Review: Learning to Live (Learning #1) by R.D. Cole

Learning to Live

Author: R.D. Cole

Publication Date: August 28th 2013

Genre: New Adult

Pages: 294

Publisher: Self-Published


Synopsis

Being alive and living are not always the same.

Trudy Love is used to being on her own and has rarely been shown affection. Between growing up in foster care and her abusive boyfriend she has no idea what life can be. At 19 she goes through something no one should ever experience and is left alone once again. Six months later she moves to Mobile, Alabama where she meets someone whose eyes bring back memories of the one person she misses everyday. Too late she finds herself caught in a storm of emotions that are unwanted, but she’s determined to fight them off.

Jaxon Coleman has a good life, and for him to attend one of the finest Med schools in the country and follow in his dad’s foot steps is a dream come true. However, dreams can change in life and when he meets Trudy he knows his will never be the same. Jax knows she has secrets she is unwilling to share, but he’s never given up on something he wants and he wants Tru.

Can Trudy stop resisting her feelings and welcome the chance to live a different life than she pictured or will her defiance and haunted past eventually take her out of Jax’s reach?

After tragedy living is not easy, but with the right person it can be learned. 


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My Review

This is a sweet coming of age story. It’s about letting go of the past without forgetting the important lessons it has taught you along the way. It’s about finding yourself through trauma, despair and tragic loss. The main storyline evoked emotion in me firstly as a mother but also a fellow woman. The sadness of it will tear you open.

Tru Love is the heroine to beat ALL heroines.

Trudy Love is an imperfectly perfect character. She has been dealt a shitty set of cards – firstly being put into the care system at the age of 6 after her parents were more interested in where their next hit was coming from. Drugs were their priority, not their precious child. This moved on to having the WORST boyfriend any girl could ever have. Brad. Shitty shitty Brad. He was an extremely abusive character who appeared to get off on Tru’s fear and often capatilsed on it. I loathed him. He shared her around, he beat her, he demoralised him and finally she took the only thing she held dear to her…I hated him.

Tru brought herself back from the brink. She was back to having no-one again. She knew she needed to rediscover herself again, be her own person, not owned by someone. She learned that part of living life is being able to move on past the raw and open wounds but also being able to say “I deserve to live a happy life.” I LOVED that she learned from her abusers and now could take some of the biggest guys down…She was now defending other girls honor as well as her own. Tru Love is by far my absolute favourite heroine because she didn’t just drown in her grief and the feelings that life wasn’t fair – she actively worked her ass off to change and become a stronger version of herself.

The Complex family of Jazz & Jax

Wow…what a multi-diverse family they are. Jax’s parents couldn’t conceive again after he was born so they adopted children, one being a wheelchair bound beautiful girl – loved the inclusion of disabilities. This was a family that truly loved one another and would do anything to support the others. Their interaction was cute and playful and they all seemed to have an unbreakable bond. Jazz was a lovely girl but she would end up getting slapped a few times with how cheery and awake she was in the morning. Jax – gawd, how pleasing is it just to come across a guy that knows exactly what he wants and just goes for it. No games, no tricks just pure tru Love.

The pace was a bit slow in places for me, but overall it was nice, quick and sweet read. It wasn’t a 5 star read for me because the plot was predictable. I had worked out the person responsible pretty early on. I would have liked more twists and turns, maybe a bit more angst (I LOVE a book that makes me cry).

3.5 Stars

Review: Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson @lucydawsonbooks @bookouture

Don’t Ever Tell

Author: Lucy Dawson

Publication Date: June 25th 2019

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 284

Publisher: Bookouture


Synopsis

Never make a promise you can’t afford to keep…

This is a story about Charlotte – a mother and a wife with the perfect job, the perfect life… at least, that’s how it looks from the outside.

But behind closed doors, the marriage is breaking, and Charlotte’s husband Tris doesn’t even know how much. He has no idea what Charlotte has planned for him, who she has found, why she has hired someone to pretend to be her. But he doesn’t have long to wait to find out… 

Don’t Ever Tell will keep you gripped from the very first page andhave you guessing until the very last. From the bestselling author of The Daughter and White Lies comes an unputdownable psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before! 


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My Review

My goodness this was scarily real and relatable I just Couldn’t stop reading. If you seriously only read one book the rest of the year, do yourself and favour and make it this one! It really is a story of you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Charlotte appears to have the perfect life, a loving husband, two gorgeous children, a job that she loves albeit struggling with the balance of it, the nice house and car. Life couldn’t be better, or could it? Under the surface, Charlotte and Tris’ marriage is struggling , it’s just a rough patch, isn’t it?

Charlotte – under pressure but rational??

Charlotte truly loves working from home. She’s a good writer but struggling juggling family life and her professional life – squeezing in time to write in between cooking teas, school runs and illness. Tris, is often working away from home, could he do more to ease her strain? Does he do more to cause strain? Absolutely.

One day at a book signing in Edinburgh, Charlotte is a approached by a young fan who hauntingly looks like a younger Charlotte. It is so striking that it stops Charlotte in her tracks…Apparently it hasn’t gone unnoticed by her husband either. The young fan called Mia is a struggling actress , struggling to make ends meet and has a disturbed past. She’s vulnerable and haunted.

The two women’s paths cross again when Charlotte’s sister, Flo reveals a secret about her husband, she really didn’t see coming. Charlotte turns up at a performance Mia is starring in and gives her a proposition she really can’t turn down. This reveals Charlotte’s darker side and her tenacity for her end game.

Mia is caught in the crossfire

Mia is the character I felt more empathy for. She had come out the other side after some extremely dark moments in her life. She worked to get herself into a healthy place and yet, the events that transpired in this book could have quite easily unravelled all her hard work. She was definitively a vulnerable character that in the end got played by them both.

Nothing breaks like a heart.

Plot – blown out the park

I haven’t read anything by Lucy Dawson before but by god this won’t be the last book I pick up from her. Outstanding, Psychological thriller at it’s best! This was by far the best take on the revenge thriller that I have come across so far. The plot is dark and twisted and executed oh so amazingly well! The main character was unreliable and darkly motivated herself and although you could surmise the way the plot was developing the ending was a surprise and it blew me away. Bravo Lucy Dawson, Bravo.

5 Stars

This Book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Netgalley and Bookouture.

Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist

Author: Carrie Fisher

Publication Date: October 18th 2016

Genre: Autobiography

Pages: 257

Publisher: Blue Rider Press


Synopsis

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Warsmovie. 

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager. 

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.


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My Review

This autobiography revolves around her unreleased journal entries during her time filming the first Star Wars film, in which she was a fresh faced nineteen year old girl. She was cast as the ever memorable Princess Leia. The memoir is a combination of witticisms, cringe worthy feelings and gut wrenching sadness.

Carrie was no stranger to relative fame. Her mother was the actress Debbie Reynolds and her father was singer, Eddie Fisher. She realised how fickle the show business industry could be when her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor, causing a scandal and upset in her world. She was absolutely positive that she didn’t want to get stuck in the same rut. She more or less walked into the audition for Star Wars blind to what would become of her privacy, she had no idea how to handle her newly skyrocketed fame.

I had never been Princess Leia before and now I would be her forever. I would never not be Princess Leia. I had no idea how profoundly true that was and how long forever was.

This partial memoir examines her life during the Star wars years from her profound introduction to stardom at the tender age of nineteen, through her experience being part of Carison (her affair with Harrison Ford) and the significant effect it had on her.

The big bombshell that comes out of this memoir is the affair with Harrison Ford. This information hadn’t been public knowledge mainly due to, I think her shame at doing something her own father had done. In my eyes, Harrison’s behaviour was extremely dubious and although she goes very easy on him, the picture she paints is one of a man that says very little, does very little and realises very little. He seduces her in the back of a taxi whilst she is extremely drunk. A man of his age should of realised how wrong this was (not to mention the fact he was a married man with two children). The fact that he refused to acknowledge or talk about the situation between is surely not normal? This was for sure a bone of contention for Carrie and a trigger for several bouts of poor mental health.

It’s not nice being inside my head. It’s a nice place to visit but I don’t want to live in here. It’s too crowded; too many traps and pitfalls.

Carrie’s diary entries are self depreciating and rather cringe worthy, unfortunately. They ramble on and come across as quite repetitive. I think from these entries that she has struggled with her mental health and this come through in her writing. The truly sad note to these memoirs is how she feels towards her character, Princess Leia. She feels that it’s a job that she can never be fired from nor leave. It’s what she will forever be remembered for. It was a love hate relationship, she never expected this little film to be anything big. She will forever be immortalised in the super franchise that is Star Wars.

3.5 Stars

The Sunshine Blogger Award TAG

Thank you to the beautiful Whimsy pages for tagging me and coming up with these brilliant questions.. I had so much fun answering them!

THE RULES:

1- Thank the blogger for nominating you. 2- Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you. 3- Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions. 4- List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award in your post/or on your blog.


1- What Other Hobbies do you have?

I also LOVE Photography. When my second son was born I developed a mad interest in all kinds of photography. I bought a Sony bridge camera (very cheap) and did everything I could possibly do to learn all the theory behind light, shutter speeds and photographing the landscape. I have been at it five years now and I still love everything about it.

2- Share One Interesting Fact About you

I have two different coloured eyes. One is blue and one is a light shade of green. Growing up I felt a bit freakish and didn’t like to look at people in the eye, often they would regard me as a bit rude but I merely didn’t want people to notice how different I felt with it. Nowadays I wear it with a badge of honour and project it as such because my eldest son has the exact same thing although his is brown and blue.

3- What was the last place you travelled to?

I am the SINGLE most boring person in the world, I’m sure, I have never been abroad and have rarely ever been out of Scotland. I think the last place we went to on a road-trip as such was Glencoe on a photography scout. Incidentally it is my favourite place in Scotland to just get away from the city life. In a hippy kind of way I feel at peace there, a kind of calm comes over me when we go there. You feel really inconsequential in amongst the mountains. My husband likes to hike there so it feels like a second home. It is stunning.

4- What was the last book you read?

I’m currently reading The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher . Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a crazy Star Wars fan and this is serious fodder for me. Princess Leia was and is my ultimate heroine. I always wanted to be that amazingly strong female that Carrie portrayed so well.

5- What is your favourite review you’ve ever written?

I think my favourite review I have ever written was most recently actually. I read The Honeymoon this month and it just absolutely struck a chord. A MAJOR one actually. I have had a similar experience in my life – well similar in the sense that I have been through someone needing to control pretty much every aspect of your life. It resonated so deeply with me and I usually try to steer clear of that type of story but I took a chance and it was so worth it.

6- Share your reviewing process: From picking up the book until it goes live on your blog.

I have an utterly huge TBR list. I have 6500 books on my TBR on goodreads (yup…it’s going to completely outlive me) and I have about 50 physical books in my bookcase that I am currently working through. I currently operate from a system where I will Read an ARC from netgalley I need to get through, then a ebook purely for myself and a physical book. I’ll make notes throughout my reading – this includes quotes I want to use and points of importance. My review is constructed by major themes or characters and I usually give a detailed breakdown of each point.

7- How old is your blog?

My blog is so new – It’s only 5 weeks old

8- Do you plan something special for your next blogiversery?

I would love to do a big giveaway when the blog turns 1!

9- Do you love doing tags? Why?

This is actually my first tag post and I am secretly overjoyed at having being tagged. This was a lot of fun to do and I hope I get to be more involved with the book community and join in a lot more.

10- Tell us 5 things you love about blogging or this community.

1- The community is so close, everyone shares and helps your blog grow.

2- I LOVE shouting about books

3- I love reading book tour reviews and adding to my ever increasing TBR.

4- It allows me to get my geek on.

5- Blogging helps me to avoid the dreaded reading slump.

11- One book to read this summer

Read THE HONEYMOON by Rona Halsall (LOVE LOVE LOVE IT).


THE QUESTIONS:

1- Describe how you first got into blogging. 2- What is your working environment for blogging. 3- What is your favourite genre/why? 4- What has been your largest book haul? 5- Your top 5 blogging tips. 6- What is your favourite book cover? 7- Where is your favourite place to read? 8- What was the last TV show you watched? 9- What is your next read? 10- How do you want to improve your blog in the next year? 11- What is your favourite book of all time?


THE NOMINEES:

Reader Fox|The Reading Chick|Asha|Xandra|Katie’s Corner|Imi|Jenny|The Reading Chemist|Sarah|Something of the book|

Review : The Deep by Nick Cutter

The Deep

Author: Nick Cutter

Publication Date: January 13th 2015

Genre: Horror

Pages: 394 Pages

Publisher: Gallery Books


Goodreads/ Amazon UK/ Amazon


Synopsis

From the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down.…old-school horror at its best”—comes this utterly terrifying novel where The Abyss meets The Shining.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine. 


My Review

Oh be still my beating heart! I’ve just finished The Deep and I’m sat here wondering just what the actual fuck I have just read?! This has been my first read in the horror genre for many years and god what a book to have picked. This book was Bone- Chillingly terrifying, my heart wanted to escape from within my chest it was beating that hard. The book has been described as a mix of The Abyss and The Shining and that comparison has nailed this story. This is classic horror writing at it’s very best – Gruesome, Real and Frightening. The story develops very human emotions to fear with psychological elements. This story very much packs an enormous punch and it leaves you feeling winded and off – balance.

The World has become riddled with “The Gets”

A plague has overcome the earth where it manifests itself physically with pock-marked skin that develops into forgetting small things – like where you left your keys, and develops into forgetting major things like how to drive and finally when your body forgets how to exist and you die. This triggers the main story of what is happening below the ocean – 8 miles down. A substance has potentially been discovered in the deepest recesses of the ocean, further than any human could possibly survive, it’s deadly and crushing. A protected lab has been constructed but at a terrible cost where three scientists will examine and test this wonder substance. Can it be a cure?

Human’s weren’t built for this. There’s a reason nothing exists down here. Or nothing should.

Without examining the horrendous goings on within the lab, there are terrible things that could go wrong down there. The pressure alone would tear them apart, there are deadly creatures that roam the deepest depths of the ocean. Terrible creatures…ugly…

Psychological Elements – Claustrophobia, Isolation and Paranoia

These elements play out throughout the story in glorious HD. You are 8 miles beneath the surface, the mere pressure of the water and the contained way the characters were kept in would be claustrophobic as hell. They haven’t seen daylight in god knows how long and they only have each other and tonnes of water around them for company. No wonder they each fall into madness with their arms outstretched – Or do they? Is it actually some other supernatural force at work here? One scientist openly talks about holes appearing in the lab walls, of it having an exorable pull towards it. How can a hole appear in the wall and not have the water crush them into a pulp?

Flashbacks

This is I think where the author really comes into his own with this story. It is classic horror at its absolute best. The main character Lucas often has flashbacks to his childhood and just how terrible his mother was to both Lucas and his father. It’s this type of writing that reinforces the notion that we are all a product of our upbringing. Those monsters that you were damn sure were under your bed or in your closet – what if they were actually real?

Overall, this was a read with one eye open type of book. If you are squemish then this isn’t a book for you. It’s a horror story what would it be if there wasn’t death, blood, gore and suffering?

4 Stars

Paranoid by Lisa Jackson #bookreview #bookblog @readlisajackson

Paranoid

Author: Lisa Jackson

Publication Date: June 25th 2019

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Kensington


Synopsis

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson comes a new novel of nerve-jangling suspense as a woman haunted by guilt realizes that nothing can be trusted—not even her own memory …

There are people in Edgewater, Oregon, who think that twenty years ago, Rachel Gaston got away with murder.

Rachel still has no idea how a foolish teenaged game turned deadly—or who replaced her soft pellet air gun with a real weapon. When a figure leapt out at her from the darkness, she fired without thinking. Too late, she recognized her half-brother, Luke, and saw blood blooming around his chest.

Despite counseling, Rachel’s horrifying dreams about that night continue. Her anxiety contributed to her divorce from Detective Cade Ryder, though he blames himself too. But as Rachel’s high school reunion nears, she feels her imagination playing tricks, convincing her that objects in her house have moved. That there’s a hint of unfamiliar cologne in the air. That someone is tailing her car. Watching her home.

She’s right to be scared. And as connections surface between a new string of murders and Luke’s death, Rachel realizes there’s no escaping the past, and the truth may be darker than her worst fears …


AMAZON UK Goodreads Amazon US

My Review

A guilt left obvious. A dead sibling. Can a town ever truly move on from its bloody past? This is the situation that Rachel is left with after being involved in stupid teenaged game that went horribly wrong. Rachel fired the gun that inadvertently killed her half brother. His dying face haunts her existence to this day – twenty years on. Guilt plagues her even though she was acquitted of the murder. She believed she had taken his life but did she? This is a story of Fear, loss and the complexity of human emotion. As the story unfolded the reader was able to see that this wasn’t a simple story. Actions have concequences for all involved. The story follows Rachel’s life from frightened teenager to divorced woman with two children of her own and the fallout from that fateful night.

Rachel is a complex character – and I like that!

For this story it was right how in depth Rachel’s character was. She was ultimately flawed due to her experiences. She is the result of experiencing a tragic event that has changed her for good. Life would simply never be the same again for her. She has the classic signs of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). She fears everything, her marriage broke down, she doesn’t have any close friends (possibly fearing she may lose them if she’s truly close to them) and she has her children on a very tight leash. Her Daughter, Harper often states “It’s like a prison”. Her character is completely true to the event though – who wouldn’t be psychologically affected after going through what she has!

Plot – Well executed

The plot was interesting and I enjoyed the mental health take on the main character. The take on the fallout of several families involved gave the real implications of actions and concequences. It was a quick read and I wanted to keep reading to find out who was causing such carnage in the little town. The twist was unexpected and I was very shocked. This was a great, steady read.

I received an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars

While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green #bookreview #bookblog #Thriller

While My Eyes Were Closed

Author: Linda Green

Publication Date: January 28th 2016

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 402

Publisher: Quercus


Synopsis

One, two, three . . . 

Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa’s family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn’t a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa’s little girl is in danger of disappearing forever? 


My Review

What would you do if your child went missing under your watch? How would you cope? Would you cope? As a parent myself this was a nightmarish scenario. As the story unfolded, I was shocked at the actions and dialogue and I was gripped and invested in the story to carry on reading. This could happen to anyone’s child, you hear about it all the time on the news. It’s a truly horrifying topic. The story spans three people’s perspectives, Lisa, Muriel and Matthew.

Lisa is strong but cracking under the pressure.

Lisa Dale, mother of three. She has a strained relationship with her eldest daughter, Chloe. Lisa takes her youngest child, Ella to the park before picking up her son, Otis from a football presentation. It is just like any other day, nothing unusual happens, nothing out of place in their lives but their lives change inexorably due to closing your eyes for a few minutes. During a game of hide and seek, Lisa is distracted momentarily by a phonecall from a client. Lisa looks for her daughter, who by all thoughts looks like she has found the best hiding place is actually in fact missing – whether that is at the hands of a third person or by infact wandering out of the park remains to be seen.

Lisa although extremely effected by the events of the day, remains a rock to the rest of her children. She tries to bring normalcy to both her kids and her husband who seems to be drowning under the pressure by the day. She never gives up hope but does not cry in a public stage instead choosing to show the strength of her character.

Muriel has experienced incredible loss.

Muriel on the face of it is an extremely odd character. When we first meet her she seems incredibly delusional in her actions and the self reasoning behind it. She is an elderly lady that has standards that are old fashioned and appear to be very stern and unnecessary. This is the character that instilled the most emotion from me and in places did find myself emitting anger at some of the assumptions she made. As the story moved along it was obvious that although her actions were completely irrational but it was plain to see that she was suffering from mental health concerns due to trauma.

Matthew lived a tragic existence

Matthew and Chloe were the characters I had most empathy for. Matthew suffered after his mother and father got divorced. It meant now that his mum focussed ALL her energies on him – knowing what he was up to and who with, he wasn’t allowed a girlfriend or have her in his mother’s home and generally felt suffocated with his life with her. The end result is just plain tragic.

Plot – Well Executed

The story was interesting and a different take on the increasing amount of child abduction novels out there. I found it refreshing that the story was more focussed on the fallout on the family as a whole and cause and effect of an individuals actions. It was a fast read and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. It was a different take being able to read from the abductors point of view and I did feel sorry for her in a way even although she did something quite abhorrent. It was a good, steady read and recommend to those that enjoy a good Psychological Thriller.

3.5 Stars.