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: 
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: 

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

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

Ecopy of the book (Open Internationally)

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Copycat - Alex Lake

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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