Thursday 31 January 2019

Book Review - The Last Lie by Alex Lake

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Amazon UK
Title: The Last Lie
Author: Alex Lake
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 27th December 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Everyone lies…but some lies are deadly.

For Claire Daniels, life is good. She has everything she’s ever wanted – a career she loves, friends she can rely on and a husband who dotes on her. All she needs is to start a family of her own and things will be even better than good.

They’ll be perfect.

For Alfie, it couldn’t be more different. His life with Claire is built on a lie. A lot of lies. And she can never find out.

Because Alfie has plans for her. Plans which must never come to light. But lies have a way of taking on a life of their own, and when his do, the consequences threaten to destroy everything.

For him and Claire.

It seems like any time I sit down with an Alex Lake book, I know I need to shut out the world for a few hours and read it non stop.  The Last Lie was no exception, I have no idea what was going on around me for the past 3 hours while I was completely hooked on Alfie and Claire's story.   Although looking around I appear to be safe and sound at home, so probably didn't miss much in the real world! 

Although due to the level of intensity I felt with the story, I do feel slightly discombobulated as I feel as though I as alongside Claire and Alfie every step of the way.  At times I had my own theories as to what the main outcome was, and I was frustratingly close to being able to guess, but outcome and the finer points and motivations still were outside my reach. 

Having read most of this authors books, this has the sort of themes I have come to expect but with a whole new story and excellent writing that grasps you by the throat and won't let you go until you have reached the end. 

Alex Lake is incredibly talented, and I was completely absorbed by the story - which was written in three main parts. 

The first part and only one I'm commenting on, had us seeing Claire and Alfie's marriage from both of their points of view, and as a result were aware of all sorts of information that acted as hooks, but also key points for later in the book.  

On paper they look like a couple incredibly happy and in love, but as fans of psychological thrillers especially know, its what happens in private that can be fascinating, and discovering you don't know your partner as well as you think you do is always rather enlightening. 

The Last Lie is an addictive and compulsive read that had me hooked early on and that I utterly enjoyed. every second of. 

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

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Book Review - The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe

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Amazon UK
Title: The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier
Author: Helen Rolfe
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Searching for love? You'll find it at The Little Café at the End of the Pier... 
The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the Café at the End of the Pier novellas collected together for the first time.

When Jo's beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance.

The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.

Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love - and she knows just the way to find it for them. She goes about setting each of them up on blind dates - each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion.

But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents' marriage up as her ideal and she hasn't found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose...?

As a long term fan of Helen Rolfe, I was excited to see what her first book for Orion would bring.  I waited patiently for each of the 5 novellas to be released, while crossing my fingers that there would be a combined book.   Well finally my waiting paid off and I was able to read the charming The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier. 

I can't recall the last time that I read a book and honestly had no idea until right to the end who the main character may end up with romantically. In fact Jo's romantic situation isn't really the main theme of the book, but given there were three men I could potentially see her with, and it was clear she had a secret admirer I was finding myself guessing the whole time. 

If there were hints there I didn't really pick up on them, and its rare to have that level of surprise in a book of this genre. 

However before all that we have Jo returning to Salthaven, to help out their cafe that is at the end of Salthaven pier.  Besides the fabulous location for a cafe, its also rather special as the menu changes each day depending on what fresh produce Matt from the local farm is able to supply. 

All of the food sounded delicious, and that is from a non fruit and veg lover, but it was clear that Jo and her grand parents are great cooks and have good imaginations when it comes to menu items that will do well. 

Jo does though make her own mark on the Cafe, with her nights of love, where she sets up unsuspecting people on a blind date in the cafe.  She has a great eye for who may get on well with who, and I loved those elements of the book. 

I also really enjoyed discovering the reason that Jo's mum was estranged from her grandparents, and even seeing a mention of where Sasha lived brought a smile to my face. I used to work in Mallorca, so know where Puerto Pollensa is, and spent a couple of months there, but apart from that I've never really seen any mention of the town, anywhere in fiction or real life since! 

This was just a lovely book, full of wonderful characters (the regulars at the cafe), great food, a lovely location, some cool ideas and a secret admirer that I had no clue about.  Absolutely loved how the book ended, and each of the the sections could as originally published be able to be read as standalones should you prefer to read a book in smaller parts. 

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

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Book Review - There's Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi

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Amazon UK
Title: There's Something About a Cowboy
Author: Rich Amooi
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 25th October 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys. 
A fake fiancé doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancé when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

I am now kicking myself for not purchasing and reading books from this author years ago when I first spotted them while scrolling through Amazon, for it turns out I now have another author that I really really like, based on There's Something About a Cowboy. 

I've read quite a few of these hire a fake date books in the past perhaps 6 months or so, and thus sort of knew the basics of who Amy would end up with - but what I couldn't have predicted was how enjoyable the journey was. 

It is clear from their first meeting that there is considerable chemistry between Amy and Luke, and as the story progresses you forget that money may be exchanging hands at some point as everything felt quite real. 

Except Luke is sworn of dating, and is definitely not Amy's fiance, and Amy is currently trying to avoid dating cowboys but she's not convinced Luke is a real cowboy, and she's not really dating him either! 

The book really gets going once they get to Julian, and the big family gathering, and we get to meet Amy's family members.  One thing is for certain Luke looks, sounds and feels  all cowboy. And boy do I love a cowboy in fiction! 

I was utterly hooked on Luke, and just wanted to get to know him for fully.  Amy's grandparens are lovely but her father is a rather interesting character who is determined to get Amy back with her ex Nathan.  

They are a family that loves food, and Amy is an excellent pie maker together with Luke being a barbecue expert,  well lets just say its a book that made me quite hungry. 

There is plenty of comedy, all starting with a bucking bronco, and Rich Amooi had a way of drawing me into the story and had me turning the pages and devouring his words incredibly quickly.   It was a sheer pleasure to read this book. 

There really is just something about a cowboy, and this book is a great example of just why I love them so much..  What I definitely know is this won't be the last book from Rich Amooi that I will read. 

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

Monday 28 January 2019

Book Review - What Happens in France by Carol Wyer - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: What Happens in France
Author: Carol Wyer
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 28th January 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

“She stood and took her place in front of the camera... It was now or never”

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish… 

I can't describe how great it is that Carol Wyer is writing rom coms again. I was delighted to see this book was announced and even more pleased to have read its.

Once started its a book leaving you wanting more, unable to put it down. 

The cast of characters is wonderful, and I loved Bryony and Lewis as well her their good friends. 

Plus Ollie and the pug Biggie Smalls are fabulous too. 

This is  a riot of good fun, humorous antics and yet at the heart of it there is a far more serious theme. 

And its the reason that Bryony is even taking part in this new Game show in France. 

Loved everything that happened in the French section of the book, it gave a taste of the region, as well as it sounding like the sort of game show I'd love to watch myself. 

This was just a highly enjoyable, great read and I can't help but wonder if there might just be a sequel. If there is I want to be first in line for it. 

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

Sunday 27 January 2019

Book Review - The Tanglewood Tea Shop by Lilac Mills

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Title: The Tanglewood Tea Shop
Author: Lilac Mills
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 31st January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Patisserie-Chef Stevie is stuck in a rut. Her beloved Great Aunt Peggy has passed away, she’s been fired from her job and the love of her life has walked out the door. But when she’s called to the solicitor’s office to hear the reading of Peggy’s will, Stevie’s life begins to change.

Left with a large amount of money, Stevie is determined to take Peggy’s advice and turn her life around. The quirky tea shop that she sees up for sale in the beautiful village of Tanglewood must be a sign, and Stevie can’t wait to make it her new home.

But what happens after your dreams come true? It turns out that life in the village isn't as idyllic as it may have seemed. With local mums waging war against sugar, a tea shop and its patisserie-chef owner are definitely not welcome.

When the gorgeous but grouchy local stable-owner, Nick, shows up he seems like just another fly in the pastry batter but as the two grow closer, Stevie realises he might just be the perfect reason to stay and win over the village...

This laugh-out-loud romantic comedy is perfect for fans of Daisy James, Holly Martin and Portia Macintosh.

I love these sorts of books - give me a small town community, a tea shop (or other sort of shop), a couple of hunky men, some new friends,  and a bit of drama, and for you have a wonderful comfort read. 

There was something so familiar about this book, despite never having read it before and i felt right at home, and loved how Stevie suddenly had the means to move away from her frankly horrific family, and buy a teashop in a gorgeous village. 

When I say familiar, perhaps I really mean warm and cosy, and I loved how the story panned out. There did seem to be some large jumps in time between chapters, but once you came to almost expect that time was moving forward a few weeks at a time, it was absolutely fine, as that way we were able to get to know Stevie a lot better, and see how she starts to become a part of the Tanglewood community. 

As much as I loved Stevie, I had real soft spots for Tia, who is the sister of Nick who may or may not fancy Stevie, and ha been going through a tough time, and Betty who really comes into her own during the second half of the book. 

I really enjoyed getting to know the residents of Tanglewood, and would be incredibly happy to return there in a future book.  

This is anther highly enjoyable book from Lilac Mills. It seems as though she is very talented at writing, just the sorts of book that I love! 

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

Saturday 26 January 2019

Book Review - The Sister Swap by Fiona Collins

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Title: The Sister Swap
Author: Fiona Collins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 1st June 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

Two sisters. Two very different lives…
Meg simply doesn’t have time for men in her life. Instead, she has a strictly one-date rule, survives on caffeine and runs one of the biggest model agencies from her smart office in London. That is, until she collapses one day at work and the doctor orders her to take some R&R in the country…

Sarah is used to being stuck behind tractors and the slow pace of her cosy village life. But now her children are all grown-up (and her ex-husband long forgotten) she’s ready to change things up a bit – starting with taking back her old job in the city!

After a devastating falling out, the sisters haven’t spoken in years. Swapping houses, cars, everything is the only option – surely they’ll be able to avoid bumping into each other?

I do love a book that leaves me smiling, and The Sister Swap certainly did that.  

When Meg was 16, and Sarah 26, their parents died, and Sarah returned from London to look after her younger sister.  When Meg was 18 she ran off to London and the sisters haven't spoken for 20 years. 

Then circumstances change and Meg is ordered by the doctor to leave London for two months to get her blood pressure down, and I can see why as her job running a model agency seems frantic, and encourages her to go to the country to rest and recuperate. 

At the same time Sarah, who now has grown up children, has been accepted back at her old job in London, the first time she has returned to work since having the children.   Both sisters only know of one person who may be able to help them out with accommodation, and yet they haven't been in touch for so long. 

Since they aren't on the best of terms, they do a complete house swap for the two months and over the course of that they get to see each other through the others eyes. 

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments in this, and its another lovely book from Fiona Collins.  I really enjoyed my time spent with Meg who is trying to re-adjust to country life and Sarah and her new colleagues, one of which really needs to be watched closely, and the couple of men who grow close to the sisters. 

I also enjoyed discovering if the 20 years silence would fall away and whether or not they would ever meet face to face again.  But I'm not going to say more as it would spoil it. 

Easy to follow with chapter headings so you know which sister you are following now, this is an uplifting story that was incredibly entertaining. 

Many thanks to HQ Digital and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Friday 25 January 2019

Book Review - If We're Not Married By Thirty by Anna Bell - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: If We're Not Married By Thirty
Author: Anna Bell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication Date: 1st December 2018 
Rating: 4 Stars

Lydia's not exactly #LivingHerBestLife. She never imagined she'd be here at thirty - newly single, a job that's going nowhere and her friends all winning at life when she's still barely taking part. So she jumps at the chance of a free holiday and jets off to sunny Spain. 

Then, out of the blue, she bumps into her childhood friend, the handsome and charming Danny Whittaker. She's always had a crush on him and they soon enter into a passionate holiday romance. 

But this relationship could be more than just a fling. Years ago they made a pact that if they were still single when they turned thirty they would get married. But noone really follows through on these pacts . . . right?

Could Lydia's back-up man really be her happy ever after?

Another really enjoyable book from Anna Bell who is fast becoming an author I might just drop everything to read. 

This was a fun story and I wasn't completely convinced whether the right couple would end up together. 

I loved the craziness from Lydia and Danny's mums, the creativity of the events that Lydia is coordinating and the really obvious connection Lydia and Danny have. 

This book is a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed reading the assorted antics from the characters.  Add in some stunning locations too, and you have a very good book.  

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

Thursday 24 January 2019

Book Review - The Great Ex-Scape by Jo Watson - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: The Great Ex-Scape
Author: Jo Watson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

On the scale of one to worst idea ever, agreeing to give the toast at her best friend's engagement party when she's been in love with him for three years was not Val's finest decision. Nor was accidentally confessing her love to him in front of all their guests, including his fiancee.

Boarding a plane that will take her literally anywhere to get away from the humiliation, Val is pleasantly surprised to find herself on the dazzlingly beautiful island of Reunion where she hopes she can heal her wounded pride, broken heart and bruised knees.

When a painful face mask experiment leads her to a fellow broken-hearted traveller, Alex, they decide to give each other a helping hand and follow a foolproof ten-step plan to get over their respective exes. And so begins their crazy adventure. What could possibly go wrong?

For more laugh-out-loud, swoon-worthy hijinks, don't miss Jo's other rom-coms, Love to Hate You, Burning Moon, Almost A Bride, Finding You and After the Rain.

A pure joy to read, full of many laugh out load moments and memorable scenes, 

There is the yacht trip that doesn't go quiet according to plan, the speech at an engagement party that kicks everything off, and even the whole airport scene ending up on a flight to somewhere Val has never heard of. 

So many highlights, and so much fun.  It is a bit of shame we don't see so much of her friends as we have in the other books in this series, but its due to that reason that its easily readable as a standalone. 

The main setting is Reunion Island, and was a fabulous location it is.  I could really picture Val and Alex's adventures as they together work through a 10 things list from a magazine, about getting over the love of your life. 

I can easily say that Jo Watson is getting better with every book, and coming up with even more amusing ideas for her characters,  This is easily one of my favourites in the series, and I can't wait to see what she writes next. 

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

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Book Review - Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

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Amazon UK
Title: Something To Tell You
Author: Lucy Diamond
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.

To start with this book feels a bit overwhelming, there are a large number of characters, and the narrative swaps between focusing on a large number of the leading ladies at relatively quick intervals, so until I had worked out who was who and how they all fitted I was lost.  In fairness I started this while on a long haul flight and was exhausted, so it may not be just the book that led to me feeling disjointed as I read this! 

This is a book that explores family relationships, and proves that there is no such thing as a normal family any more. 

Frankie never met her father, but when she discovers who he is, she decided to rock up in person,  just a shame she had bad timing and it was Harry and Jeannie's Wedding Anniversary being celebrated that weekend. 

This leaves the heads of the Mortimer clan, at odds and ends, and Jeannie is especially unhappy. 

Meanwhile we get to know well other key women in this family dynamic too - Robyn who is married to John (one of Frankie's half brothers), Bunny who is going out with Dave (another of the siblings) and Paula (the half-sister).  We also get to know Alison, Robyn's mother too. 

All of the ladies have big struggles in their lives - John is hiding things from Robyn,  Bunny has a huge secret she has been hiding, Alison really needs to shake up her life, as all she does is work and watch TV, and Frankie, well there is a blast from the past for Craig her other half, and it really shakes them up too. 

There is conflict, secrets, lies, drama but also the good things about families too.  There are some amusing parts to this book and some more serious moments. 

I really enjoyed the variety of women that were featured, as well as learning about their families.   I didn't really have a favourite character, but apart from John who I really disliked, and Julia I didn't hate many either.  They are relateable too, especially if you have a large family and odds are you will recognise relatives within them. 

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

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Book Review - Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: Maybe This Time
Author: Jill Mansell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Mimi isn't looking for love when she spends a weekend in Goosebrook, the Cotswolds village her dad has moved to. And her first encounter with Cal, who lives there too, is nothing like a scene in a romantic movie - although she can't help noticing how charismatic he is. But Cal's in no position to be any more than a friend, and Mimi heads back to her busy London life.

When they meet again four years later, it's still not to be. Cal is focusing on his family, and Mimi on her career. Then Cal dives into a potentially perfect new romance whilst Mimi's busy fixing other people's relationships.

It seems as if something, or someone else, always gets in their way. Will it ever be the right time for both of them?

I spent a large majority of the book wondering if Mimi was ever going to get together with the man she blatantly has a massive crush on. After all her timings with him whenever they meet are always off.  Either there is another relationship, or they aren't even in the same country let alone anything else. 

However before we even get to that, we are introduced to Goosebrook in the Cotswolds with Mimi attempting to visit her dad there for the first time, and not realising just how rural it would be.   The first few chapters are her first visits to the village and her getting to know in passing the various locals. 

In fact there is quite a bit of drama in the first quarter of the book, and it sets the rest of the story up really nicely. 

What I loved was for a period of time Mimi was working in Puerto Pollensa in Mallorca. I lived there for a few months 9 years ago, and since that time I have barely ever heard the town mentioned anywhere ever, so imagine my shock to see a second mention of it in two weeks for me already this year.  

From what I recall of the town, Jill's descriptions match up, I recall the big square, and also the Wednesday market, as I had to walk past it to get the bus to work.  It all really rang true to me, and I enjoyed Mimi working for CJ the big thriller writer.  

I really enjoyed this latest book from one of my auto read, drop everything for authors and although I found this to be a very enjoyable book, I thought it was missing perhaps a spark that some of her others recently have had.  It's still a very good story, great writing,  and I was always keen to return to the book to see what happened next.  

Maybe This Time left me with a smile on my face, but not before giving you assorted highs and lows, some real depth to some of the characters, and some fabulous settings.  

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

Please do follow along with the rest of the stops on this blog tour

Monday 21 January 2019

Book Reviews - Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK
Title: Mavis and Dot
Author: Angela Petch
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 14th November 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot - two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You'll laugh and cry but probably laugh more."This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos...[it] will resonate with a lot of readers." Gill Kaye - Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels. All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.

What an amusing and charming pair of ladies are at the centre of this book. 

They may be older ladies but they certainly haven't lost their zest for life. 

Initially meeting at bridge they seem to be compete opposites but as you get up know them you understand why Dot can appear to be prickly.  

There are a lot of antics in this story that are sure to raise a smile order a giggle.

The setting of Worthington on Sea is a traditional British seaside town and feels like a location I can recall as a child.  

Everything just felt rather quaint and the book covers all sorts of topics. In addition profits from the book are going towards research into cancer. 

With a humorous story, a hint there could be more to come from Mavis and Dot, and all for a good cause it's definitely a book worth having a read of. 

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

Sunday 20 January 2019

Book Review - The Couple on Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley

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Title: The Couple on Cedar Close
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 18th January 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

One sunny August afternoon, the residents of Cedar Close throw their annual summer barbecue. Children play in the cherry-tree lined street, tables are laden with food, and the wine is flowing. For Laurie Mills, it’s her first time meeting the neighbours. And it’s the first time she discovers her husband Robert is having an affair.

Cedar Close has always been a nice place to live – a quiet suburban street where everyone looks out for one another and bad things don’t happen.

Until late one evening, when Robert Mills is found dead in his bedroom.

Downstairs, in their beautiful kitchen, his wife Laurie sits alone in the dark with her head in her hands. 

She can’t remember the last few hours, but she knows she didn’t kill Robert.

The trouble is, no-one believes her…

From the first few pages until the last I was utterly gripped into this story.  Just who did murder Robert, and was it really the most likely suspect his wife. 

It was good to be back with Dan Riley and his team, and I'm not firmly believing this is a series that I will wanting to follow, although this could easily be read as a standalone too - for it is a completely new case.  

I've just tried writing this review a couple of ways and each time had to press delete as I've realised there is a giant great big spoiler in what I'm saying, so clearly I can't mention anything about the plot other than it really interested me, and I was absorbed while reading it. 

There were some chapters that could be described as rather disturbing, and although I don't believe what the characters were doing was completely illegal, it could leave you with a bit of an icky feeling.   

Often in these sorts of books you may have some sympathy for the dead person, but in this case as more and more information came to light, I couldn't help but be very happy that he was a dead man, as he sounded rather unpleasant when alive. 

Within the police there seemed to be two trains of thought, one following circumstantial evidence, and the other following a gut feeling of Dan Riley. Was interesting to see the conflict within the team as most people seemed to think Dan was wrong. 

The Couple on Cedar Close is an incredibly well plotted, fascinating thriller and one I really enjoyed reading, and given I read the first 20% in bed, I'm glad it didn't disturb my sleep either. 

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

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. 

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