Book Review: Viral

viral

Title: Viral
Author: Helen Fitzgerald
To Be Published: 4th February 2016
Publisher: Faber and Faber

Many thanks to Helen Fitzgerald, Faber and Faber and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Leah and her adopted sister, Su, go on holiday to Magaluf with friends. Su is the opposite of Leah – studious, organised and in control. But it’s Leah that comes home from Magaluf while Su goes in to hiding. A drunken video of her performing a sex act in a bar goes viral and Su can’t face coming home. Ruth is both the girls mum and a court judge and she is furious. How could Leah let this happen? And more importantly, how she can find Su to bring her home?

I was hooked immediately with a shocking opening line – honest and unabashed. A pacey read; I quite literally could not put this down. A modern subject matter which makes you question your own morals about sharing online video content and whether you think about the individual when you watch and discuss video’s like this.

I fell in love with Su. I felt her shame and despair and was on the edge of my seat wishing that in the end everything would be okay. This is a compelling and thought-provoking modern read exploring the impact of public humiliation on a family. At times, this made for some difficult reading. You can’t help but imagine yourself and your family if something like this ever happened to you and it sharply made me understand how important it is to have loyal friends and family to listen to all sides of the story.

Su and her family have a distinct lack of control during this dramatic episode and are locked in a comprehensive and convincing struggle. A story of this nature was intended to provoke thought rather than give you a traditional happy ending, which it certainly did. Absolutely fascinating to read – moving, uncomfortable but unputdownable.

Rating:
four stars

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100 Followers!

Today I have reached the 100 followers milestone! Yay! Celebratory dance!
(Special thank you to my 100th follower Glaiza at Glimmer of Happiness blog)

ron swanson dance

Thank you all millions for following my blog and keeping me bookishly inspired, you are awesome and I love being part of the book blogging community 🙂

My next posts are going to include a book review for Viral by Helen Fitzgerald, an indie book review for The Pharaoh’s Cat by Maria Luisa Lang (a hilarious read, and if you are a cat lover you will ADORE it) and also a book review for Fractured by Clár Ní Chonghaile, which was sent to me via Legend Press.


All very different books that I’m excited to write about! I hope you continue to enjoy my posts, very soon I’m going to try and go a step further and do some writing of my own – my 2016 goal!

 

Book Review: The Girl You Lost

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Title: The Girl You Lost
Author: Kathryn Croft
To Be Published: 5th February 2016
Publisher: Bookouture

Many thanks to NetGalley, Kathryn Croft and Bookouture for the ARC in return for an honest review. 

Eighteen years ago Simone Porter’s gorgeous baby girl, Helena, was abducted when she was just six month’s old. Simone and Matt supported one another through the following years of grief and torment, staying together and praying that one day they would find out what happened to their daughter.

And then a young woman named Grace tracks Simone down and tells her that she has information about Helena. Can Grace be trusted? Before she can decide, Grace disappears without a trace. Simone embarks on a journey to try and find the woman who might be the key to finding Helena but the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her journey becomes…

This book is nothing short of mind-blowing because there is no doubt you will be kept guessing right until the very end. The dark theme of child abduction had me gripped from the first few pages, and at no point does the story disappoint. Love a good twist? Then this is the ULTIMATE thriller for you and you need to buy this when it comes out shortly on the 5th of February!

Your perceptions will change throughout the book, it’s a whirlwind of betrayal, deception and hope. A fantastic plot which makes you question your sense of right and wrong and leaves you wondering what you would do if faced with the same situation.

Simone is such a great character, there is real depth to her and I understood her motives and the way she approached her journey from start to finish. In fact, there’s also amazing depth to every character you are introduced to. They are completely individual, time has been spent on making sure you’re able to visualise them all and get a sense of either liking them, mistrusting them or even just being suspicious of their behaviour at different points – all part of keeping you guessing until the VERY last second.

When I read those last few jaw-dropping (trust me) pages and it all came together, I made such a commotion my partner ran in to the room to ask if I was ok – any book that can give such a reaction cannot be any less than a 5 star!

Rating:
five stars

 

New NetGalley Badge – Top Reviewer!

I was absolutely chuffed today when I logged on to NetGalley and saw that I have now achieved the Top Reviewer badge! Wahey!

Reviews Published

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You get this badge when 3 or more of your reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher. NetGalley is one of the most fantastic things on the planet. You register for free and it allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advanced reading copies, on your favourite device.

I was also thrilled this month to have Stripes Publishing tweet my review of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl and a direct quote from it! It was such an awesome read; you can see my review here. 🙂

review stripes publishing

Book Review: We Just Clicked

we just clicked

Title: We Just Clicked
Author: Sophie Childs
To Be Published: 4th February 2016
Publisher: So Vain Books

Many thanks to So Vain Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Erin Cochrane had met the man of her dreams. Gorgeous and affectionate, he asked her to marry him after six months. A whirlwind romance sees Erin plan the wedding and buy THAT wedding dress, until Tyson comes home one day and tells her it’s over.

Suddenly, Erin’s world crumbles around her. She moves back in with her eccentric mum and after encouragement from best friend Bex, signs up to a dating site but her first experience is an absolute disaster.

This is an easy-going read and would be perfect for anyone wanting to get lost in a romantic story of meeting someone who sweeps you off your feet.

Erin’s mum is quirky and gave me some laugh out loud moments and I warmed to Joe’s character – if only more men were such a gentleman! His dry sense of humour stopped him being too cliché but the plot was fairly predictable. I think this could be a great easy-going holiday read.

Still enjoyable to read and interesting to think about the age of online dating.

Rating:
three stars

The Liebster Award!

The Liebster Award is an award for bloggers. It helps to discover new blogs and to build a sense of community in the blogging world!

Big thank you to Book Wish Blog for my nomination 🙂

liebster

Okay, so here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them
  • Give them 11 questions of your own

Questions:

  1. What’s your favourite part about blogging?
    I love having somewhere I can voice my opinions and share those with other book lovers – how great is it to read all the different review styles and to find so many books that you HAVE to add to your TBR list?!
  2. What’s your favourite book?
    Watership Down – Richard Adams. I. Love. This. Book. It’s amazing and I’ve read it countless times, never gets boring. A journey told through the eyes of rabbits… genius.
  3. What’s your 2016 reading goal? (if you have one)
    My goal is to read some historical fiction books and I will be getting started with The Secret Life of Winnie Cox (Sharon Maas) after my colleague recommended it – I’ve heard great things!
  4. What books are you excited for in 2016?
    Oh god, too many! I am especially excited for Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris after hearing RAVE reviews and I’ve pre-ordered. Also can’t wait for Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica.
  5. Favourite place to buy books?
    I love Forbidden Planet in London – I recently bought Tolkien: A Dictionary from there, which is insanely good if you are a huge Hobbit/LOTR fan. Nerd alert! 🙂
  6. Ebook, audiobook, hardcover or paperback?
    I do buy a lot of e-books because it’s so easy to access books. But I’m a sucker for a paperback; I love it when you flick through great books so much the paperbacks are worn and have that amazing book smell – you can tell the books have been given some love!
  7. What’s your favourite TV show?
    Parks and Recreation is one of the funniest damn shows I’ve ever watched it’s awesome and if you haven’t seen you it need to get on that. Special mention to Gotham – absolutely fantastic I am 100% hooked and currently dying for the next episode.
  8. What’s your favourite author?
    I’m going to have to say J K Rowling – Harry Potter brought me so much joy as I read the books throughout High School. I fell even harder in love with reading the whole time. Inspirational!
  9. What’s your favourite place to read?
    I love reading in bed! With pillows propped up behind me, I find it so ridiculously peaceful.
  10. Besides reading, what other hobbies do you have?
    I love to sing but I haven’t sung live in a long, long time. I have a weekly contemporary dance class that I adore and I also love gaming (I am intense when I get on Star Wars Battlefield, shit gets real!)
  11. Have you met any authors? If so, who? If not, who would you want to meet?
    I haven’t and I’m disappointed with this realisation! I would love to meet Clare Mackintosh – her book I Let You Go just absolutely had me one of the best I have ever read.

Here are my nominations:

A Young Writer’s Notebook

Ellis Nelson Books

The Book Wench

Inked Brownies

Sue’s Reading Corner

Addicted 2 Books

Tangling Thoughts

Wattpad Review Corner

Of Reading and Random Things

The Galaxial World

Watcher Book

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose?
  2. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  3. What is your favourite book and why?
  4. How did you come up with your blog name?
  5. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
  6. What are your favourite hobbies? (other than reading hehe)
  7. Which author inspires you the most?
  8. Tell me a random fact about you!
  9. What was the first book you ever read?
  10. What is your guilty pleasure?
  11. If someone wrote a story about your life what would the title be?

 

Indie Book Review: After Dad

after dad

Title: After Dad
Author: Ralph Cohen
Published: 13th January 2014
Publisher: Tattersall Press

Many thanks to Ralph Cohen for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

This heart-wrenching story follows an American family in the 1960’s dealing with the sudden loss of husband and father, Frank Kovacek. A great void is left in the family and you see how widow Ruth and children Jenny, Margot and Toby continue to be influenced by Frank, such a powerful figure even in death.

‘What made it so hard was that the place looked like he’d just left it. The floor was covered with sawdust and wood shavings, and tools were scattered all over the place. There was even a long narrow board clamped to a sawhorse, as if he’d tightened it down only seconds ago. It was almost as if the room was holding its breath, just waiting for him to come back’

Hugely character driven, you see each family member’s personal journey and attempt to deal with grief. It’s written in such a way that you attach yourself to each character before you even realise it – I laughed, sobbed and prayed for the children in particular to go out there and make something of themselves. Cohen has brought these characters to life; I could feel the struggle with grief deep within the pages.

This book made me conscious of how precious memories are and I was confronted with this need to make sure I savour every moment I have with my family because we really don’t know how long we have. It’s outstanding that a book can hit you like this and make you connect with it so personally – Ralph Cohen really is a stunningly talented writer.

The end was haunting for me. I’d become really attached to Toby and I could feel how affected he was by the loss of his dad at such a young, impressionable age. His cheekiness had me. And his story broke my heart, to the point where I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days – powerful stuff.

I couldn’t even think about giving this anything less than 5 stars. Outstanding.

Rating:
five stars