Book Blog by Cari

A big hello and welcome!

I’m Cari, and this is my latest book news and reviews blog, combining books from a few select genres – see the menu in the sidebar. The above collage shows some of the earlier highlights.

I love a good thriller and page-turner or a book that can take me to another place or time. And I’m also a sucker for a heady romance.

Other times I want to learn about the real world and discuss the matters that face the world today.

Please have a scroll through and see if anything catches your eye!


Hi everyone, it’s come time to fill you in. The two projects in progress are a full length retelling of The Phantom of the Opera (my daughter got me into it – she’s obsessed!), and a new blog centred around neuroscience, featuring book reviews, course reviews, and jobs in neuroscience. The neuroscience blog is already launched and can be found at Hope to see you there! If you want to keep following my other book reviews they will show up here from time to time, or you can catch them on Goodreads under Cari Mayhew. Chow for now!

Free Sample Marathon Results!

Hey everybody, here are the results from the free sample marathon. I didn’t manage to get through as many free samples as I wanted to, but I did manage to find some real gems!

Data Cartels by Sarah Lamden

5 STARS – A non-fiction book about the companies who own our online data, comparing them to drug cartels. It’s very well written for a non-fiction book, and it is genuinely eye-opening. I will definitely continue reading this one.

One of us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

3 STARS – I became interested in this book when I found it was going to be made into a Netflix series, but I found the music on the show obnoxious, so I decided to read some of the book instead. I found it more interesting than a typical modern YA novel because there was a murder, and I found the characters relatable, but also too cliche. I won’t carry on with this one.

Pretty Evil by Zoe Rosi

5 STARS – This novel is centred around a protagonist who happens to be an affluent, respected, influential fashion magazine editor, who is also a vigilante killer. I really liked this one, the concept is refreshing, and I want to see how everything pans out. I will continue reading this one.

Altered by Rob Kaufman

4 STARS – This is a very promising story concerning a psychiatrist and a man with multiple personalities, who weaves his way into the psychiatrist’s life. Much of the free sample was as expected, but at the end of the sample there was a twist that I didn’t expect. I will continue to read this one.

The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb

5 STARS – This retelling of the Phantom of the Opera ticks all the boxes so far, I can’t imagine a better retelling. I will definitely be continuing with this one.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

2 STARS – This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the point of view of the Beast. It has excellent scene-setting, but for me it was too slow of a burn. I won’t continue with this one.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

5 STARS – A romance set in England in 1879, Annabelle is tasked with recruiting a powerful duke, to whom she finds herself attracted, to champion the rising women’s suffrage movement. I love this book – you feel invested in the characters from the very first page. I will continue to read this one.

Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead

4 STARS – Set in the 1930s, this mystery novel depicts the murder of a celebrity psychiatrist, and Scotland Yard recruits a recruited conjuror to solve the crime. Excellent scene-setting but it didn’t grip me. I won’t continue with this one.

The Electric Brain by R. Douglas Fields

5 STARS – All about the science of brainwaves, I was concerned that this book would be too textbook for a general audience, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it’s written, in very much a story form, beginning with the first discoveries that the brain produces an electric current that reacts to various stimuli. This book holds a lot of promise, I will continue to read this one.

Free Sample Marathon

In a change to the usual routine, rather than posting a book review on Saturday, I will be posting the results of my Free Sample Marathon, where I read as many Kindle Free Samples as I have time for beforehand, and I give each one a rating out of 5, complete with a verdict on whether I feel it’s worth buying the whole thing.

If you want to know more on my take on judging a book by its free sample, why not check out my previous blog post on the subject: Judge By Free Sample?

The free samples to be reviewed will belong to a mix of genres and will be chosen at random.

Be sure to keep a look out!

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

This book reminded me why I usually stay away from this genre! I had read another book by this author (the thriller Verity) and I could see this author growing in popularity. I Googled which one of her books is the most spicy (don’t judge) and it was this one. But here’s why I’m in no rush to read any more Colleen Hoover. (Don’t worry – no spoilers.)

Continue reading Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nungent

Looking at the bright colours on the cover, the book’s title, and the synopsis, I thought this book was going to be funny and quirky, much like the book “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” by Mark Haddon. But it turned out to be the darkest, most disturbing book I’ve ever read. (Or at least read all the way through.) Don’t worry – no spoilers!

Continue reading Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nungent