Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Fear - C. L. Taylor

About the book… 
The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

Lou Wandsworth is used to being headline news as, aged fourteen, she ran away to France with her 31-year-old teacher, Mike Hughes.

Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is focussing his attention on 13-year-old Chloe Meadows.

Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey…
Buy Links:

About the author… 
C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines.

In 2014, The Bookseller named C.L. Taylor as one of the year’s Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors for The AccidentThe Lie and The Missing were Sunday Times top 10 bestsellers in paperback, and both books hit the #1 spot on the Kindle bestseller list. She has sold 1 million books to date.

Contact Links: 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/callytaylor

My thoughts…
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Avon Cally Taylors publishers.  This is some thing I am more than happy to do.

When you see that tweet and Cally Taylor says she has submitted her final draft of a new book to her publisher the tense wait begins.  I received a copy of the book in the post and nearly died and went to heaven, it's fair to say that friends of mine who saw it on my coffee table literally died - they are totally in awe that I had my hands on The Fear before it was published!

I have loved every single one of CL Taylors books ever since I read The Lie and went to the book Launch in London - to hear her talk about the writing process and back story to the plot was incredible.  Each of her books take her up another notch in the WOW stakes.  How high can she go, there seems to be no limit.  The depth of feeling and emotion that is evoked when reading any of her novels is beyond palpable.

The Fear is centred around Lou a young woman who, as a fourteen year old thought she was in love with her 31 year old Judo instructor Mike, they runaway to France at his instigation and when the police catch up with him he is sentenced and sent to jail for a pitiful five years.  At fourteen, Lou couldn't see he was grooming her, he was able to because her esteem was low and her home life was a mess.  

Lou hadn't been back to her home town in fifteen years since her mum left her dad and they moved to London.  She returns, her father has dies and she moves back to her childhood home to confront Mike - she wants him to see how he ruined her life.

Her first glimpse of him on her return is like a camera shutter snapping closed - he's there, older, less fit but other than that unchanged - she's glimpses him kissing a young girl. This tips Lou over the edge and her life unravels as she sets out to save the girl from the life she has had to live because of Mike.  Little does she know she is really trying to save fourteen year old self.

Cally Taylor took me on a dark twisted journey that made my heart bump with fear, Lou is very vulnerable both emotionally and physically.  Her childhood home is remote and out of range of mobile signals, not an ideal place to entice her 'nemesis' yet at the same time the perfect place. 

This is a book that will touch your heart, will make you gasp and cry out, the sheer emotion leaps from the pages with Lou teetering on the edge, she thinks she wants to stop history repeating itself and isn't aware how vulnerable she still is herself. It's shocking yet true to life, a story that we have sadly seen the basis of previously in the news. When actions are driven by emotion and that emotion is fear and revenge anything is possible. I'm sure I stopped breathing several times as I read The Fear - a title that is perfect for the emotions and feelings evoked for both the characters and readers alike.

I highly recommend this book, C. L. Taylor is an author to put on your favourites list she has a writing style that is dark and twisted yet demonstrates an insight into the complex psyche of people that we live alongside every day.

The Runaway Wife - Dee MacDonald

About the book… 
One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another - usually involving her unruly grandchildren - while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off...

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

The Runaway Wife is an inspiring and joyously uplifting novel about being true to yourself. If you loved The Kicking the Bucket List and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this book is for you.

Buy Links:
iBookstore Buy Link: http://ow.ly/ARm130jCDeS
Kobo Buy Link: http://ow.ly/26W730jCDg0
GooglePlay Link: http://ow.ly/1BG330jCDhr

About the author… 
Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!
Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.

My thoughts…
I was given an early read of this book and asked to be part of the Blog Blitz in exchange for an honest review by Kim at Bookouture.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book.  It hits the spot on so many levels.  Connie McColl, wife, mother, grandmother has had enough.  She's living everybody else life and doesn't seem to exist as a person worthy of living her own life.  She's living in a house she doesn't like, organising and running around after her husband and at the beck and call of her children - often the main carer of her grandchildren.

One summers evening she makes the decision to leave home, the turning point was the reality of the previous day.  A day that should have been significant in the calendars of the whole family but as usual, no-one remembered or acknowledged it with the exception of her friend Wendy.

Connie packed up her trusty but old car with everything she thought she might need for a prolonged trip away, left identical notes for her children and husband Roger and set off.  This was a journey that took her on a route down memory lane, encountering old friends and new at the same time as enjoying new and unexpected experiences.

I absolutely loved Connie and cried with laughter throughout the whole book.  It had hilarious, laugh out loud moments and at times lots of 'oh noes' and felt quite sad and emotional. I was totally absorbed and engaged in the plot, Dee MacDonald has written this novel in such a way it could be a diarised story of someone's real life - every single incident and encounter was plausible and felt right. I loved how Connie shed her inhibitions the more miles she put between herself and home. All the while making decisions and choices simply based on the opposite of what she would normally do or what would normally be expected of her.

The Runaway Wife is totally plausible in every way, I found it uplifting and I loved the idea that you could just set off and 'go with the flow' an idea so far outside of my comfort zone I found the whole premise a little daunting yet at the same time exciting and exhilarating.

As Connie journeyed between Sussex and Scotland Dee stripped away layer after layer of Connie's character to reveal a much lighter, happier person who knew her own mind and wasn't afraid to share her thoughts.   Dee eludes to Connie's relationships with her husband and children and without giving the game away I don't think I have ever been quite so blindsided by an ending to a book! Little hints and clues are revealed along the journey but nothing could have prepared me for it.

I highly recommend this book, it is right up there in my top three books I've read so far this year, I enjoyed it that much.  It'll make you smile, laugh and dream a little - what if............? The adventures and friends she makes along the way are equally important to the story, each and every one of them are important cogs thats propel Connie on her journey, offering friendship and support with no strings attached. 

Friday, 20 April 2018

White Lies - Lucy Dawson

About the book…
Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human.

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she's gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex's world apart - threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too.

Soon Alex finds she's capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control…

A darkly gripping domestic drama of secrets and lies, from the bestselling author of The Daughter. Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, Louise Jensen and The Couple Next Door.

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
I’ve been writing psychological suspense novels since 2008, when my first bestseller – His Other Lover – was published. I write full time (mostly on the playroom sofa) from my home in Devon, where I live with my husband and children. Before that, I used to interview the likes of Steps and SClub7 for a living, making absolutely no use whatsoever of my psychology degree from Warwick University, but it was a lot of fun.

I'm addicted to writing about the extraordinary things that can happen to ordinary people - I like stories that jump in at the deep end, with a gasp. When readers take the time out to let me know they've stayed up all night because they couldn't put the book down, it makes my day.

Contact Links: 
I really enjoy catching up with readers and always reply to emails. You can reach me at
Email: lucy@lucydawsonbooks.com.
Twitter: @lucydawsonbooks
Facebook: lucydawsonbooks.
Alternatively you can download a free short story of mine at www.lucydawsonbooks.com
or if you want to look at a lot of pictures of the beach and books that I'm reading, find me on Instagram at lucydawsonbooks.

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Kim at Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

Where to begin other than to say I didn't think anything could top Lucy Dawsons last novel The Daughter but I was wrong White Lies is outstanding.  Lucy has written a book that will chill you to the bone, a story that is shockingly believable yet unbelievable at the same time.  As I turned the pages my mind raced to unscramble the clues, believing I had it all wrapped up until the next chapter and everything I thought I knew was discounted.

White Lies is centred around Alex a doctor in her local GP's surgery and Jonathan a young seventeen year old that she has a chance encounter with whilst on a girls holiday in Ibiza only to come face to face with him in unexpected circumstances when she gets home.  Thats where the nightmare begins - or does it?

White Lies has many voices.  Each chapter is recounted by a different person, mainly told by Alex and Jonathan but Rob, Alex's husband and David her partner in the GP practice along with Cherry, Jonathans girlfriend each bring their voice and perspective to the story too.

I could feel the tension rising and literally taste the fear as the story spiralled round and round - there were so many differences of opinion and angles to the same story that it was impossible to have a clear certainty of what I believed. The incredible ability Lucy Dawson has to create characters that are not just mildly plausible but totally believable is something I admire greatly.  I lost myself totally immersed as if I was reading a true account written in the local media. 

It's frightening to be faced with the reality that decisions made or not made, little white lies told for the right or wrong reason can affect not just the circumstances or people present but ripple out way beyond an imaginable point and have such an incredible impact - literally chasing the course of peoples lives.  Our reputation is something we take years to build and yet it can be shattered in seconds by words or actions that in themselves are nothing!

Thank you so much AGAIN Bookouture, for another incredible read, this book was truly outstanding another one I'll be shouting about to everyone.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Home at Honeysuckle Farm - Christie Barlow

About the book...
A family secret
One shocking argument and ten-year-old Alice Parker’s world was turned upside down. Her peaceful life at Honeysuckle Farm in the quiet rural village of Brook Bridge swapped for the bustling metropolis of New York City. Alice’s life was changed forever…
A second chance
Now, thirteen years later, Alice’s American dream is over. With her life in tatters, there is only one place Alice wants to be… home at Honeysuckle Farm. 
A forever home?
But secrets still swirl in Brook Bridge, and Alice is no closer to discovering the truth. And for some reason her new friendship with local heartthrob Sam Reid seems to be making the locals tense.
Sick of the lies Alice knows it’s time to lay the past to rest once and for all. But could the truth ruin her hopes of ever calling Honeysuckle Farm home again?

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape, Evie's Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream and A Home at Honeysuckle Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world. 

Contact Links: 
Twitter @ChristieJBarlow 
 Facebook page Christie Barlow author

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Rachel at Rachels Random Resources in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

I was drawn to this book by the cover, spring was on it's way and it looked like it had arrived at Honeysuckle Farm.

A home at Honeysuckle Farm is set in the delightful village of Brook Bridge. It had english, chocolate box written all over it - picture perfect.  Of course the sun always shines and everyone is always happy when you live in a village which is why when I read books like this I want to up sticks and move to one.

The prologue personifies my image of village life exactly, all pretty houses and cute shops to amble in before settling down for afternoon tea in a fab cafe overlooking a babbling brook. That is until the happiness is shattered as Rose and her father, Alice's Grandie have an almighty row which sees them leaving their home, an annex attached to the  farmhouse owned by Grandie and heading to New York, where after a difficult start she settled down and made friends.  

Only a few pages in and what a lot of questions running round my head. What was the row about, what could Rose of done to be cut out of her fathers life? It was a very high price to pay for him, losing his grand-daughter at the same time. At first glance this was going to be a light, frothy book that did what it said on the tin but, it turned out to be much more than that - the story was intense, consuming and heart twisting.

Thirteen years after leaving for America with her mother, Alice is back in Brook Bridge having left her mother behind in America and is here because her Grandie is in hospital She is very apprehensive about meeting him again after all these years - would she ever find out the truth behind their sudden departure, she hoped so.

Once again, Christie Barlow has written a book that is full of delightful characters that are interwoven into a local community. The lows had me crying as hard as I smiled and laughed at the highs. It really was a tonic, a proper pick me up. It's the sort of book that once you pick it up and start reading you finish in no time and are left wondering how you've lost an afternoon without even blinking! This is the first of Christie's books I've read in a good while and was drawn back in as if I read the last one only yesterday! It was better than any tonic you can buy in the chemist.

If you love books that are wrapped up neatly in a classic happy ending then this is for you, it has it all, family, friendship, love, laughter, a sprinkling of sadness and a few little mysteries in the form of unanswered questions. I love how she slipped straight back into the idyll that she left as a child, the community coming together to welcome her back into their folds.

This was truly delightful - huge thx to Rachel for organising the blog tour, Christie for giving me the perfect place to escape - heads off to Rightmove to find me a chocolate box house!! I'm hoping there's one for sale.

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Girl I used to Know - Faith Hogan

About the book… 
A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan. 
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn't be more different. 
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart. 
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love. 
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

About the author… 
Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit, charm or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.

Faith was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel 'My Husbands Wives' is a contemporary women's fiction novel set in Dublin, published by Aria Fiction in 2016. Her second novel, 'Secrets We Keep,' is published in February 2017 - it has been included on the Netgalley 'Hot List 2017.' Her third novel - 'The Girl I Used To Know' is out in December 2017.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a rather busy chocolate Labrador. She's a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger - except of course when it is raining!

Contact Links: 
Twitter: @gerhogan
Goodreads Author Page:  Faith Hogan Author Page

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Debbie at Brook Cottage Books in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I'm more than happy to do.

This is the first book I've read by Faith Hogan and I was delighted to find my first impressions, made entirely because of the beautiful cover didn't disappoint.  I was sucked into the lives of Richard & Amanda and their unwelcome basement tenant Tess.

First impressions were Amanda and Tess were poles apart, one living in the height of luxury, leading a pampered lifestyle, the other a lonely existence, living on the breadline.   Yet separated only by a ceiling! Two separate incidents bring the unexpected duo together.  A cat called Margaret - no correct that Matt and a condom!

Faith backfills history with several chapters slipping back in time to chapters set 48 
years previous when Tess was heading for college and 22 years previous before Amanda married Richard.

I was sucked right into t he
art of this story, living their lives alongside them because of the depth of characters heFaith Hogan had created, I felt their pain and sadness, smiled as they laughed.  Felt the cold, damp, grey days and the sunshine warming my bones.  This something that takes great skill, I cared what happened and was internally cheering them on to find a different paths to walk.

Faith has created characters that will pull at your heart strings and take you on a journey of discovery not just withiN the book but within yourself. This is a thought provoking, uplifting story that will question your life choices, would I make the same ones again, do things differently? Fortunately, for me the answer is yes I would!
If you're looking for a story about real people, with real problems and situations, that demonstrate the power of resilience, humour, family and friendship  then this is a book for you - perfect for a lazy Sunday, snuggled in your pj's in the conservatory. Thank you so much Faith Hogan for a most enjoyable, up-lifting read.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea - Holly Martin

About the book… 
Escape to Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover a charming little seaside village brimming with heart-warming friendships, quirky characters and plenty of sunshine.

The perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Tori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

A joyously romantic summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She 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 her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

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

Contact Links: 
Twitter @HollyMAuthor

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Kim Nash at Bookouture in exchange for an honest review, this something I'm more than happy to do.

When I saw the cover of Holly Martin's latest novel I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Winter has been so long, cold and wet this year my day was totally cheered up when I saw the beautiful jacket for The Holiday Cottage by the Sea. 

Every single book I've read of Holly's ends in disappointment, not because I didn't enjoy the book - quite the opposite, because I loved it and feel a bit bereft there are no more pages to turn.

The book starts as it means to go on. With Tori abandoning her car amidst a lane full of sheep before being chased down the hill into the village cafe 'Cherry on the Top' by an over friendly turkey!  I howled out loud as a big grin spread across my face. 

Tori Graham is on a long overdue break from her work as a film animator and is on her way to visit her best friends Melody and Isla in Sandcastle Bay.  She's secured some free accommodation in exchange for a couple of weeks fruit picking - picking the famous 'Heartberry's'. 

This was a book that made me smile throughout, there are hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud. 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. As ever a delicious book of sunshine, laughter, friends and more than a smattering of love thrown into the mix for good measure.

Tori finds herself in the spotlight, everyone seems to know all about her and within the first hour of her arrival in Sandcastle Bay she is told she'll be marrying Aidan Jackson within the year - a person she hasn't even met yet, it was hilarious. I could just imagine how she felt arriving from London into a small village and having her life dissected before her very eyes by complete strangers. For reasons that later become apparent she is adamant that she is definitely not looking for love, men are off the cards!!

The story is woven around a close community, three brothers Leo, Jamie and Aidan the three girls Tori, Melody and Isla and the famous 'Heartberry love festival. I just loved the story it was totally entrancing, I really don't know how Holly does it but she has once again draped her blanket of love and hearts over this warm, witty story. It is truly magical, I was swept up in the magic and excitement as love wrapped itself around each of them in different ways. Be prepared though, I also had to swallow a huge lump in my throat as I choked up with emotion at one point - Holly creates plots and people that could so very easily be real.

I highly recommend this story, a book that will transport you straight into the heart of Sandcastle Bay.