Thursday, 30 April 2015

Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlin

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realises, too late, that bringing an adorable puppy into work at the local nursery was a bad idea, especially after the ensuing chaos gets her the sack. Determined to turn a negative into a positive, Cat decides this is the perfect opportunity to get her dog-walking business off the ground with the help of her flatmates, Polly and Joe. After all, Primrose Terrace where she lives, is full of home-alone hounds…

This morning I sat down with my cup of tea and thought I would start to read Wellies and Westies before the mammoth task of tidying up ready for the people coming to view the house, this was a big error! I ended up reading the whole thing and had 7 minutes left to tidy up so as you can see I got hooked on this book.

Cat doesn’t have the brightest idea when she takes Disco the dog to work in her handbag not really the done thing when working at a nursery so no surprise she is sacked but rather than sit around and wallow she decides that she is going to start her own dog walking business .

This is as much as I can tell you about Wellies and Westies because it is only a relatively short read because it is one of four parts so I obviously don’t want to give too much away. I very rarely read books that are released in instalments as firstly I am very impatient and want to know what will happen to our characters next and secondly I usually find they are a high price for the very small storyline but I didn’t find this at all with Wellies and Westies.  Although it was a quick read I still found the storyline really drew me in, and I didn’t feel like I was left on a massive cliff hanger but yet I am eager to meet up with the characters again in the next part.

Cat is a very spontaneous and pleasing main character, we were also introduced to a number of other residents at Primrose Terrace all who I am excited to meet again and see them grow in the next novellas.

Cressida McLaughlin has such a wonderful writing style that flows effortlessly, I will definitely be pre-ordering the remaining Primrose Terrace novellas.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan's mum. It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get. 

But between Dan's mum's kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not. Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her.

And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

I have yet to read a book this year that has really made me laugh so I treated myself to The Love Shack by Jane Costello as I can always rely on this author to get a smirk on my face. The cover is a complete new look compared to her previous books and I much prefer it, it is bold, bright and fun and really stands out so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

Dan and Gemma have found the house of their dreams but they need to raise more money and their only option is moving back in with Dan’s mum. Will their relationship survive the stress of buying a house on top of the troubles of living with Dan’s mum or will Gemma be tempted by her past?
I could really relate to parts of this book because my husband and I are currently in the process of moving back in with my parents, I just hope that we don’t have to endure half of the problems Dan and Gemma faced!

The storyline was realistic with wonderful relatable characters, Gemma and Dan were a delightful couple but it was Dan’s mum Belinda who won me over she provided a lot of the humour in this book, her innuendos when it came to sex had me in stitches! This is the first book in a long time that has really made me laugh. Jane Costello manages to write with such witty humour that flows so well it really seems to come naturally and fits in perfectly with the storyline.

I never knew all the way through the book if the couple would ever manage to get their dream house or not but I was really hoping they would because they were so good together and they really tried so hard to do everything in their power to make the house theirs they were desperate to get their dream home.

This was a fantastic, witty read and this is definitely my favourite by Jane Costello.

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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne

Kate Marshall is slowly getting her life back on track after losing her fiancé. As an author she has been able to hide herself away from the world and its expectations – but now one of her books has been optioned for a film and Hollywood suddenly comes knocking on her door. 

When Kate is given the opportunity to stay at a beautiful country retreat in the Cotswolds and concentrate on the screenplay, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Though the last thing Kate expects is for Timothy Calder, A-list actor and leading man in the movie adaptation of her book, to turn up on her doorstep, hoping to lie low after his latest tabloid scandal. 

 After a rocky start, they find they have a few things in common: a liking for Lady Grey tea, walnut whips and bad ‘knock knock’ jokes. 
Actually, the bad jokes are just Tim. 
As the sun begins to set on Sunset Cottage, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom…

I know we should never judge a book by its cover but it is impossible not to with It Started at Sunset Cottage, this is easily my favourite cover of the year so far, it looks so quaint and soft so I was expecting an enjoyable comforting easy read and that was exactly what I got.

Friends Kate and Sarah have both had a lousy time when it comes to their love lives, poor Kate is now a widow and her friend Sarah has now separated from her good for nothing partner Shaun. Both women are supporting each other through the next chapter of their lives with the help of the knight in shining armour Andy, Kate who is an author has had news that hew book is going to be made into a film and Sarah is juggling two jobs around being a single mum she just needs Shaun to stop sniffing around.

I love the opening chapter to this book the author managed to coax me in and started to set an emotional seen until I realised the wool had been pulled over my eyes already! The book has an overall light hearted feel to it with a few laughable moments my favourite being with the clown. There were some more emotional and serious parts to the book too but it doesn’t dampen the cheery feel to the book.

I found that both Kate and Sarah had likability to them even though I couldn’t relate to either of them. What I did like is the idea of an author’s book being made into a film as it is a question I often ask authors about which book of theirs they would like to be made into a film and also sometimes when I read a book I feel that it would be perfect as a movie. I also liked the idea of having these two friends who are so close and yet their lives are so different, Kate is having a taste of the high life whilst Sarah has firmly got her feet on the ground as she struggles with the typical day to day running around.

The book had a great pace at the beginning of the book but I did feel that the storyline seemed to be slowing down and I wasn’t as engrossed in the storyline by the last third of the book and I found the sex scene really out of place in this book and I had a cringe moment afterwards with the explanation of how Andy learnt his “moves”.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and has shown me what this author is capable of and I think this was a well written debut.  I look forward to this authors next book to see how her writing grows, this was just shy of a 4 star review.

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Monday, 27 April 2015

A Good Catch by Fern Britton

Even happy families have their secrets… 

Greer Clovelly seems to have it all, beautiful, chic and slender, she’s used to getting her own way. Greer has been in love with Jesse Behenna since her first day at school and she’s determined that one day, they’ll be married. After all, a marriage between them would join together two dynasties of Cornish fishing families to make one prosperous one.

For her friend, Loveday Carter – plump, freckled and unpretentious – living in the shadow of her friend has become a way of life. She loves Jesse too, but knows that what Greer wants, she usually gets.

Jesse, caught in the middle, faces an agonising choice. Should he follow his heart or bow to his father’s wishes? And what about his best friend Mickey, who worships the ground that Loveday walks on?

 Jesse’s decision will touch them all in ways that they could never foresee, and as the dark clouds start to gather the four friends find themselves weathering a storm – one that has the power to sink them all…

I have read and enjoyed Fern Britton's previous books and have found them light hearted easy reads so I was looking forward to reading her latest read so I was looking forward to reading her latest release A Good Catch whcih I have just finished and I have to say this is easily my favourite book by Fern.

A Good Catch has a completely different feel to her previous books, I found the characters had much more debth to them and the storyline was well thought out and really grabbed my attention.

There are four main characters Greer, Loveday, Mickey and Jesse. They have all been friends since school which is where this book begins we then follow the storyline through their lives growing up together with a complicated love triangle and a hidden secret that could jepodise the long standing friendship.

My opinion of Greer changed continuously through the book, one minute I warmed to her and really felt for her and the next minute I couldn't bare her she was shallow and stuck up. Loveday was such a loveable character whose warmth and vibrant personality shone through the pages, and even though she made a terrible mistake I still loved her, she was my favourite character.

I loved the setting of the book which really came to life thanks to Fern's carefully detailed descriptions, her attention to detail made everything easy to envisage from the gorgeous setting by the sea to the way the characters look and also the details she gave surrounding the fishing business and interior design which are great parts of the characters lives.

There are no hidden twists or turns but that wasn't needed as the storyline was captivating as it was. The book flows at an effortless pace and at no point did my attention waver I was surprised how quick I made my way through this book but to me that is a sign of a great read.

A Good Catch is Fern Britton's best novel it gets a big thumbs up from me.

Kindle                      Hardback

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Lie by C.L Taylor

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women. Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened.

Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves . .

After being totally won over by The Accident by C.L Taylor last year I have been so eager for the release of her next book The Lie and after reading the first line from the synopsis “ I Know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…” I was already hooked.

Looking from the outside in Jane Hughes has a content life, working in an animal sanctuary which she loves, lives in a lovely little cottage and has a loving relationship with Will but no one would know the dark secret she hides from a tragic holiday away with friends five years previously. Jane has managed to create a whole new life but things are about to change someone knows who she really is and they are looking for her.

C.L Taylor has done it again, she has delivered another dark, sinister, twisted psychological thriller which had me hooked from beginning to end. This time the author focuses on the troubles of a female friendship group which has always fascinated me as I have always been one who has more male friends because I don’t fit in well with girl groups for a lot of the reasons that is shown in this particular friendship group. It focuses on the consequences of jealousy, competition and possessiveness that is often found hiding in girl groups and the storyline shows how these emotions can soon get out of control and puts the trust and loyalty of friendships to the test and makes the characters question each other’s true friendship and do they really know each other as well as they thought.

The storyline was split between the past and present which worked really well in this book, it kept me on edge because we were slowly fed small snippets of what happened five years ago and the more I read the more I realised what danger Jane could be in now.

There were shocking twists and turns throughout the book and there were horrendous events that occurred in the past which the author wrote about in graphic detail.The author has quite clearly undertook a lot of research for this book especially into cults and this fascinated me to see how twisted and cleaver these people are.

This was a great dark thrilling read and this just shows how talented this authors writing is within this genre and anyone who loved The Accident will not be disappointed by The Lie it is a shocking read.

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Friday, 24 April 2015

The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

Yesterday was the release of The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews and what better way to celebrate the launch of this deliciously good book but with the worlds first edible garden!
I couldn't miss out on this event I have wanted to meet Carole for so long now so this was a perfect opportunity to meet the lovely lady herself as well as get my book signed and then get lost in the garden of cake.
Cake + Carole + Book = HEAVEN!

The sun was shining and the crowds began to gather to take a look at the detail that had gone into creating the garden which took 450 hours to create and was crafted by cake designer Rosalind Miller. It was great to see so many members of the public coming over to see what it was all about and so many of them walked away with a copy of the fabulous book too.

I had such a wonderful afternoon and was so pleased to meet Carole who kindly signed my book too.

The Cake Shop in the Garden is out NOW!

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this, who will? Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made. When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision - even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most?


I have had book hangover for a week after finishing a great book and I have picked up four books since that I haven't managed to settle into so I needed to read a book from one of my lovable reliable authors to get me out of this slump and get my reading mojo back so I decided to read The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews which I have been so excited about reading. A book by one of my favourite authors and it features cake........ Perfection!

When Fay becomes a full time carer to her mum she needs work to pay the bills but she needs to find something that she can do that means she can still be at home full time so she opens up her own cake shop in the garden of their home. The business is a success thanks to the help of her Latvian assistant Lija and things seem to be plodding along until something tragic happens that could mean Fay is set to have everything turned upside down.

Oh Carole Matthews you have done it again! This was such a gentle, charming read that had me entranced from start to finish so I ended up reading in one sitting. Our main character Fay is such a loving, caring and selfless character who is very passionate about her work and loves to be by the canal. At times I wanted to give her a good shake when she let people take advantage of her but it was her gentle nature that I loved and it is the characters who abused this that really needed a good shaking! I loved the feisty character Lija, she was a very loyal as stint as well as a friend to Fay and she brings a nice little touch of wit to the storyline.

I loved the setting of this book, set on the Grand Union Canal which is something that is completely new to me but that has now really sparked my interest, it really seemed like a welcoming and tranquil place to be and I wish I could have been on The Dreamcatcher whilst reading this book!

This was a light read with a great mix of characters, a splash of romance, a pinch of humour, and an idyllic setting. This is another one to add to my long list of favourite by this talented author.

Kindle                    Paperback

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Doris Day Vintage Film Club by Fiona Harper

Claire Bixby grew up watching Doris Day films at her grandmother’s house and yearned to live in a world like the one on the screen – sunny, colourful and where happy endings with chiselled leading men were guaranteed. 

But recently Claire’s opportunities for a little ‘pillow talk’ have been thin on the ground. Until she meets mysterious Dominic. Nic is full of secrets but their connection is instant. 

Could he help Claire finding the Hollywood ending she’s been searching for?

I adore the cover of The Doris Day Vintage Film Club the soft colours used makes this book very easy on the eye and one that will stand out on the book shelves and Fiona Harper is an author whose books I have read and enjoyed before so I was longing to start this book even though there was a small amount of apprehension as although I have heard of Doris Day I have never watched any of her films and I don’t know anything about it other than she was a very clay looking woman so I was hoping the storyline wouldn’t go over my head.

Claire and her grandmother used to love watching Doris Day films so much so that her grandmother formed a Doris Day Film club for members to all come together to watch the films. After her grandmothers passing it is now Claire who is in charge of running the club along with running her own travel company. Her life couldn’t be more different from the films she adores but having her heart broken she has such high barriers built that don’t look like they are about to come down until she meets the gorgeous Nic but as she begins to let down her guard down but Nic has a secret which could make those barriers go back up for good.

I had no need to worry about this book, although it is set around the Doris Day club I still followed the storyline with ease and I actually became quite curious by Doris Day and her fashion and films and was googling away looking and pictures of the glamorous lady herself. Claire was a good natured character, it was obvious that she has trust issues with men because of a past relationship and her relationship or lack of with her dad so I found I just longed for her to have a happy ending like the films she loves. Nic was a great character a typical man who doesn’t think before he acts which gets himself into sticky situations and makes life quite difficult for himself! The supporting characters in this book were all so loveable too there wasn’t a single character that I didn’t like in this book.

The storyline is very light and uplifting perfect for an easy Sunday read. The authors writing style is so easy to follow which makes this quite a pacey read. There are no surprise twists or turns and it is not a storyline people will relate too but none the less this was still a fun, enjoyable and romantic read that gets a thumbs up from me.

Kindle                     Paperback

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a renowned expert in linguistics, with a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow forgetful and disoriented, she dismisses it for as long as she can until a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and the world around her - for ever.

Unable to care for herself, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose as her concept of self gradually slips away. But Alice is a remarkable woman, and her family learn more about her and each other in their quest to hold on to the Alice they know. Her memory hanging by a frayed thread, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice.

I was recently at a Books and the City event and I picked up a copy of Still Alice, this isn’t a book that I would have picked up but after seeing a trailer for the film adaption I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did otherwise I would have missed out on this little gem.

Alice is a successful university professor a wife to John and mum to her three children. She has enjoyed a very full life and thrived under pressure but things have taken a drastic change in recent months, she often finds herself lost for words and as much as she tries to form them they refuse to come and when one day she goes for a run she panics as she has no idea where she lives and how to get home so she decides to see a doctor but she is given devastating news that she is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

I sat down to read this book and ended up finishing it in one sitting. It was such a powerful and insightful read, I think we all have an idea what effects Alzheimer’s has on sufferers but this book showed us even the small things that we take advantage of day to day that Alzheimer’s has an effect on. I really felt for our main character Alice and I could feel her frustration at times through the pages. But one character I really didn’t warm to was her husband John, I was really shocked by his actions and he seemed like a very selfish character who puts his career before his family, I understand that his life will still carry on after the illness takes his wife but even still I find it hard to believe that you wouldn’t want to spend every last minute you could with the one you love and I don’t feel that his actions were his way of coping with it I just felt he was cold hearted.

One of the most tender moments in this book for me was when Alice was having a conversation with one of her daughters and she talks about the being afraid of one day looking at her daughter and not knowing her face and this really scared me to think that there are people all around the world at that point, but her daughter had such a lovely reply it and she dealt with the situation so well.

This book will leave an imprint on me, I am sure I will think back to this book and the character Alice many times in the future. This was an insightful read that has left an impact on me I just wish the ending hadn’t ended so abruptly and this is the reason I have given this a four instead of a five star rating.

Paperback              Kindle

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The Lie by Cally Taylor Party

Last night I attended The Lie event for Cally Taylor which was held by the wonderful team at Avon in the impressive Harper Collins offices, the view was utterly breathtaking and definitely not for one afraid of heights!

Cally read a part from her book and she had me entranced by this storyline all over again, the lovely Caroline then held a question and answer session with Cally about The Lie, we heard about what inspired Cally to write this book and also the research which she took and she also gave us a little teaser of what is to come in her next book which she is currently working on and it sounds like a right corker!

The evening was very relaxed, we had wine and nibbles and book babies surrounding us. We had the opportunity to talk to the team at Avon and I also had the chance to chat away to the lovely book bloggers who attended the event too and we couldn't help ourselves and had to have a picture to promote the fabulous THE LIE

Cally Taylor then took the time to sign copies of The Lie for us and I was very good and didn't fan girl too much ( ok sorry I did give her a squeeze!)

I had such a wonderful evening and I can not wait to get my review up on the 25th and shout about The Lie. Thank you to Cally Taylor, all the team at Avon and the lovely book bloggers for a great night. 

 The Lie by C.L Taylor is released on the 23rd April, you can pre-order on the links below and currently it is an amazing price on kindle for £1.66 ( at time of posting)

Kindle                      Paperback

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver

A Vera Wang dress, the reception at a sophisticated London venue, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column are all the ingredients of Anna Whitehall’s perfect wedding that never was…

Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress. 

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…

 Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… 

This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy…

I loved the soft, cute cover of The Vintage Summer Wedding and after reading the synopsis it sounded like a light, fun and charming read and having enjoyed one of the author’s previous books before I wanted to give this one a try.

Anna and fiancé Seb have had to return to their childhood village after losing her job and losing a lot of money that she has spent on their wedding which has now been cancelled things are not looking good and she cannot share Seb’s enthusiasm at returning back to where they started.
I really struggled with the beginning of this book and I put that down our main character Anna, she really isn’t a likeable character in fact she was just a spoilt madam and although she has lost her job and had to cancel her wedding I had no sympathy for her at all and I struggled to see what the lovely Seb saw in her.

The second half of this book was when this book come into its own, the supporting characters were great and eventually Anna began to mellow thanks to them. I was surprised at the storyline because I was expecting it to be more wedding related but I did enjoy Anna’s involvement with the dance act and also her work in the little antiques shop especially when she was organising the hoard to find the beautiful garden which was hidden away behind.

This was an enjoyable read once it got going I just wished the main character would have been more likeable. I will still look forward to picking up another book by this author as she has a great style of writing that flows so effortlessly.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother. Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras. When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady. The true test of their makeover will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is the second book by Kirsty Greenwood and after thoroughly enjoying her first book Yours Truly I was really looking forward to reading this and it came at just the right time I had read a lot of deep, dark reads so I was looking forward to something light and witty and that is exactly what I got.

Our bubbly main character is Jessica Beam and I absolutely loved her, she was a real live wire who is mischievous and loves life, running and pear cider! As her life looks set to go down a certain path things then take an almighty plummet and she loses everything and with nowhere to turn she ends up at her Grandma’s house who she hasn’t met before.  Although Grandma Matilda lives in a grand house she is down on her luck too but a lifeline is thrown Jess and Matilda’s way which will mean using Matilda’s traditional, classic Good Woman tips on Jessica.

This was such a fun down to earth read. The book is told from Jessica’s point of view but also at the beginning of each chapter there is a tip taken from Matilda Beam’s Guide to Love and Romance, 1955 book which was a lovely touch and there was also a diary entry from Rose who was Jessica’s mum and it was great to slowly get the picture as to what had happened to Rose earlier on in life.

The storyline has a classy modern feel to it the classy side definitely doesn’t come from Jessica but from her Grandma whereas Jessica brings a modern, fun and energetic feel to the book. There were great supporting characters in this book too, Peach was a very friendly, loving character who was a very reserved and timid character until Jessica came into her life. There was also her friend ( if you can call her that) Summer who I took an instant dislike to, but the character that really shocked me was Leo Frost my opinion of him went full circle.

The storyline kept me entertained and the book flowed at a fast pace. There was some swearing in this book but it was in the right places and didn’t feel out of place it just added to Jessica’s out of control character, I found myself smiling away at Jessica’s attitude because she is unbelievable and funny.

This truly is a fun, fast paced and uplifting read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope Kirsty doesn’t leave it so long for her next book we need another fix!

Paperback                Kindle

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

Annie has a secret. But if she's not going to tell, we won't either. It's a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn't have - yet Annie isn't broken, not quite yet. Especially now there's someone out there who seems determined to fix her. Kate has run away. But she's not going to tell us why - that would defeat the point of running, wouldn't it? It's proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind. Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren't entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good...

I have written and re-written this review over and over again and I just don’t seem to be able to do this book the justice it deserves so what I am going to say is don’t waste your time reading my review just go and BUY A COPY and GET READING !

Annie’s tragic past has had a big impact on her life but after a chance meeting with the wealthy Stephen Flint he takes her life down a new path. Kate needs time out and to get away from the “bad shit” so she manages to get a job on a horse yard which is the perfect place as it is remote and gives her a chance to have a breather but will the “bad shit” come back to haunt her?

When I began reading this book I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my sort of read because as much as I love Lucy Robinson’s books I am really not a fan of anything horsey so when Kate turns up to work on a horse yard I was a little put off but I was already intrigued by the past part of this book and I am so glad I did because I would have missed out on what is sure to be one of my top 5 books of the year!

The chapters alternate between Kate and Annie but there is also a little part every couple of chapters about a past event involving a young child and her mother and this is particularly beautifully written and this part really caught my attention. The storyline was enjoyable and both Annie and Kate were great characters, Annie seemed very vulnerable and guarded whereas Kate had an outgoing and confident nature despite her demons.

There didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary with this book even as I got to over half way through, yes it was still an enjoyable read and one I would recommend, the pace was a little slow but I think this was done on purpose to help with the massive impact of a sudden twist that was completely unpredictable, I was gobsmacked! I really don’t want to tell you anything else about this twist and I really hope no one gives it away in their reviews because it is this that sets this book aside from all of the other books released in its genre recently. Even though you know there is a twist it will still smack you in the face because there is no way anyone could see this coming, I actually had to turn back a page to make sure I hadn’t missed something or read something wrong! I have NEVER read a book that has such a big twist that has pulled the wool over my eyes so much.

This is by far my favourite book by Lucy Robinson, she still had me laughing with her witty humour that she still manages to bring to this book, but this also shows a deeper and mature side to her writing too and she touches on many intense, emotional and heartbreaking topics in this book and she has quite clearly done a hell of a lot of research to this book. She had me on the edge of my seat shaking my head in utter disbelief it was such a captivating read.

This book is pure perfection and shows that Lucy Robinson has as incredibly skilled writing style she is sure to give me a book hangover now after finishing this. This is the best book I have read since reading The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman over a year ago and if this doesn’t jump to number one in the charts then something is seriously wrong. Each time I see someone say they are about to start reading this I get excited for them, I wish I could read this book for the first time again. I just want to know how on earth are you going to top this one Robinson!

This book has got my first Diamond rating of the year!

Paperback               Kindle

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Secrets We Share by Emma Hannigan

Clara Conway is a woman with secrets. But consequently, Clara's family is falling apart. Her son Max emigrated to the US years ago and she has yet to meet her teenage granddaughter, Nathalie...because Max and his mother no longer speak. Meanwhile Clara's daughter Ava is fighting for a piece of happiness. When Clara unexpectedly reaches out to Nathalie and her niece comes to visit, Ava's thoughts turn to Max, the brother she loved and lost. The brother whose abrupt disappearance left the Conway family heartbroken. When Nathalie finds a pile of torn, faded letters, she unlocks the door to Clara's past. Can Nathalie's time with her grandmother start to right some very old wrongs? And can Clara find a way to reach out to Max and thereby begin to heal the whole family once more? After all, some secrets are meant to be shared...

Emma Hannigan is a very talented author and I look forward to her new releases, so as soon as The Secrets We Share arrived on my doormat I had to start this one straight away the synopsis sounded promising.

The storyline is told in the present time and also jumps back in time too and this part is delivered in the form of letters which worked beautifully. Clara has secrets and she feels it is time to reunite her family and share the secrets, as she begins to make the connection with her son Max she learns that she has a granddaughter Nathalie who she has never met.

Nathalie has had some tragic news and she is not coping at all and is going off the rails until she returns home one day drunk and her mum can’t take it anymore and decides to send her to Ireland to stay with family she has never met.

As secrets are uncovered will this tear the family further apart or will it help to make amends?
This book has such a wonderful group of characters, they are all flawed but they feel so normal and down to earth so it was hard not to get drawn into their problems. Through all of their faults I still loved each and every one of the characters and I was longing for them to come together as a family and put the past behind them and enjoy the future together. Clara was such a joy to meet she was everything you expect from a grandma, wise, loving, fun and informative and just takes things as they come. Nathalie was also a loveable character although she was understandably hurting it was great to see her grow as a character in her time in Ireland she was very inquisitive and a soft natured character and she really was the string that brought everyone together.

The revelation that we uncover surrounding Ava really hit me and broke my heart, we pick up that there is something from her past that is preventing her from settling down and enjoying life but U would never have guessed what really happened. This part of the book particularly was handled very delicately and it really does pull at the heart strings.

I always find split time scale books a bit hit and miss but I felt the author got the balance perfect in this book, I was equally as interested in both the past and the present storylines and I think this is helped by the way in which the past was written in the form of letters which kept things to the point and just made things a little different.

Yet again this author doesn’t disappoint she held my attention the whole way through this book and I didn’t want to leave these characters at the end. This was an endearing and yet somewhat uplifting read which seems strange to say after reading about such heart-breaking events but I think it is the love and bond of a family that gives you hope that things will be ok.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street, and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

I was sent a copy of The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain to read and review, I haven't read the authors bestselling book The President's Hat so I wasn't sure what to expect and if I am totally honest it doesn't look or sound like a book I would typically pick up but I decided to give it a try and I enjoyed it so much I actually read it in one complete sitting.

Laure was attacked one evening as she returned home and the attacker stole her bag. She is left in a terrible state and is so devastated about her bag being taken with all her personal belongings.

Bookseller Laurent happens to come across a bag on the street in the early morning and it quite clearly has things inside, he is desperate to try and reunite the bag with its owner but can you really tell anything about a person from the contents of their bag?

I loved the idea behind this book the thought that if someone was to find my bag what would they be able to tell about me? So this book really got me thinking and it was great to see a gentleman so determined to do the right thing and go to all the trouble in an attempt to reunite the bag with its owner.

I really warmed to Laurent but as the book progressed I really hoped that if he did finally manage to find the owner that she would see that he has a kind heart and is trying to do the right thing and isn't some weird guy trying to stalk her or God forbid that he was the attacker.

This was a simple yet charming story and at only 159 pages it is a quick read and it came at the perfect time for me as I have been in a reading slump and this felt so positive and uplifting and not challenging so I really enjoyed this one.

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