Touched by Joanna Briscoe



Published: July 2014
Publisher: Hammer
Format: Paperback (proof copy)

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

Touched is both gripping and hypnotic. It compels the reader to turn each page until the final word has whispered by.

Rowena's mother is long gone and leaves behind her cottage in a quaint English town. The Crales decide to knock the walls between the two cottages to make a larger family home. From the start the we are aware of a sense of foreboding within the house. It's as if the walls themselves resent their presence. Mold oozes from the shadows and the damp seems to reach to the very bones of the family.

The children entertain themselves away from the shadows lurking within the house. They seem drawn to the Pollards - the typical older friendly neighbors who always offer a welcoming cup of tea and slice of  cake. Eva feels they are the only ones who understand her connection to her late grandmother. They know that she isn't just strange or crazy. She knows she is the favorite. Even though it is Jennifer whom they fawn over and Jennifer who's face is immortalized in canvas .....

There are many theme's in touched including those of betrayal love and guilt. Rowena seems happy for Eva to make an appearance every now and then but panics when Jennifer suddenly disappears.

Her husband sees her as nothing more than an object that exists to tend to his whims in the kitchen and in the bedroom. It's no surprise that she searches for passion elsewhere. 

Each member of the family learns to lie and to suppress any guilt associated with those lies which is what ultimately leads to their downfall.

Shifting shadows and an other worldly presence can make the reader feel like paranormal activity is to blame for this families woes but the truth is far more real...and much more disturbing.

Touched is paced extremely well, never leaving the reader feeling bored. My eye was constantly tempted to jump across the page to see what was awaiting me. 

The writing is reminiscent of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and This House is Haunted by John Boyne. It's an incredibly addictive and satisfying read. 

Highly recommended !


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Can Anybody Help me? by Sinead Crowley


Published: May 2014
Publisher: Quercus
Format: eBook

Can Anybody Help Me? was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I have always liked stories that center around the internet and social media. I heard the Author talk about this book on a morning radio program  and I just knew I had to read it.

Being a new mom can be lonely. Especially for a first timer like Yvonne. You have no experience yet you are just expected to gel into this role.In desperation and she turns to an online parenting / moms forum to find others in her situation. She starts chatting to one woman and the two quickly become "friends". I put the word friends in quotation marks because we never really know who we are speaking to online.

When her friend suddenly stops posting Yvonne assumes that life has gotten in the way however a missing persons report catches her eye. It sounds so similar to the woman she has been chatting to. It can't be her...can it?

Sargent Claire Boyle is a mum to be but she is determined not to be defined by her bump. A body is found in an apartment complex and she is determined to find the killer even though her actions may affect the health of her and her unborn child.  Some may be amazed at how easy Claire was able to find out the identity of the woman from a few simple internet searches but it really is that easy. I think if we all stood back and tallied all of the information we provide to strangers we would be quite shocked.

In fact if someone really wanted to find me and kill me I'm pretty sure they could track me down just by following my online presence. Now that's scary! I think the screen provides a false sense of security and leads us to be more trusting and forthcoming  than we would be in a face to face meeting

The story is told from many different view points. This can sometimes be distracting but each of the characters play a part so it gives a more rounded feeling to the story.  It has the pace of an excitable thriller yet it isn't bogged down by facts like some heavier crime novels can be. This makes for a very enjoyable read.

I am delighted to have found another Irish author to go on my "watch" list.  A highly recommended debut. 


 ★★★★ ☆

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Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch


Published: June 2014
Publisher: Hogarth
Format: eBook

Summer House with Swimming Pool was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I had read the Dinner by Herman Koch a couple of years ago so I was really looking forward to starting this one. The Dinner got an awful lot of media attention due to the subject matter. The parents of two boys meeting for dinner to discuss a horrendous act that they were both involved in. 

Koch has a knack for writing unlikable characters so I wasn't expecting a bonding session with the characters but I felt that this one wasn't just as hard hitting as The Dinner. This book was released without much fuss and it doesn't seem like its going to get as much attention as the Dinner.

So what's it about? Marc Schlosser is a G.P in a wealthy area of town. He gives twenty full minutes to each patient, whether they need it or not. He lets them air they're grievances and then fills a prescription or pokes a hole or examines a wound. The problem is that he hates them. He hates the lifestyle that comes with them. The premieres and book signings he is invited to fill him with dread and he's growing tired of constantly having to praise they're mediocre "art".

One day Ralph Meier comes to see him. Marc is an actor who owns a Summer House (with a swimming pool, in case you couldn't guess!) and after a meeting with Ralph and his wife (whom he has eyes for) they end up agreeing to spend time together on vacation.

For the most part the book is fairly monotonous.  Pages are filled with endless dinners, BBQ's, beach visits and evenings by the pool. A lot of it seems to be just filler. As the days go by tensions grow between Marc and Ralph. An sexual assault involving Marcs daughter end with the two families parting ways with much remaining unsaid and many questions left unanswered.

Months later Ralph shows up to Marcs clinic. He is worried about a lump and wants Marc to take a look. He doesn't know it but this visit will eventually lead to his death. (this is not a spoiler we find out early on in the book before being brought back to events leading up to this visit).

In a similar way to the Dinner, Summer House with Swimming pool will question the reader. If you suspected someone had hurt your child in the most horrendous way possible what would you do (Suspected being important)? You say you'd want to kill them but in reality, would you? 

In the end I felt fairly unsatisfied by this Novel. The dinner was a lot to love up to and I feel like this just didn't quite make it. People who haven't read The Dinner may enjoy is but It may fall short for currents Fans. If you havent read either book and want to give Herman Koch a try I would suggest you Go straight for the Dinner. 

Click HERE to read my review of The Dinner 


★  ★ ☆ ☆ 

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First BookTube Haul!


As you may or may not know I recently ventured into the Booktube community. I decided to do a collective haul of all the books I have received in the past few months. Haul videos get a mixed range of reactions but I like to watch them every now and then. I love to see what others are reading and its a little like window shopping :)

Apologies for the black frame around the vid it seems to have filmed at a smaller size than usual

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Worldwide Summer Giveaway!


I realized that I hadn't done a giveaway in forever so I've decided to do a worldwide one for summer!

The prize will be any book of your choice from the book depository up to the value of €20 (or the equivalent in your currency)

This giveaway is open worldwide. If you can order from the book depository you can enter :)

Good luck!

Terms & Conditions

I reserve the right to delete entrants found to be cheating
Please do not enter unless you are willing to provide a postal address so I can ship your prize
Please double check that The Book Depository ships to your country before entering

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The Poor Man's Guide to Suicide by Andrew Armacost


Published: May 2014
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Format: eBook

A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in return for an honest review

When I first spotted this on Netgalley I was drawn to the quirkiness. I thought it seemed really different to anything else out there so I was looking forward to it. 

Unfortunately The Poor Man's Guide to Suicide was a bit of a let down. It's not often that I dislike a book enough to completely give up on it but I just found it very hard to generate any will to pick this up. 

I found it Dull really.  That's a really fucked up thing to say about a book about suicide but it's true. I wasn't expecting a laugh a minute but some dark comedy would have help lift it from the drudges. It was marketed as a black comedy but I certainly couldn't find any.

Its sort of a fictional memoir ( I know that makes no sense but anyway...) about a man named Wesley. He has been married twice, divorced twice and has children from both whom he rarely sees. 

He works hard as a prison guard but by the time bills and child support is paid there isn't much left  towards finishing his degree.

It really is a whine fest. He hatches a plan to get an inmate to kill him so his children can cash in on his life insurance policy. How lovely of him. 

The problem is most of the book is just general bitching with very little page time dedicated to hatching this plan. Its touched on in between him being slightly racist and complaining about things like his dad not paying for college. Boo hoo. I certainly don't know anyone who's parents funded there college degree. It was the inflated sense of self entitlement that finished it for me.

I haven't picked this book up in 2 weeks and have no desire to. I can safely say this will remain unfinished.

If you want an in depth review of everything that bugged me about this book check out 

He explains it much better than I could! 

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Weekend Reads / Goodreads Challenge update. How's your challenge going?


Hello all. Below is my Friday/Weekend reads vid for this week! 
What are you guys reading for the weekend? Link me to your post/vid 

Also how are your Good reads challenges going now that were at the 6 month mark?? I'm a little behind which is mildly horrifying but I'm hoping ill still get to 100 before the end of the year! I have to keep in my that my New years resolution was to focus on quality over quantity though! 

Happy Reading ;)
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FF: Armchair Travelling!


Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee’s View Alison Can Read. 

  Armchair Travel! Tell us about your favorite book in a setting you’d like to visit (a real place for this question)

I've been to Egypt around 5 times now but I still want to go back! I am in love with this country. It's steeped in history. I prefer Luxor over Cairo. There was nothing nicer than cruising down the Nile in sail boat at sunset with Luxor temple in the background :)

As for books I've read a few that are set in Egypt including:


I love Michelle Moran. If you like a historical fiction that's not too heavy then check her out

Have a great weekend!

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Books for Hannibal fans


I've been loving the Hannibal TV series. In the beginning I was a bit unsure about will and his "powers" It was so different from the book but it actually works. It adds a whole new dimension to his character. Also I love Mads Meckleson as Hannibal, his acting is brilliant. Plus he's fairly easy on the eyes :D 

So I put together some reading recommendations for others who want to read books that have a similar topic or feel to the TV series 

books for hannibal fans

Hover over the pic to share the image on Pinterest!

I hope you find something interesting among these. I have personally read all except The Jigsaw Man and I loved them . Happy reading!


Red Dragon

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened ?The Tooth Fairy.? Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation?Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

Season To Taste

No one has seen Lizzie's husband, Jacob, for a few days. That's because last Monday and Lizzie snapped and cracked him on the head with her garden shovel. No one quite misses Jacob though, and Lizzie surely didn't kill him on purpose. And now that she has the chance to live beyond his shadow, she won't neglect her good fortune. Over the course of the following month, with a body to get rid of and few fail-proof options at hand, Lizzie will channel her most practical instincts and do what she does best: she'll cook Jacob, and she'll eat him. But when Lizzie inadvertently befriends an isolated misfit, she will be tested: Will Lizzie turn to this new person for solace and abandon her desperate plan or will her new friend be an unwitting accessory to her crime?

The Jigsaw Man 

Michael Fox is a homeless man living in a garbage dumpster beneath the Carver Street Bridge in Buffalo, NY. He’s bitterly depressed and ready to commit suicide; anything to put an end to his miserable existence. 
When a mysterious billionaire surgeon offers Michael two million dollars for his right arm, he thinks his luck might be about to change. Little does he know that the surgeon has other plans for him. His arm is only the beginning. Bit by bit other pieces of Michael's body are surgically removed; his natural body stripped away and then reassembled using other harvested parts from thirteen different ‘donors’. 
Now Fox isn’t sure if he’s a man or a monster, or whether or not he’d be better off dead. One thing he is sure of though, he’s not checking out of this world until he finds a way to make the people responsible pay for turning him into the experimental nightmare known as… The Jigsaw Man.

Off Season

The local sheriff of Dead River, Maine, thought he had killed them off ten years ago—a primitive, cave-dwelling tribe of cannibalistic savages. But somehow the clan survived. To breed. To hunt. To kill and eat. And now the peaceful residents of this isolated town are fighting for their lives…

The Reluctant Cannibals 

When a group of food-obsessed academics at Oxford University form a secret dining society, they happily devote themselves to investigating exotic and forgotten culinary treasures. Until a dish is suggested that takes them all by surprise.
Professor Arthur Plantagenet has been told he has a serious heart problem and decides that his death should not be in vain. He sets out his bizarre plan in a will, that on his death, tests the loyalty of his closest friends, the remaining members of this exclusive dining society.
A dead Japanese diplomat, police arrests and charges of grave robbing. These are just some of the challenges these culinary explorers must overcome in tackling gastronomy's ultimate taboo: cannibalism.

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Review Wrap Up


You can watch my review wrap up below

Click Below for more In depth reviews:

The Garden of Burning Sand
Evie Brooks is: Marooned in Manhattan
Carnal Acts

Thanks for watching/reading! Have a great week!

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The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison


Published by: Quercus
Published: May 2014
Format: ebook
Page count: 400

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

Zoe Flemming is a highly regarded attorney who has made a life for herself in Zambia. She is sent to investigate a horrific crime. A young girl with Downs Syndrome is raped and left for death in the slums of Lusaka.

I had read A Walk Across the Sun a few years ago so I was really looking forward to getting into this.

Zoe joins forces with Joseph Kambuta to help solve this case. She ends up relying heavy on Joseph as the locals do not appreciate this white woman intruding on their lives and asking personal questions. It's clear from the beginning that very few people are going to trust her. 

A huge chunk of the books is dedicated to Zoe and Joseph tracking down any leads they find in order to solve the case. They begin to realize that this goes higher than any of them ever expected. They are stalked constantly and several threats are made on they're lives. They start to see that this case will not be straight forward as they piece together parts of the puzzle from Kuyeya's mother's Diary and witness accounts. Influential people are involved who just want this to "go away", no matter what.

I was horrified to learn that they had to fight hard to get DNA evidence admissible in court. At the time Zambian law saw collecting DNA for evidence as an intrusion on human rights! ......jesus. Also it was a huge issue to find funding and a lab to process the DNA. 

Here in Europe we take so much of this for granted. We watch crime shows where processing DNA is shown to be as simple as popping to the local shop for bread and milk. We really take these things for granted.

On the whole I really enjoyed Garden of Burning Sand but I felt the developing realtionship between Zoe a Joseph a little pointless. It didn't really add anything to the story for me. It was more than a distraction. 
Other than that it was a very satisfying read which I'd recommend to crime and courtroom drama fans 



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Evie Brooks is: Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew


Publisher: The O'Brien Press
Published: March 2014
Page count: 224
Format: Paperback

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

I loved this book! It was such a sweet uplifting read.

After the tragic death of her mother, Evie has no choice other than to leave her friends behind and move to New York with her uncle Scott. I really felt for her here. I can't imagine being taken away from the last constant in my life after something so catastrophic.

Scott and Evie come to a compromise. She can spend the summer in NYC and then decide if she wants to stay or return home. At the beginning of course Evie is adamant that she will be back on the first flight in September but her adventures a long the way will influence that decision .

She becomes Scott assistant in his veterinary clinic. Being in the same profession meant I really loved reading these parts where they treated all sorts of animals and dealt with all types of owners!

Evie has such a good time that she starts to think of home less and less. She makes friends and starts to build a new life in the city that never sleeps. There are some bumps along the way but with the help of her friends she over comes them.

At the end of the summer Evie has a decision to make. To stay or to go back to Ireland. You'll have to read it yourself to find out what happens!

This was a great little book. What I loved about Evie is that she was just normal teen. Not a know it all with supernatural powers or gifts. Its just real life. I would really recommend this to anyone who likes contemporary YA especially young readers (10 yrs and up).

I'm certainly looking forward to reading about Evie's adventures again in the future.


 ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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Whats that you say? You need more books!? Ok here's whats out this month!


Hey everyone. Hope may was a good month for you. I've put together some recommended reading if your stuck for something to pick up for this month
 (as if that would ever happen!)

Hope you find something interesting among these. Here are the Goodreads links if you want to read the blurbs and add them to your TBR lists. 

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Carnal Acts by Sam Alexander


Publisher: Arcadia Books
Published: June 2014
Page count: 423
Format: Paperback

Carnal Acts was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

When I first read the blurb on the back of Carnal Acts I was a little bit intimidated. It sounded a lot heavier than any crime fiction I've read before. I've read plenty of American crime fiction in the past but not much British so I was eager to give this a go and I was bloody glad I did!

Carnal Acts starts with a bang and never lets up. The reader is introduced to a grimy brothel  where a young man is tortured and killed. At first I thought it was going to be some sort of torture porn story but this I couldn't have been more wrong.

Carnal Acts is crafted from memorable characters and story lines that run so deep that you wont be able to tear your eyes from the page. My copy is almost battered because I took it everywhere with me. I stole every minute I could  to read it.

Both Joni and Heck have pasts that they are trying to come to terms with. Scars both emotional and physical. They have come together to bring down the Albanian gangs that are tearing Durham apart. The dangers run deeper than they both ever expected and lead to them both having to risk they're lives again.

Joni risks her safety over and over to try and help the young woman who escaped the brothel. Suzanna has been completely isolated from the world and is struggling to survive in a world that is just as cruel outside the brothel. Joni connects with Suzanna even without really knowing her. As a woman who has ignored African American history she begins to realise that slavery is still problem even in this modern world. In fact it's more than a problem, it's become a highly profitable business.

I made the mistake of writing some of the characters off as mere fillers. Every character has a place in this intricately woven story line. Everyone is a potential suspect.  The characters I thought mean't nothing ending up being some of the most influential and evoked the most emotion.

If your looking for a crime fiction that you can really get your teeth into then Carnal Acts is a must. It is by far the best crime fiction I've read this year.

Whoever Sam Alexander is I hope he continues writing and that we hear more from Joni and Heck in the future.


 ★  ★ ★ ★ ★

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