Wednesday 14 June 2023

Book Review | The Book Club by C. J. Cooper | prettylittlewriter

‘The book club was her idea, of course. Alice's.
It was her way into our group. A chance to get close.
I knew from the day she arrived that she couldn't be trusted.

And I was right.
Because Alice didn't come to the village for peace and quiet.
She came for revenge.’

Our MC Lucy has only been in her little village for around 3 months, but she’s already made some great friends who are all incredibly close, and love going to the pub together and getting jolly.

Suddenly she gets a new next door neighbour, Alice, who seems to be acting strange around her, and is inserting herself into her friendship group quite easily, even managing to organise a book club.


Lucy just thinks she’s very friendly to start, and desperate to make friends, but it starts to become clear quite quickly that she is actually there to cause problems.


Lucy left London due to having an affair with her boss and it ending badly, and we know early on that Alice knows about this, and for some reason is seeking revenge.


Each character within the story gets their own voice for some chapters, and we start to see the cracks within their friendships, as they are all keeping secrets from each other, some worse than others.


Alice isn’t just trying to fuck up Lucy’s life, she’s also determined to ruin the lives of the others.


There were some parts of the story that I found far-fetched, including a murder and attempted murder from Alice, as I just don’t think it would happen like that in real life. I also was a little bit disappointed with the outcome of the story, Alice’s reason for going after Lucy seemed a bit of a reach (although you can tell she’s a psychopath, so she probably thought it made sense) and also the way things get left with Lucy at the end of the story just seemed very anti-climactic.


However, overall I really did enjoy the story and the build up to the ending.


3/5 stars

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Book Review | Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier | prettylittlewriter

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer's apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.’

This is a book that I would never have purchased from a bookshop as I’m quite fussy with my fantasy novels. However, as I received it in my fairyloot YA sub, I thought I’d give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Cas is a great MC, you really empathise with him after the trauma of his entrapment and torture, and I found myself really hoping he’d get a happy ending—of sorts.

This is the first novel I’ve read about a disease that wipes out many people (minus those I’ve read with mentions of covid), and although the novel is fantasy, as the disease is the plague it becomes relatable to the past of the real world.

There were some quite harrowing moments throughout, especially when Cas stumbles upon a character that has died or is in a bad way.

It was interesting to have the element of ghosts throughout, with Cas being able to see them and speak to them, however, it didn’t really play a big part in the story. It did however have its moments, when he was able to get extra information from a ghost to help in the living world.

The relationships that played out within the story were done well, I enjoyed Cas & Lena’s story, and Cas’ friendships when he returned to his kingdom. I would have liked to see more from the romance between Cas and Lena, but that’s just me being a sucker for romance.

The main mystery involved within—who tried to assassinate the Queen’s maid and child—was drip fed to us which kept you guessing until the big reveal at the end, and I thought it was very cleverly done.

Overall, I would say it’s a very well developed world and a clever story that kept me interested the whole way through, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a historical fiction fantasy novel.

4/5 stars

Friday 19 May 2023

Book Review | Falling by T. J. Newman | prettylittlewriter

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don't know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot's family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.’

This was a thrilling ride from start to finish!


We start with our MC Captain Bill, who boards the flight to JFK after being called in especially by one of his senior bosses to pilot the flight. Once he boards the plane and takes flight, he receives a message, and then a video call, to show that his family are being held hostage, and the kidnapper has a simple request, crash the plane, or your family dies.


Bill was a good character (I wouldn’t say great as I feel one of the cabin crew members were actually stronger than him) but still interesting and the way he dealt with the situation was very impressive (calm and collected). Bill is told he cannot tell anyone else about the situation, but he does warn one of the cabin crew, Jo, who is also a close friend of Bill’s, and thank god he does as her nephew just so happens to be an FBI agent.


So we now have Bill in the cockpit trying to liaise with the kidnapper, being very firm that he will not crash the plane, and they will not kill his family. His conviction here was very strong, as I’m sure a lot of people would be a lot more pessimistic about the situation! We then have Jo, trying to figure out how best to deal with the situation amongst the rest of the crew and with the passengers, and then we have FBI agent Theo on the ground, enlisting his team’s help to locate the family before the worst happens.


Jo was definitely my favourite character within the story, she was incredibly strong throughout, and she took matters into her own hands by informing the rest of the cabin crew and between them, the way they manage the passengers was pretty impressive. There’s one moment where they tell a white lie to the passengers and it backfires due to them having a social media star on board, and it just shows how these days it’s hard to lie even to protect people, because of the internet.


Theo was an FBI agent who didn’t have much sway in his team due to a previous mission, but he manages to persuade his boss that the threat was real and they were tasked with locating the family. First stop was the family home, and let’s just say things did not go to plan!


I won’t go into any more detail with the actual storyline, but I will say that it was completely action-packed, I was so hooked it only took me few hours to read it, the writing was fast-paced which meant it was completely un-putdownable!


The only reason I’m not giving it a 5 star review is because I’m not entirely sure how believable the story is (there were a few holes in the plot, and I think the bad guys in reality would have reacted differently to certain things Bill did).


I would however, highly recommend it to thriller fans, you really will be on the edge of your seat reading it!


4/5 stars

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Book Review | The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary | prettylittlewriter

‘Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend's wedding in the north of Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.

But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie's ex, Dylan, who she's avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.

Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they've totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with three hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can't avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship...

Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly... is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?’

This was a great read! 

My first Beth O’Leary novel, I was hooked instantly and was desperate to find out why Addie and Dylan had broken up, and why they seemed to hate each other but also still be completely in love with each other!


We dive straight into the drama with the car accident happening almost instantly in the first chapter, so I knew we were in for an interesting read from the get go!


Addie is a great character, I really liked her personality, bubbly and kind, but also incredibly strong-willed and determined. Her bond with her sister Deb was lovely, and I really enjoyed seeing them together and how protective they both were of each other.


I was unsure of Dylan at first, sure he’d done something terrible to split them up, but then we get snippets of information (mainly via his friend Marcus) that is may have even been Addie that caused the split). I also thought Dylan was a bit pompous at first too, with his poetry writing and the fact he was unsure what to do with his life and just living off of Daddy’s money.


Marcus, Dylan’s best friend, was an arsehole. Entitled and a bit of a letch, he was absolutely awful towards Addie and so manipulative with Dylan. I saw the reason for his dislike of Addie coming from the offset; it was the only ‘reasonable’ explanation, although it was still pathetic of him.


My favourite character was actually Rodney for a while, a random guy they’d picked up from the Wedding Group chat to drive up to the wedding with them. I thought he was absolutely hilarious and I really did laugh out loud at some of the things he said (my favourite part was when he thought Deb had drowned!).


I liked that Beth switched from the past to the present throughout, letting us see what happened in the past to get Addie and Dylan to where they were in the present. They had an awful lot of communication issues, and most of it I would put down to how much control Dylan allows Marcus to have on him, everything he seems to do is with Marcus in mind.


The main issue that attributed to their split was infuriating, a massive misunderstanding again orchestrated by Marcus, that if he wasn’t involved, would have been a tender moment between Dylan and Addie as I’m sure he would have comforted her. It was just incredibly heart-breaking for Addie, and it infuriated me how easily led Dylan was.


I was pleased with the outcome of the story, and really enjoyed the wedding scenes, especially the parts that involved Rodney (they were hilarious!).  


I’m now ready to go away and read the rest of Beth’s novels, as I really thoroughly enjoyed this one!


4/5 stars