5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview Home by Amanda Berriman. @DoubledayUK @MandyBerriman @jounwin @TransworldBooks @bookreview

Home by Amanda Berriman.

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.

From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.

A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.

Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.

But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.

Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.


Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

About the Author:

Berriman-Mandy-Author-Pic-640x707Mandy was born in a British military hospital in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She studied music at Sheffield University, where she met her husband, and they climbed some more hills in the Peak District before setting off to travel around the world. After learning to teach in Glasgow, she taught in a primary school in the Cambridgeshire fens (not very hilly), where she rediscovered the joy of making up stories and started writing again. She’s now a specialist music teacher at a primary school in Oldham and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two lego masterbuilders and dog.

Home by Amanda Berriman is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, book review, debut author, giveaway

Review & Giveaway: The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne.


I’m very excited to review the debut novel, The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne on If Only I Could Read Faster today. But that isn’t all, there’s a fab giveaway of a paperback copy of the book and a limited edition notebook! Enter below 🙂

My 4* review:

You never know what to expect when you read a new author, especially when it is an author’s debut book. Many authors improve with the more books that they write, some brilliant authors have written pretty average debut novels but have clearly learnt and improved as they’ve gone along.

So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Abigail Osborne and her psychological thriller. I’d heard good things about it, and thankfully all those positive reviews were right.

Billie is a loner, she lives alone, and she avoids all contact with others. She has no friends, no mobile phone and frankly, no quality of life. She is clearly haunted by something from her past. Enter Adam. He seems determined to break through Billie’s walls, but does he have an ulterior motive?

The book is split into three parts, firstly when Billie and Adam meet, then their childhoods and finally the present. The story is skillfully told, Osborne gives the reader just enough at various stages while keeping enough back to ensure that the reader is gripped and guessing. If this is the debut novel of Abigail Osborn then she is definitely an author to watch.

Having said that I do feel that the writing was at times quite simplistic and there are some grammatical errors. But neither of these things change the fact that The Puppet Master is a very enjoyable, cleverly woven novel. The author should be proud.

**The reader should be aware that The Puppet Master contains issues of childhood sexual abuse and that this could be very triggering for some readers. Please be careful if you think that you may be affected by reading about this subject.**

I was given a copy of The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne but this has in no way affected my review.


Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

The Puppet Master is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US in paperback and ebook.



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