The Prison Doctor: Women Inside – Dr Amanda Brown

71wNkFvJ1uL._SL1500_Synopsis:

From the Sunday Times bestselling author Dr Amanda Brown.

Insights into the world of a Prison Doctor, this time taking us deeper into the walls of Bronzefield, the UK’s biggest women’s prison.

From the drug addicts who call Amanda ‘the mother I never had’ to the women who’ve pushed back at domestic abuse, to women close to release in their 70s, who just want to stay in the place that they’ve always known, these are stories that are heartbreaking, harrowing and heart-warming. Amanda listens, prescribes, and does what she can. After all, she’s their doctor.”

Review:

The is the second book by Dr Amanda Brown that I have read regarding her time being a Prison Doctor, both of which I have been able to devour with great ease. Amanda’s first book, The Prison Doctor, was such a brilliant read and I devoured that book within hours of starting it. I am so glad that I did read that book first as there is so much of Dr Brown’s background in that book that I learned and apricated, that although isn’t necessary for this book, I personally liked knowing when little mentions popped up.

This book, Women Inside, is exactly that. This book focuses on where we left off from the end of the previous book and Browns work at the Woman’s Prison and the stories from the prisoners there. That is where this book differs from the previous book. We do get so many more stories about the prisoner, scratch that, from the women, how they got where they were and their aims for the future, if they had any with the way that the system works.

I definitely preferred the first book, not that I didn’t enjoy this one. But this felt so much like I was hearing the same thing repeated, which I feel awful saying, whereas, the first book had some diversity in it, as it went from one place to another to another. Whereas with this book, all the stories seemed to blend in together, with one terrible story after another after another, making me take a break and pick up something else up in between.

Overall, this is a good read, written well, with an important message about our current justice system.

The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones

52180399Synopsis:

Adam Nevill’s The Ritual meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this atmospheric gothic literary horror.

Ten years ago, four young men shot some elk then went on with their lives. It happens every year; it’s been happening forever; it’s the way it’s always been. But this time it’s different.

Ten years after that fateful hunt, these men are being stalked themselves. Soaked with a powerful gothic atmosphere, the endless expanses of the landscape press down on these men – and their children – as the ferocious spirit comes for them one at a time.

The Only Good Indians, charts Nature’s revenge on a lost generation that maybe never had a chance. Cleaved to their heritage, these parents, husbands, sons and Indians, men live on the fringes of a society that has rejected them, refusing to challenge their exile to limbo.”

Review:

*I received a free audiobook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book*

Being one of my the books I have been highly anticipating for the second half of 2020, I was so excited when I saw this book pop up on NetGalley and even more excited when I saw that the Audiobook version was also available for request on there. I was also a little nervous when I started seeing mixed reviews surrounding this book and after reading it for myself, I can absolutely see why.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is described as being a gothic horror book, with him stating he wanted to create a slasher but do so in a different way to the usual slasher variety that we usually get. This book is definitely a unique novel, with it’s premise, story and with the style of writing, however, for the gothic horror aspect of this book, that’s where this book let me down. I didn’t feel the heavy Gothic Horror aspect throughout the book, although there were definitely some creepy scenes in this book. It kind of reminded me of Tiger by Polly Clark in a way, with how the elk comes back for revenge, how it remembers, similar to the tiger in that book, just more paranormal.

For me, the whole experience of this book was ruined from the very beginning, because I didn’t like the narrator who was narrating this book, as he sounded dry and his performance was so lacklustre. Due to this, I wasn’t being sucked into the story quick enough to really care about the what was happening to any of the characters, why things were happening to them and even had to rewind several times has I had missed something important. Horror is usually a great one to listen to via audiobook and really spooks me out, but I felt so disappointed and wished I had requested the actual book. It wasn’t until near the end that I really got into this book.

The writing however, is extremely vivid! There is no way that I was not imagining what  was being said, as the amount of brutality and gore that takes place within this book is so clearly written that I had no other choice to picture it in my mind. It became so clear, too clear! It was in these moments that I was sucked straight back into the story and back into the characters lives and into their paranoia, their suspense and the creepiness surrounding them. However, it was only these dramatic moments within the books that kept me invested, as the rest of the passages, I honestly found the quite boring and hard to keep myself invested in and hard not to skip a little. But again, could be due to the narrator speaking it rather dully.

Some of the scenes you could see were intended to be scary and creepy, all did not turn out to that affect, instead just coming off making the characters look like they had extreme paranoia. Whether that paranoia is justified, you’ll have to read and find out! There are scenes that are 100% going to stick with me and give me nightmares, so props to the writing. However, for the story itself, I wouldn’t know how to describe it to someone else and even though it still has me wondering and thinking about it, I don’t think it’s one that is going to be one that is going to stay with me, which is disappointing.

The Switch – Beth O’Leary

71LHJJB39ZLSynopsis:

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?”

Review:

*I received a free Audio Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book*

I have become a great little fan of Beth O’Leary, ever since being sent her debut book The Flatshare to read, curtesy of the Amazon Vine Programme. Her writing is something that I really like and this book did not disappoint me one bit, even going into it with some apprehension as I know I had pre-hyped this book to myself because of her previous book and how much she had taken me by surprise.

When a Grandmother and Granddaughter swap lives and homes for two months, one needing a break from their current life and from the stress and the other wanting to finally get a chance at the life she once wanted to live, they both get an adventure and uncover some part of themselves. The Switch came to me at the exact moment I needed it and was therefore exactly what I needed, cute, wholesome, and oh so fun!. Although it was definitely a light, romantic, contemporary, it went a little deeper with the characters and their backgrounds, however, still keeping to it’s light-heartedness that I was really craving. This book does deal with heavy topics of love and loss and although there is absolutely romance within this book, I wouldn’t say that those aren’t the overall aspects of this book.

I listened to the audiobook version of the book, thanks to the new NetGalley Audiobook Section, and I must say that I really liked how that narrators presented it. There are two different narrators for this book, one for Eileen and one for Leena. What they did well, which is something that audiobooks often don’t do very well, is that the narrators voices were easily to distinguish between. This was needed, one because of the ages of the two characters, which just added and pulled me into the book and story so much easier. The performance felt more real, making the story and overall affect, one of my favourite audiobooks I have listened to in a while. Even down to how phone calls were performed.

This is my favourite Beth O’Leary and I really enjoyed The Flatshare. I think I really enjoyed this one that much more because of the relationship between Eileen and Leena. That familiar relationship is a special one, believe me, and is one you don’t get to read about often. It was brilliant, even if there were moments during Eileen’s chapters that made me blush, while smiling, while listening to them.

I’ve already put Beth O’Leary’s Future release “The Road Trip” on my TBR list, ready for it’s release new year!!

Different Book Subscriptions For a Year

Hey Fellow Readers 👋

It’s already August and 2020 is almost over *a brief sigh of relief*, so I have already started making plans for things to do for next year. One of which involves Book Subscription Boxes.

I have always loved the idea of Book Subscription Boxes, but I always feel like being in the UK makes my choices either very limited or very specific. I have done some research into different boxes available, but I am a very indecisive person, never making up my mind which one sounds the best for me and ultimately, I always give up on getting any and am left disappointed. The only time I have come anywhere near having a Book Subscription was a pre-loved Book Subscription from Ninja Book Box, which I did like, but ultimately cancelled. 

However, I have a plan for the entire duration of 2021! This is going to be a year long plan, 12 boxes in total, where each month I am going to be ordering a different Book Subscription Box that delivers to the UK. Not only will I actually get to see the physical differences between each of these boxes I have been wondering about for so long, but I will then get to see which ones I actually prefer. Which ones feel like it’s better value, plus which ones feel more like they’re better suited for me. This way I should be able to narrow down which one I want to overall subscribe to.

Another goal from doing this is to cut down on buying books. As I’m not going to know what books are going to be coming in these boxes, and I have a ridiculous amount of books on my TBR, this should theoretically, encourage me to stop buying books randomly at work and read the ones I currently own, as I’m going to be having new ones coming each month anyways. Reader problems when working in a book shop 🤦‍♀️

I’m going to have a little while to plan this out but to do so I’m going to need to narrow it down to just 12 UK Book Subscription Boxes. Do you have a recommendations?

 

Night Falls, Still Missing – Helen Callaghan

91Q7YR2tXHLSynopsis:

On a cold, windswept night, Fiona arrives on a tiny, isolated island in Orkney. She accepted her old friend’s invitation with some trepidation – her relationship with Madison has never been plain sailing. But as she approaches Madison’s cottage, she sees that the windows are dark. The place has been stripped bare. No one knows where Madison has gone.

As Fiona tries to find out where Madison has vanished to, she begins to unravel a web of lies. Madison didn’t live the life she claimed to, and now Fiona’s own life is in danger . . .”

Review:

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest and unbiased review of this book*

Night Falls, Still Missing by Helen Callaghan is a book I was so eager to read, solely because of the author as I read one of her previous books, Dear Amy, before and enjoying it. I did leave this book a little while on my TBR pile before actually diving into it and finally reading it, which is something I am actually grateful for as I ended up completely forgetting what this book was about, only remembering that it was a thriller and was written by an author I had previously read and enjoyed before. I am  so glad that I did, as that is the way I like going into my thrillers. Completely blank! This was great this time around, as this was a mistake I made with Dear Amy as I had built it up too much because of this and that was one of my biggest criticisms.

This book is shrouded in mystery that instantly reminded me of Helens writing and I loved it! It hooked me from the start, simply because I love a good mystery and trying to beat the author to the ending and seeing if I can discover and uncover it all. It also has an arrange of untrustworthy characters that has me not trusting ANY of the people in this book, even questioning the main character, on the disappearance of her friend, whom she has been asked to travel to this island to go and visit. My inner detective gets to shine through with this book and I’m in my bliss.

Like I said, this book is full of so many untrustworthy characters, from stalker exes, a weird couple who the friend rents her house from, her work colleagues, the brother of the girl who is missing and even the main character who travels to the island. There are lights shone upon everyone and that’s one of the reasons why this book became quite addictive to me when I started reading it. I found myself not wanting to put this book down, not only because of the fast paced writing, but also because I simply wanted to get to the end and discover what happened. I wanted to know the ending!  – no spoilers!! 

The ending wasn’t as satisfying as I was hoping it was going to be, as I felt like it was just missing something. However, overall, I really did enjoy this read and I devoured it soooo quickly and also got to give my detective mind a workout. This is split into two timelines, past and present, as a way of presenting information and I found the myself not trying to drag myself through those past chapters, simply because they weren’t as interesting as what was currently happening, but they were needed for the overall story. It could have done with being a little bit shorter, maybe by 50 pages, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this book by Helen Callaghan. This is definitely my favourite of hers and I am eager to dive into Everything is Lies, another book by her that I have been putting off.

Lesath – A.M. Kherbash

45173036Synopsis:

“Locked in his dark cell, Greg lay awake in bed, fidgeting with the small cassette recorder, pressing the rewind and stop buttons to listen to the heavy click and spring-loaded clank that initiated and punctuated the faint whirring mechanics. He knew well enough no one was going to come looking for him―not while he was in between jobs, living in a four-door pickup truck, and had traveled to an undisclosed location without telling anyone.

What brought him here were rumors of an abandoned building that was said to be part of a black site―rumors that were circulated amongst truckers and drifters: some exaggerated the sinister aspect of the place, detailing with morbid relish the methods of enhanced interrogation that were being developed or deployed there, while others assumed the contrarian position and downplayed the horrors, if not downright dismissed the whole story as hyperbole.
Questionable as the lead was, the story seemed too good for an amateur journalist like Greg to pass up. All the same, he did not expect there would be some truth to those rumors, that the building is not quite derelict as he had imagined. And that, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, he was now incarcerated there as an inmate.

Greg stopped the rewinding mechanism when he detected rustling and soft thumps coming through the ceiling vent―or thought he did, since the quirky nature of unidentified noise is that it usually ceases whenever one stops to listen. Like a living body, no running building is without its small, unaccountable bumps and muffled clanks; yet even if they’re mostly benign noise, at night, they’re magnified by the ever-present hush, and their unfamiliarity never fails to inflame the imagination of the sleepless newcomer.

LESATH is a psychological horror that pays tribute to gothic fiction.”

Review:

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the book*

What the f*** is happening??? This is what I found myself thinking for the majority of the time while reading this book, understanding virtually nothing and not even taking a guess as to what could be going on within this story. For a book that started of relatively normal, normal compared to rest of this book, this book then took a super weird turn. But one that I found myself needing to keep reading.

Lesath by A.M. Kherbash is one of the most confusing books I have read so far this year. This not only had such a confusing storyline that went a little all over the place and a little over my head for the majority of the book, all while still keeping me gripped. I continued reading this book, with the sole hope of it all coming together in the end and being hit with a giant stick of understanding, with it all being brought together and finally making sense. Plus, the writing of this book was actually enjoyable.

This all added to the overall creepiness of the story, the not knowing what was happening and what could be lingering within, behind or around every corner. The paranoia from the characters leaks off the page, making you question the credibility of the characters and what they’re experiencing. Mixed with the creepiness and the goriness that started to take place within, the writing both saved and ruined this book for me. The writing was both great as I was seriously creeped out in parts, reading more and more, devouring this book within 24 hours, but the unknown and unanswered confusion was just straight up disappointing and was my biggest and one of my only let downs of this book.

I am so thankful that there is a sequel of this book coming out that is meant to have the answers that this book lacked and I am hoping that it really does. This book reminded me of Annihilation in the sense of creepy unknown confusion, one that just teased me, but one that I just didn’t care about the answers by the time I got to the last book. This one was written better than that series and I do have hope, so fingers crossed that I am not left dissatisfied by yet another weird read, especially as I love weird, creepy horror.

Book Review: The Ice House #2 – Tim Clare

41870053._SY475_Synopsis:

War doesn’t end. It sleeps.

Delphine Venner is old, but she remembers everything.

She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost.

And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her. Hagar, a centuries-old assassin, daily paying a terrible price for her unending youth, is planning one final death: that of her master, the Grand-Duc. A death that will cost her everything. A death that requires Delphine.

Voyaging into this violence and chaos, Delphine must remember who she really is and be ready to fight, before war reawakens. But in the battle to destroy an ageless evil, will both worlds be saved – or will every mortal creature lose everything? “

Review:

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book*

The Ice House by Tim Clare is the second book in The Honours series, which is something I must have missed and was unaware of when I requested this book from NetGalley and is something that I wish I had knew beforehand. Although I did enjoy this book and I did enjoy the story by itself, while reading this book I did have this constant feeling that I was missing something. Not only some background on the characters that would have made reading and connecting to these characters and their past a lot better, easier and quicker, but some insight and world building with the world and with the overall story. This gap I was feeling while I was reading would have been complete if I had read the first one beforehand and was disappointing while reading this book, however, it didn’t prevent me from reading this book and it didn’t stop me from continuing on.

The writing of The Ice House is what makes this book what it is for me and it is Tim Clare’s writing that made me continue on reading it and more importantly, want to continue reading, regardless of not reading the first book in the series. His writing is so imaginative and paints a picture so clearly in your head while you are reading it

The writing has this brutality to it, a vividness, but yet it is still has this poetical air to it.

* There was a scene at the beginning that was brutal and involved the death of a horse, that will stay with me, but yet I continued on. The scenes continue on, but again, this didn’t stop me reading this book, even if I was tempted to look away from the page on numerous times. So do be warned if this may be a trigger for you *

I took my time with this book, getting to know the world, the characters and it was well worth getting into it, as I really got to enjoy and appreciate it more. Am I disappointed that I didn’t read The Honours first? Absolutely! If I enjoyed this book as much as I did without reading the first book and knowing that I was missing a chunk of the story, then how much I would enjoy it after reading the series correctly.

 

July Re-Read Wrap Up

At the start of July I set out to re-read several books now that I have completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge and feel like I have extra time for going back and re-reading some books, without that lingering guilt. The books I had chosen to re-read at the start of July were a mixture of some of my favourite books and some not so favourites, the whole of which can be found in my original post HERE.

This is going to be a pretty quick Wrap Up, as I sadly only completed roughly half  of the amount of books that were on that re-read list and they were also the classics and shortest of the books that were on that list. Weirdly, out of the books that were on the list, the books and stories that I did manage to re-read, I did prioritise the books/stories I knew I disliked or hated on my first read. Whether my lack of reading was because of other books, other commitments or because I just wasn’t in the right mood to read those chosen books this month, I couldn’t really say.

9780141036137The month started off really well with me reading and thoroughly enjoying Animal Farm by George Orwell, a book I previously disliked. I left this book with a completely different opinion of it this time around, whether it was because of age and experience, reading changes or because this time around I knew the importance behind this piece of work, where as I was unaware of all of that when I first read this book. This was one of the main reasons why I wanted to do this re-read challenge, because of books like this that I didn’t enjoy the first time around, but I might appreciate more the second time round, now that I am a little older and know more about them. How your tastes can change and alter with your life experiences, and this book proves that and goes to prove why re-reads can be important.

200px-The_Yellow_Wallpaper_(1899_edition_-_cover)The second book I re-read during the month of July was The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is a book that has stuck with me for a long time and is a story I have been wanting to re-read for a while now and is one of the main reasons that I choose to officially do this challenge now. I enjoyed this story just as much the second time around, maybe even slightly more, again, as this time going into the book I was aware of Charlottes history and the history behind this little short story. This is why I wanted to re-read this story and see Charlottes real life influences mixed within the story. This history added to the overall impact that this story had on me and took it from being just a horror short story to something more powerful and more impactful.

81u5wKTpptLThe third book I re-read during July was another short story, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This is a book that I read a while ago and one that, although it has stuck with me, I have also forgot most of the smaller details, never rating it on Goodreads, although it’s marked as read and have therefore been wanting to re-read this horror story. Reading this book/short story took me a little while to actually get into this time round, which was disappointing, considering that it is a short story in itself. However, this is a slow burn, as I found myself being sucked into this story, slowly at first, then suddenly I was hooked and needed to finish it before I could put it down.

the-great-gatsby-book-cover-movie-poster-art-3-nishanth-gopinathanThe fourth book I read for my little re-read challenge for the month was a book that I have never been able to click with and that is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is an apparent beloved classic that everyone I speak to who has read this book really seem to enjoy and have positive things to say about it. Not only on my original read did I not click with this book, but upon re-reading this book, my opinion on it just went down hill. I didn’t enjoy the characters within this story, the story itself, nor did I enjoy the writing of this book, finding nothing redeeming about it whatsoever. This is one that I wish I liked, to see what everyone else seems to enjoy, but this is not one for me sadly and can officially be crossed of my list.

I did start two of the other books that were on my list, but sadly due to me also reading other books this month and wanting to get to the books on my NetGalley shelf also, I did not actually finish them. I did get to half ways through each of them and I was enjoying them both and am still eager to finish them both, plus the remaining books I have not quite got to so far this month. Those two books were Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. Maybe I will continue this re-read on into August, we shall see.

Check Out My Full Reviews For Each Of The Re-Reads Here:

Book Review: The Possession #2 – Michael Rutger

50641013Synopsis:

Still recovering from the shocking revelations they uncovered deep in uncharted territory in the Grand Canyon, American myth and legend investigator Nolan Moore and his team take on a new mission, investigating a rumored case of witchcraft and possession.

Nolan hopes their new case, in a quaint village in the middle of the woods, will prove much more like those he and his team investigated prior to their trip to Kincaid’s cavern. But as the residents accounts of strange phenomena add up, Nolan and company begin to suspect something all too real and dangerous may be at play. A force that may not be willing to let them escape the village unscathed.”

Review:

The Possession by Michael Rutger was a random book that I bought in work, simply because of it’s Synopsis and because I was really fancying an horror read and this one sounded so good and was on offer in work at the time. With all the books on my current TBR list, this book has been one of the few books that I read as soon as I bought it, but sadly, I regret that.

Don’t get me wrong, two thirds of this book was great and this was turning out to be such a great horror read that was definitely giving me the creeps, making me turn on lights to officially read it, as it was getting too dark to read this book and I was not doing that. The spooky atmosphere and the unknown was done so good and the fact that this book was a sequel, didn’t really matter and it wasn’t making too much of a difference that I hadn’t read the first book. They were making subtle references to the first book (I’m assuming), but it wasn’t spoiling my enjoyment.

Then this book took a little bit of a weird turn. This book started reminding me of Inception, not only because of some of the stuff that was happening and the vibes it gave off, but just because I was straight up confused. I got to a point where I just wanted to finish the book and found myself no longer paying that much attention to what was happening and just started skin reading. This just honestly confused me more, which is my fault, but honestly, that was the only way I was going to finish this book. It took me four days to finish the last 50 pages. It dragged!!

It was really disappointing because it started off really good and I did fly through the first half of the book and I was thinking of how this was going to be five stars, then to be utterly disappointed. Not only did the story go downhill, but I felt like the writing also went down and therefore, so did my enjoyment and my rating.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (Re-Read)

the-great-gatsby-book-cover-movie-poster-art-3-nishanth-gopinathanSynopsis:

“The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.”

Review:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those books that seem to be loved by almost everyone who has read it. Sadly, I did not fall into that character and did not see what everyone had saw in this book the first time I had read it. Maybe I had missed something, or maybe this book just wasn’t for me. Because of this, when I was selecting the books I wanted to re-read during July, this was one of those books I wanted to re-read, simply to see if on reading this a second time around and with me being older, maybe I would finally see what everyone seems to get when they read this classic novel.

Sadly, this was not the case. In fact, I think my rating and my opinion about this book actually went down upon my re-read, as this time I am not afraid to be honest with myself anymore and I was kind of angry and upset with myself for re-reading a book that I really disliked.

I didn’t like the characters within this story and the writing and the story didn’t make up for that fact, giving me anything to cling to or remotely like. I still don’t know why this book is such a classic or why it is so widely beloved, simply as I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities when it came to this book. Only the fact that it was gladly short and I know 100% that upon re-read that this book is definitely not for me and no longer care what I’m not getting.