Wednesday 27 February 2019

Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros


If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.


*eARC received via Netgalley*


Full-length novel

Alternating First Person

Listing the triggers would be spoilers so I've made them 'invisible'.
Highlight between the sunflower markers to read or skip...

🌻 Death of a serving soldier, child with a life-threatening illness (cancer), child loss.🌻

No - Standalone.


Yes... But a bittersweet one.



No. You don't see any of that.

I'm so emotionally wrung out from this book... I just don't have the words to describe it.
I'll try but, I'm warning you now, I'll ramble and possibly be incoherent and may not make sense because to explain myself I'd have to give too many spoilers and you need to read this book without the spoilers. Yes, it'll punch you in the gut and you'll wish someone had told you the frigging journey you'd be on in reading it so you could avoid the pain, like a sane person, but don't be a sane person because this book deserves to be read.
It needs to be read.
It is beautiful, it is poignant, it's heart-breaking, it's bittersweet and it is a joy... A bittersweet joy that rips out your heart, stamps it into the mud, sets it on fire and then proceeds to haunt you and make you cry when you think about it days after finishing it.
(And you will think about it for days... Trust me.)

I knew the premise of the story was a soldier who didn't make it home (not a spoiler, it's in the blurb) sending his best friend to look after his sister. His family.
So, I knew the book would be emotional.
I just wasn't prepared for how emotional it would be.
I wasn't prepared for how much I'd love Beckett, Ella, and Ella's kids: Maise and Colt.
Hell, I even loved the damn dog and spent just as much time worrying about her as I did the rest of the characters!
I even loved the departed Ryan - Ella's brother - even though we only met him for like 5 minutes.

These people... They got under my skin.
They were real, fully-fleshed out people, and they sweep you up in their story, they take you on a journey, you fall in love with them, you care, you want everything to be okay, you fight with them, laugh with them, and you cry your ever-loving heart out with them.

Just when you think you have things figured out, things change. Just when you begin to think you're on the home-straight - that everything is going to be okay - you're hit by a frigging truck.

I LOVED this book and I HATED the ending.
The last 10-15% of the book can go frigging do one.
Hadn't we all been through enough?! Seriously?!
It's been three days and I still cannot accept it. I still cry over it - proper snot-inducing ugly cry - because wtf?
It's not fair.
I guess that's the point. Life isn't fair. Bad shit happens to good people. You can't take life for granted... I swear I've been clinging to my kid and husband like a traumatized loon since finishing this. I could have handled everything this book threw at me accept the final twist.

I can't honestly say I'll read this again - because I don't think I could survive the gauntlet of emotions a second time - but I know that this book will be one I remember forever. It'll be one that stays with me. One I think about. One I want to read again, for I'll miss these characters, but just can't.

I also know that this will be one of the best books I'll read this year without a shadow of a doubt.

The cover is poignant and emotive so fits the book.


"...Somewhere between letter number one and letter number four, I'd fallen in love with her. Fallen for her words, her strength, her insight and kindness, her grace under impossible circumstances, her love for her children, and her determination to stand on her own. I could list a thousand reasons that woman owned whatever heart I had.
But none of them mattered because, even though she was the woman I loved, to her, I was just a stranger."



Wednesday 20 February 2019

Thoughts on DC Titans - Season One

This fine February, I decided to do something I'd never done before: Binge watch a DC TV show on Netflix.

I've watched a couple of seasons of The Flash, I've watched up to S4 of Arrow, I've seen S1 of Legends of Tomorrow - so I like DC tv shows - but I've never taken the plunge and watched any superhero shows (DC or Marvel) on Netflix. 

I don't know why I felt the need to state this beyond the fact that I consider myself a Marvel girl over DC any day of the week.

I had no expectations of what DC Titan's should be. 
If I'm honest, I had no idea what/who the DC Titan's were. The only one I recognized was Robin and that's because of his association with Batman so this show was a learning journey of non-major (aka not Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Flash) DC characters. 
I think this ignorance of the characters and their story arcs boosted my enjoyment as I've heard a lot of grumbles from the interwebs about this show.

The show features an ensemble cast of interesting characters:

Dick Greyson
(Aka Robin, a former sidekick of Batman.)
He's left Gotham and is doing things his own way... and by his own way, I mean being a cop by day and vigilante pigeon by night. 
He's an attractive guy with demons and a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Rachel Roth
(Aka blue-haired demon chick.)
She's a troubled teen with powers she doesn't understand. 
She's terrified of herself and spends the show being hunted by nutters for reasons unknown but presumably something to do with her seemingly demonic abilities. 

Kory Anders
(Aka the magenta-haired chick who shoots fire.)
She's a strong and interesting character with kick-ass abilities and no memory of who she is, where she comes from or what she's doing. However, she's determined to protect Rachel.

Garfield Logan
(Aka green haired cat boy)
Another teenaged kid who can do weird crap. In his case, he turns into a cat and lives in a mansion of other weird and wonderful characters... 

There are a few other superhero types featured, namely Hawk and the Dove but they're definitely secondary characters and, honestly, the most interesting thing about them is that the Dove seems to have had a wild affair once upon a time with Robin... But I digress. 

The entire plot of the show is built around Rachel and the freaky cult that wants her for reasons unknown (they become known as the show progresses). 
The actions of this cult throw Rachel into the path of Robin who decides to protect her. 
Kory has no memory but seems to be determined to find and protect Rachel (you get more on that as the show progresses too). 
Cat Boy comes across Rachel one day and develops some bond that makes him determined to protect her also... Or something. I'm actually confused about what his deal is but what can I say? There's just something about Rachel...
The quartet makes the most unlikely group ever as they try to unravel the mystery that is Rachel and those who want her and why.
As you progress through the season, the backgrounds of the characters are explored and it's no wonder they all have issues, but I really liked them.

The show is mysterious, spooky and crazy violent. 
However, violence aside it has heart.  It wasn't all dark and grim, it made me laugh. I cared for the characters and wanted to continue watching. 
It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger - annoyingly - but I can forgive it. 
Bring on season 2!

Oh! And in case it wasn't immediately obvious when I said the show is crazy violent, this show is not suitable for kids. I'd say 16 as a minimum.


Tuesday 19 February 2019

TTT: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

This was a tricky one to answer! In the end I searched through my bookshelves for the books that jumped out at me, then I check them on Goodreads but, alas, most had over 2000 ratings but a few were not! So, here they are... And I don't have 10. I have 5.

P.S - The book covers link to GoodReads.


OMG! I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved.
 I need to finish the series (it's 4 books). And I need to re-read this one.

The Hidden Library

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?


In Bloom is such feel-goodod book. Glitz and glamour, actresses, rockstars, mad PR people, paparazzi, crazy exes and overly forgiving employers... It's a whirlwind. Read it if you want to escape into a different world. Read it if you want to fall in love. Or, you know, just read it because it's awesome.

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me.

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…


This is such a poignant, heartbreakingly beautiful book set both before WWII in the roaring twenties and then into the war. 
I read it years ago (like fifteen/sixteen years ago) and I have no idea why it has so few GR ratings!

Early One Morning Sebastian Fawkes

In the flamboyant Twenties, Englishman William Grover-Williams and Frenchman Robert Benoist were fierce rivals racing their elegant Bugattis on the glittering European race circuits. Not only is the World Championship in their sights, but they have both fallen for the sensuous charms of the extravagantly beautiful Eve Aubicq.

But when war breaks out, everything changes. Paris is in the iron-grip of German occupation and Robert and William join the Special Operations Executive to help the French Resistance undermine the brutal occupying regime. Their missions involve utmost courage and daring in the face of the horrors of war. Based on a true story of British covert activity and the French Resistance during the Second World War, this is a gripping novel of heroism, self-sacrifice, love and betrayal.


This book left me speechless in a very good way. 
It was so engrossing, so completely captivating and generally spellbinding that I haven't forgotten it despite not having read it in years... Something I'll have to remedy soon and see if it's as good as I remember!

Heather Lyon Deep End of The Sea

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.


This isn't my usual genre of book but I was offered a review copy of the novel so gave it a try and I am so glad that I did! It was a wonderful story, very simple in a way as it is basically a story of the main characters' survival. A story about hope, courage and love.

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.


What books made your list?

Saturday 16 February 2019

Thoughts on The Lego Movie 2

I have an 8-year-old son. 
Like most 8-year-old boys he is obsessed with Lego. 
He loved the first movie, he loved the Lego Batman movie. 
The Lego Ninjago Movie sparked a love affair with the Ninjago TV series and this was followed by a rampant binge watching of all the available Lego animated shorts ranging from Justice League to Marvel, Jurassic Park and Star Wars. 
He loves Legoland and no matter how often we go, he wants to go again.
He is the perfect audience for The Lego Movie 2 and naturally, he absolutely bloomin' loved it. 
In fact, he loved it more than he loved the first movie.
He talked about nothing but the movie for weeks afterwards. He spent his remaining Christmas money (and a fair bit of his parents') on Lego Movie 2 Lego sets. 
He drove us mad with listening to the soundtrack on the google home. 
Needless to say, with the kid, The Lego Movie 2 was a raging success. 

With the adults?
Well, everything was not so awesome.
Yes, it was good to look at. Yes, the story was endearing. Yes, it was funny.
But I found myself bored for huge chunks of the movie. 
I found the songs/singing weird. 
It felt like a movie made for no other reason than to make money and milk the surprise success of the first Lego movie for all it was worth and that made me feel sad. 

So what was the movie about?

Emmett, Wild Style and the gang are living in a post-apocalyptic world since being invaded at the end of the first movie.
In this movie, we see the gang - Batman, Wild Style, Benny, UniKitty and the pirate guy - abducted by an evil agent from the Sistar System. 
Hapless but lovable Emmett must save his friends and prevent all from being lost into the bin of storage. 
But is all as it seems...? Of course it isn't! 
The two sides must unite or all is lost!
However, will they?
Well, what do you think?

I imagine that as soon as this movie is available on DVD, the little dude will be buying it (or begging us to buy it for him). I hope it holds the same charm for him the second (third, fourth, fifth!) time as it did the first but I for one do not look forward to having to sit through it once more. 
Once was definitely enough!


Friday 15 February 2019

Review: One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot

Will this Christmas romance be just for the holidays?

A fun, festive romantic comedy to curl up with this winter. If you love Josie Silver's One Day in December, you'll love Mandy Baggot's heart-warming festive romance.

Lara Weeks is heading to New York with best friend Susie for the Christmas trip of a lifetime.

A festive break in the snowy Big Apple visiting the tourist hotspots, not to mention the shopping, seems like the perfect way for Lara to get over her ex-boyfriend. Or maybe make him so jealous he begs for a second chance.

Enlisting the help of gorgeous actor, Seth Hunt, doesn't quite go to plan, but there's something about him that has Lara wishing for a different kind of happy ever after...

*Review copy received via NetGalley*


Full-length novel.

Alternating pov, Lara & Seth, third person.

No, standalone.


More like a Happy For Now.
An epilogue would have given a better feel as to whether the HFN turns out to be a proper HEA.
It's too open-ended.


Despite the book beginning with Lara being dumped and the plot of the book arising from trying to show her ex what he's missing, no, there isn't actually a love-triange.

Nah, unless you count being accidentally stabbed by a spork.

One New York Christmas is a delightfully festive novel about a girl who goes to New York on a whimsy after being dumped by her asshat boyfriend and meets one of her famous crushes and falls in love.

It sounds fabulously fluffy, doesn't it?
A nice holiday romance that will make you smile but will be easy to forget about?
Well, it is a nice holiday romance that makes you smile and it does have a lot of funny fluffy moments but it's so much more than that.
It actually has substance.It's not just a girl meets a boy who heals her broken heart type story.
It's a story about learning who you are and being true to yourself.
A book about the meaning of family: That blood isn't what makes a family, it's love and it's loyalty.

Lara was such a fun character.
A homebody with a desire to see the world. A female truck driver. A girl not afraid to get dirty, or to rescue animals, or get in between a couple of homeless guys having an argument and get sporked for her trouble (yep, that happens). She is a highly competent female with a hint of vulnerability that makes you want to hug her and keep her as a best friend.
Basically, she was lovely and you only wanted good things for her while simultaneously wanting to slap her silly over her fixation on her ex who didn't deserve her loyalty or sadness.
(OMG did the ex-boyfriend fixation get annoying... *screams into a pillow*)

Seth was a lovely, lovely, guy and I want one (even though I already have one, but that's not the point).
Gorgeous, smart, kind and decent. Hard-working, a loving son, a decent human.
He's basically, completely different from how actors are usually portrayed in fiction (well, except for the gorgeous part) and all the better for it.
He's a wonderful match for Lara and their relationship made me smile, giggle and swoon.

I was seriously rooting for this pair... And that's why I'm so unbelievably sad that the ending is a 'happy for now' and not a 'happily ever after'.
I just don't see how they could ever make it work in the long term and with no epilogue to delude me into thinking it's possible I just don't believe it...
But that's irrelevant I guess.
I mean, there's no point fixating over the undisclosed affairs of fictional characters, right? *sobs*

The book was utterly charming, fun and had a host of memorable secondary characters that made me smile from the flamboyant best friends to the quirky relatives and shelter guests.

New York was brought to life in beautiful festive colours and it made me desperately want to visit it at Christmas time but what really amused me was the mention of so many places local to me! I spent a silly amount of time puzzling over what town or village the fictional Appleshaw was based on considering the other towns mentioned... Apparently, the author is a local, who knew? Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to go on to pin-point Appleshaw's inspiration, but I digress.

One New York Christmas pretty much had everything you can think of when it comes to Christmas read rolled up and stuffed into a sweet, and touching story which was sprinkled with reindeer dust and if that's your thing, I'd give it a try.

I love this cover! It's sweet, it's romantic, it's festive and makes me want to curl up all cozy with hot chocolate and a blanket.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. 

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