And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott @RachelAbbott #NetGalley #AndSoItBegins #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott. My thanks to Headline and Wildfire books for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

You can buy this in eBook format now, the Hardback is due to be published on November 15th 2018, with the paperback scheduled for August 8th 2019 ( dates correct at time of writing) Buying link for AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

WHO WILL BELIEVE YOUR STORY IF THE ONLY WITNESS IS DEAD?

‘What a storyteller Rachel Abbott is… I was hooked from the start’ CARA HUNTER

‘A truly compelling, twisty, enthralling and satisfying read… Absolutely AMAZING!’ ANGELA MARSONS

Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

My Thoughts:

Mark, Evie, and Cleo… Mark is a reclusive photographer whose first wife died suddenly. He is coaxed out by Evie who wants a series of photographs taken. Cleo is Mark’s sister and is very protective of him and doesn’t appreciate Evie spending time in Mark’s life… Evie stands trial as this dark and twisted thriller unravels their stories.

Wow…and Wow… and why have I not read anything by this author before…?

This is such an addictive read that really did have me on the edge of my seat. This author really knows how to keep me guessing from the tantalizing few words of the prologue right through to the very end. She had me second guessing my thoughts, the characters, and the motives. When I thought I had a handle on things she managed to twists things and leaving me wondering what was going to come next.

As the stories of each of the three main characters start to open up I was given the chance to see their roots as it were, a chance to get a glimpse into their childhoods and their upbringings. A chance to get into their thoughts and how they worked, but nothing quite prepared me for what was to come.

The trial part of the story was something I really enjoyed and when combined with the police investigations the truth starts to be revealed. Some of these had me squirming and others had me horrified as abusive treatment details came to light.

This book is so well paced and I found myself not wanting to put my kindle down for a single moment. This is a dark and devious psychological thriller that encompasses a crime, with wonderful of courtroom and police procedural elements. A story that delves into family and relationships. This is a real cracker of a read that kept me guessing and one that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again and The Sixth Window. Her most recent novel, Come a Little Closer, is available from February 2018.

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language.

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.

Rachel’s website can be found at – WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitter

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

The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara #PublicationDay #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara. Natalia is the author and Lauren is the illustrator for The Bandit Queen. My thanks to Puffin Books for inviting me to read a copy of this book via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own.

It is published by Puffin Books in Hardback today, its available from Amazon UK.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by Natalia and Lauren you can read my review HERE and buy a copy HERE

Synopsis:

“O Bandit Queen!” the bandits cried. 
“Little horror! Poison weed!
We’ll give you everything a queen could ever need…”

The bandits give their queen treasure, tigers, mischief and mayhem. But sometimes a little girl needs something more…

A book about finding family in unexpected places, from the creators of Hortense and the Shadow.

My Thoughts:

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The Bandits are a mad bunch getting up to all sorts of things such as pinching forks, shouting and crashing about until three in the morning. On one trip the Bandits steal things from an Orphan School, in one box is a baby. They care for her, spoil her, give her their version of an education and make her their Bandit Queen. She grows tired of their childish behaviour and goes to get a proper education, she then realises she misses her bunch of Bandits and they also miss her.

This is a fun read with rhyming sentences that would be great to be read out loud. At the beginning of the story there are a few onomatopoeia words, ideal for engaging a child when being read to, or for that child to sound out.

The story is engaging and while the Bandits are quite naughty they are also fun. At the end of the book there is almost a cliffhanger of sorts, it could be the end or there is the clue that there could be more to come. I like this as it is a way to encourage a child to think about what could happen next, giving them a chance to develop their own imaginative story.

The pictures in this book are fabulous, they are detailed and are relevant to each part of the story and are bright and vivid in their colour, while still holding a slightly whimsical style.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by the O’Hara sisters and while that is a different style of book it does have some similarities, rhyming verse, good illustrations and a storyline that would appeal to young readers.

This is a book that I as and adult enjoyed and think would definitely appeal to readers from around 5 and up, perfect to be read aloud and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Natalia O’Hara (Author) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Lauren O’Hara (Illustrator) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

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

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross @HodderBooks #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross. This is a book aimed at a YA or Teen reader and is a retelling of the Beauty and The Beast Story. My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for my eBook that I recieved via NetGalley. This book is avaliable in paperback, hardback and eBook format and available from AMAZON UK

I just love the cover of this book…..

Synopsis:

A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

My Thoughts:

Beauty and the Beast is a story many are aware of from film, musical and animation. Leife Shallcross has retold the story from the perspective of the Beast himself.

There are various things that remain a constant from the various versions of this classic children’s story. A man cursed to live his day as a beast until he finds someone who loves him for what is on the inside rather than what we see on the out. There are also the gardens, the magic and for all bibliophiles THE LIBRARY……….

While this is a very good read and sticks to my memories of the story I read as a child, I did find there where parts that did feel a little bit repetitive. Now as an adult it may be that I am being overly picky with a book aimed at younger readers, so I am now wondering if this is actually a way of showing a younger reader the time that the two characters spend together in each others company, building up a friendship and also the trust.

I did like this story and from the point of view of the Beast, it gave this character a chance to say his piece and express his feeling and thoughts as well as expressing the hope that Isabeau (Beauty) is the one to break the curse.

As well as the Beast and Isabeau’s story there is also the story of the family that Isabeau left behind while she stays with the Beast. I did really enjoy this section of the story as it went into how the family left behind had to deal with this change to the family, and adjustments to be made.

This is a book that I do think younger readers and also early Teens would enjoy. It is the perfect story for readers who like the traditional “once upon a time…happily ever after” fairy tale.

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

Shiang by C.F.Iggulden @MichealJBooks #BookReview #Netgalley

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Today I have my thoughts on Shiang by C.F.Iggulden that is published today, the second in The Empire of Salt Series. I would like to thank Michael Joseph Books for my ecopy recieved via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own. You can purchase a copy of this book from good book shops and here is the link to purchase from AMAZON UK.

You can read my review of the first book Darien: Empire of Salt by C. F. Iggulden

Synopsis:

IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.

In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.

Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.

Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

My Thoughts:

So this is the second in this series of books by Conn Iggulden. Shiang and Darien are ancient cities separated by many miles of rough, mountainous landscapes. So why anyone would want to make the journey across the mountains, especially in winter, must be for something important.

There are two groups making this journey, Hondo and his group are journeying to bring back a traitor, a man who disgraced the royal family in Darien, he now resides in Shiang. The other group is led by Gabriel and they are a more fearsome band, they are drawn to Shiang seeking power.

This is very much an action and well paced story, there are descriptions and histories that are filled in as the story unfolds. The journeys made by the two groups are interesting and the reasons for the trek was one that intrigued me.

This book gave me a chance to learn more about the ruling families and also how they rule. Also the way they use the power they posses.

Even though I did enjoy this story I found I was at a bit of a loss to find the links I would have expected between the first and second book. It did confuse me as I didn’t seem to have any memory of any of the key characters, once I kind of shrugged that off and decided to read it in the mindset of being more of a stand alone novel then I could enjoy the story. It was quite a long way in before I came across a character I could remember from the first book, he only makes a fleeting appearance.

So this book leaves me in a bit of a quandary, as part of a series I kind of expect characters to come back to me in the few chapters at least, but this wasn’t the case, this essentially left it as a book that had more of a stand alone feel.

I did enjoy the story and found it descriptive, it is full of action, a fair bit of blood, death and destruction, it also has magic, swordsmanship, warriors and honour. It is a book that I would recommend and I am still looking forward to the next in the series.

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

The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic. Having read Simon Lelic’s previous book The House I was quietly confident that I would also enjoy this one. If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so from good book shops or Amazon UK My thanks to Penguin UK Books for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

ONE ROOM.

TWO LIARS.

NO WAY OUT.

THE NEXT SPINE-TINGLING THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE HOUSE

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life.

It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.

He knows her.

And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter.

My Thoughts:

Susanna is a counsellor, well she is now! But she has a past that she is trying to hide from her friends, her daughter and also herself. Adam comes to Susanna as a patient, he has never visited her before but something about him is unsettling.

This is a book that took me a while to get into as I struggled to really find my feet with what the story was about and where it was going. It is only now as I write this review that I realise that this was probably a little bit how Susanna felt when this stranger turned up. What was he about, what was his problem, did he have a problem? But even though it did feel a little slow to get going I was so glad I stuck with it. There was something quietly compelling about it that held my attention.

As the story of not only Susanna but also Adam started to be made known the sense of “there is something going on here” starts to make its shadowy presence felt. All is not as first appears. A lie told years ago raises its head, it was told to protect loved ones, does that make it right? Can telling a lie ever be justified? The author does a great job of teasing and taunting the reader, I felt as if I was being manipulated as the truth of the story gradually snaked its way out.

Even though I felt it had a slow almost vague start I found it compelling and in comparison the latter half of the book really does pick up the pace and the intrigue as well as the sense of danger. The as the dots started to be connected I started to get a better idea of what was going on, in a sense I started to see the bigger picture. It is when I realised how deceptive the story actually was that the author had very cleverly woven.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like psychological thrillers with an emphasis on family, secrets, and lies. A book that I think would raise some interesting talking points for Reading Groups.

About the Author:

Simon Lelic is a former journalist and the author of three award-winning literary novels, and The New Neighbors, his first psychological thriller, inspired by a love of Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Simon lives with his wife and three children.

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

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you all for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields. I admit to be being a huge fan of this series and I was so delighted to get approval from Avon Book UK for my copy from NetGalley. You can purchase this book from 23rd August from Amazon UK and it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

My Thoughts:

So in this latest instalment there are two crimes, both as brutal as the other but in different ways and for ultimately different reasons. A young woman found dead with skin removed from her stomach and back. The second is the use of new drug Spice that leaves users zombified and open for attack.

I have read all the ‘Perfect’ books and always eagerly await the next in the series. This is where I say, yes each could be read as a stand alone but, in my heart of hearts I know that a series read in order works so much better for getting to know the characters and their dynamics within the group settings.

Perfect Silence for me had a slightly different feel to it in the respect that Ava seemed to take more of a lead in the story itself. She had been promoted, she is feeling her way in her new role and finding her feet. She also discovers that protocol and procedure falls directly to her to deal with. She is no longer part of the group as such because she is answerable to her own boss and responsible for the actions of her team. This actually made a lot of sense to me as far as her character development goes and in someway helps to stamp her authority.

So not only is Ava having to deal with a change in role she is also in the firing line from the powers that be, Overbeck in particular has been the proverbial ‘pain in the rear’ and it is a chance to get to know this one a little better. Good old, borderline cheeky / rude Lively is back and is another one I got to see a bit more of. There is a newcomer in the form of DS Graham, and what a nice form he has.

The story or should I say stories are of a bloody and gruesome nature, the authors descriptions does a great job of giving enough information to let your imagination do the rest. The cases are very different in the reasons for the attacks, they are not straightforward and the tension and frustration definitely start to mount.

As I mentioned earlier this for me was more about Ava rather the luscious Luc Callanch, I do have such a spot for him and as much as love his character I was more drawn to Ava. Don’t panic though he is still around and is as supportive as ever. But also he has his only little story going on, it is something I am not going to delve into as I am not as sure about this development in his character yet, but I’m interested to see where that part of his life will go.

So to kind of sum up a little, it is a fantastic next instalment in the Perfect books. If you have not read this series then you need to if you like dark, gritty, compulsive and addictive twisted story-lines. Ideal for crime, thriller, murder, mystery and tension filled suspense readers, it’s not all about the crime as there are things within some of the characters lives that are being brought out more as well, but the crime part is blooming brilliant 🙂

A book and series I would highly recommend.
My Reviews for the previous books:

My review for Perfect RemainsBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect PreyBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect Death Buy from AmazonUK

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About the Author:

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Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

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

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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Uncommon Cruelty by Liz Mistry @LizCrimeWarp #BookReview #NetGalley @BloodhoundBook

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Today I have my thoughts on Uncommon Cruelty by Liz Mistry. This is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series and is set around Bradford, West Yorkshire. You can buy a copy from Amazon UK and it is available in eBook or paperback formats.

Synopsis:

An unmissable new crime thriller from the best-selling DI Gus McGuire series

DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing. But that is just the beginning.   

As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church. 

Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.

Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?

Uncommon Cruelty is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series set in Bradford, West Yorkshire and is a gritty, Northern Noir read.

My Thoughts:

I have done my usual trick and not read any other books in the series and this is my first time reading this authors books. This book works well as a stand alone as the author does a very good job giving details on background so I didn’t feel I was missing out too much but, halfway through Uncommon Cruelty I had myself a little shopping trip and bought the other 3 in the series as I was enjoying it so much 🙂

So when parents come home from a trip to find their house trashed, their son missing and two bodies they immediately call the police. So enters Gus Mcguire and DS Alice Cooper to investigate.

I liked the dynamics of Gus and Alice, they are professional but also have a great banter and there is a good rapport with  fellow colleagues. This lifted the tone of the story at times and I think it worked well in what would be a stressful situation for those investigating.

There are little indications of past stories that are explained and this added to the intrigue for me. They have been added to give clarification to a reader who hasn’t read the previous books and do complement this story.

The plot covers so many different angles and takes trips down those pesky blind alleys that helped build up the suspense. It was as if I was being teased and being held just at arm’s length from the truth. Not only does the team have a tricky case to deal with but a past keeps poking their nose in.

The author did a fantastic job of leaving tantalising little clues giving an inking as to who it could possibly be and when the end arrives you definitely get to learn about the why of the crime.

This is a brilliant story that intrigued me, with several plot lines that twist and weave until you discover all the facts. A thoroughly enjoyable and addictive read that would be great for fans of gritty Norther Noir, crime, murder and mystery books. One I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

515eZyVQ9pL._SY200_ I am a crime writer based in Bradford but originally from West Calder in Scotland. I studied at Stirling University and taught in Bradford inner-city Primary schools for many years. I write gritty crime fiction drawing on the richness of Bradford’s diverse cultures and my writing is heavily influenced by Tartan Noir writers such as, Stuart MacBride, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. I completed an MA in Creative Writing at the brilliant Leeds Trinity University. I currently have three novels published: Unquiet Souls (my debut novel) and Uncoiled Lies and Untainted Blood. I look forward to writing many more featuring my main character DI Gus (Angus) McGuire and his team. I am co-founder and lead blogger with The Crime Warp Blog

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