#BookReview ANIMAL by LISA TADDEO #20BooksOfSummer2021

This is book 12 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


Meet Joan

I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig.

That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man.

Do you see how this is going? But I wasn’t always that way.

I am depraved. I hope you like me



This book is dark, disturbing, messed up….. my kind of read!! It’s a book that will shock and horrify and just when you think things can’t get any darker, you’ll be proved wrong!!

Joan is the woman at the centre of this story and she is no normal young woman! She isn’t a girls girl, and knows exactly how to use men -she prefers the married kind! – and her sociopathic personality allows her to distance herself from any kind of empathy. And you wonder just how she got to be like this – the more we hear of her story, the more it all begins to make sense, but doesn’t excuse how she has turned out. Even she acknowledges her ‘depraved’ attitude to life. But she knows no different….

When she sees a lover kill himself in front of her in a restaurant, it begins a new journey in her life as she looks to leave that life behind, in search of the next chapter/victim! But she keeps looking back over her life – her childhood, the relationships, sexual experiences – mainly to explain herself and justify her actions.

She has an extremely cynical outlook on life, and is always making assumptions. The one thing that keeps her focus is ‘Alice’, a name she has been tracking for many years and you soon learn the relevance of this character in her life. For someone who shies away from female friendships, you wonder just how she will approach this woman when she tracks her down.

The language is brutal, as are the sexual exploits of Joan, but that just goes along with the ferocity of this story. It’s dark, it is damaged and to the extremes. For Joan, sex is to be used, not enjoyed, and you fear for her sanity at times with the levels she is willing to sink to. It explores the actions of the ‘other woman’ and how she deals, or doesn’t!, when faced with the consequences and repercussions of decisions she has made.

She is not a character that will endear herself to the reader with many of her actions, but it’s an extraordinary book and story so brilliantly portrayed and executed. 



#BookReview The Corset by Laura Purcell #PublicationDay #TheCorset

About the book

The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions.

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Published by Bloomsbury

Purchase Links



Goldsboro Books – signed edition


This was such an eagerly anticipated read for me after being terrified by The Silent Companions, and although The Corset didn’t have that same horror element for me, it still had so many chills and creepy moments that I raced through it and loved being transported back into the world of Ruth and Dorothea.

They are very different characters and that’s the strength of this story. You get to enjoy their very different outlook on life brought together by Dorothea visiting Ruth in prison and listening to her story in the hope that she can get to the bottom of why some people behave the way they do, by using phrenology. Dorothea is one of those people who thinks there is good in everyone, so although she is horrified by the story of Ruth and her crimes she is equally fascinated.

Ruth on the other hand has a very matter of fact approach to her life. She tells her life story to Dorothea in such a distanced manner that it adds to the chills while you are reading. Her life, at times, was terrifying but she seemed to process it all in a different way and that makes you question her sanity and innocence. It’s all very unsettling to read but the more you learn of Ruth and her past, the more you begin to understand why she maybe turned out the way she did. A very tough childhood full of poverty and bullying, seems at odds with the ease that she takes to embroidery work. And as a keen cross-stitcher myself, I now can’t pick up a needle without thinking of Ruth and her story!!

Ruth led a very grim life and, for me, that made her story more compelling than that of Dorothea. Dorothea and her life story were quite well guarded and I would have liked more of her past to see what led to this ‘need to know’ why people do things they do.

I loved the whole feel of this book with its’ attention to detail of the history, the backstory was enthralling and having 2 such strong female characters was also a strong plus point for me. It was dark and full of revenge and just kept me gripped!! Cannot wait to see what Laura Purcell writes next as she’s definitely become one of my favourites!


#BookReview Circe by Madeline Miller

About the book

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Book Depository


Absolutely wonderful!! A book that does live up to the hype – and more!!

Captivating, Immersive, Remarkable, Compelling, Evocative.

In Circe there’s a character to feel immense sympathy for. Always an outsider,despised by her own family, she is set on a path of finding her true self when she is exiled and spending time with her just opens up your eyes to a different side to this woman who could have easily crumbled considering all she had faced. It makes her human! Makes her feel real and that’s how you get this unique connection with her. Her ways are unique, often dark, but at the core is a woman who just wants to be accepted, loved and respected.

I knew very little of the classics and Greek myths but the way this book is written is so easy to connect with and understand the complex relationships. Just think of a very dysfunctional family and ramp it up times a million, and then you begin to get the dynamics of all the characters! There’s love, fear, passion, monsters, emotion and much more!

I adored this book and the story will stay with me for a long time. I think the author has done an amazing job and I’m eager to read more from her.