearse has kicked chick-lit into modern times, and boy did it need a good kicking!

Sometimes I get a little tired of reading novels about girls who are really only interested in shopping and fashion.

I'm a techie who throws on the first thing I find in the wardrobe. My gadgets are my first love! This is why I found this so refreshing.

It's a short read about a young woman named Orla who has recently moved to London to become couper-dayes first female programmer.  Orla wants to get noticed and to do this she needs to take on a high profile project. It's risky but the pay off will be worth it. She'll have proved herself.

My one problem with this book was that I didn't have a clue what they were talking about for a lot of the book. The terminology went waaaay over my head! I should have read these first!:

If you happen to be into programming then you'll love this book. I found it really amusing that the office politics among the men were just as bad as any office full of women. Actually I think they're worse as most men will never admit they were wrong! 

This book has left me wanting more. Even though I found it hard to understand what was happening I enjoyed it as now I really want to find out more about information technology. It's always great to find a book that makes you want to expand your knowledge! 


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