Friday, 30 January 2015

Daughter by Jane Shemilt

She used to tell me everything. 
They have a picture.
It'll help. 
But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold. She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow. She smells very faintly of lemons. 
She bites her nails. 
She never cries. 
She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child. 

Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces.
Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together?
Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?

When I read the synopsis for Daughter my curiosity was already piqued and I was hoping that this was going to be a truly gripping read.

Every parent’s worst nightmare is for their child to go missing and this is what happens to Dr Jenny Malcolm. Daughter Naomi has not come home from her theatre but no one knows if she was kidnapped or went willingly or if she is dead or alive. As Jenny works with the police to try and find some leads to help with the case other secrets are uncovered but will these leads help to find Naomi?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it did take me a few chapters to get used to the layout of the book where it keeps jumping back and forward to the time of the disappearance to a year later and it is the structure of the book that loses a star for the rating because I thought this was a gripping read but it had the potential to be so much more as I feel that the suspense could have been heightened if it was to have just been told from the time of the disappearance and gradually built up to a year later.

What the author manages to do so well is to conceal the real story behind the disappearance and even though she feeds us small clues it's not until you find out what actually happened that you then look back and see that certain events held clues and this just shows what a talented writing skill the author has. I was suspicious of everyone and it wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through that I had a strong suspicion that I knew who was involved and what had happened but I hold my hands up and say I was completely off track and reading the last chapter I resembled a goldfish with mouth wide open in surprise.

The author managed to deliver this book at a perfect pace with no feeling of the book being drawn out at all through the book it was subtly eventful the whole way through so I found the storyline held my attention the whole way through.

I made the mistake of starting this book before I went to bed and needless to say I had read 276 pages in one hit because I was so engrossed in the storyline. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the challenge of guessing the “who did it” I would be surprised if anyone worked this one out. I look forward to this authors future releases.

Kindle                    Paperback

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Ice Twins by S.K Tremayne

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again. As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

I finished reading The Ice Twins by S.K Tremayne two nights ago and I am still freaked out by it! This is not my typical genre of choice but every now and again I like to try something different.

Kirstie and Lydia have a special bond, they are identical twins and and it is only small things that can help to tell them apart, like what they play with and their nature and the way they scream in fright! In a terrible incident one of the twins Lydia dies. After a year has gone by the family are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of Lydia so Sarah and Angus decide to move to a small Scottish Island hoping the change will do the family some good but to add to the grief they are faced with shattering news when Kirstie is convinced that she is Lydia. So which of the twins really died?

I now know why they call it a Psychological thriller! I was so tense from about half way through this book right through to the end. I think what it was that really got to me was my mind started thinking this could actually happen in real life, I had twins in my class at school and I struggled to tell them apart and the bond between twins is something none of us will ever truly understand so whilst reading the book and when the surviving twin seemed to be confused about her identity it really struck a chord with me how easily this could happen.

What added to the chilling feel to this book is that at the end of each chapter there is a picture of various rooms in the new house and of the Island so you really could visualise the creepiness of the place even without the help of the authors detailed descriptions.

As well as the chilling and creepiness that is created in this book there is also a great element of suspense the storyline leads us done many paths and each time I thought I had worked something out then another spanner was thrown in the works and needless to say the outcome was completely unpredictable and had me in complete shock.

This is one of the rare books I have read that I think would be a big success made into a film., this would make a spin tingling, thrilling watch although I am not sure if I would be brave enough to watch it!

If you are looking for something that is unpredictable, thrilling that will have you hesitating to look in that mirror again then this is your read!

Kindle                    Hardback

Friday, 23 January 2015

A Place For Us by Harriet Evans

The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door.
You step inside. 
The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. 
The welcome is kind, and always warm.
Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems. After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.
But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this? Welcome to Winterfold. 
Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.

I have only read one Harriet Evans book previously and I have wanted to try another of her books. I did try reading A Place for Us earlier in the year when the book became available in parts but I was a bit impatient waiting for the next instalment so I decided to wait until the book came out as a whole so I could enjoy it all in one go.

The storyline jumps back and forward in time and each chapter alternates between each of the members of the Winter family and the lovely Joe. There are many family secrets that Martha and David the head of the family have kept from them all but Martha can no longer keep the secrets any longer and so she plans a family lunch which the Gorgeous chef Joe caters for and she plans to tell the family then but none of the family could predict the big secret Martha has been hiding.

Each chapter alternates between each member of the family and believe me there are a lot of members of this family and you cannot get bored with anyone of these characters because each and every one of them all seem to have their own dilemmas. I really enjoyed reading about Cat who is living in Paris and has kept her own secret from her family, I really longed for her to have a happy ending especially because she seemed the more normal one of the family! I also loved Joe he was misunderstood and I really felt sorry for him as you could see that he was a loving, good natured, family man. Martha, Florence and Daisy all seemed like very disturbed characters and I think a lot of Florence and Martha’s problems were all caused from the effect of the secrets whereas Daisy was an awful character and the author wrote her character very well.

I loved uncovering all the secrets and I enjoyed seeing the characters making decisions to try and turn their lives around to get themselves on the right path. There were some great unpredictable parts to the book too which is always a big bonus for me in a book.

I do feel like the book was a little too drawn out for me especially with the way the book was structured with the continual chopping and changing between each characters I did find there was a lull in the middle of the book where my interested began to waver slightly but luckily the author pulled me back it. I enjoyed this book and I will be picking up more books by this author.

Kindle                    Paperback

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as they're discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they're separated. Alex's family moves from Dublin to America - and Alex goes with them. For good. Rosie's lost without her best friend. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever - and keep her at home in Ireland. But destiny, Alex and Rosie discover, is a funny thing and fate isn't quite done with them yet…

Love Rosie is by far my favourite book by Cecelia Ahern. At the start of this book I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to carry on reading because it has a structure that I have never read before where the whole book is told from letters, emails, cards and texts between the different characters and this did take a good three or four chapters before I settled into the layout of the book. 

The main characters are best friends Alex and Rosie and the book is told from their early years at the age of seven right through until their fifties. We get to see their friendship through the years as the characters reach different points in their lives including romance, family life and careers.

I was surprised how well I connected with the characters through this style of writing. Alex and Rosie have such a special bond and although as they get older you really want bash their heads together and make them get together it is easy to see why they are both hesitant to put their feelings on the line and risk losing a special friendship.

I loved the messages from Katie and Ruby too this broke things up a little bit rather than it all being about Alex and Rosie and they brought some humour to the book too. This was a nice easy and light read there wasn’t any dull points to the book and although I was pretty sure I knew what the outcome would be I enjoyed reading about the will they won’t they journey.

I enjoyed the book so much I would love to see the film now although I can’t imagine how they have managed to turn this into a film so I am intrigued to see how they managed it!

For a fun, light and unique style read full of friendships, romance and day to day struggles in life then this will be right up your street.

Kindle                     Paperback

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning.
She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. 
If only Rachel could be that happy. 
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train… 

This week all I have been hearing about is The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, I often get intrigued by books that have a big hype around them and yet I rarely find that I feel the same about it but none the less I had to give this a try and see what all the fuss was about.

The storyline begins with Rachel who commutes to London on the train each day and the train stops in the same spot each day and she see's a couple who live in the house overlooking the track and are often sitting out on the terrace. Rachel soon becomes fascinated by the couple and she even gives them names and sets a story in her mind of their lives together. All seems quite normal so far until one day Rachel see's something that leads to a big twist in the story and she soon finds herself wrapped up in a drama surrounding the couple.

Wow! I stayed up so late last night because I just HAD to find out who did it! This really was an unpredictable and shocking read. It is quite strange looking back now how much I enjoyed the book considering I didn't like any of the characters, I think this could be because I was suspicious of everyone and also each of the characters were all flawed especially our main character Rachel who is a very lonely and depressed drunk.

I found the tension gradually building up through the book as we were taken on a journey of twists and turns. The storyline was constructed with such talent, the pace was perfect although there were a few chapters through the middle where I felt like it was a little drawn out but then this could have been because I was so eager to find out what happened next I just wanted the author to hurry up and let us in on the secret! I don't think there will be anyone reading this who will be able to guess the ending of this book this really shows the authors talent in being able to conceal who the real villain was it was almost as if the author hadn't made up her own mind as to who it was going to be!

I don't often recommend psychological thrillers as it isn't a genre that I read much of but this book is worthy of the hype it has been receiving so I will be recommending this book.

Kindle                     Hardback

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out... 

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more. 

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she's about to be given new lungs. But whose?

The best thing about starting a new year is the release of a new Jill Mansell book. I was so excited to start this author’s new book that I didn’t even read the synopsis before I started this book so I had no expectations s to what the storyline was going to be about.

The book follows three storylines, we have Hallie whose life is at a standstill as she waits for a transplant, we also meet Flo who has recently found herself a lodger to a cat! Looking after the Cat brings Zander into Flo’s life much to his sister Lena’s disgust. Then we have Tasha and Rory who become romantically involved after quite a unique meeting but they are polar opposites of each other, is their love made to last?

I loved each of the three storylines and I thought it was very clever how the author managed to weave each of them together so beautifully. Hallie’s story I found I warmed to more, I found her story very touching and her character was so string, caring and hopeful. I think because she was closer to my age I seemed to latch onto her story more so because it really makes you take a step back and realise how lucky we are and not to take things for granted. Each of the other characters were all developed so well even the little madam Lena who I just wanted to throttle.

The author brings awareness in the importance of organ donation in this book and she manages to do this is a careful and yet informative way which left me with strong thoughts and feelings about organ donations and the impact it can have on not only the people receiving the organs but also in the family and friends of those who have lost someone to know that a part of them still lives on.

There is a big twist in this book that I didn’t see coming until the moments before and I have to say this did bring a lump to my throat. This book is one that will pull at your heart strings one minute but will have you chuckling at the next minute. This is a poignant and yet uplifting read that is certainly up there with my favourite by this author.

Kindle                    Hardback

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman

Can the curvy girls have their cake and eat it? Meet best friends Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane. Fed up with always struggling to lose weight, they start a social club where size doesn’t matter. Soon it’s the most popular place to be – having fun instead of counting carbs. And the girls suddenly find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. But outside the club, things aren’t as rosy, as they struggle with the ups and downs of everyday life.

I have read two books by Michele Gorman before but after I have just finished reading her new release The Curvy Girls Club I can honestly say this is by far my favourite book by this author.

Katie, Ellie, Jane and Pixie all became friends after spending a long time at Slimming Zone all of the ladies are curvaceous women who really want to lose weight but the constant battle and restrictions begin to tire some of them but they love spending time together so they decide to use their time doing something enjoyable together instead but as news spreads what the women have been up to it sparks the interest of others who all want to join and as The Curvy Girls Club takes off problems lay in store but will their friendship be able to withstand it?

This is a perfect subject matter for this time of year as we all begin to make our new years resolutions top of a lot of lists will be the popular lose weight ( I know it is mine every year!) so a lot of us will relate to the women in this book. Although the thought of weight and diet is usually depressing Michele Gorman has shown us this but has spun a very witty and down to earth read surrounding weight loss. The author manages to start the book of very light hearted and introduces us to four very different women who are all full of life but all have their own personal troubles aside from their weight and as we get to know the characters more and the book moves along things become a bit more tender and some very difficult issues are covered but the author writes about these in a very respectful and careful way.

Parts of the book were predictable but this didn’t lower my enjoyment of the book and I have to say I really respect the author for the way she ended this book rather than a typical ending she stuck to her guns and gave us a realistic ending rather than a fairytale one but I can’t say more than this otherwise it will be a SPOILER ALERT!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Curvy Girls Club so much so I read it in a matter of hours as I couldn’t put it down it was a humorous page turner which is the pick me up we all we need in this miserable month!

Kindle                     Paperback

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember. Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet. But as the following months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted - are thrown into disarray.
Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

The Year of Taking Chances is a perfect read for this time of year, we will all soon be making our New Year’s resolutions or thinking of our hopes for 2015 so what better book to read than one about three realistic and relatable women who will be making big changes and taking chances in 2015. Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin first meet at Gemma and husband Spencer’s New Years Eve party as they bond over awfully mixed cocktails they soon find themselves reading their fortune cookies but they couldn’t predict how much the year ahead was going to have an impact on their lives.

There was such a large group of characters in this book alongside our three heroines and it did take a while to get to grips with who was who but each character brings something to the storyline to help make this an enjoyable page turner. The situations that our three heroines find themselves in are normal everyday situations which we could find ourselves in and their reactions to these problems were also realistic so you could relate or sympathise with each of the ladies. I sympathised strongly to Gemma as I have found myself in a similar position before ( thankfully not with any injuries) and at one point in the book I had got so wrapped up in her storyline that when there was one shocking remark made I had to put the book down because it had really riled me!

There is a lot of content covered in this book from family troubles to finances and relationships to name a few so at times in the book there were some emotional and touching parts but there were also fun and positive parts too so this book was still an uplifting  read. This was another well written storyline with well developed characters, this is yet another enjoyable read by Lucy Diamond a great book to kick of the year.

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