Friday, 18 August 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel


The girls of the Roanoke family - beautiful, rich, mysterious - seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them that's never spoken.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.
She is a Roanoke girl.
Is she strong enough to escape a second time?


This is going to be a hard review for me to write as my thoughts on this book are so mixed. I don’t want to give too much away but the main plot focuses on a form of sexual abuse that has never sat comfortable with me and as soon as it was revealed in this book I was unsure whether to carry on with the book but on the other hand the authors writing style flows so effortlessly and she gets straight to the point without drawing the storyline out unnecessarily which made this a fast-paced gripping read.
The Roanoke girls are like any other family, these girls are “special” Everyone is envious of the beautiful girls, men are instantly attracted to them, girls are bitterly jealous of them but if they knew what really made these girls special they would feel relieved that they are not a Roanoke girl.
Secrets that have been covered up by this family for years are threatened to be revealed when Allegra goes missing and Lane has no option but to return back to the terrible home desperate to find her.
The only way I can describe this book is like going past a car crash and knowing you shouldn’t look but curiosity always wins! 
The storyline was predictable but I wanted to carry on reading to see how things reached the conclusion I was expecting to lay ahead. It was impossible for me to warm to any of the characters because they were not the type of people I would ever be able to relate to but I was still intrigued to see what would become of this family.
The author delivers the disturbing psychological issues that the characters has in great detail so I can assume that she has done a lot of research when it comes to this part of the book. I also found it easy to visualise the settings of the book especially the random carvings that Allegra often left.
This is a really twisted and disturbing read that I am sure will divide many readers in their opinions, it certainly has something as I sped through this book so quickly but I think this is more in thanks to the authors writing style rather than the storyline as it is not a book that I would pick up again and because of the subject matter I don’t feel this would be a book that I would comfortably recommend.

Paperback                Kindle

Friday, 11 August 2017

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling



Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise - not to fall in love with each other…


The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts was one of my top reads of 2016 and I have found it impossible to let Posy and her quaint little Bookshop go so I was over the moon when I found out that Annie Darling was bringing us a sequel, True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop.

This time our main character is Verity, who you may remember from the first book even though she had a smaller roll. Verity is perfectly happy living the single life but her friends and family have other ideas and so to keep them off of her back and to stop them constantly trying to set her up she invents a boyfriend but when she is followed by her nosey friends who are keen to meet her mysterious man she has to think quick and enlists the help of an unexpected guy to help her cover her tracks.

Johnny never expected that evening to be that eventful but he sees a great opportunity for Verity and himself to help each other out over the next few weeks and so they agree to pretend date so they can get a break from blind dates and matchmaking.

The dangerous thing when you adore a book so much and long for a sequel is that you have incredibly high expectations and you expect to have all the feels from the first book flowing through the pages of the second book. This sequel is an enjoyable read that I found myself eagerly turning the pages wanting to see how Verity’s love life was progressing but I really felt like the book was missing that special spark that was found in the first book. I am sure if you were to read this book as a standalone you would thoroughly enjoy it but those reading this after reading book one will not be able to help but compare to the two. It didn’t have that warm cosy and community vibe going on that was so inviting in the first book but it does have a great sense of wit which I loved.

I loved seeing glimpses of the previous characters from the first book, I must admit that I was hoping that Posy was going to have a bigger role in this book but that is just because of how much I loved and related to her character. Verity herself is a difficult character to warm to as she has high barriers up and comes across as a prickly character at times but when she spends time with Johnny gradually I felt her guard coming down at times and I began to really care for her character and long for her to find the happiness she deserved. Johnny was also a character who had me on a rollercoaster as some times I loved him and thought he was just what Verity needed but then at other times he would say something that would throw my opinion of him in the complete opposite direction.

I did enjoy this book and I would recommend anyone who is looking for a light hearted romance to take away with them this Summer but I would just give anyone who fell in love with the first book a heads up that this although an enjoyable read, it doesn’t leave you with that longing for a follow on this time around.




Kindle                            Paperback

Thursday, 27 July 2017

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

What happens when you get the second chance you never expected?

Abi is living her happy ending. She's in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance at life. But during Abi's illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.
Set to the songs on Abi's survival playlist, this is the story of what happens next as Abi tries to rebuild her family. Can she bring the people she loves most in the world back together again... before it's too late?

This Beautiful Life is the first book I have read by Katie Marsh and having now finished this powerful and emotive read I know it on't be my last as this book is sure to leave a lasting impression on me.

The storyline introduces us to a family who have been through a desperate time with mum Abi fighting cancer and now she is in remission it shows the effects that the fight has had on the whole family and how as a sufferer it completely changes your outlook on life in the immediate aftermath. We also hear from her son Seb and how he has coped but he is hiding his own challenges which he is determined to hide from his parents. Husband John who was a rock all the way through now sees his marriage falling apart and he can't put it right.
This was such a raw emotional read that will touch each and every reader it was so honest and realistic and was delivered with such sensitivity and detail. I have read a number of books now with cancer patients as our main characters but this storyline was unlike any I had read not being afraid to show that Abi still has her flaws and makes mistakes just like anyone else. Seb is also hiding something he is trying to come to terms with which again was very insightful and dealt with so tenderly.
I love how we hear from both Abi and Seb's points of views which gives even more depth to their characters and makes their stories even more poignant hearing from both of their thoughts. Another wonderful touch was the playlist that compliments this book, at the beginning of each chapter we are treated to another new song which Abi dedicates to her loved ones.
The ending is one of those that has you shouting at the pages " YOU CAN'T FINISH THERE" but in hindsight having now taken a day or two to complete this review it is actually a perfect realistic ending to an honest plot.
This was an insightful and heartfelt read that will stay on my mind for a long time to come. This author has really touched my heart with her beautiful writing style I can not wait to delve into another of her novels even if it is to have my heart broken all over again!


Kindle                       Paperback

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree CafĂ© to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?




Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage is the latest release by Heidi Swain and sees us returning to the idyllic village of Wynbridge with the introduction of a new main character the lovely Lottie Foster. When Lottie’s grandmothers best friend passed away she left Lottie her home, Cuckoo Cottage, hoping that this would give Lottie the chance to make a real life for herself. As Lottie begins to put down her roots and starts playing with ideas on how to utilise the land which comes with her new home it soon becomes clear not everyone wants to see her settle at Cuckoo Cottage.

I have read all of Heidi’s books and I love that so many of the previous characters are all weaved into this storyline and that we re-visit Skylark Farm and the delightful Cherry Tree Cafe. This book can easily be read as a stand alone but having read the previous books this one just felt like reuniting with friends.

You can expect witty moments from early on in this book and a typical love triangle between Lottie her helpful builder Matt and delightful neighbour, it was a little predictable but never the less a joy to read as we watch events unfold and testosterone flow! The community spirit comes across strongly in this book, no one can keep a secret as everyone knows everyone business and yet they all rally round and help each other.

I don't want to give away any spoilers so I am not going to say too much but I rather hoped we would see the development of Lottie’s idea come to light as Heidi has great descriptive writing and I was eager to watch Lottie develop her vision.

I thought this was a wonderful light read and fans of Heidi Swains previous books will not be disappointed as her character and charm from her previous books are all found in this new release.


Kindle                    Paperback

Monday, 3 July 2017

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke


I am kicking off the blog tour for this fabulous read by a much loved author of mine Lucy Clarke.
I have been desperate to share my review for Last Seen for weeks so I am thrilled that I can finally now shout about it from the roof tops!


Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried
My Review


The Queen of the sea is back with her new novel Last Seen which is just as gripping and twisty as her previous books but has a slightly darker feel to the storyline.

Seven years ago two little boys Jacob and Marley swam out to sea but only one is brought back, the events of that day has had a big impact on the friendship between the boys mothers Sarah and Isla.
On the 7th anniversary of the accident, Jacob disappears and Sarah is desperate to find her son but trying to find him will mean many secrets will need to be revealed.

I was captivated the whole way through this book. The characters were all so well developed but strangely for me I didn't warm to any of them because this storyline has you questioning each and every character and their motives so because you are too suspicious of everyone you don't allow yourself to trust and warm to any of them. Usually if there is not a character I love it really puts me off a book but I didn't feel this way with this novel and I think that is because the plot was so strong with so much uncertainty and mystery that I was desperate to get to the bottom of the events all those years ago as well as the present day.

I can honestly say at no point could I have predicted what was revealed in this twisty book, I had my suspicions that a certain character definitely had a lot to hide but then I suspected everyone! If you love an unpredictable storyline that constantly leads you down the wrong path then you will love this book.

What I have always loved about Lucy Clarke's writing is her connection and descriptive writing she has when writing about the sea, this woman must have been a mermaid in a previous life! This book again is set around the sea with a tragic accident occurring in the waters and the author brings out the mystery of the sea which holds many secrets never to be told.

At different points in the book I found I was shocked, disturbed, angry, suspicious and I also questioned how far I would go to protect a love one so this book will take you on a real journey of emotions.

This is another must read by Lucy Clarke so be sure to grab a copy next time your in town.



Friday, 30 June 2017

Amber Green Takes Manhattan Blog Tour


I am thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Amber Green Takes Manhattan which is the latest release by Rosie Nixon. Those of you who follow my blog will remember I read the first Amber Green book last year, The Stylist, and absolutely loved it so I was over the moon to find out our beloved Amber was making a return.

Joining me on the blog today is author Rosie Nixon who is kindly going to answer some questions about the new book and about her writing.


Amber Green Takes Manhattan is your sequel to your debut The Stylist which was a fabulous hit last year, tell us a little bit about what we can expect in this book and can it be read as a standalone?
Yes, I’d like to think that the book can definitely be read as a standalone – that was important to me because I know that not everyone will have read The Stylist. It’s set in New York and it sees my central character Amber Green relocate from London for a few months with her boyfriend. It involves fashion shows, photo shoots and a host of escapades as Amber tries to make her name as a stylist in the Big Apple. I found it interesting to bring social media into the second book, Amber is encouraged by her agent to up her social media following and has a baptism of fire on Instagram with a fashion faux pas that goes viral – your worst nightmare! There are lots of funny moments. The book is also about navigating her first serious relationship. After I finished writing The Stylist I couldn’t get Amber out of my head and wanted to know what was going to happen next in her life. It was so much fun to write.

I loved Amber Green from the moment I met her in The Stylist, is she or any of your characters based on people you know and have your friends questioned you as to whether a character is based on them?
Of course, you can’t help but be influenced by situations you’ve been in and people you’ve met when you’re writing a book. I certainly was influenced by a number of experience I’ve had in New York, LA and London. My husband found it quite amusing reading about Amber Green because her relationship is an important part of it and he would say ‘isn’t he a bit like me?’ or ‘that situation sounds a bit familiar?’ and I would say ‘No darling, of course not, it’s complete fiction!’  There are definitely elements of me in Amber, I can’t help that, I very much see the funny side in situations and she’s got a great sense of humour, accidentally ending up in hot water but her heart is in the right place and she’s not a walk-over. I also have a very close friend called Chrissie and we've shared lots of travelling adventures – there’s probably a bit of her in Vicky which I think she’d be quite happy to hear because Amber and Vicky have a really special friendship and lots of fun together.

What was the last book that you read, do you find much time to read?
I have to say I read so much for work in my capacity as Editor-in-chief at HELLO!, I’m constantly reading other magazines, websites, social feeds and newspapers to keep on top of everything that reading a book is a real luxury and something I don’t get to do as often as I’d like. I just finished The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo, and it’s brilliant, I really enjoyed it. It was one of those books that you don’t want to end. I have two very young children so I love reading bedtime stories to them and when I go to bed myself I’m asleep immediately – I try and read half a paragraph and then I’m out!

You are a very busy woman, what tips can you give for writing a novel around a demanding job and where is your favourite place to write?
I think if you want to do something badly enough, when it’s a real passion of yours, you somehow manage to find the time. Writing is something that I love doing, it’s real escapism for me. so even though time is short it’s something that I can’t wait to do. I wrote a lot of Amber Green Takes Manhattan on my maternity leave with my second son and it was quite nice to have an excuse to pop to a coffee shop on my own when somebody was around to look after the baby. I’ve always enjoyed having a busy life and I think it’s important to find that balance. Luckily I write quickly when I’m in the zone and Amber’s voice came very naturally to me. It’s not easy and I don’t claim to be Super Woman, because I have weeks when I feel like it’s all too much and others where everything seems to be working well and I get lots done. It’s all a juggling act.

Do you plan on revisiting Amber Green in future books or do you feel like her journey will come to a natural end in this book?
I don’t like the thought of saying goodbye to Amber just yet. I have got an idea in mind for a third Amber Green book, and I’ve sketched out a rough plot. I can see it being a trilogy and then it will probably be time to say goodbye.

Thank you for taking the time to come and talk to us Rosie.
AMBER GREEN TAKES MANHATTAN IS OUT NOW!



Kindle                            Paperback

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Summer of Impossible Things By Rowan Coleman



Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Summer of Impossible Things by one of my favourite authors Rowan Coleman and I will be sharing my review on her upcoming novel.


If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?
 


My Review


Having been a fan of Rowan Coleman for years I look forward to each of her releases and this time it feels like the longest wait ever for the release of The Summer of Impossible Things. Now if I am being completely honest here for the first time I was a little bit apprehensive when I read the blurb for this book because I am not a fan of time travel whether it be book or film so this wouldn't have been a book that I would have picked up if it was by another author but I have such admiration for this authors writing that I decided to give it a try.

When Luna and her sister Pea discover that their mother had been keeping a heartbreaking secret from them all their life they make the trip back to their mothers childhood home where Luna soon discovers that she has a remarkable ability to go back in time and potentially right the wrongs all those years ago.

It was a very cleverly thought out plot and Rowan delivered the storyline with her usual addictive and descriptive writing style which made this an enjoyable read. What really shined through in this book was the desperate love Luna had for both her mum and her sister Pea she was willing to literally sacrifice everything without hesitation to be able to protect the ones she loved which made my heart go out to such a selfless beautiful character.

As ever Rowan Coleman has delivered a compelling read with a unique plot with characters that you instantly warm to and a storyline that is unpredictable from start to finish.

This is definitely one of those books that will get you thinking about the changes that you would make if you could go back in time, but each little change could make a dramatic change of direction in your life for the good and the bad so maybe we should just deal with the hand we are given.

I enjoyed this book, maybe not quite as much as all of her other books but that is purely for the fact that the topic is not my kind of thing so anyone who does love time travel will love this book because it is so well executed. 



Hardback               Kindle


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