Sunday 27 February 2022

Book Review | A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle | prettylittlewriter

'November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail to New York with 2,000 passengers - and a killer - on board . . .
When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship's officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.
Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the dead man.
With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple's purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch's search for the culprit is fraught with danger.
And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst . . .'

This is a novel that kept me guessing the entire way through, with many different suspects and plenty of motives, I definitely didn't pick up on who the killer was.

A 'locked room' mystery, there's no escape for any of the characters (although Policeman Temple managed to hide from Birch quite well at times). 

There are some truly exquisite descriptions of the rooms on the boat, with the dining room being one of the main focuses of the novel due to an argument that takes place within it. 

I was very sympathetic for Birch throughout, having lost his daughter and his wife shunning him, it must have been very difficult for him to board the boat that he felt had lost him his family in the first place.

The story is a slow burn, but with enough intrigue that it kept you interested, and it finishes with a very clever plot twist. 

Definitely recommend this novel to any Agatha Christie fans, it reads quite similar to her books and it is a very typical murder mystery!

4/5 stars

Friday 18 February 2022

Book Review | It Must Be Love by Caroline Khoury | prettylittlerwriter

This is a romance novel with something very special.

‘When Abbie met Oz, they were young, idealistic students from different backgrounds, but their connection was unmistakable. Then Oz went home to Istanbul and life moved on.
Now Abbie is with the man she thinks she's going to spend the rest of her life with, until she meets Oz again - a chance encounter that might change everything.
They find themselves drawn to each other once more, but have commitments, jobs and families that take priority, and too much time has passed, hasn't it?
Abbie and Oz are about to find out that no matter how many miles and obstacles are between them, fate might just have another plan, and that their love story isn't over yet.’

The fact that Abbie and Oz had only spent a total of 14 days together, but they loved each other with such force that they were brought together by divine intervention many times, is just absolutely stunning and lovely. They are the true definition of soulmates, and that even though life might take you away from each other, you will forever be linked.

I absolutely loved Oz’ character and the incorporation of his nationality, I really enjoyed being taken to many different places across the world, including Istanbul, and I really felt like I was there watching them! Liz (Abbie’s best friend) was also a brilliantly funny and great friend to Abbie, and she also added a level of reality into the novel with the reality of post-partum depression.

There are some real heart-breaking moments throughout, and I was very close to tears a lot of the time. I also found myself getting so frustrated as I desperately wanted Abbie and Oz to be together, but literally everything kept getting in the way!

The ending was lovely, and I was very pleased with it.

I honestly couldn’t fault this novel at all, so romantic and sweet and just plain lovely. I highly recommend to any romance fan!

5/5 stars

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Book Review | Pine by Francine Toon | prettylittlewriter

 A slow burn full of intensely unnerving and eerily atmospheric horror.

'The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men. Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she's gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren's mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father's turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it's no longer clear who she can trust.'
I managed to read this book in one day as I was desperate to finish it once I'd started. The main character of Lauren is a teenage girl filled with heartache and longing for a mum she doesn't remember, that she lost long ago. When she starts seeing a dishevelled lady in a dressing gown, but no one else seems to remember her, she starts to slowly unravel the secrets of her small tight-knit community. 

I never expected to get so emotionally invested in this novel, but I felt so bad for Lauren, and I wanted to protect her. There were certain scenes I found very difficult to read, especially the constant bullying Lauren has to endure from a school 'friend'.

Francine has created a story that keeps you guessing throughout; I certainly didn't see the ending coming, and was thoroughly impressed by it. 

I liked that it was a modernised gothic folktale, as usually gothic novels are historical, but the mention of Disney's Frozen and getting a local Aldi supermarket built brought a little extra familiarity to the novel. 

Overall, very impressed and definitely recommend to any gothic genre fans!

5/5 stars

Friday 11 February 2022

Book Review | The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | prettylittlewriter

'Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work - except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they've become entrenched in an addictive game of one-upmanship. There's the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can't let Joshua beat her at anything - especially when a huge promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she'll be Joshua's boss. If she loses, she'll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn't hate him. And just maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or is this just another game . . . ?'

I haven't read a romance novel for such a long time, and I'm so pleased that The Hating Game has started me off again because it is absolutely brilliant!

I chose to read this book as I watched the movie recently featuring Lucy Hale (my absolute favourite person in the world) & Austin Stowell and I absolutely loved it, so I had to read the book to see how different the movie was. 
I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed! There were a couple of scenes from the book that weren't in the movie that would have been great to see on screen, plus the book was also quite a bit spicier which was VERY enjoyable!

The flirtatious banter between Lucy and Josh is electric; it filled me with hope and laughter and heartbreak all at the same time (I mean, it was obvious to absolutely everyone but Lucy that they were in love with each other, which was frustratingly heart-wrenching in itself).
I genuinely had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time reading this book, and especially towards the end (the scene in the hotel at breakfast with Josh's parents is brilliant, Lucy was a badass). 

There was so much tension between the two characters, that I found myself desperate to be able to read a million miles a minute so I could get to the part where they finally would kiss, or play the 'or something' game. 

Both characters were so incredibly fleshed out, Lucy a sweet little firecracker, who just wants to be Josh's friend. Josh, with his delicious and intense broodiness, and a body to *die* for! He is also secretly an absolute sweetheart (taking care of Lucy when she's sick was the epitome of chivalry).

Now, I won't say anything else as I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you like a romance novel, I HIGHLY recommend this! 

Ps. Watch the movie also, it's great!

5/5 stars

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Book Review | How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie | prettylittlewriter

‘I have killed several people and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit.
When I think about what I actually did, I feel somewhat sad that nobody will ever know about the complex operation that I undertook. Getting away with it is highly preferable, of course, but perhaps when I’m long gone, someone will open an old safe and find this confession. The public would reel. After all, almost nobody else in the world can possibly understand how someone, by the tender age of 28, can have calmly killed six members of her family. And then happily got on with the rest of her life, never to regret a thing.

When Grace Bernard discovers her absentee millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s pleas for help, she vows revenge, and sets about to kill every member of his family. Readers have a front row seat as Grace picks off the family one by one. But then Grace is imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit.’


This book was a strange one for me. I enjoyed the dark humour and the clever ways that Grace kills her family members, however, I did find that there was an awful lot of waffle within just for the sake of it. I couldn’t tell whether we were reading the internal monologue/thoughts of Grace, or whether we were reading her diary (turns out it was neither of those things). There was just an awful lot of extra detail that wasn’t required.

I felt like the author was trying to showcase that she is a strong feminist with a strong and empowered main character, however, there was A LOT of anti-feminist remarks within, with Grace often commenting on another female characters appearance in a belittling way. Overall I did like Grace as a character though, and her revenge story was a brilliant idea, I just don’t think it was particularly well executed.

The main reason I am giving this book a low rating is the ending. It was such a huge disappointment. I’ll admit I didn’t see it coming at all, but the surprise of it was ruined by the fact that it basically rendered Grace’s story pointless.

I was hoping for a lot more from this book given the hype, and was left feeling underwhelmed.

2.5/5 stars

Sunday 6 February 2022

Book Review | The Midnight Library by Matt Haig | prettylittlewriter

‘The only way to learn is to live’.

‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

This book is incredible. Thought-provoking, raw, and magical.

Nora is a very depressed character who sees nothing in her life worth living for, and decides to end it all. But when she enters the Midnight Library, she is given the opportunity to explores lives that could have happened if she’d made a different choice.

The idea that you could go back and make a change to something that you regret is very appealing, but as shown throughout the novel, it is not always the best thing to wish to go back and change that regret, as your life could still end up in a place that you do not like.

There are many things in my life that I have always thought I wish I could go back and change, but after reading this, it’s changed my perspective completely. Regrets can be hard to manage, but there truly is no point to them, as they only make you feel terrible. Look to the future, and learn from your mistakes by living your life to the fullest.

Matt has a great writing style, which was comfortable to read and very clever. You can tell he has done a lot of research/knows a lot about philosophy with the knowledge within the book, but a lot of it did go over my head as I have no clue about Philosophy (even though I studied it at college for a year...whoops).

This novel will definitely sit with me for some time, and I will be recommending it to everyone.

5/5 stars

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Book Review | Den of Vipers by K. A. Knight | prettylittlewriter

‘Ryder, Garrett, Kenzo, and Diesel—The Vipers.
They run this town and everyone in it. Their deals are as sordid as their business, and their reputation is enough to bring a grown man to his knees, forcing him to beg for mercy. They are not people you mess with, yet my dad did. The old man ran up a debt with them and then sold me to cover his losses.
Yes, sold me.
They own me now.
I’m theirs in every sense of the word. But I’ve never been meek and compliant. These men, they look at me with longing. Their scarred, blood-stained hands holding me tight. They want everything I am, everything I have to give, and won’t stop until they get just that. They can own my body, but they will never have my heart.
The Vipers? I’m going to make them regret the day they took me.
This girl? She bites too.’
This is well and truly book porn. I knew before I started reading that this was smutty book, but 80 pages into it and only one small encounter I thought maybe it wasn’t going to be that bad. After that first scene, everything kicks in.

The storyline itself was reasonable, it had an end goal, but it was a very slow burn with the primary point of the novel to be a smutty read.

I did enjoy the smut itself, it was well written, except for the fact that almost every orgasm was written as a ‘release’ which I found quite frustrating.

I also didn’t like that every character seemed to be able to read each other’s minds, which as this is not a fantasy fiction novel, was definitely not realistic.

I liked most of the main characters; Roxy was a badass and I loved that she took no shit from anyone, and my favourite of The Vipers was Kenzo, he was such a sweetheart! I did find Diesel a weird one to like as he was very kind and cared a lot about Roxy, but I couldn’t get over his insane passion for violence both in general and during sex.

I also found myself being disappointed at times as there were certain scenes that were almost romantic and sweet, but then something sexual was thrown in, and I just didn’t think it needed it, sometimes a bit of romance can be just as sexy. The amount of sexual encounters just ended up being too much and I started to get a bit bored towards the end of the novel.

Overall,  I enjoyed somewhat, but wouldn’t pick it up again.

2.5/5 stars