Book Review · Books

One More For Christmas by Sarah Morgan [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I know we’re way past Christmas now, but there’s never a bad time to read a Christmas book. And One More for Christmas is the perfect book to bring the Christmas magic any time of the year. Huge thanks to the author, Sarah Morgan, for sending me a signed copy of this book to read and review! I will forever treasure it!

Synopsis

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

My Thoughts:

I actually read One More For Christmas during the Christmas holidays, but as you can see, I am still trying to keep up to date with my backlist. This is not your typical Christmas book. It’s a modern story, about complicated relationships and pursuing careers. It’s also about how sometimes changing your perspective in life can bring you true happiness.

Gayle has not been the best mother to her daughters, and that’s why Ella and Samantha have learned to stick together. When they end up having to spend Christmas with their mum, many emotions start to come back. Sarah Morgan has succeeded in portraying their relationship and their point of view, and we can grasp their complexity thanks to her.

“A relationship is like a jigsaw, isn’t it? Whether it’s with a partner, with friends or with your children – it’s made up of hundreds of tiny pieces, some imperfect. Those characteristics unique to each one of us, the genes we inherit, our life experiences, the way we behave. Tony, misshapen little pieces that make us who we are. And when you make a life with someone, you have to somehow find a way to make all those pieces fit. If you’re lucky, they come together into something that makes sense as a whole.”

Even though the relationship between the mother and her daughters seems to drive the story, this book is so much more than that. Modern romance, beautiful Christmassy moments set on a mountain in Scotland and powerful feminist voice!

The perfect modern Christmas book!

I especially loved the scenes that brought the Christmas spirits, especially through the eyes of a little girl. The reindeers, the snow, the food and the family atmosphere, it was all so warm and loving. It was quite unique to also read about how Ella and Samantha feel about Christmas as well, having grown up without celebrating it. And the same goes for Gayle as well – her reasons for not celebrating Christmas with her daughters, and her personal development throughout the book.

Emotional, modern and amazingly written Christmas book that will transport you to the magical Scottish mountains. I love Sarah Morgan’s writing and can’t wait to read her next book. I hope her books become movie adaptations one day as well!

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

The Nursery by Asia Mackay [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

If you ever wondered how James Bond would have looked like if he were a woman, this is the series you don’t want to miss. The Nursery is the second book of the Alexis Tyler series; a story about an assassin, a wife and a mother. It can be easily read as a standalone as well.

Synopsis

Lex Tyler is a secret agent. Her husband doesn’t quite know the details of her job. And her two-year old daughter has just developed a worrying love of biting.

When her colleague agents start dying and secrets are being leaked, Lex and her team have to work undercover to identify and eliminate the traitor in their midst. And this has to happen before China’s minister of Commerce gets assassinated on her visit in the UK. This is the one mission Lex can’t afford to fail.

My Thoughts:

I went into this book completely neutral, if not a bit worried that I haven’t read the first book of the series. And it blew me away! I loved the idea of a woman assassin that also has to juggle being a wife and a mum. I loved Lex’s character and her personal development, and could relate to so many things of her daily life. Even secret agents have to deal with their annoying two-year olds, and that was a relief. Lex was about to make some very unpopular life choices at one point in the book, and I was actually excited about. It was the obvious wrong choice, but her status-quo also wasn’t promising either, so I found myself rooting for the team that might raise eyebrows. The writing of this part and the build up to it was amazing.

The thriller moments in this book were phenomenal! I loved the suspense at the end of the chapters. And blimey, I did not expect that plot twist in the end. It surprised me so much, but then I realised how there have been hidden clues scattered in the book all along. And I’ve missed them all. I wanted to immediately re-read the book, just to find all the clues, and that is a proof to Asia Mackay’s amazing suspenseful writing.

I truly devoured this book, and Asia Mackay is now an author that I will keep following and whose books I’ll keep reading. Starting with “Killing It”, which is the first book of this series. The Nursery is a wonderful thriller you will not be able to put down. With a plot twist you’ll certainly remember!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Books · Monthly Tags

February TBR – The TBR Raffle

February TBR - The TBR Raffle

Hello, fellow readers!

Welcome to the February TBR! January felt like it lasted for a year, and I’m already enjoying February way more than I enjoyed January. It’s nice to have a short month once in a while, isn’t it?

January was a very hard month, and I read only 7 books, only one of which was a 5-star. You can see my January wrap up here.

You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. And this month, there will be a lot of surprises there as well, which you don’t want to miss.

And with that being said, let the February TBR raffle commence.

The February TBR Raffle

I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check out the “Monthly TBR” highlight at the beginning of each month!

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the paper is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 6 prompts, which result in 6 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

My February TBR

✨ 1. Fantasy

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas is a book I have had on my TBR shelf since last April, but when fantasy came up, it felt like the perfect time to start it, and I can’t wait for it.

Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 2. LoveReading

LoveReading is a website that I have been an ambassador for about 2 years now, and they send me amazing books before publication. That is why I have a special prompt made just for the books they’ve sent me. This time, I am choosing The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna. I know I will definitely enjoy this book, and I think it will one of the most popular YA fantasies this year!

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…

Purchase Links:
 | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 3. Instagram Pick

This month’s Instagram Pick was The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I always love the Instagram polls that we do, and you seem to also enjoy it as well. It’s quite fun how we come up with a random title that most of you want me to read. I am in love with my copy of this book, and I know I will truly enjoy it!

Synopsis:

It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

✨ 4. Highest Rated

The current highest rated book on my Goodreads TBR is Unspoken by Guvna B, and I am so excited to read about his book that speaks about toxic masculinity.

Synopsis:

Men are bold. Men are brave. And men are strong in the face of fear. But what happens when that strength crumbles?

Growing up on a council estate in East London, rapper Guvna B thought he knew everything he needed to know about what it means to be a man. But when a personal tragedy sent him reeling, he knew he had to face these assumptions head on if he was going to be able to overcome his grief.

In this intimate, honest and unflinching memoir, Guvna B draws on his personal experiences to explore how toxic masculinity affects young men today. Exploring ideas of male identity, UNSPOKEN is an inspirational account of Guvna’s journey.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 5. TBR Jar

My TBR Jar picked The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice! It’s the perfect book to get me into a spring/summer mood, and it will be a light read to brighten up the gloomy rainy February days.

Synopsis:

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 6. Sent By Publisher

The Man I Didn’t Marry by Anna Bell was kindly sent to me by the team at HQ Stories, and this book is coming out this month, which is why I chose to read it. The synopsis is intriguing, and I have heard amazing things about Anna Bell’s writing, so can’t wait to dive into it!

Synopsis:

What happens when the man she married can’t remember her?

Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.

Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find herMax again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?

As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

There are also a few extra books I am planning on reading this month, as well as the ones from last month that I didn’t get to yet, but I won’t reveal these titles to you yet, as I have some special TBR mystery surprises ready. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.

And that’s (part of) my February TBR. Wish me luck, because this month, I’ll need it! <3
What is on your February TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor [BLOG TOUR]

I am delighted to be part of the huge blog tour for The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor. Huge thanks to Gaby from Michael J Books, for this amazing opportunity. If you have a chance, please go and check out the other participants as well!

★★

The Burning Girls was the first book I read from C. J. Tudor and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the horror elements, as well as the multi-layer mysteries over the years, and the many plot twists. It is definitely a thriller you will not want to miss this year, and I’ll certainly pick up more books by the author. I was only disappointed with the very end of the book, and I’ll elaborate more on the why’s below:

Synopsis:

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest…

My Thoughts:

From the very first moments, The Burning Girls grips you and doesn’t let you go until you’re finished. I started this book very late, and was quite certain I’d miss my blog tour deadline as well. But I was so intrigued by it, that I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a day.

I loved Jack and Flo, and their mother-daughter relationship.

It shows quite well that it doesn’t matter what profession the parent might be having, the children always treat you the same. The need for attention that they’ll never admit to, the secrets they will keep from you, and the mischievous ideas they are going to come up with.

When they move into the new village, they both feel both excited and sad. It’s never easy to leave behind a life you’ve created, especially for a teenager like Flo. Going into a new school, meeting new friends, being distant to the old friends – it’s all very scary at first. And through Jack, we can see how she feels about it all as well – not happy that she’s leaving, but also trying to make it the best experience at the time.

The horror and mystery elements come very early in the book, which is something I really enjoyed. I was very intrigued with not one, not two, but three mysteries that were going on, all in the same town, and all not quite resolved. Those parts, where more clues would come, or something supernatural would happen would be my favorite scenes in this book, and I was eagerly waiting for more. The atmosphere was spooky and very uncomfortable at times. I mean, you only need to imagine a chapel, burning girls and paganism, and you get the idea.

I also liked the town setting, and their behaviour.

Everyone in the small town seemed to be hiding their own secrets, and doing their best to protect them, and this part reminded me a bit of Tana French’s The Searcher. You could feel the townspeople’s animosity in every interaction, and you can’t help but get the chills.

To conclude, this book did satisfy my needs for horror, mystery and plot twists. I definitely did not expect all of those plot twists that came my way, and the book just kept surprising me in a spectacular way. I definitely recommend it to all fans of horror, mystery and thriller, it’s a book that you will devour!

The Disappointment:

My disappointment at the end of the book was huge, and it was the only reason this book went from 5-stars to 3-stars. I can’t share my full thoughts, because of obvious spoilers, but I will do my best to do this right. If you have read the book and want the full notes, please send me a message.

As soon as I read the last few chapters, we end up finding an answer to a mystery that was lingering from the very beginning of the book, and throughout. But knowing what we know now, it feels as if the whole book was a lie, and I cannot really trust a particular character because of it. The knowledge made me question my whole opinion of the book and left a bitter taste in my mouth, and that’s the only reason why I can’t give this book a higher rating. I feel that many things could have been written in a different way, and from other people’s perspectives.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life by Alex Christofi [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

If you, just like me, are a fan of Dostoevsky’s work, you will definitely enjoy Dostoevsky in Love:An Intimate Life. And even if you haven’t read any of his books, you’ll learn about what it felt like living in 19th century Russia (and other European countries), and I am certain that upon reading this, you’ll go and grab one of Dostoevsky’s books.

Synopsis

Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life is a detailed biography of the life of Dostoevsky, mixed with a bit of creative freedom. Alex Christofi tells the story of Dostoevsky’s life using quotes from Dostoevsky’s books, as well as from letters and diaries.

My Thoughts:

It’s not very often I read biographies. If I read a biography, it has to be from someone I know a lot about and am curious about. I was going to say that it’s also from people I really admire, but I love reading biographies about serial killers, so maybe that’s not the best statement to put in words. However, from all the biographies I’ve read, this one certainly jumps at the top of my list, firstly because of its uniqueness. Alex Christofi not only shows us the life of Dostoevsky and his works, but he digs much deeper than that. We get to know Dostoevsky on a very personal level, able to read his thoughts, re-live his experiences and witness his many tragedies in life and few of his moments of happiness.

Starting with his mock execution, we immediately get a glimpse of the terror Dostoevsky goes through. I can only imagine how that experience can leave a mark on you – for life. Then we follow his years in prison, his illness, his romantic life and his gambling addiction. The joy he experiences when his first child is born, and the pain he suffers when many people he loves keep dying around him.

“Suffering and pain are always mandatory for broad minds and deep hearts. Truly great people, it seems to me, should feel great sadness on this earth.”

I went into Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life with only a basic knowledge of Dostoevsky’s life, but a more broader knowledge of his works.

And I know now, where this genius has come from.

He always had the truly remarkable gift to be able to write, but his experiences in life certainly made him understand pain, grief, human psychology and interaction on such a deeper level, in a way that not many people can truly comprehend. This biography not only made me much more understanding of his life, but also made me eager to re-read all his works now, knowing what I know about his life. And not only his life, but also the period he lived in as well, the politics, the social groups of authors and people’s interactions with one another.

“Everywhere in Russia there have always been, and always will be certain strange individuals who, while humble and by no means lazy, are destined to be broke for ever.”

I admire Alex Christofi for his detailed research and the work he put into this book.

He was able to combine extracts from Dostoevsky’s books into experiences that Dostoevsky lived through. And connect the events with when the books were written. I had mixed feelings on this creative freedom at first, but very soon I started to enjoy it, and it brought the writer and the works closer together in my world. We can feel moments, when an event would happen to Dostoevsky, and how this reflects in his books. How it inspired him to start a book, how a character matches a person from his life. I really wished that we read more about the time he was writing “Crime and Punishment”. It was mentioned a lot of times, but it never was associated with any moment in his life. I am wondering about how this book came to be, and the initial response it received from the public.

There’s a reason why Dostoevsky is such an important person in the world literature. Why many of his books are classics and are being read and studied in schools even today. He has brought a view on psychology and sociology through fiction. There is yet an author to try and create something as remarkable as what Dostoevsky did in his time.

“If we take the trouble to honour the dead, perhaps one day someone will remember us.”

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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