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Friday, 30 June 2017

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up


Welcome to another Friday!! Hope we are all in one piece still and looking forward to another, hopefully, sunny weekend with lots of bookish adventures in store!

Been a mixed week for me personally with some ups and downs on the health front, but I've thankfully had other things going on to distract me - ooh and I've just taken delivery of a new (mini) bookcase so who can be sad with the prospect of new shelves to fill! Just hoping putting it together won't have me swearing too much and that I've measured correctly and it fits where I hope to put it!  Will hopefully do a shelfie post soon once I've re-jigged all the shelves around the house - is it only me that has  bookcases in various rooms?! - and try and get myself a little more organised!  But then how does one sort their shelves nowadays?! By colour? By Author? Genre? Publishers?! aarrggghhhh the possibilities are endless!!

On to how my week has been on the bookish front! And, as suspected, my pace slackened a little this week and I only managed to finish 2 books this week - I was also reading a Choc Lit manuscript as part of the Taste Testing Panel I'm on of theirs! - but am halfway through another book so hoping to finish that off very soon!  As always, click on the book title if you'd like to see my GoodReads review!

Books Read

Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther    -   3 stars


My Neighbour Totoro by Tsugiko Kubo   -   5 stars


Book Post and Books requested!

Can i keep away from NetGalley at the moment?! No I blooming well can't!!  So there have been a few additions to my overloaded Kindle....

31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

'And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.'
Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.
Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.
By chance they meet one day in a London park.
Day 1
Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss.
20 minutes later
Alone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her.
Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.
Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life

 True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

.It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?
Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan
Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl, manager of London’s first romance-only bookshop Happy Ever, and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and quite happy hiding in the office and lying to her friends about her fictional boyfriend Peter, whose presence is very useful for getting her out of social events.
But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.
Because ‘Peter’ is actually Johnny, and he too could use a fictional girlfriend. So against her better judgement and because she can't stand sitting on the sad singles table, Verity and Johnny decide to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, culminating in her sister’s Big Fat Wedding.
And by the end of the summer, there’s a bad case of heartache that even Verity’s beloved Pride And Prejudice might not be able to cure…
 Flutter by Olivia Evans
Dylan Walker has spent six years trying to move on from the loss of his girlfriend, Presley Cooper. Motivated by grief and the desire to do for others what he couldn’t do for her, he burns the candle at both ends to make it through medical school. After graduation he moves west, putting as much distance as possible between his past and his present.
Or so he thought.
Unknowingly, Dylan has been set on a path that will destroy everything he thought he knew. All the pain, all the grief, was all for nothing. With the help of an unexpected ally, Dylan must find the answers and save the girl he loves before it’s too late.

Deceit.

Betrayal.

Revenge.

A second chance at love.
But first, he must find a way to make her remember her past. Remember him. Remember everything.
 The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
This voyage is special. It will change everything…

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

I'm STILL being extremely good/sensible/boring and haven't been on any decent book buying sprees for what feels like forever but I did receive another Persephone book to add to my collection ...

Greengates by R.C Sheriff
A man retires from his job but finds that never were truer words said than ‘for better, for worse but not for lunch’. His boredom, his wife’s (suppressed and confused) dismay at the quiet orderliness of her life being destroyed, their growing tension with each other, is beautifully and kindly described. 

Then one day they do something they used to do more often – leave St John’s Wood and go out into the countryside for the day. And that walk changes their lives forever: they see a house for sale, decide to move there, and the nub of the book is a description of their leaving London, the move, and the new life they create for themselves.

And then the lovely folk at Choc Lit sent me a little parcel  today as I made them smile on Twitter - so they made me smile by sending me a couple of their fabulous pocket Choc Lit books and some chocolate! What more does a girl need?!... the chocolate didn't last very long by the way but was very, very yummy!!


You're the one that I Want by Angela Britnell

What if you didn’t want to fake it any more?

When Sarah, a teacher from Cornwall, and Matt, a businessman from Nashville, meet on a European coach tour, they soon find themselves in a relationship …

Except it’s a fake relationship. Because Matt is too busy for romance, and Sarah is only trying to make her cheating ex-husband jealous … isn’t she?

As Matt and Sarah complete their tour of Europe, they do all the things real couples are supposed to do – from visiting fairy-tale castles in Germany to recreating the scene from Romeo and Juliet in Verona. And, of course, for every picturesque destination there’s a loved-up selfie and Facebook post to match.

But as their holiday comes to an end, Sarah and Matt realise that they’re not happy with their pretend relationship. Perhaps, they want the real thing.
 

Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell

It’s never too late to believe in fairy tales …
Eloise Blake has been fascinated by Prospect House, the shadowy romantic Gothic house opposite, ever since she moved to the village of Hookfield.

When its new owner turns out to be best-selling crime author, Ross Farrell, whose work is grounded in gritty reality rather than happy endings, Eloise is determined to concentrate on her tapestry design business and her rescue dog, Gracie.

She’s already given up on knights in shining armour and happy ever afters. Love, she thinks, is only true in fairy tales - even when Ross keeps appearing just when she needs help most. But is he the Prince Charming she thought didn’t exist – or is he a beast in disguise?

CURRENTLY READING
MARGARET THE FIRST BY DANIELLE DUTTON

Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was “Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past, rather than “historical fiction.” Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new narrative approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.


And there we have it! Hope your week has been a good one! Happy weekend!!


Happy Reading!!




Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty - book review


THE BLURB


Colt Harper hates it when you pat a cat the wrong way, or when you upload their faux pas to YouTube. In fact, he'll probably kill you for it. 

As a self-proclaimed master vampire cat, Colt never imagined he'd be sent to community service at a revolting community theater. And for what? Killing humans who don't buy the expensive brand of cat food? Talk about unfair. 

Still, working with a nervous werewolf and a monster addicted to tickling wasn't on his to-do list.

What's worse, is he's falling for a human. Sure, she has green eyes. Sure, she fosters stray cats. But she's still a disgusting human. 

So why is he risking his own life to save her from the chasers?


Publisher - Curiousity Quills Press

Publication Date - 27th June 2017

Amazon UK

Author Website

MY REVIEW

This is a story about a cat who possesses humans and then kills those who are mean to cats.....and those who just annoy him... what more do I need to say?! You NEED to read this story for this fact alone! I also loved the extremely funny quotes at the start of each chapter - Colt Harper is one very opinionated kitty!!

Colt Harper is a very funny, rude, witty, sarcastic but lovable Vampire Cat! And for his crimes against humans he is sent on community service to community theatre!! The perfect punishment but not in his eyes and he's not best pleased when he finds out what awaits him. Along the way he meets up with a werewolf, a tickle monster (yes they exist!), and other weird and wonderful monsters from his walk of life who are living amongst us! But as he spends more time in his human form, could he be going soft and falling for Saffy at the Theatre - and why is he even drawn to her in the first place?!

I have loved the previous Broken Dolls series by Tyrolin Puxty, and this is just as quirky and wonderful as those stories so can highly recommend that if you are looking for a hilarious new character to embrace, then Colt Harper is your cat!! And I was very pleased to find out that there will be another story about Colt to follow!!

Thank you to Curiousity Quills for the advance copy in return for a fair and honest review






Friday, 23 June 2017

Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!


Hello!! We meet again!!  I hope everyone is well and if you're in the UK that you found a way to cope with 'the heatwave'!!  My policy was just to eat lots of ice-cream and have a fan stationed by my bedside to help on the sleep front!!  I do like the warmer, sunnier weather BUT there needs to be a breeze otherwise it is just pointless and very little gets done - well, that's my excuse!

So how has the week been book wise for us all?! Good? Bad?  I'm still powering ahead on the reading front and I feel like I'm just overdosing now on reading ready ahead of a big reading slump which I am sure is just around the corner!! But while my brain is functioning and the TBR piles are still taunting me, then I'll just keep going and forgetting about housework and real life as much as possible, all to escape into the world of books! Ooh and I may have just purchased a new bookcase - only a little one! - as the storage situation is still a little out of control so now to wait until it arrives and keeping everything crossed that I measured correctly and it will fit in the gap I have available!  I think another book decluttering may be required too - but i'll save that job for a rainy day!

On to the book thing......

BOOKS ACQUIRED

The book buying slump continues!! This is not healthy I am sure and despite managing to visit a couple of charity shops and a Waterstones this week, I returned with ZERO!  Someone send help!! Is there a recovery program I can attend??!

There may have been a visit - or two - to NetGalley though and I seem to have no problem clicking there despite my Kindle begging for a bit of breathing space so here's a look at a couple of the titles I have now on my reading shelf...


Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

A book about love, love of books, family and belonging.

Lydia, a 30-year-old bookshop worker, finds one of her favourite customers dead, hanging in the shop where she works, The Bright Ideas Bookstore, with a photo of her in his pocket. He has left her all his worldly belongings (which isn’t much), and a series of complex clues for her to uncover the mystery of what has happened to him – and in doing so, she must revisit a trauma from her own past, a brutal murder she witnessed as a young girl, in which the killer was never caught.


Tremarnock Summer by Emma Burstall
Bramble Challoner has had a very normal upbringing. She lives in a semi in the suburbs of London with her parents and works at the call centre down the road. She still goes out with the boy she met at school. At weekends they stay in and watch films on the telly and sometimes hold hands. Bramble is dying for an adventure.
So when her very grand grandfather, Lord Penrose, dies, leaving his huge, rambling house in Cornwall to her, Bramble packs her bags immediately.
With her best friend Katie in tow, the sleepy village of Tremarnock had better be ready for its newest residents...

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please
'The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays
Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .
It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.
So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.
Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine...

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

BOOKS READ
Yay for sunshine and hot temperatures!! Managed to get through 8 books this week, some of which I had started a while ago and finally got around to finishing! It's a tactic that doesn't always work (having so many books on the go!), but when it does it makes you look mighty impressive on the reading front!! A mixed bag again this week of genres and results in enjoyment!  Click on the title for the link to my GoodReads review if you want to find out more about each book!


Mist & Whispers by C.M Lucas   3 stars






After I've Gone by Linda Green   3 stars




Phew!!  Hope you have a cuppa while you're scrolling through this nonsense today!! I'm on my second cuppa as I'm typing!!  

CURRENTLY READING

one little blast before I leave you all in peace just to share what I'm currently reading... that's if you care!


My Neighbour Totoro - The Novel

I love the film so had to start on the book and it is a beauty inside and out!!


House. Tree. Person by Catriona McPherson

A year ago, she was happily married, running her beauty salon, raising her son, living in her dream house. Now Ali McGovern’s dreams are slipping away and all her old ghosts are rising.

A job at Howell Hall, the private psychiatric facility nearby, seems too good to be true. Why have they employed her? How can they afford her? And what are they hiding? When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on Ali’s first day at work, it feels like one last horror. But it’s just the beginning of her descent into a nightmare world she never imagined existed, far too close to home.

Due for release September 2017




Hope you've managed to stay awake during that ramble! I apologise profusely and wish you all a fabulous weekend ahead full of lots of reading or book buying adventures!!

HAPPY READING!!






Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - My Reads of 2017... so far!!



Howdy!! GoodReads has informed me today that I've reached the number of 100 books read this out on my challenge!  I was shocked too LOL!  I always set a number on the challenge each year but never take much notice of it until I get the reminders!  I've found more time to read this year due to my ill health (I have M.E so that involves a lot of 'resting' and being stuck indoors) and Insomnia (what else is there to do at 2am other than read?!), but also I've found I've definitely been watching less TV as there hasn't been many series that have grabbed me this year - I'm counting down the days until Game of Thrones returns!! - and I've spent many a happy evening with a bar of chocolate, a cup of tea and another book off the TBR mountain and that has really helped me reach this goal!  Plus I've also left the 'chunkster' (those massive brutes of a book that scare you when you look at how many pages there are!) books on the shelves and know I need to get round to reading them so maybe the numbers will tail off slightly when I start attacking those!!

And what a year it has been already book wise!  I'm sure I say it every year, but the quality of stories (and beautiful covers!) definitely seems to improve year on year, so as a reader I feel I've been spoilt for choice this  year in deciding what to read - and as my bookshelves will testify - there are still plenty of wonderful stories out there for me to discover!

Just thought I'd try and make a Top Ten out of the 100 as to my favourite reads of the year so far, and as I've scanned through the GoodReads Challenge list I have found it very difficult (VERY, VERY DIFFICULT!!)  as there have been so many fabulous reads this year! BUT, here goes with my Top Ten of books that have tugged at my heart strings, made me laugh, made me cry, given me chills or have
just  stuck with me a little more than others - in no particular order .....  click on the title if you'd like to read my review on GoodReads!

1.  The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

























Nice little selection there eh to cover most genres!! Have to say I'm a big fan now of mixing up the genres that I read! Some of the books this year have been a little emotional so it has been nice to then go to something lighter and more 'hopeful' to give me a little break!  Been such a tough task though as, happily, I've managed to read a ton of fabulous books so far this year and just hope the second half of the year throws up just as many great reads!! 

What has been your read of the year so far?!  Would love to hear your thoughts!

HAPPY READING!!!






Meet Me at Number Five by Lisa Hill - Cover Reveal and Review

Are we ready?!  For yet another beautiful cover from the beautiful bods at Choc Lit?!  Ok then.... here goes....



How pretty?!  That's the kind of High Street I want to wander down!  Well, now you can thanks to this fabulous release - OUT TODAY!! - so don't waste anymore time!! Get downloading!!

THE BLURB

For fans of Jilly Cooper, Fiona Walker and Jane Lovering. You'll adore this fabulous debut. 
What if finding happiness was a race against time? 
Grace Cavendish knows a thing or two about horses – but what she doesn’t know is that her husband, top horse racing trainer Charlie Carrisbrook, is having a literal ‘roll in the hay’ right under her nose. 

When the painful truth is revealed Grace has no choice but to move in with her highly-strung grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie; a single mum who has renounced men (at least that’s what she says!) 

Determined to start again, Grace takes a job at the local restaurant, Number Five. And whilst serving up coffee and cake is a far cry from the stables, she enjoys it – especially as she gets to work alongside the rather scrumptious Sam Whittaker. 

But the past is racing to catch up with Grace. Can her life still be a romp to victory or will a devastating secret stop her dead in her tracks? 





MY REVIEW

This is Graces' story!  And what a story it is!  I thought it was going to be a gentile look at life behind the scenes of a top racehorse trainer, with the glamour of race day mixed in but boy was I wrong!  Life at a stables is very high paced and Graces' husband Charlie is a highly thought of trainer but a bit of a sleazebag as a husband! And when she founds out about his dalliance with a stable girl, she moves out of the family home - her family home! - and moves in with her Nana, who seems to run a home for waifs and strays not far from the stables.  It gives Grace the distance she needs to refocus her thoughts and life and that involves getting a part time job at the local cafe which she takes to like a duck to water.  

Also staying with Nana is Hennie and her children and life has dealt them some pretty rough cards too, so she has sworn off men!!  Do we believe her?!

I loved the characters in this book! Grace is a fighter throughout and Nana is a very smart cookie who just wants the best for her girls and does all she can to help them fight injustices in their lives, despite her own problems.

When they find out things aren't all they seem at the stables with Charlie and his dodgy dealings, they hatch an amazing plan to get back what their family worked hard for with some help from Guy the new farrier at the stables, and Sam the cafe owner.  

This book made me laugh out loud on many occasions but just as many moments that had me tearful so it might be handy to have a few tissues on standby - just in case you're an emotional reader like me!

Such a confident debut from Lisa Hill and I will definitely be looking out for more from her in the future!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Forever House by Veronica Henry - my review


THE BLURB
The house of your dreams. But can this dream last forever?
Hunter's Moon is the ultimate 'forever' house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys' home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets - and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.
A gorgeous escapist read for anyone needing a hug in a book - perfect for fans of Erica James, Lucy Diamond and Harriet Evans.

Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Veronica Henry was a television script writer before turning her hand to fiction. She has published sixteen novels which she describes as realistic escapism - her setting are gorgeous, but her characters have problems and dilemmas everyone can identify with.






MY REVIEW


Veronica Henry does it again! She has this amazing ability to write the books I NEED to read and fall hopelessly in love with the characters and the setting! In this case, the wonderful home is Hunter's Moon, the home of the Willoughby clan for more than 50 years, but things could be about to change as the current owners are facing their own personal heartbreak and need to find a solution and fast!

Belinda is the estate agent brought in to handle the sale and she is a total romantic and will only take on properties that she loves! She's had her heart broken in the past, both personally and house related, so understands their predicament and tries to do all she can to help the situation.

Alongside Belinda's story, we also go back to 1967 and follow Sally as she makes her way in the world and finds her way to Hunters Moon where she starts work as their housekeeper to help keep Margot Willoughby, the famous author, and her household in check. She soon falls in love with more than just the home and you get to see why it has such a hold on people who visit there.

Belinda is a fascinating character due to the really tough times she has faced, and shows how she became so driven and work obsessed. When her past walks back in the door she is conflicted and has to relive some very tough memories. The Willoughby family soon become very dear to her heart and you are left hoping that they all get the happy ending that they all so richly deserve.

Loved this book and it was the perfect read on a hot, sunny afternoon! I just didn't want it to end!!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips - my review






THE BLURB

‘It tore at every maternal fibre in my body. I couldn’t put it down.’ Fiona Barton, author of The Widow

Fierce Kingdom is a bold exploration of the ferocity of a mother’s love. Riveting and beautiful, and all too real, you’ll find yourself asking, what would I do? It’s brilliant.’ Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door

************

Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.

'The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.'

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.

It's a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.

But sometimes the rules are different.

************

Unbearably tense and yet beautifully written, Fierce Kingdom demands to be read in one sitting. After finishing, I pulled my loved ones a little closer.’ Paula Daly


Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk - buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gin Phillips is the celebrated author of The Well and the Mine (winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction) and Come in and Cover Me (“original and strikingly beautiful” – Elle Magazine). She has also published two middle-grade novels. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.


MY REVIEW


This was a book that I couldn't put down once I had started! It is a book that appeals to every humans' nature of wanting to protect their loved ones, and how would you do that if you're trapped!

Joan and her son, the very smart 4 year old Lincoln, often stop by the Zoo to visit the animals as Lincoln loves to learn. There isn't much he doesn't know despite his tender years, and he's currently obsessed with superheroes - aren't we all!!

But then a normal visit is quickly turned into a terrifying visit by the sound of gunfire - everybody's worst nightmare is playing out in front of them as  gunmen are on the rampage. Do you run? Do you hide? How do you keep a 4 year old quiet and calm in such a horrifying situation?

The pace of the book is tremendous as you watch the minutes, and hours tick by with Joan and her son, along with some other unfortunate visitors who are also caught up in the carnage. You also hear the POV from one of the gunmen and that adds a fascinating side to the tragedy as it plays out on the pages.

I really enjoyed the tension throughout the book, it was really well paced and how it plays on all our fears of what you would do in such a situation trapped with love ones, and how the instinct to survive takes over! An excellent read!!