book review

Review: Play Dead by Angela Marsons

play dead
Play Dead by Angela Marsons

I think that Angela Marsons is now firmly my favourite author. I’ve loved all her books and this one is one of her best. Read them!!!

‘Angela Marsons has exploded onto the psychological thriller scene in the last year. I read her first book in the Kim Stone series, Silent Scream, and loved it. This is the fourth book in the series and they only get better. I have now given all four books five stars which is pretty impressive as I’m quite careful about giving them.

DI Kim Stone is not the most likeable character, but she is an excellent police detective and goes to all lengths to solve a crime. Her trusty team back her up with total faith, and Bryant knows his boss so well that he manages (some of the time) to reign her in. Stone is not the most tactful of people!

I have always felt that the characters were well formed but they have grown and developed as the books have gone on. Marsons writing in Play Dead feels so natural, she knows her characters so well which really adds to the reading experience. It feels like the book just flows, there’s no unnecessary drama, it feels real and there’s no wasted words.

While each book can be read as a standalone book I’d really recommend reading them all, they are a joy to read and I’ve no doubt that you will enjoy the book even more if you’ve read them all.

If you haven’t read any of Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone books then you’re in for a real treat. She is proving herself to be a brilliant writer and I cannot wait for book number five. Play Dead is a book that grabs you and pulls you in, just remember to breathe when you’re reading!

I was given a copy of Play Dead to read by the publishers, Bookouture, via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

Play Dead will be available from 20th May 2016 and can be preordered from Amazon UK and Amazon USA

Children's books

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

henry hodges
Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

Another children’s book! This time a 3* read.

‘I wanted to read Henry Hodges Needs a Friend because my son has struggled with making friends at school, and although things are much better now I still felt that it would be good to read a book about it.

Little Henry is sad because he has no friends, so his parents take him to a rescue centre and he finds the perfect dog who becomes his best friend. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? What’s not to like? Well actually I didn’t like some of it. There were no attempts to help Henry make friends, and while I think that it’s absolutely wonderful that Henry has his dog to be his friend, I don’t think that should be portrayed as a good solution for a child struggling to make friends. It’s a bit like ‘you have no one to play with? I know, let’s get a dog!’

So while it’s a sweet little story it is not something that I will read for my son, he’d be on at me to get a dog!!

I received a copy of Henry Hodges Needs a Friend from the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Children's books

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager

a tale of two daddies
A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager

A bit of a change for If Only I Could Read Faster with a children’s book! I’m sure that many of you won’t be interested in it but some of you might be, especially when it’s a 5* book that helps normalise different family set ups to children.

‘A Tale of Two Daddies tells the story of a little girl who is asked lots of questions by a friend in the park about life with two Daddies. The story normalises such a family set up which is wonderful to read. The little girl answers the questions in a matter of fact way, helping her friend to understand that having two Daddies is really no different from having a Mummy and a Daddy.

Bonus points to this book for producing a book that will help children to understand different family make ups and that they are still families. My children liked this book and the clear pictures, they are already aware of different family set ups but it is good to reinforce that.

I received a copy of A Tale of Two Daddies by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

A Tale of Two Daddies is available from Amazon UK

book review

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

when she was bad
When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

It was a close call but I have given When She Was Bad 5*’s. And I will definitely be reading more by Tammy Cohen in the future.

‘This is my second Tammy Cohen book having read First One Missing last year which I thought was brilliantly written. I think that I have a new favourite author.

When She Was Bad has short chapters that are each told from a different point of view. At first I was a bit confused due to the number of different characters but it didn’t take long to get into the swing of it. One of the main characters is Anne, based in America Anne talks about working with a little girl who had been rescued from what the media have dubbed ‘the house of horrors’ many years ago. All the other characters are in the present and based in England. Little seemed to tie them together, but as the story unfolded the connection became clear.

Many times when reading When She Was Bad I thought that I’d worked it all out, at one point I was so sure I felt quite smug about it. Serves me right because Tammy Cohen had me guessing right until the end. Talking of the end I did feel that it was a little rushed which was a shame, I felt that a lot was smoothed over and not explained, but that didn’t stop it being a very clever piece of writing that I’m sure will keep most readers guessing right until the end.

It would also appear that Tammy Cohen has a bit of a ‘thing’ about sweat (you’ll know what I mean when you read it!), but also describes anxiety and insecurities that many people suffer from.

Thank you to the publishers for an ARC of When She Was Bad via Netgalley.’

When She Was Bad will be released on April 21st 2016 and is available for pre-order from Amazon UK here.

book review

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

when breath becomes air
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

My 4* review:

‘I first heard about When Breath Becomes Air when I was browsing in Waterstones. I read the blurb and thought that I needed to read this book, I rarely read true stories but this book almost seemed to be calling to me. I went home and looked online, the book had just been released and had some great reviews already. I really wanted to read this book.

The book is split into two main chapters, two very long chapters. The first focused on Paul’s life before diagnosis, his education and reasons for going into medicine and neurology. According to my Kindle the first chapter took just over an hour to read, and there were very few pauses or breaks in the chapter. I’m a fan of short chapters so this was very strange for me, and I’m someone who hates stopping reading anywhere other than at the end of a chapter, but this wasn’t possible with this book. The second chapter is slightly shorter and focuses on what happened after diagnosis.

What could be a very sad and depressing read is actually quite an inspiring and thought provoking book. Paul describes his thought processes well and spends quite some time in Chapter 1 talking about his beliefs and what drove him to become an exceedingly good neurologist. Chapter 2 talks about life after diagnosis, about what Paul had hoped to achieve in his life, and reflection on what he had and had not managed to do. He fought a brave battle and I think that many of us would hope that we would be able to face death with such aplomb.

The book ends with a short chapter by Paul’s wife, finishing the book that Paul was unable to. Her strength also inspires.

I’m left with a lot to think about, this book came at an interesting time for myself and this no doubt added a great deal to my experience of reading When Breath Becomes Air. I also can’t help but think about why these things happen, why a neurologist gets cancer in his brain of all places. I know of other similar instances, like an ophthalmologist with a benign brain tumour that will cause gradual blindness as it grows. This book has definitely left me with a lot to think about and ponder.

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for the chance to read and review When Breath Becomes Air.’

When Breath Becomes Air is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.

Watch the trailer for When Breath Becomes Air here.

book review

No Name Lane by Howard Linskey


no name lane.jpg
No Name Lane by Howard Linskey

‘No Name Lane is the first book that I’ve read by Howard Linskey. I came across it on TBC on Facebook when the author was looking for people to read and review two of his books. I liked the sound of it so thought I’d give it a go.

I hadn’t realised how long the book was, at 496 pages it is not a quick read. I have to admit that at times I wanted to give up, it felt like progress was slow and I have so many other books that I want to read. But I was intrigued and wanted to know what would happen.

No Name Lane is definitely a slow burner of a book, although it grabbed me from the start the pace slowed right down. The benefit of this is that it allowed for great character development, and I particularly liked Tom who is the main character. It was also refreshing to read a book where the police detective wasn’t the lead character, instead Tom who is a local reporter is the one who the book focuses on.

There are twists and turns but as I said they are slowly revealed. I did enjoy No Name Lane and thought the writing and character development were excellent, but it was too long. Had it been shorter I probably would have given it 5*’s instead of 4.

I received a copy of No Name Lane in return for an honest review.’

While writing this review I thought about the length and looked at some other books that I’ve read and enjoyed, most were at least 100 pages shorter but one book, Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton is exactly the same length. Yet I never thought that book was too long. I’m not sure what that says about No Name Lane, but I think because the writing style is slow and steady it made it feel longer. Who knows.

No Name Lane is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.