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  1. So, hoping this year will be better than the last two (but to be fair, I'll just settle for slightly less crap!) RATING: *****5 stars - Outstanding! Brilliant! Highly recommended, read it, read it now! ****4 stars - Very good, recommended, ***3 stars - A good enjoyable read, read it if you want to, **2 stars - It was ok, not totally sure about it so don't blame me if you think its rubbish *1 star - Not good, just about readable but not recommended No stars - Utter crap, don't bother - should never have been published! (R) - Re-read FICTION:
  2. A bit late to this party but my review of last year is a pretty short one. I managed to read 62 books last year which for me is very impressive, however 13 of them were a 13 book series which were a re-read. My favourite book of 2021 was Family by Owen Mullen, with Choose Me by Tess Gerritsen & Gary Braver coming a close second, and the only reason that didn't take the top spot was the rather bizarre ending. My favourite TV drama show last year was Time, the Jimmy McGovern drama starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, film was not applicable as I didn't really watch any but documentary had to be hands down the Oliver Stone documentary about the JFK assassination and cover up called Destiny Betrayed. My favourite music album of 2021 was the outstanding Senjutsu by Iron Maiden and my favourite song of 2021 was The Writing on the Wall from that very album.
  3. This is a debut story by a new author and was prominently placed on my Amazon Prime reading thing to attract my attention when I was browsing looking for something to read but too tight to actually want to fork out good money for something which would be an impulse buy. I read the blurb and it said it was a psychological thriller. After reading it though I am not entirely sure why this was advertised as a psychological thriller as it wasn't one. It started off predominantly as a story of family angst. It was a complex story of abandonment and the scars of resentment and insecurity that leaves along with the attempts at healing and reconciliation. It had so much potential and it could've been outstanding but there was something just not right about it, something missing. It was just an OK story, a bit mediocre really with a bunch of characters who were all flawed and not entirely likeable. I stuck with it though as I am physically incapable of abandoning a book and I argued it was free, I had nothing better to read and it was readable. I stuck with it and the more I read the more it grew on me and I did start to get into it. Then about three quarters of the way through it suddenly took off into the realms of the totally bizarre and more than a little bit over the top. I had pretty much worked out the twist as the way the story was leading it was just too obvious as to who it was pointing at to be the long lost brother and I turned out to be correct in my assumptions as to who it really was. Then it ended, actually it didn't end it just stopped and it stopped with a plethora of unanswered points and the gaping plot holes were left unfilled. The climax of the story was actually an anti-climax because of the way it was constructed, the way it didn't entirely make sense and the way all the subplots that surrounded it were just left hanging. As I say this was an Amazon Prime freebie and all I can say is I am so glad I didn't pay good money for this, which is a shame as it had a lot of potential and could've been outstanding.
  4. Apple

    BGO Memories!

    I showed up here after it was recommended by Luna after she left Big Readers. I noticed and was amazed by how friendly everyone was here as I had always felt belittled for my tastes in books and my POV made to feel as though it was worthless probably because most of the time I disagreed with what the mods said and they didn't seem to like that. I don't post often and my membership has been sporadic but it was always comforting to know this site was here.
  5. I like some Catherine Cookson books but I found the stories became too samey and I kind of went off her. The formula generally went along the lines of young working class victorian girl gets raped by rich victorian brute and has his baby. There are some different stories but they all generally revolve around this premise. As for the High Banks query, the majority of her stories are set in the North East of England, around Newcastle, North/South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow area. Some locations are real and some are made up but you can generally work out roughly where she was talking about and make an educated guess as to where the made up places were based on. Some real historical companies are mentioned in some of her stories for example Palmers Shipyard gets a mention in a number of her books.
  6. So, hoping this year will be better than last (but it can't be much worse!) RATING: *****5 stars - Outstanding! Brilliant! Highly recommended, read it, read it now! ****4 stars - Very good, recommended, ***3 stars - A good enjoyable read, read it if you want to, **2 stars - It was ok, not totally sure about it so don't blame me if you think its rubbish *1 star - Not good, just about readable but not recommended No stars - Utter crap, don't bother - should never have been published! (R) - Re-read FICTION: Finding Grace by K L Slater ** Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright * My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing ** The Daughter by Lucy Dawson *** The Secrets you Hide by Kate Helm *** The Man Behind Closed Doors by Maria Frankland **** Reapers Pack by Rhea Watson*** His Wife's Sister by A J Willis *** When She Returned by Lucinda Berry **** (I gave this 4 stars because of how good it was for the majority of the book) Without Her Consent by McGarvey Black **** What Lies Between Us by John Marrs *** Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes *** Wicked All Night by Jeaniene Frost **** The Graveyard Shift by Darynda Jones *** Family by Owen Mullen ***** Beautifully Cruel by J T Geissinger *** Freed by E L James *** Blaze by Suzanne Wright *** Ashes by Suzanne Wright *** Embers by Suzanne Wright *** Shadows by Suzanne Wright * Omens by Suzanne Wright *** The Locksmith by Linda Calvey**** Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris *** Fallen by Suzanne Wright *** Choose Me by Tess Geritsen & Gary Braver **** Home Truths by Tina Seskis Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson **** Leave Well Alone by A J Campbell * Insider by Owen Mullen *** Enchant Me by J Kenner* Good as Dead by Susan Walker **** The Charley Davidson series (13 book series) by Darynda Jones (R) NON-FICTION: Helter Skelter (The True Story of the Manson Murders) by Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry *** Inside Broadmoor by Jonathan Levi & Emma French **
  7. It has just occurred to me that I never listed my reads for last year. I think we can all agree last year was unlike any other. It wasn't a good year for me I couldn't get 'into' books, to be fair I couldn't get into anything and as a result my list is quite poor and none really made any impression on me apart from Slash's autobiography. I may give a few of these another try this year to see if it was the book or just me not engaging. No stars - Don't bother! No words adequate to describe how bad this was. * - Barely readable not sure how it got published but managed to finish it ** - Just about passable *** - Meh! It's OK I suppose, read it if you want to **** - A good solid read would recommend it. ***** - Read it, read it now! Fiction: The Perfect Son by Freda McFadden *** The Black Mile by Mark Dawson ** The Sense of Ending by Julian Barney ** Walk into Silence by Susan McBride *** The Man of Legends by Keneth Johnson Too Close by Natalie Daniels ** Burn by Suzanne Wright*** Wicked Bite by Jeaniene Frost*** Non-Fiction: Slash Autobiography **** Re-reads:
  8. For what it's worth I would like to see the site continue. I'm not shy about posting reviews on books but I tend to only post reviews on books which I've either adored or hated no middle of the of the road this book was ok 'Meh' type reviews as I don't think they worth doing.
  9. Blimey! That's a roller coaster of a thread. I make one of my random periodical appearances and after reading all that I feel kind of guilty now that I don't drop by more often than I do. I've always liked this group but my reading habits are pretty hit and miss. It's all or nothing with me. I'm either reading nothing at all or devouring every book in sight. (I'm currently doing the latter at the moment which prompted my return). For what it's worth, I'm glad that the group appears to be carrying on.
  10. Possibly, but I don't think so, as IMO there really wouldn't be enough of a story there to make another book, and if they did it would just be milking it. It was just a number of basic unanswered questions mainly surrounding 'Kate' the woman who went to the cult. Questions which you had because the story had been so in depth and so well written. The story from the perspective of the family she left behind and the second wife was complete, you were just left thinking 'but what happened to Kate in the end?' and a simple epilogue answering them probably written from the daughters POV would've just been enough.
  11. Another Prime Reading freebie and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it I was slightly disappointed by the ending as to me it didn't, it just stopped with a number of unanswered questions. The premise of the story is a woman who leaves her family and joins a cult. Only to turn up again a number of years alter after the family she left behind has moved on. I have watched a number of documentaries on cults to know how they work and get into peoples heads and this felt very accurately written. I loved the in depth narration detailing everything and laying out the story and almost walking you through it step by step and showing you how and more importantly why everything happened the way it did and it really captivated me from the start. There were two time lines the 'now' timeline was written from three different perspectives, 'Kate' the person who was brainwashed by the cult, 'Abbi' the daughter she left behind and 'Meredith' the new wife and stepmother to Abbi. Then there is the 'then' timeline explaining how and why Kate got involved with the cult and her back story and that is told completely from her perspective. The fact it was so in depth made the ending seem all the more jarring. I can see why it ended like it did but in my opinion it shouldn't have done so, there should've been an epilogue to round it off and answer the questions that were just left hanging there at the end unanswered.
  12. This was a weird one. The premise of the story is a woman being cared for who has been in a coma for 12 years suddenly and unexpectedly gives birth. You automatically think that she has been violated by a seedy male member of staff, or someone who has broken into the facility where she is being cared for, however the truth is far more bizarre. This was a Prime Reading freebie and whilst it seemed to be more than a bit incredulous and the person who is responsible goes off into la la land at one point and partakes in some rather over the top responses to avoid being discovered. It is a strange story part psychological thriller, part crime drama and part family drama and sometimes it doesn't seem to know what to settle on but despite that and despite the fact it does get quite incredulous at times especially when the truth comes out it was a compelling read and I would recommend it.
  13. Go Luna! I don't drop by very often as my reading habits tend to be all or nothing, and a lot of the time the books I've read don't actually warrant the time spent on a review but this is one of my periodical prodigal returns as I've just read a couple of books which I felt deserved a review one which has been an on going joke on this site and one which was seriously a good read. Anyway, less of my rambling well done Luna and good luck in your new role as moderator!
  14. This was not a book I would normally read. It was a gangland thriller and a story about two brothers living in London, one who was a complete psychopath and who ruled his patch with ruthless violence and varying levels of lunacy and the other who basically wants out and nothing more to do the family business after spending a number of years in prison. It was a freebie Prime Reading story which popped up due to the fact I'd read a couple of mafia stories so I picked it up with 'it's free so the what's the worst that could happen' attitude and it completely grabbed me from the first page and I read it in one sitting as I literally could not put it down. The twist at the end is jaw dropping you really don't see it coming (I normally spot the twists before they happen and work out what is going on) but this one hits your right out of left field but then you stop and think and all the vague references and subtle hints are there throughout the story and you think 'oh yeah' and for me that is the mark of a good writer that you don't manage to figure it out before the end. I don't really want to say anymore as there is a very good chance I will unwittingly add spoilers and this is a book you really need to read blind. But if you like gangland type stories (or even if you don't) and a good thriller then I would totally recommend this.
  15. FREED By E L James Well, it had to happen. The book Freed by E L James has been released, which is the final instalment of FSOG told from Christian's perspective and if you read my previous review you will see I was actually looking forward to this one. Mainly because Fifty Shades Freed was the book which made me realise that this could've been a fabulous story if the author had any writing talent at all and going right back the beginning this book actually got into my head a bit. In Fifty Shades Freed of the original trilogy you saw just how vulnerable the character of Christian was and how damaged. That came across loud and clear and so I was interested to see how that played out in reading the story from his point of view. It was totally different from the other two. The first one was basically the same story with she replaced with he a lot of the time and there really wasn't much else to say. Darker was better and this one, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. (I know!) Don't get me wrong, the writing wasn't brilliant, but compared to the others it did at least look like it had been edited but it was quite jarring in places as the new stuff was much better than the original so when you were reading about situations which had previously been written but had to be there as both characters were present with the familiar dialogue from the original books you could really tell the difference. The story was familiar of course but the opening chapters were totally different and told the story of what happened between the time of the proposal and marriage (the second book ended with the proposal and the third started with the honeymoon with flashback of the wedding ceremony). It was actually quite heart-breaking to read in places as Christian was portrayed as a man totally in turmoil most of the time and trying to hide his vulnerabilities and present to the world a person who was totally in control. You read how he was terrified that something bad was always going to happen. These fears manifested in nightmares and seemingly unreasonable behaviour. It was quite upsetting sometimes to read, seeing how deep seated his issues were and how his mental health was totally damaged by his life experiences and also the hold his abusers still had over him. I'm glad I did read it though and finished what I started. I will say though, if E L James had been a better writer the whole series could've been a complete masterpiece and a fictional textbook showing how mental health problems manifest themselves. But sadly because the original books were so badly written and too much emphasis placed on the never ending sex the real story behind the superficial never got chance to come through - until you saw glimpses of it in the third book, so in a way Darker and Freed rectified that even though there still was pages and pages of unending sex. In conclusion, not brilliantly written but far better than anything that she has written previously. Not so repetitive, and far more descriptive, but that jarred with the sections of original dialogue. This particular book was head and shoulders above the others (I am uncertain if that is because Fifty Shades Freed was my favourite out of the original trilogy or because it was better written or a combination of both), but I would say if anyone was curious about FSOG don't read the original trilogy, read 'Grey' 'Darker' and 'Freed' instead.
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