Tuesday, 29 May 2018

What Holly's Husband Did - Debbie Viggiano

About the book… 

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy with a twist that will make you gasp!

Holly Hart has been married for fifteen blissful years to hubby Alex. Well… if you don't count last Christmas, when she accidentally found a load of flirty texts on Alex's phone. But every marriage has its ups and downs and Alex had a perfectly reasonable explanation… so why can't Holly forget what she saw?

With the help of best friends Jeanie and Caro, as well as their handsome neighbour Jack, Holly resolves to settle her mind once and for all with a bit of sneaky detective work. So what if her husband isn't exactly Brad Pitt? He's hers, and if someone else is trying to steal him she wants to know who... But the truth is way more shocking than Holly ever anticipated. Can Holly, let alone her marriage, ever recover from what she discovers?

A laugh-until-you-cry, feel-good novel from the bestselling author of Stockings and Cellulite. Perfect for fans of Tracy Bloom, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.

About the author… 
Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued puppy from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her children return home from uni bringing her much joy...apart from their gifts of dirty laundry.

Contact Links: 

Follow her blog: https://www.debbieviggiano.blogspot.com
Tweet @DebbieViggiano
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/debbie.viggiano.5

My thoughts…
I received an ecopy of this book from Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I'm more than happy to do.

I picked this up and settled in the garden for a quick read before carrying on with a few jobs.  Needless to say here we are today and the jobs still need finishing! What a delightful book, I smiled, gasped and howled out loud as Holly goes on a mission to get to the bottom of some sexy texting found the previous Christmas on her husband Alex's mobile phone.  He has a perfectly plausible, mmmmm - perhaps not quite plausible explanation for them.

Debbie has created characters that are totally engaging - I could clearly envisage them in my mind from the very beginning of the novel. Her two best friends Jeannie and Caro - exchanging gossip and advice over coffee and cake at every opportunity.  Their interactions are typical of lifelong friends who know each other  inside out, warts and all. Not afraid to dish out advice and ask the most prying questions of each others 'love life' and always have each others back.  Holly could rely on them, or could she?  A chance comment has her doubting the friendship of one of them - could she be the mysterious 'Queenie' - sender of sexy text messages to her husband - I gasped surely not?!

This is a light-hearted fun story with a serious subject at the heart of it - mis-trust, self doubt and jealousy send Holly hurtling down a path that portrays her as a completely bonkers, out of control harpy that was always just two steps from losing it totally. Mind you I would probably be doing time for murder now if ~I was married to the over-bearing, oaf she was married to - he was pompous and patronising beyond belief, then assumed the sweetness and light, butter wouldn't melt act.  The pompousness was definitely his more believable characteristic for me.

It was a perfect read for a sunny afternoon in the garden, I constantly chuckled at Holly - she was comedic without realising it, when she whipped out the empty Bolognese sauce jar hidden in her handbag from her husband (he didn't allow processed food in the house, everything had to be cooked from scratch) at the golf club and calmly asked for it to be put in the bin please whilst dying inside was hilarious, I nearly wet myself.  Anyone not a golfer will confirm that most golf-clubs are a little bit stuffy and pretentious and Holly was way out of her comfort zone here but styled it out with panache.  As she did on more than one subsequent occasion throughout the novel.

A throughly enjoyable read that does what it says on the tin, it made me laugh and chuckle throughout at Holly's antics and wouldn't hesitate to pick up another of Debbie's novels when I need a bit of light entertainment, an easy read that whisked me straight into Holly's world.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Meeting Lydia - Linda MacDonald

About the book…
Meeting Lydia explores the very relevant topics of childhood bullying, midlife crises, the pros and cons of internet relationships, and how the psychological effects of these affect the main character and those around her. Readers will be gripped by the turbulent life of Marianne who navigates the onset of menopause, an empty nest, a suspected errant husband and a demanding new obsession that pulls her in deeper as the story unfolds. Those interested in the psychology of relationships will enjoy this novel, as well as those who delight in an enthralling story with relatable characters and the powerful question of what happens when the past catches up with the present. This second edition has reworked the early chapters of the first edition, making for a pacy and shorter version more in line with the audiobook.

Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in their kitchen. Old childhood insecurities resurface, stemming from a time back at school when she was bullied. Jealousy rears its head and her happy marriage begins to crumble. Desperate for a solution - and introduced by her daughter to social networking - she tries to track down her first schoolgirl crush, the enigmatic Edward Harvey. But Marianne is unprepared for the power of email relationships ...

About the author… 

Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues. 

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing. 

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Contact Links: 
Follow her on Twitter @LindaMac1

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by the author to review as part of the blog tour for Meeting Lydia.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

Meeting Lydia is a novel about relationships of every kind both real and imagined.  This is another novel that highlights how the relationships we have in our childhood form the adults we become.  They can give us the strength and confidence to grow and develop or they can inhibit us.

Marianne the leading character in this book was educated in a boys school - this was something I found very odd.  I didn't even know this was possible.  She stood out for many reasons, the obvious being she was a girl in a classroom of boys and she was also very clever.  Both reasons to draw attention to herself at a time when children are developing and growing - learning the rules and boundaries of life.  Reading about her childhood was difficult - I wanted to scoop her up and take her away.

Linda displays the hurt and childhood scars that have shaped Marianne.  Thus highlighting how our childhood provides the foundations for us to grow into adults.  Not everyone has a solid, safe, loving and caring upbringing.  Some have a shakier start and it is past events that eventually cause the foundations of her adult life to crumble.

Public schooling and bullying all too often, sadly, go hand in hand and this story tackles this issue head on.  This book highlights some strong emotions - bitterness, hate, revenge and hurt go hand in hand with self loathing, guilt and remorse. Above all this story highlights how events in our childhood if not dealt with follow us into adulthood and can have a huge impact upon the adults we become. As an adult she has grown a carapace around herself and her memories are firmly hidden.  She is successful, has a good job as a teacher, husband and daughter. That is until several things conspire to un-ravel her life and take her straight back to those tortured childhood days.  

Meeting Lydia highlights how a couple of natural events in a mothers life can knock you off kilter more than just a little.  Your daughter leaving home for uni, that feeling of being redundant and no longer needed is a feeling that I'm sure is shared by most mums world over.  They're moving on and you don't really know what your role is anymore.  Add to that the onset of the menopause, something we females all dread - the horror stories of friends and family - the slight madness it can bring and the fact that it is a subject most aren't comfortable talking about - it signifies an ending of sorts and the unease of the next chapter in your life.  

Linda has written Marianne as a deeply complex character that doesn't have all the answers.  Finding a gorgeous, mini skirt wearing blonde in her kitchen one afternoon is the catalyst to the events that follow.  Johnny her husband is having an innocent coffee with a new colleague in his kitchen and has no idea that would alter his life as he knew it.  He has no idea of the insecurities behind the everyday face of his wife. The intense intricacies of relationships - how the unspoken words can cause the most pain and anguish are highlighted in full colour for the reader to see.

When the tension rises Marianne who has been taught about Friends Reunited by her daughter retreats more and more into an on line world where she is fuelling her obsession with a classmate from her childhood.  She wants to find a safe place, a place where she can hide again.  He wasn't even her friend if the truth be told, he was just the boy that didn't join in and bully her.  Johnny retreats to the pub as the spats increase he spends more and more time away from home - further fuelling Mariannes feelings of low self worth.

There is an intensity to Linda's writing that is palpable, neither partner speaking openly, both expecting the other to know all the words that only get spoken in each others heads, not saying them out loud because both afraid of the consequences - such seemingly insignificant small events have such a major impact on more than just their own lives.  I was hovering over their lives wanting to shout instructions to them both - they were just too close to see the destruction they were wreaking.

A powerful piece of writing that had me turning the pages increasingly quicker to resolve their problems and restore harmony in their lives.  Linda MacDonald is not an author I'd previously read but was drawn in by her beautiful jacket for Meeting Lydia and the blurb on the back.  Relationships of any kind, husband-wife, parent-child, friendships and family are always thought provoking - I like to see into other peoples minds and look at how they tick. Thank you Anne for the opportunity to join the blog tour.  I'm looking forward to reading the next instalment having thoroughly enjoyed Meeting Lydia. 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Tell me A Secret by Samantha Hayes

About the book… 

Tell her all your secrets and she’ll tell you all her lies…

Everything in Lorna’s life runs like clockwork, from her 6 a.m. morning run to the strict 60-minute counselling sessions she gives. It’s the only way she can deal with the terrible secret she carries.

When a new client arrives for his first appointment, Lorna feels her perfect life unravel in a matter of seconds. It’s Andrew, the man she’s spent the last year desperately trying to forget. It seems he can’t forget her either…

Against her better judgement she anonymously contacts him on a dating site. Messaging him could mean the end of her marriage and her career, but she needs to know if his motives are genuine.

When Andrew is found dead in his home, grief quickly turns to fear when messages from him continue to arrive on Lorna’s phone. Somebody knows her secret and wants to use it to destroy everything she has.

Will she risk her family and her sanity to keep her secret? Will she risk her life…?

If you love twisty psychological thrillers that get under your skin, like The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go or anything by Louise Jensen, you’ll be utterly blown away by the jaw-dropping lies in Tell Me a Secret.

Buy Links: 

About the author…
Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.
Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003 and her ninth novel, THE REUNION, was published in February 2018. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on 'real life fiction'. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, 'What if this happened to me or my family?'

Contact Links: 

To find out more, visit her website www.samanthahayes.co.uk
Or connect with Samantha on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor
And she's on Twitter @samhayes

My thoughts…
I was given an ecopy of this book by Samantha Hayes publishers Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.  This is something I'm more than happy to do.

Tell Me a Secret is a twisty, tense thriller mainly told from the lead characters perspective.  Lorna in theory has the perfect life, is a successful psychotherapist, is married to Mark a successful dentist and has two children a shared daughter Faye and stepson Mark.

As the story begins I got the impression that the perfect lifestyle was held together by a taught, invisible thread.  One slip and it would all unravel. She has a routine to end all routines and when it is thrown off kilter the tension is palpable, I could feel her heart beating.  She has a difficult relationship with her stepson, his natural mother died when he was a toddler and although he can't remember her he keeps Lorna at arms length with his dismissive, insolent stance.  Although to be fair Lorna thinks it's all about him not liking her but I think it's a lot to do with simply being a teenager and knowing what strings to pull.

Lorna breaks protocol and calls back a potential new client after he persistently phoned the practise insisting he has an appointment with her.  There begins the story and the threads holding her life together begin to fall.

OMG, Samantha Hayes has the ability to weave a plot so intricately you have no idea or clue as to what is really going on - the sub-text is always just slightly out of your grasp and just when you think you may have it sussed the story changes direction.

One thing I was sure of was this was a book with a lead character you wanted to shake - she literally has written her own destiny through a web of lies and deceit and has dug herself a hole that is just that little bit too deep to climb out of.  I swayed between not liking her at all and pitying her - the perfect lifestyle with synchronised timings for every aspect of it unnerved more than just a little and then bam, another Samantha Hayes ending to a book that was totally unexpected - HOW DOES SHE DO IT?! I haven't read one of her books yet that hasn't stopped me in my tracks, with mouth hanging open, slowly nodding my head - OMG OMG.

Another thriller that I highly recommend, Samantha Hayes is an author that is always on my wish list when a new book comes out.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake - Sue Watson

About the book…

An absolutely hilarious, laugh-‘til-you-cry, romantic comedy about how life never quite goes to plan…

Faye is in crisis. You wouldn’t know it, because of the big fat smile on her face, but inside, she’s one step away from nuclear meltdown. And she shouldn’t be. Dan is the man of her dreams. And he’s just asked her to marry him.

But Faye’s been down the marriage road before and it ended up with her having Ryan Gosling fantasies while her ex-husband obsessed about the plumbing. Faye and Dan, on the other hand, have been living their lives to the fullest, travelling around the world, having sex under the stars... They've never argued about unrolling socks before putting them in the laundry.

Besides, even if she wanted to say yes, how could she move to the other side of the world? Because marrying Dan would mean living in Australia. Beautiful, warm and a gazillion miles from Faye’s daughter, Emma, a single mum with her own crazy little girl who both need Faye every single day. Leaving them – even for someone who makes her as happy as Dan – simply isn’t an option.

Dan is offering Faye everything she ever wanted. So why does she feel like she’s about to lose it all?

The most screamingly-funny romantic comedy of the summer – about secrets, second chances and following your heart. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson.

About the author…

Sue Watson was a journalist then a TV Producer at the BBC until she realised that instead of working, she could stay at home, and write about exciting things like foreign travel and cake!

So far Sue's written twelve books, and some have been translated into Italian, German and Portuguese (she's big in Brazil!) Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where her days are spent baking (and eating) lots of cake, while making big life decisions about whether to have Caramel Chew Chew or Salted Caramel ice cream while watching 'My 600lb Life,' on the sofa

Contact Links: 

For more info visit Sue's website; http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/
Sue would love to meet you on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks
Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

My thoughts…

I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture, Sue Watsons publishers. This is something I'm more than happy to do.

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake is the sequel to Love, Lies and Lemon Cake both could be read as stand alone novels but why would you? You get the back story to Dan and Faye's relationship and it's where it all began for my addiction to everything that Sue Watson has written.

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake was a total 'emotion fest'. It was like a visit to the fairground. Huge amounts of laughter and smiles as I rode the highs and lows of the big dipper, Sue Watson is a natural comic, has great warmth and empathy with the ability to have you snorting with laughter one minute and choked with emotion the next.

It's decision time in Faye's life - Dan her, Australian tomboy has to return to Australia to help care for his dying brother. This prompts him to ask Faye to marry him and go to live in Australia with him, he's always talked about his dream of opening a cafe/restaurant in sight of the Sydney Opera House after all and now could be the time.

They have a spontaneous, romantic, relaxed lifestyle - the timing is perfect isn't it? But....Faye, divorced mother to single mum Emma and joint carer to Rosie her toddler, grand-daughter is torn. She can't let him go, he is the love of her life but she has her daughter and grand-daughter to think of too, they need her. How could she leave them behind?

OMG, Rosie is utterly adorable and definitely rules the roost in every situation, she's way older than her years and has her eye rolling, hand on hip stance down to perfection. She is an utter joy I could totally understand how Faye was incapable of making a decision - how could anyone leave this bundle of joy behind?

Fast-forward twelve months and imagine Bridgett Jones getting on a plane to Australia, A trip that was pure comedy gold, Faye suffers from verbal diahorea when stressed and constantly finds herself in situations that portray her as both physically and or mentally challenged. In her head she can do sophistication with ease but the reality is somewhat different. I literally cried laughing at the many 'situations' she found herself in and not to spoil it for other readers - I will definitely be wary of how I wear my swimming costume!!

This is a book about taking chances and letting go. We only have one life and we should live it, embrace what comes our way and give our children wings - we'll always be mothers but our children need to feel independent too - who knows what they and us are capable of until we try. Regret in life the things we didn't do not the things we tried.

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake gets another thumbs up for me - Sue has done it again and got the recipe just perfect! 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. I'm on a salad and water diet ATM to shed a few pounds before my hols - OMG, the crazy amounts of food references and lashings of cake literally had me drooling.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Dying Truth - Angela Marsons

Dying Truth
(Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 8)

About the book…
How far would you go to protect your darkest secrets?

When teenager Sadie Winter jumps from the roof of her school, her death is ruled as suicide – a final devastating act from a troubled girl. But then the broken body of a young boy is discovered at the same school and it’s clear to Detective Kim Stone that these deaths are not tragic accidents.

As Kim and her team begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, one of the teachers could hold the key to the truth. Yet just as she is about to break her silence, she is found dead.

With more children’s lives at risk, Kim has to consider the unthinkable - whether a fellow pupil could be responsible for the murders. Investigating the psychology of children that kill brings the detective into contact with her former adversary, Dr Alex Thorne – the sociopath who has made it her life’s work to destroy Kim.

Desperate to catch the killer, Kim finds a link between the recent murders and an initiation prank that happened at the school decades earlier. But saving these innocent lives comes at a cost – and one of Kim’s own might pay the ultimate price.

The utterly addictive new crime thriller from the Number One bestselling author – you will be gripped until the final shocking twist.

About the author… 
Angela Marsons is the author of the International Bestselling DI Kim Stone series 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 Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.

Her last three books - Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones - reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

Contact Links: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriteAngie
Bookouture: http://bookouture.com

My thoughts…

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

Whenever I hear Angela has written another book my heart begins to beat a little bit faster, each and every book from the very first one Silent Scream has pushed me to the edge of an abyss and then she somehow brings me back before I go into a total freewill. That insight into how far you can push a reader and leave them gasping for air but exhilarated at the same time is second to none. As she very well knows I've tried reading a bit faster to try to save lives but it doesn't work - I'm left bereft that the book has ended so quickly.

Where do I begin with book eight, you just know it's going to be a difficult read when children are the victims in a book and Angela Marsons has spared no punches with Dying Truth, in fact she socked one right below the belt this time. I normally read one of her books in a single sitting but life at the moment is pretty full on and it took me the best part of a week - only finishing it at lunchtime today, I've been an absolute wreck.

OMG, I sat outside having lunch with tears rolling down my face - what have you done to me. I don't think I have ever been so distraught by a book EVER. I'm finding it difficult to compartmentalise fact from fiction, such is Angela's style of writing. Every word is like a true account totally mesmerising and compelling.

Dying Truth is DI Kim Stone's biggest challenge to date, an apparent suicide and then another death at the same upmarket, private school. The first victim jumps from the school roof and everyone assumes it's a suicide. Everyone that is except Kim Stone - a second death at the same school has her radar on high alert, she's like a sniffer dog - she has her nose into every corner and doesn't rest until every clue and avenue has been explored. She opens a pandora's box which leads to difficult situations and thoughts for everyone involved in the investigation. It's so difficult to share how fantastic this book and Angela Marsons is without spoiling the story.

I more than highly recommend this book and each and every book she's previously written, but the best news is, there are at least eight more books in the series to come!!!!!

Huge thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for another totally captivating read and for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.