Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Today it is my stop on The Perfect Girl blog tour and I will be sharing my review of this slow burning, gripping book. Check out the other blogs taking part on the tour.

To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey - child genius, musical sensation - is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she's free.
Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.
By midnight, her mother is dead.

One of my top 10 books in 2015 was Burnt Paper Sky so I have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Perfect Girl.

Zoe Maisey has paid for her involvement in the tragic event that left 3 teenagers dead. Several years later Zoe has created a new life and is focusing on her piano playing but when she performs one evening in The Holy Trinity Church she would never expect the events that unfold that evening and by midnight her mother is dead.

The storyline is told in the form of short sharp chapters each told from various characters points of views which if I am honest I wasn’t too sure of at the beginning but as the storyline began to build so did the suspicion as we are told through all the characters voices of the events of the evening and although I had a good idea as to who was involved having this multiple point of views did help to keep me guessing. Having the book structured this way I did find the characters were all really well developed and had their own individuality and although Zoe stood out to me each of the other characters all played a key part in the storyline so it is very clever how the author has managed to write from 8 peoples points of views and still all were really well developed.

The main storyline is trying to uncover who killed Zoe’s mother but we have various storylines weaving around this because each of the characters are flawed so we discover not only what happened in Zoe’s past but also secrets that the other characters such as Lucas and Tessa are hiding too.
Although the chapters were short the storyline did flow at a slow pace as we gradually uncover what occurred on the evening of the performance but yet I wasn’t on the edge of my seat eager to get onto the next chapter like I was in the authors previous novel, so although I enjoyed this book it didn’t knock Burnt Paper Sky off of the top spot for me but that is a hard book to beat as that book was totally thrilling and captivating so was a hard book to follow but never the less The Perfect Girl is still a cleverly written read.

Paperback              Kindle

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Letters from my Sister by Alice Peterson

Bells is always writing to her sister Katie, but Katie never replies. Preoccupied with her glamorous career in fashion, her busy life and her boyfriend Sam, she just doesn't have the time.
Then Bells announces that she's coming to stay. She's not a secret exactly, but. . . Sam doesn't know she exists.
For Bells doesn't fit into Katie's perfect world.
But when Bells does arrive, everything changes for Katie. Perhaps her perfect life isn't so perfect after all?

Alice Peterson is an author whose books I no longer bother to read the synopsis of her books anymore as I just know whatever she delivers is going to be exceptional. I thought I had read all of this authors books but I had somehow missed Letters from my Sister ( previously published as Look the World in the Eye) so I wasted no time in making a start on this book and I ended up totally immersed and read it from cover to cover in one day.

Katie has carved out a perfect life, she has a successful business in fashion, reliable friends and a gorgeous wealthy partner Sam but she has no time left for her family. Katie’s perfect glamorous life is about to have a spanner thrown in the works when Bells is due to come and stay, but she doesn’t fit in with her new life and Sam doesn’t even know she exists.

This was such a wonderful charming read that will tug on your heart strings and also take you on a rollercoaster of thoughts when it comes to how you feel about our main character Katie. At times I found her shallow and self-obsessed but once more of her background and upbringing was revealed there was part of me that could understand the reason she is the way she is.

Bells was such a loving little sweetheart who was by far my favourite character in this book and a character who will stay in my thoughts for a long time yet. I found the scenario surrounding Bells very insightful not just from how things are for her but also how it affects those around her too. Her character brought a great element of fun to the storyline and also to Katie’s life when she finally let her in.

The storyline is one that gets you thinking as it is a very realistic plot that addresses day to day issues of peoples thoughts and perceptions of people with disabilities showing that people are all too quick to judge without taking the thoughts of those involved into account.

I absolutely adored this book but Alice Peterson you can’t leave me hanging at the end like that! I really hope that the author revisits these characters at some point if not in a full novel on them at least popping up as supporting characters somewhere as I still feel there is more to see from these characters.

This was another well written and insightful storyline with engaging characters from Alice Peterson and it gets a big thumbs up from me.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Alice by Christina Henry

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside. In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood... Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago. Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

This week I wanted to take a look around my local bookshop and use the vouchers I won thanks to fellow book blogger Laura, but I was determined to use them on books that I wouldn’t usually buy. Alice by Christina Henry was sitting pretty at the top of the shelf and it grabbed my attention straight away thanks to its dark and enchanting cover and when I read the synopsis I knew this one was coming home with me along with Red Queen!

Alice is loosely based on the original fairytale that we have all grown to know and love but this book has a very dark and disturbing core! The story begins with Alice who has spent the last ten years in a mental hospital since coming out of the hole and she has made friends through a little mouse hole with Hatcher the man in the room next door. When a fire breaks out the pair are determined to fight for the freedom and get their revenge.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this book but the author is such a wonderful storyteller that she had me enchanted right from the beginning and held my attention all the way through this action packed storyline. The book flows at a fast pace and because it was such an unsettling and dark read I was on edge as I turned each page waiting to see what evil was going to occur next.

Both the characters and the setting were brought to life thanks to the author’s creative and descriptive writing style. The book had a sinister feel the whole way through and with the book focusing on revenge, abuse, power and fear it is clear that this book is unlike the happy and colourful story we all know.

I loved this book, I found it refreshing to read something that isn’t my typical book of choice and yet I was engrossed the whole way through and I can’t wait to make a start on Red Queen next.

Paperback              Kindle

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Ex Factor by Eva Woods Blog tour

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Ex Factor by Eva Woods and I am sharing an extract from the book...

By the end of the story Marnie’s eyes were jewel-bright with tears, and Rosa was half crying, half laughing. ‘At least I kept the flat. And at least I never have to listen to his stupid Bob Dylan B-sides ever again. I guess, if I’m honest, I should have known he wasn’t happy. I mean, I actually had to beg him to have sex with me instead of watching Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing. But now I’m thirty-two, and I’m single again, and I have no idea what to do. How do you date? I don’t even know. You’re the dating expert—help me!’
Marnie swirled her glass of ‘Brigitte Bardot’s Knickers’ (it being against the law to have non-ironic cocktail names in London), a concoction of Campari, gin, and Fanta, and looked at Ani and Helen. ‘Hmmm. What about you two, any romance?’
When Marnie wasn’t there, Ani was too pessimistic to discuss her love life, Helen just didn’t date (because: reasons), and Rosa had been happily married until a few months ago. So at the question, a silence fell over them. Helen cleared her throat. ‘Ani got asked out by her client,’ she said.
Ani rolled her eyes. ‘Mr “I had sex with my kids’ auntie under the Christmas tree”, yeah, great. If I’m lucky he still has his Santa suit.
Otherwise, no, still nothing that sticks. Mum and Dad are starting to despair of me, I think.’
‘And you, Helz?’
She went for an ironic shrug and ended up spattering chipotle mayonnaise on her chin. ‘Do Dr Derek Shepherd and Walter White, crack dealer, count as men? Because I’ve been spending a lot of time with them.’
‘No, box sets do not count.’
Helen squirmed. Marnie couldn’t know the real reason.
Helen hadn’t dated in two years. ‘Ach, it’s such a lot of hassle and heartache—tell her about your last date, Ani.’
‘The one where he took out his contacts and said, “You could be anyone now!”, then his cat bit me on the foot? I still have the scar.’
‘Not him, the other one.’
‘The one who took off his trousers and he was wearing Superman pants? Or the one who didn’t even have a bedroom? Honestly, he was living in an actual airing cupboard.’
‘I was thinking of Blubbing Ben, actually.’
‘Oh God, yes. Wait till you hear this, Marn.’ Ani launched into a story of a date she’d had recently, the punchline of which was ‘and then he spent the whole evening crying on my shoulder, and the worst bit was, it was a dry-clean-only top’.
Rosa shook her head over her ‘Brighton Rock and Roll’—peach schnapps, vodka, cream soda, a stick of actual rock to stir it. ‘I don’t know why you can’t just date someone nice, Ani.’
‘You sound like my mum. I’m trying to find someone nice—I date all the time. You guys don’t know what it’s like. I don’t want to put you off, Rosa, but if you decide to jump back into the water, well, online dating is like deliberately swimming into a big shoal of sharks.’
Marnie was nodding. ‘My friend Caty, do you remember her? The one who does reiki healing and has that weird little sausage dog? She was seeing this guy she met online, and it was all going really well, except he wouldn’t invite her to his place. He said his flatmates were always there, the place was a mess, he needed to clean up, blah blah. Then one day he says, fine, come round. So she goes, and it’s lovely. Like a really nice clean grown-up place. And the next morning they’re making waffles in the kitchen, and she’s in his shirt, just like in a romcom.’
‘With yoghurt?’ said Helen, transfixed despite herself by the image.
‘Yep. They are totally eating yoghurt. Probably he’s dabbed some on her chin and licked it off. Anyway, you can see where this is going.’
‘Oh no.’ Rosa buried her head in her hands.
‘Oh yes. So the door goes and it’s his wife. That’s right, she’s home early from her holiday. With the kids. So that’s internet dating,’ said Marnie grimly. ‘Every time you think it can’t get worse, you hit another rock bottom. A new low standard every time.’

The Ex Factor is OUT NOW!

Paperback              Kindle

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Killer Diamonds by Rebecca Chance

After decades in the spotlight as an Oscar-winning film star and famous beauty, Vivienne Winter is one of the most recognizable women on the planet. When she decides to auction her multimillion dollar jewellery collection for charity, there's no shortage of people eager to buy a piece of her incredible history. 

Young, ambitious Christine Smith is a jewellery expert working for a centuries-old auction house. But in a world of aristocratic snobs, her working-class origins are holding her back. She's desperate to secure the sale of Vivienne Winter's gem collection: it's set to be the biggest auction since Elizabeth Taylor's. However, meeting the Hollywood star is just the first hurdle Christine has to jump. 

Vivienne's handsome, spoilt and sexy playboy grandson Angel is the heir to her fortune. The anger and resentment he feels towards his grandmother for selling what he'd counted on as one day being his inheritance sets in motion a series of events with deadly consequences. Angel is totally unscrupulous, and no one will emerge from his plotting unscathed. For it seems that family secrets cut sharper than diamonds . . .

I am not a big fan of Bonk Buster books but one authors books I can’t resist are Rebecca Chance, I have read every one of her books and have loved each and every one so I couldn’t wait to begin Killer Diamonds and I am thrilled with the new cover as I wasn’t a fan of the Mile High cover.

The prologue instantly grips the reader’s attention when we meet Angel and Vivienne in a shocking situation but we are left hanging in the moment when the book then moves back to the earlier years of Vivienne in her acting days. The storyline revolves around Vivienne’s exquisite jewellery collection which she is putting to auction and Christine is eager to be the one to host the auction believing that she can make the auction a great success. Sex obsessed Angel has his own agenda when it comes to the jewellery and he don’t care who he hurts along the way.

We have three main characters in this book Vivienne the classy glamorous film star, her immoral grandson Angel and Christine the plain girl next door who is a gemologist whose life literally turns upside down when she meets Vivienne. Each of these characters are extremely well developed and each bring something completely different to the storyline, Vivienne has tales to tell from her adventurous years in the limelight and she seems pretty wise too. Christine is a character who I instantly warmed to, she is your average woman who is extremely passionate about her job and at first she seems a tad naive but she soon shows her true colours. Angel brings the scandal, the steaming sex scenes and the tension to the storyline. There are also a large amount of supporting characters too all who helped add to the glamorous and sexual feel to the storyline.

As ever Rebecca Chance has delivered another well detailed storyline from the descriptions of these valuable and exquisite jewels to the in-depth sexual antics that will leave you more than  a little hot under the collar so this one isn’t for the prudish and maybe not one to read on the train on the commute to work!

Rebecca Chance always manages to create intense sex scenes that she weaves so perfectly around a gripping storyline getting the balance spot on which I haven’t found in similar authors books. I think the author has delivered another steamy scandalous read that had me gripped from beginning to end.

Paperback               Kindle

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Vanessa Greene Blog Tour

'A little piece of now’: how moving forward can be hard, how change can hurt but how you can grow

My career as a writer started in what felt at the time like an unlikely place. I’d just lost a job as an editor that I’d worked my way up to for years, and I felt crushed. I didn’t know what my next step was and my confidence was shot. Moving forward was hard. I looked back at what had given me happiness as a little girl – and there was writing. The notebooks I filled at 5am in my bedroom. The magazines written and photocopied in my dad’s office, then sold for 20p on my front doorstep. Writing had always been there. It became an escape, a cheering companion, and finally – incredibly and happily – my job.

Isla, one of the heroines of Little Pieces…, is dealt a devastating blow when a piece of news shatters her carefully thought-out life plan. But it’s also a starting point for her. She needs to put some of her dreams to one side, but what her best friend Sophie helps her to see, is that there is space for new ones to take their place.

In the unlikeliest of places, there is sometimes a glint of light. You just need friendship to give you the strength to seek it out.

You can check out my review for The Little Pieces of You and Me by clicking HERE

The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene is published by Sphere and available to buy now.

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