Saturday, 19 January 2019

Book Review - The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: The Liar's Girl
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Corvus
Publication Date: 1st March 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin's notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person - the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past - and the man - she's worked so hard to forget.

Catherine Ryan Howard is definitely an author for me to keep an eye on.  I loved her first book Distress Signals, and had worried this new one may suffer from second book syndrome, plus I'm not always keen on anything with lie / liar in the title.  But I need not have worried this was also fabulous, it was addictive and even when I did have to tear myself away from reading, my mind was still pondering just how it may all turn out. 

At no point did I correctly guess the outcome, I really wasn't sure if Will was the correctly convicted Canal Killer, and if it wasn't him who it really was.  

I found it interesting to see the story unfold, both in Alison's past when the original killings were happening, and that section felt like a regular start of university story, until there were dead bodies of people close to her.  And the present day unfurling of new activity, is worrying and is making Alison confront feelings and situations she has spent the previous 10 years trying to forget. 

For Alison was the girlfriend of Will,  when he confessed to the murders  She is convinced she never wants to lay eyes on him again, but agrees to try to help the police  with the new killings.  

This is a cleverly plotted story, that kept me guessing throughout.  I was hooked on trying to work out the truth before the characters could. I could really picture everything clearly, and really enjoyed my time with The Liar's Girl.  

Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Corvus for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please do check out all the other wonderful blogs also supporting this book. 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Book Review - While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: While I Was Sleeping
Author: Dani Atkins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 23rd August 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

What if someone else was living your happy ever after? 
When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can't remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed.
She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep ...

Wow what an immensely powerful story that was.  It has taken me on a complete roller coaster of emotions while being completely unable to put it down. 

It is another masterpiece of writing from the supremely talented Dani Atkins.

I wouldn't know where to begin with trying to explain this story.  Rest assured it is amazing. 

The two main women in it Maddie and Chloe are truly incredible. They both have a tremendous strength of character when faced with the most impossible of circumstances.

On more than once occasion tears threatened to fall which would have been awkward as I was on a plane at the time.

What a fabulous way to kick off my holiday with this book. I just hope the rest that I will read are even half as good. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Book Review - Toxic Justice by M A Comley - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title:  Toxic Justice
Author: M A Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 15th December 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

When life gets tough...

Desperation seeps in.

When Jonathan Giles has nowhere left to turn in life, he commits suicide. How can a fifteen-year-old boy be driven to take such drastic action to solve his problems?

DI Lorne Warner is about to tackle the most heart-wrenching, nonsensical case of her career.

With the suicide statistics among teenagers rising on her patch, DCI Roberts asks Lorne to investigate the reasons behind the victims taking their own lives.

Will the shocking truth Lorne and her tenacious team uncover give the grieving families the justice they deserve?

Absolutely gutted that this is the last book in the justice series and that we won't be getting any more Lorne, Tony, Charlie, Katy, Sean, Carol and the others. 

On the flip side wow what a way to end a long running series. 

The crimes being investigated are not the norm for The murder squad, but it doesn't make them any less dastardly. 

The topic throughout the book is incredibly relevant and topical and needs highlighting on as many levels as possible.

I read this in one sitting in about 2 hours, I couldn't put it down, and thankfully was on holiday so had no interruptions. I was completely absorbed in the action, and its rare for me to be almost in tears at the end of a crime book. 

But such is the wonder of this author's writing, that I was open mouthed and welling up at how the last few pages were unfurling.   

Although gutted that this series has come to an end, and I will dearly miss these characters, I am also glad that i have recently been reading books from M.A. Comley's other series, so know I will have plenty more goodies too look forward to in the future from her. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Book Review - Reader, I Married Me by Sophie Tanner - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: Reader, I Married Me
Author: Sophie Tanner
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Trapeze
Publication Date: 1st January 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Chloe Usher has just broken up with the love of her life. All her friends urge her to find another man before she disappears down the slippery slope to spinsterhood. After a particularly messy date and several gins, she decides that she doesn't need an 'other half' to complete her and announces that she is going to marry herself. The news goes viral and, in the sober light of day, Chloe finds herself thrust firmly into the public eye to the embarrassment of her friends and family. Planning her wedding solo takes Chloe on a bumpy journey of self-discovery, as she realises why wish away your life waiting for 'the one' when YOU are, in fact, the one?

What an uplifting and empowering book especially for single women.

Like 'Chloe, I found myself nodding along to so many of her observations about how people perceive single women, and given I am of a similar age to the main character, I find myself thinking whether I should marry myself. 

Although perhaps without all the drama, and social media trending that Chloe created. 

There is nothing like taking a stand and going against normal conventions, to find out who your real friends and supporters are, as Chloe discovers. 

This is a wonderfully funny book, her exes are a nightmare, her one attempt at online dating amusing, and just what some of the other characters wee doing for attention, utterly eye rolling!

This is one accomplished debut author and I am already looking forward to seeing what her next book will be. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Trapeze for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Book Review - Girls' Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

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Amazon UK
Title: Girls' Night Out
Author: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: EDPR
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 24th July 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

There is just a small part of me that think I may have been nuts reading a psychological drama set in Mexico, under a week before I head off there for Christmas.  Thankfully I'm off to a different part of the country and should be safe in a nice all inclusive hotel. 

I also very much doubt my holiday will take the sinister turns that Natalie, Lauren's and Ashley's does, when one of them goes missing. 

Not only that its a holiday filled with unbelievable amounts of tension, between three ladies who have been lifelong friends, until the previous year where fractures in their friendships appeared. 

They are all hiding things from each other, which didn't really help them reconnect their bonds. 

The book is told in chapters from the few days before one of them goes missing, and also in the present from the moment where the disappearance it noticed.  We get the story from all three perspective, so really got to know the three. 

I can't say I particularly gelled with any of the characters, but I was loving the small amounts of description of Tulum and Chichen Iza, and also I keep reading as I had to know what happened.   

For me it was more of a slow burner, and once it got going I found it a lot harder to put down, and I found myself thinking about the story while I wasn't reading it.  Definitely a good book and one that I enjoyed. 

Thank you to EDPR for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

Book Review - The Oddest Little Tea Shop by Beth Good

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Amazon UK
Title:  The Oddest Little Tea Shop
Author: Beth Good
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 16th August 2018 
Rating: 5 Stars

It's a big day for Charlie Bell - the grand reopening of her Aunt Pansy's long-closed tea rooms in Tremevissey, a quaint Cornish seaside resort. But not everyone is happy for Charlie. The locals say the tea rooms are cursed. For Pansy was cruelly jilted by her lover, and walked out into the ocean, never to return.

Charlie dismisses the 'curse' as superstitious nonsense, but by the end of the first day, her world is in tatters, and she's not even sure the tea rooms can open again.

Then in walks a rugged, taciturn man with a sexy smile and everything he owns on his back, looking for a summer job . . .

Is Gideon Petherick an angel in disguise? Or is history about to repeat itself?

Without a doubt this is my favourite of Beth Good's Oddest Little books. I was completely hooked from start to finish and for s short novella, it certainly has a lot packed into it. 

There are secrets to be uncovered,  a curse to deal with, tea rooms, a lovely Cornish setting, a very handsome man,  and a whole lot more beside. 

It is definitely a book featuring a tea shop, and its owner Charlie Bell is trying her best to make it work for her long deceased Aunt Pansy.   However the grand re-opening isn't exactly smooth and the serious of events at it that go wrong are hilarious. 

I am a huge fan of Beth Good's novellas, and this would be an excellent introduction to them and the author for anyone.  Its a quick compelling story, that I  didn't want to end.  A really enjoyable experience. 

Thanks to Beth Good for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday, 11 January 2019

Book Review - Mine by J. L. Butler

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Amazon UK
Title:  Mine
Author: J. L. Butler
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 15th May 2018
Rating: 3 Stars

Francine Day is a high-flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline grabbing client to seal her place as Queen's Counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive.

They embark on a secret affair and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin's wife, Donna, goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect.

As the case unravels so does Francine, because the last person to see Donna Joy alive, was her.My client. My lover. My husband. My obsession.

Set in the Inns of Court in London, where justice and corruption have played out for centuries, J L Butler’s taut, gripping legal drama brims with suspense and obsession, and only you can solve the case…

Slow burn thriller that did grow on me after a while. 

I can appreciate that the book has had a lot of thought put into it, and the plot was cleverly thought out, its just I prefer my stories with a bit more oomph and I found that as the story progressed the less I liked Francine the main character. 

I did feel for her at times, but a lot of the situation she was in, was as a direct result of her actions, and I'm just not sure how much I could agree with them. 

What was very clear was how obsessed she was with Martin Joy, and I really did feel the intensity of her feelings, and the initial sex scenes were hot! 

At times I wondered whether I should continue reading, as it was just lacking even a spark that made me want to read it compulsively, which is the least I would expect from a thriller. 

Ultimately I'm disappointed as I absolutely love the books that this author normally writes, and was only drawn to this because of knowing the other name.  There was a story in there, but it may just be because of the personality traits that Fran exhibited that just made me disconnect from her. 

I kept reading out of pure curiosity as to whether I had guessed the outcome correctly and some if it had crossed my mind, even if the motives had eluded me.  For a first attempt at a full on thriller isn't not bad but I know that Tasmina Perry  can write far better books, under her normal name, instead of this new pen-name. 

Thank you to Harper Collins for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Book Review - Fatal by Jacqui Rose

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Amazon UK
Title:  Fatal
Author: Jacqui Rose
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 10th January 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Dying is easy. It’s living that’s hard…
‘Gritty and gripping’ Kimberley Chambers

An eye for an eye.
Cabhan Morton wants to leave the Russo crime family for good and live in peace with his daughter, Alice Rose. But the Russos won’t let him walk away without a fight.

A tooth for a tooth.
Franny Doyle would do anything for Cabhan and Alice, but helping them escape the vindictive Russo brothers won’t be easy. The only place they’ll be safe is back in Essex with Alfie Jennings.

A daughter for a daughter…
Franny knows she won’t be welcomed by Alfie with open arms – but she doesn’t have a choice. The Russos are out for blood and they won’t stop until Alice is dead…

The heart-racing new thriller perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole.

After finishing Toxic, I was eager to find out more about Franny and just why she appeared to betray Alfie, so the second I had an opportunity to read Fatal, I took it, as I got to see elements of Toxic from another point of view - while setting up another action packed story in its own right. 

In fact its only after finishing Fatal, that I've just glanced at some of the other blurbs of books by Jacqui Rose and realised that all the books and characters are all inter-related, which if that carries on being the case may mean I am now a complete fan of the author, as I am already curious to see what happens to some of the main players next. 

I found I liked the characters a lot more this time, possibly as I already was following the connections between them a bit more, and although they are gangsters they are people too, and they really did feel a lot more human this time. 

Alice Rose, its 16, and due to the way she has been brought up, has a very strong belief in God, and can quote the bible - normally that is something that would have me running for the hills but as the book progressed and she grew into the new life that was being thrust upon her, she really grows, and I have to admire her guts. 

The pace is relentless, its frenetic and there is always something going on, the perspective being changed, and although there is a large amount of characters, I was able to keep up reasonably well with the various threads. 

There is something just utterly addictive about this book, and I couldn't stop turning the pages, and my adrenaline was still pumping from the action after I turned the last pages.  

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Book Review - Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy

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Amazon UK
Title: Autumn Antics
Author: Georgina Troy
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Green Shutter Books
Publication Date: 25th August 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Pull on your beanie, the fireworks are about to begin...

Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack Collins and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancĂ©e arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.

It was such a joy to be able to return to Jersey and The Boardwalk by the Sea in this long awaited second book in the series - Autumn Antics.  

Due to the main focus of the book being Bella, it can easily be read as a standalone - although book one features a lot of ice-cream and gelato so I would recommend you read it anyway! All of the characters from the first book are present, in addition to some new ones. 

We get to know Bella very well in this story, she has had a crush on her lodger Jack for many years, but its very complicated.  He has an ex-fiance that keep appearing like a bad penny,  she made a promise to Sacha, Jack's sister that there would never be anything between them.  Yet as a reader you can see they clearly belong together and I spent the whole book hoping they would finally come to their senses. 

I really enjoyed the storyline with Megan Knight too, she is a new reality TV star who behaves like a prima donna, but when she is forced to spend some time in Jersey, Bella and her friends  get to see the real Megan. 

It was Bella and Jack's easy friendship that really appealed to me, they were on the same wavelength, and both care a lot about other people.  Especially their neighbours and the more vulnerable in the community. 

There was plenty of action, great conversations, kind gestures, laughs all set to a stormy Jersey backdrop. I found this to be a very quick and easy book to read, and is easily one of my favourites from Georgina Troy, in addition to being a great second book in the series.  Roll on book 3! 

Thank you to Georgina Troy for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.  

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Book Review - Belonging by Rhoda Baxter

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Amazon UK
Title: Belonging
Author: Rhoda Baxter
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 17th September 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

She’s grieving her lost love. He’s searching for his lost niece. Can attraction overcome family loyalty in this enemies to lovers romance?

Hiding away in a tiny Yorkshire village, Harriet is grieving for her lost love. His family won’t talk to her and she can’t move on from from his death. All this changes when his daughter, Niamh, turns up on her doorstep, needing a sympathetic ear.

Tim thinks Harriet broke up his sister’s marriage all those years ago. His sister’s enemies are his enemies. When his niece runs away to Harriet’s house, he knows he has to get her back before his sister finds out. But that means talking with Harriet.

As they work together to console Niamh and get her home safely, Tim and Harriet become increasingly attracted to each other. 

But with attraction comes guilt.

Can they overcome their respective loyalties and give in to love?

If you like sweet romances with smart dialogue and realistic characters, you’ll love this second book in the Trewton Royd novella series by award nominated author Rhoda Baxter. Buy Belonging and enjoy a British small town romance today.

I really enjoyed this new novella from Rhoda Baxter.  It is perhaps a bit grittier than I was expecting but it makes for a far more compelling story. 

The characters are really well formed and you really get a sense of what they have been through, something that isn't always the case in shorter books. 

Belonging is a rather apt title, as this is about a couple of people who really are trying to get a better sense of belonging in their lives. 

There is also the opening stages of a romance, that depending on your point of view is either quite sweet or rather inappropriate. 

I loved Niamh, she is 14, still grieving for her father a year on, but not getting much support from her mum. She knows who she wants to talk to about her father and is prepared to do anything to get to them.   At the same time Harriet is grieving Richard's loss and really is struggling with her life.  

Loved how although the two women had barely met before they were able to take comfort from each others acquaintance. 

Really enjoyed my visit to Trewton Royd and meeting these lovely characters.   

Thank you to Rhoda Baxter for this copy which i have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
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