Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros


If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.


*eARC received via Netgalley*


Full-length novel

Alternating First Person

Listing the triggers would be spoilers so I've made them 'invisible'.
Highlight between the sunflower markers to read or skip...

🌻 Death of a serving soldier, child with a life-threatening illness (cancer), child loss.🌻

No - Standalone.


Yes... But a bittersweet one.



No. You don't see any of that.

I'm so emotionally wrung out from this book... I just don't have the words to describe it.
I'll try but, I'm warning you now, I'll ramble and possibly be incoherent and may not make sense because to explain myself I'd have to give too many spoilers and you need to read this book without the spoilers. Yes, it'll punch you in the gut and you'll wish someone had told you the frigging journey you'd be on in reading it so you could avoid the pain, like a sane person, but don't be a sane person because this book deserves to be read.
It needs to be read.
It is beautiful, it is poignant, it's heart-breaking, it's bittersweet and it is a joy... A bittersweet joy that rips out your heart, stamps it into the mud, sets it on fire and then proceeds to haunt you and make you cry when you think about it days after finishing it.
(And you will think about it for days... Trust me.)

I knew the premise of the story was a soldier who didn't make it home (not a spoiler, it's in the blurb) sending his best friend to look after his sister. His family.
So, I knew the book would be emotional.
I just wasn't prepared for how emotional it would be.
I wasn't prepared for how much I'd love Beckett, Ella, and Ella's kids: Maise and Colt.
Hell, I even loved the damn dog and spent just as much time worrying about her as I did the rest of the characters!
I even loved the departed Ryan - Ella's brother - even though we only met him for like 5 minutes.

These people... They got under my skin.
They were real, fully-fleshed out people, and they sweep you up in their story, they take you on a journey, you fall in love with them, you care, you want everything to be okay, you fight with them, laugh with them, and you cry your ever-loving heart out with them.

Just when you think you have things figured out, things change. Just when you begin to think you're on the home-straight - that everything is going to be okay - you're hit by a frigging truck.

I LOVED this book and I HATED the ending.
The last 10-15% of the book can go frigging do one.
Hadn't we all been through enough?! Seriously?!
It's been three days and I still cannot accept it. I still cry over it - proper snot-inducing ugly cry - because wtf?
It's not fair.
I guess that's the point. Life isn't fair. Bad shit happens to good people. You can't take life for granted... I swear I've been clinging to my kid and husband like a traumatized loon since finishing this. I could have handled everything this book threw at me accept the final twist.

I can't honestly say I'll read this again - because I don't think I could survive the gauntlet of emotions a second time - but I know that this book will be one I remember forever. It'll be one that stays with me. One I think about. One I want to read again, for I'll miss these characters, but just can't.

I also know that this will be one of the best books I'll read this year without a shadow of a doubt.

The cover is poignant and emotive so fits the book.


"...Somewhere between letter number one and letter number four, I'd fallen in love with her. Fallen for her words, her strength, her insight and kindness, her grace under impossible circumstances, her love for her children, and her determination to stand on her own. I could list a thousand reasons that woman owned whatever heart I had.
But none of them mattered because, even though she was the woman I loved, to her, I was just a stranger."


Sunday, 24 February 2019

Weekly Update #49

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Now that's explained, it's on to my weekly recap!

It was half term week but as I'm quickly running out of leave the little dude spent most of it at his grandfather's house which suits him perfectly as grandad is his favourite person in the world, lol.

This meant four child-free days for me and the professor and what did we do?
We worked super long days, that's what we did.
Living the dream folks, lol.

However, we did get a day off together on Friday and we used it to take the little dude to Bath and visit the ancient Roman Baths they have there which he adored.

The weather has been unseasonably warm this week which has been nice. It's put me right in the mood for Spring.


OMG! This was so good. I'm seriously in love with this series. I actually sat and coloured while finishing off the last 3 hours of this audiobook as I couldn't stop listening, I needed more, and didn't want to have to wait until my next solo car journey to progress.
I also was utterly reluctant to stop listening and pick up the book to finish it when arriving home so perhaps a major breakthrough with audiobooks?!


I finally started this series! Yeay!
It was pretty good. Not awesome but good. I'm definitely going to continue and see how things progress.

I also blitzed through some kid's books I had received via NetGalley.

Kindle Unlimited

A new plagiarism shit storm hit romancelandia!
This time the author blamed it on the ghostwriter she hired to write her early books on fiver.
Hiring someone to write your books?! Seriously?!
So, what, people want to call themselves an author without actually having to work at it like all the others do? That is a nonsense and a half, isn't it?
I understand the need for a ghostwriter if an author dies and you want to finish an incomplete manuscript or something but to create entire works of fiction on your behalf? Utter bollocks.

A whole lot of nothing much.
Actually, I don't think the TV has been on beyond a re-watch of the Lego Batman Movie with the little dude on Friday night...

This woman is a legend. I love her!

Kiddie's Corner: Mini Reviews #4
Blitz: Fae's Captive by Lily Archer
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I love with fewer than 2000 ratings on Goodreads

Cover reveal: Kingdom of Sand and Wishes
Blitz: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros
Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros
Book Blogger Hop: Books to Ebooks: Is either exclusive?
Kiddie's Corner: Mini Reviews #4

Have a great week all!

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Kiddie's Corner: Mini Reviews #3

The Go Away Bird by Julia Donaldson


Release Date: March 7th 2019

A gorgeous story about friendship and working together from a star picture-book partnership, the inimitable Julia Donaldson and award-winning Catherine Rayner.

‘The Go-Away bird sat up in her nest, With her fine grey wings and her fine grey crest.’ One by one, the other birds fly into her tree, wanting to talk or to play, but the Go-Away bird just shakes her head and sends them all away. But then the dangerous Get-You bird comes along, and she soon realizes that she might need some friends after all . . .

The Go-Away Bird combines brilliant rhyming verse from much-loved children’s author Julia Donaldson, creator of the bestselling picture books The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard, with stunning illustrations from the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Catherine Rayner.

A charming story about the power of friendship from a thrilling creative partnership, this beautiful book is perfect for reading together.

My Thoughts: 

Ah I loved this! It's charming, funny and it has a lovely rhythm to it as well as a lesson to be learned. 100% classic Julia Donaldson.

Now I'm going to admit, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the dream team of children's books in my head (probably because their books where my son's favourites when he was little) but the pictures in The Go-Away Bird, drawn by a different artist, were beautiful and engaging and complimented the story wonderfully well forcing me to re-evaluate my knee jerk reaction that no one else can do Donaldson's books as well as he can: Catherine Rayner kicks ass.

I highly recommend this one for the little kiddos!

Kahlo's Koalas by Grace Helmer


Release Date: April 9th 2019

From Henri Matisse’s monkeys and Jackson Pollock's poodles to Roy Lichtenstein's llamas and Wassily Kandinsky’s kangaroos, this beautiful 1-10 counting book provides an imaginative learning experience that will appeal to adults and children alike.

Introduce your little one to some of the world’s best artists while teaching them their numbers 1 to 10. With illustrator Grace Helmer's quirky renderings of animals in the style of world-famous artists, Kahlo’s Koalas extends the basic counting concept in a simple, one number, one image per spread format that introduces the smallest children to their first concept of numbers, animals and art appreciation.

My Thoughts:

This book was not what I expected. I expected a book that would introduce artists and different artistic styles to children in a way that would actually explain a little about the artists and the styles. Instead, you have a book that takes you through 10 different artists - representing different artistic styles - but with no explanation of what any of it is until the very end when there is a little sentence about each.

I guess, if you're an art lover, you could look at a picture and discuss it with your child, compare and contrast with the other pictures and explain the stylistic differences but if you're expecting the book to do that for you? Think again. You can flip to the end after every picture and read the description and see if that keeps your kid interested in the subject matter...

A big difference would have been made to this book by having the stylistic descriptions on the actual page of the 'paintings' (or on the adjoining page) in order to educate and inform as you read. Having it all at the back - I fear - means the book misses its point and thus fails in its mission... However, the pictures are fun and the styles easily recognizable to those who have minimal knowledge of the subject (aka me).

*Both books were review copies received via Netgalley*