Friday, 2 June 2017

A Daughters Courage - Renita D'Silva

A Daughters Courage 
by Renita D’Silva 

About the book...
How much would you sacrifice to save your family?

1929. When a passionate love affair threatens to leave Lucy in disgrace, she chooses a respectable marriage over a life of shame. With her husband, coffee plantation owner James, she travels to her new home in India, leaving her troubled past behind her.

Everything in India is new to Lucy, from the jewel-coloured fabrics to the exotic spices. When her path crosses that of Gowri, a young woman who tends the temple on the plantation’s edge, Lucy is curious to find out more about her, and the events that lead her to live in isolation from her family…

Now. With her career in shatters and her heart broken by the man she thought was her future, Kayva flees from bustling Mumbai to her hometown. A crumbling temple has been discovered in a village nearby, and with it letters detailing its tragic history – desperate pleas from a young woman called Gowri.

As Kavya learns of Gowri and Lucy’s painful story, she begins to understand the terrible sacrifices that were made and the decision the two women took that changed their lives forever. Can the secrets of the past help Kavya to rebuild her life?

A breath-taking journey through the rolling hills of India, deep into the secrets hidden within a family. For fans of Santa Montefiore, Dinah Jefferies and Victoria Hislop.

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About the author...
Renita grew up in a picturesque coastal village in the South of India, the oldest of three children. Her father got her first story books when she was six and she fell in love with the world of stories. Even now she prefers that world, by far, to this.

Connect with Renita D'Silva...

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture, Renita D'Silvas publisher.  This is something I'm more than happy to do.

This is the first book I've read of Renita's and now I've got to go back and read all her others.  This was such a beautiful read with characters that you can't help rooting for.  The story is set between the 1920's and the present day and is told from the viewpoint of four very different women - Lucy, Gawri, Kavya and Sue.  Each from different backgrounds and upbringings, each with a reason to want to escape to another life.  Each thought they had it all before life puts them on a different path.

I particularly loved reading about India, a country that is on the top of my must visit places.  So many different cultures and traditions played out across the pages, some uplifting and vibrant like the beautiful silks and sari's and some dark and tragic - I found it very moving and humbling to read about Gowri in particular.

This was more than just a good read for me, the words Renita wrote painted a picture so vivid I literally flew through the pages, a very thought provoking, emotional read.  I sat for a long while after finishing the book just contemplating how very different peoples lives can be - we all have hopes and dreams of living happy lives and sometimes the tiniest thing can shatter them. A Daughter's Courage is a wake-up call, nothing should ever be taken for granted because in the blink of an eye it can all change.

I highly recommend A Daughter's Courage on so many levels, family, friendship, love, hope, tragedy, travel and characters who have the greatest grit and determination - a must read.

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Secrets of the Dead - Carol Wyer

Secrets of the Dead 
by Carol Wyer

About the book...
Three murders. Three innocent victims. What secrets did they share with their killer?

A bottle of bubble bath and colourful, plastic boats were scattered in small puddles on the floor. In the bathtub lay Linda Upton, fully-clothed, her lips a shade of blue, and her bloodshot eyes wide open.

When a young mother is found drowned in the bath, clutching a receipt saying ‘all debts paid’, Detective Robyn Carter knows it’s just the beginning of a harrowing case. She recognises the signs of a serial killer, and when a second victim with a receipt is found, her worst fears are confirmed.

With the local press whipping the public into a frenzy, Robyn is under pressure to solve the crime yesterday. But her team can’t find a link between the two bodies, and the cracks are starting to show.

Just when her leads have dried up, Robyn discovers an unsettling clue she thinks could unlock the case. But as she chases across the plush carpets and manicured lawns of the wealthy elite, honing in on the killer’s shocking motive, one of her own is put in terrible danger.

The press call him The Leopard for his stealth, speed and brutality. Can Robyn stop the most twisted killer of her career before it’s too late?

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About the author...
As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published by Safkhet and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Connect with Carol Wyer:

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review By Bookouture, Carol Wyer's publisher.  This is something I am more than happy do.

Having read Little Girl Lost, Carol's first thriller I couldn't wait to read her second thriller Secrets of the Dead.  This was another captivating read that was gripping from the very first page.  Carol has ramped up the intensity, giving more depth to each of the characters and a plot line that made me gag!  He descriptions and narrative created images so vivid they played out like a film in my minds eye.  I was only grateful to be reading this outside on a sunny day, not at my usual bedtime!

Detective Robyn Carter is called upon to investigate a series of murders the only link to each appears to be a receipt for £250,000 with 'debt fully paid' scribbled in red on the bottom.  An unexplained death at the local hotel and spa has Robyn's radar twitching - although it seems like the case of death is a simple heart attack Robyn is not convinced and is immediately thinking 'serial killer'. 

Several times I thought I had the plot all sewn up, I'd then turn the page and it was all blown apart - each page turn revealing another twist and gem of a clue.  Carol had me second guessing up until almost the last page.  I was repeatedly dragged out of my comfort zone back into the heart pounding - breath holding - silent pleading - fingers crossing world that Carol had dragged me into.  Wanting justice and revenge - she sure knows how to evoke strong emotions in a reader.

I highly recommend reading both this and if you've not already done so Little Girl Lost - two highly charged thrillers that will leave you finger tapping waiting for the next one.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ella's Ice Cream Summer - Sue Watson

Ella's Ice Cream Summer
by Sue Watson

About the book...
Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Links to buy:
UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§  

About the author...
Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book.

After much deliberation and copious consumption of cake, Sue eventually left her life in TV to write.  After a very successful debut novel, Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Sue signed with Bookouture.

My thoughts...
I was offered an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Kim at Bookouture as part of the blog tour for Ella's Ice Cream Summer.  This is something I'm more than happy to do.  

Sue Watson is one of my most favourite authors, her books are go to books when I want a pick-me-up, much cheaper than a prescription and better than any tonic you can buy across the counter.  They are books that will have you drooling in one way or another - either from the more than lovely lead men or the very delicious cake they usually feature.  I guessed this one would be different, the clue is in the title 'Ice-Cream' would I still get my fix?  Absolutely, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt YES!!!

Ella's Ice Cream dream had me smiling and grinning like an idiot from the very first page. In the first few chapters we meet Ella and her family and friends - an eclectic bunch of characters that I could relate to straight away.  Each and every person, just slightly more bonkers than the next.  My favourite being her mother, Roberta who is loud, opinionated and on a different page in life to everyone else, leaving total chaos in her wake as she plays up to her Italian heritage and gets the wrong end of pretty much every situation.

The story begins with Ella losing her job, her children have finished university and are off to spread their wings leaving Ella feeling like a redundant mum home alone with no purpose or direction - she only has her slightly bonkers mother to care for.  To add to that she finds out that her ex husband wants to sell the family home in order to keep wife number two in the manner she has become accustomed to.

News that her mothers sister, her aunt Sophia has died brings back memories of happy, sunny, summers spent in Appledore in Devon.  Of time spent helping out at her aunts Italian, ice-cream parlour and enjoying endless days of sunshine playing alongside her older cousin Gina - a girl that Ella has always looked up to and aspired to be like.

Roberta, Ella's mother refuses to attend the funeral and begs Ella not to go either. The two sisters had fallen out many years before and Ella's mum obviously holds a deep seated grudge as she refuses to reveal why - something that Ella finds difficult to reconcile and can't understand why she refuses to share the reasons behind the fall-out. Ella goes alone and after the funeral Ella attends her aunts will reading and finds herself the proud owner of Reginaldo, an old ice cream van owned by her aunt, this evokes many happy memories of summers spent on the beach, something Ella is eager to recreate.

Sue Watson takes us down the motorway to Devon with Delilah - Delilah being Josh her sons girlfriends dog, a dog with a better wardrobe than you or me I hasten to add.                                                                      Ella decides that she'd quite like to take some time out and the opportunity to re-live one last summer of her childhood is too hard to resist.  She's also secretly hoping she can find out what is behind the family feud.

Ella's Ice Cream summer was a delicious read, a journey with mouth watering descriptions as I followed Ella to Devon and totally bought into Ella's dream. It's a story with more than a little romance, a story steeped in mystery and secrets that were revealed slowly throughout the book.. There's more than one love interest and Roberta and Delilah are for me the stars of the show.  Sue's ability to create multi-faceted characters is second to none - polishing them just a little more with each chapter until they shine and can stand alone - I totally loved this book.  The descriptions of the various ice-creams and sorbets had me drooling, oh how I wish my 'fat club' was based in Appledore.

Another thumbs up for me - Sue has done it again and got the recipe just perfect!  A totally uplifting read, with all the glitz and glamour of the Italian Riviera.  Sue is an author I'll never tire of reading, each and every book delivers what it says on the tin - escapism, laced with pure indulgence - in this case ice-cream - mmmmmmm!!

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Night Visitor - Lucy Atkins

The Night Visitor
by Lucy Atkins

About the book...
Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything. 
Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own. 

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex.
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About the author...

Lucy Atkins is an award-winning feature journalist and author who has written several non-fiction books and two novels: The Missing One and The Other Child. She is a Sunday Times book critic and has written for many newspapers, including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Telegraph, as well as magazines such as Psychologies, Red, Woman and Home and Grazia. She regularly chairs events at the Oxford Festival and Cheltenham Festival and regularly talks about books on BBC Radio Oxford. She lives in Oxford with her family.

Connect with Lucy Atkins:

Twitter: @lucyatkins
My thoughts...
I was offered a copy of The Night Visitor to review as part of the blog tour organised by Alainna at Quercus Books.  Having read and reviewed Lucy's last book The Other Child I jumped at the chance.

The Night Visitor is a book that once I picked it up I didn't want to put down. It crackles with the sort of nervous tension that preludes a storm and makes you feel just a little bit on edge from the very first page.  It begins as Olivia, an academic historian, turned author, turned minor tv celebrity is launching her latest novel.  A novel based on the findings of an old diary kept by Annabel Burley who in Victorian times was one of the first female doctors in this country.  This is a huge release and is destined to be a bestseller so the pressure is really on for Olivia.

It's very obvious that Olivia is in terrible turmoil, she is at odds with her husband, there are tensions with her children and also Vivian Tester, the woman who introduced her to Annabel's story. Through Annabel's story their lives had become entwined, with Vivian attaching herself to Olivia and Olivia inadvertently taking her on as a researcher whilst she writes her book. She clearly has more than just an obsession for detail, a trait that Olivia finds both pleasing and uncomfortable as she finds herself having to keep her at arms length, Vivian's behaviour becoming more and more obsessive.

This is a psychological thriller with a difference, in the fact that we had two main characters to unravel and a whole host of others added along the way — each and every one bringing intrigue and questions to the story.  It's a unique story in that there is no natural 'goody' or 'baddy'.  The Night Visitor is told alternately from Olivia's perspective and then Vivian's - it's very obvious that neither women really like each other yet at the same time and for different reasons need each other. It was difficult at times to decide whether I really liked either character at all, both very different, yet in many ways they were both very similar.
Both protagonists are twisted, selfish, cold, calculating and manipulating in their own way — each looking out for no' one.  Yet, at times I felt an uneasy admiration and pity for them.

Once again, Lucy's descriptive skills are brilliant, she got inside my head with both the characters and the physical descriptions of places, with the intricacies of what at first appeared a simple story.  A story that got right under my skin.  Half formed questions popped into my mind constantly demanding answers to situations that couldn't quite be explained.  Each of these saw me turning the pages faster and faster — wanting to calm my racing heartbeat. At the same time, holding my breathe.  So many times I held my breathe, untangled the story, decided what was happening and why only to change my mind again with the next chapter.  I don't think I've cussed and cursed out loud about characters for a long time as much as I did in The Night Visitor.

This is a dark twisty book that was utterly compelling and left me second guessing write up until the final page — between Olivia and Vivian I know longer feel like `  know my own mind and wonder if I'll ever stop questioning and doubting my decisions and thoughts — utterly brilliant, thank you so much Lucy for another amazing read.

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Friday, 28 April 2017

Dead Souls - Angela Marsons

Dead Souls
by Angela Marsons

About the book...
The truth was dead and buried…until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found. 

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy - and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

An addictive, sinister crime thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seat.
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About the author...
Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series - Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines and Dead Souls and her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books - Blood Lines and Dead Souls - reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.
Connect with Angela Marsons:

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour for Dead Souls organised by Angela Marsons publisher, Bookouture.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

Dead Souls is the sixth book in the D I Kim Stone, detective, thriller series and is as terrifyingly gripping and as nail biting as each of the previous five.

Angela Marsons is a writing phenomenon, just when you think you've got her writing style and characters firmly under your belt she goes and raises the bar just another notch and takes the next story up to a totally different level.

This time in Dead Souls we see Kim Stone move outside of her comfort zone and is forced to leave her team to fend for themselves and is forced to work alongside an old adversary Travis and his team to uncover the truth behind some human bones found on a local farm. This is something she isn't comfortable with and the more time she spends with him it quickly becomes very obvious that something serious has occurred in their past.  Kim as ever wants to front up to him and demand they clear the air but Travis is like a closed book and outwardly at least will not let Kim get under his skin.

Kim has definitely been taken out of her comfort zone, missing her side-kick Bryant more than she ever thought possible as she struggles to find her place in another Inspectors team.  Dead Souls for me was as much about the characters I'd already grown to love as the crimes they have to sold.  Characters I thought I knew really well after reading the previous five books in the series are polished up to reveal surprising facets that we'd previously not glimpsed.

Whilst she incommunicado her team have been left to manage themselves and investigate a series of seemingly unrelated crimes one of which in particular strikes a chord and affects Stacey - normally the unflappable, reliable detective constable who works relentlessly sifting through clues for her team.  It was quite disconcerting to witness her reaction and subsequent actions that not only put her life in danger but those of both teams.  It really highlights how inside of all of us we have a trigger point, something that pushes that button and can send us in to total destruct without the help support and guidance of those around us.  Of course you have to tell somebody for them to help you - something that Stacey quickly learnt to her cost.

I literally don't know how Angela does it but through her writing she highlights some of the most atrocious crimes and allows the reader to delve into a world that most of us thankfully find abhorrent and unthinkable.

As ever Angela, thankyou for another brilliant book of dark, terrifying escapism - another edge of the seat, heart hammering experience - until the next time!

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Wedding in Italy - Tilly Tennant

A Wedding in Italy
by Tilly Tennant

About the book...
Sun, spaghetti and sparkling prosecco. When it comes to finding love, there’s no place like Rome… 

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo. 

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family — that she truly is Italian marriage material. 

With the women in Alessandro’s life on a mission to break them apart, the cracks begin to show and Kate starts to question if Alessandro really is the man of her dreams. Can love and the city of romance conquer all, or is that just a fairy-tale?

Let Rome steal your heart this summer in this gorgeously romantic escapist read. Perfect for fans of Jo Thomas and Abby Clements.

Buy Links:

About the author...
From a young age, Tilly Tennant was convinced that she was destined for the stage.  Once she realised she wasn’t actually very good at anything that would put her on the stage, she started to write stories instead. There were lots of terrible ones, like The Pet Rescue Gang (aged eight), which definitely should not see the light of day ever again. Thankfully, her debut novel, Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was not one of those, and since it hit the Amazon best seller lists she hasn’t looked back. Born in Dorset, she currently lives in Staffordshire with her husband, two daughters, three guitars, four ukuleles, two violins and a kazoo.

Connect with Tilly Tennant:

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Bookouture, Tilly Tennant's publishers in exchange for an honest review something I am more than happy to do.

A Wedding in Italy is the second book in this series and sees Kate returning to Rome to take a chance on love with Alessandro the dishy, Italian policeman whom we met in Rome is Where the Heart Is.  A Wedding in Italy has all the dream like qualities we encountered in book one, good food, home, friends and family everything should be perfect.

Kate desperately loves Alessandro and dearly wants to make a new life in the city she fell in love with but things are not as easy or as simple as she'd like. Struggling for work, the language barrier, missing her sisters, Alessandro's tight knit family and their values plus another woman determined to send Kate running for the plane home to England so she can claim Alessandro for herself all throw up obstacles and cause doubts.

This story focuses very much on family. I loved reading about the different values and traditions within an Italian family in comparison to a British one.  Italy is not far from England but the way of life seems more traditional and appears a bit old fashioned, add to that the language barrier too. Kate has left her family behind in England and misses them dearly, she's hoping to get the same closeness with Alessandro's family that she shares with her own but it doesn't happen instantly something which adds to her insecurities.  She didn't anticipate being out of work for so long either and this is another thing that adds to her worries. Without an income she fears she may have to give up on her dreams and return home. 

Tilly Tennant has created strong characters that demand respect - Respect, trust, honesty and loyalty are very strong values and form the very fabric of Italian family life — the Conti family like and love Kate but don't know her well enough to know she will be the right person for their son and brother Alessandro and initially close ranks to protect him.  It was lovely how Tilly developed the relationship of Kate and Alessandro's family, giving her time to shine and grow, allowing their trust to build to such an extent that when the chips really were down for Kate they closed ranks to protect and support her. 

I lost myself totally in this book and the Italian way of life was sold to me completely — so much so I have booked a touring holiday from Venice to Sicily for next summer.  It is a book that inspires hope, living for today and taking a chance on life.  It's good to dream but sometimes it's even better to live those dreams.

I highly recommend this book, but more importantly this author.  Tilly Tennant is a temptress of the highest order — only she would have me looking at flights and surfing the internet for the nooks and crannies she describes so well.  Please tell me the Gelato shop really exists?!  I so want to live inside her books, they provide the perfect amount of escapism — so a huge thank you to her and her publisher Bookouture.

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spring at Blueberry Bay - Holly Martin

Spring at Blueberry Bay
by Holly Martin

About the book...
Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner… 

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined… 

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman. 

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again? 

About the author...
I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years before History Off The Page came to my school to do a Tudor day. I now drive round the country in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. 

I love to write. The characters do exactly what I want them to do, most of the time. Sometimes they do seem to go off and do their own thing without my permission. It is complete escapism into a world where I have full control.

I've been writing for four years now, every spare second I have, I'm scribbling ideas in a notebook or typing a scene on my laptop. I have written three romantic fiction books. Changing Casanova and The Chainsaw Masquerade were recently shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award. My short story, One Hundred Proposals, won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology.

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of Spring at Blueberry Bay as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review, something I am more than happy to do.

Holly Martin is one of my all time favourite, feel good authors.  You know before you even open the first page that you're going to fall in love.  Everything from the cover, which I have to say is one of my favourite, to the characters and location were just perfect.

Spring at Blueberry bay introduces us to Bella, her sunny, effervescent character leaps from the page - she's open and far too honest for her own good, the truth just falls from her mouth and to hilarious consequences,not always at the right time.  But, she also has an alter ego who is vulnerable and struggles to trust, believing herself to be unloveable.  surface.  

Spring at Blueberry Bay introduces us to her extended family and friends and from the very first chapter gives us a clear understanding of the 'real' Bella.  Despite being out of work and penniless herself when she encounters a homeless person camped outside her house her heart melts and she invites Zac into her home, offering him a bed for the night and shares the last food in her cupboard with him.

This was a book that made me smile throughout, there are hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud.  One such moment which I shall refer to as the 'sofa tango' had me literally crying laughing and at a totally inappropriate moment - I was sat on the train, next to a total stranger, that coupled with the 'incident' made me lose control.  This happens all the time when reading a book by Holly Martin - she adds empathy and warmth to all her characters with comic timing that is just perfect.

The one thing that shines out from this book for me is that with the support, love and trust of family and friends, determination, loyalty and a strong will anything is possible and Bella proves just that in Spring at Blueberry Bay.

I highly recommend this book, it truly is a another perfect slice of deliciousness by Holly Martin - a dream like book that totally melted my heart. I cannot wait for the next instalment. Bring on summer!

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Escape - C L Taylor

The Escape
by C L Taylor

About the book...
The new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Accident, The Lie and The Missing.

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

About the author...
C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.

Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. It will be published in the US in June 2016.

CL's third psychological thriller THE MISSING was published in April 2016 and was another Sunday Times and ebook bestseller. 
Connect with C. L. Taylor:

My thoughts...
I was given a copy of C. L. Taylor's latest book The Escape in exchange for an honest review, something I am more than happy to provide.

I have read all of Cally's books and the time in-between finishing one and the next being published is torturous. She is an author that gets inside your mind with characters that are engaging and demand to be heard.

The Escape was a book that I flew through, I lost all sense of time as I flicked through the pages at a rate of knots as the lives of Max and Jo Blackmore and their daughter Elise unravelled.

They are a family that are no strangers to heartbreak and tragedy having lost their first child Henry, their second chance with daughter Elise should be glue that holds them together when in actual fact the very fabric of their family is fractured. Both trying to live their lives together but, are in fact; very much apart. Living lives with increasing difficulty by Max and his job as an investigative journalist and Jo with her panic attacks and agoraphobia. 

To say this was an intense, fast paced read would be an understatement.  I picked this book up and literally didn't put it down until I had read the very last page.  Jo is living a manic existence and her life finally starts to unravel after reluctantly offering - though offer wouldn't really be the right way to describe the situation, a stranger a lift.   She finds herself racing against the clock to pick her daughter up from nursery and in a situation she clearly doesn't feel comfortable in - reluctantly agreeing to giving a lift to a person who once in the car - makes threats and demands of Jo, telling her to keep her daughter safe and telling her to pass a message to her husband Max telling him to return what he took!

The sheer desperation of Jo as she struggles to understand the situation she finds herself in leaps off the page and she appears to be slowly going mad.  There are so many twists and turns I couldn't decide who to trust and see-sawed back and forth trying to decide who was on Jo's side and who was double crossing her. 

A mother will go to any lengths to protect her child and Jo's ability to do just that is stretched beyond belief.  Cally Taylor is an author with huge insight and attention to detail,  She has a writing style that is dark and twisted yet demonstrates an insight into the complex psyche of people and situations that makes every chapter plausible and real.

My heart literally broke in two whilst reading this book, the pain and shear desperation shone through this novel as true stories both past and present became apparent.  

I highly recommend this book to all readers of psychological thrillers who will appreciate the sharp eagle eye of an author who is going from strength t strength with each book published.  I lent this book to a friend before I read it and a couple of days later burst through my front door hardly able to speak ' this is book of the year, you have to read this now!'.  Gill, I have to agree an easy five stars from me!

Huge, huge thanks to Avon for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for C. L. Taylor and The Escape.