Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

34200289Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She goes to work, she goes home, and every weekend she treats herself to a couple of bottles of vodka and a frozen pizza. Everything is fine. Until an unlikely friendship and an unhealthy crush start to dredge up memories from the past, and a childhood trauma she has thoroughly suppressed.

This book is amazing. I loved everything about it. The writing style is strong and easy to read, while the story is perfection. I loved the characters: Eleanor and Raymond in particular. It took a little while to warm up to Eleanor, but once I got to know her better she really grew on me. The relationship between Eleanor and Raymond was a pleasure to read, and I found myself really genuinely caring about them, as though they were real people.

One of my favourite things about this book is actually the lack of romance. The story is about Eleanor, the way she lives, and her eventual recovery. Although the relationship between her and Raymond is charming and integral to the story, that isn’t what the book is about. It isn’t a romance novel, and is all the better for it.

The balance between humour and tragedy was very well done. Taking serious and sad topics and turning them into a warm, witty and enjoyable story takes some serious skill, and Gail Honeyman clearly has oodles of skill.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is full of emotional and impact, but none of it is forced or sentimental. It is a thoroughly enjoyable book that I would recommend to everyone.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Warlock’s Nemesis – Alena Des

36000377.jpgAlice is a healer, so when a deadly virus ravages the world, she is sent to help. Teamed with the powerful warlock, Tannon, Alice does what she can to save the human race. However, the power behind the virus has a different target in mind, and things take a serious turn for the worst for Alice, just when things seem to be looking up.

The Warlock’s Nemesis is book #2 in ‘The Kings’ series, but I read it as a standalone (having not read book #1). The events of the previous book are mentioned a few times, but it is absolutely not necessary to read book #1 first.

The most notable thing about this book is the number of plot twists. It is genuinely impossible to predict which way the story is going to go, making it surprising and exciting. Some of the events were a little farfetched and unnecessary, but this is a paranormal fantasy story after all.

Although I generally liked the characters and their relationships, I felt the relationship between Alice and Tannon was a bit forced. Alice kept going on about how much time they were spending together when – from the reader’s perspective – it had only been one or maybe two days. They were together for a maximum of a week and were suddenly utterly and completely in love. Also, once they were ‘together’, the way the spoke and behaved towards each other completely changed. It was quite jarring. I did like the way the relationship developed after that though, with the twists regarding Alice’s general temperament.

Overall, The Warlock’s Nemesis is a fun and eventful story, but it is a little flawed and the writing style lacked refinement.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz

35021922.jpgDiana Cowper, mother of a famous actor, visits a funeral parlour to arrange her own funeral, on the same day that she’s murdered. Coincidence? Detective Hawthorne doesn’t think so. Lured into the investigation by the prospect of writing an adult, true-crime novel, author Anthony Horrowitz finds himself deeply involved in the case.

This was a really interesting book to read because Anthony Horrowitz is not only the author and narrator, he is also the point-of-view character in the novel. Although it’s a work of fiction, it is full of popular culture references and realistic details, making it read like a true and completely believable story.

I’ve always enjoyed Anthony’s writing style (ever since the Alex Rider series). His books are very easy to read, and following the case along with the characters was really straightforward. Character-wise, I liked Hawthorne. It was interesting to have a character who knew what was going on, possibly from the very start, but refused to share all the information early on because he was being paid by the day. Anthony’s character I actually liked slightly less, despite being more amenable. He was too easily manipulated and naïve.

A long way from his children’s novels, The Word is Murder is the perfect book for fans of crime, mystery and murder, looking for something just a little bit different.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Mussolini’s Island – Sarah Day

29758001.jpgSet in 1940’s Italy, Mussolini’s Island explores an area of history rarely looked at. Along with many other men like him, Francesco finds himself being imprisoned and sent to the island of San Domino for confino (confinement), for the crime of being gay. With suspicions about who gave their names to the police, fear over what will happen to them, and the pressure of an impending war, life on the island is far from easy.

Elena, a young local girl, is drawn to Francesco but can’t understand why he and the other men have been made prisoners on her island. When she finds out the truth about the prisoners, she is left with a decision that could have terrible consequences.

There are a lot of layers to this book. I found the historical aspects very interesting, and I really enjoyed the inclusion of some Italian terms (confino, arrusi, etc). Homosexuality in Italy during the 1940s isn’t an area I’ve read about before and I was eager to learn more. Although the story is fictional, a large amount of research obviously went into writing this book and I have a lot of respect for the author for that.

Unfortunately, I also had some big problems reading Mussolini’s Island and didn’t particularly enjoy the story. Mainly, the plot was very, very slow. There is a large mystery element (what happened to Francesco’s father; who turned the arrusi’s names over; and who killed Rapetti) but these questions aren’t answered until near the end. The rest of the book mainly consists of Francesco either reminiscing about the past or fawning over Emilio. Overall, it was kind of boring. If it weren’t for the general intrigue and interesting historical elements, I wouldn’t have made it all the way through.

As it was, I did reach the end and I did enjoy the book to some extent. What it really lacked was a stronger level of romance and excitement. Sadly, a well-written but decidedly average book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.

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The Disciple – Stephen Lloyd Jones

Hello! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a review, but now that I’m set up in my new flat and finally connected to the internet, I’ll be back to posting regularly. Thanks for stopping by!


Edward Schwinn’s life is changed the night he rescues the sole survivor of a horrific road accident and agrees to take care of her new born daughter. The child’s arrival starts a chain of horrifying and deadly events that no one can explain, and Edward finds himself responsible for her safety.

My main take away from The Disciple is that it is much, much too long. We meet Edward and Piper at different stages in their life, meaning there are large time-jumps, and the same thing happens each time. It’s very repetitive and severely lacks any kind of character or relationship development or world building.

Alongside the troublesome plot development, there are too many characters who are all named and play small but significant roles. This made the story complicated and difficult to follow.

Although not poorly written, the book reads as though the author had a million and one ideas, and didn’t know how to filter any of them out. As the story builds, it becomes more interesting, more exciting, and more ridiculous. The Disciple is a mash-up of horror/sci-fi/fantasy/thriller and had some very enjoyable sections, wedged between pages of drivel.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.

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