Monday, 29 February 2016

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home by Todd Wilbur

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at HomeTop Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home by Todd Wilbur

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A knockout full-color cookbook from America's Clone Recipe King

For more than twenty-five years, Todd Wilbur has been obsessed with recreating America's most iconic brand-name foods at home. In his first cookbook with color photos, the New York Times bestselling author brings you 125 new clone recipes: 75 first-time hacks and 50 overhauled all-time favorites. Each recipe comes with easy-to-follow step-by-step photos so that even novice cooks can perfectly recreate their favorite famous foods with everyday ingredients. And your homemade versions cost just a fraction of what the restaurants charge! The result of years of careful research, trial-and-error, and a little creative reverse-engineering, Top Secret Recipes® Step-by-Step hacks:

• KFC® Original Recipe® Fried Chicken and Cole Slaw
• Cinnabon® Classic Cinnamon Roll
• IKEA® Swedish Meatballs
• Pinkberry® Original Frozen Yogurt
• Raising Cane's® Chicken Fingers and Sauce
• Arby's® Curly Fries
• Lofthouse® Frosted Cookies
• Wendy's® Chili
• Panera Bread® Fuji Apple Chicken Salad
• Starbucks® Cake Pops
• Cafe Rio® Sweet Pork Barbacoa
• McDonald's® McRib® Sandwich
• The Melting Pot® Cheddar Cheese Fondue
• P.F. Chang's® Chicken Lettuce Wraps
• The Cheesecake Factory® Stuffed Mushrooms
• Ben & Jerry's® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
• Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich
• Chili's® Baby Back Ribs
• Chipotle Mexican Grill® Adobo-Marinated Grilled Chicken & Steak
• Cracker Barrel® Hash Brown Casserole
• Mrs. Fields® Chocolate Chip Cookies
• Ruth's Chris Steakhouse® Sweet Potato Casserole
And over 100 more delicious dishes, from snacks and appetizers to entrees and desserts!

When I was offered this to review I jumped at the chance. Having a husband that loved food and eating out is one of his favourite past times I couldn't wait to try this out on him.

This is beautifully presented on high glossy paper and easy steps to follow. I love that the recipes are easy to follow and they have been rated on difficulty to prepare the meals. I found this really useful to choose one that I thought I would be able to achieve. Majority of the recipes in the book seemed to be easy or medium, this was good as a novice.

The ingredients and weights are set out in cups, this was useful as I could create the meals without the need for scales. Some of the ingredients were unusual and perhaps you wouldn't have in the kitchen cupboards, occasionally I substituted certain items for things in the kitchen, this didn't effect the overall flavour of the dish. Some of the ingredients you may have to go to a larger supermarket for.

Some of the Top Secret recipes come from American fast food chain restaurants, some of these I had heard here in the UK and I have even tried, however some were totally new to me. Due to this I can't actually comment on the likeliness of the flavour compared to the original, however the recipes I have tried so far I thought were excellent.

I would recommend this to others, especially if you are a fan of American food chains.

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

Seasoned Ground Beef (Taco Meat Filling)

I decided to give this one ago as I love Mexican food and although I have never been to a Taco Bell I know I would love it. This is a picture of what the taco should look like. 

I began following the instructions exactly as it stated. I put the meet plus onion into a pan, along with the spices and water. This simmered for a while until the spice had mixed in with the meat. 

I then moved on to getting a tortilla - here is where I made some substitutions. I didn't have any cheese sauce and my local didn't have any either so I decided to use some grated cheese and put that onto the tortilla instead. I think this worked perfectly fine and it tasted very good. Whether this was like the original I am not sure as I haven't eaten there before but it seemed to be a good substitute. 

Following the recipe I then placed the meat on top of the cheese before adding a layer of nachos on the top, I also added sour cream on the top before folding the tortilla up. 

Finally I folded the tortilla up and cooked this on top of an aga. The heat stuck the tortilla to make it into a little pocket.I cooked it on either side for about 1 minute just to make sure the tortilla was nice and brown. 

When I served this up everyone was amazed at how tasty this is, since I have made it I have had more orders from the family coming in to make this again. I thought it was delicious, it had a perfect mix of crunchy with the nachos and soft with the meat. I added some salsa on the tables for everyone to dip this into, which I think really made it. 

I would recommend this to others and think once you have had one you would want to repeat the experience. If I ever am able to go to Taco Bell I would love to try this one, just to see how it compared to mine. As I can't give this a rating on how close the recipe is to the original I have given this a rating on taste and enjoyment and I would give this 5*. 

I also had a go at making a berry smoothy from McDonald's. McDonald's in the UK don't serve this so yet again I can't make a comparison on how this tastes against the original, however once again after following the instructions from this cook book I give this 5* the flavours are amazing. Here are some pictures from the smoothie I made. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sarah is in a coma.

Her memory is gone - she doesn't know how she got there. And she doesn't know how she might get out.

But then she discovers that her injury wasn't an accident. And that the assailant hasn't been caught.

Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past.

And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.

A novel that grips from the very beginning and that will live long in the memory, The Last Thing I Remember is Deborah Bee's startling debut thriller.

Another psychological thriller which I love but this one with a twist.

Trapped in a comatose state following an accident, unable to blink, move, speak or even open her eyes, Sarah tells us her story through her thoughts and in responses to family, friends and hospital staff conversations while she is laying in her hospital bed trying desperately to give them a sign that she is not brain dead. Told in alternate chapters with Kelly her next door neighbours daughter, we piece together what happened to Sarah the night of the accident (or mugging as the police believe it to be) and her helplessness of not being able to communicate with anyone.

It must be so difficult to convey a complete sense of helplessness that coma victims must experience but I felt the way in which this was written by Deborah Bee must come close. The overwhelming feeling of desperation and fear that comes through when Sarah is 'conscious' and realises that if she can't communicate that she's not brain dead they may switch of her life support is frighteningly real.

Over the 11 or so days that Sarah is in a coma she reveals her life in snatches and flashbacks as she slowly regains her memory. We also learn about the relationship she has forged with Kelly the teenager who lives next door when Kelly narrates alternate chapters and how their lives collide.

While nurses, doctors and family openly speak about her, the accident, and reveal their feelings, Sarah is able to piece together what has happened to her. Learning her husband has died in the accident she slowly remembers her life before even revealing horrors of her childhood and eventually it all becomes clear what happened that fateful night.

I never give out spoilers so won't reveal anything as it would spoil the enjoyment of reading this and although I did guess what had happened it does not happen in the way I thought and therefore has an unexpected twist to the ending. A good paced novel with interesting twists and turns along the way; this is one you should read - a well deserved 4 stars and highly recommended.

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

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee blog tour

Sarah is in a coma. She was mugged. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn’t deserve any of it. She’s a nice girl from a nice family. She’s a victim. That’s what they say.

Kelly is in the waiting room. She’s just a kid. A typical schoolgirl. Bullied a bit, probably. She doesn’t know anything. That’s what they say. So why is she there? Why does she keep turning up?

Can Sarah remember what happened to her, and work out who is it that keeps coming into her room at night?

I have been lucky enough to be given an extract from the book to share with you. I have just finished this book and my review is coming tomorrow so make sure you check back for that. This is a must read this year!

A short intro to the book from Deborah Bee

Imagine waking up and being unable to move, unable to see, unable to communicate. Imagine your past is a blank piece of paper. You don’t even know your own name. But you can hear. And the only way to piece together your life is to listen to the people around you: nurses and doctors, family and friends. Sarah was mugged. She’s in a coma. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn’t deserve any of it. She’s a nice girl from a nice family. That’s what they say. She may be aware of what’s going on – or she may not. She may survive – or not. Her witnesses are unreliable. The only thing they all agree on is that she is a victim. Kelly is in the waiting room. She’s just a kid. A typical schoolgirl. Bullied a bit, probably, given her prissy uniform. She doesn’t know anything. They all agree on that, too. So how come she’s there? Why does she keep turning up? What does she care? And who is the nameless man who keeps turning up at night?


Chapter 1


Day Zero – 11 p.m.

Hello. Hello?

Can you hear me?

Hello? I’m here.

‘Alright, Lisa?’ A man’s voice.

I’m not Lisa. Am I? Am I called Lisa? What’s my name?


There’s the sound of an engine switching off and running footsteps.

‘Another day in paradise, Tom. What you got?’

That’s a woman talking. She is out of breath.

‘Brain trauma. Female. Late twenties.’

He sounds Australian. There is shouting in the background andmore running. And a siren.


‘Yeah, Haringey.’

‘Evening, Lisa.’

Another male voice. Not Australian. More London.

‘The one from White Hart Lane. We should keep a squad up there permanently on standby.’

There’s the sound of scraping and clanking. Their voices are getting lost in the distance, cut short by gusts of wind.

‘Thanks, Matt. We’ll take her from here.’

‘She say anything, Tom, did she? On the way. Did she, you know…?’

That’s the London man.

‘Nah, mate. She didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything about anything else either. Usual procedure. Best leave that sort of stuff to the experts. You know.’

‘She’s not even conscious, is she?’

That was the woman again.

‘No… Hang on a minute – she did say something.’

That’s the first guy again. The Australian one.

‘Well? What’d she say?’

‘She said thank you’

‘She did?’

Everything is quiet, apart from the traffic and the restless wind. Footsteps. Running. Someone arrives, breathing hard.

‘Come on. The trauma unit is ready.’

‘Can I just get that down on the report? So, she was conscious when you arrived on the scene?’

‘She was then. We sedated her of course but, yes, at the scene she was conscious, just for a bit.’

‘And she said thank you?’

‘Yeah, Matt. “Thank you” – that’s all she said.’

‘What’d she say thank you for?’

‘I dunno. She’s British. The Brits always say thank you.’

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

BlueprintsBlueprints by Barbara Delinsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Home is where the heart is ... but what happens when a mother and daughter are forced to question everything they thought they knew about themselves? Don't miss the next novel from beloved bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, who "combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling (Publishers Weekly)" in ways that no reader will soon forget.

Jamie MacAfee's life is almost perfect. She loves her fiancée, even if she hasn't quite worked out why she won't set a wedding date and she certainly adores her job, working as an architect on their family home renovation show. Meanwhile, her beloved mother Caroline has built up her confidence after a painful divorce, working closely alongside her daughter as the very successful host of Gut It!. Everything is going to plan, until the lives of both women are changed overnight.

When the TV network plan to replace Caroline with Jamie as the show's host, Caroline is left feeling horribly betrayed - and old in the eyes of the world. Then tragedy strikes, leaving Jamie guardian to her small orphaned step-brother and fiancée to a man who doesn't want the child.

Essentially this is a book about family loyalties, relationships and new beginnings. Mother and daughter both working for a TV channel where they renovate homes giving them new lease of life and in a way this is what happens to them both. Through various problems they each face in their journey through trials and tribulations they come out the other side renovated and renewed.

I did guess how the story progressed and I must admit this is not really my type of novel so I did find it a bit slow in places but overall it probably achieved what it set out to do, be a feel good factor kind of read and it all nicely came together in the end. I never give spoilers in a novel anyway but don't really think there were any in this, at least not for me. A predictable read, nothing outstanding, a nice holiday type book.

Well written, good all round characters but just lacked that killer punch that makes a truly outstanding novel for me. Nevertheless I could not give it any less than 3 stars - great if you enjoy this type of novel and a pleasant read for those otherwise.

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

Monday, 22 February 2016

The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

The Butterfly SummerThe Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What magic is this?

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house.

They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder ... and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you've been waiting all your life to hear.

This house is Nina Parr's birthright. It holds the truth about her family - and a chance to put everything right at last.

I really enjoyed this book although it did whizz back and forth in time but once the characters from the eras' were established it was easier to follow.

Essentially a story about a dysfunctional family and secrets and obligations that pass from female generation to generation binding them all together for an eternity. It starts at the end really where the present day Nina meets an old woman in the London Library where she has been given life membership by her father before he went away when she was a child and who she never sees again believing him to be dead. This chance meeting (or perhaps it wasn't chance) starts her on a journey of discovery about her life, lineage and inheritance of Keepsake and the butterflies.

Nina has been bought up by her mother Delilah and step father Malc with a little help from Mrs Poll who suddenly moved into the top flat of the house they lived in when Nina was about 6 months old. She proved to be a godsend to the exhausted Deliah and she helped to bring Nina up, like a real life fairy godmother she shared their lives until she died when Nina was 25. When she died she bequeathed her flat to them so they eventually ended up owning the whole house. We meet Nina just as she is getting a divorce from Sebastian who she met in university and after being together only a year they get married which they both realised quite quickly was a mistake. They remained good friends after the divorce probably better friends than when they were married.

Harriet Evans then takes us through several generations of the Parr family and expertly intertwines these characters together even though all the female members of the family were quite different their stories were authentic and characters believable. After meeting the present day Nina we are introduced to her ancestor Lady Nina who has a daughter Charlotte the product of a union between Nina and King Charles II when he was sheltering from the Roundheads he hid at Keepsake. He was enchanted with the butterfly garden that Nina had cultivated. When he hears he has a daughter he sends Nina a diamond brooch shaped like a butterfly which Charlotte wears and gives to her own daughter before she dies. The King also decrees that Keepsake be given to his daughter Charlotte and every daughter born there. On the broach is inscribed 'What's loved is never lost'.

The story hinges around the inheritance but also about wrongs that were done and sacrifices made to right those wrongs to atone for mistakes made generations before the present Nina was born. You can feel the force of those generations reaching out across time which makes this a compelling read.

I never tell too much about a book I review but urge you to read this one; its well written, hauntingly sad in places but satisfying in it's conclusion. I did guess the outcome but it does not really become obvious until the last few chapters at least it didn't for me. I enjoyed the journey of these females as they accepted responsibility of their inheritance and the burden that it bought them.

I have given this a well deserved 4 stars.

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

Friday, 19 February 2016

The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland

The 3rd WomanThe 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A terrifying yet unputdownable thriller from No. 1 bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jonathan Freedland.


Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she would be investigating her own sister’s murder.


Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests that Abi was the third victim in a series of killings that’s been hushed up as part of a major conspiracy.


In a United States that has yielded to the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife – the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up the story, or face the consequences…

This was my first Jonathan Freedland book and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. A clever action packed political thriller with an intelligent female lead.

Straight into the action from the first chapter with a murder and from then on a suspense ride to the end. Madison Webb (Maddy) is the feisty journalist ex police officer who goes on a quest when her younger sister is murdered and becomes the third victim of a killer in Los Angeles. Determined to find the truth about how her sister died she uncovers a conspiracy by the US-Chinese government and the knowledge that she cannot trust anyone she embarks on a journey that is fraught with danger.

Set in LA where China has set up a base in California she stumbles on clues that lead her right into the heart of the Chinese base where US law does not exist and where Chinese rule does. Using all her skills and trading on contacts made both in the police force and in the world of journalism, Maddy discovers links to the political elections going on with bribery and corruption happening in the Chinese base and more clues to point her towards the murderer.

Right up until the end the reader is still unsure of who Maddy's sisters killer is which keeps the reader hooked until the very last page. Great suspense, action and twists and turns throughout.

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

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

MUA Eye Shadow Palette


MUA Eyeshadow Palette 

What Glossybox Say:

From work day nudes to smouldering metallics, this beautiful palette is like a chocolate box of eye colours. And it’s just as hard to choose one delicious shade over another! Sweep across eye lids and blend.

What I think:

I love eye shadows in my Glossybox and this one was fantastic, I was amazed at how good the quality of the product is. This is one of the cheapest palettes I have used but the colours are very pigmented, I also found that the colour long lasting. This is a great every day palette. I am very impressed with this palette and I would go on to buy other eye shadows from MUA. I would also recommend this to a friend. The palette is really cheap at £5. 

To buy this product please click here:

Monday, 15 February 2016

Marsk Eyeshadow Brush Pro

Eyeshadow Brush Pro

Marsk Eyeshadow Brush Pro

What Glossybox says:

Precisely shaped bristles have been designed to create the perfect eye look. Whether you’re going for subtle or loud – this secret weapon of a brush will execute the perfect look when paired with MARSK Mineral Eyeshadows! What a combination.

What I think: 

I was so excited to discover an eye shadow brush in my Glossybox. This is a wonderful brush, really good quality and shaped perfectly to get colour in all areas of the eye lid. The hair is also really soft and feels amazing when you brush it across the eye lid. At £16.50 it is quite pricey for a brush, however I feel you are paying for the quality. This is not the type of brush you would need to replace often. I would recommend this to others and I would look to see if they make other sized brushes. 

You can check this product out here:

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Reader I dumped him blog tour by Lorelei Mathias


This story is a celebration of the people that bring you back to life when your world closes in: your mates.
Relationships come and go, but the Break-up Club membership never truly expires.

Holly Braithwaite and loveable loser Lawrence have been together for five years. But the obvious cracks in their relationship can no longer be ignored and Holly soon finds herself saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’

In the shock aftermath of their break up, Holly finds unlikely companions in Olivia, Harry and Bella. Together, they form the Break-up Club, as they support each other through their mutual melancholy and find ways to love, laugh and function as human beings again.

Break-up Club meets every Sunday. Each week, as the comedy and drama unfolds, they discover a new BUC ‘rule’. And, one by one, the rules become vital markers on their journey to recovery . . .

To our members, we’re the first emergency service


One lovely reviewer of Reader, I Dumped Him said they couldn’t help feeling a bit jealous of the friends in the book - ‘unlike some pals who come and go, this lot stick around, and bring wine!’ Well, I feel like a smug git saying this but - THEY’RE REAL! Sure, the storylines and characters in Reader I Dumped Him are different. But the essence is the same – they’re funny as hell, and we’d take a bullet for each other.

It’s fair to say my time in ‘The Real BUC’ has inspired the odd scene. Like when we accidentally went camping in Zone 3. It was the Glastonbury weekend, Michael Jackson had just died and we were all going through our second perfectly synchronised break-up together, 18 months after the first. Getting ‘out of London’ and dancing in the rain to a tinny stereo turned out to be a tonic – so much so that since then we try and keep up the annual tradition of ‘The BUC Bleak Day Out’.

Our last AGM - in Margate – went by in a heady daze of seaside beers, giggly interpretations of modern art, running into the sea in the freezing rain, shit-chatting over nuggets in the Margate Wimpy… and singing all the way home on the last train to St Pancras. A perfect day!

There’s a kind of candy-flossed tragedy about a British seaside town in Winter, and that’s just the kind of ambience you want for a Break-up Club excursion. Forget ten days in Marbs. You want the Withnail & I ‘We’ve come on holiday by mistake’ – kind.

Bleak holidays aside, why are friends are so important in a break-up? What gives them the edge?

I think it’s to do with your peers understanding what you’re going through – more so than your parents or your siblings. Dating in your late twenties/thirties – it’s a ball-ache because every relationship, you’re thinking - is this it? Are there yet? So there’s something special about all being ‘in the same boat;’ all shielding your ears together from the deafening ticking clock. It makes your friends better qualified to scrape you off the floor when you turn to an emotional blancmange. Again!

Even though I’ve not been single for a long time, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful as hell to ‘The Real BUC’. Reader, I’d marry them.

Read more at @loreleimathias

Monday, 8 February 2016

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream - Body Lotion

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Body Lotion

Beauty Protector Beauty Cream - Body Lotion

What Birchbox Say:

We rely on Beauty Protector’s regimen to defend, de-frizz, and soften our hair - so when we heard the brand had started making body products, we couldn’t wait to see what they’d do for our skin. This rich cream nourishes our skin, leaving it hydrated, soft, and (we’re extremely happy to say) subtly perfumed with Beauty Protector’s amazing signature scent.

What I think:

I had never come across Beauty Protector before I subscribed to Birchbox and it is now becoming one of my faviourite brands to use. I was first introduced to the hair oil, which I love and have gone on to buy the full product. I then got sent the Beauty Protector Shower Gel, loved this and again went on to buy the full product. When I was sent this to sample, to be honest I didn't think it could be any better than the shower gel. The shower gel smells amazing and I love it, this body lotion is identical in the smell. 

I personally think this is better than the shower gel now as the smell lasts a lot longer on your skin. The product is smooth and silky and really makes my skin feel hydrated. So Beauty Protector, you have done it again, thins is going to be the next full sized product I buy from you. At £8 you really can't go wrong, it is a bargain. 

You can check it out here:

Friday, 5 February 2016

Benefit They're Real! Push - Up Liner

Benefit They're Real! Push-up Liner. 

What Birchbox Say:

Striving for that classic swoop of eyeliner, we’ve struggled through more than our share of smudgy pencils, finicky liquids, and unwieldy gels. Enter this eye-opening gel pen from Benefit, which gives us the control we crave. The pen’s innovative AccuFlex™ tip is both angled and flexible, gliding liner along the lid in a single, tug-free swipe. 

A wide guard below the tip gently shifts lashes out of the way, making it easy to get right against the lash line for an extra wide-eyed look. With colours this saturated and an applicator so foolproof, now we can easily trace the perfect line every time. And no need to worry about touchups: It quickly dries to a matte finish, and is smudge-proof, waterproof, and utterly unbudgeable. Take your pick of saturated colours, from classic black to chocolatey brown and rich jewel tones.

What I think:

I use eye-liner every day, so if there is a good product I find, regardless of the price I would get it. This sounded amazing, a gel eye-liner, which would last all day and being smudge and water proof would suit me down to the ground. 

This is the second time I have got this product in a Birchbox and although I love Benefit products, this one is not for me. I find it very hard to get the product out of the packaging and it seems that I have squeezed and squeezed it but nothing happens. This could be due to the size of the sample and that perhaps it is too small. 

When I have managed to get the product out it doesn't seem to glide across the eyelid, but seems to clot into a ball. Unfortunately this one is not for me. Priced at £18.50, I would want a much better product. I will not be buying this and to be honest I wouldn't mind if I never got it in a box again. 

I also would not recommend this product. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Castaway in the Caribbean by Janice Horton

Castaway in the CaribbeanCastaway in the Caribbean by Janice Horton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vacationing on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua, Janey Sinclair is persuaded by her magazine editor boss to do a quick island hop in order to supervise an impromptu photo-shoot for the front cover. With no flights immediately available, Janey is directed to the harbour. Captain Travis Mathews hates tourists, although he’s not above making a bit of money off a prissy and sharp tongued young British girl when she’s desperate to get to the neighbouring island of Tortola. 

After striking a deal, they set off together in Travis’s weather-beaten old boat. When the vessel comes to a sudden full stop in the sea, the mismatched pair end up as castaways on an uninhabited island. In this fast moving romantic adventure about a vacation that turns into a tropical nightmare there’s more fun than you’ll find in any travel brochure.

This book sounded just like my thing, I love travelling and especially enjoy being in the Caribbean, this is an area of the world I have managed to make very familiar. One of my favourite islands is Tortola, so for this to feature in the book made me excited.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book, it was pacy and the story line interested me. We are on holiday with Janey and her boyfriend. They feel like they are miles away from anyone and are enjoying every minute of it. Janey works for an editor in Scotland and so when she gets a call from her boss asking her to leave Antigua and pop over to Tortola to help out with a photo shoot, Janey looks at it as a chance to shine and show her boss what she is made of. Her boyfriend is less impress after just proposing and her contemplating to leave.

Getting to Tortola isn't as easy as it should be, with no flights running, her only option is to hire a boat. This is where she meets Travis, Janey pays over the odds for Travis to take her, but she feels like she has little choice. Unfortunately not everything goes to plan .

Like I said I really enjoyed the first part of the book, it kept my interest and I really wanted to know what was going to happen, however just over half way though I felt the story was a little dragged out and some of the scenarios were a little far fetched. I would have given the book 3.5* but have rounded this up to 4*, I thought that it could have been cut a little shorter, saying this, it didn't make it any less enjoyable and I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.

If you enjoy books set somewhere exotic and are a bit of fun this is a perfect read for you, perhaps on the beach with a cocktail in hand?

I would like to thank Janice Horton for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 1 February 2016

After the lie, cover reveal by Kerry Fisher

After the Lie by Kerry Fisher

An addictive and gripping read about love, life and living a lie …  One little lie can make one big difference …   Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life.   But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart.   What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back …

Publication date: 29th April 2016.

Available to pre-order now.

About Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to 'getting a proper job' and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working in the features department at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame), two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy. Kerry can often be seen trailing across the Surrey Hills whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her 'talk to the tail'.   Kerry has spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people's but it wasn't until she took some online courses with the UCLA (University of California) that the dream started to morph into reality, culminating in the publishing of The Class Ceiling. The Avon imprint of HarperCollins picked it up and retitled it The School Gate Survival Guide, published summer 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: 'I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell'.   Best advice ever received: 'This is fiction, we can skip the boring bits.' Lynn Hightower, UCLA Writers' Program.
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Here it is!

Without a Trace - Simon Booker guest post

Everyone thought he was a child-murderer.
But to Morgan he was her best friend.

Morgan Vine’s childhood sweetheart, Danny, has been imprisoned for the murder and attempted rape of his 14-year-old step-daughter. But Morgan still resolutely believes in his innocence, a belief that has become an obsession of the last four years. At last Danny is released when a key witness retracts his statement. After years of campaigning, Morgan finally has Danny back in her life and for a few sweet weeks it seems as if they can finally return to their old friendship.

And then Morgan’s teenage daughter goes missing.

As the investigation proceeds Morgan cannot escape the sick feeling in her stomach and the nagging voice in her head: did he do it?  And then there are the signs, the sea shells arranged outside her house and the sand on her car bonnet spelling out the words: don’t trust him. Morgan’s daughter is in danger; perhaps it’s time to break faith with her childhood crush and start accepting that her best friend might be a sick-minded murderer.

Without Trace is a fast-paced, unpredictable psychological thriller which will have readers glued to the page with anticipation. The novel is the first in a new series featuring Morgan Vine, a single mum and fiercely determined investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice.

Guest Post: 

For many years, I’ve written prime time TV drama for the BBC, ITV and US TV. My credits include psychological thrillers and crime dramas such as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, starring Nathaniel Parker, and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, starring Diana Rigg and Neil Dudgeon, who took over from John Nettles as the lead actor in Midsomer Murders. So when I decided to write a book, the crime genre was a logical step.

Without Trace is the first in a series of psychological thrillers featuring Morgan Vine, an investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice and must discover if the love of her life is a wronged innocent or a ruthless killer.

Each book in the series revolves around a different case. As with the process of creating television shows, crime novels must have 1) a central character we can root for as we follow the twists and turns of the investigation, 2) a USP, and 3) a powerful, ingenious adversary or villain, capable of testing our hero or heroine to the limit.

I hope readers will take to Morgan Vine (she’s resourceful and tenacious with a pronounced vulnerable side) but I don’t believe it’s always necessary to like characters in order to find them fascinating, or that we only root for people who always do the right thing. Is there anyone duller than a ‘goody-two-shoes’? Is Amy Dunne in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl likeable? How about Rachel Watson in Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on The Train? Both books are riveting not despite the fact

that they feature complex women with mixed, sometimes messed-up motives for the way they behave, but precisely because of that very fact.

Another important component of the crime genre is a strong sense of place. Think of Rebus’s Edinburgh, brought to life so cleverly by Ian Rankin, the Shetland of Ann Cleeves’ series featuring Jimmy Perez, or the Arctic as so vividly portrayed in MJ McGrath’s mesmerising series of Edie Kiglatuk mysteries.

When we meet my heroine, Morgan Vine, she’s a down-on-her-luck single mum and investigative journalist living in a converted railway carriage on the beach at Dungeness. I spend a lot of time in a Kentish seaside bolthole in nearby Deal and am fascinated by Dungeness: the eerie, ‘other-worldly’ beauty; the variety of homes dotted around the landscape, ranging from ramshackle shacks to the kind of architect-designed buildings you might see on Grand Designs; and, of course, the vast nuclear power station that dominates the landscape for miles around.

It’s the perfect setting for a crime series and an area I love to visit in all seasons, all weathers. You can get a feel for this wonderful place and find out more about Morgan Vine by taking a look at the Without Trace trailer on my website.

Author Info:
Simon Booker is a screenwriter of prime time TV drama for the BBC, ITV and US TV. His credits include BBC1’s Inspector Lynley MysteriesHolby City andThe Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Diana Rigg; ITV1 thrillers The Stepfather and The Blind Date; and Perfect Strangers, the CBS romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe and Anna Friel. He has written many plays for BBC Radio 4. He has worked extensively as a producer in television and radio and as a journalist. Simon lives in London and Deal. He is a volunteer facilitator in Restorative Justice, working with offenders at HMP Brixton. Without Trace is his debut novel. The second Morgan Vine novel is due to be published in 2017. He lives in Kent and London with his partner fellow crime writer M.J McGrath@simonbooker