Brotherless Night by V. V. Ganeshananthan

This book was quite intense reading. Shashi has four brothers, we meet them as a family when they all have dreams – of going to University in Jaffna or in Colombo, of becoming doctors, engineers etc. But then the civil war starts and slowly their ordered life disintegrates. Sashi loses most of her brothers, one way or another, and loses the boy she fell in love with as well.
This story is fictional, but the big events in the background (and some fictionalised events in the foreground) are true. I remember hearing about them on the news. (I grew up in Colombo in the 80s)
This is an important book, too. It’s told from the perspective of a character who was an ordinary person living in Jaffna, even though she eventually became affiliated with the Tigers it was because of her commitment to healing people, rather than any political ideology. Life is complicated, so are people’s motivations. Stories are often the best ways to show this sort of nuance.
The story is gripping. I highly recommend reading it if you want to understand the horror of living in the middle of a long running war.

I received a free ARC from Netgalley. This is my honest review.

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A ghost In Shining Armour by Therese Beharrie

This was a fun book. Gemma can see ghosts. She has to help them finish their unfinished business so that they can pass on to wherever it is they go after that. If she acknowledges them openly, then other people can see and hear them (they appear to be normal people, apart from they know that they’re dead).
When she accidentally kisses the ghost Levi, she’s surprised to find that he’s been sent to help her, rather than needing her help himself.
Levi wants to get back to his old life, so that he can save his sister from feeling guilty about his death. If he succeeds in his task of helping Gemma reconcile with her long lost sister, then he will cease to exist in Gemma’s timeline but go back to his sister. If he fails, he will never see his sister again.
I wasn’t very well when I read this, and struggled to get into it at first – but that’s on me, not the book. I didn’t see how on earth they were going to get through to a happy ending, which was a really nice thing. It’s not often you have a conflict that genuinely feels insurmountable. Levi is such a kind (if grumpy) hero and Gemma is definitely the sunshiney one.
I like this new(ish) genre of cosy paranormal romance with less fangs and claws. It leads to some interesting and thought provoking dilemmas. I hope there’s more.
I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest review.

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Terry PRatchett- A life with Footnotes

I was given this as a Christmas present. I wasn’t sure what I would make of it, because I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett’s books and when he died, I felt palpable grief for this guy I’d never met, but had heard in my head for decades. When I read A Slip of The Keyboard, I cried.
This is a biography, written by Rob Wilkins who DID know and work closely with Terry Pratchett. If you thought Pratchett was a twinkly cuddly person, you’re in for a surprise (but if you’ve seen any of the programs about him/ by him, you’d know he’s a grumpy old so and so for the most part, but a kind and lovely man nonetheless). Because it’s Rob’s memories, it’s in Rob’s voice, which made it much easier to read. The last few chapters, when The Embuggerance takes hold, were difficult, not least because Rob’s own pain was so raw on the page.
I don’t really know what else to say in this review. If you want to see Terry Pratchett as his PA and friend saw him, then it’s well worth a read. You might feel that you’ve had a glimpse into the day to day working practice of someone who was a writer through and through. I’m glad I read it.
Now, I suppose I should read The Shepherd’s Crown (I own it, and have listened to Tony Robinson reading it. I just haven’t read it for myself yet).

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There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering

Izzy is part of a reality TV show, where a bunch of people are sent out on the freezing moors trying to find evidence of a big cat (which half of them don’t believe even exists). The contestants are all there for their own reasons – for some it’s money, for others it’s family guilt or a chance to prove something.
This is a fairly quiet book, the story is almost entirely character driven. There were some bits which were genuinely laugh out loud funny (especially the bit with the Portaloo – it takes some doing to make a Portaloo funny!).

I galloped through this book. It’s a good fun read. The romance storyline was, as always, realistic and wonderful.
I received an ARC from Netgalley. This is my honest review.

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Book review: Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

This book made me so hungry!
Reena loves to bake. She doesn’t particularly love being out of work though, or the fact that her parents are trying to set her up with a husband. Again. Only this time, he lives across the landing from her and the first time she met him (before she knew her parents were intending for her to marry him), she liked him.
Nadim likes a lot of things. Reena, for one. Also, bread. He really likes food.
When Reena’s career hits a snag, she spots a cooking competition that would let her fulfill her dream of becoming a baker. But you need to be a couple to do it. After a night with too much beer, she and Nadim film an entry and send it in. When they get through to the next round, they agree to pretend to be engaged for the duration of competition.

There’s so much food in this book. I kept having to get up to have a snack.
I liked that they discussed the Afro-Indian diaspora and Afro-Indian food in particular. I also liked that, during the course of the book, Reena healed her relationships with her family too.

Overall, this was a tremendously fun book to read. Just expect to need to eat while reading.

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Book review: A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

I’ve really enjoyed every book in this series so far, so when I spotted this on Netgalley I pounced on it immediately.

Colton Wheeler is a very handsome and very famous country and western star. Gretchen Winthrop is human rights lawyer who defends people who are being deported and separated from their families. She’s the grumpy one, he’s the sunshiney one. Opposites attract etc.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Colton’s not my favourite of the bros – that’s Vlad – but he’s fun. It was nice to see how he got his music back when he met his muse. I loved that when the muse took him, he had to ask Gretchen to leave him alone so that he could write!
Gretchen’s past is quite horrible. There were a few times when I wanted to shake her, but it all worked out in the end.

I love this series so much. The blokes are so blokey and realistic. The books are funny too. If you haven’t read any yet, you really should pick one up! You can read my other reviews of the books in the series below.

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the review copy.

#1 Book review: The Bromance Book CLub by Lyssa Kay Adams

#2 Book review: Crazy, Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

#3 Book review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (Nerdy genius hero)

#4 Book review: Isn’t it Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams (Yay Vlad!)

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Book review: Becoming Crone by Lydia M Hawke

I spotted this on Netgalley and requested it out of sheer curiosity. (‘The Crone Wars’ – how could I resist?!)

Claire has spent her life making herself small and fitting in around her husband and son. But turning sixty coincides with the dawning of her powers.

I enjoyed finding out about Claire’s powers (although, I got a bit impatient with her standing around going ‘what?’ at key moments). The magical aspects were entertaining and interesting. The gargoyle and the wolf-shifter were great side characters. All in all it was really good fun. I liked that she was an older and (arguably) wiser ‘chosen one’.

I will keep an eye out for the rest of the series.

I read an ARC through Netgalley (thank you!). This is my honest review.

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Book Review: The Practice Kiss by Sara Martin (My K-Drama Life Book 1)

I picked this up after reading an article about books influenced by K-Drama. I love K-dramas, but when I watch one, it takes up all my concentration. I’m a bit busy right now, so I figured I’d get a quick K-drama hit by reading this book.
Chloe goes to Korea for a job – which turns out to be a scam. Penniless and drunk, in the rain, she gets spotted by a talent scout and offered a job. She’s cast in a K-drama alongside a handsome actor … who knew her when she was a teenager.
I wanted a quick K-drama hit and that was exactly what I got. I enjoyed reading this book and zipped through it. The only downside was that it didn’t fully end. I think you need to read all three books to get the full story with the happy ending.

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Book review: A Murder of Principal by Saralyn Richards

I bought book this on a whim after seeing it on Twitter (I can’t remember what it referenced – the books by Arthur Hailey, maybe?). It’s been a while since I’ve read a book written in this style. There was a lot of background about school procedures etc, but it was still a murder mystery and it was still compelling. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading Arthur Hailey’s detail rich books. I’ll have to go read The Moneychangers again.
There are a lot of POV characters, but the main one is Sally Pearce – school administrator. I usually prefer crime novels with fewer POVs, but honestly, there was enough from each character to keep things ticking along. It made for a more rounded world, too. The book touches on a lot of social factors but remains a murder mystery at its core.
It was a good reminder to me that there are different styles of books and, when done well, they are wonderful. An excellent impulse buy.

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