What If It’s Us

I think it might just be book review time again… and my latest read was What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

Blurb: Meet Arthur and Ben. 

ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when the boys have a chance meeting at the post office, they leave wondering what exactly the universe does have in store for them. 

What if – in a city of eight million people – they can’t find each other again?

What if they do … and then can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is? What if it’s us?

Rating: 4/5

My thoughts: After reading the amazing “Die at the End” books I was looking forward to more Adam Silvera and while this was a good fun read it didn’t quite have the same wow factor.

This is a gentle romance condensed over a few weeks during a New York summer. After meeting in a post office Ben and Arthur knew they wanted to get to know each other better… but they didn’t exchange information, so how could they find one another again in such a vast city?

A cute story of love and friendships, and what happens when the two collide.

I must admit that the constant references to Harry Potter made me cringe, but I guess the book was written before the truth about that franchise, and its author, were known. It would good to have it rewritten with a different fandom in its place, but that’s just my opinion 🙂

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing

I don’t read many biographies (auto or otherwise), but I thought I would give this one a try.

Blurb: ‘Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.’

So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Before the frequent hospital visits and stints in rehab, there was five-year-old Matthew, who travelled from Montreal to Los Angeles, shuffling between his separated parents; fourteen-year-old Matthew, who was a nationally ranked tennis star in Canada; twenty-four-year-old Matthew, who nabbed a coveted role as a lead cast member on the talked-about pilot then called Friends Like Us. . . and so much more.

In an extraordinary story that only he could tell – and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it – Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humour, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fuelled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening – as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the book fans have been waiting for.

Rating: 3/5

My thoughts: I was quite the Friends fan back in the day, even now I will often pop on an episode when there’s nothing else I fancy, or just as a comforting background noise. Yes there are parts of that show that might make me cringe but overall it tends to hold up as a good portrayal of friendship and love. So I was interesting in reading this and finding out a little more about the show, and one of my favourite characters in it… by the end of the book I knew very little about either!

The majority of this book is focussed on Matthew’s addiction battles which I would never want to play down, and I appreciate that this is a very important and major aspect of the man’s life, but I must admit that I was a little disappointed in how little of the actor’s life we learned about outside of drugs and alcohol.

At about half way through I was tempted to give up as the repetition of rehab stories continued, but I powered through to the end, and yes I can certainly appreciate the battles that Matthew Perry has gone though and thankfully finally won, but it didn’t make for the most gripping tale. If there had been more about his childhood, times in front of the camera, etc I think this would have lifted the book for me, as it is it was mildly interesting, but not the captivating read I had expected.

You’ve Reached Sam

I’m trying to read a little more this year – and so far so good.

My latest read was You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao and what did I think?? Well… this:

Blurb: Filled with the heartache of first love and loss, plus a touch of magic, Dustin Thao’s You’ve Reached Sam is an emotional romance, with a powerful story about knowing when to say goodbye.

‘Have your tissues at the ready when you dive into Dustin Thao’s emotional novel’ – PopSugar

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out: move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s phone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone . . .

What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?


My Thoughts: When Julie’s boyfriend dies in a terrible accident her whole world falls apart. They had their whole future planned out together, how is she meant to do it alone? And how can she move on without ever getting the chance to say goodbye?

I bought this book on a whim, I think it was on offer, and I am very glad I did. A unique love story which allows Julie the chance to reconnect with Sam – they don’t know how, or why, or for how long… but being able to say all the things which had gone unsaid might just be the only way to let Julie move on with her life.

A really enjoyable read, a few tears, a few smiles, and a wholly satisfying tale.

Good Girl, Bad Blood

You know you enjoyed a book when you look forward to the sequel… and the sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was my recent read Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Blurb: The New York Times best-selling, brilliantly crafted crime-thriller sequel to the no.1 debut of 2019, A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER.


“Nail-biting, taut and pacy. Jackson [is] a homegrown thriller writer to watch.… – Guardian

Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.
But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way& and this time EVERYONE is listening.
But will she find him before it’s too late?

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: Pip had hung up her detective shoes, after the consequences of her first investigation she was never going to put herself, put her family, through that again. But when her friend’s brother goes missing, and the police refuse to do anything, who else will? She can’t turn her back on the desperate pleas. She couldn’t live with herself if something had happened to Jamie and she hadn’t done all she could to help.

Once again Pip throws herself into investigating a possible crime that most people don’t even believe happened, and once again she risks the fury of a very dangerous person.

Another gripping case and a good read.

And yes, I will be reading the next book too 🙂

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Last night I finished another great book – Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Blurb: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

In an attempt to prove himself a true brujo and gain his family’s acceptance, Yadriel decides to summon his cousin’s ghost and help him cross to the afterlife.

But things get complicated when he accidentally summons the ghost of his high school’s resident bad boy, Julian Diaz – and Julian won’t go into death quietly.

The two boys must work together if Yadriel is to move forward with his plan.

But the more time Yadriel and Julian spend together, the harder it is to let each other go.

My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: Yadriel is a brujo, he knows he is, but his family cannot accept that. Brujo’s are men, only natural born men, and Yadriel is trans.

In an attempt to prove himself Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz – and now Yadriel has to find out why before ultimately releasing Julian’s spirit, just as a brujo does.

As they spend more time together Yadriel realises that he doesn’t want to let Julian go, but at the same time he has no right to keep him around.

This is a great story, part mystery, part romance – a wonderful back story of a community of people who are intimately connected to the world of spirits

Fully recommend this 🙂

The First to Die at the End

Yes, it’s not been long since I finished the amazing “They Both Die at the End” but I could not resist getting right onto the sequel “The First to Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

Blurb: It’s the night before Death-Cast goes live, and there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Can Death-Cast actually predict death, or is it an elaborate hoax? Orion Pagan has waited years for someone to tell him that he’s going to die, given his serious heart condition. Valentino Prince has a long and promising future ahead of him and only registered for Death-Cast after his twin sister nearly died in a car accident.
Orion and Valentino cross paths in Times Square and immediately feel a deep connection. But when the first End Day calls go out, their lives are changed for ever – one of them receives a call . . . the other doesn’t.
Told with acclaimed author Adam Silvera’s signature bittersweet touch, this story celebrates the lasting impact that people have on each other and proves that life is always worth living to the fullest. 

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: Set at the start of Death-Cast this story follows Orion and Valentino who meet at the Death-Cast launch party – a day which will change both of their lives forever, unfortunately only one of them get out of the story with a forever.

I especially enjoyed how the incidental characters are weaved into the story – even though it’s not immediately obvious how important they may be. I did shed a tear at the little cameo appearance of the young Mateo and Rufus (from the first book), a lovely little moment.

As with the first book, the ending was heartbreakingly beautiful and I genuinely hope to get more tales set in the world of Death-Cast.

They Both Die at the End

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, so, yesterday I finally opened the cover, and today I turned the final page.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Blurb: A love story with a difference – an unforgettable tale of life, loss and making each day count in the INTERNATIONAL NO. 1 BESTSELLING book of TIKTOK fame, clocking up 80 million views and counting! The First to Die at the End, the prequel to They Both Die at the End, is now available to pre-order in hardback, coming October 2022.

On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day. 

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: When you get a call from Death-Cast you know your end is coming – there is no getting out of it, all you can do is choose how to live your End Day.
Two teenage boys – who could not be more different – get that call and, via the Last Friend app, they learn how to make the most of life, even if they only have a few hours of it left.
A gorgeous tale of love, loss, and learning to live.
And yes, I had a few tears at the end
Loved it

Solitaire – by Alice Oseman

Oh my it’s been some since I posted on this blog and, to tell the truth, I rather fell out of love with reading and writing for a while… how funny that a TV show has started bringing me back…

So, the Neflix show Heartstopper was released just over a month ago now… and I may have watched that a few times since then – It also made me want to discover the graphic novels that gave the story life (more of that on another post) – and following that I wanted to discover the other books which feature Nick and Charlie… my first stop was Solitare – the story of Tori Spring… did I like it? Was it as good as Heartstopper? Will I read more now… Let’s find out shall we??

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Blurb: The acclaimed debut novel from Alice Oseman, the author of the 2021 YA Book Prize winning LovelessSolitaire features the characters that inspired the beloved webcomic and graphic novel series Heartstopper – now a major Netflix series.

The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age” The Times

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

My thoughts: Tori Spring is not happy. With herself. With other people. With life in general.

While this book features a number of characters from Heartstopper it is told with a very different tone. From the very start you can feel Tori’s “teen angst” – and that isn’t to say it’s all black wallpaper and woe is me – there is real feeling behind her pain and it does make you want to offer a helping hand, although I think that would just be slapped away!

Tori feels a pointlessness in her life, and the people in it – with the possible exception of her younger brothers, especially Charlie – and by extension his boyfriend Nick.

When unexplained pranks start being pulled around the school by the strangely named “Solitaire” Tori doesn’t care, she has no interest in how or why these things are happening…. and even the intriguing and confusing Michael Holden are not enough to really tempt her to get involved… until they are!

Things are getting serious, and worrying, if Tori doesn’t step up and do something then who will?

A really gripping read – I am loving this Heartstopper world – and cannot wait to discover more!

Fully recommend this read 🙂

Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren by John L Fear – Review

If I didn’t know better I would think that summer has arrived and all is well with the world. A weekend spent out in the garden, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, the fragrance of newly bloomed flowers, and the soft buzzing of fluffy bumblebees, can make you forget the nightmares that many people are currently living through.

I always enjoy reading while sitting out in the sun, and this brought me to the end of another book… this one:

Blurb:  John Fear was born into a religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren. This exclusivesheltered him from the outside world as he grew up, but could not hide him from its influences. A struggle began in his mind that led him to leave the Brethren, along with his young family.

Rather than reacting as many do and totally abandoning any belief system, John remained true to his convictions and continued a strongly religious way of life. Still serving God he worked in many places throughout the world, rubbing shoulders with famous people such as Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and Cliff Richard.

The writing style of this book is dynamic and engaging. John’s personality shines through and he paints an insightful account of his personal life and surrounding historical events. This account is not a sensationalised expose of the Exclusive Brethren. Instead, it follows one man’s life journey and is brought to life through his diary entries and family letters.

This beautifully edited book is more than a memoir. It is a delightful mix of history, social customs, travel and belief. An honest, personal and emotive account of how religion can touch and shape a person’s life – forever.

Rating:  3/5
My thoughts: I took my time over this book and reading it in small chunks was reminiscent of visiting an elderly relative and hearing about moments from their lives. It’s a well written tale of one man’s life, his family, and his beliefs.
While I could see the quality of the book I think it would appeal more to people with their own religious convictions, I think I was expecting more about John’s struggle in and out of the Brethren.
An interesting memoir which I am sure will touch many people.

Book Review – Jonah by Jan Sikes

Do you have a few minutes to spare and fancy a quick read? Well that’s what I did last night and this time it was Jonah by Jan Sikes

JonahBlurb:  Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption, or another unexpected offer?

Rating:  3/5

My thoughts: I loved the idea of this story, a convict exiled to a deserted island, well deserted apart from the vicious creatures which constantly threaten his life.  A strange delivery of books lead Jonah on a journey of self discovery which will ultimately lead him to more discoveries than he could ever have imagined.

While I enjoyed this story, and it was very well written, it also felt a little lacking to me. I think it is such a good concept of a story line that it would have worked much better as a full novel. I would loved to have heard more about the life that lead Jonah to be on that island, and I would have enjoyed seeing his friendship grow more slowly to really convince me of his choices at the end. I would also love to know “what happens next”.

To me this felt more like an early working which would benefit from a lot of fleshing out to fully round it into an amazing tale.