Sunday 30 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: Strictly Come Dating - Kathryn Freeman

I love Kathryn Freeman books so I am thrilled to be taking part in the Rachel's Random Resources Blog Tour for Strictly Come Dating.  Scroll down to find out about Kathryn's new book and to read my review.

Saturday nights are strictly for dancing… 

As the glitter ball shimmers and sequins flash, forty-year-old Maggie remembers the pull of the dancefloor.  But now, as a newly divorced mum of two, Maggie’s certain her dancing days are over.  Or are they…?

Encouraged by her friends, Maggie dusts off her silver stilettoes and enrols for dancing classes, all she needs now is the perfect partner.

Enter Seb.  Young, carefree and hot as hell, Seb is definitely a perfect 10!  Even though everything about him is outrageously inappropriate! But as Seb sweeps her across the dancefloor every week, Maggie begins to see a new side to him; kind, caring, funny, strong. 

And Maggie realises that he’s the only one she’d like to foxtrot with…perhaps even forever

What did I think?

I'm a huge fan of Kathryn Freeman but I have to admit that, having never watched Strictly Come Dancing and being unable to tell a foxtrot from a tango, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy her new novel, Strictly Come Dating.  I needn't have worried as I enjoyed it immensely, so take note -  this one isn't just for Strictly fans.  

Maggie is a fabulous character and I loved how she and her friends gathered around the TV each Saturday to watch Strictly together.  They take turns hosting and they're so serious about Strictly that phones and talking aren't allowed during the show.  They all gladly accept the rules until Maggie's friends' brother, Seb, arrives back from Australia and can't hold his tongue.  He finds the show amusing but spends most of the evening watching Maggie, which doesn't go unnoticed by his sisters although Maggie is completely unaware.

Seb is completely smitten with Maggie and he doesn't care that there is a 10 year age gap but Maggie is completely hung up over her age.  I wanted to give her a good talking to as she keeps going on about her age (she's mid-thirties not an OAP) but I could understand her being a bit down on herself after her husband left her and her two fabulous girls.  Seb does his best to bring back the sparkle into Maggie's life and there's nothing more sparkly than Strictly!

I loved the strong family vibe in Strictly Come Dating, both Maggie's relationship with her daughters and Seb's relationship with his sisters.  Maggie's daughters, Penny and Tabby, totally stole the show for me - they are gorgeous girls and a credit to Maggie, with no thanks to her ex-husband, Paul.  When Paul comes back on the scene he's like a Dementor from Harry Potter, sucking out all the fun from their life.  I'm surprised Maggie even let him into the house after he had been absent for two years but then she was thinking of what was best for her girls.

Strictly Come Dating is a fabulously sparkly romance that isn't just for Strictly fans, although Strictly fans will LOVE it.  It's a wonderfully heartwarming read that kept me entertained and left me with a big smile on my face.  I loved it.

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

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon US

About the author:

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

I’ve two sons and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), so any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes come in many disguises.

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Thursday 27 August 2020

Feral Snow - Mark Lowes


Alone and stranded in the Arctic wasteland, would you risk your life to save a stranger or try to get home?

Paul is a father-to-be; traumatised by his past, he's terrified of becoming a father after his own beat him until he was unilaterally deaf. While working as a freelance cameraman in the Arctic, he's caught in a blizzard, separated from his crew, and falls into a chasm. Alone, and waiting for death to come, personal demons plague his mind.

When a young native girl falls into the chasm with him, Paul must learn how to accept responsibility and what it takes to give your life for a child.

FERAL SNOW, while a tense and action-packed story, is an intimate journey between two polar opposites and how love can be forged in the unlikeliest of circumstances. It has been compared to The Revenant, 127 Hours, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

What did I think?

I was very intrigued by the synopsis of Feral Snow and I was not disappointed; it's very unusual and unlike anything I've read before.  With such a small cast of characters, indeed mainly just one or two for most of the book, I was surprised to be so completely riveted by the story.  

Paul is quite a complex character and you have to wonder at his motivation for travelling to the Arctic when his wife is very close to giving birth.  When Paul falls into a chasm with only his own thoughts for company, his layers are peeled away you begin to understand what's behind his decision.  It's often said that the abused become abusers so Paul is not afraid to die if it will keep his unborn child from harm...until he meets twelve year old Nanny.

Nanny is an awesome character, she's strong, tough and smart but her story is even more devastating than Paul's.  Nanny is the key to Paul confronting his demons and it's truly heartwarming to see Paul's character evolve.  Due to the solitary nature of the story, I did wonder if Nanny was a figment of Paul's imagination and there are quite a few moments where the reader questions what is real and what isn't.  With so much action and danger, it's not so much dreamlike as what nightmares are made of.

What is real is the effect of global warming on the Arctic and Mark Lowes weaves this into his story beautifully to get this powerful message across.  It's not just glaciers melting into the sea (which Mark Lowes vividly describes) but also the serious threat against the whole ecosystem.  The environmental issues are very cleverly incorporated into the story and it's very thought-provoking, so much so that it's been on my mind long after I finished the book.

Tense and gripping, Feral Snow is an awesome survival thriller with a powerful message and a brilliant debut novel from Mark Lowes.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Tuesday 25 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Octopus - Tess Little

When Elspeth arrives at her ex-husband’s house in the LA hills for his 50th birthday party, she’s expecting a huge crowd for the famous film director. Instead, there are just seven other guests and Persephone, Richard’s pet octopus, watching over them from her tank.

Come morning, Richard is dead.

As the investigation uncovers bruising in Richard’s throat, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new boyfriend, the cinematographer, the manager and the ex-wife, Elspeth herself.

In the weeks following the party, stories of Richard’s past surface, colliding with memories of their marriage, and Elspeth begins to question not just who killed Richard, but why these seven guests were invited, and what sort of man would want to trap this mysterious, intelligent creature.

From the LA hills to the Norfolk marshes, The Octopus is a stylish exploration of power: the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another. 

What did I think?

Set in three parts with no chapters, it takes a little while to get used to the format of The Octopus as it jumps between past and present with only a space between the paragraphs to warn the reader of a timeline change.  Both timelines are intriguing though, so I didn't mind the flicking between them as it felt like a memory being replayed in your mind and the talented writing of Tess Little pulls all of the little scenes together to produce the bigger picture.

Film director Richard Bryant is celebrating his 50th birthday and invites seven guests to his party.  Expecting a lavish affair, the guests are surprised to find they are so small in number.  Nobody is more surprised to be invited to this exclusive dinner party than Elspeth, Richard's ex-wife, especially when their daughter Lillie isn't among the guests.  Visiting Richard's home for the first time, Elspeth is mesmerised by the aquarium spanning two floors containing a giant Pacific octopus named Persephone.

I found the guests very interesting, most of them from the film industry and they are as superficial and self-centered as I imagined.  I thought it was really nice of Richard (how wrong I was) to serve dishes relating to all of his guests and they all had fun guessing which dish related to each person, apart from Elspeth's dish as she seemed to be invisible and they didn't even notice that she hadn't been matched to a dish.  I was so mad!  Clearly as the 'ex-wife', Elspeth is of no value to those in the film industry so it's like they don't even see her.

When Richard is found dead the next day, the police start an investigation into his death.  Was it an accident or was it murder?  As each guest comes under suspicion, we learn more about their relationship with Richard and we start to see what kind of a man he really was.  As Elspeth tries to piece together events from that night, she starts to doubt her memory as her past and present collide - this was very cleverly done and really has you thinking about the reliability of your own memories.  Elspeth also knows something that the police don't know: Persephone is quite an escape artist and makes a habit of escaping her tank each night.  Could the octopus have killed Richard?

With very clever plotting, intriguing characters and mesmerising writing, Tess Little has written an extraordinary whodunnit thriller that has the feel of a modern-day Agatha Christie novel.  The characters are all displayed before us as we search for clues as to who the murderer might be and I loved building up these pictures of Richard's life and his interaction with the others.  I also loved Persephone's story; it's very fascinating and so poignant that I had a little lump in my throat at the end.

Although she has previously written short stories, The Octopus is Tess Little's debut novel and it's so captivating that I found it very difficult to put down.  With this clever and compelling debut, Tess Little has proven herself to be a very talented writer; she is definitely one to watch.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Photo credit: Daniella-Shreir
Tess Little is a writer, historian, and Examination Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford, the entrance exam to which is deemed ‘the hardest exam in the world’ – questions have included ‘What is the use of magic?’ and ‘Improve the rules of any one sport’, though Tess answered a question on hip hop v. Eurovision. She is currently working towards her doctorate on the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s, having spent the last few years interviewing feminist activists and visiting archives across the UK, France, and the US. Her short stories and non-fiction have appeared in Words And Women: Two, The Mays Anthology, The White Review and on posters outside a London tube station. She was born in Norwich in 1992. The Octopus is her first novel.

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Monday 24 August 2020

Nancy Cornish PI - Amanda James

Where extraordinary things happen…you’ll find Nancy Cornish

Nancy Cornish has recently left her job at The Whistling Kettle CafĂ© in Padstow to start her own PI business. Nancy, seemingly an ordinary member of her community, has an extraordinary gift. She is able to make psychic connections with those who have passed, and objects belonging to those still living. The PI denotes Psychic Investigator, not Private Investigator. Her husband Charlie is a DS in the Truro police, and a down to earth Cornishman. In the past, he’s dismissed Nancy’s gift as ‘mumbo jumbo’, but now he accepts that she’s a very good detective. He’s over the moon that she’s been able to help him solve some important crimes, and is keen for her to keep up this good work.

As well as working with her husband in his police work, Nancy’s main mission in life is to use her gift to help others. In the grand scheme of things, the cases she solves within her community might not seem very important. However, they mean the world to those who come to Nancy for help. Some of her successes to date has been to reunite long lost lovers, track down a war hero’s missing medals, rescue a beloved pet, and find the mystery ingredient in the local butcher’s prize-winning sausages!

In this sequel to The Cornish Connection, we see people come to Nancy for all sorts of reasons. Some are new clients, some are old friends, and she often discovers that what they say they need help with, is only the beginning of their story. Nancy’s investigations and discoveries help them to see what’s most important to them in life, and how to achieve it. And as we all know, that thing is happiness.

What did I think?

I absolutely loved The Cornish Connection so I was over the moon to see the sequel, Nancy Cornish PI, released just a few months after.  Amanda James really has found the golden goose with Nancy Cornish and long may she continue to lay such fabulously entertaining golden eggs.  Nancy Cornish PI (psychic not private investigator) is such a kind, caring and warm character who has such an amazing gift that she uses to help people.

Although this is the second book in the series, you don't need to read The Cornish Connection in order to enjoy Nancy Cornish PI but you really should read it as not only is it brilliant but it gives you a good introduction to some of the characters.  Nancy is back and this time it's personal - when she receives psychic messages relating to her mother's life, you'd think it would be easy to convince her mother to take heed but not when it's something her mother doesn't want to hear.  

I love Nancy so much that the spiritual visitors she receives are even more poignant when they are her own family.  In fact towards the end of the book I thought I'd got away with just a lump in my throat until I started blubbing a few sentences later.  These visits must be so painful for Nancy, feeling the euphoria of seeing her loved one again only for it to be snatched away again as her visitor disappears like smoke on a breeze.

There are so many little stories contained within Nancy's own story, as people come to Nancy for help.  You can really feel Amanda James letting her imagination run wild as she creates such a colourful cast with a variety of stories ranging from romantic and heartwarming to suspenseful and dangerous.  It was great to see the results of Nancy's endeavours as some familiar characters also make an appearance.

As much as I wanted to race through the pages devouring every single word, I didn't want the story to end.  Pairing mystery with a supernatural edge makes for such a compelling and unique series that is also hugely entertaining and heartwarming.  Nancy Cornish PI is an absolutely brilliant book in an outstanding series and I really can't recommend it highly enough.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Sunday 23 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: Layer Cake - J. J. Connolly


Layer cake (n): a metaphor for the murky layers of the criminal world.

Smooth-talking drug dealer X has a plan to quietly bankroll enough cash to retire before his thirtieth birthday. Operating under the polished veneer of a legitimate businessman, his mantra is to keep a low profile and run a tight operation until it’s time to get out .

When kingpin Jimmy Price asks him to find the wayward daughter of a wealthy socialite who’s been running around with a cokehead, he accepts the job with the promise that after this he can leave the criminal world behind with Jimmy’s blessing. Oh, and he needs to find a buyer for two million ecstasy pills acquired by a crew of lowly, loud-mouth gangsters, the Yahoos. Simple enough, until an assassin named Klaus arrives to scratch him off his list, revealing this job is much more than it seems at first.

From the glitz of the London club scene of the 1990’s to the underbelly of its criminal world, Layer Cake is the best in British crime fiction.

What did I think?

I didn't realise that Layer Cake was a book before it was a film until the 20th Anniversary edition of the book was advertised.  I watched the film before I read the book so I was intrigued to see how they would compare.  I really wanted to be able to say that the book was better, which it is to a degree, but J. J. Connolly wrote both the book and the screenplay so the film storyline follows the book very closely indeed.  Reading the book actually enhanced the film for me as I got to know the characters better and accessed more details of the story.

One thing I struggled with at first was the usage of slang in the book so I found myself stopping to google things every few minutes.  It does give massive authenticity to the story but I could've done with a little glossary at the end of the book where I could look up things like boob, lolly pops and lionels.  The slang is completely necessary though as it immerses the reader into the heart of drug-fuelled London and it feels like the main character is talking to you and taking you into his confidence.

There is no honour among thieves and there are no friends in the drug scene.  It's all very cutthroat and it's a business that the main character, X, wants to retire from as he approaches his 30th birthday.  The drug scene is kind of like a beehive with a king instead of a queen at the top and various levels of workers beneath him, hence the title of the book: Layer Cake.  X just wants to make enough money so that he can spend his days sitting on a beach sipping cocktails in the sun, but getting out of the business might not be that easy.  When he is given a strange task to find a missing girl, X becomes the hunter and the hunted.

Dark, gritty, brutal and brilliant, Layer Cake is a stunning portrayal of the British drug scene in the noughties.  The writing is so vivid and fresh that you feel as if there is a movie being projected into your brain from J. J. Connolly's intense and authentic words.  You've seen the film, now read the book; it's an absolute classic.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Saturday 22 August 2020

BOOKSTAGRAM TOUR: The Search Party - Simon Lelic

16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.

Five friends set out into the woods to find her.

But they're not just friends...


You see, this was never a search party.

It's a witch hunt.

And not everyone will make it home alive...

What did I think?

What an intensely gripping book!  Filled with intrigue and overflowing with tension, I really enjoyed The Search Party by Simon Lelic.  It took me a little while to get used to the format of the book as the teenagers' one sided conversations felt a bit odd at first but it really does add to the intrigue and I was turning the pages at speed, desperate to find out what had happened to Sadie Saunders.

Although there is an ongoing police investigation into Sadie's disappearance, her friends decide to form their own search party.  Sadie's friends are also suspects in her disappearance and their police interviews and individual stories are told in their own words as each character gets a voice in their own chapters.  With tension mounting and tempers fraying, friendships are stretched to the limit and as they turn on each other, only the strong will survive.

There is so much intrigue packed into this book that it's virtually impossible to put down.  DI Robin Fleet has his own demons to fight, both metaphorically and physically, as Sadie's case brings back disturbing memories for him.  His backstory is excellent and it's so sad to see how events in the past can shape your life.  In addition to Sadie's disappearance, there's also another riveting aspect to the story that isn't a spoiler as it's mentioned in the blurb: not all of the search party make it home alive.  This part of the story is almost as riveting as what happened to Sadie, and I have to admit to forgetting about Sadie sometimes as I raced to find out what had happened in the woods.

It's a long time since I've been a teenager but I think Simon Lelic has totally nailed the individual voices of the teens.  They each have their own quirks and characteristics and you really get to know them throughout the course of the book.  Simon Lelic also touches on social media bullying, which you can't seem to escape these days, but it must be devastating to be the brunt of it whilst dealing with teenage angst.  

With multi-layered storylines, The Search Party had me completely hooked from start to finish.  It's gripping, pacy and taut throughout with a jaw-dropping conclusion that I really didn't see coming.  The Search Party is a very impressive novel from Simon Lelic and I absolutely loved it.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Wednesday 19 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Perfect Couple - Lisa Hall

When Emily applies for a job as a housekeeper for widower Rupert, it’s a chance to start over – a steady job and regular money means she can work towards her own place, not sharing a grimy flat with old mate, Mags.

As Emily gets to know more about Rupert’s world – how he likes his supper when he comes in from work, who his friends are – she can make sure everything runs like clockwork for him.

Soon there’s a spark between them; Rupert likes Emily and invites her to stay. For good.

To the outside world, they really seem to be a perfect match. There’s just the small issue of what really happened to Rupert’s first wife…

A gripping, razor-sharp game of cat and mouse, from the bestselling author, Lisa Hall.

What did I think?

The Perfect Couple is another brilliant book from Lisa Hall that drew me in from the start, filled me with an air of trepidation throughout and left me gobsmacked at the end.  Lisa Hall's imagination seems to know no bounds as she constantly comes up with amazing unique plots that shock and surprise the reader.

Newlyweds, Rupert and Emily are the perfect couple, or should that be Rupert and Caro?  All of Rupert's friends tell Emily that Caro and Rupert were the perfect couple and they were all left shocked and distraught after Caro's sudden death.  After a whirlwind romance, Emily transforms Cinderella-style from housekeeper to lady of the manor but there's trouble in paradise when Emily feels like someone is watching her and she receives disturbing threats.  While Emily tries to work out who is threatening her, and she has a few suspects, she starts to wonder what really happened to Caro and begins to put the pieces of the jigsaw together.

So many alarm bells were going off in my head when I was reading The Perfect Couple.  I'm not going to say what they were as it would spoil the plot but I was constantly questioning the motives of the characters.  Some characters make decisions that seem strange and unbelievable when you consider their history but it all makes sense in the end.  All of my 'why would she...' and 'why did he...' questions were answered with a big 'OH I SEE', because I totally didn't see at the time due to Lisa Hall being the Mistress of Deception.

Gripping, intriguing and twisty, The Perfect Couple is a stunning psychological / domestic noir thriller.  Lisa Hall is absolutely on fire and long may it continue as her books are guaranteed page-turners and The Perfect Couple is no exception.  Keep 'em coming, Lisa!

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Tuesday 18 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers - Robin A. Crawford

The evocative vocabulary, wit and wisdom of the Scots language – from Robert Burns to Twitter.

Scottish writer and bookseller, Robin Crawford, has gathered 1,000 Scots words – old and new, classical and colloquial, rural and urban – in a joyful celebration of their continuing usage. His amusing, erudite definitions put each of these words in context, revealing their evocative origins and essential character. Delightful line drawings by Scottish printmaker Liz Myhill contribute to this treasury of linguistic gems for language lovers everywhere.

The Scots language is intricately bound up in the nation’s history, identity, land and culture. It is also a living and vital vernacular, used daily. With references to Robert Burns mingling with contemporary examples from Billy Connolly and even Monty Python, Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers revels in the richness of one of our oldest languages, and acts as a precious 
reminder of words that are also beginning to fade away, their meaning and value disappearing.

Clishmaclaver: the passing on of idle gossip, sometimes in a book.

Inkie-pinkie: weak beer.

Sodie-heid: literally, ‘head full of soda bubbles’, airhead.

Smowt: youngster, technically a young trout or salmon but also affectionately applied to a child.

Simmer dim: Shetland term for long summer evenings where due to the northern latitude it never really gets dark.

Dreich: grey, miserable, tedious; usually applied to weather but indicative of the Scots temperament, hence it being voted Scotland’s favourite word in a recent poll (or perhaps indicative of the temperaments of Scots who feel the need to participate in online polls): ‘It’s gey dreich the day.’

What did I think?

I absolutely love books that explore the meaning of words, usually in the English language, so I was very intrigued by Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers: a treasury of 1,000 Scottish words.  It is well named as a treasury as this book is a little gem; I read it cover to cover for review purposes but it's the perfect book to dip in and out of and be entertained and delighted every single time.

ailsa cock (puffin)

Appearance wise, the book is beautiful with shiny gold lettering and a lovely purple thistle on the front.  After the fabulous introduction (which includes regional translations of a line from Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo), the format is that of a dictionary but with stunning line drawings setting the theme of each section.  Each word is listed along with its meaning and often it's origin or an example of its usage.  I really enjoyed reading the excerpts of poems, novels and traditional rhymes and the sources are listed at the end of the book for any readers interested in further reading. 

I was surprised how many Scottish words we actually use in the North East of England and reading them in Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers brought to mind fond reminiscences of my childhood: playing dooky apples at Nanna's and giggling when my Uncles tickled me under the oxters.  I recall Nanna putting the sneck on to pop out for some messages and getting all the patter from the nebby women - this sentence might sound like a foreign language to some people but it makes complete sense to me.

The beauty of this book is that every reader will find something different that fascinates, intrigues or amuses them.  I started to make notes of my favourite words but there were just too many of them.  From the moment I picked up Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers and flicked through a few pages I knew that I was going to love it; it's a book that I will pick up over and over again and find something different every single time.  

Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers is a delightful addition to any bookcase and I expect my copy will be well thumbed and constantly recommended as these fabulous words are too good to keep to myself.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

kellas cat
kellas cat (wildcat)
Born in Glasgow, writer and Scottish bookseller Robin A. Crawford has a particular interest in the culture and natural heritage of his native land. He is the critically acclaimed author of Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year, longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2019. He lives in Fife, Scotland, with his wife. He is available for interview.

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Monday 17 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Girl You Forgot - Giselle Green

I was an early reader of The Girl You Forgot by Giselle Green so I was thrilled to get a spot on the blog tour and I was completely over the moon to see my name in the acknowledgements section of the book.  It is my pleasure to publish my review as part the of the Rachel's Random Resources blog tour.

Does the heart never really forget?

When Ava’s partner Will is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, the doctors give Will one chance to survive - an operation which means he will lose his recent memory. Ava begs him to take the chance, sure that she can cope with Will forgetting her. After all, they have something very special to live for.

But they are also keeping a heart-breaking secret, and if Will loses his memory, Ava will have to carry that secret alone.

Can they rebuild their love from scratch or will their secrets and past come between them? Will Ava really be a stranger when Will wakes up – or does the heart never really forget…

Giselle Green returns with a heart-breaking, deeply moving story of love, loss, and what it really means to be alive. Perfect for all fans of Jodi Picoult, Susan Lewis and Diane Chamberlain.

What did I think?

A heart-wrenching moral dilemma lies at the heart of The Girl You Forgot: should we lie to protect those we love, even if they have asked us to?  Giselle Green has written such a powerful, emotive and thought-provoking book with completely relatable characters that you can't help but wonder what you would do in the same circumstances.

Ava has just found out that she's pregnant when Will is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.  Will has the hardest decision to make: should he have the operation at the risk of losing his memory or enjoy what time he has left?  Will decides to go in for surgery but only after he makes Ava promise to withhold something from him when he wakes up.  Will's surgery is successful but he has lost all of his memories from the last 7 years; understandably confused to wake up with a girlfriend he doesn't recognise by his side, he asks Ava to promise to always tell him the truth.  What a double whammy!  Poor Ava.

My heart really went out to both Will and Ava.  As lovely as it was to see Will fall in love with Ava all over again, it was heartbreaking when he admits that wasn't able to experience the simplest of emotions: happiness.  Ava is torn between keeping her promise to Will before the op and keeping her promise to Will after the op.  I certainly didn't envy her that moral dilemma!  I loved how Ava confides in gardener, Harry, who has memory loss issues of his own.  Harry has some amazing words of wisdom for Ava, which is food for thought for her and the reader.   

The Girl You Forgot is a beautiful story, beautifully written by Giselle Green.  It's full of heart being heartbreaking, heart-wrenching and heartwarming in equal measure.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Giselle Green is an award-winning, bestselling contemporary women's fiction author. Mum to six boys (half of whom have flown the nest) and owner of one bright orange-and-cinnamon canary who hopefully never will, Giselle enjoys creating emotionally-gripping storylines about family and relationships.

Social Media Links – 
Twitter Profile: @gisellegreenUK
Facebook Profile: Giselle Green Author

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Friday 14 August 2020

SOCIAL MEDIA TOUR: The Revolt - Clara Dupont-Monod


It is with a soft voice, full of menace, that our mother commands us to overthrow our father . . .

Richard Lionheart tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1173, she and three of her sons instigate a rebellion to overthrow the English king, her husband Henry Plantagenet. What prompts this revolt? How does a great queen persuade her children to rise up against their father? And how does a son cope with this crushing conflict of loyalties?

Replete with poetry and cruelty, this story takes us to the heart of the relationship between a mother and her favourite son - two individuals sustained by literature, unspoken love, honour and terrible violence.

What did I think?

I don't know a great deal about Plantagenet history but we've all heard of Richard the Lionheart and perhaps also his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Both of these historical figures are brought to life by Clara Dupont-Monod in The Revolt.  The Revolt is an absolutely stunning piece of historical fiction; it's so good that I read it in one sitting, being unable to put it down until I had greedily devoured every single word.

Never have historical figures spoken so clearly and vividly from within the pages of a book.  It's highly commendable that Clara Dupont-Monod has managed to breathe so much life into these 12th century figures, making them so multi-dimensional that it's quite remarkable.  Of course, the author has used her artistic license to create such amazing characters whilst still maintaining as much historical accuracy as possible.  I did google a few things that intrigued me and found them to have a basis in fact.

Written in the voice of both Richard and Eleanor, with a few guest chapters from notable characters, I learnt so much more about this period of history than I have ever managed to absorb from a history book.  I've always found Eleanor of Aquitaine to be a fascinating historical figure but I've struggled to find a book about her that held my interest for more than a few chapters.  The Revolt is precisely the book I have been searching for; it didn't just hold my interest, it completely gripped and captivated me from start to finish.

Often lyrical and poetic in its prose, The Revolt is exceptionally well written by Clara Dupont-Monod and impeccably translated from French by Ruth Diver.  It's a fascinating and captivating account of one of the most powerful and influential women in English history.  I didn't have to think twice before awarding 5 stars to this stunning novel.  A very highly recommended read.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Thursday 13 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: Dead to Her - Sarah Pinborough



When Marcie met Jason Maddox, she couldn’t believe her luck. Becoming Jason’s second wife catapulted her into the elite world of high society. But underneath the polite, old money manners, she knows she’ll always be an outsider, and her hard-won life hangs by a thread.


Then Jason’s widowed boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. Young, beautiful, reckless – nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. Including Jason.


Marcie refuses to be replaced so easily. People would kill for her life of luxury. What will Marcie do to keep it?


What did I think?

I've been a fan of Sarah Pinborough ever since I discovered her fantastic retelling of classic fairy tales, so I know to expect the unexpected in a Sarah Pinborough book.  Dead to Her has so many different facets to it that it's like looking into a brilliant cut diamond and seeing every colour of the rainbow.  

Set in the deep south of America where the rich and privileged are part of an exclusive club, so it's a dream come true for second wives Marcie and Keisha to be included.  Marcie hails from a trailer park and was waitressing when she caught the eye of Jason Maddox.  Jason's boss, widower William Radford IV returned from a trip to Europe married to young Londoner Keisha, which causes quite a stir among his peers.  The men can't take their eyes off Keisha and their wives are watching their every move.

In an effort to keep her friends close and her enemies closer, Marcie befriends Keisha and gets drawn into daring and dangerous territory.  This is where the novel gets a bit acid trippy but it's actually written in quite a dreamlike way so it does work well.  I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of spoiling it, but you do feel as if anything could happen and indeed it does.  There's certainly a few occasions where I said: "I didn't expect that" and you can't ask for much more in a thriller.  Oh and I've only just discovered coconut water, but I'll never be able to drink it without thinking about something else now.  Cheers, Sarah!

Compelling, surprising and dreamily seductive, Dead to Her is a scorching thriller from Sarah Pinborough.  It takes a little while for the thriller part of the story to get going, but once it does you'd better buckle up for this wild and crazy ride.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Hailing from Milton Keynes, Sarah has written more than 20 novels across a variety of genres. Her international number 1 bestseller, BEHIND HER EYES, brought widespread success. The book was a word of mouth sensation, receiving quotes and endorsements from authors such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Harlan Coben. It was one of the most talked about publications of recent years, with the hashtag #WTFthatending reaching over 600 million people on social media. The book was both a hardback and a paperback number 1 bestseller in the UK.

Left Bank Pictures and Netflix have just completed filming the TV mini-series of BEHIND HER EYES, starring The Night Manager’s Simona Brown, Murder on the Orient Express’ Tom Bateman, The Knick’s Eve Hewson and Game of Thrones’ Robert Aramayo. TV rights to DEAD TO HER have been sold to Tracy Y Oliver and First Look Media/Topic Studios
Sarah also writes for film and TV and her YA novel 13 MINUTES is currently being developed by the team behind The O.C. for Netflix. 

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