Monday 28 October 2019

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

Out now
Published by Faber & Faber
Purchase via Amazon here

The Blurb:

The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Louise Doughty
Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he's alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic - he's as far away from the night staff as he can get.
What the man doesn't realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.
Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months - surely they're connected?
No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die.

My thoughts:

I’ve seen the cover of this book in shops and been drawn to the eeriness and darkness of it. That coupled with the synopsis helped bump it up my ‘to read’ pile, and I am delighted to say that I wasn’t disappointed. 

The setting is one that most of us can easily imagine. A dark deserted railway station in cold weather that is in no way inviting. The scene has been the setting for two fatalities, but what led these people to meet their end in a desolate and lonely place?

The book focuses on the story of Lisa Evans, the first of the fatalities, as we go back in time to look back over her life and her final days. But there are also a number of secondary characters who are also cleverly woven into the story. 

What did I enjoy about the book? I found it very easy to imagine the scenes, particularly those set at the station. It is a backdrop that as a commuter I have visited frequently, and whilst reading the book (and since), when I go to a station it takes on another dimension as my imagination comes to life either remembering the book, or creating imaginary scenes of my own. It’s certainly made waiting for delayed trains less boring!

I felt drawn to Lisa as a character, and felt like I wanted to know her story. I wanted to get to know her, and I recognised some of her characteristics and some of the behaviours of those in her life that I guess resonated with me and made me more emotionally invested. 

I enjoyed following the book as it took shape, twisting and turning through events not only in Lisa’s life, but the other characters too. I really enjoyed the way the author was able to describe people, their thoughts, their feelings and what was happening around them. It felt like it could be real, and it kept me engrossed throughout.

There was stuff I saw coming, some that I didn’t, and the mix of this kept me wondering and unsure of what I thought I had guessed. 

Cleverly written, fast paced and compelling…I loved it and will be looking out for more of Louise Doughty’s work!

Hello stranger...

Woah…how has it been over a year since I last posted a book review? That’s mad!

Life has been so busy (in a good way), but I’ve definitely missed being able to shout from the rooftops about all the great books I've been reading. I've discovered fantastic new authors as well as devouring books by authors I'm already familiar with and love!

I’ve also missed being part of the book blogging community. I may not have met most of you in real life, but I enjoy connecting with you online, supporting you, and of course following your recommendation. 

So, without further ado let’s get back to business…

Lots of love

Jill xx

Monday 27 August 2018

Review: Not Ready to Adult Yet by Iain Stirling

Out now

Published by Harpercollins

Purchase from Amazon here


Comedian Iain Stirling is best known as the brilliantly funny voice of the BAFTA-award winning smash hit Love Island. Despite his many accolades, and his mum telling him he’s her ‘special little soldier’ every day, Iain still struggles with everyday adult life. What a textbook millennial.
Looking back at his journey to adulthood, Iain explores why millennials are the way they are – and whether that makes us self-obsessed, work-shy, mollycoddled, egomaniacs; or just a misunderstood generation with a crippling fear of failure.
Millennials have been celebrated and scorned; they’re the envy, fascination and disgrace of the world. But is there more to this #selfie and avocado-obsessed generation that can’t grow up than meets the eye?
Throughout life millennials have been taught that they are perfect and should live a perfect life. They’ve been told, whatever happens, don’t fuck up. And then they enter the real world. And failure quickly rears its ugly head. A head millennials weren’t warned about and definitely aren’t ready for.
Iain knows a lot about fucking up. And he’s ready to share.
Funny, provocative and full of his trademark razor-sharp wit, this is Iain’s guide to what life is really like for millennials and how they can navigate it better.

My review:

It's been far too long since I put pen to paper (or actually fingers to keyboard) and wrote a review, but I need to shout from the rooftops about this book! I've seen Iain Stirling do stand up, and found myself hooked on Love Island this year, thanks mostly to his running commentary, so I was looking forward to reading his first book...and it was even better than expected!

If you already know of Iain's work you will already know how incredibly funny he is to listen to, but would this translate over to the written word? The answer - Hell yeah! 

Not Ready To Adult Yet takes the reader behind the scenes of Iain growing up as a millennial, and navigating the path to adulthood. There are lots of anecdotes that remind us that growing up is not plain sailing, and as well as giving the reader lots of laughs there are some important messages there too. 

I am older than the target audience of this book (being part of Generation X rather than a millennial) but it resonated heaps with me too. Things are totally different to when I was entering adulthood, with no mobile phone, a dial up internet connection that would take forever, and knowing my best friends number off by heart from dialling it daily. But whether you are a millennial or not doesn't matter. This book is for all to read and enjoy!

The stories are brilliantly funny, but at the same time give food for thought and reflection about our own lives and what we judge as success or failure, how we make decisions and whether we are all becoming totally self obsessed and consumed. Iain has really put thought, and research into his work, which takes this away from an autobiography and into another realm where he uses his own experiences to question what we do, why we do it, and whether sometimes we should do things differently. 

Be warned, if you are a fan, you may, like me, read the entire book in the voice of Iain Stirling which brings it even more to life. infact, the audio copy will be a brilliant listen if reading isnt your thing. 

I admit, the book was more than I expected as it had that extra dynamic to just recounting tales of past experiences. I particularly enjoyed the section where he describes a holiday and cookies - a story that had me in fits of laughter. 

Young, old, adulting, or not ready to, go buy this book - you won't regret it! Just be prepared to laugh lots whilst also pondering life and your decisions. 


P.S. If you haven't seen him do stand up he is about to go on tour. You will laugh until your face hurts! Check out his dates and grab tickets here

Sunday 22 April 2018

Our bodies are amazing....lets stop with the body shaming...

I am what I am...

Spring has arrived in the UK and it’s time to strip away the thick and multiple layers of clothing as the sun shines bright and strong. For most it is a time that sparks happiness and excitement as summer wardrobes are unpacked, plans for picnics, bbq’s and trips outdoors are planned, and there are smiles aplenty. 

However, for some, like me. stripping away those layers of clothing is like taking away a safety blanket and feeling exposed and vulnerable. We all have our insecurities and without sounding superficial, one of my hang ups is the way I look. I am not stupid, I know I am not pretty, slim, young, desirable etc. But I want to be ‘good enough’, to be liked and not to be laughed at or judged as a person based on my looks and weight. 

Being overweight is still a massive taboo, and one that it not easy to live with. It takes just seven seconds to judge someone based on first impressions. Of course, that seven seconds is spent quickly evaluating what we have to go by…our sight (and smell too). We all do it, we may look at someone and think ‘do they really think their hair suits them? how can they go out wearing that? Did no one tell them how they are looking?’, or sometimes ‘look at the state of that!!!’

I am one of those people who get stares and judgements made about them, and you have no idea how tough it can make going outside in public. Worrying about what people are thinking, fearing you won’t fit into a seat or through a small gap. But seeing and hearing some of the comments people say about us ‘fatties’ is terrible. It hurts and it has more impact on that person that you will ever realise.

I can’t (and wouldn’t speak for others), but we do know how we look, trust me on that. We don’t need a reminder!

I know I am fat! I look at myself in the mirror and I can see that. I know clothes by and large look awful. Nothing fits right, I need to wear shapeless clothes that hide the many rolls and bulges. I can’t reveal my legs as they are like tree trunks. The top of my arms are wobblier than blamaunge. My belly…well, there are no adequate descriptions!

I have wanted to hide away for the last few days. I have pulled my wardrobe apart trying in vain to find any item of clothing that could disguise how I look, but to no avail. I almost cancelled going to football yesterday as I didn’t want people to see me and feel disgusted by me. I like my own company (and luckily so) and so have done stuff on my own so I don’t see people that might judge me, or be judged for being seen with me. 

But today I did something I had been longing to do. When I was at my sickest, and spending months on end in bed, I drew what ‘happy’ and ‘healthy’ looked like. I made it my aim to achieve it. TODAY I DID IT!!!!!!!. I spent the afternoon on Clapham Common with a blanket, a picnic, and my book. I lay there, read, relaxed, and felt the sun on my skin, the breeze all around me, and the grass soft and green on my skin. Nature didn’t care that I was overweight, and my body felt great! 

I spent a long time in an inner dialogue with myself (I am the only person who will listen to me!!). This is incredible. I never dreamt I would be well again and able to be out living a life what wasn’t just based in my bedroom. Why I am not high on life all the time and dancing round the streets (ok, maybe the world is not ready for my dance moves!!). But why am I wanting to hide away based on what others might think of me. The person who ‘will never get better or never lose weight’ is doing just those…albeit slowly. But why is that the voice that is loudest in my head, and not the woo hoo, lets do this and make the most of every moment! 

I had a bit of a lightbulb moment as I came to realise that…you know what. My body (and everybody else’s) is amazing. We are all different shapes, sizes and all unique. Our body tells a story of our journey. It has over 100 trillion cells that keep us alive and functioning. It is truly amazing and should be celebrated. My body has been broken for the last 4 years and the fact that I am able to do some of the things I never envisaged being able to do again is testament to the power of my body and its ability to heal, quite simply amazing My heart beats and lungs breath without me consciously controlling them. My legs thankfully work again and help me travel and explore. My whole body is recovering and giving me a second shot at life, yet I am fixated only on how the outer shell appears to others rather than marvelling at its inner capabilities.

 Every scar has a story, and are a part of us and our life. I have a scar on my finger where my finger was trapped in the door hinge and virtually sewn back on as a kid. Am I ashamed of it? No, it’s hilarious. I often show it off. I have a scar under my bottom lip from when as a child, I fell over and cut it. I have loads of others too. So why I am so ashamed to leave the house?

My body is a result of my battle. My battle with ME/CFS and my recovery. My bingo wings, my saggy boobs, my wobbly tummy and thunder thighs. They are all scars left from my battle with illness. Wounds of how I did what I had to do to cope with living inside four walls and being confined to bed for the best part of 3 years. But that is a story that is not visible to the world and we do by and large judge big people as purely greedy and lazy.

I am sick to the back teeth of hearing people see people and judging How could they let themselves get into that shape? Why don’t they do something about it? 

No, I am not hiding behind excuses, and  it is not all due to my illness, I am also a greedy cow who loves all the things that are not conducive to being slim, but there is often more of a story to a person’s weight than just being a piggy! Food can be a comfort. When we are kids we are often rewarded for being good, for achieving something, or sometimes after we fall over or hurt ourselves, with a treat. Usually a sweet, or takeaway or something nice. So, as we grow older we associate food with comfort and turn to it when things aren’t going so well. 

Perhaps that person is grieving the loss of a loved one, perhaps they lost their job, they have an illness, they’ve had a breakup…there are so many things it could be other than just being lazy and greedy.  

No, I’m not sexy, attractive, someone that looks great in clothes and with curves in the right places, but I hope I am not a bad person. I try to be kind, thoughtful, and a nice person. My illness and my weight has certainly (I hope) made me less judgemental. Perhaps that is part of my frustration too. I guess if you haven’t been through something it is hard to understand how it can feel.  

I have my scars, including the saggy and blubbery bits, but they can be worked on. None of us are perfect, but being overweight doesn’t make a person less worthy or inferior. Please don’t make life harder for us. Believe me, we are our own harshest critics!

To anyone still reading, no matter your size, your hair (or lack of it), your skin colour, eye colour, shape, wobbly tum, wonky toes, they are you, and you are AMAZING! Love the skin you are in, and take a moment to say well done to your body for the air in your lungs, the meat on your bones, the muscles that help you move, the bones that support you, and all the things we don’t even realise are happening right now inside of us! It is a miracle of nature and so are you!

Let’s stop with the body shaming, and embrace ourselves for who we are, what we achieve and to hell with those who don’t want to join in!

Rant over ;-) 

Thursday 12 April 2018

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

Out now

Published by Pan Macmillan

Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

If you like Mo Hayder and Thomas Harris, you’ll love The Collector. 
Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting . . .
Clara, the girl he left behind, dreams of being found. Her mother is falling apart but she will not give up hope. The Collector has found an apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. 
But he can’t forget the one who got away and the detective who destroyed his dreams. DS Etta Fitzroy must hunt him down before his obsession destroys them all. 

My review:

Having read and loved Rattle, Fiona's debut novel, I was like a kid waiting for christmas when I heard that not only did she have another book coming out, but that it was a follow up to her first book. I clicked download as soon as I could and ventured off to a quiet retreat to get stuck in.

It is safe to say that The Collector did not let me down! I devoured every page and kept going long after I should have stopped to do other things! Even darker and creepier than Rattle, this book is everything i hoped it would be and more! If you haven't read Rattle it would be good to read it first, but not essential as this stands alone  as well. 

The main character is one twisted sicko who wants nothing more than to cause as much pain and misery as possible. He is deeply warped! Clara, a young girl is missing and hope is pretty much gone for her. But DS Etta Fitzroy never gives up hope. Determined and passionate she is always driven and in search of justice. But The Collector just doesnt want to let go! Cue a plot that twists and turns and kept me gripped to the edge of my seat. 

Fiona Cummins has written another best seller. Filled with great characters, especially Etta Fitzroy, who I hope we see again. Hope she is busy writing book three because I am sat here eagerly awaiting it! 

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

Purchase from Amazon here

What's it about?

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.
Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

What did I think?

Someone pass me some matchsticks to hold open my eyes today! Yep, it was a late one because I quite simply couldn't put this down until I finished it. If you have ever read of C.L. Taylor's books before you will know what I mean, and if you haven't, why not put it right by reading The Fear?!

Fast paced, dark and unrelenting, The Fear is a great thriller. It revolves primarily around Lou, who as a teenager was groomed by her teacher and ran away with him. Lou, now in her thirties, finds out that her teacher appears to be spinning his web again with another teen, and vows to stop anyone else going through what she did. The story flits between the past and the present as we travel back to the time to witness some of what happened to her, and understand just why she is so scared about it happening again. We also bear witness to the lengths she will go to stop history repeating itself, which gets messy and complex which could make for interesting discussions in book clubs! 

The story is like the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz! You think that you are following a road that will lead to a certain ending, but just as you think you have it sussed, another character or twist jumps out at you and throws you off track. You get to know more, re-evaluate and on you go before whomph, another appears!

I want to say more, so much more, but I can't as that would be unfair if you are yet to read it. But oh my gosh I wasn't disappointed! Roll on C.L. Taylor's next book...I'll be at the front of the queue! 

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Cover Reveal - Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

Hey guys, 

I am literally hopping off my seat about this cover reveal. Not only is the cover INCREDIBLE, but it also means that a new Erika Foster book is on its way. 

Yes boys and girls, book number 6 - Deadly Secrets is on it's way, and it sounds like it is a going to be another smash! 

I feel like Kathy Bates in Misery, but when it comes to Roberts work, I am your number one fan ;-)

Check out this stunner of a cover, and get pre-ordering your copy NOW!! 

Deadly Secrets: An absolutely gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Erika Foster Book 6) 

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover.

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask. 

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman. 

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger… 

From the global million-copy bestselling author comes a totally heart-racing, hold-your-breath read that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

About the author: 

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood has just been published.

Robert's books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza