The Road To Becoming A Survivor by River Hayden

“A touching autobiography written by River Hayden, as she shares with us her tragic story of sexual abuse, neglect, self harming and depression. An inspirational and honest account of her life and her struggle to overcome being a victim and becoming a survivor. 4.5/5”


Book overview and Review:

Reading River Hayden’s autobiography helps open our eyes to many aspects of life which we all hope to never experience. I think if given the choice out of a selection of autobiographies ranging from individuals aged 18 to 80; the probability of selecting a book written by a person who is much older than Hayden may be more common a choice, as some will presume what life experiences could a 25 year old young woman possibly have? I can confirm that this preconceived idea is not an accurate presumption; Hayden has clearly enlightened a few readers here, if ever they needed enlightenment. Tragic and moving life experiences are not “saved” for those with more life experience and are commonly thrust upon us at an age where we do not necessarily understand the difference between right and wrong.

Hayden has bravely and movingly recounted true events from her personal history which has help shaped and unfortunately haunted her throughout her life. From experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of family members closest to her, and later again in life we can only begin to imagine what she has been through. We step inside Hayden’s world and stand in her shoes, and see the events told from her perspective.

I think that River Hayden believes that by typing out her innermost thoughts, feelings and memories she will be able to release some of the pent up emotion that she has held back all these years. She will be able to help and inspire others who have experienced similar trauma and face her fears straight on, as the title of the book suggests, Hayden is on “The Road to Becoming a Survivor.”

I found this book inspirational and very interesting, I feel extremely lucky to have not experienced the sexual abuse that River Hayden and many, many others before and after her have lived through.

The fact that these events have also taken place over a number of years, a huge portion of Hayden’s life make the story even more harrowing. It is interesting to read Hayden’s personal retrospective view on the abuse she suffered, and her attempt to understand why the individuals did what they did and despite everything she has tried to build bridges with two of them. It is an impossible circumstance to pass judgement on, part of me was thinking, “Why are you trying to build bridges with people that have abused you in this way?”, but the other side of me was trying to understand and see how she feels. She tries to see the good in everyone while handling the unforgiveable.

The book covers not only her sexual abuse but the loss of her best friend due to cancer which I felt compelled to mention as it was so sad and touching. We also see a brief insight into the lives that have also shaped her story and helped her to survive.

 The beginning of the book is slow paced as Hayden struggles to reveal her trauma and spends quite a while expressing her fears about sharing the story due to the implications of 1) Revealing what close family members have done to her, 2) Her own personal ability to cope with opening up these raw wounds for the world to see. I believe you will require patience and compassion to bare with Hayden as she repeats her concerns, as she says it is a while before she gets to anything “juicy”,  but her story is an eye opener and I am pleased that I had the opportunity to read this book. I sincerely hope that River Hayden will find peace and enjoyment in her life and that she pursues her dreams without letting the past hold her back. It was insightful to partially walk in her footsteps, I will never be able to comprehend how people can inflict such evil deeds on others.

 I recommend this autobiography to all and I hope this helps connect with other individuals that have suffered with their own abuse, as you are not alone.

You can download the EBook via Amazon USA. Please note the book is currently going through a publisher so please be conscious that any spelling/grammatical errors will be corrected as soon as possible.


Del Boy “He Who Dares…” Book Review


There are books which can be a little unbearable to finish reading after a while, a little humorous here and there but in a cringe worthy please-make-it-stop kind of way, the puns get old and humdrum.This was not the case with Del Boy “He Who Dares” autobiography which had me laughing for the best part of a few hours.

I picked up the book in my local convenience store and immediately fell in love with the first page, but I did wonder whether it was worth the price. Would I tire of hearing Derek Trotter ramble on about his life and personal disasters when I had already watched all the episodes of Only Fools and Horses many, many times? Plus I wasn’t sure who the book was actually written by (it did not state on the cover) which did make me wonder whether it would be a true portrayal of his character or just a minimal attempt at getting more money out of the fans. I can now confirm that the book is unmistakably written in an authentic Derek Trotter style, corny French phrases and all!


I’d finally shifted the mobile phones and the video recorders and started doing a nice new line in in-car stereos. Top quality gear from Albania, a rising star in the electronics market at the time. They had all the proper dials, you know, MW, FM, ICI, B & Q, the lot! They also came with a pair of state of the art quadrophonic speakers. Chuck in a free Kylie Minogue LP on top of that and I had no doubt I’d flog ’em easy.


“Del Boy” shares with us events from his earlier and later years. We hear a few stories which were not mentioned in the series, and many which were, all told in the classic calamity style that is true to Only Fools and Horses. It is worth mentioning that it is the version of events from Derek’s perspective, which of course we all know to be 100% accurate and above board!  Derek also shares with us his many close encounters with death, however they are not always his encounters..more precisely events that he may (or may not!) have contributed to causing!

A cold realisation dawned on me in that moment. I can only imagine it must have been how a turkey felt when it caught Bernard Matthews grinning at it.


 From Peckham Spring Water…There’s a Rhino Loose in the City to jaywalking in Benidorm, the “Groovy” Gang in Majorca, and Batman and Robin…there are plenty of memories that will take you back down memory lane just like you are one of the gang.  

Derek manages to list his previous female conquests, along with his obsession with getting engaged to every woman he so much as casts an eye on (well, the ones he can remember!).  He also shares with us how Trotters Independent Traders came to be.

I originally came up with “Trotters Wares And Trade”, but it was a bit dull. What really put me off though was when I noticed the initials (see, you’ve gotta be very careful to check all the minor little details in this game or you could end up making yourself look like a right plonker).

 It is a quick read, did not take me long at all, unless you pace yourself and read a bit now and then. There are also an assortment of pictures midway through the book. If you are a fan of the series and want a laid back read and a good giggle, pick up the book and enjoy!

He Who Dares…Wins! You know it makes sense!


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Book Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My purchase of this book was unplanned and quite impulsive. I had been looking for something unusual, unique and different to my usual reads. Perhaps something a little weird or quirky. I believe it was the title which first caught my attention and as soon as I pulled back the book and set my eyes on the front cover I knew I had stumbled across just that.

A brief synopsis of the book –

Jacob Portman grows up listening to his grandfathers tales of monsters, the second world war and his early life. As a Jew he is rescued and sent to Wales to save him from being captured, where he is looked after at a Children’s Home set back from the rest of the Island. He shares with Jacob bizarre and peculiar photographs, of children to be precise that appear to be performing acts of magic or who look strange.Jacob is fascinated and thrilled by all these stories until he gets older and outgrows them, dismissing everything as nonsensical children’s tales.

Jacob’s family are wealthy and he has a normal, unremarkable and unexciting life, which is all he expects his life to be. Unfortunately his grandfather has been unwell and has started having hysterical episodes where he is convinced the monsters are going to get him, that is until something happens and Jacob finds him dead in the woods with slash marks across his body. The story escalates from here, Jacob’s family believe he is going mad and send him for therapy, he is adamant he saw something the night his grandfather died, something monstrous. A short time later in order to help with his therapy, Jacob and his father get on a plane to Wales where he hopes to uncover his grandfathers real past and put all his speculation to rest.


The book superbly incorporates unworldly, bizarre vintage photographs with a truly wonderful fantasy experience. It is, to say the least a rare gem with an abundance of characters with abilities that are guaranteed to keep you entertained for many hours. It is hard to put the book down – especially towards the end as the pace quickens and you wonder just what will happen to these curiously strange children.

I must say – the beginning of the book was a surprise to me. It was not what I expected but that is not a bad thing at all. I was expecting a really eerie, scary thriller, where as the book itself is more of an out-of-the-ordinary adventure story. There are many pictures throughout the book which I admittedly glanced at before purchasing and reading. They’re odd, to say the least, but try not to let these put you off giving the book a chance, as they add so much to the story and give back so much to you, as the reader. It is refreshing to not only be able to envisage the characters but to see them in their weirdness with their unique gifts. As Jacob does before him.

Without giving the plot away, there are a few surprises to the story which you will not expect, especially towards the end. It is quite cleverly written. Needless to say, I was extremely happy when I discovered there are two more books following on from this!

I would highly recommend to read this book, even if it is not your usual genre, you will find it is moving, original and spectacular. I love the way Ransom Riggs has truly built his story around these outworldly vintage photographs which at first feel chilling, creepy, but later feel interlinked with the story as it pulls you into its world.

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Book Review: This Book Will Save your Life by A. M. Homes.

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This Book Will Save Your Life by A . M . Homes is focused around the life of Richard Novak who is a semi-retired stock broker from LA. The beginning of the story introduces us to his rather mundane and repetitive lifestyle which is organised and coordinated by his army of paid workers, namely Sylvia the Nutritionist, Cecelia the House Keeper and also a personal trainer, Novak’s only social connections that decide what is best for him on all accounts. With his healthy, low carb meals organised and his housekeeping tended to Novak does not have any immediate need to venture into the outside world, infact he has unknowingly not left the house for nearly a month, that is until one morning when his life takes an unexpected turn.

Novak one day finds himself in excruciating pain, he cannot explain for how long, all he knows is that the pain is on a scale of 10 out of 10.

Hours at least. But it could be for days or years – he had no idea.

Novak has sustained no injury and it feels like it is “IT” the end game, while we as the reader are thrown into the deep end trying to fathom, is he having a heart attack? Dying? Panic attack? Or perhaps merely a hypochondriac who often has behavioral episodes of a similar nature, as we do not yet know the character that is Richard Novak and nor do we know his background and character history. On the same day the pain appears, (the pain that is never truly explained by the medical physicians in the story) a sink hole appears about fifty feet from his house, it is eight feet in diameter and continues to grow as the story progresses. I personally interpret this sinkhole to represent the void in Novak’s life, the emptiness that has slowly became his existence as he has purposely removed himself from the world and any obligations he once had.  The pain he was experiencing may reflect the pent up emotion that had been unleashed, after being numb for as long as he can remember.

He lay there realizing how thoroughly he’d removed himself from the world or obligations, how stupidly independent he’d become: he needed no one, was not a part of anyone’s life.

He wasn’t sure he existed.

It is the realization of being alone that begins to smother Novak. He becomes conscious of the fact that he has no one to call apart from his ex wife or a son, whom he barely sees. It is when he is being escorted home by a hospital organised taxi driver that he steps outside his usual routine and asks to pull over at a Doughnut store, where he then meets another influential character in the story, Anhil, who is the first person Novak has held a conversation with in a long, long time. The story continues from here to lead us through the transformation of Novak’s hermit lifestyle to a new and exciting beginning. We see the caring side to Richard that is there from the start, but hidden under his inability to “live” his life. We experience the crazy events that unfold on a day to day basis as Novak simply goes from A to B while introducing the sugary sweet doughnuts from Anhil’s shop to his glorified junk food free body.

We also meet a depressed housewife who Novak befriends in the produce section at a store called Ralph’s.

I was crying because my life sucks, and he’d just been hit by a car and had a big bag of ice on his leg. I made him buy a Carvel cake.

A movie star that lives up the road, who helps Novak rescue a horse out of the sink hole. a famous writer, and many more characters that help transform this wonderful characters life.

The characters are all living somewhat lost, sad, unfulfilled or lonely lifestyles however they all come from different walks of life. Despite being wealthy, Richard Novak is far from content, it just took a long time for him to realise that. The pain was more of a wake up call, a cry for help. His body was aching for human contact and a sense of belonging. A person can have all the money in the world, but if there is no one to share it with, or nothing left to achieve, is that person going to be happy?

The structure of the story is untraditional and unpredictable. It is not a case of “Will the lost boy find his way home? Will they find the culprit?” Or “Will Mrs Smith find her true love?”…the story progresses gradually with random occurrences which are unexpected and at the same time wonderfully unique.The characters nonchalant attitudes to the most fantastically unusual events would usually be somewhat unbelievable, however A.M Homes has superbly perfected her story to portray the reactions and events in a convincing tone.  The book is sharp, witty, entertaining and most definitely funny. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and wish I could read more, and experience some of the crazy events that unfolded when Novak gave life a chance.

This Book Will Save your Life by A. M. Homes will captivate your imagination and provide you with hours of entertainment! Read the book and join Richard Novak in his life transformation and re-connection to society in the weird and wonderful world of LA. For the most authentic experience, don’t forget the doughnuts!

In reference to the title, if you are currently feeling isolated, disconnected and alone, yes this book may help open your eyes to new experiences and face the unknown, if you give it a chance. Homes will lead you part the way there in the footsteps of Novak, but it is you that must take the final steps and open that door.

MISSING YOU BY Harlan Coben Book Review

Missing You by Harlan Coben primarily follows the story of NYPD Detective Kat Donovan and her persistent yearning to discover the truth behind her fathers death.

As she continues to pursue niggling, unresolved questions she stumbles upon a web of lies that will unravel and expose many twists to the story. Donovan also ventures into the world of online dating and sees a familiar face from long ago, however after a visit from a teenager called Brandon who reports his mother missing, she soon comes to realise that all may not be as innocent as it seems…


Donovan is:

  • Determined to find out what happened to her father.
  • Has unresolved issues for her ex boyfriend which escalate upon her online dating discovery.
  • Lonely.
  • A skilled detective that connects the smallest of details.

We join the detective in her personal and professional journey as she uncovers the tragic truth behind her fathers death and also discovers a well plotted enterprise that lures unsuspecting victims away from their families for monetary gain.

The book also gives an insight into the lives of several people who joined the lonely hearts website to find love, only to experience the opposite.

What I liked:

  1. The twists to the plot aren’t all predictable and all loose ends are tied up nicely at the end of the book. Needless to say the Jigsaw puzzle nicely slots into place.
  2. The book enters the modern world of online dating but this has fatal consequences for those looking for love..
  3. The story follows several different characters lives but is well written, detailed and easy to follow, the characters are also true to their form throughout the book.
  4. The book is a page turner, if you are looking for an addictive I need to know what happens book – then this one is for you. There is plenty of suspense, surprises and secrets to be revealed.
  5. Donovan’s devotion to her father blinded her to things growing up which obviously questioned his lifestyle, I like the character development, realization and final acceptance, as love can blind us and mold people into who we believe them to be, sometimes we only see the good and miss the obvious.

What I disliked:

  1. The unrealistic, mild response Donovan expresses when she finds her fathers killer.
  2. Prior to being on leave from work, Donovan is not allocated any official detective work and seems to barely be at work at all. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was mentioned that she had just finished a case to make this part of the story seem plausible.

I’d give the book an easy 4/5 as I really enjoyed the read and this has encouraged me to try more books by the same author. Thank you for taking the time to read, I have tried to leave out any spoilers to avoid spoiling this wonderful book.

Perfect People by Peter James Book Review 4/5


Peter James is a best selling writer, of whose books I have before now not had the pleasure of reading.

Perfect People is a stand alone thriller that revolves around the world of John and Naomi Klaesson. Both educated professionals, they are haunted by the tragic death of their only child, who died from a disease inherited from them. It becomes apparent that by naturally having more children the possibility of those children also inheriting this disease was extremely high.

The book follows John and Naomi as they desperately visit world expert and controversial scientist Dr Leo Dettore in order to conceive a genetically modified baby. The Klaesson’s hand their life savings and money from relatives over to Dettore in an attempt to have their next child born free of this disease. In the weeks leading up to the pregnancy, John and Naomi have to make many decisions which will no doubt shape and design their child, due to their desperation they unwittingly ignore warning signs that all is not well and that Dettore has a hidden agenda…

A gripping and intense read, intelligently written and a scary yet intriguing topic. This novel was well worth the read and despite having a slight break midway through the book due to other commitments, I later struggled to put the book down at all! The second half of the book has a faster pace and be prepared for some surprising twists to the story. The story includes many realistic questions of morality and explores varying reactions to the couples decision.