Monday, 29 February 2016

Cover Reveal: The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Happy Monday

What a wonderful way to start the new week - with a smile at this gorgeous cover for 'The Second Love of My Life' by Victoria Walters. Published on 7th April, it sounds like a fabulous read, which I am really looking forward to reading.

What's the book about?

Victoria Walters' debut novel is a powerful tale of love, grief and survival, perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson. "Brilliant and superior women's fiction" Heat

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

Get lost in Victoria Walters' immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.

Purchase from Amazon here

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft

Out Now
Published by Bookouture
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Eighteen years ago your baby daughter was snatched. Today, she came back. 

A sinister and darkly compelling psychological thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Girl With No Past. 

Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them. 

Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her? 

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her daughter and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts. 

Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory. 

Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her? 

My Review:

2016 has been a great year so far for psychological thrillers, and The Girl You Lost is another to add to the list. I have seen lots of people on social media saying just how much they enjoyed it, and I have to agree. It was brilliant! I know it's cliche, but I found it hard to put down. It also reminded me not to be such a smart arse in thinking that I had sussed things out, as you never know what might happen.

Simone is our leading lady. She and her husband Matt had a baby eighteen years ago. But this baby was abducted when she six months old, and has never been seen, or heard of again. That is until one day a young woman, Grace appears, and tells Simone that she knows what happened to her baby.

This starts a whole series of events whilst Simone battles to find out if she can believe what Grace has said, or if she is leading her up the garden path. What Simone doesn't realise at the start is just how much of a mess she is going to become embroiled in, and what dangers searching for the truth might put in her way.

This is the first book I have read by Kathryn Croft, but it won't be my last. She is a great storyteller, who I felt cleverly built the storyline up to a crescendo, and there were elements of surprise that I really didn't see coming!

The cast of characters allows us to flit between them and wonder who is good and pure, and who is more sinister and potentially a danger to Simone. This also changed for me as the characters grew, and we got to understand the links a bit better. It really did grip me, and had me trying to guess exactly what was what.

The Girl You Lost is a gritty, fast paced, and definitely thrilling read. I really enjoyed being the reader, cum detective, trying to bring it all together, and looking for a happy ending. I also loved the twists in the story that kept blindsiding me. Very clever!

Thank you to Bookouture who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Single Woman Seeks Revenge by Tracy Bloom

Out now
Published by Random House, Cornerstone
Purchase from Amazon here

The blurb:

From the bestselling author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday ... Another very funny romantic novel.

What do you do when you find your love-life in ruins? Get revenge on every man who ever broke your heart of course....

Suzie Miller, a disillusioned agony aunt, can't believe she's been dumped from a great height yet again (this time by text, straight after they've had sex... twice!). So she decides the time is right to make every one of her exes feel the pain she felt when they carelessly cast her aside.

Her methods are unusual but humiliation on a grand scale is no less than they deserve.

Euphoric that she's finally stood up for herself she starts suggesting outrageous ways for her readers to deal with their relationship nightmares too. Suddenly everyone wants Suzie's advice. Finally content with being single and enjoying her blossoming career it seems as though happiness is within her grasp. That is until a man gets in the way.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge is a romantic comedy with a kick: a kick up the backside to any man who believes he got away with treating a woman badly and to any woman who doesn't fight back.

My review:

I am a big fan of Tracy Bloom. Her books are filled with humour and a very enjoyable read. Single Woman Seeks Revenge is no exception and I raced through it in no time.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge tells the story of Suzie who works as an agony aunt in a magazine. But her love life leaves a lot of be desired after she has been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend. Not only that but she has to work with him too which makes things even more uncomfortable.

Suzie decides that the time has come to avenge her ex's. She plots how to go about getting her own back, and  after successfully making a fool of one she is on a roll. The attitude also infiltrates into her agony aunt column, where she gives advice to others on how to take revenge, and not be a push over.

The book is very funny, and this made it a real page turner for me. Chapters flew by as I followed her plans for revenge, and at some points I found myself pondering what I would do in her situation, which made me laugh even more!

I love Tracy's style of writing. I find it very easy to become absorbed quickly. She has a great sense of humour, whilst not being too outlandish. Her characters are full of verve and sassiness. As in her other books, the main female character is strong and vivacious. I got a real sense of girl power!

For a read that will make you laugh, remember romance, and leave you feeling empowered grab this book!

Thanks to Random House Cornerstone for providing a copy in return for an honest review.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Tea and Chemo by Jackie Buxton

Out now
Published by Urbane Publications
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb: 

At the age of 45, wife and mother Jackie Buxton was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lurching between the crippling fear that the cancer had spread, and the great comfort of knowing she was one of the lucky ones who could be treated, she did what she always does when life presents her with a challenge: she wrote it down. 

Jackie quickly realised that even with cancer, life was far from bad. Never known for her scientific prowess, she nonetheless became a 'bit of an expert' - at least in the field of hair loss, water retention and biscuits - and decided to use her writing to share experiences and help others recognise you don't have to be defined by your cancer. 

Tea & Chemo is full of laughter, tears, honesty and hope, and offers inspirational words to everyone facing the life challenges that cancer inevitably brings. All proceeds from the sales of Tea & Chemo will go to three incredibly important charities, whose compassionate care and professionalism make the difference to so many lives: The Haven, Breast Cancer Now and The Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, Harrogate.

My review:

If you are looking for a book to inspire you, this could be the one for you. Jackie Buxton is an amazing, courageous, funny and a totally inspirational woman. The book she has written isn't a story saying pity me, or look how unfair life is. It is a wonderfully written tale of how to receive a cancer diagnosis, and to deal with it, both practically and emotionally.

I had heard mutterings about this book, and seen people rave about it so was intrigued to read it for myself. The title is quite hard core, and I really didnt know what to expect. As someone who is fortunate not to have personally had cancer i guess there was a part of me that was nosey about reading how tough it is, and perhaps feeding my hidden fear of just how awful life would be if I was unfortunate enough to get cancer. I think it is alot of people's hidden, unspoken fear. We hear so much about the horrors of chemo, the statistics on recovery and survival, and sadly most of us know someone who has battled cancer, both successfully and sadly not so successfully.

But this book isnt like that at all. At the risk of repeating myself, Jackie is amazing. Yes, the book talks about chemo and some of the other horrible things that go along with having cancer, but its more than that. The book is full of hope, of smiles, and she cleverly caters for readers of all types.

For those who are facing a cancer diagnosis and treatment there is some really excellent practical advice, and words of wisdom from someone who has faced the same struggles. For those of us either supporting someone with cancer, or just reading because we have in interest in learning more, the book provides an insight to what its really like. Some of the emotions Jackie went through, a description of the treatment and ways to cope, and what life is like when treatment stops.

i found this book a real eye opener, and very thought provoking, I was compelled to read it as it is so well written. It is very honest, and the author makes it very clear that she is not a spokeswoman and representing everyone, as they all face their unique challenges. But I did find it very heart warming and like i say, inspirational. I know sometimes I can get down in the dumps and feel sorry for myself, but this book reminds me that life is a gift, and to treasure and make the most of every day, even the grotty ones.

I feel very privileged to have been able to read and review this book and I would like to thank Urbane books for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.

I should also mention that the author is donating all money from sales to three fantastic cancer charities; The Haven, Breast Cancer Now and The Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, Harrogate. So I would encourage everyone to buy a copy.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

I Followed the Rules by Joanna Bolouri

Out now
Published by Quercus Books
Purchase from Amazon here

The blurb: 

Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It's a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don't own a copy. What is it, 1892?

But I'm a journalist, and I've promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I'm insane, I'm stalking men all over town and can't keep my mouth shut at the best of times.

My name is Cat Buchanan. I'm thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I've been single for six years, but that's about to change. After all, I'm on a deadline.

I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

My review:

I love Joanna Bolouri and think she is hilarious, so I was excited to see she had a new book out that I hadnt read. And, yes, I can confirm that I think it is bloody brilliant! I was laughing away as I read it and it left me feeling like all is good in the world.

Cat is a single Mum with a gorgeous daughter Grace. She has been single for six years, since splitting up with Grace's dad Peter. She has a column in a weekend magazine, for which she is set the challenge of dating and following guidance in a book called The Rules of Engagement. Prepare yourself for hilarity as her challenge begins......

There are ten rules in the book. Rules such as dont talk too much about yourself, dont sleep with a man on the first date etc. Rules, which quite honestly Cat thinks are a load of rubbish, but which she agrees to follow for her column.

Her sister arranges a dinner to which she invites Tom, a good looking dentist who is obviously attracted to Cat, and to whom Cat is also attracted. But how well can he get to know the true her if she is following these rules?

Cat also meets sexy Dylan on a night out. A man she is most definitely not following the rules with! But does he really have any interest in her?

The rest of the book follows Cat on her exploits until we find out....does following the rules really work?

I adore Cat. She is funny, sassy, a wonderful friend and sister, a fantastic mother, and all round good egg. I found it so easy to warm to her, and view the story through her eyes. She has a great personality that, through Joanna's skillful writing, really shines through. I would love to be her friend (if she really existed!).

I've been out of the whole dating scene for quite a few years now, but it was funny to think back to old dates I have had, some that went well, but even funnier, the ones that didnt! I was imagining how I would get on following the rules. and I dont think it would be very well!

Thank you Joanna for writing the perfect, fun, touching book that had me curled up smiling and thoroughly enjoying. It really was a pleasure to read and left me all warm and happy after. Cant wait for the next book already.

Thank you to Quercus Books who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Publication date: 12th February
Published by Bookouture
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb: 

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice… She is not the only one. 

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. 

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. 

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding? 

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika. 

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again? 

My Review: 

Have I already found my book of the year? Quite possibly! I cannot begin to put into words just how much I loved it. From start to finish I was hooked, and tearing myself away to do anything other than reading The Girl in the Ice was hard. I feel a bit sorry for my friends and family who have had to listen to me rave on and on about it.

I have been a long time massive fan of Detective thriller books, with the Alex Cross series by James Patterson being my favourite. But he now has a rival in Detective Erika Foster. I really loved her character and am so excited to hear that a second book in the series will be out later in the year. 

This book certainly lives up to being labelled as a thriller. It starts with a young woman being followed before being mysterious killed in a park in the middle of a very cold snap, and builds from there. What seems at first like a one off random killing soon becomes a bigger murder investigation as connections to other deaths emerge. 

Detective Erika Foster is returning to the force after some time off, and has been relocated to London to lead the investigation. She is a strong character which I loved. She doesnt take any nonsense from anyone, and she is not scared to tread where others fear to follow. Her personal life has not been easy and now she has nothing to lose from giving it her all, no matter what danger it might put in her way. 

The book is set in South London, particularly Forest Hill, which made the book even better for me. I know the area and visit it regularly which made it even more sinister, and helped me to get into the book and visualise the locations. It was brilliant sitting in the local coffee shop there whilst reading the book too.

Anyway, that is not essential as the author has a brilliant writing style that includes fantastic descriptions which really enabled me to visualise what was going on, and absorb me into Erika's world. I felt like I was her sidekick with her all the way trying to work out just what had happened. Of course, I was wrong! But thats part of the beauty of the book for me. I thought I was a clever clogs and had it all solved, but then a twist happens and blows me out of the water!

Strong characters, a fabulous and thrilling storyline, skilled writing and a fabulous new Detective. Whats not to love about The Girl in the Ice. I am already chomping at the bit to read the next book in the series. 

This is yet another riveting book by Bookouture who have wonderful authors. If you havent read any books from their company you really should!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

Publication date: 11th February
Published by MIRA UK
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.You’d like to get to know Grace better.But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of their bedroom windows.

Sometimes the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

My review: 

Another contender for book of the year. This is one dark, twisted rollercoaster of a ride! 

As the blurb says, this book is about Jack and Grace. The supposedly perfect married couple, except what is the marriage really like behind closed doors? Arghhh I really want to start spilling all about the story, but to do so would ruin it for you as a reader. But it is safe to say that all is not as it seems, and behind the charade Jack is not quite the loving, devoted husband. 

There has been lots of talk about this book on social media, and I bumped it up my reading list because I was so intrigued as to all the interest and gasps as people finished it. It lives up to the hype, and then some! 

I love psychological thrillers that really have me on the edge of my seat, and have me unable to put the book down. I have to be honest, not only could I not put the book down, but at times I was barely able to breath for the tension. I was almost rushing through to get to what was going to happen next. The book had me in its grasp, hook, line and sinker, and didnt release me right until the very end. 

I cannot believe this is the author's debut thriller. It is so superbly written it could easily pass for one of the well known names in this genre. The skill in the style of writing, being able to develop such strong characters, and totally consume me as a reader is breathtaking. I truly cannot wait to see what her next book brings. 

Thank you to MIRA UK for kindly providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

A home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh

Publication date: 9th February
Published by Carina
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

There’s no place like home… Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister…

Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?
Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!
An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.

My Review:
A Home in Sunset Bay is the first book I have read by Rebecca Pugh, and it certainly won't be my last....I absolutely loved it! I definitely think I have found a new author to add to my list of 'must reads' list. If you are a fan of Cathy Bramley, Holly Martin, Rebecca Raisin and similar authors I think you will also love Rebecca Pugh.  
This book is so brilliantly written it pulled me into the world of Sunset Bay right from the outset. The descriptive writing creates a world that it is easy to imagine being real. The characters are so warm, fun, and easy to become attached to. I am actually finding it hard to review because as a reader the best part was uncovering the different characters and Sunset Bay itself, and I don't want to spoil that for anyone else. 
The lead character is Mia Chapman.I loved Mia and wanted to be her friend. Mia runs Dolly's Diner, which she inherited from her Grandmother a couple of years ago. From the minute I entered the diner as a reader I loved it. I could imagine stepping into an authentic 50's american style diner in both look and feel. It felt like a welcoming place that I would love to be a regular at. The book is smattered with descriptions of gorgeous food and drinks that had me hankering for some. It is clear how much Mia loves the diner, and the people she works with more than employees, they are also her friends. 
Out of the blue her sister Laurie turns up. It is clear that they have had a falling out, and there is alot unsaid between them. But as we get to know Laurie all isn't as it seems to be, and we go on a journey with both sisters reviewing what life has to offer them, and how they can make their dreams come true.
Along the way there are lots of laughs, some romance, and some life changing decisions. We meet some other fabulous characters who are a joy to read about. We also get to imagine just what it must be like to live in a coastal town like Sunset Bay, and I have to say...I am jealous and would love to be part of the community. Rebecca has built an idyllic image of a warm, welcoming place that is simply stunning to look and, and so friendly too. The characters that live them could easily become friends (if of course they were real!). It sounds like just the sort of place I would love to set up home. 
What really makes this book for me is Rebecca's writing. She has a natural talent for descriptive writing to bring the world of the book off the page, and make it come alive in my head. As you may have guessed from my gushing, she has created characters to love and root for. You want to be part of their world and see where life leads them. 
I haven't yet read Rebecca's first book, Return to Bluebell Hill, but I will definitely be bumping it up my reading list! I think we will see lots more from Rebecca and I really can't wait!
I really recommend getting your hands on a copy of A Home in Sunset Bay. Warm, romantic, fun, and uplifiting, it is a must read. 
Thank you to Carina who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Out now
Published by: Bonnier Publishing
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Helplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . . They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing.

Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy's memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

My review:

Moth Girls is a great thriller that I raced through at breakneck speed. It is very cleverly written that really engaged me as a reader and meant that I really struggled to put the book down from the first page to the last. 

The book tells the story of Mandy, and her friends Petra and Tina. Petra and Tina had gone into an old local house years before and never been seen again. Mandy is only around because she refused to go in with them. The book is set both in the present day, but also spends alot of its time back in the days when they became friends, and in the lead up to their disappearance. I loved this as approach to writing. In some ways it felt more like I was reading back into a diary of past events. It explored their friendships, their home lives and ultimately, what happened to Petra and Tina,

The style of writing is fantastic. So descriptive, and the girls' story is very cleverly told. By slowly uncovering the characters I felt able to get under their skin and almost view the events through their shoes. I love it when this happens in a book as I get thrown totally into it. 

The book is quite gritty and as this is a thriller there are some scenes that are deep and perhaps could be described as quite unnerving, but not in a gruesome or horrific way. It is more about the events that take place for the characters affected me more as I had felt I was inside their head a bit. 

I loved this book and really would recommend adding it to your reading pile. It is very well written, keeps up a good pace, and creates characters that you will empathise with. If you are like me, and like to play detective you will be engrossed trying to solve the mystery of their disappearance. 

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Thank you to Bonnier Publishing who kindly provided a copy in return for an honest review. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

Out Now
Published by: HarperCollins, Avon
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.
But this is no virtual threat.
As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.
Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?
Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?
My Review:

Wow, this is one hell of a debut novel! I am loving psychological thrillers at the moment, and Follow Me had me totally captivated. Although I have read lots of thrillers over the years, this one was different as it was the first one I have read where the killer actively uses social media (Twitter), to engage with his audience. It was really quite freaky!

So, what is the book about? The main protagonist is Freddie. Freddie is a journalist who works in a cafe to make some extra money. One evening she stumbles across an old friend from her school days. She and Nasreen used to be really close, but something unknown happened in the past that drove them apart. Nasreen is now in the police force, and when Freddie encounters her she decides to follow her and, as journalists do, try to track down a juicy story......she doesn't expect what happens next.

Freddie gets drawn into tracking down a murderer who uses Twitter to post clues about his victims, and to taunt the police. After following Nasreen Freddie gets caught up in the investigation and the rush to uncover who this murderer is before they strike again.

I really enjoyed the pace of this book. The action kept flowing at a good rate that kept me interesting. I loved the use of social media as the killers method of communication. I thought it was really clever, and it felt quite unnerving to follow the messages and see the follower count rise as they became more notorious, and the voyeurs came out. It got me thinking about the power of social media in a way I haven't done before.

I really liked the character of Freddie. Whilst I didnt always like her approach she felt like a real person who was perhaps a bit out of their depth, but had a good heart and wanted to make a difference. I was intrigued by what could have happened between her and Nasreen all those years ago to break up such a close friendship. As readers we do get to find out, but not until later on in the book, so there is lots of time to be riled by Nasreen, and to try and guess what happened yourself. Although I think Freddie is quite ballsy by nature I was intrigued and felt quite motherly as the story progressed, as I felt like she was a bit out of her depth, and wasnt getting the support she deserved.

The killer in this book is a nasty piece of work, and again, we dont get to find out who they are until late on in the book, so I found myself trying to be clever and suss it out all the way through.....I changed my mind quite a few times, and there are twists and turns to throw you off the scent.

This is a fantastic debut novel which I would highly recommend. It is gritty and thrilling, It had my heart pumping, and had me racing to turn the page to find out what would happen next.. I found it hard to put the book down.

Angela Clarke has already shown to me that she is a gifted writer who can pen a great book. I am really looking forward to her next novel. I would love to see some of the characters from this one appear at some point in the future too.

Thank you to HarperCollins, Avon who kindly provided a copy of the book in return for an honest review.