Harry is missing from Tall Oaks. Everyone has their secrets, but whose is connected to the missing child? A thriller surrounded by the average people you find in small town living. With so many secrets, anybody could be a suspect.

Tall Oaks

Tall Oaks is a mystery novel first, yet there’s a strong focus on the characters. As with most small towns, everyone knows everybody. This is both a good and bad thing for the characters involved. The town is in a panic after the disappearance. Tall Oaks follows a selection of residents as they try to deal with their own lives and secrets. Each character is distinct, complex and has a uniqueness without being unrealistic. The story gripped me as I wanted to know what was going to happen to each of them.

The mystery element was extremely well written. Some shady suspects were met throughout the book as we try find out who took Harry. A red herring or two were thrown in for good measure. Additionally, it had a nice even pace which rose near the end. Following each of the characters individually helped to keep pace because some characters had slower arcs than others. The slower arcs still compelled me to keep reading though.

Another good point was the plot twist. I love plot twists in mystery and thrillers. Tall Oaks didn’t disappoint as I didn’t see the ending coming. In hindsight, the signs were all pointing to the answer. But I hadn’t picked up on them. Whitaker had thought out the plot well.

I received Tall Oaks* by Chris Whitaker as an e-book from the publisher via Readers First. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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So after seeing so many beautiful unboxings of Fairyloot I decided to try it. I bought this last month, and had forgotten that I’d bought it because I got it so long ago. With moving twice and moving again next week, it’s not been the first thing on my mind.

As you can tell my Fairyloot June box got a little bit battered but fortunately everything inside was in perfect condition. This is my first ever book subscription box so I was so excited to get it in the post that I didn’t really mind that it was slightly damaged anyway.

On first opening you can only see the ‘spoiler’ card of what’s inside the box. This gives you information about everything that’s included so I just put it to one side and looked for myself what was there. I’ve seen someone complain about the purple springy things (technical term of course). But I thought they were good as they hid the products and they were quite tough and stuck together instead of flying all over the room.

On the card was the Elementalist artwork that has been promoted by Fairyloot. I’m really happy because this is one of the reasons why I purchased Fairyloot this month in particular. Compared to the book, I think it’s extremely relevant. Plus, it’s beautiful artwork.

I. Love. This. Candle. It’s the Twister candle from Witchwood Remedies which is also UK based! It smells good, I can’t tell what of though! Also, the candle looks so adorable. Luckily, I’m moving into a flat where I can actually use candles for the first time in two years!

When I saw this bracelet I was so happy. I used to have one really similar, but I lost it a while ago now. Fingers crossed I dont lose this one.

This is a Avatar: The Last Airbender related product. You could could get a fire, earth or water lip balm as well. I, obviously, got the air one. I haven’t opened up yet since I put it straight into my bags for moving!

This is by far one of my favourite items. This is an exclusive cushion cover made for Fairyloot. It’s got a quote by Stephen King who I love. The colour is just beautiful, and it’s actually brighter in real life than in this image. I think I might look into buying a couple more covers from Miss Phi to go with this one.

This is a small postcard for the Frostblood Series by Ella Blake. I haven’t actually heard of this series before so I will probably be checking that out.

This sample for The Waking Land was also really exciting. I have this on my wishlist at the moment, so it’s going to be good to read some and see if I like it first.

As cute as this packaging is, I cant actually use this soap. Because of sensitive skin, I dont really want to risk using this so I will probably be gifting this to a family member.

Anyone who knows me will tell you of my love of stationary. I can’t wait to be able to use these adorable sticky notes either for organisation or for revision when I go back to uni next year.

I love that the book comes in a lovely little bag. It means the book is not damaged and it’s like a second surprise opening. I’m probably going to reuse the bag for carrying books in my handbag too.

So as with every Fairyloot box (I think) you get a note from the author, a signed book plate, a bookmark (Which is really needed since I’ve misplaced mine when moving) and an insider to next month! I kind of want to get next months too, but the cost is worrying me as I dont want to pay every single month. I think I know which book it is though, so I might just pick up the book.

I’m so excited about this book. I actually put it onto my Amazon wishlist recently because I keep seeing this all over Goodreads and Twitter.  The premise just seemed interesting as there’s storm magic and Aurora, the future queen must somehow get her own magic before she’s forced into an arranged marriage. The book cover is also stunning, which means of course I wanted it. I have a problem with good looking books okay? But overall I’m really excited to read this!

Are you subscribed or do you buy from any book subscription services? If yes, let me know which one(s) you prefer in the comments!

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The Idea of You follows Lucy as she struggles to have a baby, and to be a stepmother. As a woman who has always wanted her very own baby, her troubles rip holes in her otherwise perfect life. When her stepdaughter arrives, she starts to doubt even herself.

The Idea of You

Within the first chapter I realised this probably wasn’t the book for me. It wasn’t a bad book at all. It was well written, it wasn’t boring and the characters were likable. The plotline just wasn’t something that mattered to me personally. As someone who’s life isn’t focused on having babies, I didn’t understand Lucy’s one goal to have one.

The Idea of You deals with the topic of miscarriage, being a stepmother and giving up a child. Since I haven’t experienced these and I hope not to experience in the future, I didn’t relate to the struggles. I definitely sympathised though. Prowse was brilliant at making Lucy a character to feel for, without making her feel like she’s too negative. But I couldn’t emphathise the way other people could.

The books focuses a lot on relationships between characters and the two characters I enjoyed most were Lucy and Camille. The stepmother-stepdaughter relationship is usually an odd one, and we see the relationship develop realistically. Lucy may act like an unreliable narrator though, as we see Camille through Lucy’s POV. Therefore Camille may seem worse through Lucy’s eyes at some points.

The Idea of You focuses on so many issues that many women go through in their lives. It’s emotive and real. Or at least it feels real for someone who hasn’t experienced it. I would recommend it for someone who prefers contemporary fiction.

I received The Idea of You* by Amanda Prowse as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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If you have followed me for a while, you would know I read multiple books at the same time. My ‘currently reading’ on the sidebar usually has at least 3 books on there. I often get questioned about ‘how’ I manage to read multiple books at the same time, even from my family members like to read. It’s a bit like Marmite you either love reading multiple books or hate reading multiple books, and I love it.

Doesn’t it get confusing?

No I rarely get books confused because I’m normally reading different genres of books with very different plots. For example, one book may be an epic fantasy, the second a YA contemporary and the third a historical fiction.

It also means I get to read a wider range of books, as I would normally just read fantasy constantly. By reading multiple books I know I can’t start three epic fantasy series at the same time as then it will start getting confusing.

Different formats at different times

I have eBooks on my phone Kindle app and my actual Kindle. I also purchase a lot of paperback and hardback books. I normally use my phone in my everyday life. If I have a spare 20 minutes I can read some of my book on my phone. When I want some downtime, I normally read a paperback or hardback book. And before bed I’ll use my Kindle as it’s easier to read with low lighting.

I’m normally reading the same book on my phone and my Kindle. But with paper books I normally switch depending on my mood.

Changing moods

I can read all day, but usually I need to change which books i’m reading in that day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something I have to really think about, so I read a more complex book. Sometimes I want a lighter read. Sometimes I just want to read a specific genre. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a genre. It’s very much a pick and mix when it come’s to which book I’ll pick up.

 

What do you do? Do you read just one book at a time? or multiple?

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All That Remains is a dystopian horror following Kyle, Tim and Sara 13 years after the apocalypse. After finding young girl Kaylee, they need to get to Oak Ridge to protect themselves and maybe save the world.

All That Remains

There’s normal reanimated human zombies, but also other monster like creatures that roam the earth. All That Remains is able to describe the monsters, make them horrifying, yet not interrupt the plotline to do so. In previous books I’ve been pulled out of a tense moment because there’s too much description, but Barrera is able to bypass that problem.

There’s varying themes of hope and morality within the book. All four of our characters experience hope, and lose hope throughout the book. Whether it’s hope to find more people, hope that cities are inhabitable or just hope for survival. Because of this focus, I felt attached to the characters. Even when they were being pessimistic, they still didn’t give up.

Morality is a fine line in this new world. You must kill to survive at times, but is it the right thing to do? If you kill a bad person does it make you just as bad? One of the lines mentioned that right is nothing but a direction anymore which I think is relevant to the book as a whole.

As we get to see the point of views of both Sara and Kyle you do feel attached to them. The characters are extremely likable, even when they’re not being the best they can be. They don’t consciously make bad decisions which puts them in danger, which makes me route for them more. Although problems do arise due to accidents or it’s out of their control.

Sara in particular is a great character. She shows both mental and physical strength by not only surviving 13 years but also with her mental fight with ‘the walking cancer’. The walking cancer is a monster that no one has ever seen before. It’s a new, worse monster in the world, and the main bulk of the book is spent running and hiding from it.  Due to Sara being a scanner she can sense and also connect/talk with the monster.

The plague-like spread of zombies and natural disasters mirrors that Kyle is ill throughout the book. It’s implied that it’s a cancerous tumor, most likely in the brain due to headaches and blackouts. As the situation for the group gets worse, the illness gets worse. I think Barrera was definitely trying to show the similarities. There’s also a underlying message of having hope throughout which I think is an important takeaway.

Overall this was the apocalyptic dystopian I was looking for when reading A Mathematical State of Grace and The Undying.

I received All That Remains* by Al Barrera as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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