Tuesday, 28 June 2016

My Girl - Jack Jordan

My Girl
by Jack Jordan

About the book...
Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.  She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? 

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. 


From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan's My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won't want to miss.

About the author...

Jack Jordan lives in East Anglia, England. He describes himself as an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense. 

Author of Anything for Her and My Girl.


I love connecting with other readers, so don't hesitate to add me as a friend. Let's talk books! :-)



My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, something which I am more than happy to do.

Where to begin? This is a shocking tale of a woman, Paige who thinks life can't get any worse - her daughter was murdered at fourteen identified by her fingers found in a river but with no body to bury, the case still unsolved and a husband who committed suicide in the bath. Paige is lurching from day to day in a drunken stupor, surviving on wine, fags and prescription drugs. For what reason she doesn't know - her life really is not worth living.

I read this book in an afternoon at sea, a relaxing holiday read it was not but, I was literally glued to the pages. There were times when I wanted to put the book down but that was never going to happen - My Girl was intensely gripping. 

Jack's descriptions of both people and scenario's was superb.  The characters complex and haunting.  Paige a shell of a person, nothing left of her but a bleeding heart, needing something/someone to drag her out of the abyss. To her mother-in-law with her brittle, biting her lip calm like manner unable to reach Paige and feeling her own pain which she was holding in check - just. Then there was Paige's homely, but emotionally crushed father.  I could have wrapped my arms around him, I visualised his sad, woeful eyes knowing he was as crushed as Paige but not able to shake her out of slump. Maxim her older brother, sitting quietly on the sidelines, bailing her out when necessary, reading her the riot act and retreating until the next time. Their mannerisms and actions played like a cinema reel across my eyes as I read.  

There are twists and turns in this book that are shockingly graphic and highly emotive with the major twist causing a jaw dropping OHHHHHHHH.  I literally never saw that coming and didn't want to deal with it when it did.  If you think Paige is living in hell at the beginning of the book by Part II you'll despair, my stomach literally dropped.  

Jack Jordan hooked me with his synopsis and reeled me in with the story - he is definitely an author to look out for. I'm still reeling now a month after reading it and can honestly say nothing I've read recently has come close to this.  I highly recommend Jack Jordan and My Girl - utterly brilliant and powerfully shocking.  What's next Jack?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

How to Find Love in a Bookshop - Veronica Henry

How to Find Love In a Bookshop
by Veronica Henry

About the book...
Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers. 
Sarah Basildon, owner of stately home Peasebrook Manor, has used the bookshop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye? Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems... 
And there’s Tomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White. Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings? 


How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia’s fight to keep her bookshop alive, the customers whose lives she has touched - and the books they all love. 

Published in Hardback by Orion Books 16th June 2016, £12.99. Also available in ebook and audio. 

About the author...
Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for THE ARCHERS, HEARTBEAT and HOLBY CITY amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD for A NIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Veronica lives on the coast in North Devon with her sons. 

For more information on Veronica Henry 

•Visit her website www.veronicahenry.co.uk
•Follow Veronica on Twitter @veronica_henry
•See Veronica’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/veronica- henry author 

My thoughts...
I was offered a copy of How to Find Love In a Bookshop in exchange for an honest review by Elaine Egan, Publicity Manager at Orion Books, something which I am more than happy to do.

This was a touching book that was a pleasure to read.  Emilia, finds herself alone with big decisions to make.  Her father, Julius was a single parent to Emilia and his love of books and their ability to soothe and enlighten was a gift which he passed onto his daughter. Sadly, How to Find Love In a Bookshop begins with the death of Julius and the reality that Nightingale Books is now Emilia's responsibility, bringing with it problems and the one person who she always leant on and sought advice from - gone.

Nightingale Books is a responsibility that she wants to take up but when the reality of the challenge facing her is presented in black and white it becomes a challenge that may be that step too far.

Veronica sensitively conveys Emilia's feelings and her grief, that was at times all consuming.   I really felt for Emilia as she dealt with the huge tug of love that was Nightingale Books.  She realises the bookshop is struggling financially but initially not quite how bad. Grief is a terrible thing that effects us all differently and for Emilia the yo-yoing between decisions is made harder when she arranges a memorial service for her father and practically the whole community wants to take part. The emotional strain of dealing with the desire to keep the bookshop open for her fathers sake, but realising it appears to be a hopeless case so she should sell up is all too evident.  

Emilia slowly begins to realise that perhaps she isn't all alone.  The love and genuine support given and received by Julius and subsequently Emilia was evident with each and every character introduced to us.   Nightingale Books really was at the heart of Peasebrook and to close it down would be like ripping the heart out of the community.   I felt strongly that Emilia should keep it open and willed her on with each chapter.  Every time I thought she had made a positive decision to stay open something would happen to change her mind and I genuinely felt saddened by this.  

I loved this story, at times it was sad and I felt quite emotional but at others found it to be an uplifting read that made me smile and wish for the chance to walk through the doors of Nightingale Books. The descriptions were so vivid I could smell the books and see myself stroking the spines as I chose my next read, wanting to be a part of a community that has a bookshop playing a pivotal part in the community.   Thank you so much for this beautiful read.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

House of Dreams - Fanny. Blake

House of Dreams
By Fanny Blake

About the book...
It's only a long weekend - what could possibly go wrong?

'House of Dreams is a heart-warming tale of secrets slowly revealed and family tensions in a beautiful Spanish setting. A compelling and delightful read' - Santa Montefiore

In the hilltop villa with its spectacular views across rolling countryside to the straits of Gibraltar, Lucy anxiously awaits the arrival of her brother and sister.

They’re spending the weekend together to say farewell to Casa de SueƱos, the house in the mountains of southern Spain where they grew up.

Her sister, Jo, landing at the airport with her fractious four year old, dreads the prospect of this time with her family which will fulfil their mother’s last instructions that they celebrate her birthday together. Only this time their mother won’t be there.

Tom, their brother, remembers the chaos of his bohemian upbringing and wants nothing more than for their stay to go off without a hitch. Then a beautiful face from his past appears at the villa . . .

Over one long, hot week weekend, past secrets will spill out, making the siblings question themselves, the choices they’ve made and where their future lies in this gorgeous new novel from Fanny Blake.



About the author...
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing fiction and general non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written several bestsellers and acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities. She is also Books Editor of Woman and Home magazine. Her novels include The Secrets Women Keep (Orion) and With a Friend Like You (Orion).





My thoughts...
I was sent a copy of House of Dreams by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Something that I,m more than happy to do. Jo, Tom and Lucy, siblings, are heading to their family villa -  a place of happy memories for one last holiday in remembrance and at the express wish of their recently deceased mother.

This is such a lovely book, a story that explores the dynamics of family life. The stereotypical dynamics of sibling rivalry - it never ends but is taken mostly as banter and not personal.  Three children, now adults - three very different characters who don't realise that deep down they actually beat from the same heart and share the same values.  


This was a beautiful story, woven around a setting that from the cover of the book alone just oozed warmth, lazy days, sunshine and smiles - a happy book despite the reason for the visit.  Jo, Tom and Lucy come together to have one last holiday in a house that holds so many happy memories - they are to scatter their mother's ashes, party one last time in her memory - unsure exactly who will turn up and then divide the contents and move on. Something that each of them was dreading.

I loved how Fanny created so many stories within the story and managed to tie them all up nicely over the course of just one long week-end. Each of the siblings at stages in their lives where decisions needed to be made, three very different characters who don't always share the same opinion nor strength of character.  Tom who seems to let his wife and family ride rough shod over him.  Jo, madcap and funny but devoted in her role as single mother to daughter Ivy and lastly, Lucy, the swan - gliding gracefully on the surface taking everything in her stride and paddling like mad underneath.  I simply loved how each thought they couldn't cope or move on without their mother to guide them - little realising that the quality time spent together would unearth some secrets and change opinions not just about each other but themselves too and from this gain the strength to help each other.

I was so looking forward to this book and Fanny Blake delivered ten fold - if you like reading about the intricacies and dynamics of family life and everyday real life situations then you'll love House of Dreams.  It's not all candy floss and gloss, it delves into real life situations and I can guarantee you'll form opinions on each and every one of the characters and for most you'll change that opinion.  First impressions are not always what they seem because the family, very much like most of us, puts on an outward face. Using it like armour to portray a positive image and to protect.  Fanny taps away at the chinks until the real characters with their vulnerabilities are uncovered.  Each of them giving and receiving the love and support of each other, strengthening them individually and as a trio.  Ultimately the memories of their mother, the secrets they uncover brings questions and answers that give them the strength to carry on - the passion to look to the future instead of dwelling on the past. It really was such a good read. I highly recommend this book to everyone as a light read that delves quite a bit deeper than you'd probably expect.

Lovers & Liars - Nigel May

Lovers and Liars
by Nigel May

About the book...
Welcome to the Velvet Hotel where money and sex go hand in hand with murder ... 
When millionaire playboy Sheridan Rivers is found dead at his luxurious hotel on the paradise island of Barbados, there are several suspects in the frame ... 
Sutton: Sheridan’s long-suffering wife was permanently pushed aside for his younger lovers. Was it time for her to make a stand? 
Kassidy: Sheridan’s assistant longs to be wealthy in her own right. Employed for her sexual and organisational skills, could she have had her eyes on a bigger prize? 
Nikki: Sheridan’s oldest daughter has done something really bad that her dad has discovered. What price will she pay to keep his silence? 
Heather: The apple of her father, Sheridan’s eye. But her father was responsible for a terrible tragedy that turned her world upside down. Is the time ripe for revenge? 

Four women, each with a cross to bear – all waiting for the perfect moment to get even... 
Publication date: 16th June 2016

Lovers and Liars

Author: Nigel May 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

eISBN: 978-1-78681-020-5

ISBN: 978-1-78681-021-2

Pages: 360

Word Count: 120,000



About the author...

Nigel May is a TV presenter and journalist. As a
writer he has written for many of the UK’s most successful magazines and newspapers, specialising in showbiz and celebrity, as well as writing on subjects ranging from relationships through to travel. His first novels Trinity, Addicted, Scandalous Lies and Deadly Obsession were instant bestsellers. 




An extract from the book...
Prologue
The paint on the domed ceiling of the Velvet hotel’s specially erected sports arena was barely dry before the boxing match was announced globally. Hatton Eden, reigning welterweight champion of the world, the man known to his legion of superfans worldwide as ‘TMM’ – The Main Man – was to take on newcomer Orlando Vince in what TV sports channels around the globe had dubbed the ‘Belter in the Swelter’ from the moment tickets for the 18,000-seater arena went on sale. The boxing world had lived through the legendary ‘Thrilla in Manila’ and been hypnotised by the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and now a new gladiatorial pairing was set to make sports history. 
The Belter in the Swelter was the perfect title for the match which would take place at the famous Velvet hotel in Barbados, the island’s six-star celebrity haunt and the flagship of the lucrative worldwide chain of luxury hotels owned by Sheridan Rivers. Situated on the west side of the island, the hotel was a triumph of cool, with the Hollywood elite, fashionable rich-kid popstars and megabucks media moguls alike booking in to sample its many amenities and to feel their skin change colour as they lay on the powder-fine sands under the blistering heat of the Caribbean sky. 
It was Sheridan who had fought to have the arena built at Velvet in the first place, determined to draw the boxing crowds away from Las Vegas and bring the sporting superstars of the world to the tropical jewel in his billion-dollar crown. And when Sheridan Rivers decided he wanted something, nothing or no one could stand in his way. The Brit businessman had not built his empire, now with twenty-plus hotels around the world in destinations ranging from Tokyo to Honolulu, by rolling over and submitting to money men who said no, planners who tried to wrap him in red tape or architects who said that something couldn’t be done. Everything was possible in Sheridan’s world so long as you didn’t have to listen to other people’s opinions and surrounded yourself with ‘yes’ people who would always loyally agree with everything you suggested. 
And after months of hard work the night of the bout had finally arrived. Sheridan couldn’t have been happier as he watched the crowds starting to take their seats at the beginning of the evening. He was watching from the highest point of the arena, a gangway that ran around the top edge of the dome. It was the perfect vantage point from which to calculate how much money he would be making from the evening. He’d spent a lifetime looking down on others so why stop now? All 18,000 seats had been filled, with tickets ranging from $1,500 through to $7,500, and then there were the pay-per-view TV rewards to be considered. All in all, he’d make a tidy sum out of tonight’s proceedings, maybe enough to open another hotel, which considering everything that had happened in the run-up to fight night was pretty incredible. It had been quite some ride and he was glad that the night was finally underway.
He gazed down at Blair Lonergan, famed DJ and worldwide music star, the man spinning his musical web of wonder from a purpose-built stage on the far side of the arena. His latest chart-topping collaboration, a funky slab of dance-floor-filling beats mashed with vocals from some vacuous pop starlet of the moment, boomed out from a bank of speakers either side of the stage. New Yorker Blair was adored worldwide and even Sheridan had to admit that he could see why – even if he wasn’t his number-one fan. He was ridiculously handsome, his chiselled features giving him an almost action-hero quality. His blond buzz cut, streetwise air of cool and rock-hard abs had made him the poster boy of the DJ world and the face and body of countless fashion houses. He was Abercrombie & Fitch fit with a talent that had seen him bag DJ residences around the world, including a twelve-month run at a succession of Velvet hotels across the globe. He was the best and that’s why Sheridan had employed him, both for regular nights at his hotels and also to keep the party pumping before the evening’s main event. 
‘Make the most of it though, you fucking upstart,’ sighed Sheridan as he watched. ‘Because this is it.’ A smile spread across his face, a grin of knowledge and power puffing out his chest as he spoke. Sheridan felt good – he always did when he was on top. 
A female voice sounded beside him. ‘It’s time to get ready, sir. The fight starts in about an hour and a half and you need to be looking your best – the eyes of the world are upon you tonight. Not that you ever look anything less, of course.’
Sheridan turned to look. ‘Thank you, Kassidy. Is my suit ready for tonight?’
‘Yes, sir. Clean, pressed and set for wearing.’
‘And my diamond cufflinks are here?’
‘Two commissioned diamond boxing gloves arrived by courier from London this afternoon.’
‘Shoes polished?’
‘I had one of the bellhops shine them until he could see his face in them.’
‘My daughters?’
‘Nikki will be here despite everything. Have you two managed to—’
‘I’m not talking about that now.’ Sheridan’s words, brusque and sharp, cut Kassidy off in full flow. ‘What about Heather?’ Sadness washed over him as he asked.
‘Well, boxing’s not really her thing but she said she’d be here. I’ll check for you.’ 
‘And my wife?’
‘Mrs Rivers has booked herself into the hotel spa for a last-minute manicure and facial and says that she’ll see you at your seat for the fight.’
‘Typical Sutton,’ stated Sheridan. ‘So, we’ll be alone again in the penthouse then, Kassidy. Mind you, my wife’s not slept there for days anyway.’ He moved towards her and gave her backside a squeeze as he walked past. Not as firm as it used to be, he thought to himself. ‘Good, I’m thinking there might be some last-minute odd jobs that need doing.’ He gave his growing erection a squeeze too as he felt it through his linen trousers. ‘You reckon you can sort that for me, too?’
‘Of course, sir,’ smiled Kassidy. But it was a smile riddled with doubt. After ten years of being both Sheridan and Sutton Rivers’ personal assistant, a job she had started when she was just nineteen, Kassidy Orpin was more than a little over blowing the boss whenever he demanded. But as she trotted off behind him in the direction of his hotel penthouse she knew she’d be on her knees within a few minutes – it was what she did. If she wanted to get ahead and realise her ambitions then giving head was just one of the many things on her to-do list. It was how she’d secured the job in the first place. A willing mouth and no gag reflex could erase a CV stating that she left school at sixteen back in Dublin with no real qualifications, especially if your potential boss was a player who couldn’t keep his prick in his pants. And Sheridan Rivers had been good to her over the years, which is why she had loved him, both in and out of the bedroom. But only when he chose. And only when Sutton was not within nagging distance – and preferably in another time zone.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Storm Child - Sharon Sant

Storm Child
by Sharon Sant

Genre: YA FANTASY
Release Date: 21st April 2016
Publisher: Lightfoot Press
About the book...
In a Victorian era where the industrial revolution has been replaced by superstition and magic, Britain is a place where wolves roam freely and children with magic are snatched from the streets. This is home for thirteen-year-old witch, Annie and her baby sister, Georgina. When their mother dies, Annie and Georgina find themselves saved from the workhouse by the mysterious Ernesto Black. But Black’s motives are far from pure and soon Annie faces new, even more dangerous threats. What does Ernesto want from Georgina? And can Annie trust the other teenagers living with Ernesto: Polly, who has her eye fixed firmly on inheriting Ernesto’s fortune and will do anything to make sure she gets it, and the charming Isaac, who would do anything to win Polly’s affections – legal or not.

Fearing for Georgina’s safety, Annie is faced with a terrible choice: she can try to guard her sister from the ever-present threat of Ernesto, or she can leave the child out in the wilds of the New Forest in the hope she’ll be found and taken in by a new family, ignorant of her powers. Annie chooses to leave Georgina’s future to chance and steals her away from Ernesto’s house in the dead of night.

But Annie’s troubles are far from over as her actions set in motion a chain of events that will take her and Georgina into danger she could never imagine. This danger drags country girl, Charlotte Harding into the fray and threatens every one of the teenagers, and it leads them right into the heart of the powerful organisation responsible for the assassination of Queen Victoria, an organisation that wants only one thing: Hell on Earth – quite literally…

FROM THE BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY GAME AND THE SKY SONG TRILOGY, STORM CHILD IS BOOK ONE OF THE STORM CHILD TRILOGY.

Excerpt
The basket the girl carried was almost as large as her and she gasped as she stumbled, nearly dropping it.  It had been dragged on a stolen handcart along dark, silent roads until she reached the edge of the heath. The cart was useless on the dense undergrowth here and now she walked with her precious cargo, crooning to it as she laboured under its weight.  
Biting back tears, she took one last look around.  Her gaze returned to the lights of the tiny house.  Was this close enough?  Would the basket be found?  What would happen if it wasn’t?  But the girl had no choice.  The alternative was a fate far, far worse.  
She opened her mouth and clear, high notes rang out across the darkened terrain.  A few moments passed, the girl singing in the darkness, until a shadow appeared on the horizon and crept towards her.  The wolf approached and bowed its head.  
‘Thank you,’ the girl said.  ‘You will protect her until she is claimed.  After that, your will is your own again.’ 
The wolf stared at the girl, as if in a trance.  Then it sat next to the basket and turned its eyes to the heath.

About the author...
Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire. Aged eight she wrote a poem about ET, which received the ultimate praise of being pinned onto the classroom wall, and from that moment on she knew she'd never stop writing. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. 
Young adult novels Sky Song, The Young Moon and Not of Our Sky (the Sky Song trilogy), The Memory Game and Runners were all released in 2013 to glowing reviews. Dead Girl Walking followed in 2015 and she has a new trilogy planned for 2016, the first book of which, Storm Child, is due for release in April. 
Sharon also writes children's fiction under the name of Summer Hopkiss.
To find out more you can follow her on twitter where she's always happy to chat: find her on Facebook or you can also go to her website.


GIVEAWAY

Monday, 20 June 2016

Learning to Love - Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love
by Sheryl Browne

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

About the book...

Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places … 
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs … 


Previously released by the author.  Revised, edited and republished by Choc Lit in June 2016.
BUY LINK

About the author...


My thoughts...
I was offered the chance to join the blog tour for Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne organised by Brook Cottage Books and jumped at the chance. I downloaded a copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, something which I'm more than happy to do.

Learning to Love is a story that weaves itself around family, everyday life and community spirit.  Andrea Kelly is no different to many women, she is living her life day to day, effortlessly, but not without drama; juggling the many balls needed as that of a wife, mother, daughter and carer as well as holding down a demanding job.


There are hairline cracks in the fabric of her life and it only takes one ball to drop and everything shatters.  The one person who should be stood, shoulder to shoulder with her as she tries to come to terms with everything that happens, turns out to be the person she can trust and rely on the least.

Sheryl has woven a story that won't fail to touch your heart, a story of endings and new beginnings, of family and friends both old and new who come together to help and support as Andrea tries to piece her families lives back together again.

Opposite Andrea's house lives David Adams.  He is the new doctor in town and it is fair to say he and his son Jake haven't exactly hit it off with their new neighbours - the tension between the two of them is palpable and Andrea having previously been caught in the crossfire vowed to give them a wide berth.  It comes as a shock to all concerned when she finds herself, her dotty mother and three children taking refuge and being on the receiving end of their hospitality when they are rendered homeless, losing everything in a house fire.

I love Sheryl Browne's style of writing, she's not scared to get under the skin of her characters, weaving real life into each and every one of them. They always leave an impression and I always get a gut feeling and a strong sense of who they are from almost the first moment they enter the story. Forming lasting impressions of the main characters is an important part of reading for me - I need to engage and feel something, although I don't have to like them all.  After all I don't like every person I come across in real life.  I find Sheryl doesn't pad out a story with useless characters, each one included in a story is necessary to the plot and is woven intricately into the story with their lives forming sub-plots.  

Time and again Sheryl's puts her characters and readers through the wringer and brings us back out the other side all the better for the experience - her stories are so vivid and true to life it's very easy to immerse yourself and lose track of time - it's like reading about people you know.

This was at times an emotional read, hard facts had to be faced and decisions that affected many peoples lives made.  But, at the same time there was so many moments that had me howling out loud. Humour and lighter moments provided by the younger characters and tongue in cheek banter of characters in their latter years was the antidote to the more serious topics covered. All in all an insightful read that demonstrates how communities can and do put aside their own lives to come together to help at times of need.  Sometimes the hardest experiences to endure in life make us stronger people, giving us the backbone to ride the next storm.

You've done it again Sheryl, an afternoon at sea, lost in your book was a journey worth taking - until the next time, thank you.