Thursday, 17 September 2020

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck - Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck - 4/5 
Blurb:
"Helsinki: Detective Jessica Niemi is called to investigate a brutal murder in  an affluent suburb.

A bestselling author's wife has been killed. But this is no ordinary murder: ritualistic and grisly, she is found dead dressed in a black evening gown, sitting at the end of an empty dining table, her face frozen in a bone-chilling smile. As more murders follow, each mirroring scenes from the  writer's Witch Hunter novels, it seems to be the work of an obsessive fan.

But Jessica soon realises this is not the work of one person. As the countdown begins to beat the killers to their next move, the motives seem far too personal. The hunt is on, but no-one is quite what they seem and as her own dark past comes to light, Jessica must battle her own demons while trying to catch the killers before they claim their next victim."

Review:
Oh wow, there is so much going on in this book.

Roger Koponen is the author of a series of Witch Hunter books. Whilst away at an event, his wife is murdered in their home in a style reminiscent of the murders in his books.

Jessica Niemi and the rest of the police department quickly try to find out what other deaths happen and how they happen, so they can prevent them.

The main bulk of the story, the investigation, is set over two days and it is jam packed. We also hear about Jessica's brief relationship that she had with a man named Colombano when she was visiting Venice when she was around 20 years old.

The plot is fantastic. The police officers are desperately hunting for clues to bring everything together and I thought I had it sussed quite early on. My head is still spinning with the amount of twists. So many parts shocked me. It touches on mental illness and the supernatural/the occult and I feel like that's all I can say without giving away too much!

It is set in Finland and I could just imagine it as a English-subtitled Netflix drama. It is a long book with short chapters so it is easy to fly through and it was great to get backstories of the police officers too. 
Tuesday, 15 September 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper

(AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. If you click to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.)

If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper - 5/5 

Blurb:
"Jennifer Jones' life began when her little sister, Kerry, was born. So when her sister dies in a tragic accident, nothing seems to make sense any more.

Despite the support of her husband, Ed, and their wonderful children, Jen can't comprehend why she is still here, while bright, spirited Kerry is not.

When Jen starts to lose herself in her memories of her sister, she doesn't realise that the closer she feels to Kerry, the further she gets from her family.

Jen was never able to say goodbye to her sister. But what if she could?

Would you risk everything if you had the chance to say goodbye?"

Review:
This book is utterly beautiful.

Jennifer's sister Kerry dies in front of her. Kerry saves Jennifer's life by pushing her out of the way of an oncoming car and she takes the impact.

The story follows Jennifer, her husband Ed and their two children, Hailey and Oscar, focusing on how they deal with Kerry's death. Ed can see a change in Jennifer's behaviour and becomes worried about her. Jennifer is hallucinating her sister and often interacts with her, leaving Ed to think that she's having a breakdown. Jennifer blames herself for her death.

The pace of this book is fantastic and you can see the steady decline in Jen's mental health. It is so beautifully written. There are moments that make you want to laugh and others that have you almost crying.

Ed is just the most wonderful character. He absolutely adores his wife and just wants to make everything better for her. Everyone needs an Ed in their life! 

It is funny, full of emotion and heartbreaking. I would definitely recommend.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Vet Squad Toys - Review

 [AD/Gifted - We received these items for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]


E is a massive animal lover, she will instantly make a beeline towards any animal that she sees so I've always said that I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up being a veterinarian when she's older.



Vet Squad is a new range of toys from Vivid Toys which, as you can probably guess by the name, are centred around vets, but the best thing is that they are all female characters.


There are a few different toys in the range, all at different price points, and they have teamed up with Sea Life Trust to donate some of the money raised from the sale of these toys. We received:

  • Vet Squad Air Adventure (£16.99)
  • Vet Squad Reef Rescue (£12.99)
  • Vet Squad Forest Rescue (£12.99)
  • Vet Squad Animal 3 pack (£3.99)
  • 4 x Vet Squad Vet & Pet sets (£7.99 each)
E wanted to open the smaller sets first, the individual characters that come with their own animal; Emily & Brooke the Dog, Yara & Luna the Rabbit, Robin & Snowy the Owl, Ava & Leo the Cat. Each character has a little backpack with two different veterinary objects to help them do their job. These can attach onto the backpacks and you can also put them in their hands.


I love the diversity with the characters. Not only do we have characters of different races but Robin wears glasses too! As a glasses-wearer myself, I was very excited about this as it is quite rare to see when it comes to children's toys.


Next up, the Reef Rescue and Forest Rescue. The Reef Rescue set comes with an Emily figure, the speedboat, a turtle (complete with removable bandage on its flipper, stethoscope, bucket and sponge. The Forest Rescue set comes with an Ava figure, the jeep, elephant with a feeding bottle and a little case that holds a bucket, sponge and a pair of sunglasses.

The play options are great with these sets. E liked to put her characters in different scenarios, having them rescue the poor, injured animals. The figures are poseable and E just needed a little help to get them into the seats of the vehicles. Each items is well made and to make the sets even more exciting, if you wipe the injured area of the animals with warm water, it will disappear like the vet has fixed them!


E has taken to filling up the bathroom sink and bringing the Reef Rescue set in for some water play too.

The Air Adventure set is probably the most exciting one in my opinion. In this set, you get the helicopter, Robin figure, a horse and another case which holds smaller accessories. The helicopter has a real working winch so it can rescue the horse from danger.


E has enjoyed playing with all of the sets together. The speedboat that comes with the Reef Rescue set has a hole at the back so she would pretend that Emily's speedboat had gotten into difficulty and use the winch to pull it out. I love that each set has it's own functionality but can all work well together.

If you want to add more to your collections, the Animal 3 packs are great. Inside these sets, you get two animals and an accessory. These would make great little stocking fillers for children who already own any of the bigger sets.


There is full Vet Surgery Playset due for release at the beginning of October and judging by how much E absolutely loves the rest of the range, Santa will definitely be bringing it!

You can check out the full Vet Squad range at Smyths Toys.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

[This post contains affiliate links. If you click to buy anything through a link in the post, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]


Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah - 5/5 


Blurb:

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...

 

Review:

"Because without changing problematic men - without changing the system that makes them that way - we can't improve things for women."


I absolutely loved Take It Back by Kia Abdullah so I was worried that Truth Be Told wouldn't be able to hold a candle to it. I was wrong. Another fantastic read by Abdullah.


Kamran Hadid attends Hampton, a prestigious boys' boarding school. To the Hadids, appearances are everything.


After a party on campus, a drunken Kamran realises that he has been raped by a fellow student, Finn Andersen.


The book follows the court case and the repercussions for all involved. There are two sides to the story and both parties believe their truth.


It is a very deep story that touches on the stigma surrounding male rape, the differences between the strength of men and women (why didn't he fight him off?) and gay people in the Muslim community.


It was great to see Zara Kaleel back again and to follow her personal story. You can read this one as a standalone without having read Take It Back, but it is fantastic so I would definitely read that first.


Truth Be Told is full of emotion and kept surprising me. Five out of five stars isn't enough for this one!