Friday, 22 March 2019

#Toots - Linh Le James


A British non-romantic comedy built on white lies, pink elephants and grey areas.

LONDON: Four sisters swipe left on everything they hate, one cocktail at a time. 

Louise dreams of an exotic lifestyle, miles away from Hackney. 

Nick comes along. Famous, fit, funny and filthy rich. She will stop at nothing to seduce him. She will fake it till she makes it. All the way to the ka-ching bling ring. 
But the little white lies soon snowball into a mountain Louise’s Louboutins can’t climb. 

Jess juggles work, two babies, a cheating husband and nannies from hell. 
Carla goes on a bender, and wakes up next to her young assistant. Freddie.
Emily is getting over her cheating ex by throwing herself into the dating scene. 

When work, dating and proposals…all go wrong, the four sisters’ friendship is their only lifeline.


What did I think?

The first thing I'll say about this book is don't judge it by its cover.  Thankfully, I never judge a book by its cover or I might not have discovered this fabulous book by Linh Le James.  Perhaps it's because I remember the shell suit era that the cover of #Toots makes me shudder but when I figuratively peeled back the hideous nylon layer I discovered an absolutely brilliant book.  

Anyone who follows me on Goodreads would have missed my updates for #Toots because I started it and finished it in one sitting.  I simply couldn't put it down as my eyes were glued to my kindle following the lives of these four crazy sisters.  As each sister inevitably raced towards the latest car crash drama in their life it was like I could see it happening in slow motion but couldn't, and didn't want to, slow my reading pace.  

We've all been there and done crazy things (or is that just me?) so as crazily hilarious as the story is, it actually feels very true to life.  Where relationships are concerned, it's like every daft thing you've ever done, or thought about doing, is in this book.  With so much drama crammed into this book, Linh Le James has still managed to create characters that are so well developed that I felt like I got to know them, almost like a fifth sister.  Not since Little Women have I felt so connected to a group of siblings but #Toots is like the March sisters putting their gladrags on and going on a bender!

I was literally crying with laughter at times and when I turned the final page, I was already crying out for more so I'm absolutely thrilled that there is a sequel planned.  I can't wait to meet up with my literary sisters again!

If my blog had an award for most surprising book of the year, #Toots would definitely walk away with first prize.  I've never read anything like #Toots before; it's unique, funny and completely addictive.  An easy five stars from me for this exceptional debut by Linh Le James; romcom fans, you don't want to miss this one!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Gift of Friends - Emma Hannigan


Kingfisher Road - a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?
Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems...
In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.
But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?

What did I think?

The book world lost an absolute treasure when Emma Hannigan lost her brave fight with cancer in 2018 but it is testament to her spirit that she kept writing right up to the end of her life.  It would be easy to assume that Emma's final novel would be a weepy but it is in fact an effervescent story brimming with hope, love and friendship.  I was actually crying before I started the story, just from reading the letter to the reader from Emma's publishing family at Headline.  I wiped my eyes and put my tissues away as I let Emma Hannigan transport me to Kingfisher Road.

Kingfisher Road has some amazing characters living there, with so much laughter, tears and drama it reminded me of an Irish Coronation Street.  It all starts with a new resident, Danielle, moving into the street and the ladies welcome her into their fold.  Danielle seems to have it all, engaged to what is seemingly Ireland's most eligible bachelor, but Danielle is full of insecurities as she doesn't feel like she fits into Justin's posh horses and hairbands life.  Her insecurities aren't helped by her evil mother-in-law to-be who is definitely the villain of the piece, or at least one of them.

As we get to know each of the women, we realise that life isn't quite so rosy as it first appeared as each of them struggle with their own problems.  It just shows how quick we are to make snap judgements based on appearances, when you don't know what is lurking beneath the surface or behind that shining front door.  Even with their own personal struggles, what doesn't falter is their friendship for each other and we all know that a problem shared is a problem solved.  The strength and fortitude of these women constantly amazed me but I shouldn't have been surprised as they all have a little bit of the amazing Emma Hannigan in them.

The Gift of Friends is an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish; somehow it's equally serious and lighthearted as some stressful issues are dealt with but it seems to have a sprinkle of magic in the pages as we know that everything will be ok in the end.  The Gift of Friends is a beautiful sparkling addition to Emma Hannigan's everlasting legacy to the literary world.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris


I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. 

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.


What did I think?

When I won a competition to pick 3 books from Wordery, the first book on my list was The Tattooist of Auschwitz; the book that everyone seemed to be talking about.  We all know the story of Auschwitz and just thinking about it is enough to give me goosebumps, which is why I was surprised to feel so emotionally detached when reading this book.

Don't get me wrong, it is a powerful story of love conquers all and Lale's eternal love for Gita is very evident throughout the story.  I just didn't feel any of the horror and sadness that you would normally associate with a story set in Auschwitz.  Maybe that's a good thing though, and a conscious decision by Heather Morris to concentrate on the positives, as it was quite a refreshing change to see that something good came out of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Lale's survival in Auschwitz is down to him being a bit of a wheeler dealer and he reminded me a bit of Del Boy; ducking and diving and getting people things that they asked for.  In that situation, everyone does what they need to do to survive and Lale kind of fell into becoming the T├Ątowierer.  What an awful job and one that I'm sure nobody would volunteer for, but if he hadn't been tattooing numbers on new entrants to the camp then he may have never met Gita.

I think you could tell that the story was originally written as a screenplay as the characters felt very one dimensional and flat, something that I'm sure would be rectified when shown on the screen.  Due to this, I didn't really connect or empathise with any of the characters.  I suppose the one that does spring to mind is Cilka, another prisoner who does what she has to do to stay alive and to protect her friends.  I'm not surprised to see that Cilka's story is the follow up to this book and I'm quite looking forward to reading it.

So even though I'm not raving about it, I still think it was a worthwhile read.  It's a quick, easy read and I think if I hadn't believed the hype about it being a weepy, emotional story I would probably have enjoyed the story of Lale and Gita's love against the odds a whole lot more.

I think everyone should read The Tattooist of Auschwitz and make up their own mind, however, I have no doubt that it will be a resounding success when it makes it to our screens.

My rating:


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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Last Hours - Minette Walters


June, 1348: the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in the county of Dorsetshire. Unprepared for the virulence of the disease, and the speed with which it spreads, the people of the county start to die in their thousands.
In the estate of Develish, Lady Anne takes control of her people's future - including the lives of two hundred bonded serfs. Strong, compassionate and resourceful, Lady Anne chooses a bastard slave, Thaddeus Thurkell, to act as her steward. Together, they decide to quarantine Develish by bringing the serfs inside the walls. With this sudden overturning of the accepted social order, where serfs exist only to serve their lords, conflicts soon arise. Ignorant of what is happening in the world outside, they wrestle with themselves, with God and with the terrible uncertainty of their futures.
Lady Anne's people fear starvation but they fear the pestilence more. Who amongst them has the courage to leave the security of the walls?
And how safe is anyone in Develish when a dreadful event threatens the uneasy status quo..?


What did I think?

I consider historical fiction one of my favourite genres so when the mood came over me to transport myself back in time to a period of history, I picked up The Last Hours by Minette Walters.  Minette Walters is known for her thrillers, although I have never read one (yet), so I expected The Last Hours to be a bit of an historical thriller.  Oh I couldn't have been more wrong.  I can't remember the last time I struggled to finish a book but I almost gave up on The Last Hours at 33% but not one to be beaten...I forged ahead.

One thing that really stands out for me is the main character of Thaddeus Thurkell.  He's a bit of a black sheep in his family but Lady Anne sees his potential and makes him steward of the demesne when the pestilence claims the lord of the manor.  Thaddeus is such a genuine and honest character and I loved the way he interacts with everyone from the highest to the low.

To inject a bit of thriller into the novel, Minette Walters does throw in a murder and although there are a few suspects it was pretty easy to guess who the murderer was.  I still enjoyed this aspect of the book though, as the pace had been quite slow up until that point.  To be honest, if there hadn't been a murder I would have had very little to discuss about the book.

I'm sure lovers of 14th Century history will enjoy this novel, but reading it felt more like the lost hours for me.  I found the pacing slow and the storyline pretty uneventful and I was actually very surprised to find that the story was 'to be continued' in book 2: The Turn of Midnight.  Although this book wasn't for me, I'm happy to say that it definitely hasn't put me off wanting to read Minette Walters' critically acclaimed thrillers.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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Monday, 4 March 2019

The Hermitage (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 9) - LJ Ross


He thought he was invincible, but he was wrong…

When an old man is found dead inside the ancient hermitage at Warkworth Castle, Northumbria CID are called in to investigate. With no apparent motive, it’s their job to unravel why he was murdered – and this time they’re forced to do it without their star detective…

DCI Ryan is thousands of miles away. He’s tracked a killer across Europe and has sworn not to return until he has his man in custody. Nathan Armstrong is a dangerous psychopath but there’s just one problem – he’s also an international celebrity; a world-famous thriller writer with money and connections. 

Ryan is a stranger in a foreign land, but he knows one thing – he’ll never give up

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular landscapes of Northumberland and Tuscany. 


What did I think?

I admit to feeling a little nervous that my favourite Northumbrian literary detectives were heading abroad to Florence in the latest DCI Ryan book, The Hermitage.  To be honest, I wasn't just nervous, I was gutted...how could LJ Ross take these characters out of the beautiful (but seemingly deadly) North East?  Well, I needn't have worried as it turns out that you can take the detectives out of the North East but you can't take the North East out of the detectives - Frank Phillips, I'm talking about you here, my stottie loving friend.  

The Hermitage picks up the thread left dangling at the end of Dark Skies, book 7, when Nathan Armstrong, a famous author, literally gets away with murder.  As we know, Ryan is like a dog with a bone when he gets a killer in his sights and when Armstrong heads to Italy, so do Ryan and Anna.  Ryan turns into a bit of a stalker himself, turning up wherever Nathan Armstrong is, and although his actions border on harassment his charm and his team's belief in him always seem to get him out of the scrapes he inevitably finds himself in.

I may have mentioned it once or twice, but I adore my native North East and the way that LJ Ross brings our beautiful region to life in her novels, however, I was completely won over by the beautiful scenery depicted in The Hermitage; I almost felt like I was having a little holiday there myself.  I also loved finding out a bit more about Ryan's family and his childhood in his breathtaking family villa.

Of course, this isn't a travel guide so there's murder both and home and abroad for the team to solve.  With more shocks and surprises than ever, will Ryan get his man this time?  

So my fellow North Easterners, fear not that Ryan and his team are venturing to foreign climes, as there really is no place like home and they'll be back on home soil soon.  It does make me smile thinking about them abroad as you do always seem to run into a Geordie whenever you travel anywhere.  It's also testament to the multi-dimensional characters that LJ Ross has created over her previous 8 books, that the characters themselves can carry the story wherever the location.

No surprises that this is another well deserved 5 stars from me.  It's maybe not my favourite DCI Ryan book but the twists and turns are outstanding and the very satisfying ending brought a little tear to my eye.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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Saturday, 2 March 2019

Live Happy - Bridget Grenville-Cleave and Ilona Boniwell


Part self-help book, part psychology primer, Live Happy features 100 pieces of advice on leading a life of contentment. 

A distillation of the latest research into happiness, this is a guide to the tools and strategies most likely to make you happy. Informative, factual, accessible, and scientifically rigorous, Live Happy gives the best available advice across a range of situations and activities that are relevant to our happiness. 

Advice featured ranges from simple lifestyle changes, such as taking up a new hobby and spending time in the garden, to more abstract long-term goals, such as improving your luck and putting value in experiences. Presenting recent psychological and scientific studies as practical steps for the reader to take, Live Happy offers the perfect mix of practical and aspirational.


What did I think?

A lot of work has gone into the presentation of Live Happy and it certainly pays off; you can't help but smile and feel relaxed just from the beautiful sky blue sunny cover.  Each page is either coloured or illustrated with clipart style drawings of what the section is about and I really think the presentation helps to inspire and get the message across.  Although I read this book from cover to cover, it is definitely one that you will benefit from dipping in and out of when you want some inspiration.

Live Happy sets out 100 ways to fill your life with joy.  Well, I don't know about you but I'd be quite happy with just a handful of joyous activities, so with 100 to choose from I really think there will be something for everyone in this book.  A lot of the ideas to find happiness are common sense but some of them are reminders of the simple things we may have forgotten.  We are all so busy with lives running at 100 mph these days that we rarely stop to smell the roses.  Funnily enough, that is one of the tips in the book: 'connect with nature' - spend more time in the countryside or your garden as natural environments help to reduce blood pressure and stress.

For me, the sections that resonated with me and became tips that I will take away with me are: improve your luck, think highly of yourself, relieve stress, forgive yourself, worry less,  learn to like yourself, learn how to say no and my personal favourite: enjoy a glass of wine.  What I love about books like this is that somebody else will read it and pick out a different set of tips to help and inspire them.

Live Happy has something for everyone, whether you need a quick pick-me-up or a reminder to appreciate what you have in your life.  I think that everyone who reads Live Happy will end up smiling at some point whilst reading it, so the book does indeed do what it says on the cover. ­čśŐ

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Close Enough to Touch - Colleen Oakley


One time a boy kissed me and I almost died...
And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a 28-year-old woman with a unique and debilitating medical condition - she's allergic to other humans. After a humiliating, near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become reclusive in her adulthood, living the past nine years in the confines of the Victorian house her unaffectionate mother deeded to her when she ran off with a wealthy businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world - and the people in it - she's been hiding from.
One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son who believes he has untapped telekinetic powers, Eric's struggling to figure out how his life got so off course, and how to be the dad - and man - he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee...


What did I think?

With a main character named Jubilee Jenkins, this book is definitely as quirky as it sounds, whilst also being seriously thought-provoking.  Imagine having an allergy to other people's skin and going through life without being touched, hugged or kissed?  Welcome to Jubilee's lonely world.

Trapped in her own house for fear of anaphylactic shock through contact with human skin cells, Jubilee exists but doesn't live.  The death of Jubilee's mother sets of a chain of events that will change her life, just when she least expects it.  Just stepping out of the house and into her car is a big thing for Jubilee and I loved how she expected the car to start after so many years sitting idle.  It is a visit to the gas station that sets Jubilee off onto a different path when she runs into an old schoolfriend; with kids being as cruel as they are, 'friend' is perhaps not the right term for Madison but I have to give her some respect as she certainly makes up for the actions of her youth.

Jubilee manages to get a job at the local library where she meets Eric through his equally quirky adopted son, Aja.  It is no surprise that Jubilee and Aja hit it off, which is good news for Eric as he seems completely lost where Aja is concerned.  Eric's relationship with his daughter, Ellie, has all but broken down and as much as I felt for him, I really just wanted him to get a grip and make things happen.  I wanted to shake him and tell him that he's never going to make it up with Ellie when he has moved miles away and taken Aja with him; he needs to talk to her face to face and show her what she means to him.

With an allergy as severe as Jubilee's, she is of great interest to the medical world.  I loved how Colleen Oakley 'makes it real' by including excerpts from articles about Jubilee in The New York Times.  I loved watching Jubilee's story unfold as she learns not only to live with her condition but simply to live.

Close Enough to Touch is an absolutely fascinating and heartfelt story.  It has a powerful message to never give up and to always look for solutions to the seemingly impossible.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

All the Good Things - Clare Fisher


What if you did a very bad thing... but that wasn't the end of the story?
Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?

What did I think?

I've had All the Good Things on my TBR for far too long and I only picked it up by chance when I was looking for a book thin enough to fit in my bag for a long train journey.  I expected to read a handful of chapters then gaze out of the train window at the scenery whizzing by, but as soon as I picked up this book I was lost.  It's just as well the train terminated at my destination or I would have ended up somewhere completely unexpected as I turned the final page of this book.

The whole premise is breathtakingly simple as Beth, an inmate in a prison, lists all of the good things that have happened to her in her life.  Now, this might seem like an easy task to you or me, but to someone like Beth with her tragic life she has to dig a bit deeper to list her good things.  Always hovering in the background, as we read Beth's story, is the bad thing she has done.  It's not difficult to guess what it is, but as I got to know Beth, I hoped with all my heart that I was wrong.

Clare Fisher is a magnificent storyteller, creating a terribly flawed but completely believable character in Beth who I very easily began to care about.  I felt so emotionally involved in the ups and downs of Beth's story that I dreaded getting to the part that landed her in prison.  As if she could read my mind, Clare Fisher sprinkled a glimmer of hope and forgiveness into the story to help me cope with this awful but inevitable revelation.

I am completely flabbergasted that this is a debut novel; the writing is so polished and accomplished and Clare Fisher manages to make you feel everything that the main character of Beth is feeling.  It surprised me how emotional I found this book, although I didn't cry I felt as if I was experiencing all of Beth's emotions with her.  The characterisation is so multidimensional that Beth jumps from the page and she stayed with me long after I turned the final page.  All the Good Things is a completely stunning and entirely flawless debut.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Past Life - Dominic Nolan


THE ONLY THING DETECTIVE ABIGAIL BOONE REMEMBERS...IS THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HER.
Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn't remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.
Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.
Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone's only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.
Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

What did I think?

This book starts off racing at 100mph and doesn't let up for a second, so you'd better buckle up for this high-octane thrill ride.  Walk away now if you're squeamish, as the level of detail is often chilling and skin crawling but it just adds to the gritty atmosphere of the whole book.

I struggled with whether I liked Abigail Boone or not at first but she definitely grew on me.  When she wakes up with amnesia, surrounded by a family she doesn't know, she seems very indifferent to them and doesn't even care to get to know them.  I get that they are strangers to her but I couldn't understand how she doesn't even try.  Reading on, Abigail's character evolved at such a pace that I could clearly see her one track mind and dogged determination to solve the case of missing person, Sarah Still.  For Abigail, past and present, this is the one that got away and she won't rest until she finds out what happened to Sarah.

There are some very colourful characters in Past Life; I loved Boone's well named prickly colleague Barb, her friend Tess, who she knows from arresting her father and, last but definitely not least, her fellow captive Roo.  Such an array of strong female characters, who each made a lasting impression on me in their own right, just shows what a multi-layered story Dominic Nolan has written.

The whole Sarah Still investigation really intrigued me and I loved how this thread linked Boone's past and present lives.  Boone reminded me a bit of Jack Bauer in her single-mindedness and lack of fear for her own safety.  I had every confidence that she would get to the bottom of Sarah Still's disappearance, even if it killed her.  It certainly made my heart race and my palms sweat as I hitched a ride on Boone's highly dangerous rollercoaster of a journey.

Past Life is gripping and completely intense; once it grabs a hold of you, it refuses to let go.  I suspect (and hope) that this isn't the last we've heard of Abigail Boone.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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Friday, 22 February 2019

BLOG TOUR: Time Will Tell - Eva Jordan

Eva Jordan's much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling `All The Colours In-Between'.

Writer, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another. 

Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960's London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death? They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell...  


What did I think?

Eva Jordan’s books are so full of warmth and colour that you feel as if you’re catching up with an old friend who envelops you in a big hug on arrival.  I have absolutely adored, and frequently recommend, Eva’s books so I was delighted to be offered an early review copy of Time Will Tell that picks right up after the jaw dropping cliff-hanger ending of All The Colours In Between.

Our favourite blended family is back!  Time Will Tell is like two books in one as Lizzie’s story continues but we also get to read about her father, Salocin’s story and his extremely colourful past.  The story effortlessly switches between eras and I was as eager to learn of Salocin’s past as I was to find out what happened following the bombshell in the previous book.

I felt as if Eva Jordan’s very heart and soul is woven within the pages of this book as she tackles some emotional and difficult storylines with delicacy and poise.  As they overcame the hurdles of life, my heart went out to the Lamalf family and I laughed and cried along with them.   Nobody has ever extracted the essence of family as well as Eva Jordan and written the ups and downs of family life for us all to enjoy.  This book is an emotional triumph that went from my heart breaking with anguish one minute to smiling through my tears as the enviable strength of all of these characters overcame their own personal adversity. 

I really can’t rate them highly enough; you MUST pick up Eva Jordan’s books and invite the Lemalf family into your heart.  Eva Jordan’s sublime and honest writing has affected me so much that the Lemalf family have a permanent place in my heart and I love that I will just be able to turn the pages of a book when I inevitably find that I miss them.

Warm, witty, poignant and heartfelt Time Will Tell is the perfect finale to the Lemalf family story.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:


Eva Jordan is a published writer of several short stories and Time Will Tell is her third novel. Eva lives in a small town in Cambridgeshire with partner Steve and three of our four children, who are a constant source of inspiration – they are all teenagers, need I say more! Eva’s career has been varied, including working in a Women’s Refuge and more recently at the city library. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her true passion.

Follow Eva on Twitter @EvaJordanWriter








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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Absolute Proof - Peter James


Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer the phone call that would change his life – and possibly the world – for ever.
‘I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.’
What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?
This question and its answer lie at the heart of Absolute Proof, an international thriller from bestselling author Peter James.
The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence . . .


What did I think?

As a lover of Egyptian history and mythology, I was immediately drawn to this book by the eye-catching hieroglyphs on the cover and I've also read a few of Peter James' Roy Grace series so I know that he is an excellent writer.  At over 500 pages, it's quite a chunky book with a complex plot and a lot of characters so it did take me longer than I expected to read it.

The whole premise of this book intrigued me: what would happen if proof of God's existence came to light and what lengths would some people  or organisations go to prevent this happening?  This is the question that Peter James explores in Absolute Proof which injects the thriller element into the story at just the right time to keep me interested.  As reporter Ross Hunter gathers the evidence to prove God's existence, it really did feel like there were lots of people out to stop him and I had no idea who he could trust.

I think I was a little guilty of my own hype as I expected to love this book but found it a little hard going in places, so I ended up liking but not loving it.  I'm glad I've read it but it's not a book I'd recommend and I think I'd rather stick with the amazing Roy Grace series.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon

Sunday, 17 February 2019

BLOG TOUR: All the Little Lies - Chris Curran


Your whole life has been a lie…
One email is all it takes to turn Eve’s world upside down. It contains a picture of her true birth mother, Stella, and proves that Eve’s entire life with her adoptive parents has been a lie.

Now she must unravel the mystery of Stella’s dark past. But what Eve finds will force her to take enormous risks, which put her – and her new-born baby – in immediate danger…


What did I think?

I always get a thrill when a novel is set in my native North East, so I was surprised and delighted when I was reading All the Little Lies as I had no idea that Chris Curran had part set her new novel in Gateshead and Newcastle.

Aside from the amazing location, All the Little Lies is such an intriguing story with Eve trying to find out more about her birth mother, Stella.  She knows her adoptive parents know more than they are letting on and I had a constant question mark over my head as I wondered just what they were trying to hide.  

As Eve digs into Stella's story, we are treated to flashbacks of Stella's life: from her meagre beginnings as a young child in Newcastle to fame as an artist before her life was tragically cut short.  I loved the tempestuous story of Stella and Maggie; best friends or frenemies as I liked to think of them because Maggie was so jealous of Stella's artistic talent and beauty.  I didn't trust Maggie one bit and when she invited Stella to stay with her in Italy, I knew it would all end in tears.

I love reading a fiction book and learning something I didn't know.  I was so surprised to read about an art installation in Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art that I was completely unaware of.  I have visited The Baltic on numerous occasions but I have always taken the supersonic glass lift to admire the views of the Newcastle Gateshead quayside on the way.  Thanks to Chris Curran, next time I visit I will be taking the stairs to experience Mark Wallinger's Heaven and Hell art installation of a staircase that appears to stretch to infinity.

All the Little Lies is not only gripping and intriguing but it has an added hint of danger as Eve's digging into Stella's past unearths secrets that somebody wants to keep well and truly buried.  Where lies are involved, you can always expect twists and turns aplenty and All the Little Lies certainly delivers in the surprising twists stakes, many of which I really didn't see coming.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:

All the Little Lies is Chris Curran’s fourth psychological thriller for Harper Collins Killer Reads. She lives in East Sussex and writes, standing up, in a room with no view. When inspiration falters she finds tea (Earl Grey, hot) and a bout of ironing are very therapeutic. In breaks between books she dusts, cooks, walks by the sea and reads – but mostly reads.

Find her at:
Twitter @Christi_Curran  






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Saturday, 16 February 2019

BLOG TOUR: One Minute Later - Susan Lewis


You think your life is perfect.
You think your secrets are safe.
You think it’ll always be this way.
But your life can change in a heartbeat.
Brilliantly emotional, suspenseful and page-turning, One Minute Later is the stunning new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.
Susan Lewis – behind every secret lies a story.
The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Susan Lewis.
With a high-flying job, a beautiful apartment and friends whose lives are as happy as her own, Vivienne Shager is living the dream. Then, on the afternoon of Vivi’s twenty-seventh birthday, one catastrophic minute changes everything.

Forced to move back to the small seaside town where she grew up, Vivi remembers the reasons she left. The secrets, lies and questions that now must be answered before it’s too late. But the answers lie in thirty years in the past…
Shelley Raynor’s family home, Deerwood Farm, has always been a special place until darkness strikes at its heart. When Vivi’s and Shelley’s worlds begin to entwine, it only takes a moment for the truth to unravel all of their lives.


What did I think?

I am both ashamed and delighted that this is my first Susan Lewis book; ashamed that this prolific author has written so many books that I have missed and delighted to have found her, better late than never.  I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of One Minute Later that came with instructions to make the origami heart on the front cover and I absolutely loved this thoughtful touch from the publisher, HarperCollins.

Vivienne has the world at her feet until her world stops spinning and her heart stops beating on her 27th Birthday.  Faced with an unimaginable prognosis, Vivienne feels completely helpless and exhausted but fate still has some of Vivienne's story to write.  I couldn't help but be totally in awe of Vivienne as she struggled with her condition but tried to keep a smile on her face.  Of course, there's nothing like a new man to put a smile on a woman's face and oh, wow love interest Josh fitted the bill perfectly.  With time running out for Vivienne, the pair made the most of every single second and I found their happiness completely infectious.  It reminded me that each day is precious and we should seize each day with both hands and live it to the best of our abilities.

Vivienne's story is very captivating and emotional, especially for those whose lives have been touched by the dreaded transplant list.  My family has experienced both sides of this story and I fought to hold back my tears as hopes were dashed at the last minute.  I suppose it is the thoughtlessness and laziness of youth (not that I can claim to be youthful anymore) that has caused me not to sign up to the donor register, as well as thinking I may have nothing to offer.  My eyes may be lasered, my heart made of stone and my liver pickled, but it is not for me to decide which of my organs are still viable and could save lives.  So after I finished reading Vivienne's story, I immediately told my family that I wished to donate my organs in the event of my premature death; mission accomplished, Susan Lewis!

I was fascinated by the Save9Lives campaign mentioned in the book, which is supported by Susan Lewis and founded by Jim Lynskey, who is also a character in the book but is very much a real and very inspirational person.  You can find out more about Save9Lives by clicking here and read Jim's story here.

One Minute Later is heartfelt and incredibly emotional with a very powerful and inspirational message at its heart (if you excuse the pun).  It's amazing to think that lives could actually be saved by readers of One Minute Later being inspired to sign up to the donor register and Susan Lewis deserves huge recognition for this.  One Minute Later won't necessarily change your life, but it could definitely change nine other lives.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon


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