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.



Book Review - Housing Elephants

Housing Elephants - Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

Housing Elephants is a story of love between two damaged souls.

I loved that this book was set in York. I spent the first 23 years of my life (except for the 3 years I was at Bradford university) living in York, and loved it there, so I really enjoyed reading names of places I used to hang out, such as Lendal Cellars and the Museum Gardens, and names of streets I’ve walked down many hundreds of times over the years.

Although my interest wavered slightly somewhere in the middle, the emotional and tense ending more than made up for that.

I recommend this to fans of emotional romance that isn’t all fluffy and happy. This may also appeal to fans of Young Adult fiction too, as the main characters are late teens/early 20s. There are some dark subjects covered in this novel.


Book Review - The Forgotten Woman

The Forgotten Woman: A gripping, emotional rollercoaster read you'll devour in one sitting - Angela Marsons

I loved The Forgotten Woman, despite it making me cry so many times I was an emotional wreck by the time I got to the end of it. I even felt tearful for a couple of days after finishing it, each time I thought about it. It left me feeling like I had a fountain of emotion waiting to pour out of me. I’m pleased to say I now feel emotionally stable enough to write a review without crying.

This is a story about two unlikely friends, brought together by alcoholism. Kit and Frances come from two completely different walks of life, but both carry with them dark pasts and a suitcase full of emotional baggage.

This is now officially my favourite book by Angela Marsons. I know this was her very first novel, but me falling in love with this book confirms my suspicions that the main reason I love her crime series, despite not being a fan of crime, is the author’s ability to create wonderful characters with strong emotions that fall off the pages and sneak into the reader’s heart.

While the characters are the strongest part of this novel, the storyline itself was one that surprised me and kept me turning the pages. Finding it especially hard to put down in the second half of the novel.

It also brought back specific memories. One of my time living in Bradford while at university in the 90s, and seeing prostitutes on street corners while I walked to my favourite rock club. I remember one specific night seeing a teenage prostitute and feeling so shocked that she looked so young, possibly not even 16. One night, I was almost picked up myself, while waiting to cross the road. It turns out being a rock chick and wearing boots, black tights, and a black PVC dress can have you mistaken for a prostitute in Bradford!

Another memory was of the dream job I got in my mid 20s, working in a residential college for teenagers with a specific disorder. Unfortunately I was unable to take the job, as being a Navy wife, we were made to move shortly after my security checks came through. I still remember feeling really nervous while waiting in reception for my interview, then all of a sudden being very closely surrounded by a handful of teenagers who wanted to know everything about me, and were all excitedly telling me their names. My nerves disappeared instantly. Not being able to take that job is one of my biggest regrets, as I know I would have found it so fulfilling.

If you enjoy a tear-jerker with great characters, then I definitely recommend this book.


Book Review - Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency - Kitty French
This book initially caught my attention with its fabulous front cover.

I’m so pleased I decided to give it a try, as it was such fun to read. This light-hearted story was just what I needed to sort me out after the tissue consuming monster of a tear-jerker I read just before it. Plus, it gets extra happy points for mentioning Robert Downey Jr. who I've absolutely adored since I was about 13.

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency is witty, full of quirky characters, ghostly shenanigans and a bit of cheeky romance thrown in too. I could happily live inside this book.

Book Review - The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Original Title

The Girl Who Couldn't Come Up With an Original Title - The Behrg

This contains two short stories covering the topics of depression and suicide.


I found both stories interesting and could relate to the thoughts and feelings of the characters. These are dark, emotive and surprisingly descriptive for such short stories.


The author also tells us a little about himself, which I found interesting too.

Book Review - Holding by Graham Norton

Holding - Graham Norton

What an intriguing and emotional delight this book was!

I love Graham Norton, so I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading his book, in case I didn't enjoy it and felt disappointed, but it was exactly the things I love in a book. It's the kind of murder mystery story that doesn't get bogged down in police procedural, which is the part of crime fiction that generally sends me to sleep.

Holding focusses on a variety of interesting characters within a close-knit community in Ireland. Although the characters are very different from each other, they share a similar sadness and loneliness that makes it impossible not to connect with them on an emotional level. In some places it was a little darker than I had expected it to be, and at other times somewhat heart breaking.

“I went to bed with Graham Norton last night, and he kept me awake until at least 1am” is something I never thought I’d type on Facebook in my lifetime. Life is full of surprises.

This is a great novel, full of fascinating characters that had me so captivated by their secrets, I found it almost impossible to put down each night.


Book Revew - Mythfits

Mythfits - Heide Goody, Iain Grant

Having never read anything quite like Mythfits, I decided to give it a go.

I enjoyed some of the short stories, but failed to fall in love with the overall book. I suspect it’s just not really a genre I particularly enjoy. There were some fun characters within the pages of this book, which I enjoyed reading about, but I’m not sure I always understood the humour or message of the tales.

My favourite story was probably Clovenhoof and the Phone Box, but I also enjoyed Frog Prince and The Laughing Gnome. It was also fun spotting some familiar names in Witches.

I would like to thank the authors for a copy of this book, via THE Book Club (TBC) on Facebook, in exchange for an honest review.


NetGalley Review - Blood Lines

Blood Lines: An absolutely gripping thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series Book 5) - Angela Marsons

Blood Lines is yet another great book in my favourite crime series.

What an intense start to this book. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I love the chemistry between the different characters within the police team. I found the Dear Diary chapters rather dark and unnerving, and the ending was surprisingly emotional.

I really like Kim and I love to hate Alex, with a little more enthusiasm than I thought possible!

Although this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend you start this series from the beginning, so that you get to know more about the regular characters in the series. If you really don’t wish to start from the beginning, I would still highly recommend reading Evil Games, which is book two, as we see the return of one nasty character from that book, and I think you will gain more enjoyment from this book if you’re aware of quite how manipulative evil Alex is.

I’m confident fans of the D.I. Kim Stone series won’t be disappointed by the fifth book in this series.

I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture for allowing me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review and Link to Free Sample - No Idea by Si Page

Free Sample


A free sample is currently available on Kindle Scout for anyone who is interested. If you like it, please can I ask you to consider voting for this author to get a publishing contract with Amazon. It's really easy, just click the blue 'Nominate me' button and log into your Amazon account. With only 5 days left, I'd love to help him achieve his dream. Cheers folks :-)



My Review


I loved this book!


No Idea is a mystery romance, which is both thought provoking and emotional in places. With a great mix of characters, humour, adventure and an interesting twister of a plot, I think this would make a great TV mystery drama series.


This book takes the reader on a journey, as Rob Wise (or should that be not-so-wise, seeing as he seems to have no idea about a lot of things in his life), experiences transition and self-improvement on a personal, professional and spiritual level. Covering as far back as Rob’s childhood, there is a hint of coming-of-age to this storyline, although the main focus is on Rob’s life as an adult.


The reader enters Rob’s life when it has pretty much hit rock bottom. The way he was living with his housemates made me think of a cross between Trainspotting and Spike (the bloke in pants) in Notting Hill. Rob has SAD, which is a form of depression and has lost all motivation. He has no idea what he is about to face and how much his life is about to change.


This story keeps you guessing throughout. Initially, I had no idea where the story was going to take me, but then things started to take shape, and I thought I knew what was going to happen, but then something would be thrown in to the mix which left me with no idea where the story was going all over again. I think the title, No Idea is great, as it not only reflects Rob’s life, but also the reader’s experience of the story and nothing being quite as it seems.


If you fancy a book that has you giggling, gasping and guessing, then this is probably the book for you.


I would like to thank the author for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.


Author Links


Author Website




Amazon UK


Eager to read more by this author while you wait for No Idea to be published?

Check out my 5 star review of Missing Gretyl on Goodreads

Book Review - Peppermint Park

Peppermint Park - Stephanie Harte

I really enjoyed Peppermint Park. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be much more than I imagined it would be.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where the characters spend most of their time based at a hippie commune, so it was an interesting experience for me. I have a little bit of hippie in me, and love the idea of self-sufficiency and living off the land, so loved the idea of them growing all their own fruit and veg, and trading goods at the local shop, rather than using money. I also slept really well each night after reading this. Perhaps it was the thought of all the drugs. I felt chilled out, ha ha.

Ignoring one initial incident, this story started out rather funny and light-hearted. I found myself joining in, and laughing along with the characters over things such as farting in a sleeping bag, or the disgustingness of nettle tea, yuck! By half way, I was surprised how different my emotions about the book had become. The dream-like perfection of the hippie commune started to show cracks. Why are humans so good at self-destruction? So many of us seem incapable of being grateful for what we have. We always want more, and even when we get more, that still isn’t enough.

Sometimes I was frustrated by one character’s lack of strength to do what was best for her, but I also reminded myself, that I’m 38, and when I was in my late teens to early 20s, I wasn’t the person I am now. Perhaps I would have acted in the same way she did, when I was her age.

This story is full of a great mix of wonderful characters, and covers family, friendship, adventure, love, jealousy, motherhood, loss and hope.

I felt such heartache late on in the story, and even had tears in my eyes near the end. I would never have guessed the ending, but I did like the way the story concluded.

I would like to thank the author for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review - Matching the Evidence

Matching the Evidence: The Major Crimes Team - Vol 2 - Graham Smith

Firstly, there was nothing actually wrong with this novella, I just didn’t particularly enjoy it.

I’m not a fan of police procedural (or football), and I think one of the mistakes I made when agreeing to read this, was not realising it was volume two in a series until I opened it up on my Kindle. Although the story itself can be read as a standalone, I’m personally driven by characters and their personalities, and although there were a lot of characters in this novella, I didn’t feel I really connected with any of them. I am wondering if some of those characters are introduced in more detail in the first novella, and this is the reason for my lack of connection.

This novella seems to be going down very well with other readers, so I suspect many readers who thrive on police procedural will thoroughly enjoy this, so you can pretty much ignore my opinion. Those who know me well, know I’m a bit hit and miss with crime novels. I either absolutely love them, or just don’t get on with them. There’s no middle ground with me when it comes to crime, it seems, although I have learnt that the less police procedural the better.

Thank you to the publisher, Caffeine Nights Publishing for a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review - No Second Chances

No Second Chances - Marissa Farrar

I have read a few books by this author, but No Second Chances is definitely my favourite so far.

I liked the main characters, especially Gabi, who felt very real. Cole won me over when he took Gabi on the perfect first date. Marissa Farrar is great at creating interesting characters and believable relationships.

No Second Chances is a romance with rough edges. Things certainly aren’t smooth sailing, and there are plenty of physical and emotional challenges thrown into the storyline too. This book focusses on the impact serious physical injury and guilt has on the main characters and their lives.

I was completely absorbed by this story. I didn’t want it to end, and actually really missed being a part of it for a couple of days afterwards.

I would like to thank the author for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review - The Dear God Letters

The Dear God Letters: One Woman's Year of Talking To God. Answers That Will Change Your Life Forever - Claire H Perkins

The Dear God Letters is an interesting read. It is a mix of religious, spiritual, self-help, and had a journal feel to it with it containing the author’s thoughts and feelings throughout one year of her life.

I liked the format of this book, especially where each month began with a description of that particular month in relation to nature and the weather. It was very visual and descriptive.

The thing that felt quite unusual about the format of this book, is that most self-help books I’ve read in the past tend to speak directly to the reader. However, as the title of this book suggests, this is written in the form of the author writing letters to God, and God providing replies. It is an interesting way to write, but did make me feel a little bit nosey, as if I was secretly reading someone else’s diary.

Although, I personally would describe this book as religious, other than for a mention of the author’s specific religion while growing up, God in this book could belong to a number of religions or none at all, so could really be read by anyone who is at least open to the idea of being spiritual. The main focus of this book is the way the author approaches life and its challenges, which in turn could benefit the reader if they chose to take on a similar attitude to the author.

God in this book is not one to be feared, but is kind and understanding. Being christened Catholic, brought up Protestant, and spending the first 8 years of my life with a variety of Muslim men living in my house, I think I may always remain a little too God fearing to write letters to him. Personally, I’ve always found Jesus to be much more approachable.

No matter what your religion, if you are at one with nature (or wish to be) and have an interest in this author’s approach to life, desire to help others, and determination to try and see the good in everything, then this may be the book for you. We are all given a life, but it is up to us what we do with it and what choices we make. Perhaps some of you will choose to read this book as a way of enriching the life you were given.

On that note, I will leave you with this line in the book, as it made me giggle:
“Some saw Heaven as a magical forest filled with little fat flying babies!”

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and wish her happiness and success both in life and any future books she chooses to write.


Book Review - The Reflections of Queen Snow White

The Reflections of Queen Snow White - David C. Meredith
I really enjoyed The Reflections of Queen Snow White. It is wonderfully descriptive and I found it exceptionally hard to put down.

It was somewhat darker than I was expecting, covering aspects of loneliness, sadness, grief and depression. I found it surprisingly emotional in places and even had tears in my eyes.

I don’t wish to go into detail about the plot, as the blurb tells you all you need to know. However, if you enjoy fairy tales and are intrigued about what may or may not have happened to Snow White in the future, then I highly recommend you read this book.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and wish him success with this and any future novels.

NetGalley Review - Even Stranger

Even Stranger - Marilyn Messik

Having thoroughly enjoyed Relatively Strange, which was the first book in this series, I was really looking forward to reading Even Stranger, and I’m pleased to announce it did not disappoint.

I love the characters that Marilyn Messik has created for this series, and not just because they manage to make me feel less strange. It was great seeing a more mature and confident Stella a few years on from the first book too.

Although, overall, I wouldn’t describe this book as particularly scary, I think it needs to come with the following warning:

“Remove all potentially creepy dolls (and even the cute ones, if you wish them to remain cute in your mind) before reading this book.”

One part of this book spooked me so much, I think it knocked a few years off my life. I almost had a heart attack when I looked over at my beautiful doll, Betony, while I was reading, only to discover she had moved position and was staring straight at me! I was on the verge of jumping out of the upstairs window, until I remembered I moved her for the first time in ages, just a few days earlier to show her to my friend. Phew! She still gave me the creeps though, as she was giving me the look, while I stared at her suspiciously. I was even suspicious of her the following night, but we’re back on good terms again now, thank goodness.

There were parts of this story that made me giggle and one part that left me craving aniseed balls for about two days. Now I’ve reminded myself about them, I’m craving them again. They are one of my dad’s favourite sweets, so I grew up eating them, and adore the smell and taste of aniseed.

You will need to read Relatively Strange before reading Even Stranger, but if you enjoy the first book, then I highly recommend reading this book too.

I would like to thank the publisher, Troubador Publishing Ltd for allowing me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


NetGalley Review - The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena

This is a great psychological mystery thriller that keeps you guessing from the moment a couple return home from an evening at their next door neighbour's house, to discover their baby has gone missing.


Tense beginning, and even though I was sure I knew who took the baby, this story taught me that people aren’t always what they seem, and threw me off track on more than one occasion. In fact, I think I suspected nearly every character at one point of another.


Sometimes I can be disappointed by endings of books that are so good throughout that story, but I loved this ending. If I’m honest, it left me feeling rather shocked and a little bit sick. I was going to go to sleep once I finished this book last night, but had to start another book to take my mind off the ending.


I would like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, for allowing me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


NetGalley Review - The Stepmother

The Stepmother: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist - Claire Seeber

This is the first book I’ve read by Claire Seeber, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed this.

If you like psychological thrillers and fairy tales, then this may be the book for you. Although, mostly a psychological thriller, there is a hint of fairy tale throughout, as it is loosely based on the story of Snow White, which I love.

At first I was intrigued by this story, then I began to feel uneasy, and by half way I started to feel paranoid. This story definitely gave me an uneasy feeling throughout. Very hard to put down, as I needed to know what happened next, in the hope of reducing my own anxiety.

I’m also glad it’s not just me who can set fire to jacket potatoes in the microwave, even if it was a fictional character, ha ha.

I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture for allowing me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.