Saph1re's Synopsis

Professional Reader80%Challenge Participant




Hi, I'm Jules.


The name Saph1re came about many years ago when I was setting up an eBay account, but every username I tried was taken. I happened to look down at my sapphire engagement ring and decided to spell it wrong, and guess what, it was available :-)


I love reading thrillers (especially dark psychological ones), horror, classics, historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, women's fiction, and some romance, My least favourite genres are action and crime.


Although I've been rating books on Goodreads for years, I have only been actively reviewing books for authors and publishers since 2014, but loving every minute of it.


Favourite authors include Clive Barker, Joanne Harris, Daphne du Maurier, Philippa Gregory, Josephine Cox and Cecelia Ahern.

I'm 38, live in Cornwall, and I'm married with two dogs. I'm self-employed and sell novelty craft buttons online:

When I'm not working or reading, I love gardening, coastal and country walks, cooking and watching TV and films.


Some of my favourite films are The Neverending Story, Dirty Dancing, Grease, Lost Boys, Titanic, The Karate Kid, Interview with the Vampire, Hellraiser, Coyote Ugly, Stigmata, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Edward Scissorhands, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Short Circuit, WALL.E, The Silence of the Lambs, American Psycho, Jaws, The Perfect Storm, Carrie, Moulin Rouge, Django Unchained, Horns, Interstellar, Maleficent and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.



I can't cope with BookLikes any more - I'm now on WordPress

Firstly, thank you to those of you who took the time to respond to my previous post about having problems on BookLikes. I'm sure it took you hours to load up my post, then a few more to post your responses, so thank you for spending your precious time doing that. I tried to respond under that post, but BookLikes won't let me, so I'm attempting a new post and keeping my fingers crossed it will load this!


I'm far too busy running my own business (the part of my life that pays the bills) to waste time trying to load pages on a book blog (my unpaid hobby), only to discover it won't work at all once the page has loaded, so I made the decision to create a new blog elsewhere. I've chosen WordPress, so if any of you are on there, you're very welcome to follow me, and I'll follow you back:


I'll keep this BookLikes page for now, and will pop on from time to time to see if it is working better, but I suspect my WordPress blog will be my main blog in the future.


All the best, folks :-)


Jules xxx

Problems with Booklikes

Hi folks,

I just wondered if anyone else is having problems with Booklikes loading incredibly slowly or not at all? It's slower than dial up about 20 years ago!

I've been having issues with it for weeks now. It has been taking me ages to get a book review up each time I come on, and it's almost impossible to load my dashboard to see all your posts :-(

Hoping it's not just me and someone is in the process of fixing it?!

In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all.

Jules xxx

Book Review - Witness, by Caroline Mitchell

Witness - Caroline Mitchell

Having read three crime novels by this author in the past, I was quite intrigued by Witness, as it was described as a thriller rather than crime. I’m not a huge fan of police procedural crime novels, so really wanted to see what I thought of this thriller. Although I did actually enjoy all of the Detective Jennifer Knight series, and the fascinating character of Frank in the first book, Don’t Turn Around, who still stays with me, I have to say that Witness is now my favourite book by this author.

Witness does cover the topic of domestic abuse, so be warned if that is something you feel uncomfortable reading about. However, this novel focusses more on the psychological side of that abuse and the impact that has on the life of the victim and those around them.

Some abusers like to play games. This one definitely does. Prepare yourself for a fast paced and tense game with very dark and real consequences!

I loved this thriller. Found it really hard to put down. I was at about 60% when I went to bed last night, and only planned on reading a few minutes. Two hours later it was 1am and I had completed the book, as I was unable to put it down, despite my head bobbing and eyes repeatedly closing.

I highly recommend this to fans of thrillers and psychological thrillers.


Book Review - Lizzie's Christmas Escape

Lizzie's Christmas Escape - Christie Barlow

I rarely get overly excited about romance novels, as I don’t often fall in love with them, but I have to admit I loved Lizzie’s Christmas Escape from beginning to end. This story turned out to be so much more than I expected it to be. It was a book that just kept on giving.

This is definitely my favourite festive read this year. Having said that, the story isn’t overly festive and could therefore be very much enjoyed any time of year. Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a light-hearted Christmas read, as there was more depth to the story than I was expecting.

If I’m completely honest, I did fall for Marcus. A man who is tidy, loves dogs, likes building snowmen and decorating Christmas trees. What’s not to love?

I highly recommend this to those who love romance, women’s fiction and family sagas. Lizzie’s Christmas Escape kept my interest throughout. I found myself thinking about it through the day and looking forward to reading it every night.


Book Review - Geordie Selwyn's Christmas Carol

Geordie Selwyn's Christmas Carol - Hilary Mortz, George Wilberforce Selwyn

This was an enjoyable Christmas short story about making the most of Christmas and appreciating what is truly important in life before it's too late.

Ideal if you fancy a quick read with a cup of tea and a mince pie.

I believe this is currently FREE on Amazon Kindle until 27th December:


Book Review - The Gift, by Louise Jensen


The Gift is a hold your breath type of psychological thriller about thirty year old Jenna who receives a heart transplant from a young woman called Callie. Jenna feels different after the lifesaving operation, and seems to experience memories that she is sure aren’t hers.

“A heart is not just an organ. The heart stores secrets and lies. Hopes and dreams. It’s more than a muscle. I know it is. The heart remembers.”

I’ve often been intrigued and also somewhat freaked out by the idea of cellular memory, and thought this story approached this topic with sensitivity, yet had me completely convinced that it may be possible.

As the story progresses, Jenna gets to know Callie’s family, and that’s when things start to get exciting, as Jenna becomes obsessed that despite Callie being dead she is trying to tell her something.

I spent a large part of this book thinking my heart was going to stop and the last 20% holding my breath!

If you enjoy hard to put down psychological thrillers or have an interest in cellular memory then I highly recommend this book.


Book Review - A Cornish Christmas Carol, by Liz Fenwick



I really enjoyed A Cornish Christmas Carol. This is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and who doesn’t enjoy a dash of Dickensian festive flair this time of year.

I especially loved that Scorrier House featured in this novella, as my husband and I live very near to Scorrier House, and often discuss it on our local country walks with our dogs. I’ve never been inside, so it holds a sense of mystery to me. It was also wonderful to see Max Opie making an appearance too.

This is a great story overall, which was rather emotional in places.

Having loved an old A Christmas Carol film (Scrooge, 1970) as a child, which I watched on many occasions around Christmastime, I actually found the Charles Dickens book a little disappointing in comparison, giving it 3 stars after reading it a few years ago. Having enjoyed this novella more than the original, I have awarded it 4 stars.


Book Review - All I Want for Christmas, by Jenny Hale

All I Want For Christmas: A feel good Christmas romance to warm your heart - Jenny Hale

All I want for Christmas is a story about the importance of family.

Overall, it was a reasonably enjoyable story.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to connect with the characters fully. Perhaps if I’d connected with the characters more I would have experienced a deeper level of sadness, or taken more comfort in the heart-warming side of the story. Instead, it just made me feel a sort of numb level of sadness, most likely due to me losing one of my grandmas a couple of months ago.

I did like that Leah’s nan’s friend was called Muriel, as that was the name of my grandma’s sister, who I also miss.


Book Review - Death Stalks Kettle Street, by John Bowen

Death Stalks Kettle Street - John Bowen

I was initially attracted to Death Stalks Kettle Street by its title and front cover, and I’m so pleased I was, as I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery, with its intriguing plot and wonderful characters.

It’s hard to say what my favourite part of this book was, as I loved the whole storyline. Fabulous plot with regards to the murder mystery, perfect pace, and the chapters that focussed on how to write a murder mystery was a very clever touch too, making me think about the main plot of this story in more detail and question the characters and their motives in more depth.

I love the main characters, Greg and Beth, who are on a mission to find the Kettle Street killer. Both characters are very well developed. Greg is struggling through life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Beth is trying to live as normal life as possible with Cerebral Palsy. It is impossible not to be touched by the lives they lead.

This is easily a 5 star read, and I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys crime and murder mystery novels, as well as those who don’t. I’m not a huge fan of crime at all, but this was such an enjoyable read with great characters that will stay with me for some time.


Book Review - Cheated, by Eddie Slain

Cheated - Eddie Slain

Having been somewhat disturbed by Eddie Slain’s previous novel, BLED, my dark side has been secretly looking forward to reading his second novel, CHEATED.

Compared to BLED, I would describe CHEATED as less horror and more erotic fiction. However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, as this still managed to achieve what this author seems to do best, which is to invite you in and not let you leave until all sense of normality has gone from your mind. I’m still laughing at how beautifully this novel started, with the first few lines describing birds and bees in an autumnal forest. Little did I know how far removed my mind would be from that version of the birds and the bees by the time I reached the last page.

In a nutshell, CHEATED is about a man’s downward spiral fed by his sexual obsessions. This story flows well and is hard to put down. If you enjoy erotic fiction with a dark side and don’t mind feeling like a voyeur then I think you would enjoy this book.

Eddie Slain’s warped imagination is fast becoming my guilty pleasure. I think Eddie and my favourite author, Clive Barker would get on well.

My husband goes running a few times a week, and comes home muddy after running in the dark, sometimes in the woods. I’m now wondering whether I should be worried!


Book Review - A Cornish Christmas

A Cornish Christmas: A cosy Christmas romance to curl up with by the fire - Lily Graham

Okay, so it turns out I’ve now read this book twice, well, sort of. I didn’t realise I had already read the shorter version of this book under the name of The Postcard, until I reached the part with Rudolph, and thought, wait a minute, I’ve definitely read about Rudolph and his shiny nose before, and I don’t mean the children’s book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, although I did love that as a child. I did a bit of Goodreads investigating, and realised I read The Postcard a year ago. Yes, my memory really is that bad! I’ve often joked that I only need a handful of books, as I pretty much forget a story as soon as I read the last page and move on to the next book. I think this proves it. It won’t surprise that I have no idea what the differences are between both books, seeing as I only remembered snippets from the first time I read it.

However, I’m pleased to announce that I agree with my own review from last year of the shorter version of this book, which is as follows:

The Postcard is an emotional and magical novella.

It is about a woman who hasn’t fully got over the death of her mother. When sorting through her mother’s old desk, she discovers a postcard written to her, which begins a series of mystical events.

A lovely festive read with an element of Christmas spirit, and I don’t mean of the infused with alcohol kind.

The Postcard has a good balance of both happy and tear jerker moments. A touching story to read during the run up to Christmas.

What I will add, is I think I found it more emotional this time round, as I lost my 14 year old dog and my 90 year old grandma this year, so related more closely to the grief that was covered in this story.

Due to the depth of the story and good character development, this is so much more than just a Christmas story, so I would say this could be enjoyed all year round. Now, let’s see if I can try remember not to read this again next November.


Book Review - See Me Not

See Me Not: A gripping psychological thriller with a heartbreaking twist. - Janelle Harris

Having loved this author’s previous novel, No Kiss Goodbye, and falling in love with the front cover for this book, I was very excited to read it, but at the same time a little nervous. I’m pleased to say that See Me Not is yet another at times somewhat tense and cleverly plotted psychological thriller that will keep you awake late at night, as you read just one more page, and another, and another…

I highly recommend this to fans of psychological thrillers.

This book had me changing my mind about the three main characters throughout. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I liked Emma. She seemed quite needy, and getting so annoyed at her husband, David for having to work long hours, had me feeling sorry for him. Being a military wife myself, a part of me wanted to shake sense into her and tell her how lucky she was to see her husband most days, even if it was only briefly. I desperately wanted her to give him more support. As for the third main character, Amber, David’s boss, she had me really intrigued. I do love a good manipulative character in a book, so I found her fascinating throughout.

This thrilling and emotional novel covers a number of sensitive subjects, but all are approached with care. This story felt very current with it also covering online stalking, and did actually have me checking through my own Facebook friends list.

See Me Not is a story of secrets, loneliness, rejection and guilt, and even had me crying at the end. Oh my, what an intense ending that was! I highly recommend reading the author’s message at the end of the novel too, as I think it is important to understand part of the heart breaking inspiration for this novel. Grab a tissue first though.


Book Review - Blakemort

Blakemort - A Psychic Surveys Christmas Novella - Shani Struthers, Jeff Gardiner

This is not really a genre I read much these days, but I did enjoy Blakemort, and could definitely see me having loved it if I had read it as a young teenager, when I loved reading books that spooked me.

Even after all these years, one part in particular did send a shiver down my spine, as I too was pushed down the stairs, when I was just a few years old, and to this day I am still convinced it was a ghost that pushed me. I was pushed twice by something invisible, falling down the stairs on the second push, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a giant jellyfish that pushed me.

There was a good mix of characters, and I liked that the two adult sisters were Julia and Helena, as I'm Julie and one of my sisters is Helen. Julia was the one without kids, like myself, and Helena was the one with kids, like my sister Helen. I also loved the character of Helena's daughter, Corinna.

I’ve never really thought about what my surname means, until this novella mentioned ‘mort’ meaning dead, which then got me curious about what Mortimer actually means. My husband (being born with the surname), informed me it means ‘dead sea’. How interesting.

Blakemort is a great novella for anyone who enjoys haunted house ghost stories. Although there is mention of a number of Christmas periods over the years throughout this story, I do think this novella could be read any time of year, as it is not really festive at all, but more of a ghostly mystery.


Book Review - The Halloweeners

The Halloweeners (Volume 1) - John Hennessy

I bought The Halloweeners as a fun read for Halloween.

This novella is about a group of kids who love Halloween, and each have their own character of zombie, witch, vampire and ghost. Within these pages is a story of friendship, young love, bullying, nasty teachers, and perhaps a little revenge.

One of my PE teachers in secondary school was pure evil. Just the mention of Miss Glover makes me shudder over 20 years later! Teachers really do have a huge impact on you. Luckily, at the other end of the scale, was the most marvellous teacher ever in primary school, Mr Zienko, who was strict but ever so funny. He did the most amazing school plays, and I got to be a cowgirl, witch and belly dancer in his plays. Such fun times, which helps to make up for the memory of Miss Glover trying to half strangle me once!

“Kirsty didn’t trust men with hair on their faces.” made me giggle, as I remember a scenario but sort of in reverse, as my dad always had a beard, but shaved it off for a play he was in over 30 years ago, and one of my younger sisters wouldn’t go near him, as she was convinced he was no longer her daddy, as Daddy has a beard.

As the main characters are aged around 13 years old, I think this book would most suit children around that age, although I still enjoyed it as an adult, as it reminded me of my school days, so felt nostalgic and slightly emotional remembering the good old days. Plus, I also enjoyed the little references from other books I’ve read by this author.


Book Review - Counting Chimneys

Counting Chimneys: A novel of love, heartbreak and romance in 1960s Brighton (Brighton Girls Trilogy) (Volume 2) - Sandy Taylor

I loved The Girls from See Saw Lane, which is the first book in this trilogy, and have been so looking forward to reading book two.

So much happened in Counting Chimneys, I devoured this book, as it filled me with such a mix of emotions throughout. It is one of those books that physically sucked me into its pages and surrounded me in the world it had created. I have such strong images of buildings and the beach in my mind, despite having never been to Brighton in my life.

If you love books with developed characters and a plot that is likely to fill you with strong emotions, then this is probably the book for you. I strongly recommend you read book one first, as this is the continuation of such an emotional and heart breaking story, so I think you will get more from this book if you have experienced what happened previously.


Book Review - The Sugar Planter's Daughter

The Sugar Planter's Daughter - Sharon Maas

Having loved The Secret Life of Winnie Cox, I’ve been dying to read this book.

I needed to know what was going to happen next for George and Winnie. A part of me was so relieved that they had a future together after the struggles they faced in the first book, but then certain events within this story made me feel sad, and so incredibly angry at one particular character. There were events in this book I tried so hard to stop happening as they unravelled in front of me while I continued to read. I could hear myself screaming “No!” in my mind and probably out load, as I read certain events, and wanted to wish them away again.

This books tells a wonderfully emotional story of love, loss and family. If you fancy reading this, I strongly recommend you start by reading the first book, The Secret Life of Winnie Cox, which was actually one of my Top Ten Books read in 2015: