Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg @llamamum @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and Stephanie for the copy of her book. You can buy your own copy HERE.

Synopsis:

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

My Thoughts:

When Megan’s Gran dies, it’s up to Megan to travel to France to sort out her Gran’s things, the farm, the legal stuff, the chickens and duck. Oh and the body…

When I read the synopsis for this book it was one that sounded fun and one I definitely wanted to read, it came across as a wacky and fun story-line. As Megan makes her way around this rural area of France she meets a real mix of characters. As word gets out that Megan is a hairdresser, her services are called in and she chops and trims as she goes. A great way to meet and get to know people.

From a visit to the vet with a hen on the back of a scooter and discovering her Gran’s business dealings, Megan had me smirking and chuckling as I read. The characters are fabulous Romaine and his clumsy cousin Nico, Alphonse and Monsieur Moustache are just the tip of the iceberg.

The idyllic setting belies a slightly more sinister side that Megan found herself caught up in. As I got to know Megan I also got to learn some of her own story, as well as her family. The story of the family is one that I am looking forward to knowing more about and it has been wonderfully wrapped in and around the hair cutting, hens and the homicide…

This is a book that I could have easily devoured in one sitting as I was taken by scooter and tractor and police car around rural France.

This is ideal for readers who like a Rom-com, cosy mystery, and a dash of drama. A great first book in the series and left me wanting to know more. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at http://www.bloginfrance.com.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at http://www.editing.zone. The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks #BookReview #NetGalley

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I am sharing my thoughts today on You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. My thanks to HQ for my e-book I recieved via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields

A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…

A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.

And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.

But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.

My Thoughts:

Husband and Wife, Sam and Merry and their son Connor now live in a remote and idyllic area of Sweden. Merry’s best friend Frank comes to stay, the women have been friends since childhood. All seems good, life appears perfect….but is it really?

This story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, Merry, Sam and Frank in quick alternating chapters. Merry is looking forward to Frank coming to visit, as Merry is now a stay at home Mum, but she is determined to show Frank that she has a wonderful life, baby and home that everything is perfect. Frank however knows Merry from old, knows how she works, and how she make things out to be rosy, so she is trying to see if things are indeed as rosy as they appear. Sam is trying to get his business up and running so is not home all the time.

The author has taken the concept of marriage, happy families and idyllic home-life and thrown a big old spanner in the works by psychologically manipulating her characters. Friendship is not immune to this spanner either, it doesn’t take long for the pretence of perfect to start showing a few little cracks, as the bonds of marriage and friendship are not as they first appear.

One thing I really loved about this story was the lack of dialogue. Yes you read this right, no dialogue. Instead you are given the perspective from whichever characters head you are in. I got to see and hear the thoughts of past events, conversations and it worked so well for this story. It was easy to follow and it didn’t take long for me to recognise which character was which was which. The voices of the characters came out loud and clear for me. It was a way of seeing behind the mask of the character if you like, hearing their real thoughts rather than saying what they think should be said. It was also a great way to build up the suspense and the tension as the story developed even more, but even though I was in their heads there were still quite a few shocks along the way, and the mistrust built up.

Initially I thought I was warming to the characters, but as things progressed I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them, I didn’t trust what they thought. I did empathise and feel for them but by the end I was shocked.

This is a clever look at marriage, parenthood and friendship and how each aspect of them fit together, or how they can be forced to fit. A great suspense filled psychological, noir that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Michelle Sacks is the author of the short story collection, Stone Baby (December 2017) and the novel, You Were Made For This (June 2018).

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne @osborne_bella @AvonBooksUK #BookReview

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I am so happy to be sharing my thoughts today on Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne, this is a four part serial I had on kindle but hadn’t got around to reading. When I saw that Avon Books was running a giveaway on Facebook for book I couldn’t resist entering……… and what do you know? I won a copy!!!! So my huge thanks to Avon Books xx

You can buy this book from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

Ottercombe Bay was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

My Thoughts:

Daisy returns to Ottercombe Bay to attend her Great Uncle Reg’s funeral. Daisy has been working and travelling around Europe over the past few years and has kept in touch with the family but not visited for a long time. Uncle Reg has left her something in his will, and a stipulation that she remain for 1 year in Ottercombe Bay before she can officially take full possession of her inheritance.

This is a cracking read and my first experience of this author and I was definitley not disappointed. The author creates some lovely imagery for the setting and made it so easy for me to imagine Ottercombe Bay. Add into this a rather unusual and brilliant sounding inheritance that Daisy has been left, with the various conditions. Also add in her old friends and a curious and difficult family incident many years ago and I soon realised I was in for an outstanding read. There is definitely a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away.

The inheritance is definitely something different and made me think about what sort of thing I would do if I were to be left it. Though I wouldn’t go down the route Daisy did, I none the less felt myself willing her on to stay the year and be successful. But more importantly I really wanted her to deal with an incident in her past and come to terms with her future potential. Yes I know this is another vague review about the plot of the story, but I am not going to spoil it for anyone else.

The author managed to instil a wonderful sense of community spirit, friendship and support in this story. Getting to know some of Daisy’s old friends was definitely interesting. The truly random Tammy, geeky Jason and the attitude of Max all had their way of helping Daisy along the way.

This is a wonderful read that transported me to an idyllic Devon village setting, it is a county I visit often for holidays so I found myself reminiscing, I love it when a book can transport me to old memories.

This is one I would definitely recommend to readers who like light romance, old family secrets, truth finding and a general all round feel good read. I loved it xx

About the Author:

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Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel.
In 2016, her debut novel, ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award.
Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays.
She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).
For more about Bella, visit her Website or follow her on Twitter
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Creature by Hunter Shea @huntershea1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Creature by Hunter Shea as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Hunter for my copy of this book and Anne for my spot on the tour.

This is available to purchase from Amazon UK from 6th Sept. It is published by Flame Tree Press, the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices http://www.flametreepublishing.com/

Synopsis:

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.

But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead.

Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

My Thoughts:

Kate suffers from a whole host of autoimmune diseases and her husband Andrew decides that they both need a break before Kate’s next round of treatment. He rents a lake cottage in a remote and secluded area in Maine. Being city dwellers that find that country living is not as quiet as they thought it would be, and that they are not always by themselves.

The descriptions the author gives for Kate’s diseases is a real eye-opener and part way through reading this book I took a break to have an internet search to discover more. At the end of the book I discovered that the author has used his own personal experiences about autoimmune diseases.

I was shocked to read Kate’s story about how she tries to live a life in constant pain and constant supply of medication. I had a sense of the autoimmune diseases as being like a third person in Kate and Andrew’s relationship, I say this because everything that a normal couple would enjoy from walking, going out and just doing basic things is not an option for these two, never mind a more intimate side to being a couple. Andrew has to work to pay medical bills as well as provide support for Kate, he has a lot on his shoulders and at times it shows. Whereas Kate is the position of feeling helpless and useless, not always able to the basic housework without paying the price and spending hours asleep afterwards.

As I started t get further into the story I got a real sense of them not being alone, while it is implied early on. It gradually starts to build and the suspense of there being something unknown takes a hold. I did have an idea about what was happening and I did wonder if my random thought process would be right as I started to piece things together. Even though I was right to a point, I found the author stepped up the pace and also the horror element and took a route that caught me a little by surprise.

If you are someone who doesn’t read much in the way of horror then be prepared for some blood and guts, but nothing that I felt was majorly over the top. The story of Kate and Andrew as they deal with their life is an emotional and a real eye opener of a story. I found myself quickly turning the pages to discover the truth.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

Website http://www.huntershea.com/

Twitter @huntershea1

Facebook Author Page

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Sirens by Joseph Knox #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Sirens by Joseph Knox. This is the first book in the Aiden Waits series and my first time with this author. You can get a copy of Sirens from all good bookshops and also Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

I stopped going to work. I went missing. We still live in a world where you can disappear if you want to. Or even if you don’t.

Detective Aidan Waits is in trouble 

After a career-ending mistake, he’s forced into a nightmare undercover operation that his superiors don’t expect him to survive.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again

When the teenage daughter of a prominent MP joins Zain Carver, the enigmatic criminal who Waits is investigating, everything changes.

A single mother, missing for a decade

Carver is a mesmerising figure who lures young women into his orbit – young women who have a bad habit of disappearing. Soon Waits is cut loose by the police, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

My Thoughts:

The disgraced detective Aiden Waits is the right man for the job of tracking down a missing girl, especially when that girl is the daughter of an MP, and he wants the news of her disappearance kept quiet.

This is a story that I found a little slow to get going but in this slowness the author, managed to convey the scene, the characters and the basics ready for the story to evolve. I got to learn the story behind Waits and the way and why he was offered the job that I think many would have turned down. His record for being a dirty cop allowed him the space to work into the world of drugs, gangs and the whole heap of stuff that you expect to find along with this lifestyle.

I got a good idea of the people and the gangs that operate within the drugs world and also the methods of dealing with trouble or potential trouble makers. I felt that once all the basics were covered, the story then kicked into gear, this actually worked quite for me.  There are a couple of characters that I liked, but then I wouldn’t really want to like some of them, due to the nature of their characters, as they are pretty unpleasant. Even though there are quite a few characters and it took me a little while to get used to them, they are memorable.

I did enjoy this book and even though the slower beginning to this story, it gave a good foundation for the story that followed. It gave a lot of detail that I think will stand me in good stead for the next book The Smiling Man, and I am looking forward to reading that as well.

This book is definitely gritty and is detailed in some of its descriptions with a plot that explores things I would associate with a gang/drug theme. It deals with social and law disorder, drug abuse, gangs and crime in an atmospheric and noirish way. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who enjoy Northern Noir, Crime, Thriller with an undercover/ disgraced detective.

About the Author:

81f6ZqDnaKL._SY200_Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke-On-Trent and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively.

Sirens is his debut novel. His second, The Smiling Man, is available now.

 

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland @under_blue_sky #BonnierZaffre #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. I received an eARC from Bonnier Zaffre via NetGalley and I have now finally read this beautiful book about how life has more limitations for some people. You can purchase your own copy from Amazon UK, it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.
Have her friends left her behind?
And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ailsa Rae who was born with a faulty heart. She is 28 and only a transplant will keep her seeing her 29th birthday.

Now then, even though the synopsis left me thinking that this would be a sad read, the story that comes out is one that gave me a feeling of the exact opposite. Even though there are moments that are sad, this book is uplifting and heartwarming giving an insight into the life of a person being on the waiting list an also of a transplant patient.

Ailsa has a blue tinge to her, this is due to her heart not working properly, she uses this to refer to herself as Blueheart as she creates and runs a blog. It is a way to keep people up to date with how things are going, but importantly is a guide for people who are in a similar position to herself and for those who may need advice in the future.

The story is mainly of Ailsa and her journey after the transplant and how she comes to terms with starting to live her life. It involves a change in everything and I hadn’t even considered how a person would have to adapt their whole life to basically begin again. I had not really thought that much about how such a restriction on a person’s life would essentially be that person’s life, and that all they had known would have to be changed. This is where the book really worked for me as it opened my eyes to an area that I wasn’t really aware of. I don’t personally know of anyone that has needed to have a heart transplant, so even though I sympathise (this doesn’t feel like the right word to use, but I hope you get what I mean) I really had no idea of the enormity of the changes required. Ailsa has been protected all her life by her mother, wrapped up in cotton wool. It means that Ailsa is not as mature and worldly-wise as you would expect of someone her age. It means that when she starts to live a healthy life she has to grow up, she has to do things for herself and not be so reliant on her mum. So essentially not learning how to live but also to live as an adult.

This is such an emotional story and such a lovely read that I was drawn completely in. I loved the way that the author added blog posts and emails intermittently through the story. The use of the blog was a great way of seeing how Ailsa looked at the world as she interacted with her followers as she asked for advice.

There are so many more things I could mention about this book but I have decided to stop here. There are interactions and friendships, hard choices and decisions to be made that make this quite an emotional book to read also peppered with humour and a lighthearted ness at times. It gave me a chance to see a different perspective to life and how it can be so very different to my own.

If you are after a well written a beautiful heartwarming, eye opener and heartbreaking book then do please read this. I was hooked from the very first pages and did not want this story to end. This is a book that will stay with me and one I would most definitely recommend to readers.

About the Author:

81Trop7ggSL._SY200_ Stephanie Butland is the author of beloved bookshop tale ‘Lost For Words’ and her new novel ‘The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae’, released in ebook and paperback 19th April 2018 (available for pre-order now).

Stephanie lives in Northumberland, close to the place where she grew up. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and loves being close to the sea. She’s thriving after cancer.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter – Facebook – Website

#LostForWords #TheCuriousHeart #AilsaRae

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton #BookReview

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I am delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on the dark and deviously brilliant The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. I bought this a little while ago and it has been glaring at me from my bookshelf to be read, why oh why oh why did I wait so long……. You can buy this book in various formats from quite a range of places including real book shops, on line book shops and if your in the UK from the supermarket…….. My shopping List= Milk, Bread, Wine, Coffee, The Craftsman 🙂 and also here is a link for Amazon UK to help you.

Synopsis:

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?

My Thoughts:

Read the synopsis it gives you a taster of what to expect, but it does not give you any indication as to how this book will really get under your skin. Larry Glassbrook is buried in 1999, he was a convicted for the series of child murders. 1969 is the beginning of events.

Oh my god, where on earth to start with this book? I am going to mention that I am not someone who suffers from claustrophobia but, this book definitely had me with a sense of being closed in … I was sat in the garden reading it…. then I have to mention finger nails even writing this now I am getting a shudder thinking about finger nails being ripped in desperation arghhh, if this was a film I would have looked away, something you cannot do when reading a book. These sort of spine tingling and skin crawling moments are sporadically littered throughout the story.

So from the very outset you are aware of the culprit Larry, he was arrested, charged and sentenced. Jobs a goodun right? Now I am going to mention Florence or Flossie, a young WPC, oh my god how things have changed. Using her own strong character and bloody minded stubbornness she finds herself being involved with the detectives on the case in 1969, sounds great until you realise the patriarchal attitude of male officers at the time. She will be ideal for typing the notes as she is a woman and they are quicker at doing this than men Oh and don’t forget to make the tea. I am so glad that Flossie was portrayed as more than her colleagues thought she was, it was really great to see a female character with occasionally more balls than her male counterparts, even if it did land her in so much trouble. It could also be argued that her male colleagues were just looking out for her, not wanting her to get into disturbing situations. You will make you own decisions about this topic. I am sure I read somewhere ( I hope I got this bit right, gulp) that the author didn’t deliberately set out to raise any sort of awareness about this, and maybe this is why it worked so well for me.

I have to mention the setting of this story, PENDLE….. if you are not aware Pendle has a history with The Witch Trials of the 1600’s. What a setting and how could you not have a book in this area that does not include witchcraft and the occult. I loved the way the author embraced this part of history to include it in the story, it certainly adds to the chills down the spine. There are those that believe in the power of nature, its healing properties, the use of herbs and plants in medicine and in charms or curses, whether you believe in this or not it is up to you. But it added an element of mystery, intrigue and also of a historical interest at the same time upping the suspense even more.

This book is separated into three sections, this gave me a moment to catch a breath and try to arrange my thoughts to some sort of coherent level as I then delved into the next section, and believe me a moment is all you will want to take.

So if you hadn’t already guessed it, this book is bloody awesome. It has so many things going on in it and they are all explained and arranged so that there is no confusion with what is going on. It is about finding the truth, dispelling prejudice and accepting that there are different approaches to finding the truth. I want to write so much more about this book, I am only really skimming the surface here, and about how it made me feel really, but this is all I am giving you 🙂

It’s a suspense filled thriller and murder mystery of the very best sort. I loved it a huge amount as the occult was woven through the investigation. It was spine-tingling and dare I say nail-biting ( I still have the shudders over the nails thing), atmospheric and … hold on …. if you have not got a copy yet, then why the hell not? Take my word for it go and get a copy and see for yourself how fabulously brilliant this book really it.

Would I recommend it? Do you really need to ask LOL? I would definitely, absolutely and highly recommend it!!! xx

About the Author:

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Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work. Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.

All images used are from Amazon.co.uk

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

One Summer In Italy by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be bring you my thoughts on One Summer In Italy by Sue Moorcroft. If you are after a heartwarming summer read then this will be one of those you want to add to your list. To make it easier for you here is the link to get yourself a copy from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

My Thoughts:

When Sofia follows her fathers last wishes and promises him that she will visit Italy, his home and while there to pass on a message to his brother. While there Sofia meets Amy, a young woman who has left home after finding her dad isn’t actually her real dad.

From quite an emotional start to an emotional ending this author had me hooked in this beautiful story. It is one of people not only discovering things about themselves and their families but, about finding themselves.

I liked Sophia, she has level-headed and down to earth approach, but also with a cautious nature and yet still able to take a risk. Amy I didn’t like quite as much but that was more to do with the naivety of her character, and her ability to throw temper tantrums. This however is her coping mechanism for life and it did feel right for her as I got to know her more.

As much as I liked Sophia, there were times I wanted to tell her to go and enjoy herself more as I felt that the cautious nature did hold her back at times. So with that and Amy’s petulant outbursts it made it very interesting reading as I discovered the dynamics behind their friendship. I am so glad they met as Sophia could see and help with Amy’s vulnerability.

Now then there is a romantic side to this story, and I really loved this part as well. It is not too over the top and is actually the part of the story that adds the links between the other things going on. So then I got to meet Levi mmmm, oops sorry 🙂  he has his own story to tell and he is another character I liked just a little bit 😉

There various stories that the author has weaved around theses three characters, they each have their own reasons for being in Italy and you will discover the ins and outs of their lives as you are taken around the beautiful setting. Other characters pop in and have their own opinions, some more vocal than others.

This is a book I have wanted to read for a while now and it was perfect for sitting in my garden with. The settings and descriptions were wonderful and allowed me to visualise various aspects of the Italian village. This is a book that does deal with some serious threads and scenarios running through it and for me they were dealt with sympathetically and also realistically. I was able to see viewpoints from different characters so making it possible to see various arguments.

So I really enjoyed reading this book a whole lot, it is heartwarming and beautifully written, I had grinning face at some points, teary eyes at others, there were some secrets that caught me by surprise and some that I did see coming. I felt that by the end of the story that I had got to know Sophia, Amy and Levi quite well, their stories were developed and flowed to a very satisfying ending. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who want to escape into a story of family, love and self discovery. Ideal for readers of general fiction, women’s fiction xx

About the Author:

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Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

Summer at 23 The Strand by Linda Mitchelmore @LindaMitchelmor #NetGalley #HQDigitalUK #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Summer at 23 The Strand by Linda Mitchelmore, this is definitely a read for warm summer days. I would like to thank HQ Digital for my copy on NetGalley. You can buy this on kindle HERE at the time of writing this post its 99p 🙂

Synopsis:

Escape to the seaside this summer!

After actress Martha’s painful break-up hits the headlines, the warm golden sands and sparkling seas of Elberry Cove are the perfect escape from the paparazzi!

Nestled amongst a gorgeous line of brightly-coloured beach chalets, Number 23 The Strand is a home from home, a secret paradise where she can slowly begin to piece her heart back together.

When it’s finally time to leave, Martha decides to leave a special gift for the next guest. It’s a small act of kindness that starts a magical tradition all summer long…

A delightfully uplifting holiday read, perfect for fans of Lilly Bartlett, Tilly Tennant and Eve Devon.

My Thoughts:

This is such a delightful, uplifting and heartwarming read about acts of kindness for the visitors to 23 The Strand, it is a chalet in a Devon Holiday Village and it tells of the various guests who come and stay.

Sometimes you get a book that is just right for whatever time and place you are in. I read this book after coming back from holiday, I stayed in a chalet in a Devon Holiday Village, it was number 25. It was also in the same area as the book setting as well! It brought back memories and warm snuggly feelings of being away on holiday

This book is set out as a series of stories that deal with some aspects of the guests who stay at number 23. Starting with an actress who is trying to escape the limelight of the paparazzi she manages to relax and find peace. On leaving she leaves a little gift along with a note explaining why the chalet and her stay helped her. This little gesture is found by the next guest and they decide to keep the gift and note giving continuing.

This gives you various guests that arrive in the form of families and individuals throughout the season. Each visitor has their own agenda for being there, a problem or two, or something they need time to ponder over. Each story just flows from one to the next as the gift and note add the link.

Sometimes we all need to re-charge our batteries or need a time out from the real world for a few days and just escape. You don’t have to travel far to do this, for me my holiday was only 2-3 hours drive away. But the author has managed to capture the feelings behind the characters individual stories very well. It does have some more serious problems that the characters have to deal with, they are mentioned but not overly dwelt upon and so gives the stories a slightly more uplifting feel to them.

This really is a great summer read that had me with a smirk on my face and the odd lump in my throat and I admit to going a little misty eyed at times. The ending of the story was perfect and I did love the way the author tied up the loose ends.

A great book for readers who are looking for a delightful and heartwarming story and I am very happy to recommend this one. Pull up a chair under the sun shade, get a glass of something chilled with ice, maybe pop your feet on a footstool and relax with Summer at 23 The Strand xx

About the Author:

61y0w8T91KL._SY200_.jpg My writing life began when I was shortlisted and published in a Woman’s Own short story writing competition. Since that happy day I’ve gone on to have over 300 short stories published now. I’ve written for just about all the UK women’s interest weekly magazines and also seen my work published in Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Radio, too, on just the one occasion. I’ve also won and been shortlisted in a fair few short story writing competitions. I’ve also been published in anthologies – five to date. LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT which is the 50th Anniversary Anthology of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and published by Mira, SEXY SHORTS FOR CHRISTMAS, SEXY SHORTS FOR THE BEACH, SEXY SHORTS FOR SUMMER – all published by Accent Press, and CHOC LIT LOVE MATCH, published – of course – by Choc Lit.
So, that was the first step. It seemed logical to move onto novels but that didn’t prove as easy for me. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and through their New Writers’ Scheme slowly honed my craft at novel-writing. Katie Fforde awarded me her bursary and it was just the confidence boost I needed to take me a step nearer publication. In 2012, Choc Lit published my debut novel, TO TURN FULL CIRCLE, which is the first in a trilogy. Book two is already written and on my publisher’s desk but I don’t have a publication date for it yet. I’ve also written a novella and a contemporary which are both under consideration.
I suppose you could call me a bit of a late starter. I’m a Baby Boomer and when I began working for Lloyds Bank, aged seventeen, there were still those ancient things called ‘hand-written ledgers’. So, post book publication, I’ve been on a very steep learning curve with technology. But so glad I plodded on with it because it has brought long lost school and work friends back into my life, and it’s made me so many new cyber friends, some of whom I have already met in the flesh. I would probably get a lot more written if I didn’t swan off to lunch with said friends far more often than I ought but I strive to make a work/life balance that I’m comfortable with.

Follow Linda on Twitter and on her Blog


This was our chalet overlooking the River at Shaldon with Teignmouth on the opposite side, a fabulous view and the chance for a sneaky pint 🙂

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry @JaneCorryAuthor #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am so pleased to be sharing my thoughts with you for The Dead Ex by Jane Corry. It is available in various formats from Amazon UK and other good book shops and published by Penguin. This is not my first visit with this author, I have read and reviewed her previous two books

My Husbands Wife (my review here)

Blood Sisters (my review here)

Synopsis:

HE CHEATED. HE LIED. HE DIED.

Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?

For anyone who loved The Couple Next Door, Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone and Cara Hunter’s Close To Home, this book has everything you need for the perfect summer read – gripping twists and turns, brilliant characters and a story you can’t put down.

My Thoughts:

There is something that I have found with this author and it is that I know I am in for a good read, that it will have some great twists and story-lines. This book was no exception as i was taken into the world of Vicki and her dead ex.

The story takes a route that I didn’t expect and wove it’s way through different timelines. One thing I have come to expect from this author is her ability to hoodwink me completely.

Epilepsy plays a crucial role in this story as it is something that really does have an impact on the character of Vicki. I only know very basics about epilepsy but felt by the end of the book I had a better understanding. For me the author taught me things without me being aware, as a reader I really like this. It is not done in a preachy way, it is done via the character telling others what they need to be aware of when they have to deal with her. It felt as if the research had been done and also understood properly to be part of the story.

The synopsis for this book does the best job of keeping things vague and it is something I am going to mirror in my thoughts as well. There are some curvy curve balls that came my way as I worked the way through the story, and I loved them.

This author gives you not only a great read but also give you something to think about. She has the ability to educate and also weave a cracking story with a mixed bunch of characters that you will love or hate. Believe me when I say you will work out who fits into which list, eventually !

A story of family, life and new beginnings with twists in the telling and I that found addictive, a book I would definitely recommend to readers of crime, mystery and thrillers.

About the Author:

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Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has spent time working as the writer in residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire her Sunday Times bestsellers ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘Blood Sisters’. Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea – no matter how cold it is!

Jane’s brand-new thriller ‘The Dead Ex’ is being published on 29th June 2018 by Penguin Viking and is available for pre-order.

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor as well as Instagram.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx