February 2024 – Book Reviews

February was yet again another successful month in my reading journey, full of great reads. With a total of six books read,  only one fell slightly short of expectations, though it certainly wasn’t a complete letdown.  So, without delay, grab a cup of tea and join me as we delve into the reviews that defined my February 2024 – Book Reviews.

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A Flicker In The Dark – Stacy Willingham

February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: Chloe Davis’ past is haunted by a chilling revelation: her father, a notorious serial killer, was convicted and imprisoned when she was just twelve. However, the sinister legacy of his crimes lingers, as the bodies of his victims were never recovered, lost in the vast and ominous Louisiana swamps. The aftermath shattered Chloe’s family, leaving indelible scars.

Despite the darkness that clings to her history, Chloe has managed to rebuild her life. A respected psychologist in Baton Rouge with a loving fiancé, she appears to have moved beyond the horrors of her past. Yet, an incessant tick-tick-tick of paranoia persists, a constant reminder that the fragile peace she has found might crumble at any moment.

As the anniversary of her father’s heinous crimes approaches, Chloe’s worst nightmares begin to materialize. A familiar face from her life goes missing, signalling the resurgence of a sinister force. The nightmare she thought she escaped has returned, threatening to unravel the carefully constructed facade of her new life.

My Review:

My first time reading this author’s work, A Flicker In The Dark did not live up to the hype. Firstly, I must express that I have mixed feelings about this book. Probably due to my personal preference when it comes to storytelling, this wasn’t as enjoyable as it might be for someone else. 

Having said that, let’s dive in. This book was as repetitive as a daily commute. Too much of the narrative was spent in Chloe’s head. With excessive ruminating and not enough doing, what should have been a nerve-wracking thriller, ended up being a drag. Also, the scant dialogue hindered any sort of character development.

In an attempt to make the main character seem relatable, the author made her highly unlikeable. Chloe spent most of the book drugged and confused, making stupid decisions which don’t seem to align with adult behaviour, especially considering she was a psychologist. And then, to top it off, the slow plot progression dampened my interest at the turn of every page. 

The mystery aspect was good, however, had the story moved at a faster pace, it would have undoubtedly enhanced the overall reading experience.

When it comes to plot twists, two of them caught me completely off guard, the rest were quite predictable. 

Will I give Stacy Willingham another chance? Probably. The writing was good, despite the story execution falling short. 

Powerless – Lauren Roberts

February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: In the realm of Ilya, only the extraordinary are deemed worthy. The Elites, possessing unique powers bestowed upon them by the Plague, have reigned for decades. Conversely, the Ordinary, lacking these extraordinary abilities, are relegated to the fringes of society and cast out from the kingdom.

Caught in the intricate web of deception is Paedyn Gray, an Ordinary cleverly masquerading as an Elite. When an unexpected turn of events leads her to rescue Kai Azer, one of Ilya’s princes, Paedyn finds herself thrust into the heart of the Purging Trials—a merciless competition designed to showcase her supposed ‘Elite’ powers.

Surviving the Trials is a challenge in itself, with formidable opponents and deadly obstacles in her path. However, Paedyn faces an even greater threat: the burgeoning feelings she harbours for Prince Kai. The stakes escalate as the truth about Paedyn’s ordinary nature hangs in the balance. If exposed, not only does she risk elimination from the Trials, but also the wrath of the prince she’s falling for—a man who may not tolerate the revelation of her true, completely Ordinary identity.

My Review:

Sooner or later I was bound to jump onto the BookTok bandwagon sensation, ‘Powerless’. Was it as good as I expected? The jury is still out. Sometimes it takes me a while to completely decide whether my expectations were met or not. 

However, having said that, I can honestly say, it was a fun read. Fair enough, it did lack originality, as the comparisons to The Hunger Games were almost criminal. Yet, the story contained compelling characters, forbidden romance and an easy and simple magic system. The world-building was well executed and the plot moved at a decent pace.

I gave Powerless a solid 4-star rating, primarily attributing it to the immensely likeable characters. The chemistry between Pae and Kai was an absolute joy for me as a reader. Their engaging banter kept me entertained throughout the whole book. As for Pae’s internal conflict, it did not fail to capture my interest right from the beginning.

‘Reckless’ is the next instalment in this series, and I for one cannot wait to dive back in and find out where the story takes Pae next.

Flawless – Chestnut Springs Novel – Elsie Silver

February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: Rhett Eaton was once hailed as the golden boy of professional bull riding. However, his career has taken an unexpected tumble, which leaves him tasked with an image cleanup. 

Summer Hamilton, the daughter of his agent, finds herself assigned to the daunting task of being tethered to Rhett for the foreseeable future. With her provocative smirk, ceaseless stream of words and clad in skin-tight jeans, she is the last person Rhett needs as a full-time babysitter. Her mouth is both a source of annoyance and an irresistible temptation that occupies his thoughts.

The rules sounded simple enough, keep his hands off Summer and steer clear of trouble. Yet, fate has other plans. Rhett is stuck with her, confined to a single bed, and as the saying goes, rules are meant to be broken.

My Review:

In need of an easy read, I found myself stirring towards the latest BookTok sensation, Flawless. And guess what, lo and behold, not only was it an easy read, but it was also an extremely enjoyable one too. Never in a thousand years would I have imagined my forty-five-year-old self, reading a cowboy romance novel, and turning the pages like my very life depended on it. 

Did I think it was cheesy? hell yes! Did I think it was cliche? Uhuhhhh But did I enjoy it? Very much so. 

Flawless was a fun, fluffy romance read, with likeable characters, great chemistry, and a lot of smut. If that’s your thing, then welcome, take a seat and erm enjoy the ride, no pun intended. It gets hot in here and that’s not me trying to impersonate the rapper Nelly. Plus, did I mention the Cowboys? And by cowboys I mean, really hot cowboys!! 

This book was exactly what I needed and I am not ashamed to say that in a few weeks, I will be diving head-first into ‘Heartless’ (the second instalment in this series) Chestnut Springs series might just be my new guilty pleasure!

Manifest – Roxie Nafousi

February 2024 Book Reviews
February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: “MANIFEST” is your essential guide to empowerment. Roxie Nafousi, self-development coach and ‘Queen of Manifesting,’ unveils the art of manifestation in seven simple steps. Whether you crave a soulmate, dream job, perfect home, or inner peace, MANIFEST guides you there in seven clear steps.

  • 1. Be clear in your vision
  • 2. Remove fear and doubt
  • 3. Align your behaviour
  • 4. Overcome tests from the universe
  • 5. Embrace gratitude without caveats
  • 6. Turn envy into inspiration
  • 7. Trust in the universe

This book merges science and wisdom, offering a philosophy and self-development practice to help you achieve goals, nurture self-love, and live your best life. Unlock the magic, embark on your journey, and turn dreams into reality with “MANIFEST.”

My Review:

There is so much I want to say about this book. Let me start by expressing my gratitude for the mere existence of books such as Manifest. A constant source of inspiration, I’ve been recommending it tirelessly. Without a doubt, one of the most impactful self-help books I have read recently.

Roxie’s primary message is quite clear from the get-go and is repeated on numerous occasions throughout the book. The power to manifest comes from our subconscious. Yes, for anyone who thought that by wanting something bad enough and believing that the universe will deliver, think again. Roxie masterfully articulates concepts with clarity and simplicity, making her explanations readily accessible and easy to grasp.

If you want to change your life, achieve goals, and shift into a better way of living, then you have to change the way you think, the way you act and the way you feel. Align your behaviour with your future self, because if you don’t, dreaming and saying ‘I’m going to manifest it, I believe in this’ isn’t going to cut it. Thought alone will not open up the doors to our infinite potential. 

This book equips you with all the tools needed to embark on a transformative journey. Serving as an excellent guide, it empowers you to shift your mindset, fostering self-belief and aiding you in overcoming the fears and doubts that may have been holding you back

If you are looking for a motivational read, that will encourage you, as well as effortlessly explain to you the benefits of shifting our mindsets, then this is the book for you. 

Below is one of my favourite passages:

The Stranger In Her House – John Marrs

February 2024 Book Reviews
February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: Paul insists he’s just there to lend a helping hand, sent by a charity for vulnerable individuals to assist elderly widow Gwen with odd jobs. However, from the moment Gwen’s daughter Connie meets Paul, there’s a nagging sense of unease. His kindness seems a bit too deliberate, his involvement a tad too deep. To make matters worse, Gwen appears to be captivated by him.

For Connie, Paul’s presence disrupts the secure routine she’s established around Gwen, where she takes pride in being the go-to person for cooking, cleaning, and companionship. As Paul’s visits increase, so does Gwen’s reliance on him. When circumstances force him to move in, Connie becomes convinced that he’s attempting to oust her completely.

Caught in a battle of words and wills, Connie’s attempts to expose Paul intensify, leaving her to question her own sanity as events spin out of control. As she contemplates an all-out confrontation with Paul, risking her relationship with Gwen, she wonders if this has been his plan all along.

My Review:

Unless you are new to the blog, you will know by now that I have recently become a hard-core John Marrs fan. His storytelling never fails to become a late-night, page-turning frenzy. 

The Stranger In Her House is his latest novel and although not one of his best, it still did not disappoint. 

In this classic cat-and-mouse game, our main characters, Connie and Paul, skillfully keep us on the edge of our seats, constantly trying to outsmart each other. The outstanding plot sets this book apart from the typical good versus evil premise. It’s a story woven with uniquely crafted characters – there’s the antagonist and the woman who, while not entirely bad, is undeniably not the most pleasant person herself.

Without fail, this is another binge-worthy and twisty story that will leave you questioning the human race and its unfailing capacity for cruelty, lies, and betrayal.

The Seven-Year Slip – Ashley Poston

February 2024 Book Reviews
February 2024 Book Reviews –

Synopsis: In the aftermath of the worst day of her life, Clementine West crafted a meticulous plan to shield her heart: stay occupied, toil relentlessly, and avoid any semblance of risk. For the past six months, it’s been her foolproof coping mechanism.

However, her well-ordered world takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a stranger standing in her kitchen. A man with gentle eyes, a lopsided smile, and a recipe for the perfect lemon meringue pie. The kind of man she might have fallen for in a different time.

Yet, there’s a catch: he resides in the past—seven years ago, to be precise. It seems implausible, but Clementine was once drawn to the allure of the impossible. Perhaps, against all odds, she’ll find herself embracing that sentiment once more. After all, love isn’t bound by time; it’s a matter of timing, and maybe this unexpected encounter holds the key to a new chapter in her life.

My Review:

The Seven Year Slip was an emotional, raw and authentic read. The author dealt with the concept of grief in such a beautiful and realistic way. As someone who has had to deal with grief in recent years, Polston’s words seemed to reach out and touch the very edges of my soul, where grief lives, always a thought away from emerging. 

The writing style is beautiful, with a lyrical flow that is not only captivating but also guarantees to keep you eagerly turning the pages. Even if magic realism is uncharted territory for you, I urge you to give this book a try nonetheless. The concept of a magical flat, where time effortlessly slips away, is truly unique. The deliberate absence of a detailed explanation behind the workings of the magic adds an enchanting layer. It allows the readers to craft their own interpretations, setting up the premise splendidly. 

My only minor criticism pertains to the insta-love dynamic. The two main characters technically fell in love within a matter of days, which, as a self-professed slow-burn enthusiast, left me longing for a more gradual development. Despite my adoration for Iwan and the amazing chemistry he shared with Clementine, a bit more build-up in their relationship would have been appreciated.

Overall, this was such an enjoyable read. It managed to make me cry and smile throughout, and I honestly can’t recommend it enough!

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