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The Vicious Circle By Katherine St John

The Vicious Circle‘The Vicious Circle’ is the latest book by Katherine St. John.

On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home to an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when, mysteriously, Paul suddenly dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left to his estranged niece Sveta. Shocked and confused, Sveta travels to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, transcendent vibe, and mesmerizing de-facto leader Kali. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on false promises of an impossible utopia and a disturbing, dangerous belief system—and leader—guiding them. As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only hope for survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.

nitially when I started this book, I found it a bit slow to get into but as I delved further into it, I became quite engrossed in it.

The story is seen through the narrative of Sveta, a model who is looking forward to get married to Chase but his family are interfering which is pushing the couple are apart. She’s never felt good enough for them and always felt she was looking in. So when she finds out that her favourite uncle has died and left her his whole estate which is worth millions. Chase’s family begin to change their opinion of Sveta. But first off Sveta must go to the Mexican jungle to her uncle’s estate for his funeral and get all his affairs in order with Lucas, her first love.

This story is a fascinating one, set in the claustrophobic but equally exhilarating Mexican jungle , the author writes vivid description of the centre, the bizarre characters who are seemingly friendly and welcoming but become stranger as the story flows along. I really liked Sveta, a successful and beautiful woman who just wants to be loved, with only her mother for family, she just wants to feel part of something.

Suspenseful and packed, ‘The Vicious Circle’ is an intense thriller about just how looks can be deceptive!

You can buy ‘The Vicious Circle’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde

The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ is the complete collection, first published in 1952 with exquisite illustrations by the celebrated artist Philippe Jullian, republished in a beautiful giftable edition.

For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy stories of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and other stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Jullian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to read some of Oscar Wilde’s work so when the opportunity came to review a collection of illustrated stories, I jumped at the chance!

There’s ten stories, all mythical and wonderful in their own ways, with speaking animals, statues that want to help others and a prince determined to find the perfect red rose no matter the cost.

Throughout the book there are beautiful illustrations that really add to the magic of the stories.

Stunningly presented with stories that make for perfect bedtime reading for all ages, ‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ will make for the ideal stocking filler this Christmas.

You can buy ‘The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Someone To Kiss By Jamie Anderson

Someone To Kiss‘Someone To Kiss’ is the latest book by Jamie Anderson.

As the clock strikes midnight over a disastrous New Year’s Eve and happy couples celebrate all around her, Kate makes a resolution, hastily scrawled on the back of a napkin, that next New Year’s Eve she will have found someone of her own to kiss. But when you’re a forty-something cat-mom who’d rather binge Netflix than brave the singles scene, finding someone to kiss turns out to be harder than it sounds. Kate is totally unprepared for navigating hook-up apps, speed-dating, and sliding into somebody’s DMs. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Kate seems further than ever from reaching her goal. As relationships crumble around her and dark long-kept secrets spill out, could Kate’s fixation on her quest cause her to let true love slip through her fingers forever?

I spent my Sunday with my head in this book and it was just lovely!

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Kate who after getting blind drunk at a wedding alone whilst everyone else couples up makes a New Years’ resolution to have someone to cuddle up within the year. So with the aid of her best friend Julia, she sets up an online profile and goes on a serious of disastrous dates. But whilst dating and putting herself out there, she discovers some things about herself and why her relationships haven’t worked in the past.

The story is also seen through the narrative of her best friends Julia and her brother Ben who both have their own struggles in life. The trio make for a lovely friendship group each with their own dynamics and personalities. I loved Kate, at 43 she’s under pressure from society to find a significant other other and also having to find genuine people from the others who are just looking for a good time. It’s fun to join Kate on her dates and the characters she meets along the way. There are also flashback moments to Kate’s previous dates that has moulded her into the person she has become.

Another interesting slant is the perspective of Kate’s work life, working in a marketing company for Terry, who’s an absolutely horrible man. A self centred man who’s full of his own importance and packed with toxicity, infact most of the men are in the book are bad apart from the lovely, kind Ben.

‘Someone To Kiss’ is a fun and tender story about new beginnings and resilience.

You can buy ‘Someone To Kiss’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Ghosted By Mo Fanning

Ghosted‘Ghosted’ is the latest book by Mo Fanning.

Professional Santa Silas French fills out the same application as always for his regular stint at a New York department store. Ellen Gitelman hangs her jacket behind the counter at the East Side Diner and smoothes out her waitress uniform, as she waits for the coffee pot to stop percolating. A double whammy of bad news leaves Silas jobless, with no money to pay for a planned trip to reconcile with his estranged gay son Joey in Florida. Cutbacks at the diner cost Ellen her job. A chance tip from his local bar gets Silas a job as Santa on a cruise ship that happens to be docking in Florida, where Joey lives with his husband and kids. Ellen heads to a cafe across the street and spots a bulletin board ad selling tickets for a cruise. Her riotous friend Julia volunteers as travel companion. The MS Viking just happens to be carrying 3000 gay men in the mood to party. What could go wrong? Silas soon finds himself involved with some unsavoury business and meets a potential new love in the form of Ellen. Over the course of the Christmas Holiday cruise, the pair slowly learn that what they thought they were seeking isn’t really what would make them truly happy, and that they are in control of their own choices.

Both Silas and Ellen are at a crossroads in their lives. Taking a gay cruise, they hope this will provide them with a second chance, Silas is hoping to reconnect with his gay son and family and hopes playing Santa Claus on a gay cruise will redeem whilst Ellen is hoping to fight the cancer that is ravaging her body.

The pair of them form an unlikely friendship as they bond over broken hearts, shattered lives and what if’s. They are lovely characters and it was touching and fun to join them in this cruise as they got into mishaps and learnt about each other and themselves. I liked Silas, he was a born actor pretending his life was much better than it really was and it did for heartbreaking reading at times as he tried to reach out to his son Joey, only to be pushed back. His heart never fully mended after his wife Nancy passed away and he finds solace in his sister-in-law’s arms. Going on the gay gives him the opportunity to take stock of his life and the prejudice and resentment that he harboured against his own son. Ellen is also a lovely character, hoping that the cruise will help her ignite her passion for life and not leave her bedridden and missing out.

Tenderly written and packed with wit and warmth. Set upon the open sea, ‘Ghosted’ is a story about self-discovery, forgiveness and grief that makes for heartfelt reading.

You can buy ‘Ghosted’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter

Cat Lady‘Cat Lady’ is the latest book by Dawn O’Porter.

It’s safer for Mia to play the part that people expect. She’s a good wife to her husband Tristan, a doting stepmother, she slips on her suit for work each morning like a new skin. But beneath the surface, there’s another woman just clawing to get out. When a shocking event shatters the conventional life she’s been so careful to build, Mia is faced with a choice. Does she live for a society that’s all too quick to judge, or does she live for herself? And if that’s as an independent woman with a cat, then the world better get ready.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Dawn. Infact, the last book I read by her was her Young Adult debut ‘Paper Aeroplanes’ which I loved and got to chat to her about it at a book event in Dublin some years ago.

I settled into ‘Cat Lady’ over the last couple of evenings and I absolutely adored it. Mia – the leading character is an absolute burst of fresh air, she’s witty, eccentric, troubled and incredibly kind. Her childhood was a difficult one with no regular love so she finds unconditional love in her 16 year old cat called Pigeon. She comes across as cold but she just wants to be in control of her life and when things start to unravel, so does Mia. She finds solace in an unlikely group for grieving pet owners, even though her own cat is very much alive and kicking.

This is an original tale that really pulls the reader in, with a plethora of characters that you will instantly dislike such as Belinda, the ex-wife of Mia’s husband who’s always around to Isabella, Mia boss who’s self-absorbed with her own success.

I loved Mia. I loved how her personality changed throughout the story and she finally began to accept the person she was. Not a career woman in a power suit but a carer in cat themed kaftans, kinda like Carole Baskin from ‘Tiger King’ but wittier and warmer.

Packed with dark humour, relatable situations and characters, heartwarming and beautifully written, ‘Cat Lady’ is an observational look into rediscovery, new beginnings and the genuine friendship and connections that pets can bring to a person’s life. A must read for all animal lovers!

You can buy ‘Cat Lady’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.