The Shark Club

If you don’t even read this entire review, just read this next line…

THIS BOOK IS BRILLIANT – READ NOW

If you do have time to read the detailed review, carry on…

As a child, Maeve had her leg bitten by a black tip shark, leaving her with a permanent scar on her leg. For most people, fear would take over and they would never enter the sea again. Not for Maeve. Having lost her parents at a young age, she seems to have a surprising ability to embrace change and tackle her fears. Fast-forward to Maeve as an adult and we find that she is a marine biologist, itching to explore the wonders of sharks across the world.

Research trips mean Maeve never seems to settle and her past relationships have suffered greatly, including her first love – Daniel. Maeve struggles to get Daniel out of her head, even after all these years, but he’s moved on and has his own family now.

During a research trip in Bimini; The Bahamas, Maeve meets Nicholas – a marine biologist specialising in rays, although they manage to remain professional for the diving trips, the romance is bubbling away in the background and comes to boil on the last night.

Returning to her hometown for some downtime between research trips; where Maeve lives in a hotel owned by her Aunt Perri and ran by her brother Robin, Maeve suffers three shocks:

  1. Daniel is back and working as the head chef in the hotel restaurant – single and accompanied by his adorable daughter; Hazel, who is obsessed with sharks
  2. Her brother is about to be a published author – the problem: the main character seems to be shaped on Maeve and her disastrous love life
  3. Over a hundred shark fins have been found in a truck – illegal finning is happening in the area

Maeve is up against the people that love sharks for the money that their fins provide, rather than their beauty and unique place in the ocean ecosystem. Can her passion help her find out who is behind the finning?

There are a surprising amount of twists that will creep up on you (as silent as a shark approaching!) in this plot which has the perfect balance of romance and the sheer passion an individual can have towards something. Not only will this book get you heated up about shark welfare, it will remind you how important it is to follow your heart – very calming and thought provoking.

With characters ranging over a wide age group, Ann’s ability to dial into each characters’ thoughts and opinions on a range of topics, and make them seem so natural, deserves wide recognition. With hidden feelings explored, I was able to analyse the true source of Maeve’s emotions and feel a connection to my fictional friend.  This is an author who knows how to write a good story: one that you’ll remember because of its quirks; one that you’ll recommend because of the main character and one that will leave you craving a holiday!

And I nearly forgot to mention the best bit, the love for books radiates from the pages of this tale, the book themed hotel is a bookworm’s paradise!

The Shark Club will be published and out to buy in paperback on Thursday 22 February by Headline

Many thanks to Headline for providing me with a copy to review through bookbridgr, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to discover so many new authors and spectacular plots.

Until next time, Chloé x

Advertisements

Crimson & Bone

I will start with an apology: I’m sorry this review isn’t as good as usual. I can’t express to you how much I loved this book but when it came to writing a review, I really struggled to find the right words! Words like “JUST READ IT”, “AMAZING” and “TOOK ME BY SURPRISE”, popped into my head, but when it came to writing some further analysis of the plot and writing style, I was stumped. Does this happen to any of my fellow bloggers? I find it most frustrating; particularly as it usually happens to books that I have absolutely adored and therefore I am disappointed that my review isn’t screaming out how good it is!

Enough. I have apologised. Onto the review…

I was obsessed with this book and could not put it down!

Annie is about to take her life on the Waterloo Bridge, she’s lost everything – her flat and her best friend; with no money and a determination to not work on the streets again – Annie believes death is the only way.

Until a handsome stranger stops her and offers her a new life. Straight away I was suspicious, why would a young rich gentleman bring a penniless prostitute into his house? What is he after?

It appears at first that he wants to use Annie as his new muse, for Francis is an artist, with a piece currently in the London Royal Academy and after more fame.

Annie is willing to pose for his paintings and who can blame her? Francis has given her a warm place to live, clothes, food, money, books… everything she could ever imagine.

Francis looks at Annie with such adoration… and yet, he isn’t interested in her romantically – why?

I was completely under the spell of this plot; it was dark and endearing, to the point that I yearned to find out more about Francis. The tension of a hidden motive sizzled in the background of every page.

Fiorato’s writing style is incredible; every part of this plot draws you in.

If you are a fan of the thriller genre, you will absolutely love this book!

Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr, I am so grateful that you introduced me to a fantastic author

The paperback version is out this Thursday (8th February) so go and add it to your wish-lists NOW!

Until next time, Chloé x

Friend Request

After seeing all the fantastic reviews on this book from my fellow bloggers, it was no surprise that it ended up in my basket!

Louise receives a friend request from Maria on Facebook, seems pretty standard stuff? Except it’s not, Maria died over twenty five years ago, so how could she be on Facebook. When Louise clicks on the request, she sees a photo of Maria from school time, the last time she was alive.

As the past collides with the present, Louise must confront an event that has haunted her for many years.

This was a gripping and breakthrough psychological thriller for a new author. Marshall has created a plot that is hauntingly good and packed full of twists.

From the very start, it is clear that Louise is very regretful of her past but it is unclear what she did, and this kept me turning the pages trying to find the connection to the sordid night.

Lots of key players start to enter the scene; people from the past and the ‘now’, and I was constantly reading into their words to see if Marshall had planted any seeds. I think having “an excellent twist” quoted on the front cover, meant my awareness was even more heightened… I knew a twist was coming, but could I guess it before it revealed itself? Evidently not… although I had some fantastic ideas of ‘whodunnit’, I had failed to guess the true perpetrator!

I really warmed to Louise, she seemed to have grown so much since her school years and matured into someone that would be classed as a ‘good person’; although when she starts lying to the police my thoughts waivered.

It became obvious that although Louise regrets her school-girl days, she isn’t willing to make amends. And that is what the person behind Maria’s Facebook account is after – the truth out.

If your mind is after a psychological work out – this book will do the trick!

Until next time, Chloé x

Dandy Gilver & A Spot Of Toil and Trouble

Dandy and Alec have been tempted to Castle Bewer to search for the family treasures.

When they arrive, it’s time for the two detectives to get their thinking caps on and uncover the lost jewel – The Cut Throat – a stunning ruby necklace.

With all great plots, a task is never as simple as it seems, and Dandy and Alex have to be careful of their surroundings. The Bewer family are hosting a group of actors and actresses who have come to perform a Shakespearean play to the public. With more people coming and going; the pair have to keep their wits about them, as they watch and listen for those who show too much interest in their case.

With interviews and a good hunt of the castle, Dandy begins piecing together the colourful past of this necklace, which seems to be connected to a family member who fled the castle years ago. Alec is sure the truth lies within the words, they have already heard…

But then the Bewers makes an announcement to the public, that puts a spanner in Dandy and Alec’s case…

Dandy is a fabulous main character with the most enjoyable type of personality – smart and witty. She has such a dependable and reassuring presence, with her ability to solve problems… even in the middle of the night when a ‘ghost’ appears. I loved following her thought process, I really felt like I was figuring out the case alongside her.

The whole story has been written beautifully with the perfect nod towards the traditions in the 1930s – meaning the book will appeal to fans of historical fiction and also to detective lit lovers!

It had the light heartedness of an Agatha Raisin plot, the calming thoroughness of Father Brown plots and, with plot twists galore it’s worthy of sitting on your bookshelf with all the great detectives.

Charming and utterly compelling – I recommend you give this a go!

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy through bookbridgr

Publication date is just around the corner – next Thursday (8th February)!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Feed

Having just finished this book, I’m still in the process of detangling my thoughts on it all. I love books that plant a message in the reader’s mind.

‘The feed’ gives you access to knowledge, your own memories and other people’s memories. It’s like having the internet directly in your mind, access to your photos and others’, past events and unlimited Wikipedia. I can imagine how difficult it would be to lose access to my laptop, iPad and iPhone right now, but could I survive?

This book allows you to imagine what it would be like to be even further dependent on technology and to lose it. Imagine storing all your thoughts on the ‘cloud’ and not being gable to access them. Imagine libraries being something so in the past that you don’t have access to knowledge of engineering, medical science and all the other stuff we just take for granted. That’s what happened.

Except I nearly missed out the scary bit – you can’t sleep unwatched. When you’re asleep, you’re a target. Your mind can be taken over by ‘others’. No one quite knows who the ‘others’ are…

Join Tom and Kate as they survive post ‘the feed’; watching over others as they sleep and creating a new life.

But with any good thriller, life is never plain sailing for the main characters; people are taken, ideas don’t take off as expected and strangers mean danger.

When Tom and Kate’s daughter is kidnapped leaving the safety of the camp becomes their only option…

It’s not my usual genre, but nevertheless this book had some key aspects that I always enjoy: shocking plot twists and complex characters. The twists were always carefully executed and the background to the key characters was so wonderfully engineered, allowing the plot to slot into place and make perfect sense.

The book dives straight into this futuristic world, so paying attention is crucial to getting up to speed with how the world has changed.

I loved NCW’s realistic writing style, the brutal honesty of the characters’ thoughts painted a scenario that felt so tangible. The second half of the book is where the plot really opened up and it was difficult to prise the book out of my hand!

The book hit stores only two days ago (Thursday 25th January), so I recommend you show this book some well deserved love!

Thank you so much Caitlin at Headline for sending me a copy – this is my way of saying thanks – an honest review!

Until next time, Chloé x

Three Things About Elsie

What a remarkably sweet story this was and I loved the link to Battenberg cake. Buying this book was as satisfying as buying a Battenberg cake: the anticipation as you peel back the wrapper, the sheer delight at discovering how beautifully it has been presented and finally, the warm pleasure as you take your first bite. This book was delicious from the very first page to the very last.

What one can gather from the first few pages, is Florence has fallen and is unable to call for help. Whilst she lies on the floor, Flo casts her mind back to the events of her past and how they led her to this very moment.

At first you may think this is a sweet walk down memory lane, but quite quickly it becomes evident that there is far more to this than meets the eye.

Someone new has moved into the sheltered housing where Flo lives, except he isn’t new in Flo’s life. He’s a ghost from the past, but how can he be here? He drowned years ago… Unless.

Flo needs to discover the truth and her faithful best friend; Elsie, is by her side to help, and Flo truly needs her help because, frankly, Flo can’t remember a lot.

With mind tricks and memory loss, it’s hard for Flo to seek the truth, but she never relents.

What an adventure this tale turned out to be! I loved the detective nature that flowed through the book, and thought Jack was a fantastic addition to help follow up on any leads.

What I loved about The Trouble With Goats and Sheep was Cannon’s knack for really making each character; either big or small, come alive on the pages and, I felt this again in this tale. Miss Ambrose and Handy Simon, although ‘background’ characters, were thoroughly explored and their part in the tale fell perfectly into place – there are no random characters in this story, each character had an integral part to play.

As many have already said, this book is the definintion of a modern classic – 100% recommended to make you smile, laugh and shed a tear as you come to the end of an outstanding story.

Thanks to my mum for buying me a copy of this book when I was full of cold!

Until next time, Chloé x

This Is How It Always Is

This book took me by surprise, it had the soothing effect of a story of family life whilst tackling some big decisions, that not all families have to face.

Rosie has always wanted a baby girl and prays that her fourth pregnancy will bring her one. With four boys (twins – if you’re working out the maths!), you may think her yearning is about the balance of sexes in the house, but her desire for a girl runs deeper, losing her sister when she was only a child has had a lasting effect.

Nevertheless, when Claude is born, Rosie isn’t devastated, a healthy boy is something to be grateful for and she continues to be a fabulous mother to five boys, with the help of her sweet husband, Penn.

Except one day, Claude decides he wants to wear dresses and hair clips. What are Rosie and Penn to do? Claude’s older brothers want to protect him from the nasty people in the world and plead with him to dress and act like a boy. The elder boys plead to their parents to intervene. But Claude is so young, surely it’s just a phase?

When Claude begins to close off from the world, Rosie and Penn quit telling him to change out of his dresses and embrace who Claude wants to be. After all, a parent only wants their kid to be happy.

When Claude tells his parents he wants to be called Poppy, Rosie is emotional – Poppy was the name of the sister she misses so much… however, by embracing Claude’s/Poppy’s happiness, the older boys suffer.

A move to Seattle causes a ripple in the family dynamic. Seattle is supposed to be a fresh start. No one ones knows the family secret and Poppy is happy, can it last though?

This tale captured parenting in a very ‘real’ way, it explored the balance of respecting your kids’ wishes against being the ‘adult’ and protecting them from the outside world, and the conclusion? There’s no clear cut, mistakes will be made and you can’t begin to assume what everyone else’s opinions will be.

Whilst the main takeaway from the book is being able to understand some of the thoughts and opinions that run through families with a child who is trying to understand their true ‘self’; which includes exploring their gender. There is a whole lot more that this book offers!

It’s the story of five kids growing up and their relationship with their parents.

It’s about two parents who are still so clearly madly in love but need to look past their different opinions on certain aspects of parenting and find time to be together.

It’s about a mother balancing work and home life.

It’s about self discovery and being comfortable with who you truly are.

Expressive and honest, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr.

The paperback version hit shops this Thursday  – 11th January

Until next time, Chloé x

The Last Mrs Parrish – Mini Review

Oh how I LOVED this book. It was told to perfection.

Amber wants more from life. She wants more money. More clothes. More jewellery. A bigger house…. and freedom to spend her days however she wants.

Jackson can give her all of this.

One problem.

The wife.

But what Amber wants, is what Amber gets and so, she sets up her trap to lure Jackson away from Daphne… by first befriending Daphne.

And that’s as far as I’m going to go in recapping the plot because it was so darn clever, I know I’ll slip up and ruin it if I go any further. I’m also not going to discuss the characters in any great depth, other than to say they were deliciously executed… you think you know someone…. and then they go and surprise you…!

For fans of The Girlfriend and The Perfect Girlfriend – Mini Review (I know only fellow bloggers will have read The Perfect Girlfriend at the time of publishing this – FYI its out on 8th March – go grab it)… this book will definitely grab your attention.

It’s dark, it’s well written and it was unbelievably hard to put the book down!

Bravo to the Constantine sisters.

Until next time, Chloé x

 

 

The Fear Within

Within the first ten pages, I turned to my fiancé and said “it’s good”, which is code for: leave me alone until I’ve finished it!

I must first disclose that I’ve not read the first book (The Dark Beneath) in the Lieutenant Dani Lewis series, so I went into this tale blind of Dani’s previous events which delved into the corruption onboard the submarine Tenacity.

In this latest instalment, Natasha Moore has gone missing off Defiance, a type 45 destroyer. Dani has been sent in to discover the whereabouts of this sweet 18 year old girl. At first, it seems like Tash may have done a standard AWOL day and she’d be back onboard the next day; but as Dani talks to the crew – vague answers and sideways glances, set off alarm bells in Dani’s head.

Meanwhile, Dani has two other distractions: her previous case on the Tenacity is leaving her restless and, suspicious packages being sent to the National Crime Agency (NCA) linking to the shocking crimes that a previous colleague was sent to jail for, begs the question of who else was involved?

With multiple subplots, this book will suck you in from the very first page. Law successfully weaves together the subplots to create the most incredible ending and a triumphant build up.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I admired and warmed to Dani. For some reason, I find I usually dislike female main characters especially if they are cast in the role of a detective/main investigator, it’s the arrogance and selfishness that usually sets me off – the characters usually read more manly than feminine. Dani does have these qualities but they don’t come across overly strong and for that I was grateful – a female main character I like – hoorah!

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the flipping of perspectives, being able to see it through both Dani’s and Tash’s eyes added to the suspense. Dani’s story was told in the present time, whereas Tash’s chapters showed the build up to the day she went missing. Each chapter led me a little closer to realising the truth, it was a cleverly constructed puzzle.

Fully recommend all my fellow bookworms to give this series a go, I’ll definitely be going back to read the first! Fans of Stephen Booth will definitely enjoy this. The paperback version is currently out now in the UK.

*Thank you Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

Some Kind of Wonderful – Mini Review

Meet your new best friend – Lizzy. She’s having a tough time after her long term boyfriend decides at the moment of proposing – with the most perfect ring! – that actually he can’t go through with it.

After ten years invested in the relationship, Lizzy wants to rediscover her old self again and see what makes her happy going forward.

Fletcher’s ability to create main characters that instantly become your new best friend is phenomenal. Within the first few pages, Lizzy becomes a girl that is relatable and loveable.

Moving back in with your mum might feel like a backwards step, but Lizzy fully embraces the time and spends some quality time with her parents, including discovering why they got divorced all those years ago.

With more free time, it’s time for Lizzy to welcome in some new friends into her life and discover new hobbies, which involve belting out Fix You by Coldplay!

One of my favourite aspects of this book is how it tackled opportunity. Instead of sticking with the usual motto of grasping opportunities, it delved deeper to a wiser level, and explored whether the opportunity was right for Lizzy. I thought this was such a strong message for a reader to take away. Yes it’s right to embrace opportunities thrown your way, but don’t decide to just jump on it because it feels the right thing to do, assess if it’s the right thing for you.

Packed full of sibling rivalry, some cheeky flirting and a new friend who has unlocked Lizzy’s creative side – this book is sure to put a smile on your face and make you giggle naughtily!

Finally, thanks to my lovely fiancé for buying me this for Christmas!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Confession – Mini Review

Warning – this book will keep you up all night!

Gripping doesn’t even begin to cover the addictiveness of this book, the strategic nature of the plot screams out complexity from the very first page and is utterly intriguing.

In the prologue, JP walks into the McNamara house and butchers Harry with a golf club right in front of his wife; Julie.

The same night, JP hands himself into the police pleading it was a random unplanned act of violence and states he is sorry. But is he?

It looks as if the case is going to be wrapped up pretty soon and JP will be submitted to a medical facility – but DS Moody (Alice) suspects a rat. Her intuition is usually right and she wants to get to the bottom of this.

The tale is told from multiple perspectives – Julie’s, JP’s and Alice’s viewpoint, and dives into the past of each character to try and unearth a connection between JP and Harry.

As the secrets from their pasts spread across the pages of the book, it’s clear that neither Harry or JP have a clear conscience and have lived colourful lives.

I loved the attention to detail that Spain held throughout this story, no stone was left unturned and each possibility was explored to keep the reader guessing. Spain has utterly mastered the art of creating incredible characters – her carefully crafted descriptions of JP, Julie and Harry continued to leave strong and revealing impressions on me, helping me to build a picture in my head of these three key players and what makes each of them tick.

The fast paced nature of this plot, has created the ultimate page turner and definitely worthy of being added to your New Year TBR list.

The Confession will be published on January 25th in hardback by Quercus.

*Thank you Quercus for providing me with an advanced reading copy through bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

Trying

Both Olivia’s and Felix’s biological alarm clocks are ringing in their ears. They both want a baby, and they want one now! They’ve moved to the suburbs for extra room and a garden, plus Felix has changed roles to bring in more money into the household, they’re all set. Except for some reason, no matter how hard they try, the pregnancy tests are yet to show a positive result.

This is the story of Olivia and Felix trying from cycle 18 through to 29 and, all the ups and downs that come in between.

The book is told from Olivia’s perspective and told in a modern style with snippets of text messages, calendar invites and thoughts captured on her phone – I thought this came across very effective and captured the raw and powerful emotions of Olivia, to the point that I felt that she was more than just a fictional character… it felt like a real life round up of the torments, a couple who are ‘trying’ face.

But whilst their focus was on creating a family, life still needs to carry on, which draws me to the secondary plot in this tale – a promotion up for grabs and senior management arriving in the office. Mads is a sexy Scandinavian, who keeps eyeing up Olivia. Given the gloominess at home, will she be tempted?

With period after period arriving, destroying their hopes, tension is high within the couple. Could IVF be the solution?

I’m not at that time yet, where I want to be pregnant, so I was pretty clueless on the topic, which meant I was blown away with some of the facts weaved into this story – and yes, I did go away and check if they were true!! The one that really made me mad was the idea that your postcode could determine how many cycles of IVF you could receive on the NHS – just wow. To think that you could be in a support group, and the couple sitting next to you that live 20 miles away are entitled to two more cycles than you, that just seems remarkably unfair.

Whilst the story mainly focuses on Olivia’s emotions and thoughts, I enjoyed the dash of manly thoughts thrown in from Felix. It is so easy to focus on how the woman feels about her empty womb, but being able to understand how crushing it is for a man to be surrounded by all of his friends who are now fathers… ouch – it sucks for both. I think Phillips perfectly captured the feelings of the couple.

Of course, a story like this wouldn’t be complete without some characters that try to bring you down. I wasn’t surprised by the dynamic between Olivia and her mum, and I felt Phillips captured the feelings perfectly – the resentment was weaved in among the love, so as not to create a character you would utterly despise.

Phillips hit the nail on the head with this story – she managed to create a poignant, funny and brutally honest tale that will reach to a wide audience. For those who are ‘trying’ – this tale will feel very relatable, for those who are about to start ‘trying’ – this tale should hopefully give you some perspective and make you feel not so alone when you don’t fall pregnant straight away, and for those who just love modern true to life stories – this will be right up your street.

Trying will be hitting the UK stores on 25th January (2018) in hardback

*Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights – Mini Review

A while ago, Matthews wrote The Cake Shop in the Garden which told the tale of Faye and her cake shop, and all the set backs that came along with balancing her life between the cafe and, her family and boyfriend. Until Danny came along… and whisked her off her feet.

Now we are back with the loved up couple for a festive treat. Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights is everything you could wish for if you are a Matthews fan – it’s packed full of interesting characteristics, shocking developments and a warming feel good vibe.

Faye has returned to help the new owner of the Cake Shop in the Garden; Lija, and to keep an eye on ‘Stinky Stan’ who has fallen rather ill. Back on her home turf, Faye realises she is in her element, but will she be able to persuade Danny to stay permanently?

Rainbow was a lovely addition to the cake shop – young, cheerful and energetic – I loved what she brought to this tale. She managed to bring light to the story, even when the events were hardly ideal.

When a surprise guest arrives, Faye needs to confront the injustice from her past… can it be a happily ever after? This was an easy read which will keep you company through these cold winter nights. At the start I felt the plot was a little slow but it picked up a third of the way in and kept on building. So, grab a mulled wine, a mince pie and… tuck into this festive treat!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Christmas Guest – Mini Review

This is the first book I’ve read that is told from the perspective of an animal, and what a delight it was!

Meet Teddy; a golden retriever puppy, who has run away from his nasty human parents. Imagine his delight when he follows the scent of a roast chicken and meets his dream family! Except Claire and Ben aren’t sure if they can keep Teddy, they’ve got enough on their plate with their daughter; Emily, who is recovering from meningitis… but what if Teddy can help?

Teddy is determined to be the best behaved pup so he can be a permanent member of the Woods family but it’s not always easy… he is a puppy after all!

Bell has managed to make reading from the viewpoint of a dog, as natural as it is from a human’s! Teddy, as a main character, was a winner for me – his eagerness to be a good puppy was adorable to read.

It isn’t long before Teddy has won over Claire, Emily and Ben; but will he be able to befriend Martha; the cat, and thaw Tobias’ (the grumpy next door neighbour) cold heart?

This was a heart warming tale that will melt away the stress of any day and it’s perfect for all ages. It reminded me how soothing an animal’s presence can be. I’ve mentioned in the past that I have a dog – Brian is a black labrador – and the calming effect he has on my life is invaluable.

*Thank you Quercus for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

In A Cottage In A Wood

When Neve meets Isabelle on the Waterloo Bridge, never in her wildest dreams could she imagine what was going to happen next.

A few months later, Neve is living in Isabelle’s cottage in Cornwall, sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? The picture you’ve got in your head right now, is what Neve was thinking also… so when she arrives in the dark, unlocks the four bolts on the front door and, discovers the kitchen is full of rubbish and a dead magpie, she can’t see how this can get any worse… except it does, she wakes up the next morning and discovers the bars on the windows.

The cottage is in the middle of nowhere and her nearest neighbours seem nice, so why would anybody need this much protection?

The neighbours and Isabelle’s brother tell Neve, that Isabelle wasn’t mentally balanced and had an obsession that someone was after her, but no one seems to know who.

When strange things start happening in the house and a note is discovered, referring to a prison inmate, Neve decides enough is enough, she needs to find out the truth.

I loved Green’s writing style, the plot came across edgy and packed full of suspense. The seeds to the truth were planted throughout the pages, but along with these seeds, were many seed-like stones that could trick your mind into going down the wrong path. The fast paced and grippy vibe of this plot, reminded me of Lisa Jewell’s books; both have different writing styles but both authors managed to gain the same reaction from me – ‘cooorrrrr that was good!’

Neve was an interesting main character, before she arrives at the cottage, I found her difficult to relate to as she was reckless, selfish (in my view) and not professional. But once in the cottage, it was as if the playing field levelled out again and I warmed to Neve – I always find it interesting the way circumstances can change your opinion on a character.

The plot continued to twist and by the penultimate chapter, all of the secrets were on the table. This was a carefully constructed plot that was utterly compelling from start to finish.

Oh and Jarvis was an adorable addition to the tale – I loved him!

Until next time, Chloé x

Before this is Over – Mini Review

This book had me hooked from page one. When a deadly virus begins to spread in the UK, China and elsewhere; Hannah can sense that it’s going to hit Sydney… and soon.

I was sucked into Hannah’s thoughts straight away; and even though her husband and friends felt that she was being irrational, I was on her side from the start.

Hannah is a smart cookie – she’s stocked the pantry full of food so that when the situation deteriorates, she’s able to lock the outside world out and look after her family.

But things start to go wrong quickly, the city is quarantined and Hannah faces her first major decision. Her elder son; Zac, is in Canberra, is it safer to leave him there? Or should he be with the family?

This story was absolutely captivating, you never knew what decision Hannah was going to have to make next and that truly terrified me.

As the days pass by and the number of cases continue to rise, my fear for the family intensified, surely something bad was going to happen? But what? They were being so careful!

I couldn’t turn the pages faster! The gritty realism that Hickie managed to weave into this plot made for an exceptional read.

Fans of the thriller genre will love the suspense packed into this book, but others will love the family unity that shines from these pages. Hannah is a mother who will do anything to protect her kids and all will relate to this.

*Thanks to Headline Review for providing me with a copy through Bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

Christmas With You

Who out there is excited for Christmas? I know I am! I’m the Christmas-addict in the family who has to be ‘reined in’. Such party poopers – I mean who doesn’t want the house decorated and wearing Christmas jumpers in November!

If you love Christmas even half as much as me, I know you will love this book!

Neil and Claire’s Sugar Loaf Lodge is welcoming guests for the festive period, this Christmas needs to go well, if they want to keep the hotel open next year.

This is a tale full of short stories from the guests staying in each of the hotel rooms. Each have their own reasons for staying at the hotel over the holiday season. Some arrive happy, some arrive sad and some need to some perspective… but they all leave full of festive cheer!

I loved the depth O’Flanagan managed to bring to each of these short stories, after only forty odd pages I felt I really understood each character and this is another example of why O’Flanagan is one of the best authors in the contemporary genre.

With a little help from their guardian angel; Louise, Claire and Neil manage to make the holidays special for each guest by adding little individual touches.

There were two stories which stuck with me the most.

The first was Andrew and Bridget – Andrew has messed up big time and Bridget has never been so upset with him in her life. But perspective is key in this short tale, Bridget realises what’s most important.

The second was Michelle and her family. Michelle is the reason why her family are at the Lodge this Christmas and the power of being finally in control is glorious. You go girl!!

You can read this book in one go or you can read one of the short stories each time you take a break from decorating your home or wrapping your presents!

*I’d like to thank Becky Hunter over at Headline Publishing Group for sending me a copy – a fantastic early christmas treat!*

Who else has read this beauty? And if you’re scratching your head because the characters seem familiar but the title doesn’t, it might be because you read it back in 2010/11 when it was originally published under the title ‘A Season To Remember’!

Until next time, Chloé x

 

Mini Review – A Pocketful of Crows

What a delight this book was!

When a young wild girl falls in love with the heir to the local castle; William, love blossoms. Despite the passion and besotted nature of William, her folk warn her of the dangers of being with someone like him, they believe it will not end well.

And then one day, William gives her the worst possible gift,  he gives her a name… and from that day forth, she is trapped, unable to escape into the wild and into animals. Given her love for William, she accepts the gift, knowing that he is worth the sacrifice.

Except things don’t go to plan.

She needs to become nameless again, she needs to be set free.

This was such a powerful story of love and revenge, with a writing style that came across as mature and wise, provoking me to have a thoughtful perspective whilst I read the book.

When I originally started it, I regretted not reading this around halloween, as it’s probably my favourite time of year to read about folklore – when it touches on mythical aspects such as morphing into animals and witchery. By the end of the book, I had changed my mind, this book is perfect no matter what time of the year.

At just under 200 pages, it’s a short read and easy to devour in one sitting, particularly as the book flowed so well!

Sometimes I think we forget how much wisdom we can gain from what we see as a single event, this book showed how a young woman can become wise beyond her years (albeit in the book, it’s both emotionally and physically) when the heart is damaged by love.

Give it a go, and see what wisdom you gleam from it!

Thanks Ben over at Orion for giving me a copy, the hardback is absolutely stunning!

Until next time, Chloé x

 

Mini Review – The Foster Child

When Imogen arrives back to her childhood town, she hopes that her time there will be less traumatic and emotionally draining than her younger years. Sadly not. On the day they arrive, her husband; Dan, narrowly misses hitting a teenage girl with their car. The girl (Naomi) claims she just stumbled back onto the road, others think differently… Naomi was with Ellie… everyone thinks Ellie is an unusual young girl – haunted, in fact.

Coincidentally, Imogen is assigned Ellie in her new role, providing mental health support to the local schools. Imogen believes the events happening are nothing to do with Ellie but as the accusations build up, it’s difficult to know what the truth is.

I loved the way this plot was written, Blackhurst built it up in a way that I could feel a cloud shift at the end of each chapter, building up with the other clouds, ready for the storm – utterly gripping!

With a jumpy, fast paced vibe – this plot will mess with your mind right up until the final sentence. And that final sentence… just WOW.

I have found another author to add to my ‘alert list’ – it’s when I go crazy if they bring a new book out and run to a bookstore – and Blackhurst deserves her spot on this list!

Thanks Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr – so lucky!

Until next time, Chloé x

Mini Review – The Image Of You

Nick has always been a player. Dating websites are for picking up one night stands, not for finding the “one”… until he meets Anna.

Anna joined the website to find the man of her dreams, the man she could settle down with and marry… and when she meets Nick, she knows he’s the one.

Cute right? For sure. Until Anna introduces Zoe; her twin, to Nick. Zoe is the polar opposite of Anna. Zoe is provocative, confident and addictive. Anna is sweet natured, caring and homely. With the twins being identical, will Nick be able to stay faithful to Anna, or will he be tempted to the dark side with Zoe?

This plot was edgy and exciting. I immediately warmed to Anna – and who couldn’t, she’s just so nice and because of this, I was rooting for Nick and Anna to be the perfect couple… but I knew Zoe was trouble with a capital T.

Told from multiple perspectives; including short glimpses from the twins’ mother, Parks tantalised the reader with each characters’ viewpoint… and I was always intrigued to understand what the others were thinking.

Except all wasn’t what it seemed – this plot was even more complex than it first seemed. The final part of the book was plot twisting-ly fantastic – I LOVED it!

I can’t say any more without letting the cat out the bag, but one final remark – it’s worth adding this one to your TBR list!

*Thank you Headline Publishing for providing me with a copy through bookbridgr*

Until next time, Chloé x

The Break

When I cracked open the first page of this book, my mum commented that she had never seen me read Marian Keyes before, which is true! I’d been so intrigued by the blog and twitter posts on this book, that I’d talked myself into liking it, before it had even hit the basket. So did I end up liking it? No… I LOVED it.

Hugh has been going through a rough time and concludes the only way forward is to leave his life (including his family) for six months and explore the world. Amy; his wife and the main character, is not surprisingly shocked, hurt and angry with Hugh – particularly when he pitches it as a ‘break’ for six months, which means he can start up a relationship with any woman he pleases to… and the cheek of the man… he wants to come back after six months like nothing happened!

With Hugh on a break, this means Amy is also on a break and so she discovers the freedom of letting her crushes turn into actual flings. But freedom is dangerous… what if either of them decides they don’t want to get back together when the six months are up?

Whilst Hugh left Dublin to travel alone, Amy is anything but lonely – she’s surrounded by her girls, her family, her work colleagues, her friends and even her ex husband…!

With lots of impressionable characters, this book packed a punch – it was ‘laugh out loud’ funny. I loved reading about Amy’s mum and I found Alastair’s love life very amusing.

Keyes has a dynamic writing style that changes swiftly and beautifully to reflect the tone of events – whilst most of the book was light hearted and witty, there are some events dotted through that required sincere emotions – this was done perfectly.

With the chapters being short; which for some reason always makes me read more in one sitting, I raced through this book!

The next day after I’d finished the book, I missed Amy. Her driven, wacky and passionate personality left a lasting impression on me. I definitely need to read some more of Keyes work – ASAP!

Until next time, Chloé x

P.S. yes that is Christmas bedding you can spot 🙈 I know…

The Girlfriend

Daniel believes he’s met the love of his life – Cherry. Daniel’s mother; Laura, isn’t so sure… she thinks Cherry is a gold digger.

Laura tries hard to explain to Daniel that Cherry’s actions don’t seem right, but Daniel, blinded by love, believes his mother is being over protective and verging on obsessive.

Cherry is a smart cookie and picks up on Laura’s behaviour, is she upset by it? Not at all. It’s game on, as far as Cherry is concerned. There’s no way Cherry is ending up back living with her mother.

Like a game of chess, every move Cherry makes is calculated. She is determined to win Daniel’s affections and steal him from his mother. I didn’t trust Cherry from the start, she’s the kind of girl I would absolutely hate to be around… they’re trouble. And what does any mother do when they see someone preying on their young? They protect and attack back.

This was a juicy plot that just got better and better. I was enjoying reading the game of one-upmanship between Cherry and Laura, and so, the major plot twist that came quite early on in the book, took me by surprise.

This plot twist changed everything. Cherry was in the losing corner and one final blow from Laura would have sent her out of Daniel’s world forever. Unfortunately, the blow Laura chose to use was… well… let’s just say telling a lie that big has far too many consequences and chances of going wrong. Bad move, Laura. The plot continues as Laura tries desperately to cover up her lie, but Cherry becomes suspicious… and this makes Laura nervous.

Fantastic thriller playing heavily on the psychological mind games, women are so prone to use and fall for. I loved the jumpy edginess of it all. Frances pushed beyond the boundaries to explore the darkness of a woman’s mind; and although at one point it went way past my comfort level, I appreciated how these details made an impact on my mind, making the book unforgettable.

Until next time, Chloé x

The Rooster Bar

Everyone who has been following my blog for a while, knows my love of Grisham. He is my all time favourite author and the only author that I’ll google to check when his next release is out!

Luckily for me, his typical legal thrillers (Camino Island doesn’t count – it’s not legal enough!) come out around my birthday (end of October) – obviously he does this on purpose (ha ha!), so I always have a Grisham book to unwrap… and I forget all about the twenty books already in my TBR pile and open the first page…

I’ve found the last few of his books have fallen short of his usually very high standard. Although this is me being highly critical, as compared to the majority of other books in the genre, these books would still have a higher rating. My point is, the last few have had plots with potential but I felt they were never turned into the masterpiece plots Grisham used to churn out – think The Testament, The Chamber and The Partner. So how would this book fair?

This plot excited me. Gordy is on to something BIG, he’s discovered a scam relating to his law school and others, that if leaked could have huge repercussions. Except Gordy is mentally unstable and unable to see through the reveal, luckily he’s told his three closest friends: Mark, Todd and Zola (his girlfriend albeit he also has a fiancée back home!).

It’s up to Mark, Todd and Zola to reveal the truth. Interestingly though, they park the scandal and begin to pursue other law activities. I really enjoyed this part of the story, it was a lot of fun and it reminded me of Grisham’s usual witty writing style.

When things start to go wrong, the boys need to find a way out and at this point the story links back to the scam.

It was a smart plot and I enjoyed the playful nature of the three young law students. For me, it was my favourite book out of Grisham’s last four. My only niggle, I felt the ending was rushed.

Until next time, Chloé x

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

There’s a lot that I liked about this book. The plot was very unusual, in fact I’ve never seen a tale quite like this one, so Laidlaw deserves a pat on the back for that.

When Lorna dies, she ends up in heaven. Except heaven isn’t what we’d imagine. Heaven or more commonly known as HVN, is a spaceship with God as the captain. Now come on, how imaginative is that?

The majority of the crew have been on the ship for a very long time, so Lorna is a bit of a surprise. So why is she there? God tells her that everyone comes to HVN for a reason, but God won’t tell her why straight away.

It’s time for Lorna to reflect on her life and the moments that led up to her death. God says she took her life, Lorna remembers it differently. As her memory is restored, Lorna is able to look back on some of her happiest and saddest moments, which shaped the woman she is today.

I loved the concept of this book, the idea of dissecting her past through snippets of memories made for a quirky read. Although the memories were sporadic, creating a timeline which required much jumping back and forth, I felt that by the end of the book I fully understood Lorna. Reading the devastating childhood event that drove Lorna to study law, the men that passed and failed her expectations, and understanding her friendship with rich Suzie – I felt Laidlaw accomplished a mammoth task – people are complex and unique, our actions are our own and we often won’t pick up on our own flaws for years.

When God finally reveals her purpose on HVN, I wasn’t remotely surprised but even so, I was pleased that he confirmed it. Was it the right decision? Most definitely (I’ve got you intrigued now!)

When Laidlaw sent me an uncorrected copy, I expected there to be a lot of mistakes which would stop me in my tracks, but there wasn’t. Although this might seem an irrelevant point for those who are reading a final version, it’s a key factor in understanding the strength and maturity of the author’s writing technique… and Laidlaw passed the test with flying colours.

There’s a lot going on in this book, not surprising since it’s covering a person’s lifetime, but this does mean you need to pay this book your full attention, if you want to pick up the pieces to create the completed puzzle… and yes it is one of those tricky 1000 piece ones, where at times you’ll want to stop but deep down you will want to finish it.

It’s unique and it’s quirky, and with that comes complexity – creating that much of a backstory to a character requires huge amounts of imagination, determination and a knack of being able to link it all.

Until next time, Chloé x

 

Christmas at Woolworths

YAY, finally my turn on this exciting book tour!

Christmas at Woolworths Banner4

Here’s the blurb before I dive in with my review….

The Blurb:

Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . .

With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

My Review:

This book has surprised me. When I joined the book tour, I had no idea I’d be reading such a fantastically written story with a sensational plot.

Within a few pages, I was immersed into the lives of the women living in Erith. There’s Freda, Sarah, Maisie, Betty, Ruby, Maureen, Irene, Vera, Pat and young Georgina … and that’s just naming the ones mentioned in the first 50 odd pages!

Set in war time, I found this tale made me reflect on how inspirational women were back then – they just got on with things and kept the country functioning, it is truly something to be proud of. I felt this message flowed throughout the story; Everest has created strong, motivational female characters that we could all aspire to.

Many of the women keep Woolworths in business, as the town’s hub, and with inspirational war themed window displays and many fundraising events, the women’s support for the war effort is felt. Freda and Sarah’s additional volunteering were moving to read.

This book gives a glimpse of what wartime life was like, and war isn’t everything. Life continues – new faces arrive, new relationships blossom and a baby is on its way! I loved the many romances that simmered through the book and I avidly waited for them to come to the boil! I also enjoyed the secrets that arrived with Gwyneth and Myfi… I was intrigued by the mystery that surrounded these two. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned Douglas…

With the lives of all these characters updated over the year, it’s a jam packed plot – hats off to Everest, it really is fantastic!

Definitely worth adding to your wish list and these next two months are the perfect time to read it! With an ending packed full of Christmas cheer, it’ll leave you smiling and excited for the festive season!

This book will hit the shelves on 2nd November – not long to go! And you can pre order on Amazon

Christmas at Woolworths

 

Author Information

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.

And here are Elaine’s links…

Twitter: http://twitter.com/elaineeverest

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElaineEverestAuthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elaine-Everest/e/B003LTXNN8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1508176086&sr=1-2-ent

There are still plenty more stops on this tour! Go check them out!

Tomorrow

Helen Loves

On the Bookshelf

Saturday 28th Oct

The Pewter Wolf

Sunday 29th Oct

Tales of Yesterday

Fabulous Book Fiend

Monday 30th Oct

Donna’s Book Blog

The Crafty Lass

Linda’s Book Bag

Tuesday 31st Oct

Simona’s Corner of Dreams

Life with KtKinnes

Wednesday 1st Nov

Sincerely Book Angels

Bookish Jottings

Thursday 2nd Nov

Comet Babe Books

Laura’s Interests

Friday 3rd Nov

Blooming Fiction

Big Book Little Book

Saturday 4th Nov

Rachel Bustin

Sunday 5th Nov

Ali and the Dragon Slayer

Love Books Group

Monday 6th Nov

Bookish Bits

Write Minds

Tuesday 7th Nov

Shaz’s Book Blog

Finally, thanks to Faye for organising a fantastic tour for Elaine!

Until next time, Chloé x

“100 word” Reviews

Hello you lovely bunch! There have been a few books over the last few months which I enjoyed, but, when it came to writing a review, I struggled to type up anything substantial. I’ve seen a lot of mini reviews (shorter than mine), short reviews and the cleverly named ‘Rapid Reviews’ by Kate over at Bibliophile Book Club and it got me thinking… why don’t I just post my very very short reviews! So here they are, in a 100 words or less… what I’ve thought of the following… ENJOY!

PRE WARNING: Very random selection here! We’ve got books relating to malaria, stalking, slaves and finding love when you’re pregnant!

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

New setting, new main characters but some fantastic links to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. Injured Merrick is sent to Peru on a risky mission – he must bring back cinchona cuttings, which will help fight Malaria. With the locals wanting to kill him, Merrick is lucky to befriend Raphael, the local priest. Raphael looks after the many markayuq (go google!) in Bedlam but his closeness to them seems to suggest something more. This was an intriguing and detailed plot, creating a world full of magic and possibilities. It’s a story to take your time with and reflect on.

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

Suspense is in the air from the very first pages: Olivia is hiding something and Vivian knows the truth. The story unfolds and Vivian follows Olivia to France for a family holiday… but how far will Olivia go to punish Vivian, and what is she punishing her for? As the ladies become more unhinged, the plot deepens as the past begins to collide with the present. It’s a twisty spooky plot that gave off the vibe of a haunted house mystery.

How Not To Fall In Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto

Emma has found herself pregnant to a man who can barely look after himself. Deciding it would be better off to face the world without him, Emma finds herself alone and very hormonal… so hormonal, in fact, that she ends up losing her job and unable to afford rent. With family on her side, this is a charming story of how Emma manages to pick herself back up and find love with the most unexpected guy. This was a light hearted chick lit which you could easily divulge in one sitting with a cup of tea and slice of cake!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

*ok disclaimer (this does NOT count towards the 100 words!), I bought this book because I am obsessed with railways so seeing those two key words in the title meant I automatically picked it up without thinking! My fiancé then helpfully pointed out that perhaps I should have read the blurb…*

This tale tells the remarkable escape of Cora from a cotton plantation in Georgia and her determination to be free. In this book the ‘Underground Railroad’ is in a physical form, transporting Cora and her fellow escapee; Caesar, on a box-car across borders through long tunnels. But as Cora emerges on the other side, she realises she can never truly be free – slave catchers are roaming and rules dictate life no matter where you are. Adaptable to changing environments, Cora seeks out those she can trust. Heartbreaking and powerful, this book takes the reader on a compelling journey.

So there you have it, four very different books and four very short reviews. Have you read any of these? If you did, which did you enjoy and why?

Until next time, Chloé x

 

 

 

The Child – Mini Review

Emma is hiding secrets and her mother; Jude, lacks the maternal nature to comfort her daughter.

Kate is a journalist, hooked on finding the truth.

Angela lost her baby a long time ago.

When each of the ladies read an article in the Evening Standard titled ‘Baby’s Body Found’, each know that this story will change their lives.

Kate knows that with her contacts in the police, and her ability to get the locals to talk, she’ll be able to find out who the baby was… and more importantly, who the mother was.

This story was INCREDIBLE.

You think you know where the plot is going and then Barton sweeps it in a different direction. Suspicion is thrown in all directions and a number of seeds are planted throughout the book, but it was difficult to determine which seed would flourish and provide the truth.

A lot of the tale is told through Kate’s eyes and I felt she was the character that I related to most. Her passion and determination to solve the case came across through the text and empowered me. I also enjoyed the developing friendship with her new sidekick; Joe, which was most amusing – given the age gap and Joe’s inexperience in the field.

I think this book would be prefect for anyone who loves a good crime thriller or the psychological thriller genre. It’s got the right balance of building up the facts behind the case whilst also casting doubt – this was done effectively using the viewpoints of the other characters. From the very start you know Emma and Angela are connected to the baby… Just how?!

Any of my fellow bloggers read this beauty? Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Perfect Girlfriend – Mini Review

Addictive is the first word that springs to my mind, to describe this plot. The sheer determination to get Nate to love her and be with her, makes Juliette’s obsession an intense read.

When Nate tells her it’s over, Juliette sees it as a ‘blip’ and creates a POA (Plan of Action) to get them back on track.

Joining the airline which Nate flies for, seems an obvious choice for Juliette. ‘Fate’ sees them flying together to Las Vegas for a night that changes their lives. You can’t force love… no matter how hard Juliette tries.

Juliette’s past continues to haunt her and leads her to find and befriend Miles. Being close to Miles, allows Juliette to do even more damage… but how far will she go?

By no means is Juliette going to be seen as a role model for readers, her psychotic behaviour makes for an interesting read but the sheer consequences of her actions are terrifying, especially towards the end of the book. What I found frustrating was the fact Juliette could have become a fantastic air stewardess, her earlier determination saw her reap the rewards in her career and it seems a shame that she wasn’t able to aim her fixation at something other than Nate.

The linkage to Juliette’s childhood made for a complex and well thought out plot. I can 100% recommend this book! I’m also itching to find out what happens to the characters after the last page…

It’s not out until March next year (don’t worry I will remind you again closer to the time) but it’s worth putting on your wish list now!

Thank you Becky for sending me an advanced copy to review, it really was a treat!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Pearl Sister

I have just finished The Pearl Sister. Golly, it was good! I don’t know how Lucinda manages to pull plot after plot out her bag and they’re all so unique!

The Pearl Sister is the fourth in the series titled The Seven Sisters – which follow the stories of each sister finding their true heritage.

If you are a fan of the series, you’ll know that Star and CeCe are no longer as close as they used to be – now that Star has found herself a boyfriend and her biological mother. It’s now CeCe’s turn to delve into her family history.

A photo leads CeCe to Australia; with a pit stop on the way in Thailand, where she meets a man who she finally clicks with. Ace is a man with secrets, but even though he hides his true identity from CeCe… he does provide her with a new understanding of friendship and helps her piece together some clues linking to Australia.

And then… my favourite thing happened…. we went back in history and joined a relative. I find stories that flick back to the past, transport my mind in a way that present-based books just can’t. I completely and utterly switch off from the world around me and absorb myself in a time period so unlike the one I live in!

Kitty has been sent to Australia to accompany an older, richer lady from her hometown in Scotland. She finds herself in a situation where two brothers are in love with her and she must pick one to marry. She does and the story follows her marriage, her son and the life she creates in Broome whilst dealing with some emotional and unlucky events.

Flicking back and forth from the present, we are able to understand how CeCe is related to this incredible lady…. and it’s not a simple guess!

What I find remarkable about these stories is how powerful and strong the female characters are. Each sister displays many qualities which make them fantastic role models. I was particularly moved by CeCe’s determination to help Ace and her thoughtfulness when it came to her latest lover.

Riley crafts stories that are memorable and unique. The detail and maturity reflected in her writing style shines through the pages. This is a series that you can fully immerse yourself in and grow very fond of the characters. I can’t wait to hear what happens with Tiggy next…

The Pearl Sister is out on 2nd November – less than a month away!

I can’t thank Olivia enough for arranging for a copy to be sent to me early – I’m a very lucky girl!

Until next time, Chloé x

See where it all began…. The Seven Sisters

P.S. Apologies all for the state of the book in the photo, it’s a beefy book and it took some bashing being carried around everywhere I went!

If You Knew Her

Well what a find this was! I hadn’t heard or seen any reviews about this book, I just spotted it on the shelf and my gut told me that I’d like this one…. and I LOVED it!

This has to be one of the most unusual plots I’ve read this year and given the hundreds of psychological thrillers I’ve read, to stand out from the crowd is a huge achievement.

When Cassie arrives on Alice’s ward, there’s something suspicious about the accident that put her in a coma. Alice is intrigued and, remains close to the family to try and determine the truth.

Someone else is also interested in finding the truth, Cassie’s fellow ward neighbour – Frank. Frank can’t move or talk, but he can listen… and he hears a lot that concerns him.

When Frank gains back the ability to blink, it’s a race against the clock for him to try communicate to others, the danger which Cassie is in. But will he be able to get the message across before it’s too late? Or will Alice discover it before him?

It’s an addictive read with a jumpy, fast paced writing style… meaning I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!

The tale is not only told from Alice’s and Frank’s viewpoint in the present, but also from Cassie’s – the build up to her accident. The blame is cast at an array of characters, and although in my head I was down to two suspects, it wasn’t until the truth was revealed that it all clicked.

There’s also an impressive amount of depth to this plot, Elgar delved into Alice’s life and created a main character that was likeable and strong.

Go try this one fellow bookworms, I think you’ll like it!

Until next time, Chloé x

The Keeper of Lost Things – Mini Review

When Anthony leaves the house to Laura, she has no idea that he will task her with returning all of the lost items he has picked up over the years. Anthony began collecting items that had been left in parks, streets and even trains, after he lost a very special item which had been presented to him by the love of his life – Therese.

 

A parallel story occurs in this book which surrounds the woman who found Anthony’s lost item. Eunice works for Bomber in publishing. I was intrigued to find out when the two stories would collide.

 

For every lost item that Anthony picks up, there is a tale of how the item became lost – I found these short tales to be my favourite aspect of the book.

 

To help Laura return the lost items, her young neighbour; Sunshine, is on hand to help. Sunshine has a gift which the adults seem to have overlooked. When the house begins to be haunted by Therese, Sunshine understands what must be done to make everyone happy.

 

I thought this was a sweet and unusual tale but unfortunately it just didn’t tickle my fancy. I’ve tried to work out why and I’m left a bit puzzled. The plot is unique and had potential. The characters were well thought out and each individual. I can’t find any large faults in the writing style. I question if it was the pace of the plot? It wasn’t particularly fast but nevertheless it wasn’t too slow for the specific genre. Hmmm. I’m stumped. Let’s blame it on the reader!

 

Until next time, Chloé x

The Olive Tree

Riley, herself, admits that this book is a change from her usual diving into history ‘past-present’ style but nevertheless it does flit between the past and current times. The difference is the number of years it jumps back, this book goes back a maximum of 24 years into the past whereas some of her other plots can go back more than 200 years.

The first few pages and the last few chapters are set in the present, 2016. The majority of the book is based ten years ago when Alex was a young teenager. When Alex sets off on a holiday to Cyprus, he has no idea how much drama is about to unfold. His mother; Helena, has been hiding a number of secrets and they are about to be unleashed in their newly inherited Cypriot house – wonderfully named Pandora.

The setting of this book was idyllic and made me crave a holiday, the warm air and laziness that a holiday brings seeped through the pages.

Alex was an unusual character and I thought his awkwardness and dramatics of being a teenager were perfectly captured, it’s almost a shame that this book is aimed at an older audience, as I feel many teenagers would relate to Alex’s feelings and would take comfort in the fact it all turned out alright for him… in the end!

Although plot twists always seem less dramatic in this genre, they have been slipped into this story so beautifully that it’s incredible to look back and see how many directions this plot took – I was particularly surprised when Fabio finally revealed Helena’s biggest secret… who would have guessed that?! … would love to discuss with you all, when you have finished it!

I love the effect Riley’s writing has over me, it’s extremely cathartic and I finish a book feeling content and craving another story. In fact, it’s incredible to think how calming her stories are, given the number of emotional moments that are captured within these plots.

I remain a HUGE fan of Riley’s work and look forward to the next.

Until next time, Chloé

A Song For Tomorrow – Mini Review

At first this feels like a standard chick lit… boy meets girl… it’s love at first sight. But this story has so much more to offer.

Alice has cystic fibrosis which means every day life is not as simple as it looks. When Tom enters her life, love fills her heart and his caring nature to be there for her, made me swoon. It’s not an easy ride for them, and they hit some bumps along the road but crossroads keep bringing them back together.

This is not just a love story though, it’s about Alice’s dreams to become a singer. Her song lyrics are dotted throughout the book and her ability to turn a moment into such beautiful lyrics, is inspiring.

I think what makes this story so incredibly special is the fact it’s based on a true story, once I finished the book I couldn’t let Alice go, I wanted to find out more and so I ended up listening to her album on Spotify. I was incredibly emotional listening to the song lyrics. This book brought Alice alive for me and her music continues to do this everyday. What an inspiration!

Peterson’s writing style perfectly captured this story. The words enticed me from the very first page and I would definitely grab another book by her. I seem to be struggling to find the words to reflect my thoughts on this book and I must apologise for this. I think this book touched me in a way that has left me speechless/wordless. It truly is a very special read.

This was another book from a giveaway I won, for those of my bookworms that aren’t yet on twitter, why don’t you give it a go? It’s full of upcoming gossip on novels and there are plenty giveaways to enter! You can find me over at @dougieDV

Until next time, Chloé x

The Stolen Child – Mini Review

Zoe and Ollie adopted Evie as a baby after years of failing to get pregnant. Evie is loved from day one but it wasn’t the smoothest of starts. Evie’s biological mother was a drug addict which had implications on Evie’s health, and the after effects are still seen seven years on.

Ben is the miracle baby that Zoe and Ollie never expected, being his biological parents means he looks very alike them. It’s hard for Evie to not feel left out and as Ben celebrates his second birthday, Evie craves the attention he gets.

And it seems she gets this, in the form of secret presents. The scary part? They’re signed from her ‘real’ daddy – who promises to take her away from her fake family.

What made this such a page turner, was the fact I was determined Evie would be kidnapped, due to the title of the book so I was haunted by finding out what would happen in the plot.

Kay’s writing style has an intensity that grips you from the very first page. I was sucked into the detail and absorbed by the family dynamics.

Teachers, family friends and new acquaintances are suspected, as Zoe becomes obsessed with finding the truth – who is this person claiming to be Evie’s daddy.

There are enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing and I loved the fact the majority of this tale is told through the eyes of Zoe. Zoe’s personality was likeable and believable throughout. Balancing her career as an artist with being a full time mum is by no means an easy thing, and Ollie’s neglect towards her radiates through the pages.

The Stolen Child is out on 7 September and I look forward to discussing it with you all! Corvus very kindly sent me a copy early and I chose to wrap up my thoughts on the book in this review.

Until next time, Chloé x

Stranger

Possibly the most heart wrenching story I’ve read this year, this really pulled at my heart strings and captivated my emotions.

This is the story of a woman who has had her baby wrongly taken from her; and her quest and determination to hold her daughter in her arms again.

This concept for a plot was enough to unlock the maternal instincts inside of me. What made me an emotional wreck was the setting for this plot. Íso is from Guatemala and her baby has been taken to Saint Falls, Minnesota. To get to her baby, Íso must cross the border and travel across America with no papers and little money.

Íso’s determination radiates through the pages and was so powerful that I was unable to put the book down all evening. Consisting of 250 pages, it’s easy to finish this in one sitting… but what’s more impressive is the impact these pages had on me. The story is so intense and completely consuming, making you feel like you’ve read a book closer to 500 pages.

As can be expected, her journey was not by any means plain sailing. For example, she meets young Gabriel who is trying to get to Houston to his mother, which requires Íso to make a detour. Bergen perfectly captured the build up and intensity of their friendship.

As a woman, the scariest aspect of this tale was how cruel men can be towards women. It’s difficult to comprehend the vulnerability that is attached to being female. Nevertheless, I was impressed how Bergen tackled the topic and how he balanced cruelty with kindness and strength.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is the beginnings of the story, which focus on Íso’s relationship with Eric (the father) and how heartbreakingly he was taken from her. I felt it was important to understand this aspect of the tale, so that I could understand Íso’s feelings and gauge her as a person.

I haven’t even mentioned all the themes this book touches on (exploitation, rich vs poor, immigration… to name a few) but what I can say is: I can’t fault Bergen’s writing style – it’s completely special in its own right – it’s absorbing, passionate and expressive.

Stranger will be published in hardback in September – not long now!! I was provided an advanced reading copy by Duckworth Overlook and this post reflects my thoughts on the novel.

Has anyone else read one of Bergen’s previous novels? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, Chloé x

The Queen of Wishful Thinking – Mini Review

I am really enjoying the chick lit genre at the moment and after winning a lovely bunch of books from Sara-Jade (@BookMinxSJV) on twitter who works over at Simon & Schuster, I have a supply to keep me content over the summer!

The Queen of Wishful Thinking is a charming book packed full of determination, friendship and kindness.

Bonnie is in a doomed and boring marriage and she’s been trapped in it for years. If things weren’t already glum she’s unemployed after getting on the wrong side of her grumpy boss.

Meanwhile Lew has swapped his high fly city job to open up an antiques shop, something he has always wanted to do – having a heart attack made him reflect on what was really important… although his priorities seem different to his wife’s (Charlotte)!

Bonnie comes to work for Lew and things change for the better: the shop begins to make a profit, everybody loves Bonnie and Bonnie begins to daydream of the future. Can she leave her husband?

An entertaining read with a number of twists to keep you turning the pages! I particularly enjoyed the suspense which built up on why Bonnie couldn’t leave her husband.

My only ‘niggle’ was I thought the outcome of Charlotte and Lew’s relationship was predictable, especially around what the catalyst was. This was the only aspect of the book that I felt fell into the usual ‘chick lit check list’, which is often the reason why chick lit gets slagged off.

Bonnie was a strong main character, her determination to succeed was an inspiration and made me take away two important messages: never give up on a goal & lots of small successes turn into a big success – so start small and keep on going!

Until next time, Chloé x

Then She Was Gone

Lisa has done it once again! What an incredibly addictive read Then She Was Gone is.

 

Ellie went missing ten years ago and her mother; Laurel, still misses her “favourite” daughter every day.

 

Things are about to change… a relationship with a stranger is the key to unlocking the disturbing truth.

 

And that… my friends… is all I’m going to reveal about the plot. It’s just SO GOOD! Jewell has not left all her tricks for the end of the book either, she’s gone straight in and made a juicy page turner from the first page.

 

There’s no build up… you’re slap bang into uncovering the mystery straight away. I had sussed out ‘who’ had taken Ellie very early on and it felt as if Jewell had done this on purpose… pointed the reader in the right direction early on, leaving the reader greedy to sprint to the finish line and suss out the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. And even then, I felt Jewell gave away the ‘why’ and ‘how’ reasonably early… but I was still hooked! Why you may ask? I was intrigued what direction the rest of the book would take! I’m obviously writing this on an empty tummy because my analogy for this book is: you’re shown the meat, the potatoes and the veg so you know what you’re getting BUT the chef holds back how the dish will be served until it’s right in front of your eyes… and the ending was delicious just like a dessert – sweet, yet slightly bitter (think dark chocolate…) but satisfying.

 

It was emotionally captivating to read the majority of the book through the mother’s eyes. The brutal honesty in accepting the flaws in her personality made Laurel a likeable main character.

 

This book has all the fundamental traits of a psychological thriller – my mind was well and truly working ‘like the clappers’. I love the effect Jewell’s words have on me, every suspicious sentence sent alarm bells going off in my head with the associated commentary such as… “well that’s that, I don’t trust them”, “corrrr can you believe that” and “I knew it!!”.

 

At the time of writing this post, the hardback version of this book is currently a steal at £5 in Tesco and a penny cheaper in Sainsburys… well worth popping in your shopping basket!

 

Until next time, Chloé x

Children of the Revolution – Mini Review

I bought this book years ago from The Works in the 3 for £5 deal; and never got around to reading it, I seemed to be put off by the cover and not blown away that it was a DCI Banks story. Nevertheless, it was time to break it open and dissect my thoughts on it.

A body is found under a bridge, it could have been a suicide but it’s more than likely not – DCI Banks and his team are brought in to inspect. The deceased is ex college lecturer; Gavin Miller, and he was carrying a substantial amount of money in his pocket, £5,000 to be exact.

It becomes clear early on that Gavin has not had much luck in his life; having been fired from his previous job, he has become a recluse. Alan and his team (mainly women – woo!) need to dive into Gavin’s past to understand how he came about the money and how he ended up dead.

Having finished the book, I can really see the appeal of the series – the team become familiar friends to the reader. You learn what their likes and hates are, from detective styles to even their favourite food. Having never read any of the other books (although I have watched episodes of the TV series), it was easy to pick up the team politics and the book hints at past relationships.

The writing style is very descriptive and detailed – there are some very long paragraphs and I felt at times that Alan’s (Banks) train of thought was a little tedious to read. I imagine fans of the series would argue differently as after 20 odd books, the reader probably craves to know even more about their fictional hero.

To wrap up – I thought this was an interesting read with a complex plot but I’m not sure I will be grabbing any more of the books anytime soon.

Until next time, Chloé x

All That She Can See

Pre warning: if you decide to buy this book, there is a high chance it will make you miss your train stop!

The above happened to me… twice. I managed to get sucked into this story more than I have with any other book in a while.

The plot is unique – Cherry can see bad feelings… I mean literally – she calls them meddlums. If a stranger walks past who has recently lost someone, Cherry can tell because grief will be beside them. Cherry knows what drags her friends down: depression, anger, impatience… you name it. And Cherry herself can’t get rid of her own ‘monster’ – loneliness, she has to hide her gift from the world.

Cherry uses her gift to her advantage and decides to bake positive feelings into cakes, cookies, eclairs, scones… you name it! Being able to shrink the meddlums for her friends gives her great satisfaction and when the feelings are balanced, she wonders what to do next…. Move somewhere else? And so, Cherry sets off to tour the country, settling into a town only long enough to balance people’s feelings before moving on to the next.

When Cherry settles in Plymouth for a while, it all starts going wrong. She discovers she isn’t the only one that can see meddlums – Chase can. Chase is the opposite of Cherry in the fact he can see people’s positive/good feelings, surprisingly this has made him bitter. Why? – Because Chase can see the happiness meddlum on bullies… he can see people radiate large meddlums of positive thoughts from bad people.

Chase is a bitter man and when he realises that Cherry has created a business out of her gift, he decides to play her at her own game. It doesn’t turn out well and a secret society for their kind is revealed.

This was a real spell-binding plot, I had no idea which way it would pan out. I definitely suggest it’s worth a read for those who like ‘feel good books’ or as the guardian have classed it – ‘up lit’

One of my favourite characteristics of Cherry was the fact she wore pyjamas all day, everyday – it didn’t matter if she was serving customers or out exploring the towns she baked at – her number one priority was to be comfy… I wish I had the guts to wear pjs to work!!! It’s one of my favourite perks of when I get to work from home, I also adore ‘dress down Fridays’ so I can wear my comfy jeans! What do you think about this? Do you feel that people should dress up for work?

This truly is a special book and I hope Carrie turns it into a series because I want to know what happens next to Cherry and Chase! Another major plus – it is perfect for all age groups 😃

Until next time, Chloé x

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine 

Can I just say how much a sucker I seem to be for books advertised on trains? This book and Cows have had adverts on my local train for the past few months and although I didn’t buy them straight away; when I finally found myself standing in front of the bookstand, I grabbed them straight away. So that’s some positive feedback for publishers – train adverts do work!!!

This was such a charming book – it made me smile, chuckle and also cry.
Eleanor likes routine: she likes to wear the same clothes, have the same food on Friday night, drink the same amount of wine and vodka a week and, talk to her mother every Wednesday. Except everything is about to change – she’s got a crush on a singer.

Eleanor realises she needs to ‘fit in’ to capture the attention of her crush and so we follow her transformation – hair, makeup, clothes and being spontaneous.

The way I’ve just described this book sounds like it might be a chick lit, it’s anything but. This is a story of enlightenment, friendship and freedom.

Eleanor is trapped by her past – the scars on her face are a physical reminder of what happened, but she refuses to remember; and her mother seems to become extremely aggressive on the phone whenever Eleanor suggests she should find out.

Along comes Raymond.

Eleanor has never been friendly with her work colleagues; hardly surprising, since they spend most of their time ‘taking the mick’ out of her… but Raymond is different. He seems generally interested in getting to know her. Their friendship was definitely my favourite aspect of the book, to see a man and a woman blossom so much from a platonic relationship was such a refreshing change. The acts of kindness that Raymond showed towards Eleanor – which in my mind saved her – were touching and inspiring. I like to think I’m a reasonably thoughtful person; I like to ‘check in’ with people when they’re not well and let them know that I’m there for them if they need me. But Raymond’s thoughtfulness astounded me – I wish I had a friend like him!

I loved the fact the book had a sense of suspense running through it and I was impressed by the twists.

This is one of those all-rounder books where it’s difficult to tie it down to a specific genre, it really did have a bit of everything and because of this, I’m not surprised it’s been picked up by a production company – I feel this would make a fantastic movie.

I thoroughly recommend this book to all – it leaves a lasting impression!

Until next time, Chloé x

Blood Sisters – Mini Review

Captivating and utterly brilliant, I couldn’t sing higher praise for this plot… although FYI I’m actually a terrible singer!

It’s told from two perspectives – two sisters – Alison and Kitty. Both were involved in a horrific accident when they were kids and in the present, their lives are still affected. Kitty suffered brain damage which has left her unable to form words, instead her thoughts run around her head with nobody being able to hear them. Alison’s physical injuries healed years ago, but she’s scarred in other ways. Neither seem to fully remember what happened that day… but now is the time to find out.As Kitty’s memory of the day begins to come back in short flashes, Alison finds herself working in a prison. While Kitty’s inability to speak torments her, Alison finds herself being tormented by a prisoner… someone knows the truth.

The build up throughout this book is fantastic, the pace became faster and faster, sucking me in. There’s a lot going on and you had to keep up!

The sisters are polar opposites in their personalities: Kitty is a bit of a diva – bossy and immature; Alison is quieter and kinder. Alison had tried very hard to be a good ‘big sister’ for Kitty but Kitty pushed her away when they were kids. Even in the present day their relationship is fractured and Alison struggles to visit Kitty although this is partly due to guilt.

The prison added a darker, more unsettling setting and I feared for Alison’s safety. It wasn’t easier to work out who was after her because they all seemed shifty.

I liked the complexity of this plot – it was full of plot twists in both the present and the past, and it played with my emotions throughout. Go down to your local bookstore/supermarket and pick it up – it’s worth it.

Until next time, Chloé x

Wilde Like Me

I picked this book up since I’m a fan of Louise on YouTube. Having watched her vlogs and seeing her passion to write this story, I was intrigued to find out what the plot would be; what her writing style would be like and finally how similar the main character would be to her.

The last point might have made you frown, but having heard her talk about Robin Wilde being a single mum…. my mind had already concluded that Robin would have a lot of Louise’s traits – and she did. Now that I’ve finished the story, I do question if it would have been different to have read this having not known about the author… because I feel I was constantly seeing the parallels between Robin’s and Louise’s life… which was a major distraction from analysing the book.

What I did like was the fact I felt sucked into Robin’s life right away. The school run, the messy house and the countryside vibe – it all felt so real and easy to picture in my head.

Robin lives with her daughter; Lyla, working as a part time make up artist. She has great friends but she’s lonely – Robin needs to find love. Dating apps = multiple disasters. Robin allows fate to find herself the perfect man… but there are always hiccups on the way to true love, isn’t there?

A trip to New York could bring happiness to all aspects of her life, but will it live up to her dreams, and will she be able to leave behind her daughter?

It was light hearted and relatable. The relationship between Robin and her aunt is one that I felt many readers would have recognised either as a relationship they have them themselves or one they’ve observed between other family members. It’s so important to not take advantage of your family and take time to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. There were times in this book that I felt Robin took advantage of Auntie Kath and was insensitive to her feelings; my eyes would be narrowing in disappointment… but then I’d stop myself and remember that we all do this and most of the time it’s just an unconscious reaction.

Unfortunately I did feel the plot was rather “safe”, a lot of the events were similar to ones I’d read in other books or seen in movies. I didn’t feel there was anything that made this book stand out… here’s hoping that Louise is braver with the plot for the follow on sequel.

Until next time, Chloé x

I Have Never


Title: I Have Never
Author: Camilla Isley
Release Date: July 13th, 2017
Genre: Chick Lit

Twenty-nine-year-old Blair Walker is a girl with a plan, or more a girl with a list. A list of dos and don’ts to live the perfect life, land a dream career, and marry Mr. Right.

When Blair loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend all in one day, she starts to wonder if she’s had it all wrong. And what better way to find out than experience everything the list forbade?

With hilarious consequences, Blair will discover some items are trickier to tick off than she’d thought…

A laugh out loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, and Mhairi McFarlane. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.

MY REVIEW

Hello, hello, HELLOOOO and welcome to my stop on the book tour!

 

I have had a lot of fun reading this book, it’s been a refreshing change from the huge pile of thrillers I’ve been reading and has left me smiling.

 

Blair has had a pretty rubbish day – not only did she not get the promotion she was after in work – she got sacked and to top it off, her longterm boyfriend; Gerard, is breaking up with her to run off with his secretary.

 

Blair has hit rock bottom, after years of following her ‘list’  which she always thought would bring her stability, success and happiness, she’s realised the list has done quite the opposite…. so she decides to do the opposite of the list

 

Each chapter is titled with one of the items on her list – Never Get Drunk; Always Move Up the Ladder, Never Down; Never Make Impulse Decisions; Never Mix Business and Pleasure…. the list goes on – and so I joined Blair on a fun adventure as she discovers what she has been missing out on.

 

A dishy boss, some fab new colleagues and a cute puppy made this a perfect chick lit with a dream like romance.

 

Isley has created a wonderful main character. Blair is likeable and a good role model – she’s passionate about her work but able to balance work with life.

 

For chick lit lovers, this will be perfect to add to your TBR list and enjoy on a weekend with a glass of vino!! … BUT also to my fellow thriller lovers, if you fancy a change from deep and complex, why not try this? It’ll make you laugh out loud and relax.

 

Until next time, Chloé x

 

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad.

 

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

 

Check out the full tour-
July 13th
Rachel Brimble Romance – Author Q&A
A Beautiful Book Blog – Book Review
Writing Pearls – Book Review
With Love For Books – Book Review
For the Love of Chick Lit – Book Review
July 14th
Kristin’s Novel Cafe – Book Excerpt
JenaBooks – Book Review
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post
Judging More than Just the Cover – Author Q&A
Books and Photographs – Book Review
July 15th
I Heart Fictional People – Book Review
Chrissi Reads – Book Review
Rebecca Book Review – Book Excerpt
Monique McDonell-Author  – Book Excerpt
July 16th
One Book At A Time – Spotlight Post
CosyCuteKnits – Book Review
The Writing Garnet – Book Review
July 17th
The Belgian Reviewer – Book Excerpt
Girl vs Books – Book Review
kraftireader – Book Review
July 18th
Reading Is My SuperPower – Book Review
THE CHLOE DOUGLAS BLOG – Book Review
July 19th
Simona’s Corner of Dreams – Author Guest Post
Bookish – Book Review
July 20th
TheBlossomTwins – Book Review
Grass Monster – Book Review
Chick Lit Central – Author Q&A
Living Life with Joy – Author Guest Post
July 21st
ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review
Rae Reads – Book Review
Novelgossip  – Book Review
Whispering Stories – Book Review
Ali – The Dragon Slayer – Book Review
A Daydreamer’s Thoughts – Book Review
Steamy Book Momma – Book Excerpt
July 22nd
BookLoverWorm – Book Review
Pretty Little Book Reviews – Book Review
Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt

See What I Have Done

So I’ve done my usual “trick” again… I’ve gone and ordered a book after seeing twitter “adverts!?” for it with quotes from newspapers saying how great it was. Did I have a clue what the book was about… nope… nada… but it just goes to show you the strength of great advertising and how I respond to quotes praising books!

When I did pick up this book, I was therefore surprised to realise it’s based on an actual historical crime.

Andrew and Abby are found brutally murdered in their own home in the middle of the day. Lizzie is traumatised after finding her father and calls for help, her stepmother; Abby, is found upstairs later by the police.

Nobody knows who killed them… and this is factually accurate. This case remains unsolved since 1892.

The story flits between character viewpoints, sometimes focussing on Lizzie; sometimes on Emma – Lizzie’s sister; the uncle – John; the maid – Bridget; and finally…. Benjamin. Schmidt introduces Benjamin as a new fictional character – a possible suspect.

From the very start, I knew there was something not quite right about Lizzie. Her mind seemed unhinged and her words felt muddled. I’d gauged her as being in her early teens but a quick google check later… and I discovered she’d been in her thirties at the time of the murders.

The plot relationship between John and Benjamin added a new development to the case and it seemed a plausible idea that could have happened.

There were a lot of plot twists in this story and the ending is similar to how events occurred in true life; Schmidt seems to have anchored the story to fact at the start and finish… and then had some fun in the middle.

I think people who enjoy plots based on unsolved crimes (perhaps fans of the Unsolved Murders podcast) will really enjoy this story, as it definitely built up the story in a way that created excitement and suspicion around a very cold case.

It’s clear Schmidt has done her research for this plot and her passion shines out from the pages.

I’m not sure if it was my cup of tea. The plot was spooky, unusual and did leave me frustrated at the ending.

Even if you don’t feel like reading this book, it’ll make you intrigued by the case… go on… have a quick google… it’s a creepy case isn’t it?

Until next time, Chloé x

The Cows

OMG I loved this book. Why can’t we have more books like this? It was so refreshing, witty and full on girl power!! For all my lovely readers, please let me know if you’ve read any books similar to this one.

The book flits between three women: Tara, Cam and Stella.

Tara is a 42 year old single mother, who makes TV documentaries exposing individuals who have done wrong in the world… except the tables have turned after one foolish event on a drunken night.

Cam is an opinionated blogger who writes about… well whatever takes her fancy!

Stella is a lady with a lot of issues; she’s never quite got over the death of her twin sister, and doesn’t really know what she wants from life.

All three live separate lives but that one night connects them together: Tara had been on an unexpected date with Stella’s boss and Cam becomes fascinated by Tara’s story and writes a post defending her.

This was such a powerful story it made me realise how strong women can be if we are united. Women can be so cruel to one another and become obsessed with comparing themselves, instead of appreciating each other’s strengths and relishing how unique we all are. The first page of this book starts with a definition of a cow and then goes on to drawing comparisons between women and cows; the last paragraph really resonated with me: There are many types of women and every effort is needed for a woman not to be seen just as a heifer or a cow. Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype. Cows don’t need to follow the herd. Such powerful words. Having gone to an all girls school when I was younger, these words touched me deep… a lot of girls in my school did follow a herd – being part of the ‘popular group’, wearing your ponytail in a certain way and comparing your exam grades became a major part of every day routine – it was HARD. Looking back I wish I’d just embraced how I looked, what I was good at and not caring if my hair sat right. We are unique and special in our own way – we all have our own set of skills – let’s stop comparing ourselves against each other and just admire what we’re good at and what they’re good at. Although easier said than done…

The way Tara managed to pick herself up after the event reminds readers that we are capable of finding a silver lining, even in a very rubbish situation.

With Cam being a blogger, there are a lot of chapters that have inserts of her latest posts, and I really enjoyed this. Her posts are extremely motivational, uplifting and truthful – I can see why (in this fictional world) she has become a very successful blogger!

The writing style is modern and flows well. Dawn manages to portray the feelings and emotions of each woman beautifully, and I loved the over dramatic reactions!

I’m not always a fan of endings but this one felt right…. a final ‘girl power’ moment to conclude with.

I’d recommend this book to all, although little disclaimer – there are a few explicit references/scenes so I wouldn’t recommend this to my younger readers….

Remember – Don’t follow the herd!!!!

Until next time, Chloé x

 

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay – Mini Review

When Clemency meets Sam on a flight home, she feels an instant connection; they laugh, they flirt and they relax in one another’s company… but it’s not meant to be. Sam never contacts her (even though he’d have liked to) and Clemency continues on with her life.

Except… destiny has pulled them together again and they find themselves thrown into each other’s lives without being able to declare their true feelings.

This was a relaxing chick lit full of laughter and warning moments.

I found it really easy to like the main character; Clemency, she was full of energy and kind to her friends.

Friendship flowed through this book so beautifully and naturally, something that I feel Jill has always perfected in her books.

Clemency works as an estate agent alongside Ronan; a serial romancer, who seems to have had his heart stolen by an unlike culprit. Clemency uses Ronan’s current status of heart to her advantage, which makes for some amusing scenes whilst on double dates with Sam!

There’s a couple of side stories going on which were; in their own right, deeply moving. I found Marina’s story very empowering, she seemed like the kind of lady that didn’t let life kick her down and rose to every opportunity.

I actually struggled to write this review because there was nothing I could fault in it and at the same time, there was nothing that really stood out for me to go off on one about. Similar to Grisham, Mansell has a formula and that formula creates fantastic chick lits that are ‘un-put-downable’

Until next time, Chloé x

The Night Circus

I have to get this off my chest first before I wrap up my thoughts on this book. I’m so MAD with myself. I bought this book last winter after hearing some rave reviews about it and excitedly added it to my TBR pile. Then I spotted a few negative tweets about the book saying it was hard to pick it up, slow plot, etc. and I let that completely effect my judgement on the book before I had even read the first page. And soooooo it sat on my TBR pile, week after week, month after month, until finally…. I decided to give it a 50 page trial.

Surprise, surprise…. I loved it and I’m just annoyed with myself that I allowed people’s negative opinions to sway my thoughts. It’s made me think a lot more carefully about what I tweet or write in a review about a book because I’m aware that my opinion can influence whether or not a fellow bookworm chooses to pick up a book. So my number one priority going forward is to ensure that if there is something I don’t like in a book – explain why I didn’t like it in as much detail as possible, so people can understand that it’s just my own personal likes and dislikes that has made me come to that conclusion and that it’s not the book, it’s ME.

Back to the plot…

In a nutshell, this is the most beautiful love story I’ve read in a long time – I was completely and utterly captivated by the tale of Celia and Marco, one might say it ‘cast a spell on me’ – pardon my pun!

Celia and Marco are opponents in a game which they were forced to play and there’s no way of escaping. The setting? A circus, but the most magical and unique circus you will ever read about.

The creators and performers in the circus are taken along for the ride but being exposed to magic for long periods of time has an effect on all, and some handle it better than others.

The game needs to end but who will win?

Bailey can’t stop thinking about the circus since the day it first arrived in his town. He can’t wait for it to return but when it does… what will he do?

Such a quirky book which has left such an impression; I would recommend this to people who enjoyed The Invisible Library, Time’s Echo, the Harry Potter series and even stories crafted by Lucinda Riley… because although Riley doesn’t touch greatly into the fantasy genre – the quality of the writing is on par and the build up of the plot had a similar feeling.

I just wish I had picked it up earlier….

Until next time, Chloé x

The Couple Next Door – Mini Review

The babysitter has cancelled, the dinner party is only next door… taking the baby monitor and checking on her every 30 minutes seems like an ok option…. what’s the worst that could happen?

The baby is gone – little Cora has been taken.

The press destroys Anne and Marco, making sure the world knows they aren’t perfect parents…. but why aren’t their neighbours; Cynthia and Graham, defending them?

Anne’s rich parents are able to supply a rather substantial amount of money for the safe return of Cora…. but something is OFF.

This was an epic psychological thriller. Blame is thrown in every direction and boy, oh boy it was a gripping plot!!

I found the detective in this story (Rasbach) to be one of the best detectives I’ve read in a plot, in a long time. Why? I think it’s because he was suspicious of the situation from the start – I felt a true connection between his thoughts on paper and my thoughts in my head… Lapena got his character spot on!

With fantastic character portrayal (for all of the characters) and a race against the clock to find Cora safe, this was an addictive read and worthy of a spot on everyone’s thriller bookshelf.

Until next time, Chloé x

 

The Invisible Library

I actually bought this book for my mum two years ago. I decided to read this book after seeing multiple reviews on the second in the series and it seemed like my kind of thing… so I raided my mum’s bookshelf!

Irene is a librarian for The Invisible Library, she gets sent to alternate worlds to collect books for the library. The books strengthen the link between the library and the alternate and acts as a ‘central safe’ to preserve the books even if they get lost in their own world. What’s really cool is every alternate is based on our world so you’ve got thousands of the same country, thousands of the same city and thousands of the same people… but they all live and act slightly differently – hence why a book with the same title can exist in every single alternate, only the contents will differ.

Irene is sent on her most dangerous mission yet… and she’s been given a sidekick (a student) named Kai, who has his own secrets to hide. Right from the start Irene’s arch enemy; Bradamant, tries to steal the mission off her. Irene and Kai have to work hard to complete the mission and stop anyone else interfering, if that wasn’t enough to handle – deadly Alberich has pitched up to cause chaos.

My first instinct when I finished this book was… anyone who loves the series created by Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London – would love this story! It’s got that same modern and witty feel to it that I just loved. I have always been a fan of the Harry Potter series… and that’s where my love for books that incorporated magic began. The older I got, the more I wanted stories which I could relate to, which covered aspects of life further than school. When I discovered Rivers of London, I knew I’d found it – I’d found a story that felt real and relatable to where I was currently in my life… AND had magic! So imagine my surprise when I began The Invisible Library and found another series which had the same qualities – sheer joy!

I’d recommend this book to all – it packs a punch – it’s full of great characters, it’s unique and it flows beautifully.

Until next time, Chloé x

Mini Review – The Honeymoon

Gemma is on her honeymoon in the Maldives. Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? Except her husband has disappeared and nobody seems to know where he is.

Gemma is distraught but there’s also some other feelings going on… relief? She’d been having second thoughts since her wedding day.

The plot flicks back and forth from the past so the reader can start to put together the pieces of the puzzle and begin to analyse the relationship.

At times, I found it difficult to warm to Gemma, she seemed irrational and very selfish; which added to the suspense as I wasn’t sure if to trust her or not.

I loved the concept of this plot, there were huge plot twists in both the past and the present scenes and the blame was passed around like a game of pass the parcel!

The ending was a corker, the thought hadn’t even entered my mind. The fact Seskis has the ability to trick the reader to never look in the direction of the killer is hands down her best quality.

This is a perfect summer read for those thriller lovers out there and if you dare… read it on holiday!

Until next time, Chloé x