Book Review · Books

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW]

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

If you are looking for an inclusive picture book that also has beautiful illustrations and thought provoking stories, and you also want to help children in Ukraine, please look no further and grab Maya and Her Friends!

About The Book:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 


Pages: 68

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Publisher: Studio Press (imprint of Bonnier books)

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★

Synopsis:

Nine-year-old Maya goes to school in Ukraine and has sixteen classmates, all with different home backgrounds. As she introduces us to each of her friends, she shares an important message about love, respect, and what means to be a family.

All publisher profits will be donated to charities helping to protect the children of Ukraine.

My Thoughts:

Maya and Her Friends is a book by Ukrainian human rights activist and author Larysa Denysenko. The author wrote the introduction whilst hiding in Kyiv, and the book itself is a beautiful story about acceptance and tolerance in a country deeply affected by conflict.

I couldn’t help but read the first few pages, and I was so intrigued by Maya and her friends that I couldn’t put the book down until I finished. The tone of storytelling is very refreshing and gripping. We get to meet Maya’s friends from school and her teacher Yulia. Every child has a unique story. I was pleasantly surprised how inclusive and relatable these stories are.

I enjoyed the illustrations as well, and if you understand Cyrillic, or are in the process of learning the alphabet, you will have lots of fun seeing the children’s names written in Cyrillic – this being my main alphabet I really enjoyed the representation! The colours are vivid and the art style is very interesting too.

Maya has a very gripping voice of how she introduces her friends. And all friends share something interesting about them. We meet Hrystyna, who lives with her grandma, and Danylko, who doesn’t know who his father is. The twins Sophiya and Solomia, and the three Sophiyas that can cause some serious sophiyahavoc.

I warmly recommend this picture book! It’s funny and keeps you interested, I am sure children will love meeting Maya’s friends as well.

About The Author:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

Larysa Volodymyrivna Denysenko is a Ukrainian writer, lawyer, human rights activist, TV and radio presenter, and member of the PEN Ukraine.

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Book Review · Books

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so thrilled to be joining the blog tour for “With This Kiss” by HQ Stories. If every time you kissed someone, you knew how they will die, would you have the courage to try and find love? “With This Kiss” by Carrie Hope Fletcher explores this in a sweet romantic fashion.

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

About The Book:

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 400

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof

Rating: ★★/★★

Synopsis:

When their lips touch, will she seal his fate?

From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die. But she’s never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was sixteen.

Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t… or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.

My Thoughts:

I chose to read “With This Kiss” by Carrie Hope Fletcher because the cover looked gorgeous, and it fit for my April Monthly TBR Prompt to pick a book with a beautiful cover. But it was actually the synopsis that really intrigued me to want to really read this book. I really like the idea of Lorelai’s ability to see people’s deaths when she kisses them. It was an idea that was well thought of and well developed throughout the book. I couldn’t help but think what would I do if I was in that situation.

Usually, when the main character is going through something in their life, I am able to relate to their thoughts and feelings. And I had my concerns that I won’t be able to with this book, because what Lorelai is going through is very fictional. However, I was wrong. I felt everything she was feeling. Through her story and experiences, I was able to understand why she makes the choices she does and it all makes sense. I also loved her friendship with Joanie. Joanie is a true gem and every person deserves a friend like her in their lives.

I really enjoyed how Lorelai and Grayson meet.

The book club scenes made me quite excited and I could instantly feel the geekiness from Grayson, that I adored! But there were too few of these scenes. I can’t help but feel that this book club was only introduced for Lorelai to meet Grayson, as well as for the author to introduce a trans couple. But where I felt the frustration was that neither the book club nor the trans couple were mentioned later on in the book. So I’m not quite sure what the author wanted to achieve with this. The other bit that was mentioned here was Lorelai’s passion about working on movie adaptations, which she briefly mentions twice of three times in the book, and nothing comes out of it.

Now let’s talk actual romance.

I loved their meeting and I was all up for the little teasing combined with geekiness. But then the couple slightly lost me, especially during the period when Lorelai wasn’t sure what to do, but also kept leading him on, promising to explain things and never did. I also refuse to believe someone would let two weeks pass by and not listen to their voicemails.

However, I still enjoyed the book a lot! It just wasn’t the romance I was hoping for. Instead, it was a beautiful journey of a woman that has unique abilities. Her struggles to find courage to be able to truly love someone. Her relationship with her family, who are able to offer much more that she was led to believe all her life. This book will make you feel all the feels – you will be rooting for Lorelai to go out there and fight for what she loves!

About The Author:

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher [BOOK REVIEW]

Carrie Hope Fletcher is an English actress, author and singer-songwriter.

Her debut book, All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully was published in May 2015. Her first fiction novel, On the Other Side was published in July 2016. Fletcher is well known for her YouTube channel where she shares videos about her life and her work as an actress and author.

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Book Review · Books

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so excited I got to read “Family of Liars” before its publication date and receive an uncorrected proof. This review is SPOILER FREE for both “Family of Liars” and “We Were Liars“.

About The Book:

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 298

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof (paperback)

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★★★

Synopsis:

The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.

My Thoughts:

“Family of Liars” is the prequel of “We Were Liars” and it features the parents from “We Were Liars” as teenagers. “Family of Liars” contains spoilers for “We Were Liars”, so if you haven’t read any of the books, I strongly recommend reading “We Were Liars” first, and then reading “Family of Liars”. I won’t give too much information on the synopsis – same like the first book, this one is better reading blind. I’ll just say this -it features the same private island, the year is 1987 and some new characters join our characters for the summer, when everything kicks off.

If you enjoyed “We Were Liars”, you will also enjoy this book! I don’t want to say it follows the same template, but it kind of does. The chapter flows in the same way, as well as the writing – still beautiful and easy to read. This writing style is a style I really enjoyed reading. If for some reason the writing bothered you in the first book, be aware that it’s very similar here too.

The emotion side was more enhanced in this book. I felt more love, heartbreak, anger and sadness and I loved it so much! I was expecting a twist this time though, and I did get it. And then I got a few more I wasn’t expecting. However, the twists in this book didn’t give the chock or wow factor and didn’t have the same intensity. They were still very cleverly done and I did not see them coming.

In my opinion, “We Were Liars” was amazing and “Family of Liars” just couldn’t top that. But that being set aside, this book was extremely enjoyable and incredibly gripping. A must-read for the fans of this genre and fans of the series. There’s definitely something about this private island that will always tickle my curiosity!

About The Author:

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart [BOOK REVIEW]

E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.

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Book Review · Books

The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh [BOOK REVIEW]

The Good Girl's Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh [BOOK REVIEW]

I am so thrilled to be joining the blog tour for The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh. Huge thanks to the team at Mills & Boon, for sending me a copy of the book. The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes is the first book in the Last Chance Scoundrels series.

About The Book:

The Good Girl's Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 368

Genre: Regency Romance

Publisher: Mills & Boon

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★/

Synopsis:

When Kieran Ransome’s latest antics result in a massive scandal, his father issues an ultimatum: find a respectable wife or inherit nothing. But as one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels, Kieran doesn’t know any ladies who fit the bill. Or does he?

Celeste Kilburn is a society darling, beloved by influential members of the ton. But keeping a spotless reputation leaves little room for adventure and she longs to escape her gilded cage, especially with her impending engagement to a stuffy earl. When Kieran—her older brother’s best friend and an irresistibly attractive rogue—begs for her help, Celeste makes a deal: she’ll introduce him to the right social circles if he’ll show her the scandalous side of London.

In between proper teas and garden parties, Kieran escorts Celeste—disguised as “Salome”—to rowdy gaming hells, wild fêtes, and sensual art salons. As they spend more time together, their initial attraction builds to a desperate desire that neither can ignore. But when someone discovers their midnight exploits, Celeste’s freedom and reputation are endangered, and Kieran must save the woman he loves… respectable or not.

My Thoughts:

The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes is the second book I’ve read by Eva Leigh, the first one being “Would I Lie to the Duke”. Eva has a wonderful way of inviting you into the Regency period and keeping you hooked. I read this book very fast and enjoyed every chapter. I managed to avoid the hype that is Bridgerton for a very long time, haven’t watched a single episode, but after reading this book I binge watched the whole first season. In two days. I even started to say things like “I shall like a coffee very much.”

Back to our book, I loved Kieran and Celeste’s romance and passion so much! It’s one of those stories of slow-burn romance, where we all know these two people have feelings for each other, but they are the last ones to realize it. And by not telling each other what they feel, they are hurting themselves too. The tension is there throughout the whole book. Kieran appears to be a rake, but has a soft spot. And Celeste appears to be a respectable lady in society, but has a wild heart.

“Some men loved breasts, others were enthralled by arses or legs. But Kieran could write stanza after stanza on the allure of a woman’s neck.”

We get a lot of adventures in the book as well.

Celeste gets to ecplore the scandalous side of London and I loved her wild spirit. It was nice to meet a character in that time thatis not afraid to speak her mind, share her hopes, dreams and passions. And it was nice to meet a man that listened to a woman and actually respected her choices and cared for her freedom of speech.

“So long as no one’s harmed in its getting,” he said, his voice low, “we ought to be free to find our joy where we can. God knows that in this life, none of it’s guaranteed.”

The story intrigued me and the romance kept me going. It’s a lovely book to dive into and escape reality for a second. Even if you’re not a regency novel fan, if you love sexy and fun slow-burn romances, I warmly recommend checking “The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes” out.

About The Author:

The Good Girl's Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh [BOOK REVIEW]

Eva Leigh is a USA Today bestselling author who writes novels chock-full of determined women and men who are here for it. She enjoys baking, spending too much time on the Internet, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Eva also writes in multiple romance genres as RITA-award nominated Zoë Archer. As Alexis Stanton, she wrote the novel on which the top-rated Hallmark holiday movie “A Timeless Christmas” was based. 

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Book Review · Books

Whisky For Breakfast by Christopher P. Mooney [BOOK REVIEW]

Whisky For Breakfast by Christopher P. Mooney [BOOK REVIEW]

Whisky For Breakfast is a very honest and unusual collection of 35 short stories. Every story features characters that don’t quite fit the world’s mould in today’s society. In a time when we are used to reading about the perfect characters, Whisky For Breakfast offers us characters with the perfect flaws.

About The Book:

Whisky For Breakfast by Christopher P. Mooney [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 165

Format I read it in: Paperback

Publisher: Bridge House

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

★★

Synopsis:

The thirty-five stories in Mooney’s debut are dominated by a cast of characters who colour outside of society’s lines. They are hustlers, prostitutes, addicts, gangsters, killers, thieves, beasts. They are the dangerous, the lost, the lonely, the sick, the suicidal, the broken-hearted. Men and women, defeated by life. Their depravity is real, yet the writing in this uncompromising collection of transgressive fiction, always carefully crafted, evokes the sense that their humanity is not yet lost. In Whisky for Breakfast, nothing is off limits.

My Thoughts:

A very honest and unusual collection of 35 short stories. Every story features characters that don’t quite fit the world’s mould in today’s society. In a time when we are used to reading about the perfect characters, Whisky For Breakfast offers us characters with the perfect flaws.

Firstly, not all of the stories were to my taste. The rating is made by me giving each story a rating from 1 to 5 and the calculating the average score. Each story is different, but they all showed a lot of emotion. Because of the amazing writing, I could almost feel what a character was feeling.

Some of the stories were too explicit or too disturbing for my taste.

For instance “Where Crocodiles Sleep” and “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” were an examples of this. However, there were far more stories that I really enjoyed. “Drown Your Sorrows” was short, sweet, sinister and straight to the point. And “Nine Tenths of the Law” really intrigued me and grabbed my attention. Furthermore, I loved how the story was gamified in “See No Evil”. I remember counting more somethings (trying not to reveal anything) than the characters mentioned and feeling very smug about it, until the answer was shared later on. Funny enough, I quite enjoyed being proven wrong, and that doesn’t happen often. 🙂 Another story that really stood out for me was “Mr. Harrison”, because of its spookiness.

To conclude, I am very glad I read this book and still can’t believe it took me so long. Funnily enough, shorter books tend to scare me more than big books. Whisky For Breakfast is a mix of stories, all set to provide a different, more sinister side to character we’re not so used to seeing. Be ready to get out of your comfort zone and leave your judgements on the side, and you’re in for a treat!

About The Author:

Whisky For Breakfast by Christopher P. Mooney [BOOK REVIEW]

Christopher P. Mooney was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978. At various times in his life he has been a paperboy, a supermarket cashier, a shelf stacker, a barman, a cinema usher, a carpet fitter’s labourer, a foreign-language assistant and a teacher.

He currently lives and writes in someone else’s small flat near London and his debut collection of short transgressive fiction, Whisky for Breakfast, is available now from Bridge House Publishing.

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