Monday, 28 March 2016

Last Kiss Goodnight by Teresa Driscoll

Out Now
Published by Bookouture
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

I stroked the top of my baby’s head and whispered to him gently that I would find a way. I will not let them take you… 

Once upon a time Kate’s life was full of love and smiles and laughter. A time where she dared to dream and hope. But then her perfect family unit is shattered in the most unthinkable way. And now Kate is silently and steadily falling apart. 

When she meets Martha, Kate recognizes a kindred spirit. Martha is searching for a lost love; tragedy has touched her life too. Why are they so inexplicably drawn to one another? And why are they both keeping secrets about their pasts? 

As Kate and Martha are forced to face the painful memories they’d each locked away, can they save each other and learn to live again? 

A beautifully written story full of emotion, hope and the redeeming power of love and friendship. Perfect for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Amanda Prowse and Rowan Coleman.

My Review:

I have been so excited about reading Teresa Driscoll's new book. Her debut novel, Recipes for Melissa, was one of my favourite books of last year,  so I was waited with baited breath to dive into Last Kiss Goodnight, and I was wasn't disappointed! 

Last Kiss Goodnight is a tender book of love, loss and friendship, which is beautifully written.

The novel features two main characters, Kate and Martha. Both have experienced loss which has had a massive impact on their lives. Somehow fate draws them together, and before long they have formed a wonderful friendship that I think brings them both an element of acceptance and happiness. As a reader we know that they have both been touched by tragedy, but it is only as the story unfolds that we go on to learn just what has happened to each of them, and to understand the full impact the events have had on them since. 

Teresa has such a wonderful way of writing that allowed me to visualise the characters and connect with them very quickly.  The characters appear to have been developed with real love and empathy. They are both very fragile, and this certainly came through to me. As I look back on it, I realise that I found myself reading the book very gently, and it felt right to treat it softly and respectfully, rather than racing through to the end. 

I found that I really liked both Kate and Martha, and I wanted to hear their story, but only when they were ready to tell it. It was almost like as well as building up trust with eachother they were also building up trust with me as a reader before talking about some very painful experiences. I loved seeing how Martha helped begin to bring Kate back to life again. A bit like a gardener nurturing a tree or plant to flower after a long, harsh winter. 

I also loved the setting. A small town where there is a real sense of community. I loved the different characters, and the warmth and smiles that they raised. They are just genuinely nice people, without being sickly sweet. I would happily go and live in the town tomorrow!

I don't really want to talk too much about the storyline for risk of ruining it for others. But I will say, that I loved it and would definitely recommend it as a must read. Now hurry up and write your next book Teresa, I cannot wait! 

Thanks to Bookouture for kindly providing me with a copy for review. I must just also say, look out for Bookouture titles. They are fast becoming one of my favourite publishers, with great book after great book!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Published on 10 March 2016
Published by Harlequin
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:  

Everyone has secrets…

Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the town where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalised in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realises that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a hard reality she may not be prepared for.

My Review: 

I am a massive fan of Heather Gudenkauf, so was over the moon when Harlequin approved me for a review copy of her new book, Missing Pieces. Always filled with drama, and a few twists along the way her books grab me from the start and pull me in, totally engrossed, right until the end, when it spits me back out in to the real world, usually with a big book hangover!

The story revolves around Sarah Quinlan, her husband Jack, and his family. Jack has never been back to the small town he was raised in since his Mum's death, many years before. However, after his Aunt has an accident he is forced to go back and in doing so face the past he has tried so hard to forget.

Whilst in town Sarah starts to unearth her husbands past, and family secrets start to come to light. As she gets to know the locals she learns more, and begins her own secret mission to find out exactly what he has been hiding. Will what she finds out rip them all apart? Aha, I'm not going to tell you - I'm going to let you read and find out for yourselves!!

The characters are deep and written in such a way that it isn't easy to suss out just what person might be hiding, which adds to the intrigue. I loved Sarah, she is a good egg. A loving wife who wants to support her husband and his family, as we all do. She is a straight forward, unassuming character, so to see the family unravel, and the uncertainties creep out as secrets are revealed, made me as a reader feel quite protective towards her. But, as she starts to do her own delving I felt a bit like I was joining her in trying to piece the truth together.

I have been an admirer of Heather's work for a few years now since finding her books in the library. She is such a talented author, who knows just how to write perfectly to reel you in to the world of her characters. She uses fantastically descriptive writing that not only helps us develop a clear image of the characters, but builds tension as the plot deepens, before reaching a crescendo where all the pieces fall in to place. Heather has done a great job at luring me in as a reader, trying to guess what happened in the past, and who is to blame. But things aren't always simple and there are always deviations from the expected, which I love. Heather is great at writing dramatic, engrossing, and tense stories which I absolutely love.

Whilst Missing Pieces didn't quite live up to The Weight of Silence, or Little Mercies for me, I still really enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to others.

Thank you to Harlequin for kindly sending me a copy in return for an honest review.

Friday, 4 March 2016

How to Get Hitched in Ten Days by Samantha Tonge

Out now
Published by Carina UK
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:


Meet Mikey, every girl’s best friend – he bakes the creamiest cheesecake, loves movie nights and is a great dance partner.

For Jasmine, Mikey is the perfect flatmate – he owns a 50s diner that turns out the best food around, gives the best bear hugs and amazing romance advice – after all they’re scoping out the same hot guys! So when her boyfriend proposes in the worst possible way, Jazz knows her best friend will be there to pick up the pieces with gourmet popcorn, Pinot sleepovers and a shoulder to lean on.

But Mikey isn’t about to let Jasmine give up on love, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to mend her broken heart – even if it means helping the one person who sees him as the enemy…

Because at the end of the day, all’s fair in the pursuit of true love… right?

My Review:

What a fab novella this is! It made me laugh, and I loved the characters, so I flew through it, infact I would have liked it to be even longer!

The storyline is basically like this: boy loves girl, boy proposes in a terrible fashion, girl freaks out and starts to re-evaluate everything, boy wants to win her back, and best friend to the rescue for the both of them.

The beauty of the book is the characters and how well they are written. Our leading lady is Jasmine who I did really like. She is obviously thrown by events, which prompts a chain or reviewing her life. I'm sure most of us have gone through that moment of trying to decide what you really want, and which path to follow.

But the star of the show for me is her best friend, and flatmate, Mikey. Mikey is the perfect person to hang out with. He will always have your back and I imagine you would just have the best fun with him. But there is more to him than first meets the eye. It seems that there is no love lost between him and Jasmine's boyfriend, so surely Mikey should be delighted that they are on the rocks.....but like a true friend, he puts his own feelings aside, and starts to help her boyfriend in his plot to win her back.

Oh and I didnt guess the ending which had me oohing!

This is a well written novella, which is fast paced, fun, and with fabulous characters that I enjoyed getting to know. My only complaint is that I wanted it to be longer as I was having a great time reading about them. This is the second story I have read by Samantha, and it has definitely whetted my appetite to read more of her work. A mix of humour, drama, and romance is always a winner in my book!

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