Friday 27 January 2017

Goodreads Review: Rattle by Fiona Cummins

RattleRattle by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just, wow! The first novel I have read by Fiona and I just loved it! I knew from the first few chapters that it was going to be a good one! I love her style, the ease of reading and attention to detail. The pace of the story was perfect and the character depth was just enough to get to know them, without all the extra baggage. Overall it was much better than I had expected. The synopsis didn't scream at me to make me want to read it, but having done so, I would highly recommend it and I am looking forward to more from Fiona.

View all my reviews

Thursday 26 January 2017

Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10

Happy Publication Day to the amazing Ruth Ware and The Woman in Cabin 10! I gratefully received an advance reader copy of this last year and I loved it! Read my short review and grab your copy today!

The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth and I hoped that The Woman in Cabin 10 would be as good. It was better! The mysterious plot outline of a supposed murder occurring on a ship where all its passengers are present and accounted for is riveting. Fantastic thriller and looking forward to more from Ruth Ware.

View all my reviews

Get your copy today!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

What is your reading speed?

Whilst browsing online book stores yesterday I came across a book called Speed Reading; How to increase your reading speed and comprehension by Bryan Botwin. I like to think of myself as a relatively fast and competent reader, but thought I would read it anyway. Any of us bookworms will admit that being able to read faster can only be a good thing as it enables us to read more and more books in less time.

Speed Reading: How To Increase Your Reading Speed And ComprehensionSpeed Reading: How To Increase Your Reading Speed And Comprehension by Bryan Botwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A few helpful tips to increase your reading speed. Short and sweet.

View all my reviews

I have encountered the notion of speed reading before and vaguely remember doing an online test to discover my reading speed. Taking an online test is recommended by the author to establish your current speed and to be able to monitor any progress made in future.

I took this speed reading test today and I was genuinely shocked by my results. The site says that the average speed at which we read is around 200 words per minute and we retain roughly 60% of the information before us. I was pretty confident of beating this, being an avid, long-time reader. I was incredibly pleased to see my reading speed was a whopping 550 words per minute and my retention rate was 91%!! I took the test again as instructed and my words per minute had increased to 638! Apparently only 1% of readers have a retention of more than 85% and can reach speeds of up to 1000 words per minute! Pretty interesting stuff! If you want to take a look at the book, get it now for free below.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Book Review: The Breakdown by B A Paris

Wow! What a read! After the halfway point I genuinely could not put this down!! I became a huge fan of B A Paris after last year's Behind Closed Doors (who didn't?!) and The Breakdown has only cemented my opinion.

Fast-paced and gripping, it will leave you wanting more and more. Just as with Jack and Grace in Behind Closed Doors, here we are introduced to Cass and Matthew, a seemingly ordinary couple with run of the mill jobs and a few close friends to hang out with. Paris' character development is pure genius and the attention to detail second to none. On a personal level I really connected with Cass as someone who has suffered with anxiety and memory problems. We follow her as her life is almost falling apart at the seams, with the ever present and dependable husband to lean on. When a murder occurs a little too close to home, and with a murderer still at large, will the strange things going on around her be enough to send Cass over the edge before its too late?

Pre-order your copy today! Release date 9th February!

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Goodreads Review The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the CornerThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book, other than beautiful? It just confirmed everything I love about literature. The author really drew me in and allowed me to be a part of the story. I read it as if it were my own adventure, and what an adventure it was! Heart-warming and awe-inspiring, I want to read it all over again.

View all my reviews

Friday 13 January 2017

Goodreads Review of Watch Me by Angela Clarke

Watch Me (Social Media Murders, #2)Watch Me by Angela Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Angela Clarke is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Having devoured her debut Follow Me last year I couldn't wait to read more from her. The ultra-modern take on the serial killer thriller is fantastic and bang up to date. Watch Me is another cool, crisp thriller that's right at home in 2017.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Top 10 downloaded books of 2016

Amazon recently released it's list of the top 10 downloaded Kindle books in 2016. Since I've read 9 out of the 10, I thought a post with brief reviews would be a good idea.

Unsurprisingly, they almost all fell into one category; psychological thrillers. Since blockbusters such as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train were released this genre has seen a staggering rise in popularity.

Starting at number 10 is Follow You Home by Mark Edwards. The page-turning psychological thriller from the author of #1 bestsellers The Magpies and Because She Loves Me.

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…

A gripping read, described as ‘Twisty, turny and downright creepy in places Mark Edwards has, yet again, produced an unputdownable psychological thriller. He is a master at creating a tangled web of secrets, lies and red herrings so cleverly constructed that I was kept guessing all the way through. Highly recommended.' —CL Taylor, author of The Accident

At number 9 is The Teacher by Katerina Diamond. I can honestly say that this was the book that made me fall in love with reading all over again. Amazon describes it as "NOT for the faint hearted" and never a truer statement was issued! You need a strong stomach for this! One of the best reads for me in 2016. Go read it!

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil? You’re wrong …

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

At number 8 is the heartbreaking Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Originally published in 2012 the compelling romance saw a resurgence in 2016 due to it's movie adaptation release. I can honestly say this book is one of very few that has ever made me cry. I cried tears of joy and despair but I can confidently say it is one of my top ten favourite books ever.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Number 7 is the only book I am yet to read from this fantastic top ten. My Husband's Wife by Amanda Prowse is a Number 1 bestseller with fantastic reviews. It's definitely on my to-read list for 2017.

Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.

She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.

But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?

At 6 is The Sister by Louise Jensen. I really enjoyed this. Plenty of twists and turns and the usual unreliable narrative from the main character. Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of this genre. Looking forward to reading her new novel The Gift soon.

"I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me ..."

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home.

But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie ...or was there?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go, and The Girl With No Past.

At 5 is the thrilling Between You and Me by Lisa Hall. I loved this book. Hall is extremely clever and the huge twist right at the end was kept secret flawlessly. I even had to go back through to see if any hints had been given or mistakes made. There were none. Lisa is definitely one to watch for 2017 and I am looking forward to more from her.

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

Number 4 on the list is Linda Green's While My Eyes Were Closed. A number 1 bestseller and a cracking read. Yet another nail-biting psychological thriller and well deserving of its 4.3/5 rating on Amazon.

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?

At number 3 is one of my personal favourites. The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza is phenomenal. Robert is extremely talented and his writing style is exquisite. The perfect mix of suspense and thrills and his character development is brilliant. Two more books, The Night Stalker and Dark Water have been released as part of the Detective Erika Foster series and I can confidently say that book number 4 will be every bit as exciting as its 3 predecessors. 

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

Number 2 needs no introductions. Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train is still topping the bestseller lists almost 2 years after its release and has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. With the movie adaptation released in late 2016 readers were once again flocking to the bookshelves to see what all the fuss was about. Another of my favourites and one I am not likely to forget anytime soon.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. 

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

At number 1 and last but most definitely not least is the outstanding debut from B A Paris, Behind Closed Doors. Unsettling, addictive and chilling it leaves you racing through the pages hungry to know more. Paris is sharp and compelling and I am waiting with baited breath for the next release The Breakdown. Behind Closed Doors dominated in 2016 and with the ever growing popularity of its genre, it will slay 2017.

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

What a phenomenal 2016 in books, especially within the thriller genre. Some truly outstanding debuts and new releases from well loved authors. If 2017 is anywhere near as good, I am excited! Looking forward to reviewing some fantastic novels and discovering more talented new authors to follow.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment below with your 2016 favourites or 2017 'can't wait to reads'!

Rachael xo

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Review - Blink by K L Slater

I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this! I think it's probably safe to say that K L Slater's Blink is one to watch out for in 2017. Her previous novel Safe With Me was outstanding and Blink is even better.

Toni Cotter has recently moved to Nottingham with her 5 year old daughter Evie to be closer to her Mother after losing her husband to the war in Afghanistan. She is grief stricken and struggling to cope, often relying upon her dead husband's prescription meds to get her through the day. Things seem to be looking up when she gets a part time job at a local estate agency and the people around her seem nothing but friendly and helpful when it comes to beautiful little Evie.

Three years later, Evie has disappeared, taken from her Mother. Where is she? Who has taken her? It seems that the only person missing her is lying in a hospital bed after suffering a severe stroke. She cannot move, she cannot speak, she can't even blink. She is running out of time before her life support machine will be turned off. Will they find out the truth before it's too late?

Blink had me gripped from the very first page. The main character Toni has so many different layers. One minute you are sympathising with her and understanding her grief, the next minute shaking your head at her questionable parenting skills. There are so many aspects to this story that even an in-depth review would not do it justice. You have to read it to truly appreciate the brilliance of it.

We are only ten days in, but I predict Blink will be one of the most talked about thrillers this year. A rival to cousins Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, it is simply stunning, with one of the biggest twists I've ever seen.

Pre-order your copy now!

Sunday 8 January 2017

Work in progress

Happy Sunday readers! Can't believe we are already eight days in to the new year! I've been working hard on a few posts that I would like to share with you, so coming soon is my 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge list, an in-depth review of my brand new Kindle Oasis and the top ten Kindle downloads of 2016 via Amazon!

Hopefully these will all be uploaded be the end of the week, plus my review of my current read Blink by K L Slater. I would like to thank the amazing guys at Bookouture and NetGalley for the advanced copy.

Until next time,

Rachael xo

Saturday 7 January 2017

Review - My Sister's Bones

Image result for my sisters bones

Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and their father. Her sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

What secret has Kate stumbled upon?
And is she strong enough to uncover the truth . . . and make it out alive?

A completely unputdownable story about the secrets families hide, with a twist that will knock your socks off, this thriller is the hottest debut since The Girl on the Train.

I have literally just finished this book and couldn't wait to review it. My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood was breathtaking! I didn't realise how good it was until 75-80% through and then I couldn't put it down.

At 400 pages (Kindle Edition) it took me 2 days to finish reading it around the 3 little ones, but I enjoyed it, a lot! The author's style is beautiful and well crafted. The book is comprised of 3 parts, each from a different perspective, which brings a real depth to the story and the main characters. I like to feel like I know the characters and I really liked Kate, the main character. The author really drew me in and I felt emotionally involved in the story.

One point that really made me enjoy this book was the plot twist. I never saw it coming, and I almost always do! I was caught completely off guard and thrilled about it!

I felt the story line was well balanced throughout and brought to an impeccable end with full closure. I personally don't like it when an ending feels hurried and with questions left unanswered.

I have rated this book at 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads because it truly deserves it. Go get your copy, it's well worth the read!

Friday 6 January 2017

Review - The Loving Husband

So, my first read of 2017 was Christobel Kent's The Loving Husband. This book had been recommended to me by a friend and had been on my to-read list for quite a while. A Sunday Times Bestseller and popular among various book clubs and social media, I finally decided to read it.

Blurb (courtesy of Amazon):

Fran Hall and her husband Nathan have moved with their two children to a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens - a chance to get away from London and have a fresh start.
But when Fran wakes one night to find Nathan gone, she makes a devastating discovery. As questions about her husband and her relationships start to mount, Fran's life begins to spiral out of control.
What is she hiding from the police about her marriage, and does she really know the man she shared her bed with?

I am a huge fan of this 'domestic thriller' genre and with blockbusters such as The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl making such a huge impact over the last 12 months or so, it seems I am not alone in favouring this category. As such, I have read quite a few books in 2016 of a similar nature and enjoy them immensely. The Loving Husband should have been no different.

Unfortunately it missed the mark by a long shot.

The plot was great, and the developing story line was, overall, brilliant. It just lacked depth. I like to feel like I am getting to know the characters and really experience what they are going through but Fran was totally one dimensional. The author's style really threw me and I found myself struggling to keep up with the erratic switching between present and past. 

Of course, it wasn't all bad. There are a few 'WTF...' moments!! A few good plot twists and plenty of moments where you think you may have guessed only to be back to square one by the next paragraph!

I felt truly disappointed at the end. The plot was dragged and stretched out through the book and rather abruptly came to an end, with everything being explained hurriedly in just a few pages. I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted and willed it to get better with every chapter; it just didn't.

Of course, this is just my opinion! I had read a few Amazon reviews beforehand and seen many positive reviews. The Kindle version is on sale at the moment, and for only 99p, it's probably worth a read to make your own mind up.

Until next time,

Rachael xo

Wednesday 4 January 2017

2016 - My Year In Books

At the dawn of a new year I thought it fitting to look back at 2016 as a whole and, wow, what a year it was! My thought process wasn't in the least bit encouraged by my Goodreads Year in Books tool!! 

66 books officially read and logged. Probably around 70 in truth, which is not bad considering I was extremely busy at the start of 2016 with another project and so I didn't really get started until around late April/early May. My goal for 2016 was 100 books, so I have set it again at 100 for 2017 and I'm pretty confident I will do it this year!

My genres varied a little more in 2016, from business and self help to psychological thrillers and timeless classics. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.

To see my full list, take a look at my Goodreads Year In Books

I intend to make the most of 2017 and widen my choices even further, paying more attention to reviews and my blog, and re-reading some of my school reads that (shamefully) I skimmed through rather than studied!

Until next time,

Rach xo

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year fellow book lovers! I sincerely wish you all the best for 2017!

I intend to start the year as I mean to go on! Keeping on top of my blog, keeping up with the latest best sellers, and some of the more obscure titles, and of course reviewing some of the latest tech including my brand new Kindle Oasis!

My first read for 2017 is one that's been on my pile for a while. The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent. Enjoy the rest of your New Year break, see you on the other side!

Rach xo