Book Review · Books

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Flight (also known as The Last Flight) by Julie Clark is a suspenseful novel, with two very different characters that share the same goal – to escape their past and start a brand new life. I am glad my fascination with planes put this book on my radar! Thank you to the teams at Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley, for providing me with an e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for my book review.

Synopsis:

Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook lives a perfect life. On paper. She is married to a political figure, lives in a lovely place full of staff. She is surrounded by elegance, her days are planned and her future already known. But when no one is looking, nothing is as it seems. Her perfect husband has a bad temper, and he’s tracking Claire’s every move, making sure she lives up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has been planning for months on how to disappear.

At the airport, she somehow encounters a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they choose to make a last-minute decision to switch their plane tickets. Claire takes Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva now has a ticket to Puerto Rico. They believe this swap will be the final action they’ll have to take to finally leave behind their identities. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realises it is no longer a head start, but a completely new life. Cut off and out of options, with news surrounding her death in the media, Claire now has to pretend she is Eve and live as her. But when what Eve told her on the airport is a lie, and she has no clue who Eve was, Claire has new challenges facing her. Challenges full of danger.

My Thoughts:

The Flight follows these two different characters and their lives, as destiny connects them at the airport. They both have their own story and they both need to escape from something. While we know from the very beginning what Claire is escaping from, we know nothing about Eve’s secrets. And as we go along the story, the dynamic stays the same. Claire’s future combines with Eve’s past, as we follow a present narrative. And this part was very interesting to follow and read, and it was all I ever wanted it to be – intense, mysterious and exciting!

“That sometimes, the death of a dream can finally set you free.”

I am and have always been fascinated with planes, especially plane crashes. There is an irrational fear I always have when I am flying, and because of this I have spent many hours of doing research, learning about planes and how they work, as well as reading about the most unfortunate plane crashes. This was the main reason I chose to read this book. Somehow, I had the feeling that the plane and the crashing, or even the airport scenes would be more prominent in the book, but this wasn’t the case. The airport was just a pit stop for the plot to thicken, and not realising this at the beginning is on me. This is the main reason why I probably didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. But this also doesn’t mean that the book is not good, because it truly is!

“But what I’ve learned in life is that in order for true forgiveness to occur, something has to die first. Your expectations, or your circumstances. Maybe your heart.”

The characters are very well written and they are likeable.

I couldn’t connect to them enough to care, but both their stories were really intriguing. I have never been in association with rich people, or a victim to violence or surveillance without consent to be able to identify with Claire. Additionally, I also didn’t experience the type of life Eva had either, so that might have been the case. I did, however, really loved Danielle, who plays a critical role at the end of the book.

The writing was great and the intensity kept increasing as I kept reading, which I loved. It was very easy to read and I finished it very fast. The ending wasn’t predictable, but it also wasn’t as intense as I hoped the climax would be. The Flight was definitely a solid read and it kept me engaged all the way through. If you love suspenseful novels with vivid characters, I highly recommend it!

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Book Review · Books

Silent Night by Danielle Steel [BOOK REVIEW]

Silent Night by Danielle Steel [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

It has been a while since I last read a book by Danielle Steel. Silent Night was available as an audiobook from my library, so I gave it a try, and it didn’t disappoint.

Synopsis:

Paige Watts is the ultimate stage mother. The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Paige channels her acting dreams into making her own daughter, Emma, a star. By the age of nine, Emma is playing a central role in a hit TV show. Then everything is shattered by unforeseeable tragedy.

A car accident changes Emma’s world. Her mum is no longer there, and in her place is her aunt Whitney. Unlike Paige, Whitney was always the studious older sister, hating the cult of celebrity that enveloped their childhood. Instead, she is a psychiatrist who lives for her work and enjoys a no-strings-attached love affair with a wealthy venture capitalist. But at a moment’s notice, Whitney drops everything to help her niece.

Once famous, outgoing, and charismatic, Emma is now a shadow of her former self–without speech, without memory, lost and terrified. But with her aunt Whitney’s help, along with a team of caregivers and doctors, Emma begins to find her way, starting her young life all over again–and changing the lives of everyone around her.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis immediately caught my attention, because I love drama. And the scenario is so heartbreaking, that I knew this book would give me all the feels. And it did.

I loved Emma. She was such an amazing character, and a wonderful fighter as well. She goes through a very big trauma, and never stops trying. What I truly loved is the relationship that she develops with her auntie Paige, who gives up her old life to look after Emma. Because there is no one else she has in this world now…

The strength that Whitney carries within her is to be admired.

She is so selfless and caring, not afraid to give Emma all the love in the world, despite the challenges. And especially at the beginning, it’s so hard. It was really hard for me to see Whitney go through rejection, the anger from Emma, not knowing how to process everything that is happening. She had to stay strong, for her and her niece’s sake. To be strong for both of them.

Danielle Steel did a magnificent job trying to show us the reality about people suffering with mental issues and trauma. How hard and frustrating it can be for them, when they can’t express themselves and are not understood. And how hard it is for their loved ones, to come to terms with the “new normal” and adjust, and to provide all the love and support. Recovery is a very slow and painful process, and there are good and bad days. Sometimes you make one step forwards and three steps back, and other times, recovery is not an option at all. And in Silent Night, Danielle Steel perfectly captured these experiences and emotions.

The bond between the niece and auntie is unbreakable, even though it took a long time to build. I loved the slow progress we could see in their relationship, and how they were both slowly healing as time went on. It was also very lovely to see how they both would also speak about Paige and work on healing and forgiving her as well.

I enjoyed the romance that Whitney experiences, and I also loved the fact that she was able to say “no” to a person who couldn’t accept her niece as part of the “deal”. Even though, I also respect his side, and how open he was about expressing his opinion. He was a very selfish person, true, but at least he was honest with her. This actually allowed Whitney to realise he wasn’t the right match for her and she was able to open up her heart to someone more deserving of her.

A very interesting part of this book is Emma’s acting career.

She started off young and her mum organised everything and planned her life. After all, it was her childhood dream that she now re-lived with her daughter. But when the aunt takes care of Emma, she has a completely different mindset, but is also under a lot of pressure from the media and the TV show director. I have to admit, I loved how Whitney handled this part, and ultimately lets Emma make the decision on what she wants to do once she is older.

In conclusion, Silent Night is a very emotional, but beautiful book. I am so glad I read it, and I’m looking forward to reading more books from Danielle Steel in the future.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

Pleasant Grove by Jason Price [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

Thank you to the author, Jason Price, for sending me a copy of his book, Pleasant Grove, in exchange for my honest review. Pleasant Grove was a very interesting, fast and pleasurable read.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Pleasant Grove, a quiet small town where neighbor helps neighbor and doors are left unlocked at night-an unspoiled paradise with one peculiar feature: It’s enclosed by a glass dome.

No one can leave and no one can enter.
No one can survive beyond the dome.

But then, a visitor arrives from the outside.

When 12-year-old Agnes Goodwin discovers a strange boy with no memory, she teams up with her best friends to unravel the mystery. Their extraordinary adventure will threaten everything they know…and everyone they love.

My Thoughts:

From the moment I read the synopsis, Pleasant Grove reminded me of the Simpsons movie, when they have a dome put in Springfield. No one can come in. No one can come out.

And honestly, with a synopsis like that, curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know everything! Why is the dome there? Why are the parents not saying anything? Who is this boy and how did he come in? And most importantly, what is outside the dome?

Pleasant Grove is aimed for middle-grade, YA audience, and it won’t disappoint. The writing is very vivid, and every chapter leaves you wanting to know more. From the very first moments, I was hooked with the description of the town. The people leave idyllic lives, everyone is minding their own business, and all seems to be perfect. During lockdown, I could actually understand being in this dome in a while new level. The whole reading experience felt a bit surreal as well, and I enjoyed it! But 12-year-old Agnes can feel something is wrong, despite her family denying it. When one day she sees a boy that she knows does not belong to this town, she knows something’s up. And if no one can give her the answers, she’ll have no choice but to find the answers for herself.

Agnes perfectly portrays the curiosity I feel in the book.

She is looking for answers, and she is determined and not afraid to look for more clues and ask questions. I also loved her determination to help this boy that she doesn’t know.

“Agnes liked asking questions, and had always assumed answers would lead to understanding. But sometimes, she now realised, answers only led to more questions.”

Alongside her, there are her friends and her brother, that are helping her on this adventure and the chemistry of this group is amazing! I loved their chats and when they were making plans, I loved their bickering, but most of all, their ability to keep encouraging each other and stay together. It was also interesting to see how each of the friends had a small story, or a small challenge they were dealing with at the moment – it added a bit of refreshing diversity from the actual plot and its intensity.

I even enjoyed the scenes when the bully Ruth was involved with her friends. It was interesting to see the fear she awoke in many people, and their personal growth when they would slowly start overcoming this fear. There were a few things left unsaid I felt like, especially in the end and regarding Ruth, that I wish were explained more. I have my theories for now though.

The reveal in the end was very pleasurable to read about.

For me, the ending was somewhat predictable because of books I have read before and movies I’ve seen, but there were still a lot of unexpected elements in it that I really enjoyed. I feel like we got all the answers that we were looking for. The last part felt a bit slow, but it left some space for another book I think, which may have been the reason why it was slower. If you are a fan of YA fantasy, with sci-fi elements, this is definitely the perfect book for you!

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

Bobby & Morph by R.E. Fisher [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I am so grateful that I have won a giveaway and received Bobby & Morph by R.E. Fisher, illustrated by Bryony James. This book is so heartwarming and beautiful, and every child should be able to read it and become friends with Bobby and Morph.

My Thoughts:

Bobby & Morph is a collection of ten stories for children, all featuring the dogs Bobby and Morph as they go on their adventures and learn valuable lessons along the way. With a total of 104 pages, and each story around 10 pages each, with beautiful illustrations, the stories can be divided and read for a longer period of time, never becoming boring!

I loved the friendship Bobby and Morph share, and how they always stick together and learn new things. The illustrations are so precious too, perfectly representing the beautiful moments and adventures these two dogs find themselves into. The stories also have parts where there is a poem that rhymes, and the whole book follows a funny tone, with beautiful and simplistic writing.

“The owls taught him a lesson, the only one you’ll need,
that the power of friendship overcomes greed.”

With them, the children reading this will learn about kindness and the importance of being polite. To help people in need and say please and thank you. When they meet Sonny, they will teach us that it’s very important to be yourself, and the right people will come your way.

In the story where they find a new toy, we come across a familiar situation that I believe most of the parents and children can relate to. Through this story Bobby and Morph play together with the new toy and are able to share it between themselves. But one day, Morph accidentally broke Bobby’s toy. And he was so afraid to tell Bobby, because he was afraid that he will lose him as a friend. But he was brave and honest, and told Bobby the truth and apologised. And Bobby forgave him. But Bobby also expressed himself that he still feels sad because he lost his toy.

And I can’t express enough how great I believe this lesson is for children. Because we know it was an accident and Bobby should forgive Morph, which he does. But he is also allowed to express his feelings of loss, and be able to grieve for his toy. This is how we learn emotional intelligence and learn to cope with bigger losses later in life.

I can recall many of the lessons we learn, like the importance of keeping the house tidy, and the importance of sleep and listening to our parents when they tell us it’s time for bed. And the beauty of all these lessons is that Bobby & Morph find these lessons by themselves, rather than someone telling them what’s right and what’s wrong.

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you are looking for the perfect Christmas present for a child, this is definitely the one you need to get. With many stories and many lessons, it is very educational and will keep the child occupied for a long time. And the illustrations are also adorable, and you will also enjoy reading the book alongside the children.

Get the full collection of 10 stories from Bobby & Morph’s official Etsy shop – HERE.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

Shiver by Allie Reynolds [BOOK REVIEW]

Shiver by Allie Reynolds [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Shiver by Allie Reynolds is one of the most intense thrillers I have read this year, and I am so glad I came across it. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher – Headline, for approving me the ARC copy. Also thanks to the team at Tandem, for letting me join the readalong and chat with amazing people while reading the book.

Synopsis:

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

My Thoughts:

Shiver is set in two timelines; one in current day, and the other 10 years ago. The story is told from Milla’s point of view, but we get to read about all the other characters in great detail. As you dive into the book, you start to get a very good idea of what goes in people’s heads and what they are like.

I used to be a professional karate athlete for the Macedonian team for many years. This experience made me feel connected to Shiver in a much deeper level. The competitive spirit, the rivalries, the effort they put into everything they do – it all came back as a deja-vu to me. Even their fears of failing and their anger when injuries prevented them from competing.

The winter setting is so well written.

I could picture them on the snow so easily, imagine their jumps and their warm sports gear. The snowboarding setup for the competitions, the people watching, the ice rink, and the glaciers – it was so vividly written!

“There’s something about fresh snow that brings your inner child to the surface.”

The mystery was amazing as well, and it was also my favorite part of the book. To gather a group of people and be around them alone. All while knowing one of them is capable of doing horrible things is quite scary. And this feeling lingered throughout the whole book. I had many different theories of the ending and the reveal, and they kept changing as I was reading. In the end, I did manage to predict it, but it still caught me off guard when the reveal happened.

I also enjoyed the romantic element in Shiver as well. I didn’t expect a romantic part, but it was quite pleasurable to read about. It brought a nice balance between the many intense moments. And it wasn’t too much as well, which I also liked.

I loved Shiver and would never have guessed this was Allie’s debut novel. If you love winter, snowboarding, thrillers and people that are quite good in keeping secrets, you shouldn’t miss this one!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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