#BookReview: Toffee by Sarah Crossan | 𝘎𝘳𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘥. @KidsBloomsbury

I am not who I say I am.
Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget.
Marla is a woman trying to remember.

Genre: Poetry
Year Of Publication: 2 May 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 416
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Bloomsbury for gifting me this copy! Opinions my own, as always!

Alison ran away from home and takes shelter in the shed of an abandoned house, but the house isn’t empty. In this house is where Marla lives, and elderly woman suffering with dementia and then they meet she confuses Alison with her friend Toffee. So Alison becomes Toffee, but who is Alison anymore…?

@Jane_Kelsey

The only way I can describe Toffee is to compare it with a piece of classical music, the pacing slowly building up to a crescendo of emotions, not letting the reader go until the last page. A riveting story about the dark aspects of being human and the power of friendship.

𝘎𝘳𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘥.

What Sarah has achieved is more than mere good poetry or making the reader cry, she opened up a difficult conversation about loneliness, domestic abuse, but also of the hope that one can find strength in the most unexpected places.

Toffee is one the most empowering pieces of literature that I have read in the recent years and hands down on my top 10 books of 2019.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTERFACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: The fourth courier by Timothy Jay Smith | a #LoveBooksGroup blog tour

It seems that lately I have been out of my comfort zone and a lot of the times and been reading a lot of thrillers, more the rule than the exception. So I immediately said yes to The fourth courier, especially as it’s set in post-communist Poland.

Genre: Thriller/Espionage
Year Of Publication: April 2019
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Pages: 284
My rating: 4 stars

The Fourth Courier (Arcade).jpgFor International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland…

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

When Jay learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has also disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

                                                        ***

The fourth courier is a slow-paced espionage/thriller so if you are expecting James Bond stuff, you will be disappointed; the tone of the story is more in the lines of Red Sparrow (which I believed to be brilliant). The main character is Jay Porter, an FBI agent sent to Poland to help investigate the murders of these couriers and the concerns around the smuggling of nuclear agents, but there is also a CIA agent (Kurt), a local detective (Kulski) and the director Basia Husarka. It is really hard to go into details without spoiling things, but I actually enjoyed the dynamics between the characters, even if it was a little bit too “lucky” at times for things to have happened that way. Sometimes a little bit too convenient for the plot to meet the right people, however suspending my disbelief I found myself enjoying this novel.

The backdrop is a grey Poland, still struggling post-communist era and seeing these people trying to cope with the new reality made this novel even more important because their issues felt very real. The writing was good and I prefer a to-the-point style of writing and Timothy Jay Smith delivered. The heaviness of the subject was interspersed with dark jokes, revealing more of the bleakness of their lives, and moment of joy. It is clear that the author has a great knowledge of Poland not just as a nation, but also about the people.

On the other side, initially the sex scenes didn’t make much sense, I could not see why it matters, but for these characters, in the end, it mattered very much and it had logic. As already said, the plot is very slow and I not a lot is happening in the first half, then things start to pick up, but even so, it felt like convenience and luck that helped solve the case rather than actual policing. I am not sure I am believing in Jay’s skills as an FBI agent because I haven’t seen much of that.

PSX_20190505_091355.jpgOverall though, I recommend this book if you like slow-paced, character-based espionage thrillers, especially if you are interested in post-communist Poland.

You can order this book here: https://amzn.to/2TOHmLx

Timothy Jay Smith Social Media Accounts
● Website: http://www.timothyjaysmith.com/
● Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimothyJaySmith/
● Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimothyJaySmith/
● Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/timothyjaysmith/

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTERFACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: The Cinderella Countess by Sophia James |Mills & Boon

I have been struggling lately to find that romance novel that will completely draw me in an not let me go, and finally, this book grabbed me by the heart and did not let me go. I finished reading The Cinderella Countess by Sophia James in two days. It pulled me right out of my reading slump

Genre: Historical Romance
Year Of Publication: 1 March 2019
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Pages: 288
My rating: 4 stars

41736318Abandoned as a small child, Annabelle Smith has only vague memories of her past. Now living as a healer in London’s poverty-stricken East End, she receives a life-changing visit from the rich and imposing Lytton Staines, Earl of Thornton. He needs a cure for his ailing sister and helping him thrusts Belle into his dazzling life of luxury. But it’s Lytton who makes her world come alive!”

Anabella is a strong-willed woman, quite independent for the time and outspoken. I really loved her character and her bluntness was refreshing. The Earl was classically quiet and broody and we all know he would succumb to the inevitable charm of Anabella, but their journey was captivating and entertaining.

The plot was easy to follow and the twists and turns were unexpected in most cases, but it kind of bothered me that there was simply no way for me to deduce certain mysteries as the information wasn’t artfully hidden for the reader  – this is a general beef of mine. The writing was good and I felt immersed into the time period without feeling out of my depth.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and I would recommend it to anyone in the lookout for a new swoony romance.

Jane
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: Supermarket by Bobby Hall | @SimonBooks @Logic301

Happy bank holiday weekend! Do you have plans for the day? I’m going to hit the supermarket later and some more reading and writing, maybe even a movie. Now talking about the supermarket, the lovely people at Simon & Schuster sent me a copy of SUPERMARKET by Bobby Hall and I knew I had to read it from the moment I’ve read the blurb.

Genre: Adult Fiction
Year Of Publication: March 26th 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 228
My rating: 4 stars

Flynn is a depressed artist who recently went through a horrible break-up with the girl of his dreams and now started working in a supermarket to find inspiration for his book. Throw in a crime scene, interesting co-workers and weird things happening, and you have Supermarket, an incredible down-the-rabbid-hole, mind-altering and reality-bending novel!

“So this is how it feels to take a man’s life. Forced to kill for one’s survival.”

PSX_20190420_104019.jpgI do not think that I can put into words exactly what SUPERMARKET did to me because of the way it was written, where the twist and turns and altered reality messes with your brain. I liked Flynn as the main character, he was interesting, engaging and could see him as a real human being. There were moments when I was a little frustrated on his behalf and therefore frustrated at him, however, it made sense in the end because he didn’t have the tools to manage certain situations. Frank on the other side, was annoying, obnoxious and everything that I hate in a person – and it was meant to be so.

I appreciated the conversation it starts in regards to mental health and the implications of stress and certain events that can have a traumatic impact on an individual. If you’ve read it, you’ll know what I am talking about. I also felt that it all came from a place of knowing, raw and intense. The acknowledgements section – do no skip these ever! – is enlightening in regards to why this novel came to be.

giphy

The writing was actually really good I was surprised to find myself sucked into the vivid world of the SUPERMARKET and the altered reality. Not sure if it is just me, but I found some of the twists and revelations predictable just before I should’ve been wowed. I am also not sure if this is a difference between US and UK mental health institutions, but I had a lot of issues on how that was depicted as I have experience in working in mental health settings and that’s not how it works, at least in the UK.

Have you read it? What did you think? Comment down below!

******
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: A beautiful corpse by Christi Daugherty | @fictionpubteam

When I saw this gorgeoussss book cover on twitter a few months ago I knew I had to have it! Shallow, I know, but I love good covers and the title hooked me in and then I read the blurb so kept my eye out for it so when it came up on Netgalley – Thanks Netgalley –  I requested it ASAP. Thanks Harper Fiction for granting the request!

Genre: Mystery/Fiction/Thriller
Year Of Publication: 04.04.2019
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 384
My rating: 4 stars

Blurb:
It’s a thin line between love and murder… A murder that shocks a city…
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead. A case full of secrets and lies… Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder. An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another?

cover150386-mediumHarper is one hell of a woman and I loved her balls! She is the centre of this novel and she was perfect for it. It’s a shame I did not realise when I picked it up that it was a sequel to another novel and now I’m too spoilt to read it because I adored Harper as a character, she was strong and fierce and vulnerable. Although the novel was a sequel, I didn’t realise it until there was mention of previous events which did not deter from my understanding of this novel at all – I really appreciated that, and there was enoughhss-LEtrench-34 information there to understand what had happened in the past. The scenes with the hot detective were all that I lived for: angsty as hell. There was a lot of emotional baggage and mystery in that relationship alone so I am subscribed to this series because I need to know what happens on this hot front.

This is a mystery/crime/thriller so there is enough murder to satisfy me, with plenty of suspects to choose from and added plot twists. I did feel like I was ahead a lot of the time and could see these twists just before they came into view so they weren’t really a shock to me and I kinda knew at some point kinda who it was and how it could’ve been done. Maybe I am just that good, or maybe that was the weak point of the novel. However, the writing was beautiful and the pacing was good, keeping me glued to the screen.

I will have to keep my eyes peeled for whatever Christi Daugherty will do next and this is one of those series that I need to follow. I am definitely hooked. Maybe I will even go and read the first book later this year once I will forget the details of this one.

Xoxo
Jane

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: We are blood and thunder by Kesia Lupo | @BloomsburyBooks

Today I wanna talk about We are blood and thunder by Kesia Lupo which was sent by Bloomsbury to which I am very grateful. I swear that I am reading faster than I can write these reviews because I am having a huge backlog yet again and I thought I cleared out a lot of them. *sigh*

Genre: ya fantasy
Year Of Publication: April 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 400
My rating: 3.5 – 4 stars

“She who spins the cloud weaves the storm.”

1970-01-01 01.00.00 16.jpg
IG: Jane_Kelsey

We are blood and thunder follows Constance and Lena, two female characters at opposite ends, both united by the terrifying storm cloud hovering over the dukedom which has already claimed the lives of many. As conflict climaxes and hidden enemies emerge, Constance and Lena need each other to uncover the secrets and save their people from this deadly spell.

When I saw this novel I knew I wanted to read it because it has all the ingredients that I like: fantasy + female characters + magic + world in peril + some romance. If you’re interested so far, keep on reading this…

The story follows Lena as she is trying to escape the dukedom after she was sentenced to death for being suspected of having magical powers, whilst Constance is trying to find a giphyway back into the city to set some wrongs right and finally become who she was meant to me, not holding back. Initially I enjoyed more of Lena’s perspective and was almost scared to read Constance’s story because political intrigues seem to give me some anxiety (I kid you not!), but I ended up loving the moments with Constance more, and her strong leadership rather than Lena’s who became a little bit too… self-doubting for a while. I’m a bit of a cut-to-the-chase kinda girl and accept-your-fate-damn-it, so these moments when Lena learns a thing or two at the temple I was a bit meh about. Things to pick up so not all is lost and I loved reading from their perspectives, following their stories.

The writing was the true strength of this novel. Kesia has a way with words and it sucked me right in. The descriptions are beautifully written, yet simple enough not to appear overdone and felt natural. This is an author that I will defo be keeping my eyes peeled to see what she will do next because there is great potential. All this being said, I had a few issues with the pacing, the beginning was a bit too slow for me; it picks up the pace midway. Maybe it’s my fault because I am a bit of an impatient reader… I want it and I want it now. Lol. The plot twists were twisty enough for me (obviously not gonna spoil and tell you, buy the book!), but the magical system was kinda confusing for me and I wasn’t very clear on what was going on sometimes and I feel like I wanted just a little bit more.

43181177Overall, I very much ended up enjoying it, as I said it picked up in pacing midway and more things started to happen so I was a lot more hooked in. I dropped a star or so because of the above mentioned, but that’s me and my opinion.

Let me know if this is something you guys are interested or if you’ve read it, what did you think?

Xoxo
Jane

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!

#BookReview: HOLY SISTER by Mark Lawrence | “Best series everrr!”

I am sure you did not hear me so far screaming how much I love this book series, but I LOVE THIS SERIES!! So now I am in fragments after reading the conclusion of this series, HOLY SISTER destroyed me like no other series finale. I am not gonna be coy and say it straight: if there would be a fire and I would only have time to grab a book or a series, I would grab The book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence (and yes, someone asked me that question in work and I realized that it would be a book series that I could not live without).

Genre: fantasy, adult
Year Of Publication: 4th of April 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 352
My rating: 5 million stars

Thank you to Mark Lawrence for a copy of this novel and the publishers for the promo materials.

1970-01-01 01.00.00 2.jpg
IG: Jane_Kelsey

I do not remember, like with all good things, how I got to read Red sister last year; maybe I heard of it on booktube, maybe it was fate… Somehow I found my hands on it, borrowed from the library and I was utterly enchanted and now I am addicted forever to the writings of Mark Lawrence. Why? Because this year he’s also publishing One word kill which is a completely different ballpark and I still adored.

I can hand on heart say that Mark is a genius, he has the talent to write and write well, he understands that characters and motivations are the pulsating heart of the story so he pours his own in it. He understands females and they feel alive on the page, with dreams, expectations, fears, and emotions, they are badass in their own way regardless if they’re 10 or 100 years old. I swear the man knows threadwork because he made me laugh, cry and be at the edge of my seat. Yes, you heard that one right… I cried, or better said… I sobbed my heart out whilst reading Holy sister and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.Jane_Kelsey-square

But his characters don’t live in a random place, his world is vivid, you can feel, touch, smell, but most of all he loves to put his characters through hell so when they will never be the same. The plot is full of twists and turns, but it does now lose the reader, it takes the reader on a journey of discovery, full of adventure and passion because it is “do or die”.

There are a lot of finer points of this novel, there are many great things about it that I fleetingly touched upon because otherwise, this will be a very long review. And I don’t even want this to be a review because I want to talk about how it made me feel, I think that’s much more important, but if you insist… great characters, excellent magical system, amazing world-building, intriguing plot, diverse characters, and beautiful writing.

Basically, all you need to know is that you must read this series! I recommend this to anyone out there with a pulse.

Jane_Kelsey

Xoxo
Jane

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND INSTAGRAM!