Monday, 16 October 2017

Invisible Women - Sarah Long

Invisible Women
by Sarah Long




About the book… 
Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else's every need, they've found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: 'what about me?!'

Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter's departure for uni, where it seems she's now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa's obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.

When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away. 

But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble? 


And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands? 

Buy Links: 
Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the author… 
Sarah Long worked in publishing before giving it all up to move to Paris with her husband and three children. She is the author of And What Do You Do? and The Next Best Thing. Following several years of the Parisian experience, she now lives in London










Contact Links: 
Publisher

My thoughts…
I was given a copy of this book by the author's publisher in exchange for an honest review, this is something I'm more than happy to do.

I was drawn to this book for several reasons.  Firstly the cover, wow, when everything around us is losing it's colour and the mornings and evenings are dark, grey and wet this book just shouts vibrancy, fun, happy, summer - it made me smile just looking at it. Secondly, it's a book about three friends approaching the unspeakable age - 5 0 - something I can relate to - in seven weeks, two days exactly I too will hit that unspeakable number - something I'm secretly dreading.

Three friends Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been friends for years, sharing their lives as they found love, married and had children.  Somewhere along the line, twenty plus years have gone by and the girls have found themselves adrift.  The roles of devoted wives and mothers have taken their toll and with the approach of 50 comes introspection - what is their purpose in life, they are and feel to all intents and purposes invisible - somewhere along the line they've lost their identities and purpose, a sense of loss for a life spent devoting their time to creating loving, happy homes. They've reached their goals - then suddenly realise - actually, they had helped their family achieve their goals but they've lost themselves in the process.

Such a fab, insightful book - it was like being a fly on the wall getting to know the characters warts and all - reading about their relationships with each other and their families.  It was an easy read with some light undertones but a really serious heart. It's times like significant birthdays that make you question what you're doing with your life and make you realise you need to grab it with both hands and live.  I'm at the point where I question how much time I spend doing the things I think I should be doing or need to do as opposed to the things I want to do and getting the balance right is tricky.  Tessa, Sandra and Harriet are no different and each approach their lives in different ways.

Sometimes in life we can lose sight of who we are and what path we are treading - Sarah Long insightfully guides the three friends along a track allowing them to make mistakes, rely on each other and re-discover the correct route to a place where they feel valued and happy within themselves.

Thank you so much for such a lovely read that was more serious than I initially thought it would be but also more enlightening and thought provoking.  A book for women of all ages - a reminder that all women, friends, children, parents and wives are also individual people too who deserve to make and live their own dreams too.

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Monday, 2 October 2017

The Surrogate - Louise Jenson

The Surrogate 
by Louise Jenson

About the book… 
You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister and The Gift, this is an unputdownable psychological thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family.


About the author… 
Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.


Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a dog and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.



Contact Links: 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fabricatingfiction/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fab_fiction
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fabricating_fiction/
Website: www.louisejensen.co.uk

My thoughts…
I was given an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture - Louise Jenson's publishers.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

OMG - just wow.  I had read Louise Jenson's previous books The Gift and The Sister and I was expecting wonderful things from her third novel The Surrogate.  It met, exceeded and went way beyond my expectations - it is blimmin brilliant.

From almost the first page I was on edge and peeping around the next page.  The pages literally crackle with nervous tension that is only heightened at several points in the story.  The story flicks back and forth from the present day to a time when both Kat and Nick were growing up.  It's very obvious that neither had an easy upbringing or time at school or early steps into adulthood both have history and clearly some excess baggage.

A chance meeting with childhood friend Lisa sees Kat losing her head.  Her and Nick are having problems conceiving and the next thing we know Lisa is offering to be a Surrogate.  Alarm bells started ringing loudly for me - Kat thoughts were like a ball bouncing from hand to hand - on the one hand she was beyond excited, an answer to their prayers and a chance to make amends for some past mistake, an opportunity to re-kindle a friendship that had broken down - a friendship that had left a gaping hole in her life.  On the other hand there is  a manic like panic and worry, Kat isn't ready to face her past nor confront her fears and doubts.

I devoured this book chapter by chapter, reading quicker and quicker in my quest to calm my beating heart and to try and mentally steer Kat - both she and Lisa made me feel edgy and anxious.  So many times I had an idea of where this story was going only to sit mentally berating myself - I so didn't see that ending coming.  A story that was bittersweet, love and hate, friendships, jealousies and lies all conspire in the most unimaginable ways that is both shocking and sad - an outstanding read that I feel I need to read again straight away - to decipher the words and look for the clues that I'm sure must have been there all along.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - utterly and totally compelling and addictive.                             

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Keep You safe - Melisa Hill

Keep You Safe
by Melissa Hill

About the book… 

What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.

For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn't prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.


But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the author… 
A USA Today and No. 1 Irish times and Italian best-seller, Melissa Hill’s books are translated into 25 different languages. One of her titles has been optioned for a movie by a major Hollywood studio, and another is currently in development for TV with a top US production company. 










Contact Links: 
Website: www.melissahill.ie 
Twitter: @melissahillbks
Facebook & instagram melissahillbooks

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Harper Collins, Melissa Hill's publisher.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

Wow, where do I start - what a book.  This is one of those books that once I started to read it I couldn't put it down - it was gripping from the word go.  Two families are linked by a childhood virus, school friends Clara and Rosie haven't been vaccinated against measles, both sets of parents have valid but very different reasons; that is until both girls get sick - one bounces back, one doesn't.  The community is rocked and divided and everyone seems to have an opinion - not least the press and social media.

Melissa Hill has written a book that is highly emotive and thought provoking - it is a story that will make you question and evaluate every decision you make or have made. How often do we consciously consider how decisions we make are going to ripple and affect others way beyond our immediate situation? Probably hardly ever perhaps never - after reading this book you might just begin to!

Melissa really has struck gold with this new genre.  Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain - eat your heart out, you've got serious competition here! Keep You Safe was well structured and paced with characters that emerged and grew along with the story.  Friendships, both solid and tenuous are all affected and moved to stand in one corner or another pledging their allegiance to one decision or another - although as we find out nothing is ever quite black or white.

I highly recommend this book and guarantee you'll be turning the pages with your heart melting, fingers crossing for happy endings all round - simply brilliant, a book that will provide a talking point and debate amongst the closest of friends.


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Christmas at Mistletoe Cove - Holly Martin

Christmas at Mistletoe Cover
 by Holly Martin

About the book… 
Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea.

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. The perfect treat this Christmas for fans of Debbie Johnson, Cathy Bramley and Miranda Dickinson.

Buy Links: 
Amazon 

About the author… 
Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books





My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Bookouture - Holly Martin's publishers in exchange for an honest review, the s is something I'm more than happy to do.

I can't tell you how excited I was to hear Holly Martin had a new Christmas book out and not only that it was set in the wonderful Hope Island - a place I've grown to know and love, whose residents feel like friends. Hope Island and it's inhabitants are simply magical, I always find myself reading about their lives with a soppy grin on my face.

This time the story focuses on childhood best friends Dougie and Eden.   Eden was totally in love with Dougie after they had shared a kiss at Mistletoe Cove.  She thought it was the beginning of something....until Dougie left Hope Island 12 years previous with his parents and then stayed away to follow his dreams, settling in America.  Unbeknown to him, he left behind a bereft and heartbroken Eden. Each visit he made home over the 12 years he was away squeezed her heart a little bit harder so the day she found out he was moving back to Hope Island she was beside herself with anxiety and excitement in equal measures.

I really don't know how Holly does it but she has once again draped her blanket of love and sparkles over this warm, witty story.  It is truly magical, I was swept up in the magic and excitement as Dougie paved the way for Eden to hope, wish and dream.  Holly's descriptions are so vivid I was sucked straight into the story and was rooting for Eden and Dougie to find romance and find their happy ever after.

Holly always adds subtle humour to her novels and Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is no exception. This was a book that had me creased with laughter and smiling one minute then cringing behind my hand the next as Eden's parents joined their friends in sharing anecdotes and offering the pair the sort of advice you definitely wouldn't expect to get from your parents.  Add Christmas to the mix and you really have got a magical book that I was sorry to finish.

Anyway, enough said - go out and buy this gorgeous book, you won't be disappointed.  I however am off to have supper - mince pie flavoured pancakes anyone?

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Doll House - Phoebe Morgan

The Doll House
by Phoebe Morgan

About the book… 
You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.


But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

Buy Links: 
Amazon: The Doll House

About the author… 
Phoebe Morgan is an author and editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and the Doll House is her debut novel.





Contact Links: 
Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan
Goodreads

Guest post...
How you juggle editing as your job and writing books

I’m really lucky because I love my day job as a fiction editor at HarperCollins working on commercial crime, thriller and women’s fiction. It’s creative, varied and I get to read a lot, but it is time-pressurised and it does spill over into free time with reading submissions. So, I have to be careful about managing my time. 
When I’m in the office, I won’t really think about my own writing at all – there just isn’t space for it alongside the books I’m working on and I like to give all my authors and our team 100% of my attention. Each of the books I work on has a tight time schedule, as the book needs to go from me to production, to the printers, and so there’s a huge amount of work to be done before we get finished copies and deadlines are important. I’ll usually work on one edit at a time, so that I can keep things clear in my head – otherwise there would be too many different characters milling around in my mind all at once! With submissions that we haven’t bought yet, I might read a couple at a time, but I can always tell if I want to buy one because it’ll be the one that overrides all the others and which I quite literally can’t put down! 
Once we finish work around 5.30 – 6pm, if I don’t have other plans that night I’ll go home and work on my own writing. I generally find I get the most done when I’m in my flat, although I did go through a stage of working in Pret because the internet was so bad that I couldn’t get distracted, and it meant I wasn’t tempted to go watch TV with my housemates either. I like to keep these two parts of my life as separate as I can so that I’m giving my full attention to one thing at a time. I do write little notes on my phone during the day if I see or hear something that I think would work well in a novel – they can be just tiny snippets that don’t always make sense later, but every now and then I’ll see something that I can work in to my next book which is fun. 

The weekends are a great writing time. I like to go to somewhere like the British Library which is really calm and dark, where I feel I can make proper progress and bump up my word count without distractions. The down side is that I then spend a week’s wages on their snack selection… but everyone needs fuel, right?
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Come back and read my review at the end of the tour for this amazing debut - one of this years must read books in my opinion!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Deadly Intent
by Sheryl Browne

Series: A DI Matthew Adams Thriller – Book #3 (can be read as a standalone)
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: September 6 2017
Publisher: Death by Choc Lit

18+ (some violence and language)

About the book… 
What if you and your family were at the mercy of a psychopath/a man with no conscience? 
Just when DI Matthew Adams thinks he’s left the past behind him, it comes back to haunt him once again; this time in the form of the Conner family. 
Like Matthew, the Conners have lost a child in tragic circumstances – and they’ve also found themselves in the hands of one of the most depraved criminals to walk the streets: ‘Dead-eyed’ Charlie Roberts, a drug addicted low-life with a penchant for extreme violence. 

Matthew’s greatest affinity lies with Daniel Conner, the brooding father who still blames himself for his youngest child’s death. But when Daniel’s wife and daughter are tortured and tormented by Roberts, can Matthew prevent him from completely ruining his own life for an act of revenge particularly when, once upon a time, that’s exactly what Matthew would have done too?  

Buy Links: 


About the author… 
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing. 
Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.


My thoughts…
Before reading this book I hadn't previously read anything by Sheryl Browne so her switch to penning a thriller from romantic fiction had no impact on me.  But, I can imagine it may shock a few of her readers.  She looks like butter wouldn't melt yet she has just written an edgy dark novel that hits you straight between the ribs within the first few pages.

I held my breath, felt sick and cried whilst reading Deadly Intent - why? Because Sheryl painted the opening scenes so vividly I wanted good to overcome the bad and desperately cared about each member of the family - an achingly difficult book for me to read but one I couldn't put down.

A tragic accident sees them losing their youngest daughter and they go from being a happy connected family of four running their own business to three individuals each seemingly unable to function or take their rightful place alongside each other as part of a family.

The age old problems of communication and guilt is at the heart of their problems.  Jo and Dan avoid each other and can't communicate their feelings without it coming across as an attack on the others behaviour.  As a direct consequence their actions have a serious and detrimental effect on their teenage daughter.

As a female and mother of a 28yr old daughter I've 'done' the teenage years and lived through the angst and self confidence issues, wanting to fit in, appear older than a teenager and pushed the boundaries - safe in the knowledge that I as a mother or my parents when I was a teenager would let the boundaries be pushed and allow them to give a little safe in the knowledge that those very same boundaries were there to keep my daughter and myself safe.

Emotions ran deep for me whilst reading this book - I felt for each of the family in different ways but I particularly felt for Kayla and wanted to shake Daniel and Jo and make them see what was happening under their nose with their daughter. It has to be every families nightmare for their children to come into contact with drugs and the evil effects they have on life.

This book is all consuming, it will eat you and throw you back out but you won't be able to put it down until you find out whether a family at rock bottom can survive.

I gave this book 5/5 stars

Giveaway
Ecopy of the book (Open Internationally)


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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Copycat - Alex Lake

Copycat
by Alex Lake

About the book… 
The gripping new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of After Anna and Killing Kate.

When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen.

But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos from the day before. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house.


And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…

Buy Links: 
Amazon UK- Copycat by Alex Lake
Amazon US Copycat by Alex Lake

About the author… 
Alex Lake is a British novelist who was born in the North West of England. After Anna the author’s first novel written under this pseudonym, was a No.1 bestselling ebook sensation and a top ten Sunday Times bestseller. The author now lives in the North East of the US.


Guest Post...
What Makes a Good Villain?

This is a question I think about often (which makes me sound weirder than I am, I promise), and, over time I’ve landed on some of the characteristics I think a good villain needs.

The Villain Must Be Credible.

Many psychological thrillers feature a main character who is a kind of everywoman or everyman. They have jobs and families and responsibilities; they are living normal lives which they think are stable and safe.

And then something happens. They find a fake Facebook account in their name, or they notice that the victims of a serial killer all look like them, or they see the same person in the same place every day, watching them…and they realize that they are not as safe as they seem.

Someone means them harm, and that someone is the villain.

Who has to be credible. We have to believe that they are serious about hurting the character and evil enough to do it and right there ready to get started. They can’t be comical or melodramatic – a cackling madman – and they can’t be totally unhinged and random. They have to be mean and real and determined to get you, and you specifically.

The Villain Must Be – a Little Bit – Attractive

A villain who is pure evil would be hard to sustain throughout a novel. They would be a bit like a cartoon character, or Dr Evil from Austin Powers. We need to be, if not attracted to them, at least intrigued by them. We need to find it hard to be with them but harder to look away. A good villain is someone we want to watch, but from between our fingers…

The Villain Must Be Shocking

At some point the villain needs to scare us. They need to do something unexpected and cruel and totally shocking.

This serves two purposes: it shows the extent of the danger the main character is, and it reveals the villain for who they truly are, which gives the other characters in the book license to do whatever they need to do to save themselves. It sets up the opposition between good and evil which will drive the conclusion of the book.


Of course, there are many example of great villains who don’t fit with this, so treat this as no more than some thoughts - as with everything related to writing, rules are made to be broken!

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