Mike & The Mechanics – Let Me Fly (15/52)

Love the piano intro to this ballad, the verse and then the soaring chorus and the moment the backing singers come in gives me chills.

Some of my favourite pop/rock songs are those that combine a little bit of a gospel choir in their tunes.  I dare you not to be singing along with this by the time you’re halfway through.

Excellent song from an awesome album.

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s AwakeningARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

One-Sentence Summary: Growing up as a woman in Saudi Arabia

Review: This book gave a fascinating insight into what of the most paradoxical countries in the world – on the one hand there are Saudis competing who can drive the most expensive car and buying into all kinds of Western ideals, on the other hand they won’t even recognise women as being their own person and not in need of a male “guardian” to speak for them.

I have no shame in admitting that I didn’t know too much about Saudi Arabia. What I knew was a balance of the stereotyping I hear in the media and a friend trying to tell me it’s not as oppressive there as the media makes out any more. I think the media got it right for once!

One of the most fascinating things for me was learning that Saudi Arabia went the opposite way to nearly every other country out there: instead of becoming more open and less oppressive in the mid-end 90’s, it actually became more dictatorial and it was the younger generation that forced religious extremism on their parents.

Manal al-Sharif gives a very honest description of what she went through as a child from regular beatings from her father to female circumcision. Her change from religious extremism to fighting for women’s rights was really fascinating to read. Hardly any of us can fathom how anyone could get imprisoned for the crime of being a woman driver. A real eye-opener and reinforced the belief that even if could travel there (which I can’t), I wouldn’t want to.

Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5) by @SarahMorgan_

Holiday in the Hamptons  (From Manhattan with Love #5)“Long story. Come to think of it, everything in my life is a long story. I don’t seem to manage the short, simple version. Forget novellas, I’m War and Peace meets Game of Thrones, without the dragons and dead people.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

Trope: Reconciliation Romance

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Broken hearts learn to heal at the beach

Review: Ahhh this was everything I hoped it would be ever since we first met Fliss in New York, Actually.

Seth and Fliss gave me all the FEELS and the build-up and UST between them was borderline overwhelming. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of their story so that’s all I’m going to say about their relationship for now.

Other things I loved was the beach setting and the relationships between Fliss and Grandma and Fliss and Harriet (hope we get to enjoy more of that in the next book) – I love the contrast between Fliss the impulsive feisty one and Harriet the quiet reliable one. I thought it was a nice idea bringing back Chase/Matilda from the novella that started the whole series and cameo appearances from the three heroines from the first trilogy in the series.

If all that wasn’t enough to win me over then the abundance of cute dogs sure did.

I am looking forward to Harriet’s story but can’t help but feel that the series has peaked with this book as writing reconciliation romances definitely seems to be Morgan’s forte.

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by @RobertBryndza

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster, #4)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

One-Sentence Summary: A serial killer is targeting young girls and Erika must stop him

Review: One of my favourite crime authors is back with the latest book in his fantastic crime series and it is everything you’ve come to expect from an Erika Foster novel: the detective forces herself on a case and will stop at nothing to solve it.

I love her relationships with Moss and Peterson and they were at the forefront of this novel just as much as her battles with her superior officers.

Like I’ve said before, the fact that most of the story takes place in familiar locations to me of South East London and Kent is a real added bonus and Bryndza’s descriptions certainly make me feel like I’m right there with the characters.

Now we’re four books in, I can’t help but wonder when the case that killed Erika’s husband is going to come back to haunt her ….

‘It’s your bed… I’m not used to sleeping on such a soft bed,’ she said, tipping her head back and enjoying the release on her tense shoulders.
‘Erika, that’s a really expensive memory foam mattress.’
There was a knock at the door and Moss entered, just as Erika said: ‘Well, it’s not hard enough for me…’
‘Sorry, is this a bad time?’ said Moss, looking between them. Peterson dropped his hands.
‘No, we were… It’s fine,’ said Erika, sifting through the papers in front of her.
‘And we were talking about my mattress, my mattress not being hard…’ said Peterson, moving back around the desk.
‘It’s memory foam. The mattress. Very soft,’ added Erika. There was an awkward pause.
‘Thank God for that,’ grinned Moss. ‘Although I do have a friend who’s tried Viagra, and he says it’s changed his life… Another friend thinks laughter is the best medicine, but I suppose that’s not very helpful when it’s things going soft.’
‘A soft mattress is very good for you,’ said Peterson, a little defensively. Erika and Moss started to laugh. ‘It is!’
‘Come on, I’m only teasing,’ said Moss, giving Peterson a nudge.
‘Idiot.’ He grinned. Erika was pleased they’d had the opportunity to laugh, even for a moment. It had broken the tension.