Review: Humankind by Rutger Bregman

SYNOPSIS

It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest.

Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.

In this major book, international-bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world’s most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the cooperation seen in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford Prison Experiment to the true story of the Kitty Genovese murder, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think – and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society.

It is time for a new view of human nature.

MY REVIEW

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Another 10 days and it would have taken me a whole month to read and finish this book! I actually don’t remember the last time it took me so long to read a book!

For me Humankind is too information dense to be read at the speed of a normal book. It’s a hefty 464 pages worth of research, history and facts and was totally worth the time and effort it took to read it.

Rutger Bregman brings you a book full of reason for and against people’s humanity, dragging various research and historical events to demonstrate different points. Some parts were boring but not enough to give me an indication that I should give up. In fact, it’s written with the perfect amount of humour and seriousness to make this a somewhat easy read for anyone who doesn’t usually make non fiction reading a daily occurrence. I should also point out that the boring parts were about things I have no interest in.

This was an ebook so I’m likely to buy the physical book just so I can actually tab all the sections that I found really interesting and educational (without highlighting the entire bloody book!).

Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing, Netgalley and Rutger Bregman for giving me access to an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: The FlatShare by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out 

the window…


Okay, this is the second book that has been compared to a Jojo Moyes novel that I’ve read and loved. I think it’s time to trust that any book compared to Moyes’ writing will be

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Instagram: @bibliophoenix

something that I’ll enjoy. I haven’t been a massive fan of romantic fiction because of the increasing amount of fast paced psychological thrillers I read but I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised.

I LOVED Tiffy and her protective friends and I’m so glad I have friends like them. This was a fast paced story that gave me such a

warm feeling – can I meet my own Leon pretty please? The story involves a domineering, psychologically abusive, stalker ex boyfriend who you really want to slap into another universe. There’s a brief mentioned of Gilmore Girls which I loved and I just found The Flatshare to be such a funny and light hearted read!

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Book Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

 

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Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.
Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie . . .

The stunning, twisty new psychological thriller from number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh, author of I LET YOU GO and I SEE YOU.

This is my honest opinion in exchange for a review copy of the ebook I was kindly granted to read through NetGalley thanks to the publisher. I have to say, I was rather disappointed with this addition after the excitement of not only knowing Clare had written another psychological thriller but also that I would be able to read it very soon! I loved I Let You Go and I See You, though according to Goodreads I knocked a star back on the latter. 

For me Let Me Lie was just too slow for my liking and while the writing was fantastic as always I just didn’t enjoy the book. I actually really wanted to skim read after so many plot twists that I just thought “jeez, another?!”. None of the characters were likeable to me other than Murray who is retired but still working for the police as a civilian which I loved. 

Let Me Lie will be published by Sphere on March 8th 2018. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

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Review: Twenty Years a Stranger by Deborah Twelves

SYNOPSIS

Is it possible for anyone to really know another person?

That is the question Grace King must ask herself when she receives an email informing her that the man she has been married to for the last twenty years is an accomplished con-man, leading multiple lives with at least four different women. Worse still, she learns he has children with these women, but Daniel always told Grace he didn’t want children…

In a split second, Grace’s world is torn apart. She is forced to face up to the fact that her marriage is a sham and the enviable lifestyle she enjoyed with Daniel was all based on lies and deceit. With Daniel suddenly threatening to go bankrupt, Grace decides to turn amateur detective in an attempt to salvage anything she can from her old life and avoid financial as well as emotional ruin, but can she cope with what she finds out?  

As increasingly disturbing secrets about Daniel emerge, events spiral out of control and Grace begins to see just how far he is prepared to go to protect those secrets. A dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues, but it is clear there can only ever be one winner. Pushed to breaking point, Grace is about to discover what she is truly capable of.

Everyone has choices and those choices always have consequences.

Based on true events, this compelling story is filled with twists and turns and sadness and laughter that will keep readers gripped until the very last moment.

MY REVIEW

This was such a gripping story from the very beginning. I had such a hard time putting it down! Twenty Years a Stranger is written so well you wouldn’t think it was a debut novel. It’s a page-turner that’s full of mystery and takes you on such an emotional rollercoaster that you have to take breaks to get some air back into you. The story is absolutely crazy but completely believable – especially given it’s based on true events. I really don’t know what more to say other than it comes highly recommended from me if you enjoy a good mystery that just doesn’t seem to stop surprising you.

I’m really looking forward to the sequel given the cliff hanger at the end!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deborah Twelves was born in Sheffield, but raised in Ponteland, Northumberland. She studied French and Spanish at Edinburgh University and taught languages for some years while living in France, Spain and Northern Quebec. She now divides her time between her  home in Pwllheli, on the Llyn Peninsula of North Wales and her family home in Northumberland but often travels abroad. She has a black Labrador called Nala and a black Lusitano horse called Recurso (Ric), who take up a lot of her spare time, although yacht racing, which she began at an early age with her father, remains her great passion.

Deborah has written many articles for the sailing press over the years and Twenty Years a Stranger is her debut novel, based on true events in her life.

Much thanks goes to Deborah Twelves and Emmal Welton for giving me access to this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

You can view an interview with the author by Alison Pierse here.

Deborah Twelves can be found on her Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can purchase her debut here.

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Review: Hijab & Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran

SYNOPSIS

Being a teenager isn’t easy. And it doesn’t help when you have a mega strict Egyptian dad who tells you that everything is “haram” a.k.a. forbidden. All Sara wants to do is experiment with makeup, listen to the latest Destiny’s Child single and read fashion magazines, but her dad’s conservative interpretation of Islam makes it impossible. Things get even harder when her dad lands himself a job in the Arabian Gulf and moves Sara and her family to a country where the patriarchy rules supreme. In a country where you have to have your father’s permission for everything, every door feels like it is being closed on Sara’s future. In a desperate bid for freedom, Sara makes a judgement call that threatens to ruin their dysfunctional father-daughter relationship forever.

An insight into life as a young British Muslim woman growing up between London and the Middle East, this is a tale of a woman’s difficult quest to find herself, and an exclusive insight into life in countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, where people’s personal lives are rarely spoken about.

MY REVIEW

Hi everyone! It’s my turn on the Hijab & Red Lipstick blog tour and I’m so glad to be able to tell you about this insightful and inspiring page-turner.

I read about this book whose title and synopsis caught my attention on Twitter, being a woman of Middle Eastern origin myself. Hijab & Red Lipstick is the story of London-born Sara who is the eldest of her siblings and was born and raised in London. Things start to take a turn for the worst when her dad gains a job in the Arabian Gulf and drags the whole family with him, leaving behind their Western lifestyle for a stricter and more religious life in the Middle East. Hijab & Red Lipstick is Sara’s struggle with this new life that’s been forced on her and her journey of discovery.

This only took me two days to get through because of how invested I was in the story. It’s so well written and it’s such an inspirational story that I’m not surprised Yousra won the Hashtag Press competition 2020! Whilst this is an excellent work of fiction it’s the reality for women in many countries and some parts weren’t easy to read because of the injustice and abuse the characters experience. It’s also not often I get to read a story that I can relate to to some extent.

Hijab & Red Lipstick is well worth a read and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the blog tour. Thanks goes to Yousra Imran & Helen Lewis at Literally PR for sending me a e-copy to read in exchange for my honest review!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

We are working with indie publishing house Hashtag Press on the launch of this YA Fiction, Hijab & Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran. Due for release on November 5 th 2020, we’re happy to work with you on the blog tour to help spread the word! Yousra Imran is English-Egyptian who works and lives in West Yorkshire. She won the Hashtag Press 2020 competition and her prize is to see her debut novel published! Yousra has been writing from the moment she learned how to hold a pen and works full time in marketing and events in the education sector.

Yousra grew up between the UK and the Middle East and has a BA Hons in International Relations. She is passionate about women’s rights and gender justice. Yousra lives with her husband in Bradford, Yorkshire.

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Review: Under Your Skin by Rose McClelland

SYNOPSIS

When Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing, the whole town is out in force to try to find her. One person knows where she is. One person is keeping a secret.

Detective Inspector Simon Peters and Detective Kerry Lawlor have been brought in to investigate the case but Hannah has left no traces and Kyle has no clues.

Local Belfast resident Julia Matthews joins the #FindHannah campaign and becomes friendly with Kyle, sympathising with his tragedy. As Julia becomes more involved in the case than she bargained for, she begins to uncover more secrets than the Police ever could. Julia was only trying to help but has she become drawn into a web of mystery that she can’t escape?

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MY REVIEW

Under Your Skin was an addictive read and one which didn’t take me long to get through. Its first pages did a brilliant job of grabbing my attention but not all books are able to keep the reader reading following such a start to the story. It’s told from different perspectives which I really enjoy in books.

The key point of the story is domestic abuse which is uncomfortable to read but Rose has done a great job with Under Your Skin. At first you really feel sorry for Kyle but once the story unfolds with the help of what’s happened in the past, you begin to understand who Kyle really is.

I thought the plot was really clever. I won’t say exactly why because this would ruin the story but it’s one well worth reading!

Thank you to Emma Welton for my spot on the blog tour!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Under Your Skin is Rose’ fourth novel. Her previous three novels were romantic fiction published by Crooked Cat. She has made the genre jump from ‘chick lit’ to psychological thriller and is enjoying delving into a darker corner of her mind!

Rose has also written two short plays which were performed in the Black Box theatre in Belfast.

She discusses book reviews on her YouTube channel and writes theatre reviews for her blog.

She love nothing more than curling up with her cats and a good book. She has two rescue cats – Toots, who is ginger with an inquisitive face and Scoots, who is black and hops along on his 3 legs looking ever so cute.

You can find Rose on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

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Review: Deadline by Geoff Major

SYNOPSIS

Adam Ferranti was drinking away his waking hours, getting by in a regional newspaper in the North of England. An award-winning journalist, he moved to England to escape the media glare that followed his spectacular fall from grace at The Washington Post; only to be thrust back in it when a mysterious serial killer decides to make him his confidante.

DS Stephanie Walker is a successful member of the West Yorkshire Police force. Whilst she is tough and results-driven at work, with a fearsome reputation on the streets, she hides the domestic abuse she suffers at home.
She finds Ferranti exceptionally difficult to deal with, but he’s her only chance to stay close to what the elusive killer is planning next. Ferranti reluctantly complies with the Police, even though he is fighting his own personal demons, but when his best friend is murdered by the killer, it suddenly gets personal. And suddenly, no-one is quite who they seemed to be

Ratings & Reviews | Salters Medical Practice

MY REVIEW

Deadline is such a gripping crime thriller! It’s a nice police mystery that follows the investigation of a series of murders for which DS Walker and her force are struggling to solve. That is until Adam comes into the picture – a journalist who doesn’t really appear credible but has unwillingly obtained the murderer’s attention.

DS Walker is a strong female lead in the story but also experiences domestic and sexual violence by her struggling model husband.

This was fast paced and unpredictable which just how I like my crime thrillers! Definitely one worth picking up on publication!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A long time ago, Geoff Major had an idea for a story, whilst walking his girls to primary school. Two years ago, he decided he had the time and patience to try to write the story down. His wife was wholly supportive, so he turned from full-time to part-time for four months and now – 23 years after that idea first popped into his head – it has been published.
As a self-employed business consultant for 18 years and a fundraising adventurer for 10 years (including ski-trekking 50 miles, over 6 days and 6 nights, to the geographic North Pole), he now works for a debt charity whilst plotting his next three books.

Geoff can be found on Twitter, on Instagram or on his blog.

Thanks to Emma Walton for organising the tour and allowing me to be a part of it.

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Review: Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

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SYNPSIS

ARE YOU READY TO START THIS CONVERSATION?
Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.

With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…

MY REVIEW

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I had no idea that Zara was due to make a return so I was pleasantly surprised when I recognised her name in the book!

I’ve yet to read anything similar to Truth Be Told. The plot really gripped me with the story of Kamran and his battle for justice and to be believed. It really got to me because of the issues in the book which resemble those of reality; homophobia within the BME culture, society’s expectations, especially within BME culture and toxic masculinity.

Kia Abdullah has a great way with words which really grip you and make you think. What actually happened that night? Will anyone believe him?

Kamran’s isn’t the only story that will stay with me. Each character has their own problem, this enables the reader to understand why each character is the way they are. One event leads to another which results in the end product and has disastrous consequences.

Thanks to HQStories, Kia Abdullah and NetGalley for an advanced eArc of Truth Be Told in exchange for my honest review!

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Review: Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

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SYNOPSIS

Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it.

But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret.

How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.

Peeling away the layers of two overlapping marriages, Here is the Beehive is a devastating excavation of risk, obsession and loss. 

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MY REVIEW

This was a bit hard to get into at first because of the writing style which is similar to a poem, but once I got used to it I couldn’t help but be immersed in Ana’s affair. Ana as a character is not likeable but her emotion is raw, though quite disturbing. I really felt for her and the grief that she couldn’t confide in anyone about.

It’s a sad story. Ana has a beautiful family but has put them to the side in order to live the adulterous life she wants. I feel like Here Is The Beehive isn’t to be read for the story but the writing and the pain, suffering and love that is beautifully expressed.

The story is given through the past and present so that you’re given a view of how Connor and Ana’s relationship was. For me, the paragraphs separating the past from the present wasn’t done very well as I tended to get confused by what was happening.

Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing, Netgalley and Sarah Crossan for giving me an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: The Arrangement by Miranda Rijks

SYNOPSIS

How well do you know your daughter?

Grace is living through every mother’s worst nightmare. Her student daughter Abi went away on a dream vacation to South Africa – and was murdered.
 
Overwhelmed by grief, and fighting off old demons which have resurfaced, Grace tries to make sense of it – who would want to kill her beautiful girl?
 
But as she learns more about Abi’s life in the UK, she realises she didn’t know her own daughter very well. How did Abi acquire all those designer clothes? And what was she doing on those mysterious trips to London?
 
Grace desperately needs to find answers. But soon it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her digging into Abi’s secret past. Someone who knows how to use Grace’s own weaknesses against her, sending her on a journey to the darkest hell…

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MY REVIEW

This gripped my attention from the first couple of pages and I really wanted to know what had happened to Abi. As the protagonist in the story I really couldn’t stand Grace and her behaviour. Whilst she claimed she was aware of her alcoholism, I don’t think she cared enough to help herself or truly be there for her youngest daughter.

The Arrangement is a psychological thriller/mystery which leaves the reader gasping in shock at the things Grace finds out about her daughter. Things that mother’s would never want for their child. But is Grace an alcoholic who is becoming delusional about her daughter’s murder or is she actually revealing mysteries which can help track down who actually killed her? As the reader it’s hard to know what to believe given that Grace behaves like an insane person which I think adds to the plot.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her website

The Arrangement is available in the UK and the US!

Thanks so much to Emma Walton and Miranda Rijks for my eArc in exchange for my honest review! Please take the time to check out the other awesome bloggers in the tour!

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Review: The Child Who Never Was by Jan Renshaw

Her child has been taken. But no-one believes her.

Sarah’s beautiful baby son Oliver has gone missing. And she will do anything – anything – to get him back.

But there’s a problem. Everyone around Sarah, even her beloved identical twin, Evie, tells her she never had a son, that he’s a figment of her imagination, that she’s not well, she needs help. wp-1597573024139.jpg

And on one level, they’re right, Sarah does need support. She has suffered massive trauma in the past and now she’s severely agoraphobic, very rarely leaves the house, avoids all contact with people.

But fragile though she is, Sarah knows deep in her heart that Oliver is real, that the love she feels for him is true.

And that can only mean one thing – someone has been planning this. And now they’ve taken her baby.


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This had me hooked from the get go! I didn’t know if Sarah was telling the truth – one minute I believed she was and the next something happened that made me doubt myself because Sarah and Evie are identical twins. It irritated my wanting desperately to know the truth which is what made this such a page-turner!

The Child Who Never Was is a fantastic psychological thriller that I’m so grateful I was able to read and review. Who do you believe when everyone on the outside; the GP, the neighbours etc., think that Sarah has lost it again and James is not Oliver as Sarah truly believes? How far would you go to take your twin’s child by taking advantage of their vulnerable state to make him your own? The twin who you spent your whole life protecting and controlling?

I could sense a big ending given what was going on but I wasn’t anticipating the actual ending. Wow!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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As a child, Jane spent a lot of time in elaborate Lego worlds populated by tiny plastic animals and people. Crime levels were high, especially after the Dragon brothers set themselves up as vets and started murdering the animals in their ‘care’. (They got away with it by propping the victims up with Plasticine and pretending they were still…) As an adult, she is still playing in imaginery worlds and putting her characters through hell – but now she can call it ‘writing’ and convince herself that she is doing something sensible. In real life, she has a PhD in genetics and copy-edits scientific medical journals. 

Jane is the author of Watch Over Me. The Child Who Never Was is her second novel.

You can find her on Twitter and you can visit her website

So much thanks to the amazing Emma Watson for letting me part of the blog tour and Jane Renshaw for a truly gripping book. 

The Child Who Never Was is published by Inkubator Books and is available in the UK here and the US here!

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Review: The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal

Nazir Afzal knows a thing or two about justice. As a Chief Prosecutor, it was his

job to make sure the most complex, violent and harrowing crimes made it to court, and that their perpetrators were convicted. From the Rochdale sex ring to the earliest prosecutions for honour killing and modern slavery, Nazir was at the forefront of the British legal system for decades.

But his story begins in Birmingham, in the sixties, as a young boy facing racist violence and the tragic death of a young family member – and it’s this that sets him on the path to his groundbreaking career, and which enables him to help communities that the conventional justice system ignores, giving a voice to the voiceless.

A memoir of struggle and survival as well as crime and punishment, The Prosecutor is both a searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth.


This was such a great and insightful book to read and one I managed to get through during one weekend! The Prosecutor is Nazir’s autobiography revealing several cases (some high profile) which he has dealt with and written in such an easy-to-read format. Being a criminology graduate, I absolutely love these types of books but they can sometimes be written like a textbook. The Prosecutor, however, is not!

Whilst Nazir talks in some length about cases he’s won, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that the British justice system is lacking and that has had a continued impact on people’s attempts to get justice as well as an impact on their lives. The stories he speaks of makes you grateful that there are a few people out there like Nazir who truly want justice and are obtaining it on our behalf – especially those of us who don’t have the right voice. I’m so sad Nazir felt he had to step down in order to remind himself of the joys of life and I’m so angry that society and our justice system isn’t getting any better. But this book is a reminder not to give up on helping those in need and fight for what you believe in!

Thanks so much to Ebury Publishing and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

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