The Cows – Dawn O’Porter


IMG_3216I had seen this book advertised a lot over the last few months. It seemed to be taking over with it’s hashtag ‘don’t follow the herd’. This is a powerful book, the stories of the three woman are intense from start to finish. Reading it I came across bits that made me slightly uncomfortable and bits that made me question what we consider to be morally right and wrong. I feel it’s messages were quite clear; to not judge people so harshly, don’t trust everything you see on TV, don’t put a woman down over certain choices they make, but most importantly – don’t follow the herd!


The Cows is a story that follow three women as they go about their, very different, lives. Tara, who is a single mum who makes online documentaries. Cam, a blogger who is very happy with being single and childless. Finally, Stella, who is still grieving the loss of her twin sister, Alice, who died of ovarian cancer. Their stories are very different but connect in ways you don’t expect. It’s basically a story of friendships and what it’s like to be a female in a variety of normal, sometimes difficult situations.

I really enjoyed this book, it was enjoyable to read how the three women react to things in their everyday lives. As a woman it was easy for me to connect quickly with the characters, as the book does delve deeply into the struggles women can face, but I think The Cows is for everyone. It has a rawness to it that I think a lot of readers will enjoy, it doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty and I think that’s a brave thing for any author to do. The are a lot of twists in this, some that did make me shake my head at the characters decision making. But the twists do add some humour to the darker parts of the story.

It’s interesting to see different sides of the media that holds so much over our lives now. Tara who works on TV has to do an interview, a position that she should fit comfortably in as it is her job. However the way it comes across paints her in a bad light, she was too trusting to see coming. Cam’s lifestyle blog is written to show her opinions and she doesn’t tend to hold back, but from Stella’s side we see how that can effect someone and how easily it is to write hate. I honestly believe this story will make people think more about how we should perceive the media and how easy it is to believe everything you see.

I’d love to know what people thought of this book. It raises a lot of interesting debates on what it’s like to be a woman with different ideals to what is considered the ‘norm’. There are a lot of moments that will make you cry, laugh and sigh. What more could you want from a book?


The Bees – Laline Paull


Accept. Obey. Serve

I had heard really good things about this book and so was excited to see what The Bees had to offer. I was not expecting to be so drawn into a book that followed the lives of bees in their hive. It is a book that completely captivated my imagination and I now have a lot of respect for the world of bees!

We follow Flora 717, who is a sanitation bee, her job is to clean her orchard hive. But Flora has a gift (or abnormality) that would normally get her killed in her hive. Instead, she is moved up in the ranks until she finds her way into the Queens inner sanctum. The orchard hive is filled with dangers and enemies who are constantly looking for bees who are pushing the boundaries. Flora’s desires overshadows her instincts to serve, we watch as she breaks the most sacred of the hives law…

Laline Paull has created a world that is incredibly interesting to read about. The detail that is in this book, about how a hive has to run to survive, is so informative. I will always be in awe of how Paull created such an intense thriller that surrounds the lives of a plain bee! Something as simple as the hive mind creates a sense of foreboding as you read the story, it honestly feels as though you’re as closed into the hive as Flora and the other bees are.

I urge you to go and read this book, the imagination and visual aspects of it are so brilliant and it is easy to lose yourself in the pages. Flora 717 is up there with some of the greatest heroines, she is fierce and knows her own wants and desires. Only after you begin reading this book do, you understand how dangerous that is for her.

The Bees was a book that I loved to pass around, the conversations that you can have are just as interesting as the books itself. I promise, you will be missing out if you don’t give this book a read!

The Shining – Stephen King

IMG_3039As it is Halloween tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to write a post about a book that is considered one of the best scary stories; The Shining! Another Stephen King novel makes it onto my little book corner. I know many people have read this and there are hundreds of reviews out there, but I love this book and if I can get one more person to pick it up and have a read, then I’ll be very happy!

I think this was one of the first books that terrified me, I have read ghost stories before, but nothing has scared me as much as reading this. I had constant dreams of wandering dark corridors when I read this book. But I wouldn’t let that stop me and I’m so glad I didn’t. This is probably the book that started off my love of Stephen King’s stories.

We follow the Torrance family as they move to the Overlook Hotel, where the dad Jack has agreed to be the caretaker over the winter months when it has closed for the season. His wife Wendy, and son Danny go with Jack for the few months together. What they don’t know is that the Overlook Hotel is haunted. Not only by ghosts, but a darkness that wants to consume the family and use them. First it goes for Jack, slowly turning him against his family. But what the Overlook really wants is Danny, with his incredible gift ‘The Shining’, he would be the best addition to the haunted hotel. The worst thing is they have nowhere to run, as the snow sets in the hotel becomes remote, there is no escape for the family…

Again I will say, Stephen King is one of the best writers of horror I have ever come across. There’s something about his writing which makes me enjoy being scared. I can read this book over and over, I will never get bored of the story, or become less scared of it. I love that this story is set in such a remote location, it adds to the fear of the reader as there seems to be nothing that can be done to save the family.

The fact that the strongest point of view is from Danny, a five year old boy, it makes it seem more hopeless. He has an amazing gift that makes him see things that he’s too young to understand. He sees things in The Overlook that would terrify a grown man and he keeps it quiet to save his parents from what he already knows: the Overlook is dangerous and will not stop until they’re trapped forever. It’s hard as a reader not to feel for Danny, he can feel both his parents deepest desires and they intensify the longer they stay at the hotel. It’s not just the snow that is trapping him in, as his gift does that anyway.

I think I could write paragraph after paragraph on this book. So I’ll stop while I still have people reading! When you’ve finished The Shining, pick up Doctor Sleep and read it straight away. It’s the second book and tells a story that is just as intense and addictive to read as The Shining!

The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel

IMG_2681In the end, we either run or die…

The Roanoke Girls is a really intense book, I had a constant sense of dread as I read through the pages of Amy Engel’s story. At first I thought the pace was quite slow, but it doesn’t take away from how unnerving the story-line is. It is a hard book to read as the themes are really dark, but it is easy to get into this book and it definitely hooks you until the final page. I promise you, you will want to see this story out until the end, the mystery of the Roanoke girls will captivate anyone who picks up the book.

Lana Roanoke is fifteen when she has to move in with her grandparents and cousin, Allegra. After her mother’s suicide, Lana moves to a little town near Kansas. The Roanoke girls are rich and beautiful, she embraces her new life, even though she knows nothing of her grandparents and the life that they lead. But when she finds out the truth, she runs away. 11 years later, Lana is called back as Allegra has gone missing. Will Lana be able to escape the Roanoke home again, or is she going to be just another Roanoke girl?

I enjoyed reading the two parts of Lana’s story. As she is older you learn secrets that make you want to be able to warn the fifteen year old Lana of what is to come. As she meets old friends and had to live again with her grandparents, it is hard not to panic about what the ending will bring for her. There is something that settles in your stomach while reading it, at some points I didn’t want to know what was going to happen. Because the theme isn’t hidden and is right there in front of you, when the secrets are finally told in the story, it’s hard to carry on reading.

I feel like in this story it is clear from the start what The Roanoke Girls is about, however I was hoping that the secrets would be anything but what I knew them to be. I believe that this story is one that will stay with you after the last page. The story ends with a great twist that was really enjoyable to read. If it makes you feel better, you are left with a sense of comfort. The ending is brilliant and personally I think it was a perfect ending to a dark story.

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

IMG_2935What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

The first thing I want to say about this book, is that it is really unusual. I was not what I was expecting, which made is much more incredible to read! I had never read anything like Life After Life and I haven’t read anything like it since. This book pulls you in so many directions as you follow Ursula Todd through her life (lives) that you are left at the end wondering, if you could relive your life for the chance to change it for the better, would you?

Life After Life begins with the birth of Ursula Todd, who dies before she has a chance to live. On the same night, the same baby is born again and this time survives. We follow Ursula as she grows up in a world heading for a Second World War. Throughout this life she dies in a variety of ways, but comes back to learn where she went wrong and change it. With every new start she learns something new, and I feel as a reader you will too.

I loved how unique this story was, every time Ursula comes back there is slight changes to the world that she knows. For me, this is what made the book so interesting; Ursula grows up in the family and house, but some things are different. Personalities change, or certain subplots change as Ursula makes better (or worse) decisions. It makes the story much more exciting, as you try and pick out all the little differences, but also the little things that connect all of Ursula’s lives together.

As I have said before, I enjoy a story that is set in the World Wars. With Life After Life, you follow the story but also learn how people survived when the world was bleak. Kate Atkinson weaves the history so well into Ursula’s story, that as a reader you feel as though you are right there with the characters.

This book has so much variety, I think it would be difficult to not like certain aspects of this story. As always I have left a link so you can go and buy the book, I would love to hear what you think about the book and if you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

IMG_2828 (1)#WTFthatending

This is probably going to be the hardest post to write, because I don’t want to give any big spoilers away about Behind Her Eyes. It is one of those that I feel can’t even explain to you. I wouldn’t be able to do the book justice in telling you what the story entails. I will say this, the hashtag ‘wtfthatending’ is used to describe this book and that is exactly how I felt when I came to the last page… I was stunned by how it finished, the build up of the story didn’t prepare me for what happened.

We follow three main characters; Louise, Adele and her husband David. After a night out and a drunken kiss between Louise and David, and then her becoming friends with Adele, I thought it was going to be a story about a breakdown of the marriage and friendship. Which it is, in a way it leaves you wanting more from every single chapter. This is not a typical thriller, there is a slice of fantasy in it that turns the normal characters into something out of a nightmare.

I enjoyed the ‘normal’ side of this book, following Louise on her life as a single parent and at her job, it was a book I could settle into. I did not expect to be completely engrossed in this story, I will be honest and say I think the pace at the beginning was slow, to the point that I really didn’t know if I was going to enjoy it. Suddenly I was so interested in the characters and the past that the pace at the start did make sense. The pace was  slow but made me too comfortable in the story, so when it all started to go wrong I was sitting up straight, on the edge of my seat waiting for the trouble to begin!

Believe me when I say it does! I didn’t know who to trust, Louise was a good character to follow but sometimes I wanted to push her in the right direction, away from the drama. David was charming but his bad side freaked me out slightly, Adele was too perfect but had many flaws. Pinborough makes your doubt every little thought you have about the characters and then slaps you in the face with the truth when they are ready to be told. What I have begun to realise with the books I am reading at the moment, is that it is very popular thing to have a chapter dedicated to certain characters. I have said before that sometimes this doesn’t work as it gets too confusing and you loose the plot of other characters stories. However with Behind Her Eyes it does work as it pulls you off of the path, you are never certain of who is the right person to follow.

I have read a few reviews of people that say they could tell what was happening, or that the characters flaws were too obvious for the ending. I understand this is annoying when you are able to figure out a story-line or plot. With this story I didn’t see any of the plot coming, I was in the dark until the very end and what a way to end this story! Even if you are able to work out some parts of the book, believe me, nothing can prepare you for the last few pages…

The Wonder – Emma Donoghue


I absolutely loved Emma Donoghue’s Room, the focus on the characters and the tension that is built was unlike anything I had ever read. So when I picked up The Wonder I was hoping to be equally in love with the story. This book did not let me down, it was everything I expected it to be! Donoghue knows how to make a reader fall into the pages of her stories. I really enjoyed following Lib Wright on the journey to discover what really is behind the miracle that is Anna O’Donnel.

Lib Wright is an English nurse, a veteran of Florence Nightingales’ campaign. She has been asked to watch over eleven-year-old Anna for a few weeks to figure out what is really keeping her alive. Visitors come from all over the world to meet the girl who has lived for months without eating anything, as she believes the only thing keeping her alive is manna from Heaven. This psychological thriller follows Lib as she sits with the girl, watches the family and friends closely and tries to make up her own mind of what is going on. She has to fight with everyone to get the right answer. With only a journalist, who is a complete stranger to help her, will she find out what is wrong before it is too late?

One reason I enjoyed this story is because it is clear the amount of effort that has gone into revising the historical aspect of the book. Throughout the story we see Lib use her nursing skills on Anna, the skills seem so ancient to what we use now. It is interesting to see how the people in a small town view Lib as the way she works is considered extremely modern compared to what they’re used to. A big theme in the book, of course, is religion. Everyone sees Anna’s miracle as a sign from God, except Lib. I was really intrigued to see how a small town, who is deeply religious, handles an outsider trying to lead them in another direction. If you enjoy learning about history, this book is perfect for you.

The Wonder does bring a lot of fear to the reader, the loneliness of being in a small town in the remote Irish countryside, surrounded by strangers is constant throughout the story. The fact that Lib feels she has no one she can trust in the village makes everything much more intense. Even the journalist who seems friendly enough, puts doubt in Lib’s mind. The reader sees Lib go against everyone to try and save the girls life.

I think you would love this book, it is seeped with everything a thriller needs. As a reader I felt everything Lib does as she fights for Anna’s life. It is only deep into the story do we get a sense of how dark the secrets are in the little town that Anna lives. This book really does make you think, how far would a family go for the love of their children and how far would they go to protect their secrets…