Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I Need a Hero by Emma Bennet

I Need a HeroI Need a Hero by Emma Bennet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely easy romantic read for anyone who's ever searched for the perfect man (and failed to find him!)

“If you read one romance novel this summer, choose “I Need a Hero,” it’s witty, fun, and completely addictive.” Ann Abrams

Romance writer Bronte Huntington has vowed she will never settle for anything less than ‘the one.’ When pleasant red-haired dentist Ryan moves in next door he just doesn't fit the bill. They have plenty in common but Bronte wants nothing more than friendship with him.

Then it looks like Bronte’s dreams have finally come true when dashing Sebastian Fairfax rescues her on his horse after she has an accident in the countryside around her idyllic little cottage. Sebastian is tall, dark, handsome, and heir to a massive country estate!

I have read a couple of Emma Bennets novels so far and I love the way she writes, very fluid and romantic. I knew from the beginning of this book there was going to be romance and to be honest I knew who with. That didn't matter though, I still enjoyed every minute of it.

Bronte lives at BlackBerry Cottage with her cat Mr Darcy. The cottage next door has been empty for some time. One night she notices the lights are on, Ryan is a dentist and the nephew of the woman who owns the cottage. Bronte doesn't find Ryan attractive, I mean he is a dentist, whenever was that attractive? But she does value his friendship and grows to enjoy having him next door.

Bronte writes about fairy tales, meeting a hero and living happily ever after. She wants that and hopes she will find her happy ever after. One day Bronte gets herself in trouble on some rocks and a dashing man comes to her rescue on a horse. Sebastian is perfect! Everything Bronte has ever wanted AND he is a lord of the manor in the village. Bronte cannot believe her luck!

This is such a sweet story, I love Ryan, he is loving, caring and a really good friend to Bronte. Camille, who is Bronte's best friend isn't in the book too much and I felt I didn't really get to know her until right at the very end. I think it would have been nice to know her better earlier on. For most of the book you just want to shake some sense into Bronte, her hero is right under her nose but she is just too stupid to see. Aiming for her ideal, when really they may not be right. I hated Sebastian, my hatred seemed to get stronger the further through the book I went and to be honest his parents aren't any better!

This story I am sure would make you think if you were single and maybe question what your interpretation is of a hero. Whether you may have one right under your nose but are looking else where.

I did enjoy this story and I would recommend it. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Beautiful DayBeautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event - but in reality, things are far from perfect.

While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken . . .

In BEAUTIFUL DAY Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a journey into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honour our commitments.

Well what can I say? I never like giving a bad review and generally can find something about a book that I liked sadly Beautiful Day is the exception - I can't think of a single nice thing to say about this book. It was so boring and depressing in parts that I didn't even finish reading it which for me is unheard of.

Most authors manage to create a work of fiction that transcends all cultures and nationalities so that anyone can identify with it no matter where they are in the world. Not so this author - it was SO American that it seemed to want to exclude all non Americans. References that made little or no sense (unless I am assuming you are American) which was so frustrating. I found the whole subject matter very miserable and morbid, reminding the reader constantly that the daughters' dying mothers' wishes for the perfect wedding for her daughter will be one occasion that she will not live to see. There were attempts at humour but frankly the whole thing left me feeling depressed. This was one of 4 novels I took on holiday with me to review and it was the last one I read; thank goodness otherwise I may never have got round to reading anything else on holiday!

I can't tell you how it ended as I didn't bother reading to the end, I could not even bring myself to skim read it either. I feel bad about writing such a stinging review but feel that there was nothing redeeming about the book at all. I'm afraid that it only merits a 1 from me - the wedding still hadn't taken place by page 285 out of an astonishing 401 pages - this could easily have been cut down. Laboriously slow paced, it was schmaltzy, overindulgent and depressing - sorry.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Weekly Wrap Up - 27/9/15

This is my first weekly wrap up post for a couple of weeks, I have been super busy, I had a wedding last weekend and working all week has kept me busy. Luckily I have managed to schedule a few reviews so look out for them.

Books I have received this week:

Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella

Colour me mindful - the next three in the series.

Books I have read this week:

Getting rid of Mathew - Jane Fallon - Audio book
Currently reading Shopaholic to the Rescue

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins

The SantangelosThe Santangelos by Jackie Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A vicious hit, a vengeful enemy, a drug addled Colombian club owner and a sex crazed Italian family... the ever powerful Lucky Santangelo has to deal with them all.

Meanwhile Max - her teenage daughter - is becoming the 'it' girl in Europe's modeling world. And her Kennedyesque son, Bobby, is being set up for a murder he didn't commit. But Lucky can deal. Always strong and unpredictable, with her husband Lennie by her side, she lives up to the family motto -Never f**k with a Santangelo.

Lucky rules ...the Santangelos always come out on top. The Santangelos is an epic family saga filled with love, lust, revenge and passion.

This is the first Jackie Collins book I have read in years I think Hollywood Wives was the last one. I guess you get what you expect from this novel; she has followed her tried and tested formula and sticks with it.

Lots of characters but plenty of explanation of who they are and what's happened in previous books if you are a first time reader so you don't feel you get lost with so much going on, although I expect that this could be tedious if you have read all the other books in the Santangelos series.

This novel starts off with the prologue setting the scene for the background to the story; the killing of the king of Akramshar's son Armand sets in motion a course of events that have consequences for the Santangelo family that the matriarch Lucky must deal with. As expected there are sub plots taking place that eventually tie the characters together along the way.

As with her previous novels The Santangelos was pretty predictable and honestly a little bit too long in parts but the storyline moved along and the characters intertwined nicely. Not a great work of fiction but I am sure for Jackie Collins devotees it will be a success. Good holiday reading and escapism but lacked depth for me and credibility; it seems as if Jackie Collins world has not really moved on from the 1980's brand of mafia style violence and male dominance albeit that I expect in dynasties this may still be true but I felt she labored the point.

I won't give any of the plot line away as it would be unfair for fans and first time readers but there were no real surprises in the book, no unexpected twists to spice it up a bit but overall an acceptable if not memorable read. I would give this a 3 star rating.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 25 September 2015

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost YouHow I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you?

My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life.

This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead?

If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

I enjoyed this psychological thriller but it didn't quite pack the punch of 'Done Girl', 'Until You're Mine' and others that I have read recently. Essentially it's about a woman(Ellen Cartwright) who is told she killed her son Dylan, she has no memory of having done this but is sent to a psychiatric unit ad serves 3 years. The story is taken up upon her release from the hospital early on parole with a new identity (now Susan Webster) and her chance to build a new life. Her only real friend is an inmate in the unit called Cassie who she has confided in while she served her time. Cassie is also released around the same time and they remain very close. While Ellen (Susan) is trying to rebuild her life she is sent a photograph of a boy about her sons' age and on the reverse of the photo is written 'Dylan January 2013' - she believes that this is her son and he is alive. She can easily believe this as she never remembered killing him and always refused to believe it. The only reason she accepted that she probably had a breakdown and killed Dylan is that her husband Mark and family doctor persuade her that's what happened.

Convinced Dylan is alive and she has been tricked the book follows her pursuit of the truth as she gets ever nearer to discovering what really happened that awful night 3 years before. I don't want to give too much away as it does have some good twists and turns although some are guessable not all are which helps to hold this together until the end. It was predictable in parts but having said this is was an easy read which I managed in just one day making it easier to review. I did however think that the second half of the book was a bit rushed and the relationship of the characters became a bit muddled but I did enjoy it overall and would give it 3 stars. Not quite up there with the best in psychological thrillers but an enjoyable read none the less.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Please Don't Leave Me Here - Tania Chandler Guest Post

I have been very lucky to get a spot on the Please Don't Leave Me Here blog tour by Tania Chandler. I am able to bring a guest post today. Tania has kindly written about her top five unreliable narrators. Thanks so much for your guest post today. 

A riveting psychological thriller. Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. 'Please don't leave me,' she yells up at him. But it's too late; he's turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street. Then she's lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls. Sweet voices of little children are singing 'Morningtown Ride'. Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer? Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 - the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment. Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case.

 Please Don't Leave Me Here is about loss, love and lies. It is about pain, fear, and memory. And, above all, it is about letting go.


By Tania Chandler

1) Grace Marks in Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Femme fatale or victim of circumstance? Innocent or a cold-blooded killer?

Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite writers, and Grace Marks is my favourite unreliable narrator in fiction. Alias Grace is based on the true story of one of the most notorious Canadian women of the 1840s, having been convicted of murder at the age of 16.

The actual case was sensationalised in the newspapers. Grace was reported as being ‘uncommonly pretty’; her employer and housekeeper were having an affair; and Grace and her fellow-servant were also assumed to be having an affair.

In Atwood’s fictional account, Grace claims to have no memory of the violent murders of her employer and housekeeper. Is she insane or lying? Or maybe she is unable to recall events accurately due to post-traumatic stress? She seems to be telling the truth (as she knows it) to her doctor, but she admits to making it ‘more interesting’ for him at times.

The reader never knows if Grace is guilty or innocent, and is left to judge how much of her narration is truthful.

2) The unnamed narrator in Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

The unnamed narrator in Fight Club is immediately questionable as he suffers from impaired thought processes due to chronic insomnia. Our suspicions about his point of view deepen when he joins self-help group after self-help group and eventually finds himself in an underground fight club, which turns out to be a cult-like group that participates in terrorist activities. There’s a big twist at the end that makes us question everything the narrator has told us.

3) Amy (and Nick) in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Right from the start, the reader knows something is wrong in Gone Girl because the stories of the two narrators don’t match.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Better Man by Leah McLaren

A Better ManA Better Man by Leah McLaren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Maya wants Nick to be less of a workaholic, to come home earlier, to spend some time with his children. Nick wants a divorce. With his mind made up, Nick is determined to leave quickly and with dignity, but it comes as an unpleasant shock to realise how much it will cost him to walk away. As a stay-at-home mum, Maya is entitled to everything. Nick is resolute, so when an unlikely solution presents itself he gives it everything he's got. If Nick becomes a better husband and father, if he encourages his wife to rediscover herself, the more self-sufficient Maya will become: and the cheaper Nick's pay-out. But as Nick pretends to be a better man he becomes one. He remembers his connection with Maya, their ability to be a couple and not just parents who share a house. Everything seems to be back on track. Until Maya finds out exactly what Nick has been planning..."

This story is told by the male of this partnership - an unusual angle - tells the story of Nick and Maya the seemingly perfect couple with their darling twins and ideal life and the revelation that Nick wants a divorce.

It seems that since the birth of his children he finds it hard to cope or adapt to parenthood while Maya appears to embrace it which is driving a wedge between them. He believes that Maya is a natural mother but does not realise that she is having just as much a hard time coping as he it, she is having to learn as she goes along which is what Nick should be doing instead of which he chooses work as an escape route and the gap between them just gets wider. Nick decides that he wants out, a divorce. Before she gave up work to start a family Maya was a lawyer and although she loves her children she misses being able to work as well. Nick confides in an old friend Adam Grey (also happens to be a top billing family lawyer in the city's biggest firm) that he wants to divorce Maya, that is his intention until Adam shows him just how much it will cost him. Nick is resigned then that he can't afford to divorce until Adam suggests a 'way out' and convinces him that if he were to treat her better, wine and dine her, take her on holidays, become a better man, suggest she go back to work and say he'll help out with child care then when he does petition for divorce she will be unable to say she is totally dependant on him and won't get everything in settlement. Gray suggests 6 months of this would be enough to make it work. Nick decides this is for him and immediately embarks on the 'new man' strategy.

So the story is set in motion; I struggled with this in the respect that Maya apparently being a divorce lawyer herself does not 'smell a rat' and it was a bit much to expect that she would be so gullible. I also felt it made her look a bit feeble and needy so it didn't really work for me.

The story rumbles along, a bit slower than I would have liked and ended up very much as expected. No surprises or curve balls, no excitement or fizz - quite disappointing.

It's an OK read if you accept women as being feeble, weak, gullible, shallow and stupid but not really a modern day depiction of females so not really believable. If you're looking for a book that is just a frivolous read then it's OK but not really a page turner or a memorable read, very predictable, very ordinary.

From being Nicks' story at the start it essentially turned into Maya's story which was disappointing as having started from the man's point of view and an unusual angle (also a unique selling point) I felt that the author really missed an opportunity here. Because of this I can only really give it a 3 star rating.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Square by Rosie Millard

The SquareThe Square by Rosie Millard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane has the ideal life: loving husband, beautiful house and delightful son. Her fashionable dinner parties are perfect - and so are her secret assignations with her neighbour's husband, Jay.

From Tracey and her New Money lottery winnings to eccentric artist Philip and his pornographic portraits, the residents of North London's most privileged enclave The Square are a very satisfied bunch.

To raise money for communal fencing, the Residents' Association decides to hold a Talent Show, produced by Jane and hosted by TV celebrity Alan Makin. But when the show lurches into public disarray, reputations are shattered and everyone has to learn to live with a far less glossy reality than before.

Really enjoyed this fun read, effortlessly readable, full of both ordinary and quirky characters who live on an up market square of town houses in London. From the new monied lottery winners to resident eccentric artist Philip and his once rather risqué Russian born wife Gilda, the square gives up its' secrets and dramas.

Rosie Millard introduces us to the 'players' via Roberts who is the music teacher tutoring pupils on the square. Without giving too much away, things start to unravel for several residents when a talent show is organised to raise money to repair/restore railings round the square.

In addition to the planned talent show one of the residents, Harriet, takes lottery winner and new resident Tracey to a talk given by Alan Makin on how to manage debt. Alan Makin is a celebrity expert who hosts television chat shows on financial management and is appearing locally. Tracey is worried their lottery money won't last forever and although she runs a beauty business it is not doing as well as it should. She has watched Alan Makin on the television and when her neighbour Harriet says she is going to see him at a talk he is giving Tracey is enthusiastic to go along. At the talk Tracey finds herself speaking out in defence of the poor 'victim Alan Makin she using as an example of someone who has got himself into debt. Later Alan Makin asks to meet Tracey and once he knows her lottery story he asks her to appear on one of his shows and in return she provides a kind of 'counselling' service for him. Having said he would pay her she agrees.

We discover secrets and assignations, hidden jealousies and dramas with the residents of The Square as the story unfolds. It's a lovely frivolous read, like being a voyeur being able to see into the residents lives and learn their innermost secrets, witty and although predictable it was great fun to follow the characters.

I loved the young boy George and his one liners, priceless. This book gets a well deserved 4 stars from me, I sincerely hope she does a sequel and I will definitely read it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Shibui Tea - Moroccan Mint

Shibui Tea 

A bit about who Shibui Tea are:

Shibui Tea was set up over a few pots of tea with the simple philosophy of sourcing and sharing great quality tea. We have created a menu which covers a wide range of loose leaf tea with flavours to suit all palates. With a choice of premium classics through to fun and modern concepts, Shibui’s tea drinkers can be assured of a consistent quality product they can trust.

We are a family run business - together with over 35 years of experience in the industry - with our head office split between the UK and Canada. Two brothers run the operation - John in the UK and Paul in Canada.

Our teas are sourced from all over the world, primarily from China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, and Taiwan. Our locations in both the UK and Canada give us the ability to effectively service both the European and North American market places.

By visiting Shibui Tea online, you can browse and choose from over 200 teas and be assured of our excellent customer service. (Taken from their website)

I have tried a couple of Shibui teas now and posted all my reviews so far. Today I am trying some of their loose tea Moroccan Mint. 

I was a bit worried to begin with as I didn't have anything to put the loose tea in and I thought I wouldn't be able to use it. I was so pleased that some filter bags arrived along with it. 


I began by pouring the contents of the tea into the filter bag, on doing so I realised that I could have actually made two bags as there was enough for me to do that. 

The filter bag was perfect, it had a draw string pull on it and the bag was really strong. It was very good quality and I would be happy to use these again. 


On pouring the water onto the tea bag, it was clear to see that the bag was very good, I could see the tea seeping out of the bag, leaving a green hue in the water. The smell of this tea was the same as the others from Shibui, strong and wonderful. 

After brewing for a few minutes I removed the bag and it was just as sturdy as when I put it in. After a while and the tea had cooled I tasted the tea, it was very minty. I am seriously impressed with Shibui tea and would recommend it to anyone. I think that the tea is very good quality, every tea I have tried so far is exactly what I would have wanted in a tea and the brand is one you can trust. I also love that this is a small business one that I would be happy to support. 

This tea, being loose can be bought in a range of different weights and they offer value for money when doing so. All of their loose tea can be bought in taster sizes (20g) which give you the opportunity to choose a few to try to decide which one you like best before purchasing a larger weight. 

If you would like to purchase these or see what other teas are available please visit their website: Shibui Tea

I would like to thank Shibui Tea for sending the samples in exchange for an honest review. Please check back for more reviews of their teas.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson (Jessie Jefferson #1)The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet Jessie, the daughter of Johnny Jefferson, as featured in Johnny Be Good and Baby Be Mine… My fifteenth birthday was the worst day of my life, and it's inconceivable to think that any single day in my future will ever be as bad. My mum was killed in a freak accident on her way to pick up my cake. Even when there was still no sign of her after two hours later, and my friends started to arrive at our house, it never occurred to me that she wouldn't be coming back. That was six months ago. My mum died without telling me who my real dad was. And for a while I hated her for it. I thought she's taken the secret of my father's identity with her forever. But she didn't. Holy hell, she didn't. Because three weeks ago I found out the truth. And I'm still reeling from the shock of it. My dad is none other than Johnny Jefferson, mega famous rock star and one-time serial womaniser. And now I'm on my way to LA to meet him and his family. My tiny little world has just got a whole lot bigger…

I love Paige Toon, as soon as I discovered her I knew that she was going to quickly become one of my favourite authors. On hearing that she was going to be writing YA I was excited but also a tad nervous, she writes chick lit so wonderfully and I was worried that I was going to be disappointed with this.

Paige Toon began by really interesting me with this story line, it was a continuation from one of her adult novels, this is something that I think really makes Toon stand out as an author, she manages to like her characters in certain ways. This makes the reader really believe they are with the characters in the book, as they are so familiar. If you haven't read Johnny Be Good, do not panic, you can read this as a stand a lone but reading this will enhance your reading experience.

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson follows Jessie, a down to earth teenager, who has just lost her mum in a tragic freak accident. Jessie has always lived with her mum and stepdad Stu, however much she has wanted to know who her real father is, her mother would never discuss it. Stu believes that it is important that Jessie does know, so even though he could potentially lose her, he tells her.

I really love Stu in this, I feel for him, what he is going through and it is clear how much he cares for Jessie even though she is not his own. I had a real issue with Jessie as a character to begin with. Unfortunately I just could not warm to her, she behaved dreadfully to Stu and not a lot better to Johnny at parts in the book. I didn't like her attitude for most of the novel and I didn't like the way she tried to come across as an adult and demanded to know things, but then went around and acted like a spoilt brat. (Maybe I am now showing my age and shows that maybe I am not the intentional age range for this book!)

There were parts in the story that I felt not a lot was happening, normally when Jessie was meeting people in the States at parties etc, however this was made up towards the end when it picked up and almost felt like the ending was coming to an abrupt ending! - Thank goodness I can continue with the series straight away!

So although I did have a few issues with this book, I also really enjoyed it and I feel Paige has done really well with her debut in YA, what I loved about it was there was no main story within the book that was depressing. Yes I know her mum had dies, however this happened before we met the characters. The story is upbeat, nobody having a dreadful illness, no bullying, no teen pregnancy, just a really easy going light read.

I am really looking forward to reading the next in the sequel, well done Paige!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Weekly wrap up - 13.9.15

Sorry that this post is a little later than usual, I went away and have only just had time to post it. This week has been my first week back at school and it has been very successful. I haven't received any books for review this week, this has allowed me to think about which books I need to read and review as quick as possible. I always find it hard when back at school to read a book quickly. This weekend though I have managed to start and finish one, I also listened to an audio book, so I have been very proud of myself.

Books I have received this week:


Books I have read this week:

Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon

Anybody out there? - Marian Keyes - Audio book

Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 11 September 2015

Guest Post Field of Mars

The characters of Field of Mars

Field of Mars tells the story of the lost legion of Crassus. Legend has it that a number of Roman legionaries, who survived the disastrous battle of Carrhae in 53BC where a 40,000-strong Roman army was annihilated by only 10,000 mounted Parthian archers, were sold into slavery. Field of Mars is the first of a three-part series that tells the story of what happened to these men and the slaves who accompanied them.

The narrator of my version of this story is Appias, a Roman historian hired by Marcus Licinius Crassus to record his deeds for posterity. But, obviously, given what happened at Carrhae, the deeds are not the one the proconsul had been hoping for.

Before and during the ill-fated battle, Appias travels with the Roman praetorium - the Roman army’s HQ - and therefore has a unique perspective of the disaster from the point of view of the Roman Commanders - Proconsul Crassus, Prefect Publius (Crassus’s son), Legate Gaius Cassius Longinus, the army’s commander, and Chieftain Abgar, an Arab guide.

After the battle, and taken prisoner by the Parthians, Appias meets a newly promoted centurion, Rufinius, who is one of the few surviving officers. And it’s Rufinius who eventually rises to command a slave army of Roman legionaries purchased by the empire of Xiongnu (the Turkic predecessors of the Mongols) in its fight against the mighty neighbouring empire of Han China.

There are many other characters in this drama - Surenas, the Parthian commander; slave master Farnavindah; Saikan, the Xiongnu general; and Chanyu Zhizhi, the emperor of the Xiongnu, to name a few. Most of these characters are real people taken from history. Cassius Longinus, for example, was one of the few survivors of Carrhae who made it back to Rome. He regained his seat in the Roman Senate and was one of the primary movers in the plot to murder Julius Caesar.

Some of my favourite characters in Field of Mars are the lesser ones. For example, the men who fight beside Rufinius (a ribald lot), his slave the hag Mena, and the woman he falls in love with, a German by the name of Lucia.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Letting You Go by Anouska Knight Guest Post

Today on The Book Corner I am very lucky to be able to share with you a guest post by Anouska Knight. Her new book is out today. 

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn’t visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.

Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?

The Books that Inspire me by Anouska Knight

After writing my first book Since You’ve Been Gone my editor suggested I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. She thought our styles shared something, I later learned that this was a pretty generous compliment! So I read Jojo’s book and was extremely glad I did. As soon as I’d finished, I knew for sure that writing about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary issues was something I wanted to explore.

Letting You Go in many ways is a story about the damage a family can unintentionally do to itself, the ripple effect of a single mistake or misjudgement, and one woman’s struggle in particular to set down her emotional baggage for the sake of a healthier soul.

Aside from writing them, I think I mostly enjoy books that explore the relationships us human beings have with one another. I know it’s ridiculous at 35 to think the way I think, but I’m quite childish in my perspective of the world. I believe in right and wrong, good and bad. I like things to be fair! Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper was a book that slammed home the fact that life simply is not fair, and crap things happen to decent people. My Sister’s Keeper was particularly poignant for me because I read it around the time my own beautiful sister was first diagnosed with cancer. At 28, she’s currently slugging out her second fight with it. See? Crap things, decent people.

Maybe it’s because of this that I like my children to read more uplifting material. I can’t explain it, it sounds weird I know. But I can’t read Oh, the places you’ll go! by Dr Seuss to my sons without a lump in my throat. I feel the same way each time Ebenezer Scrooge rises a better man. (I should mention here that I cried like a baby when the kids made me watch The Iron Giant. ‘Superman.’ Yep, that bit. Blub!)

I do also love books about retribution though. I suppose this comes from my desire to see bad people get their comeuppance. I love, love, love Laurell K Hamilton. The bad guys in her Anita Blake series don’t just get punished, they get annihilated. Usually by the pint-sized heroine. I love that, the wicked suffering for their crimes. It makes me feel good. That’s not weird, right? Maybe we should move on...

There are also the stories involving love. Love is a massive part of my life I’m lucky to say and I think Liane Moriarty is one of my favourite authors at the moment because she weaves so subtly into her books the different guises in which love can present itself while deftly tackling hard-hitting issues. She’s observational, smart and bloody funny too. When I grow up, I’d like to be just like Liane Moriarty.

Thank you for having me ;)

Anouska x

Letting You Go by Anouska Knight is published on Thursday 10th September (Mira, £7.99)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Broken Promise (Promise Falls, #1)Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The morning it all started, newspaper reporter David Harwood had plenty to worry about. A single parent with no job, forced to return with his young son to the small town of Promise Falls to live with his parents, the future wasn't looking too rosy. So when his mother asked him to look in on his cousin Marla, who was still not quite right after losing her baby, it was almost a relief to put the disaster his own life had become to one side.

The relief wouldn't last long.

When he gets to Marla's house he's disturbed to find a smear of blood on the front door. He's even more disturbed to find Marla nursing a baby, a baby she claims was delivered to her 'by an angel.' And when, soon after, a woman's body is discovered across town, stabbed to death, with her own baby missing, it looks as if Marla has done something truly terrible.

But while the evidence seems overwhelming, David just can't believe that his cousin is a murderer. In which case, who did kill Rosemary Gaynor? And why did they then take her baby and give it to Marla? With the police convinced they have an open and shut case, it's up to David to find out what really happened, but he soon discovers that the truth could be even more disturbing...

I am a fan of Linwood Barclay and was very pleased to read and review this latest novel - I did not realise it was to form part of a series but once I realised this it made sense that not all of the plots were solved at the end.

Like all of his previous novels he manages to hook the reader from the start - various little mysteries happening as sub plots in the book and the main story interwoven with these makes for a clever novel that keeps the interest going to the end.

Good main characters help this novel move along - the main character David Harwood a journalist (single parent to Ethan aged 9) is forced to move back to his home town with his son and move in with his parents when finds himself out of work. Moving back in with your parents is no easy thing to do and David resolves that this will be just a temporary move until he can find work locally.

When he visits his cousin Marla to deliver some food his mother has asked him to take to her he begins the start of a mystery he just has to solve. Blood on Marla's door and a baby she is caring for that is not her own who she claims was given to her by an angel is just one of the mysteries that he uncovers. Sub plots include a woman found stabbed, 23 dead squirrels and a college campus where several women have been attacked. I liked Detective Duckworth who made a good contrast to David and great sounding board for some of the theories.

Marla, having lost her own baby is in a fragile state and when she is suspected of the murder of Rosemary Gaynor and stealing her baby David becomes involved in trying to find out the truth.

There is a lot going on in this book and I felt I had to go back and re-read some of the novel in places as it was becoming a little confusing but it was still a good read. Plenty of twists and turns as you would expect with this author and given that it is to form a series the fact that some issues were not fully resolved is acceptable. Lots happening to keep the reader interested with good identifiable characters. Another success for Linwood Barclay - gets a well deserved 4 stars from me.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Organic Matcha Green Tea - Kiss Me Organics.

Organic Matcha Green Tea - Kiss Me Organics. 

ALL DAY ENERGY & FOCUS: Lift your vitality and concentration with the slow release natural energy from Organic Matcha

CALORIE BURNING BOOSTER: Support your weight loss goals with an all-natural way to increase metabolism of your body

LATTES | SMOOTHIES | BAKING: Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder arrives in an easy-to-use airtight health grade packaging allowing for as much or as little use as you need for any occasion. Enjoy a relaxing latte in the morning, bake a dozen cupcakes or simply add a small boost to your morning smoothie

137x ANTIOXIDANTS OF BREWED GREEN TEA: USDA Organic Matcha Green Tea can only be used in a powdered form because, unlike brewed green tea, it contains the entire tea leaf which dramatically increases the nutritional content.

LIFETIME GUARANTEE 110% MoneyBack - If for some reason, you are not satisfied with our Organic Matcha we provide a no-hassle no-questions-asked refund. Yes, we are that devoted to your happiness!

I have tried Macha Green Tea's before and a lot of them leave a rather bitter taste in my mouth. This one I found after the initial taste got better the more I drank. You only need a very little amount to get the taste of this product. It is clear that this will last a very long time.

I decided to mix this with milk to make a latte as a lot of sediment normally falls to the bottom of the cup, even after whisking it. This then tastes disgusting. I thought if I made a latte maybe this wouldn't happen, but towards the end of the mug I tasted the sediment again. I am not sure if I am doing someone wrong as no one else seems to report this but I did follow the instructions.

When purchasing this, you also receive a free recipe book for you to try your Macha in lots of different ways. Matcha tea offers huge amount of benefits and after trying this for a while I am hoping to see the results. I will be using this in food though as that way hopefully the sediment will not be present.

I really like the fact that the tea comes in a resealable pack, it fits nicely in the cupboard and will last for a long time.

The reason I have given it 4* and not 5 is due to the smell of the product, I really did not like it. Once I added the powder to other drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate the bitter initial taste vanished. This is my preferred method of having the tea. I am now waiting to see the benefits of drinking the tea, which I hope will be a lot. If it is I would be happy to purchase this product on finishing this.

This was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Travelers - Meradeth Houston - Guest Post

Travelers Blurb:

Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die.

Release Date: August 4th, 2015

Goodreads Link:

Guest Post - Visiting the Distant Past

Hi! It’s a pleasure to be here today, and thanks a million for hosting me! I thought I’d talk a little bit about some of the more random ways my day job intersects with my writing today, because it definitely came in handy while writing a time-travel book J. My day job is studying dead people’s DNA, which means that I work closely with archaeologists to analyze the remains they unearth from all over the world. I started off in straight archaeology, and have been on quite a few digs both as a student and as a professional archaeologist (then I realized that I’d spend my whole life in a dirt hole if I kept that up and decided I liked showering too much, so I opted for the lab—true story!).

Anyhow, archaeologists are probably the first people who would jump at the chance to travel in time (anyone ever read Timeline?). The study of past human populations tends to attract people who are fascinated by the past, and I’m no exception. And when I ended up with characters who could travel into the past, well it only seemed logical that they end up a little farther back than they gambled for. Which let me have a little fun with what I know, and have been on digs to investigate, about the past populations in Northern Utah. I set Sienna and Henry for a brief sojourn with the Fremont population, which I won’t get into a ton of detail about here, but if you want to know more, ask in the comments!

Having a little knowledge of the past, and what happens to things over time, also helped out with the setting in a few other ways. It definitely helped me research what Boston would have looked like in the 1870’s, and how dilapidated a house could get in three years. Sometimes it is funny little things like that that peek out from my day job and help in my writing. Other times, well, it’s nice to get to make a few things up, which is obviously frowned upon by work J.

Have you ever been on a dig? Ever wanted to? Or does your day job creep into your writing too?

Author Bio:

I’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

  • I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot. Since I now live in Montana, sometimes this is a problem.
  • I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.
  • I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!
  • My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since my day job requires me to teach at the local university.
  • If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 6/9/15

I cannot believe that the summer holidays are now over and I am back to school. I have been disappointed with my reading this summer and the last week. I am going to be making a constant effort to make sure I continue to read a lot while I am back at school. I have begun listing to an audio book on the way to school as my journey is a little longer now so hopefully I will finish that soon. 

Books I have recieved this week:
Letting you go - Anouska Knight
The Ice Twins - S. K Tremayne
A night in with Audrey Hepburn - Lucy Holliday
Counting Stars - Keris Stainton
Little girl gone - Alexandra Burt
A bundle of summer reads from Harper Impulse 

Books I have read this week:
I need a Hero - Emma Bennet
Thanks for stopping by at The Book Corner, I loved hearing what you have got this week so please leave a comment to let me know

Friday, 4 September 2015

Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan with guest post

Burnt Paper SkyBurnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.

But what really happened that fateful afternoon?

Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?

The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.


This story is set in Bristol and is themed around the abduction of an 8 year old boy - Ben Finch, we read the story from a year ago. Throughout the story it is told from two perspectives, which change each chapter Ben's mother and D.I James Clemo. Through these perspectives we learn a lot about both characters their feelings on the abduction, how it is effecting them but also we see other characters thoughts through it.

Rachel, Ben's mother is struggling emotionally from the divorce of her husband surgeon, Paul Finch. Every Sunday Ben and his mother walk their dog Skittle through the woods, Ben is desperate for some more freedom, even if it is just to walk ahead of her with Skittle. Rachel is wary, always has been and thinks she should let go a bit and this Sunday in particular she grants him the freedom he wants so much. Ben skips ahead with Skittle and says he will meet her in the park. When Rachel gets to the park she can see the swing swinging, she thinks Ben maybe playing with her but she later discovers he isn't anywhere to be seen.

Throughout the book you go through lots of emotions, you don't know what has happened to Ben and everyone becomes a suspect to you, there are small seeds that are planted in your head and you decide to follow the route, only to discover you were wrong and your attention changes to someone else. With the impact of the internet and social media, you see what an impact this can have on a case and how easily you can get drawn into it and allow others to influence you. It is easy to see what damage it can cause and how it can change the public perspection on something.

Sometimes I felt things were being exposed about the family that may not have been necessary and have any relevance on the case, however it became clear why these were important and how it helped develop the whole picture of the case and the characters.

I enjoyed the mixing up in the way the story is told, we read emails, transcripts from DI Clemo's psychologist, internet blog posts and online newspaper extracts. This made the story more real for me I think and emphasised the importance of the media in a case like this. I also enjoyed the introduction to each chapter (A different day) this began with a quote, an extract from an article or a website post on missing children.

I thought this was a brilliant 'who dun it', which had me guessing right up until the end. It really pulled me in as a reader and although it is 465 pages long, it is a quick read. Most of the time stories that are this long I can loose interest in or feel intimidated by the size of them. This I managed to read in a couple of days, it is quite possible to read in one or two sittings though. This is very face paced, the characters are developed brilliantly and they are believable.

This is an outstanding debut novel for Macmillan and I look forward to reading more from her. If you haven't read this book and are wanting a psychological thriller, this is a must to pick up. It is thought provoking and you will want to talk about it with everyone.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post - Being a Debut Author by Gilly Macmillan 

Being a debut author in no way resembles what I thought it would be! As so many writers have no doubt said before, the launch from being a solitary person tapping away at your computer to being an actual proper author is a dramatic and unexpected one.

I think that’s partly because however much you might dream about it and read about it before it happens to you, nobody else has your exact experience so they can’t describe what it will be like for you. Every new author will follow their own route to publication, and along the way will gain their own team of agent, publisher, editor and other folks who work on all the different aspects of the book, from cover design to copyediting, to marketing and publicity.

Meeting and working with that group of people has been a huge thrill for me. Once my book deal was clinched, they arrived in my life all of a sudden and with boundless enthusiasm, when I was still reeling from the amazing fact of having found a publisher who wanted my book at all (it took me months to get over that shock). After years in the wilderness there’s nothing like that feeling of being supported by a team of professional people, all of whom want your book to succeed. It’s a very exciting and also sometimes a very daunting prospect!

It brings challenges too. Almost overnight, you have to interact professionally with many new people, learn how to operate as self-employed, rise to all the demands and expectations of your publisher and agent in the UK, and in the case of Burnt Paper Sky there were foreign publishers to meet and work with too. You have many new experiences. I’d never used social media before, or done an author event and while I loved both, it was also a hugely steep learning curve. And while all of that is going on, you must write your second book to a deadline. You have to be prepared to work very hard to keep everything going.

But having said that, I wouldn’t swap any of it for the world. I’ve met incredible and inspiring people, I’ve learned so much and I’ve had brilliant new experiences. Finding a fabulous book community online – bloggers, writers and readers – has been one of those, and getting a copy of your book in your hands for the very first time is not something I’ll ever forget.

I’ve found the whole experience in turns amazing, exhilarating and terrifying and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I love it. But my favourite bit? That’s still just me at my desk, putting words down on the page.

I would like to thank Gilly for stopping by at The Book Corner today. To buy a copy of this stunning debut, which you will not stop hearing about click  here

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For ItAsking For It by Louise O'Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there.

She doesn't know why she's in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes . . .

This book is very tricky for me to review; I read it in two sittings and finished it a few days ago, but it has taken me that long to try and process what I have read and even now I'm still finding it difficult. This is not an easy read for anyone I would say and although a YA I would suggest it is aimed at older YA.

Emma O'Donovan is 18, she is your average fun loving teenager, likes to party and socialise. One night she goes to a party at one of her friends houses and something dreadful happens to her. The following morning Emma is found outside her front door at her house, totally out of it and not remembering a thing from the night before. She continues her life as normally as possible, until she goes to school and people begin to call her names and a series of explicit photographs pop up on facebook. Suddenly her friends are no longer her friends, they feel she has betrayed them with their boyfriends. Thing is Emma still can't remember a thing about that night.

This story questions everything, is it right to dress in a certain way? Is it because of this these things happen? How one girl can go from confident and outgoing to depressed and withdrawn after one night? Was it Emma's fault?

Emma to begin with is not a nice character, I found it hard to warm to her and there are times when you wonder was she asking for it as the title of the book suggests. As you read further and further into the book, you begin to see people turning against her, her aunt who is just too busy to come and visit, (but sends her presents in the post to cheer her up!) neighbours and other people with authority.

My favourite character was Emma's brother, I really felt for him and at times I felt he was the only one looking out for Emma, he has a sweet nature and one that should not go un-noted. I also felt that his reactions to things were real and there were times where I could not believe what I was hearing from Emma's parents towards the end. Where he continued to have faith in her.

This is a book that stays with the reader for a long time after it has ended. It will make you feel uncomfortable, you will question your thoughts and emotions will run high through it. For me I hated the ending - I really wanted some sort justice either way and I felt like I didn't get that.

This is a book to look out for in September, whether you want to read it or not, it is a very strong novel and will certainly question your views on things. I have found this review very hard to write as I am still unsure of how the book has made me feel completely. You will understand if you decide to give it a go yourself. This is a very quick read, which you will be able to devour in a few hours.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I went to the store. See inside the fridge. I watered the plants. I cleaned out Peter's cage. I tidied the sitting room. And the kitchen. And I did the washing up.

I'm going to bed.

Your live-in servant,


Life on the Refrigerator Door is told exclusively through notes exchanged by Claire and her mother, Elizabeth, during the course of a life-altering year. Their story builds to an emotional crescendo when Elizabeth is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, this is a clever, moving, and original portrait of the relationship between a daughter and mother. It is about how we live our lives constantly rushing, and never making time for those we love. It is also an elegy to how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.

A new edition of this simultaneously heartbreaking and heart-warming novel by Alice Kuipers.

Life on the refrigerator door was sent to me to review. I knew nothing about it before it arrived. I choose not to read the blurb and just go on the title and the cover.

This is about a mother and daughter, both have incredibly busy lives - Claire a fifteen year old girl and her mum as a baby delivery nurse. The only communication they seem to have is through notes left on the fridge. These are the notes that form this debut novel. These notes are meaningless most of the time, ranging from being late home to grabbing some shopping. Except one day, one particular note turns both of their lives upside down forever.

The book is very short, it is just over 200 pages long, but each page is only a note, these range in lengths but made the book incredibly easy to read. I finished it in a couple of hours.

There are a few issues I had with this book and that's the reason I am only giving the book 3*, first of all, I know that Claire is only fifteen years old, however the way she behaved at times in this book drove me mad. She screams spoilt brat right out of the page, she is self centred and thinks about no one except herself. I found it very hard to connect to her and acutally disliked her for the majority of the novel. The other thing I have a problem with is the mother - she is meant to be in the medical industry but then seems to know little about medical problems. I also think that she came across very irresponsible, she does not have a mobile phone and then moans at her daughter when she doesn't pick up hers. She also communicates largely by notes to her daughter all the time? This novel if nothing else illustrates the importance of talk in families.

I do think that there are very strong messages that come through in this novel, however they are not as moving as I would have thought and they seem to just catch up with the reader towards the end.

I do enjoy reading books written in different formats and for me I enjoyed reading the series of notes, whether this was the best format to choose for a subject so emotional I am still unsure about. Personally I didn't find the novel heartbreaking or bringing a tear to my eye and I think this was because there was lack of description in the novel. This is something that would not be necessary in note form.

The author did leave a lot for the reader to fill in, not all notes followed on from one another and you were filing the blanks yourself. I also quite enjoyed this aspect of the novel, however I think that the novel may have benefited at times from some narration.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.