Monday, 26 June 2017

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

I Know My NameI Know My Name by C.J. Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Komméno Island, Greece: I don't know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…

This is one of those novels that is not what it seems initially. On the surface you have a mystery of how a woman ends up on a beach in Greece with no recollection of how she got there and no memory of who she is. After a storm wrecks her boat she is washed up on the beach and found by a group of writers who have come to the island (which is apart from them uninhabited) to find themselves in their writing. The group seem to want to help Eloise or at least some of them appear to.

Back in England Lochlan Shelly's neighbour calls him at work to say that his wife is missing and his two children Max and Cressida who should have been at home with her were in fact found alone in the house by the neighbour. The story then slowly unfolds told from the perspective of Eloise and Lochlan interspersed with occasional chapters being told by Gerda and Magnus (Eloise grandparents) and a couple that give some insight into Eloise childhood. Each perspective is crafted well, Eloise battling her amnesia and her desperately anxious desire to piece together how she got to the island of Kommena and the driving force to get home wherever that may be coupled with her unease with the people who have found her on the beach. Lochlan's perspective shows the confusion and desperation of not knowing what has happened to his wife and exposes his insecurities and betrayals.

Beautifully descriptive in parts and good characterisation propels this forward; to say anything more really would give away the essence of this novel and possibly spoil it - it does become apparent what is going on but really not until right at the end. Very enjoyable novel and deserves 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 23 June 2017

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

One Step Too FarOne Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tina Seskis's stunning debut novel, One Step Too Far, is a gripping and haunting psychological thriller.

An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home.
So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life? How will she survive? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past?
No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?

This was well written and intriguing at the start - why would someone (Emma/Cat) who appears to have a perfect life suddenly decide one morning to plan to disappear? I liked the characters who were crafted well, the lovely Angel and the mixed bag of flawed flatmates that Emma/Cat finds herself living with.

Emma/Cat's somewhat meteoric rise in her new job was a bit of a stretch but the pace was steady through the novel and stayed just this side of believability.

For me this was not a page turner, it just didn't have the elements of suspense to elevate it to be one of the greats. There wasn't the suspense and clever intrigue to put this in the same class as Girl on a Train. It had good humour, albeit sometimes more dark than uplifting and allowing the reader to mistake Charlie for the son was quite inspirational. I didn't quite buy into the 'twist' which I almost felt was a panicky last minute invention where the writer felt 'Oh I need to add a twist' and came up with something which didn't really fit and was a bit lame.

This is a nice pleasant holiday read with no real fireworks, enjoyable but not particularly memorable - this gets 3 stars from me.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Her Perfect Life by Sam Hepburn

Her Perfect LifeHer Perfect Life by Sam Hepburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brilliantly twisty psychological thriller for fans of I Let You Go and Behind Closed Doors.

How far would you go to create the perfect Life?

Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. The perfect life.

Her new friend Juliet doesn’t exactly fit in. She’s a down-on-her-luck single parent with no money and not much hope.

So just what is it that draws Gracie and Juliet together? And when the cracks start to appear in Gracie’s perfect life, can both of them survive?

Unfortunately I found this one really hard to get into and the frequent character switches were confusing but I did stick it out to the end and the twist was worth the wait. I felt the novel could have been a lot shorter which would have made no difference to the impact at the end.

The story centers around the friendship of two women, one appears to have everything, the other nothing. It is told from the perspective of Gracie and Juliet but I didn't much like either one of these characters so it was hard to care about them or keep reading.The novel is also peppered with extracts from a diary from the past by someone called Pauline Bryce. The task then is to discover who this person is and how she fits into the lives of these two women.

Trying to guess who or where the author of the diary inserts was does keep the reader going but as I said it is a bit drawn out. Once things start to connect the pace did pick up but to be honest it was only determination to finish that stopped me giving up half way through which really would have been a shame as the twist at the end, for me, was totally unexpected. It is for this reason that I have awarded this 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken HeartThe Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Abi's barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible.

When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they're a perfect match?

But there's just one problem - or rather, ten. Abi's not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she's absolutely terrified of heights - not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town . . .

Completing the list is going to need all Abi's courage - and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store . .

Typical chic lit and a humorous holiday read, nothing too heavy to digest in this lighthearted book.

Being dumped before her years anniversary Abi is feeling very Bridget Jones ish and shuts herself away in her flat to consume her bodyweight in trash food and weep in front of old movies. Once Joseph drops off her belongings and she is forced to go through them she comes across his bucket list of things to do before he's 40 and she comes up the crazy plan to do them herself and try and win him back.

Anna Bell takes us on the bucket list journey and her new friendships that she makes along the way especially the lovely Ben who helps her complete the tasks.

It's about love, friendship and discovering herself for Abi and eventually the realisation that maybe what she thought she wanted wasn't what she really wanted at all.

Well written with some good bits of humour this book easily sits with the good chic lits out there, maybe not as polished and as funny as the Sophie Kinsella's but still an enjoyable read. Easily gets 4 stars from me.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Brazilian by Rosie Millard

The BrazilianThe Brazilian by Rosie Millard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Following a sensational scandal at one of London's most desired postcodes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old son George in tow.

Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian footballer and a famous magician.

As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the programme, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager.

One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed...

Very easy read and perfect for holiday lazing beside the pool.

I had read Rosie Millard's The Square and this one is just as enjoyable. Good characterisation and another really likeable 'grown up' 8 year old for me steals the show. Loved the antics of these flawed characters and brilliant humour and irony dominates this very likeable novel.

Jane and Patrick go on a 'family' holiday to Ibiza with their adorable son George, Jane enlists the help of a neighbours 17 year old daughter Belle to be the nanny for the duration of the holiday paying for her flight and promising to pay her £500 in the bargain. Belle desperately wants to save for a music festival she wants to go to with her boyfriend and so agrees. Jas her boyfriend works for Philip Burrell and when he tells him he's going away for a week maybe two (he doesn't tell him where) Jas and Belle hatch a plan for Jas to go to Ibiza as well and they can meet up in the evenings and go clubbing.

Also on the island that week is a TV reality show with B list celebs including an ageing artist Philip Burrell, a magician Jasper the Wizard, a TV financial advisor Alan Makin, an It girl Cresta who is married to Moo a celebrity farmer also on the show, Nigel and Jocelyn presenters of a holiday show, Gemma a celebrity estate agent and the surprise appearance of a well known Brazilian footballer Francesco Villa. Philip Burrell the artist and Alan Makin the advisor both live on the same square in North London and hate each other.

These 'celebs' spend the next week or so forced together eventually voting against each other until a winner is picked on this reality TV show Ibiza or Bust.

Good comedy moments in this novel and like The Square the characters are very real and believable, great observational writing with great wit and expertly written . Has to have 5 stars from me. Loved it

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mad by Chloe J. Esposito

Mad (Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy #1)Mad by Chloe J. Esposito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.

Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.
When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.
Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.

When this arrived unexpectedly I was really excited, looking at the front cover and reading the blurb I couldn't wait to get started, so I did, straight away! I read this book in 24 hours, as soon as I started I was hooked and needed to get to the next chapter.

This book is set over the period of a week and oh my word does a lot happen, I had to keep reminding myself that it was just a week, which when you read it will agree that that is insane!

'Mad' is such an easy book to get into, Chloe's writing is almost conversational and flows well, I guess this is because it is written in the first person, you feel you know the main character very well. Our main character is Alvina, a identical twin of a sister she hasn't seen in two years, who now lives in Sicily.

Alvina is the 'poorer' sister, the 'outcast' of the family, the one that no one loved and this is evident through flashbacks in the book. Her behaviour most of the time is unacceptable, but at times I was warming to her in the book, feeling sorry for her and starting to perhaps understand at times why she was the way she is, however this does wear off at I read further into the book. She is not particularly very likable and if you are looking for a lovely protagonist this book is not for you.

Beth, Alvina's sister wants her to go and visit but Alvina cannot think of anything worse, that is until she loses her job, gets kicked out of her flat and has no money. She is then on the next flight to Sicily.

I won't go into too much detail from here as I don't want to spoil it for you. What I would stay is that I was very surprised about this. At times I was unsure what genre it was as there are elements from women's fiction, thriller, erotic fiction and even has humour in it. I think that is a major asset this book has as it could appeal to many audiences.

I really, really enjoyed the first half of the book and as I said I couldn't put it down, towards the end though and I suppose indicates how the book got it's title 'Mad' it got a bit far-fetched for me and perhaps loses reality. However, it did not spoil the enjoyment for me and I continued to whiz through the novel. This is not like any book I have read and I really enjoyed it for that reason, I hope to get my hands on the next in the series as I can't wait to find out what Alvina gets up to next one.

I would recommend this as a summer beach read, it is highly addictive and will have you racing through it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Devil's Poetry blitz


Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution - too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadave

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price - and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.

Book Information

Title: The Devil’s Poetry
Author: Louise Cole
Release Date: 13th June 2017
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Kindle Press
Format: Ebook Goodreads Link: Amazon Link:

Author Info:
Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire - she's the on
e with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford - read being the operative word - and hasn't stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.