21 Feb 2017

Book Feature / Roam by Erik Therme


When Kevin finds Sarah stranded by the side of the road, he’s more than willing to give her a ride. Young, beautiful and distraught—she’s everything a single guy could ask for in a girl. What he doesn’t know is that she already has a guy: an abusive, drunken boyfriend who left her there in a fit of rage. And when that boyfriend comes back and finds Sarah missing, a simple ride will turn deadly.



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Continue reading Book Feature / Roam by Erik Therme

18 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

A thrilling debut novel, a literary historical thriller based on the devastating witch hunts in 1640s England conducted by Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins for readers of Sarah Waters and Katherine Howe.

Before Salem, there was Manningtree. . . .

This summer, my brother Matthew set himself to killing women, but without ever once breaking the law.
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew s soul.
 

There is a new darkness in the town, too frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he s become, Alice is desperate to intervene and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul. 

Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother s brutal mission and is drawn into the Hopkins family s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils before more innocent women are forced to the gallows. 


Inspired by the real-life story of notorious Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with harrowing storytelling for a truly haunting reading experience.


Published:     2nd March 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

Its not often that I pick up a historical novel and on those occasions when I do I seem to strike gold and this book is no exception to that.  I love a good witch story and what makes this even more interesting is the fact that it is based on an actual person, Matthew Hopkins really existed and that really fascinated me.  What also drew me in was the fact that nearly every location that is mentioned in this book I have visited.

I liked the fact that this story did not concentrate on Matthew himself but followed the story of his sister.  We followed her story with growing up with him, arriving on his doorstep after disaster strikes, learning to live with him and wanting her to discover who her brother really is. 

After reading book I spent several hours researching the real Matthew Hopkins, a fascinating but horrible character in history.  



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

15 Feb 2017

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Book Review / The Breakdown by BA Paris

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…


Published:     20th June 2017
Publisher:  St Martin's Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this very much!    This book had me on the edge of my seat nearly the whole way through.  You have this great beginning where Cass drives past a woman who has broken down in a side road.  She stops but the woman does not get out, so Cass drives on thinking that she is ok.  It is only the next day she finds out that the woman she passed was dead.  Ashamed to admit that she drove past her before she died, Cass keeps this to herself.  We follow Cass in this story as strange things start happening to her, is someone now out to get her too or is she going mad.

What I loved about this book the most was the build up.  I had to find out what happened next, is Cass mad or is there really someone out to get her. I had to know.  I read this in two sittings, but on the same day.  I could not put this down!  And that ending, such a great plot twist!  I saw half of it coming but the other half of the twist I had not been expecting and I loved that!


Continue reading Book Review / The Breakdown by BA Paris

13 Feb 2017

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Book Review / Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal


It's late. The phone rings.

The man on the other end says his daughter is missing.

Your daughter.

The baby you gave away over fifteen years ago.

What do you do?


Nora Watts isn't sure that she wants to get involved. Troubled, messed up, and with more than enough problems of her own, Nora doesn't want to revisit the past. But then she sees the photograph. A girl, a teenager, with her eyes. How can she turn her back on her?

But going in search of her daughter brings Nora into contact with a past that she would rather forget, a past that she has worked hard to put behind her, but which is always there, waiting for her . . .

In Eyes Like Mine, Sheena Kamal has created a kick-ass protagonist who will give Lisbeth Salander a run for her money. Intuitive, not always likeable, and deeply flawed, Nora Watts is a new heroine for our time.


Published:     9th February 2017
Publisher:  Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...  For me, the mystery and the 'what's going to happen next' was the main pull for me in reading this book.  Honestly speaking, I was more interested in learning more about the character of Nora and what her past was.  There were certainly hints to some kind of mysterious past and I really want to find out what that was.  She was also the kind of main character that I loved to hate.  Some of the things she said and did made sense but some of it I was sitting in my chair thinking 'why did you just do that?'.  To me, it made the character more real than someone who just made the right decisions all the time, which let's be honest and say that just doesn't happen!

What I didn't like about this book...   Maybe it was just me but I felt that despite the main part of this story is that Nora's daughter has gone missing this book focused less and less on that and more about Nora and her story.  Maybe that is what it was meant to be but I would have liked to  have learned more about her daughter and the situation she found herself in at any given time. 


Continue reading Book Review / Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

10 Feb 2017

Author Interview / David Young


How do you solve a murder when you can't ask any questions? The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Stasi Child.

East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing.

But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town - the pride of the communist state - and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town's flawless image.

Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .




AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
I’m not sure I could work with another author. I’m too much of a control freak! Within genre, possibly William Ryan as I’ve loved all his books. But fellow Bonnier author Chris Whitaker invents great characters, as evidenced by his fantastic debut Tall Oaks. So maybe Chris.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
I tend to write in mad spurts, and don’t follow the ‘write something every day’ maxim. So there isn’t really a typical day. I split my writing time between my garden log cabin in Twickenham and a caravan I bought on the Isle of Wight with the Stasi Child advance, specifically as a writing retreat. So when I’m writing a first draft, it can be for up to sixteen hours a day, though more usually eight to ten. The rest of the time I’m researching, promoting, rewriting, but not in a set daily pattern. The nature of the work changes with the publishing year. At the moment, with Stasi Wolf being published, I’m in promotion mode even though I’ve got a redraft of Book 3 I need to tackle.
 
3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
Rewriting and editing. I long for the day when an editor says ‘This is perfect, well done!’ Of course, it will never happen. But I find it agony working out how any changes will work on the rest of the book. You’re always terrified of bringing the whole house of cards down.

4.  When and why did you first start writing? 
My first memory is of trying to write my own version of Black Beauty when I was about five. In my era at school, ‘creative writing’ didn’t seem to be part of the English curriculum – and as a result I hated English Literature. After dropping out of a Geology degree, my first long piece of writing was my dissertation at Bristol Poly on Stalin’s purges. I then became a reporter on local papers, then a news editor at the BBC. In the early noughties I had my first stab at writing a novel – which I self-published with limited success – and then got down to it seriously when I joined the inaugural Crime Thriller MA at City University London in 2012. Why? With Stasi Child I wanted to escape from the day job – and I’ve been lucky enough to achieve that.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
Stasi Wolf was inspired by a story I heard when researching Stasi Child about how East Germany’s secret police took over an investigation into baby murders at a Leipzig hospital. They wanted to be sure that news of the investigation didn’t leak out and alarm the public. That was the main thrust of the idea.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
To my shame, no. In many ways, I prefer watching crime series on TV. I do enjoy reading novels, but it tends to be on holidays. I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of Arnaldur Indridason’s new one, The Shadow District, which I’ve just started. Next up is The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey and I also like the sound of Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man, so have just purchased that. Unfortunately, my TBR pile just grows and grows. 

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
Make sure your ideas are distinctive, because it’s a very crowded market, and concentrate on telling an engaging story. And ideally don’t set your crime series in East Germany as I don’t want any more competition!




Continue reading Author Interview / David Young

7 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / The One by John Marrs


How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner - the one you're genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking - and deadlier - than others...

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat




Published:     4th May 2017
Publisher:  Del Rey
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher

(Previously published as 'A Thousand Small Explosions')


MY REVIEW

Oh this book was good, really good.  I always love a story about love and finding your perfect partner and this book just took that to the next level and I loved it.  This book was so much fun to read I read it in two sittings (both on the same day though!).

This story is split into different character perspectives.  First you have Ellie who is her own boss at a very successful company but she has a secret she is trying to hide.  She finds her match and thinks that things are going to be 'happily ever after'.  Is it really that simple?    Then you have Mandy who finds her match but discovers that she might be too late to meet him...  Next there's Christopher who has a massive sinister secret that he is hiding from his newly found match.  Jade is next where she wants more than just being able to speak to her match on the phone.  She decides to travel to where he lives in Australia to meet him but things aren't always what they seem.  Lastly you have Nick.  Nick is happily engaged to Sally and really had no intention of registering with the MatchYourDNA.com website until a dinner date with friends gives Sally the suggestion to give it a try to see what happens.  So after a lot of persuasion they do but unfortunately they do not get the results they wanted.

If I had to pick favourites, there were two characters here that stood out for me.  The first being Christopher, the more sinister character of the bunch.  His secret is the worst ever and it really was entertaining following him and seeing what he does next when he adds a new girlfriend to the mix.  My other favourite character is Nick.  After taking the text and finding his match, things go downhill for him and his fiance.  In a completely unexpected match, dreams really can come true..

I had so much fun reading this story and could not put this down...  If I had to catagorise it, I would say that it is part romance, part science fiction (a little bit) and part comedy.



Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The One by John Marrs

6 Feb 2017

Month in Review / January 2017

Firstly I have to apologise for this post being so late.  I was so engrossed in New Year reading that I completely forgot about it!  I suppose that is a good excuse, reading is always a good excuse for everything!  I had a very interesting reading month in January.  I read books both that I loved and that I wished I had loved more than I actually did. 

My favourite for the month has to be See Me by Nicholas Sparks.  I can't believe I waited this long to read it!  I am always a sucker for a good romance novel!  There were two other really great books for me this month, The Alibi and Bone Meal for Roses.  Both novels are ones that I would not have normally picked up to read but did because I was very kindly provided a copy for review by publishers.  The book that I didn't get on very well with this month was Talking as Fast as I Can.  Now that is not because it wasn't good or the writing wasn't good, it was simply that this book was more about Gilmore Girls than I had anticipated and for someone who hasn't watched a lot of episodes of that show, this book was not geared towards someone like me.  That said, if you are a Gilmore Girls fan this book is a definite must read! 

BOOKS READ



BOOKS PURCHASED



SMALL GREAT THINGS 
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

THE WHISTLER
 We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or t

takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

TWO BY TWO
At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

LYREBIRD
Life is in two parts: who you were before you met her, and who you are after.

A documentary crew discover a mysterious young women living alone in the mountains of West Cork. Strikingly beautiful she has an extraordinary talent for mimicry, like the famous Australian Lyrebird. The crew, fascinated, make her the subject of her story, and bestow the nickname upon her.

When they leave, they take Lyrebird with them back to the city. But as she leaves behind her peaceful life to learn about a new world, is she also leaving behind a part of herself? For her new friend Solomon the answer isn’t clear. When you find a rare and precious thing, should you share it – or protect it…

 
 
Continue reading Month in Review / January 2017

5 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Author Interview / Mary Gibson


Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. 

But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.


Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean's, is hiring. 


Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.





AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
Ursula K. Le Guin. I have always admired her spare, vivid writing style. A science fiction/fantasy writer may seem an odd choice as a collaborator, but we both write about world’s that do not exist – hers are imagined and mine vanished. She is also a great teacher of the craft of writing and I’m sure I’d learn a lot on the way!

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
I am fortunate to have a small study where I can shut myself away. I usually start writing around 10am. I write straight on to the laptop and like to move from desk to a sofa where I can look up from the screen and see my favourite winter flowering cherry tree. I begin by reading over what I’ve written the previous day, making quick edits as I go. I find this the best way to encourage the new writing to flow! I am most prolific in the afternoons and aim for a word count of at least 1500 words a day. When you are producing a book a year, you have to be disciplined about writing - even when you’re not feeling inspired! So, I keep a writing calendar with monthly reminders of my target word count. I usually finish writing at about 5pm and like to come down and cook the evening meal. I find It’s a good way to ground myself back into this reality after living in bygone Bermondsey all day!

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
Plotting is the hardest part for me. Settings, characters and situations seem to flow naturally but I am always looking for new tips and tools to help with plotting. I use graphs and charts, time lines and chapter outlines - but I think over planning can also be a mistake and can squash creativity. Sometimes the characters and their stories just refuse to fit the plan!

4.  When and why did you first start writing? 
I have always written short stories but it was only after I took early retirement at the age of fifty-six that I wrote my first novel. I was looking into my family history and realized that the tale of my great-great grandfather might make a good basis for a novel. He cycled from Hull to London on a penny farthing in order to find work and make a better life for his family.
Sadly, that novel is still unpublished. However, it did get the attention of an agent who asked to see my second novel Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, which is a loose sequel. I again used a family story as my inspiration – that of my grandmother who worked at Pearce Duff’s custard factory and was part of a ground-breaking women’s factory workers’ strike in 1911. 
 
5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Lots of readers wanted to know what happened to Matty Gilbie, the budding music hall star who appeared in Custard Tarts. In Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams, I pick up her story in 1930, when she’s found fame in music hall and is trying to break into the talkies in America. But the Wall Street crash, a bad man and a personal tragedy, force her to flee home to Bermondsey, where she is thrown into factory life once more at the Peek Frean’s biscuit factory. Needless to say, with a heroine as resilient as Matty, she doesn’t intend to stay there for long!

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? 
I’ve always been a great reader. I love the 19th Century classic novelists and am currently re-reading Jane Eyre - the second book ever to make me cry, the first being Little Women.
7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
Read a lot. Write what you can, when you can and don’t worry if it isn’t perfect - that’s what rewrites are for! Make sure you finish something - even if it’s only a very short story. Finally, never give up. I didn’t have my first novel published until I was 60, it’s never too late!








Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Mary Gibson

3 Feb 2017

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Blog Tour Book Review / Echoes in Death by J D Robb

This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.


As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.


Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...


While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:


What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?


Published:     7th February 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 44, In Death

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
 

MY REVIEW

There's a certain comfort that comes from arriving home at the end of each day after a long day at work.  It's that moment when you know you are home, can enjoy the rest of the evening and have lots of fun.  Every time I pick up a J D Robb book now I get that same feeling of comfort and familiarity, which I love!  On the one hand you have this deeply disturbing story of murder but on the other hand you have characters you are familiar with and are glad to see again. 

As always you have Eve Dallas and many other characters that come up in almost every book I have come across so far.   One of the top things for me when reading a book in this series is that you have the main story of murder but then you have Eve Dallas, her husband and her friends who also have their own lives going on around the murder and with each book I have read so far their stories progress as the books come along, making the characters seem more real. 

As with most of the books I have read in this series, the stories of murder are not easy to read but with the way the story is brought together I do have a lot of fun trying to piece together the parts of the puzzle to try and figure out how the bad person is.  With this one I have to say that I didn't guess who it was, that was definitely a surprise.  A very interesting twist in the story. 







Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / Echoes in Death by J D Robb

1 Feb 2017

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Book Review / Remember Me by Christopher Pike



Shari Cooper hadn't planned on dying, but four floors is a long way to fall. Her friends say she fell but Shari knew she had been murdered. 

Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams. She also comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. 

The Shadow - a thing more horrible than death itself - is the key to Shari's death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again








Published:     6th July 2010
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Remember Me
Source:  Owned Copy




MY REVIEW

This book has been on my shelf for years. I keep meaning to pick it up but always get distracted by one thing or another so I thought it was about time I picked this up.  The first book in this trilogy, Remember Me, was really good.   Despite the fact that I thought the pace was really slow, I did enjoy following Shari as she discovers what has happened to her and what is happening to her after her death.  I was so excited to pick up the second book.

However, all good things must come to an end.  Having started the second book I found that I could not get into it.  It didn't seem to have the same pace and theme of the first book and to be honest I found the story a bit confusing.  It was at about the 50 page mark that I decided not to continue with this series.  The direction this trilogy was going I just was not interested in.  

Given the chance to read this trilogy again for the first time, I would still read the first book but would leave it there, reading it as a stand-alone. 


 
Continue reading Book Review / Remember Me by Christopher Pike

31 Jan 2017

Blog Tour Author Giveaway / The Ceruleans Series by Charlotte Wilson




IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit: run away from school, join a surfing fraternity, drown in a tragic ‘accident’.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove to uncover the truth. And, as it turns out, to fall in love with the place and its people, especially a certain blue-eyed surfer with a serious case of the heroics.

But as Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery: of what it means to conquer fear, to fall in love, to choose life, to choose death.

To believe the impossible.

Purchase your copy here:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte is a professional writer. For authors and publishers, she writes and edits books as The Book Specialist. For herself, she writes soulful, coming-of-age romance for young adults.

Charlotte grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm, or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a library in her home to house her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

You can find Charlotte online at:

AUTHOR HOSTED GIVEAWAY

Please note that this giveaway is not being hosted on this blog


Continue reading Blog Tour Author Giveaway / The Ceruleans Series by Charlotte Wilson

29 Jan 2017

Blog Tour / Watch Me by Angela Clarke


YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.
 

A Definitive List of the Best Places to Read a Book
ny Angela Clarke

In Bed

Despite what my partner nags around 3am when the bedside light is on and I’ve been saying ‘just one more chapter’ for the last four hours, in bed is one of the most rewarding places to read. It’s comfortable, warm and atmospheric all at once. Plus, I’ve seen countless articles aimed at insomniacs, those who are stressed, and those who are close to burn out, all saying not to look at a screen for the few hours before bed. That’s basically telling you to read a book. Which is practically proof reading in bed is good for you.

In the Bath

One of the best things about being freelance and working from home? When I need to read for work I do it in the bath. Is there anything more guaranteed to make you feel indulgent and a touch like Cleopatra, than flicking through pages in a candlelit bath tub? Glass of wine optional. Just don’t dunk your tome, or worse: your e-reader.

On the Beach

Why do they sell so many books at airports? Because beaches and books go together like cocktails and tiny paper umbrellas. At university I had a week each term that had no classes or lectures, but was instead dedicated to reading. I think reading weeks should be mandatory four times a year for the health and happiness of the workforce. A holiday dedicated to reading. Add sunshine, the sound of the surf, and all-inclusive drinks and we’d be set. Bonus points if you take a photo of your book and your toes in front of the pool.

On a Train

There is something old school romantic about train journeys. Not the short squished commuter ones, where books act more as a shield against the horror of reality, but those delicious ones where you’ve settled in for the long haul. Where you have a table seat to yourself, a hot chocolate to warm you, and rolling countryside, err, rolling past outside. Looking from the pages and out the window and back again, while being gently rocked like a baby, is one of the purest forms of joy known to book lover. Want to spice it up? Add gin in a can. All aboard!

On the Loo

A controversial entry here, and one few are likely to admit to, but sometimes being on the loo is the only place you can get enough peace to read. I’ll confess, there have been times during my former office jobs, where I’ve been so desperate to continue the book I was reading I’ve booked an appointment in the one-woman library cubicle that is the toilet. Always wondered why women take their handbag to the bathroom with them? They’ve got a book in there.

In a Comfy Chair in Front of a Log Fire

It can be in a writers’ retreat, in a pub, a hotel, or at home (jammy), but there are few places as divine as reading in front of the fire. It is my ambition in life to have a real fire at home, just so I can build a library round it. Forget television, books are at the hearth of a home. It’s a base human instinct, passed down from cave dwellers, we’ve always told stories round the fire. Reading is just one way of doing that. Throw on another log and enjoy.


And there must be many more. Where’s your favourite place to read? Do you have a book nook? A secret hideaway? Or could you do it walking down the street? (I have). Let us know below!
Continue reading Blog Tour / Watch Me by Angela Clarke

23 Jan 2017

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Book Review / See Me by Nicholas Sparks

See me just as I see you . . .

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he's determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.

Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.

A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria's lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria's past begin to surface.

As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria's life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they've begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?

Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, SEE ME reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize. 


Published:     13th October 2015
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned




MY REVIEW

There's a special place in my bookish heart for my favourite author and Nicholas Sparks certainly did not disappoint with this book.  Yes this book came out in 2015 and it is by my favourite author, so I asked myself why I waited so long to read this.  The only explanation I can give is purely for the fact that it was the last book written by Nicholas Sparks that had been published to date but now that he has released a new book, which I now own, I can read this one and know that I still have one more unread treasure to read.  This one I will certainly not wait as long to read!  

This book was everything I hoped for and more.  The one thing that Nicholas Sparks never disappoints is with true love and romance.  I have never found any instalove or stupid love triangles in one of his books. 

For me, there are two aspects to this story that I loved the most.  The first is the most obvious being the romance between Colin and Maria.  Two every unexpected people who you would think would  come together.  You have Colin who is an amateur fighter and then you have Maria who is a lawyer.  The two could not be more different but together they just work.  The other aspect that I enjoyed is the thriller aspect.  Maria is being stalked but by whom?  There are several possible suspects and I do have to admit that I did guess who the stalker might be quite early on but I enjoyed the ride in getting to the end.

Another enthralling read by Nicholas Sparks.  Can't wait to read the next one!


Continue reading Book Review / See Me by Nicholas Sparks

20 Jan 2017

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Book Review / The Memory Book by Lara Avery


They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.





Published:     13th January 2015
Publisher:  Riverhead Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


 MY REVIEW


What I liked about this book...  This was a very interesting book to read with the main character suffering from a disorder that is very similar to dementia, which is a condition you usually associate with the elderly but unfortunately Samantha is still in school and because the disorder is hereditary she can develop the systems at any age.  What I liked was the fact that you were not just reading a story with this novel, Samantha is actually writing a Memory Book to help her when the disease gets hold and that is what we are reading, along with text messages with her friends and family.  This book shows a very slow decline as Samantha gets worse.

What I didn't like about this book...   I have to be honest and say that if I had read this book ten years ago I would have loved this more.  I have the impression with this book that it was written more for a younger audience, it certainly tells as you read more and more of the story.  Being in my 30s I enjoyed the story but because most of the characters in this story are teenagers living in a teenager's world, at home and at school, I think I would have appreciated this story more if I was living that same life while reading it.  

Continue reading Book Review / The Memory Book by Lara Avery

18 Jan 2017

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Book Review / Bone Meal for Roses by Miranda Sherry






Her mother destroyed her. The garden saved her.

Poppy was six years old when she was rescued from her abusive mother and taken to her grandparents' farm to recover. There, under a wide South African sky, Poppy succumbs to the magic of their garden. Slowly, her memories fade and her wounds began to heal.

But as Poppy grows up into a strange, fierce and beautiful young woman, her childhood memories start to surface. And then a love affair with a troubled older man explodes her world...






Published:     8th September 2016
Publisher:  Head of Zeus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



MY REVIEW

Now this was a very surprising read indeed!  Looking at the cover for this book alone I would assume that this would be a reasonably happy read and that would be a very wrong assumption.  Although there are some happy moments in this book it does concentrate on some very sensitive topics such as an very abusive druggy mother and dealing with the death of the people you love.

This book was such an emotional read for me.  From the very start of the story we see Poppy living with her mother who was so drugged up that she forgot to buy food leaving Poppy to beg, steal or look in rubbish bins.  When Poppy's grandfather arrives at the door after finding out that he has a granddaughter he takes Poppy with her to live with him and her grandmother.  Obviously over the years Poppy (who then changes her name once she is settled) still has her problems but learns slowly to live her life properly, choosing to spend a lot of time in the garden which is where she seems at her happiest.

Now, I will not go into too much detail about the meaning of the title but there is a certain part of the story that left me shocked and heartbroken at the same time.  It certainly gives the title to this novel a whole new meaning.  You need to pick up this book if you haven't....  







Continue reading Book Review / Bone Meal for Roses by Miranda Sherry

16 Jan 2017

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Book Review / Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

“How do you like life in the fast lane?” Digby said. “Is it everything you thought it would be?”

Good question.


Achieving high school “normal” wasn’t as hard as Zoe Webster expected, but she’s beginning to think Hollywood oversold how much fun it all is. Isn’t dating a jock supposed to be one long Instagram dream? Shouldn’t she enjoy gossiping 24/7 with her two BFFs? And isn’t this, the last year before the finish line that is Princeton, meant to be one of her best? If “normal” is the high school goal, why can’t Zoe get Philip Digby—decidedly abnormal, completely chaotic, possibly unbalanced, undoubtedly rude, and somehow…entirely magnetic—out of her mind?

However normal Zoe’s life finally is, it’s about to get blown up (metaphorically. This time. She hopes, anyway.*) when Digby shows up on her doorstep. Again. Needing her help to find his kidnapped sister. Still. Full of over-the-top schemes and ready to send Zoe’s life into a higher gear. Again.

It’s time for Zoe Webster to choose between staying in the normal lane, or taking a major detour with Digby (and finally figuring out what that stolen kiss actually meant to him).

Guess which she chooses?

* This is a mistake; Zoe should know better than to expect there not to be explosions when Digby is in town.


Published:     22nd November 2016
Publisher:  Kathy Dawson Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Trouble
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...   This was such a fun book to read.  Nothing complicated, just fun.  What I liked the most was the character Digby.  I had to remind myself quite a lot that he was probably just a teenager or a young adult because most of the things that he comes out with or does is just so 'grown up' and very 'detective like' it seems like he could pass for a middle age detective as well but that's what he's meant to sound like I believe.  That's what makes the character great.  


What I didn't like about this book...   Now, when picking up and reading this book I had not realised that this was book 2 in a series or duology.   There was nothing on the cover and nothing in the description.   It was only when reading the book I had a 'sixth sense' feeling that there was a lot of back story that I was not being told in this story and not in a good way.  It was more in a 'I am definitely missing part of the story' kind of way.  Had I known that there was a book before this one I would have read that one first.  Although you can read this book as a stand alone, I have to confess that I would have preferred to have read the first book to get the back story of the characters before digging into this one. 
Continue reading Book Review / Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

11 Jan 2017

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Book Review / Talking As Fast as You Can by Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.


Published:     29th November 2016
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




MY REVIEW

What I liked about this book...   Now I have to confess one thing, I have never watched Gilmore Girls from start to finish.  Yes I have watched quite a few episodes but never the whole lot (but is something I am going to be rectifying very soon!) but have seen and liked her in movies such as Because I Said So and Evan Almighty, just to name a couple.  I really enjoyed seeing a glimpse into her life.  I did wish that this book was longer and went into more.  What I enjoyed the most was her sense of humour all throughout the book.  Very funny!

What I didn't like about this book...  I think this is definitely a book to pick up if you are a big fan of the Gilmore Girls, as this book does concentrate a lot on that.  I think that because I have not watched a great deal of the TV show there were parts that I did not really understand.  I am going to reserve my thoughts on this further until I have had a chance to watch more episodes and then plan to read this again - I think by doing that I can full appreciate this book. 

Continue reading Book Review / Talking As Fast as You Can by Lauren Graham

9 Jan 2017

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Book Review / The Alibi by Jaime Raven



A perfect crime needs a perfect alibi…

Crime reporter Beth Chambers is committed to uncovering the truth – and she’s not afraid of bending the rules to get there.

When troubled soap star Megan Fuller is found stabbed to death in her South London home, all eyes are on her ex-husband – the notorious gangster, Danny Shapiro.
Determined to expose Danny as a cold-blooded killer, Beth obsessively pursues him.

But in her hunt for the truth, her family are set to pay the ultimate price…
Secrets, lies and revenge brim to the top in this gritty thriller. Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers.



Published:     29th December 2016
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher







Oh this book was really good!  So good!  I have to confess that if this is not a book that I would normally have picked up.  I normally shy away from stories about gangsters as I have never been interested in reading about that type of thing but there was something about this story that intrigued me.

There are two aspects to this story that I enjoyed the most.  The first is the actual murder aspect to the story where you have a soap star having been murdered in her own home.  There are a few suspects, including a notorious gangster.  I enjoyed the 'who done it' and 'did he really do it' back and forth throughout the book and I have to admit that I never guessed how the story would end!

The second aspect that I enjoyed is two characters - Beth Chambers (the journalist) and Danny Shapiro (the gangster).   They obviously have a few interactions throughout the story and I enjoyed seeing what they were both going to do next.

Along with the above there are a few twists and turns throughout the story and most of them I was really surprised with.  I love it when that happens (which doesn't happen as often as I liked). 



















Continue reading Book Review / The Alibi by Jaime Raven