Monday, 14 April 2014

Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?

Ghostwritten is the first book I have read by Isabel Wolff, I was intrigued by this book as Ghost Writers have always interested me, but I have never really enjoyed historical fiction so I was unsure how I was going to get on with this book as it talks of the Second World War.

Jenni is a Ghost Writer who has agreed to write the memoires of Klara who is reaching her 80th birthday and so she feels it is time to tell her story of her childhood years spent in the Second World War As Klara opens up to Jenni the pair soon become comfortable with each other to open up about the secrets that both of them hold from their pasts.

I was so immersed in this storyline that I couldn’t put it down. The beginning of the book was typical for the usual books I read, light hearted with a troubled romance and hidden secrets which I love and as the book progressed it then began to change path and as Klara began to tell her story of life living through the Second World War the storyline grew deeper and took a more serious and meaningful path. I have never been one that showed much interest in history but this book really touched me and I found that I had many questions in my mind as I was reading about the events that Klara mentioned. The author has quite clearly taken extensive research for this book and also her descriptive writing made this book feel so real.

Although both Klara and Jenni are main characters and both have a story in their past to tell it was Klara that really shone for me in this book she was such a homely, intelligent and brave character and from the moment we are introduced to her character we warm to her. Jenni is still a great character but she didn’t seem to drop her barriers even after she reveals her secret so I didn’t warm to her like I did Klara.

This is a poignant, compelling read that will stay in my mind for a long time yet and I have found another great author to add to my favourites. 

Kindle          Paperback

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Beautiful Day by Kate Anthony

Today is the day that things are going to change for Rachel Bidewell. She will walk through the doors of Clifton Avenue Care Home and start a new life. Rachel is returning to work. And as she discovers, juggling a new job, three children and an ex husband can feel like drowning.  Someone needs to throw her a lifeline... 

Philip doesn't seem like an obvious lifesaver. He has just lost the one person who ever cared for him and, even as an adult, he doesn't know how to live in the real world.

But might Philip and Rachel each have something the other needs?

Beautiful Day is the stunning debut by Kate Anthony. It follows the story of Racheal as she gets used to the challenges of her new life since her husband left her for another woman, she now has to juggle the day to day needs of their three children as well as starting a new job at ……………. Care home. It soon becomes apparent that this isn’t going to be a normal 9-5 job that she can switch off from when she is made key worker of a new resident Philip. Philip is a large full grown man whose mum has died, he has never been in the outside world and he doesn’t communicate well. How will Racheal find a natural balance to life to help herself as well as her children and Philip?

I really felt for our main character Racheal I think she deserves a medal, you could feel the hurt in her when trying to deal with Deborah but for me it was heartbreaking the emotion you feel when she has to try and deal with one of her children wanting to stay with his dad and his new partner when she just wants to keep all of her family close and together, as a parent this must be one of the hardest things to deal with battling between what is best for your child and having to deal with another woman looking after your child. If her personal life isn’t hard enough she then has the lovely Philip to care for.

Philip really touched my heart and it is because of his character that I really do hope the author releases a follow up to this book just to see his progress, I am surprised how much I found I cared for the lovely Philip.

It is quite clear from the authors writing that she has in-depth knowledge of not only people with disabilities but also within the care community. It really is a thought provoking read that also has a splash of romance as well as some witty humour to lighten the tone. For me this was a brilliant debut and I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author in the future.

Kindle           Paperback

Friday, 11 April 2014

The List by Joanna Bolouri

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn't feel fabulous.
It's been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she's always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe's got her work cut out for her.

Reading the synopsis of The List by Joanna Bolouri I was sure this was going to be an entertaining witty read what was exactly the kind of read I was looking for. The storyline follows Phoebe as she creates a list of ten things she has always wanted to try in bed and so she is looking for no strings attached sex so she can tick off all of the things on her wish list.

I wasn’t going to review this book as I was so confused by this book I still don’t know if I love it or not! When I first started the book I was unsure if I was going to be able to finish it, although Phoebe seemed like a fun character I just found the storyline so unrealistic, I mean I can imagine what my boy mates would say if I asked them to help me out! So I did stop reading this book for a week or so but there was something about it that was calling me back I mean it is fiction so it doesn’t need to be realistic, so I picked it back up and as I began reading again I actually began to really enjoy and I actually finished the book that afternoon!

As you can imagine there are many sex scenes but it didn’t feel like an erotic book it wasn’t steamy and sexy. She seemed to have sex so often that it was like a routine of cleaning her teeth! It was a fun and naughty read that at times did have me laughing out loud. Yes the ending was predictable but it isn’t always about the destination it is the journey getting to it. I think Phoebe’s character and the humour was what kept me reading this book and I do love a fast paced book.

If you are looking for a witty read then this will be a great read for you but just be prepared to have an open mind. It is currently only 98p on kindle which is a great price for this book. ( price at time of review)

To be in with a chance to WIN a copy of The List, a hilarious and raunchy read by Joanna Bolouri, simply Tweet: One year. One single woman. Ten very naughty challenges @scribbles78 #TheList @quercusbooks

Kindle                    Paperback

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Accident by C.L Taylor

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. 

In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past. Sue will do anything to protect her daughter.

But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?

When I met author Cally Taylor at a book event early this year she was telling me about the new direction her writing has taken and that her new book The Accident was due to be released in April. I loved Cally Taylor’s books but I have to be honest and say as much as I loved them I was unsure how I was going to get on with a deeper and darker side to her writing  I was just hoping that I loved it just as much as her previous books.

Sue cannot believe that her daughter Charlotte would just accidentally step out in front of a bus, as she sits there holding her daughters hand now she is lying unresponsive weeks later still in her coma she is determined to get to the bottom of what events occurred before the tragic accident. But as chilling events occur is it her mind playing tricks on her or is what she begins to uncover true?

This book showed Cally Taylor at her best and I am sure that this book is going to be a big hit because it absorbs you into the storyline and then does not let you go! This is a chilling read that will give you goosebumps, it had me on edge I was sure I was going to have to watch Finding Nemo before I went to bed!

This is a thrilling read that keeps you guessing the whole way through. The chapters switch back and forth between Sue’s past and the present day which worked really well in this book. I was so captivated by this book that I was actually shocked when it ended I hadn’t realised I had reached my last few pages.

The author has such a clever way of creating characters who are full bodied but that you never really know. I found myself constantly questioning if I could trust each one or if they had something to hide, the only character I had in the clear was our protagonist Sue everyone else in my eyes were in the line up.

This is by far Cally Taylor’s best book yet and I think this is going to be a hard one for her to beat. Chick lit is where I am most comfortable and what I thoroughly enjoy but this book was an addictive read that I have already been recommending to friends, I wouldn’t be surprised if this book makes it into my top 10 of 2014. I can’t wait for another Thriller by this author.

Get in quick if you have a kindle as it is currently only 99p! ( at time of review)

Kindle             Paperback

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke Review and Interview

Today on the blog I am joined by the talented Lucy Clarke.

 1) Hi Lucy thank you for coming over to Rea Book Reviews today to answer some questions for me. Firstly your debut novel The Sea Sisters received amazing reviews and was one of the hottest books of 2013, did this make you feel added pressure for book two?
Luckily there were eighteen months between finishing The Sea Sisters and it actually landing on the shelves over here in the UK, so in that time I wrote A Single Breath. I had no idea whether The Sea Sisters would take off or not, so I just got my head down and focused on my second novel. That removed a huge amount of pressure because, yes, I think it would have been very hard otherwise. Also, to avoid that sort of ‘slump’ when you’ve finished writing a book, I try to make sure that I have my next idea in mind a few months before completing a novel. That way, there’s no time to fret about writer’s block as the next idea is already fizzing and popping!

 2) For me A Single Breath was even better than The Sea Sisters and I think this is because of the suspense that you created, do you plan how you are going to include the twists before you start writing the book or do they come to you naturally as you progress with the book?
Thank you – it’s lovely to hear this. I do a lot of planning before I begin writing. I know the key events that will happen, and how the novel will end – but inevitably, as you write, things change. Many of my favourite twists in A Single Breath presented themselves as I started to inhabit the world of my characters. 

 3) Your descriptive writing style is breathtaking and sets the scene beautifully, did you spend time in Tasmania for research for this book? What other research did you do for this book?
I spent two winters in Tasmania researching. Very good friends of ours emigrated there, so my husband and I flew out to visit them in 2011. The place got under my skin and I loved the wild, frontier feel of the land, so decided to set a novel there. I went back the following winter on a research trip and had an incredible month doing a recce of the island, working out where specific events in the novel would take place, as well interviewing locals, including two fascinating marine biologists. I also learnt to scuba dive in Tasmania, which gave me a beautiful insight into the underwater world, and helped me write the freediving scenes within the novel.

4) Are you currently working on book three and is there anything you can tease us with? Will it be following the sea theme?
Yes, I’m currently writing my third novel – and loving every moment of it! The working title is The Blue, and the novel is set on a yacht sailing towards the South Pacific, crewed by a group of travellers. Best friends, Lana and Kitty, join the yacht in the Philippines and sail through crystal clear lagoons, and remote, uninhabited islands. But, on a 10-day ocean crossing, the crew wake to discover one of their friends is missing – and no one claims to have seen anything. Disturbed by the disappearance, relationships between the crew begin to fracture, and Lana and Kitty’s friendship is stretched to breaking point. It’s a story of friendship, hedonism, and the delicate balance between truth and lies. 

 5) Where do you usually write?
My favourite place to write, where I have my clearest thought, has always been by the sea. I’ve grown up on the south coast of England, so the sea has always been part of my life. Cities are wonderful and exciting places to be, but after a few days I feel an almost gravitational pull towards the coast. Our family has a beach hut where I tuck myself away to write. The hut is quiet, sits right on the sand, and has views stretching for miles. In the summer this is where I go to write, even on rainy, blustery days. Sometimes they’re the best! Plus it means I can take lovely breaks and go for beach strolls, swims, or a paddleboard. Winter is a bit more challenging. I have a ‘writing room’ at home and luckily my husband works from home too, otherwise I think I’d find the quiet a bit much. I generally don’t like to be confined to my desk, so I’ll often move around the house, using the lounge or bedroom to write in, too. And I absolutely have to get outside every day. We also travel for part of every winter, so when we’re away my writing space can be anywhere: a beach, a cafe, a hostel, an airport lounge. Sometimes a roaming office can be the best type of creative space there is.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. I am sure you all want to know more about A Single Breath now so check out my review below.

The deeper the water, the darker the secrets.

There were so many times I thought about telling you the truth, Eva. What stopped me was always the same thing… When Eva’s husband Jackson tragically drowns, she longs to meet his estranged family. The journey takes her to Jackson’s brother’s doorstep on a remote Tasmanian island. As strange details about her husband’s past begin to emerge, memories of the man she married start slipping through her fingers like sand, as everything she ever knew and loved about him is thrown into question. Now she’s no longer sure whether it was Jackson she fell in love with – or someone else entirely… The truth is, it was all a lie . . .

A Single Breath is Lucy Clarke’s second novel and one I have been eagerly awaiting after reading her stunning debut Sea Sisters last year.

After Eva’s husband Jackson drowns she is left heartbroken and feeling the need to be with his family over in Tasmania. There is one problem, Jackson’s family have never met Eva, so when she arrives she doesn’t receive the welcome she was hoping for and as her time on the Island increases more secrets are being discovered.

This was yet another masterpiece by Lucy Clarke. I was unsure if this author was going to be able to bring us another book like Sea Sisters but this was fantastic and in my honest opinion this book blows Sea Sisters out of the water.

The book quickly grabs your attention from the first chapter and manages to hold it all the way through. The best thing though for me about this book is the suspense. I cannot tell you the last time I read a book where I had absolutely no idea as to what secrets were going to be uncovered, this book had me clueless right until about 50 pages before the end so it was well and truly a compelling read. The author has a clever writing style where although she leaves a trail of crumbs of clues along the way it isn’t until you know the secrets that you look back and see the clues.

The book covers a variation of topics from secrets, lies and deceit to tragic events to heartbreak and romance so there really is a lot packed into this book for everyone to enjoy.

Eva was a very plain, ordinary character but this actually worked well with this book, I think because she seemed so normal it made the storyline feel more realistic which then helped with the shocking discoveries. My favourite character though has to be the deliciously gorgeous Saul, he was a very guarded distant character when we first met him but underneath it all he is actually a very caring and loving man who you can’t help but drool over!

I am very excited about this author I think she is going to be one to watch, I cannot wait for her next release. If you are looking for a compelling page turner that is full of suspense then make A Single Breath your next read.

Kindle             Paperback

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello

Three best friends. One five-star hotel. Will it be the holiday of a lifetime . . .? 

Imogen and her friends Meredith and Nicola have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool. So when Meredith wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in unapologetic luxury. But when the worst crisis of her working life erupts back home, Imogen has to juggle her BlackBerry with a Manhattan, while soothing a hysterical boss and hunting down an AWOL assistant.

Between a robbery, a run-in with hotel security staff and an encounter on a nudist beach that they'd all rather forget, the friends stumble from one disaster to the next. At least Imogen has a distraction in the form of the gorgeous guy who's always in the right place at the very worst time. Until, that is, his motives start to arouse a few suspicions . . . 

If I am in the need for a book to make me laugh I always know I am best picking up a Fiona Gibson or Jane Costello book as both of these ladies write fantastic books with great down to earth humour which is what I needed this week so I made a start on The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello.

Imogen is about to embark on a 5* luxury holiday with her best friends Meredith and Nicola, but she is worried about leaving her daughter behind and also taking time away from work but this break is long overdue and it is about time she kicks back and relaxes, although it soon becomes apparent this holiday is not going to be a holiday that recharges her batteries!

This is going to be a perfect book to take away with you to read around the pool on your holidays this year. In true Jane Costello form there is a lot of witty humour weaved around this light, fast paced storyline that will have you snorting into your pina colada. I was laughing out loud at the “bird poo” incident among many other situations in this book. Each time you think nothing else disastrous could go wrong something else would happen to top the previous drama.

Imogen and Harry are the main characters in this book and I loved them both. Harry was a pure gentleman and Imogen bless her is a bit of a clutz, bad things seem to follow her. The only little niggle I had is the girls friendship didn’t really shine through for me in this book, Imogen could well have gone away on a break on her own and the storyline would have been pretty much the same.

There was a little mystery through the book surrounding Imogen's ex which was a nice touch. The storyline is a lot lighter than the authors previous books so there isn't much I can say in my review without giving spoilers so all I am going to say is if you want the perfect easy read for your holiday this year full of humour, disastrous situations and a touch of romance then you will love this entertaining witty read by the wonderful Jane Costello.

Kindle         Paperback

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance

Good brides promise to obey. 
Bad brides wouldn't dream of it…
Milly Gamble is an up-and-coming actress, and the perfect English flower child. At 23, she's always been cast as the innocent heroine. But looks can deceive. Calculating and fiercely ambitious, Milly is determined to be the most famous star in England. And how better to achieve her goal than by dating Tarquin Ormond, lead singer of the biggest folk band of the moment? Tarquin is madly in love with Milly; Milly is only in love with herself.

Brianna Jade is an all-American pageant girl. The daughter of Tamra Maloney, a stunning billionairess, Brianna is a sweet, pretty girl who is more than happy to go along with her mother's ambitious plans for her. Now Tamra's brought her to the UK and hooked her up with an Earl. He has a crumbling stately home and needs a rich wife to help restore it to its former glory. Tamra is as ambitious and determined as Brianna is sweet and innocent - is this more a case of mother-in-law-zilla than bridezilla? 

Both Milly and Brianna's upcoming weddings will be huge, lavish events that garner national press. But with the cover of the biggest magazine in the country to be won, things are about to get very dirty…

I am due to get married in June this year so at the moment I cannot stop reading Wedding themed books so when I was looking on Netgalley and came across Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance I had to request it as I love this author’s book and as a bonus it is about brides!

With the front cover of a new magazine needing a bride for the first issue, two beautiful brides are up for the running, but being brides are the only thing that these two ladies have in common as they couldn’t be more different and they are both hopeful to get their face on the front of that cover!

Milly is an up and coming actress who will do anything to further her career including marrying a band member Tarquin. Brianna Jade hasn’t always had a glamorous life but with her mums determination she is now about to marry an Earl.
With both Weddings looming which Brie will make it on that front cover?

Before I gush over how great this book is, I first have to point out the stunning cover, as with all of Rebecca Chance covers they are sporting a divine pair of shoes and along with the light and fresh colours used this is sure to be one to lure you from the shelves.

Now I can Gush away! How different this is to the wedding themed books I have read recently! This book is full of very strong and ambitious women who will do whatever it takes to get where they want to be. There are no fluffy lovey dovey brides in this book!

There is drama, scandal and copious amount of sex. Now this book is by no means tame so if you don’t like a bit of rough and ready detailed sex scenes then you are not going to enjoy this book. I have heard this book called “steamy” that is not personally how I would describe it I would say it damn right filthy but fabulously fun! This book definitely see’s the authors writing and her naughtiest.

The sex scenes work well with this storyline and I definitely found myself hooked. In some respect parts of the book were predictable but equally there were enough shocking surprises to make up for it.

There is a great deal of descriptive writing in this book which really set the scene perfectly so you could really visualise everything. This was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed although I do hope it is nothing like the lead up to my big day!

Kinde                   Paperback
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