Book Review: Don’t Call Me Ugly by Alicia Douvall

I haven’t read an autobiography in a while and I was lucky enough to to win this book from a competition by the publisher Austin Macauley on Twitter.

                      

Book Description

A cautionary tale from the woman who spent over a million pounds on surgical procedures…
In this remarkable book entrepreneur, former model and occasional reality TV star Alicia Douvall tells the story of a life with more than its fair share of ups and downs. She opens up about her traumatic experiences with plastic surgery throughout the years and the treacherous journey towards self-acceptance: from the turmoil of operations going wrong, her inappropriate relations with one of her surgeons, to how she’s now reached the point where she acknowledges the mistakes she made by trying to alter her body so frequently, as well as the consequences of undergoing such life-changing procedures. 
Alicia reflects on her strict upbringing, her disastrously rebellious teenage years – which included expulsion from school and spending her young pregnancy moving from hostel to hostel and her often bad choices in partners, which strangely mirrored the relationships with her plastic surgeons. Alicia’s story is certainly emotive, yet allows the readers to experience her positive humour throughout.

My Review

I only knew of Alicia Douvall from watching Celebrity Big Brother a while back and I found her to be actually very fascinating. Although others may disagree with me.

Her autobiography starts off from when she was a little girl living at home with her parents and two older half sisters and takes you right up to the present day in her life.

                       

I have found her life to be extremely hard and upsetting at times as a reader but Alicia shows tremendous strength from within and a refusal to give up. Alicia has worked hard in getting this book out to her readers and I think it’s a very brave thing to do in writing this book all by herself without a ghostwriter like many other celebrities out there.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her journey.

I have given Don’t Call Me Ugly by Alicia Douvall 5 out of 5 stars.

Hardback Edition 344 pages
Published 4th December 2015 by Austin Macauley

Rachel xx

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book description taken from Goodreads for the purpose of this review only.

Book Review: Gone by Rebecca Muddiman

I have been browsing through the Bookbridgr website lately looking for some great books to read that were dark with lots of mystery and suspense, and this was the book I came across – Gone by Rebecca Muddiman. I have to say that the cover caught my eye to begin with. Then I read the description. I decided there and then that this was a book that I needed to read! So I applied to review it and luckily I was approved. The wait began then for it to arrive in the post!
            
Book Description

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. 11 years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to re investigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems. 
My Review

The book starts off with a prologue set in December 2010 and tells us that a body has been found in Blyth. It introduces us to DI Gardner and his doubts about how he ran the case back in 1999, a girl called Louise who has just seen on the TV that a body has been found in a place she used to call home and Lucas Yates who shared a history with Emma. 
I love the way that the book then flips to a couple days later in 2010 and introduces us to DS Freeman who now has a body on her hands, but needs to confirm the exact identity and make sure it is Emma. She has to go back and speak to DI Gardner who is very reluctant at first to help her out. 
The chapters flip between 1999 and 2010 throughout the book giving us an insight into Emma’s life before she disappeared and the circumstances around her death. I found some of these parts quite disturbing. Emma was a lovely daddy’s girl who got caught up with the wrong crowd after her mother’s death and everything seems to be getting worse and worse for her. I felt that she was very lonely and felt quite upset with the situation she ends up in. 
It’s one of those brilliantly written books where you feel as if you have become the character as you are reading along. I can highly recommend this book if you are looking for lots of thrills, mysteries and suspense. I can’t wait to read more of Rebecca Muddiman’s novels if this is only her second novel. 
I am so glad to have found this amazing new British crime writer!
I have given Gone by Rebecca Muddiman 5 out of 5 stars.
Paperback Edition 359 pages
Published 10th September 2015 by Mulholland Books
Disclaimer All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book received from Bookbridgr and Mulholland books free of charge for an honest review. Book description taken from Goodreads for the purpose of this review only.


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Book Review: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

I have been seeing lots of great reviews around for The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne and I couldn’t wait to read it. There has been lots of adverts around Facebook and Twitter regarding this book for a few months so I thought why not give it a go? I am sure I’m not alone in having a fascination with twins and reading about their strange connections with each other.
                   The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

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Book Review: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario

I love a good thriller, in fact it’s one of my favourite genres, and The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario mixes classical music, with mystery and intrigue. 
I am not a huge classical music fan but, I was willing to give this book a go as it looks like a great thrill. The jacket on the hardback version which I received to review from Oceanview Publishing, does not give much way picture wise. This makes it very visually appealing and wanting the reader to find out what it’s all about. 
                     

Book Description

A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

             

My Review

It didn’t take me very long to read this book. The chapters are very short and well written. The author has written this book in a very beautiful way, describing the locations with an artistic feel. 
The main character Maggie, a concert pianist, is a strong female lead and has been through a great deal of heartache with the deaths of her husband and best friend, and now her godson missing. This has led her to give up on music and go in search of her missing godson Tommy. Maggie embarks on a journey that takes her into a world of stolen art, music and terrorism, and not all is what it seems. There is also a romantic element to the book in the form of Maggie’s ex-lover, and this gives us another dimension into her character.
There are many twists and turns along the way, that made it a bit hard to keep up. Especially as I was turning each page quickly to see what happens next! 
I would really recommend this book to thriller/mystery fans even if you are not fans of classical music/art. I know that I will re-read it one day so I have more time to take it all in and not speed through it at 100mph like I did this time. I think this book deserves it.
I have given The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario 5 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 443 pages
Published 1st July 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx
Disclaimer I was given this hardback copy to read and review free of charge from Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.

Book Review: Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

When I first saw the cover of this book I thought the title was a little strange. What does Method 15/33 mean? With a picture of a pair of hands tied up with rope does not give much away to the reader. I was eager to find out what it’s all about.
Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk
Book Description:
 
Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped Alone Terrified.

Now forget her …

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical, calculating, scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits for the perfect moment to strike. “Method 15/33” is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.

The agents trying to find a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?
My Review:
 
The book is fairly short, and action packed with great characters. The main character is a very heavily pregnant 16 year old, who is creepily calm about her situation. Her kidnappers want only her baby to sell on and have no need for her at all. She is very methodical in studying her surroundings cataloging everything around her which could be used to her advantage. This is really smart and gives you an insight to what she is really like, and won’t give up without a fight.
The girl makes it really hard to connect with her as a reader as she seems quite emotionless and cold at times. I did struggle with this. As an avid reader I love to connect with the main characters in a novel.
The author has written a well described physchological thriller and a great page turner. The plot is fairly simple but the details surrounding the girls plot to escape with the numbering  of things around her can get a bit confusing.
I have given Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk 3 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 226 pages
Published 5th May 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx
Disclaimer: I was given this hardback edition to read and review free of charge by Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description  taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.

Win a copy of Atonement by Ian McEwan

It’s been a while since I ran a competition due to troublesome morning sickness and extreme tiredness! So now I am feeling much better since hitting the second trimester, I want to get back to some kind of normality which is blogging and comping.
I first read this exact book over 10 years ago, and is one of my favourites, now I would like to share this beautifully written book with you. Atonement by Ian McEwan was also made into a film starring Keira Knightley and  James McAvoy. 
The story is a gracefully written English drama about two young lovers, Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner. Their lives are torn apart one summer’s day in 1934 when Cecilia’s jealous younger sister Briony constructs a lie and accuses Robbie of a crime he didn’t commit. This results in Robbie being placed in prison. The consequences of that day are shown over the course of six decades where Briony spends the rest of her life trying to atone for what she did.
           
You cannot cosy up with a great book without some chocolate, so I am also giving away a few little chocolates to go with Atonement.
To enter this giveaway, please fill in the Rafflecopter below. Due to postage costs this will be a UK only competition. Good Luck.
Rachel xx

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Terms and Conditions

There is one prize of a paperback copy of Atonement and mini chocolates as shown in the image above – the prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter.com from all valid entries and be notified by Twitter. The winner will have 14 days to respond with a valid UK postal address before a new winner is selected. Open to all UK entrants aged 18 or over only. Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway. 
Entry to this competition confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

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