Monday, 30 January 2017

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

Everything You Told MeEverything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You went to bed at home, just like every other night.
You woke up in the back of a taxi, over 250 miles away.
You have no idea how you got there and no memory of the last ten hours.
You have no phone, no money; just a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing.
You know you weren’t planning to kill yourself.
Your family and friends think you are lying.

Someone knows exactly what happened to you.
But they’re not telling…

The second book I've read by this author, the first one I read, You Sent Me A Letter, starts off with a good hook first chapter and turned into a page turner; Everything You Told Me sits in the same place.

A cleverly woven complex plot this is a slow burner building to the crescendo of an ending. The pace was constantly climbing through the novel and at one point it's not certain who Sally can trust. Just when you think you've sussed it Lucy Dawson throws another curve ball into the mix.

I do have a few criticisms however and although they didn't detract from the story it was immensely frustrating that Sally although desperately sleep depraved and exhausted from carrying the burden of a new baby and 4 year old almost on her own she doesn't really take control until page 190 Chapter 14 and this really was a bit unbelievable. Up to this point she hadn't even tried to find out who booked the taxi, trace the taxi company or do anything to help herself. I also found Matthew her husband a bit self obsessed and the fact that Sally was constantly making excuses for his (quite frankly) lazy and selfish behaviour I found this to be a bit much and something that most people in her place would not have put up with. Lucy Dawson sets the scene well and it was easy to see how confusion, auto suggestion and tiredness can mess with the best of our minds leading Sally down a path of self destruction.

You will enjoy this little minefield of mind games and it was satisfactory how it all came together in the end. A well deserved 4 stars for this one.

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

Friday, 27 January 2017

•⭐'¨) COVER REVEAL - Anna Bloom •⭐'¨)

Check out this gorgeous cover for Anna Bloom's new contemporary romance, The Truth About Love, releasing 8th Feb.  I can't wait to get my greedy hands on this one!

Eve Harris has always had a point to prove: where you come from doesn't matter, it's what you aim for that counts. She's got it all planned; find the perfect teaching job and live with her best friend, Cherry, and never ever get dragged back into the destructive world of her youth.
The last thing she expects is to bump into billionaire heir Cameron Wallis on her last day on campus. Nor is she expecting to find that when she gives him a chance to win her over he's nothing at all the playboy the newspapers paint him to be.

Will Eve be able to let go of her judgements and embrace a spontaneous affair with Cam that isn't part of her plan? Or will the constraints of both their families prevent Cam and Eve from finding The Truth About Love?

The Truth About Love Vol.I is the first instalment in a serial About finding love even when you're least expecting it (but can be read as a standalone).

Mark it to read on Goodreads:

Connect with Anna 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good GirlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now optioned for a major movie by the company behind Winter’s Bone, Babel, Being John Malkovich and the TV series True Detective.

A compulsive debut that reveals how, even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…

I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they're scared. But I will.

Mia Dennett can't resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar.

But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life…

Don't miss Mary Kubica's next novel, Pretty Baby!

I must admit I wasn't entirely sure I would enjoy or even like this book at the beginning. It didn't really hook me but it intrigued me so I kept going. I am glad in parts that I did as it was much better than I thought it would be. I was a bit annoyed at first with all the jumping from past to present but it wasn't too difficult to keep pace.

The story is told to us the reader from different points of view flashing back and forth between before and after the kidnapping which presumably was intentional to build suspense. The characters were not particularly well fleshed out but we are given just enough information about them to make them work in this novel. Mia is one of two daughters in the Dennett family where their powerful egotistical father James reins supreme, their mother, Eve, has been downtrodden over the years and as a result becomes a kind of non person. Grace the older of the two daughters is very like her father, ambitious, cruel, driven and the apple of daddy's eye.

Mia is the black sheep really, she doesn't want to follow in her fathers' and sisters' footsteps and become a lawyer, she seems to rebel at every opportunity and packed her bags and left the ancestral pile when she was eighteen. The family have little or nothing to do with her, though she loves her mother she feels that too many years of her domineering father have destroyed any fight her mother might have had so Mia resigns herself to being alone. One failed relationship after another Mia never seems to find what she's looking for, typically she gets herself into relationships with men who don't value her and she finds herself one night sitting in a bar waiting for another looser who cancels the date at the last minute. With nothing better to do she sits and drinks and finds herself flirting with a stranger, Colin Thatcher and ends up going home with him.

We learn that Colin has in fact been paid to abduct and hand her over to a criminal for ransom. Things don't go to plan when for reasons only known to him Colin has second thoughts and he instead takes Mia to a remote cabin in Minnesota where they go into hiding since he is now fearful that the criminal Dalmar will be coming to find him as well.

Colin has to keep Mia hidden and so threatens her to keep her with him but overtime she realises that Colin is not the monster she first believes him to be and he begins to realise that there's not a great deal of difference between him and her. They begin to build trust between them and eventually Mia stops trying to escape.

The book is told from the points of view of Colin, Eve, and Gabe Hoffman the police detective who is investigating Mia's disappearance which did signify to me levels of control over what the author wants the reader to think and feel in this very uncontrollable situation. Gabe is blocked almost every time from Mia's father which frustrates and intrigues him in equal measure. Eve is racked with guilt that she has allowed her relationship with her daughter to become so damaged because of her domineering husband and is desperate to put things right when she fears she may never see Mia again.

It's inevitable that Stockholm Syndrome sets in for Mia, alone, separated from her family, her life, her friends, she can only rely on Colin/Owen to provide and protect her and so their relationship becomes one of dependency and need. She no longer wants to escape, she grows accustomed to being with him and as he starts to show her kindness she even grows to love him.

The story moves along at a good pace although some of the character building pages are a little dull on the whole it was a good read. I did guess the ending but it had a double twist which I didn't see coming and it's only the last chapter that we hear Mia's 'voice'.

A good all round entertaining read, silly to compare it to Gone Girl which every book seems to be doing these days with any psychological thriller, this is a good enough book to stand alone and be judged on its own merits. A good job by Mary Kubica and worth 4 stars from me.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Year of Saying Yes Part 1: It Started with a Dare: The ultimate laugh-out-loud, feel-good rom-com by Hannah Doyle

The Year of Saying Yes Part 1: It Started with a Dare: The ultimate laugh-out-loud, feel-good rom-comThe Year of Saying Yes Part 1: It Started with a Dare: The ultimate laugh-out-loud, feel-good rom-com by Hannah Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life's magic - all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you're in for a real treat.

The first of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle.

Dear Readers

It's drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill - it's January. Everyone's banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly.

I'm Izzy. I don't just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover - it's my 'Year of Saying Yes'. And this is where you come in. It's up to you to #DareIzzy. I'm saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky's the limit - I'm at your mercy, readers!

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'm going to need it.


Izzy x

I picked this up one afternoon, I was in the mood to really get my teeth into something and as it was only just over 80 pages I thought this would be a good one. I am so glad I picked this up. I had no idea what it was going to be about, (I had an idea looking at the front cover but that was it.)

This was such an easy and fun read. We get thrown into Izzy's life one new years eve. It is the same as always, at her parents house and the rest of the family, with her 'perfect' sister and her wonderful boyfriend. After the evening takes a bit of a U turn, Izzy decides things are going to be different this year and after arriving at her desk (At a magazine firm) after the holidays she realises for the last 3 years, her resolutions have always been the same and she has never managed to stick to them.

After a discussion with her boss and work colleagues, it is decided, Izzy is going to start saying yes to things this year. These 'dares' are going to be sent in from the readers of the magazine and which ever ones are chosen she needs to say yes to. This is a massive step out of Izzy's comfort zone but after having a think she decides that doing the same old has never got her anywhere and this could be the start of something great. She accepts the challenges and we go on a journey with Izzy to discover what these are.

Part one takes us up to the first 3 months of the year and each month she has had a different 'dare' so far I am loving this story, it is such an easy read. It is funny and I felt I could relate to it. I really like Izzy as a character and cannot wait to see what else the author has in store for us. Lately I have thought my reading has been a bit 'flat' and it has taken me ages to get into a book and really enjoy it, this one has got me out of my reading slump and reminded me why I enjoy reading so much.

If you are looking for a little 'pick me up' I would recommend this, this is just what you need to cheer you up on a dull and damp January evening. The other mega bonus is that this book is currently free on Amazon Kindle right now, so you have no excuses, go and buy!

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

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tell me a lie by CJ Carver with guest post

How do you protect your family when you can't remember who's hunting them? A gripping international thriller, perfect for fans of Lee Child and Mason Cross
A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun.

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he's innocent

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It's Dan's wife

From acclaimed and award-winning author CJ Carver, this is the next gripping international thriller in her brilliant Dan Forrester series.

For my blog stop, CJ Carver has very kindly stopped by with a great guest post, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

All Stories are True, guest post by CJ Carver.

All Stories are True. A good story doesn’t tell you what to think but reveal to the reader the real issues to reflect upon.

The creative conversion of life itself to a powerful reading experience is pure story telling.

My first novel Blood Junction won the Crime Writer’s Association Debut Dagger, and it’s only now I can see why. I lived in Australia for ten years, but I was still a “Pom”, an outsider, and my main character is also an outsider and suffers the same indignities I used to. I use real-life experiences in the book to reveal to the reader what life is like as an “interloper”.

The same goes for the sub-plot involving the Stolen Generation, where over 100,000 Aboriginal children were taken from their families in the 1950s to try and “breed them white”. By using an Aboriginal policeman and making him one of these children, I can show the reader the brutality of that particular history but without banging a drum or being seen as bleeding heart. It reads as a simple story, but shows a human truth.

I didn’t set out to write about the appalling treatment of asylum seekers in Australia either, but when I sent my protagonist to a remote outback refugee camp, she witnesses parents sewing their and their children’s lips together in protest at their treatment by the authorities. Another rich sub-plot, more real issues to reflect upon.

Each time I look at setting one of my books overseas, I start looking for profound aspects in the country I’m studying to reveal to my reader.

For example, in Tell Me A Lie, the main plot is driven by Russia’s social system. The people’s need for a great leader even if he imprisons, exiles or executes people without due process, but what fascinated me even more was the psychology of the Russian people. Their passionate loyalty to their country. It was this immense and all inspiring devotion that helped drive the book to its finale, the real issue I bring the reader to reflect upon being would you die for your country?

People pick up a thriller to be entertained as well as have an experience they’ve never had. They want to be introduced to something new, see the world in a different way, and I do my very best to try and give it to them.

©CJ Carver 2017

Don't forget to drop by tomorrow for the next stop on the tour. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Night in with Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday

A Night in with Grace Kelly (Libby Lomax, #3)A Night in with Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fate has got it in for Libby Lomax. She realised, far too late, that her best friend Olly, is the actual Love of Her Life. Now he’s in love with the so-nice-it-hurts, Tash, and it looks like her happy ending is completely out of reach.

Things start looking up when she, quite literally, runs into the completely gorgeous Joel. Libby discovers that there is more to Joel than his six-pack, not least, the incredible fact that he honestly believes he has found his fairy tale princess in her.

And if this wasn’t enough, an unwanted guest shows up on Libby’s enchanted sofa; Grace Kelly, wearing her iconic wedding dress and convinced that Libby is figment of her imagination. But one thing that Grace doesn’t believe in is fairy tales. Grace believes that if you really want something, then you’ve got to make it happen yourself; words which give Libby hope that happy endings aren’t just for fairy tale princesses…

This was the third and last in the series of 'Nights In With....' books from Lucy Holliday. As with the other two immensely entertaining with the main character Libby Lomax and her magical couch along with Bogdan and the other regulars to the series creating laugh out loud scenarios and impossible situations.

This was equally as good as the other two in the series and I am sorry that these will now have come to an end. Clever witty dialogue, likable and believable characters and a great girlie read.

Libby having realised too late that she is in love with her best friend Olly is now forced to see him with another girl and it seems her happy ever after will never come. She is almost resigned to a life of being single when Joel comes crashing into her life, almost literally, and he is completely bowled over by her believing she is the love of his life. To complicate matters even further Grace Kelly materialises on Libby's enchanted sofa much to Bogdan's delight who is so smitten with Grace Kelly that he even decides to grow a moustache to make himself more like Clark Gable whom Grace hints at she was besotted with.

We all know there are no such things as magical sofas but you need to read this with a little bit of imagination and an open mind, if you're looking for a serious read this book is not it. I loved the other two in the series and I loved this one as well, I only hope that Lucy Holliday can pull something out of the bag for her next book since this series has come to an end. She has created a hard act for herself to follow and I will definitely be looking for her next book. Well deserved 5 stars for this and the series - loved it all.

Monday, 16 January 2017

What is Romance? A Valentine's panel discussion on this timeless genre!

On Monday 13th February four romance writers will get together at Tottenham Court Road Waterstones and discuss the Romance genre; how it has evolved over time - the impact of feminism and Self-Publishing - and where it is heading now. Audiences will also be offered a free glass of wine upon arrival!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day… Romance authors Sarah Morgan (Puffin Islandseries, Mills & Boon), Nicola Cornick (The Phantom Tree, HQ Stories), Jean Fullerton (East London Nursesseries, Orion) and Isabelle Broom (My Map of You, Penguin) will come together to discuss the Romance genre. 

How has is evolved? Where is it heading? How has feminism impacted the genre? How has Self-Publishing changed the way we read it? 

The event is moderated by author and journalist Fanny Blake, books editor for Woman & Home magazine. Come and join in the discussion with a glass of wine at Tottenham Court Road’s classy basement bar!

The event starts at 6:30 and tickets are £5. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Infinitive Beauty Deep Cleansing Black Mask Blackhead Removing Peel Off Mask For Face & Body 50g

Infinitive Beauty Deep Cleansing Black Mask Blackhead Removing Peel Off Mask For Face & Body 50g £9.99

  • Deep Cleansing Black Mask
  • Blackhead Removing Peel-off Mask
  • Restore a Youthful Glow With This Powerful, Deep Pore Cleansing Mask That Purifies Skin by Removing Dull Surface Cells, Blackheads and Impurities.
  • Reduce the Appearance of Enlarged Pores- Eliminate Excess Oil Right Away
  • Use it on all problem areas including the nose, chin, forehead and back

I have been seeing and hearing about these black face masks for ages now and I have been impressed with all the rave reviews.

When I received this it was sealed but didn't seem to have a full amount of product in, saying this it seems to last a long time. The instructions were printed on the tube, which was really handy when applying it.

I have used this a few times now and each time I have tried to apply a thicker layer as it hasn't seemed to work as it should the previous times. You know when the mask has dried as it changes from a glossy to matte look. This removed a few black heads but to be honest I did expect it remove more.

I will continue persevering with this product as perhaps I just haven't applied to correctly yet. Due to this I would only give this product 3*.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik blog tour

The River at Night (Hardcover)The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Win Allen doesn't want an adventure.

After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans.

Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air.

No phone coverage. No people.

No helpÂ?

This story is about four women, each year they go on a trip together, this year they have chosen to do something different. They are going on an adventure, white water rafting, something that they have never done before but for Wini, she thought the change would be good for her. Stepping out of her comfort zone and proving she could survive outside. Thing is they are in a remote area of Maine, have no connection to the outside world, loose their guide and after an accident are left on their own. Things are not looking great for the women at all. 

This is a relatively short book for a thriller, it is an easy read and not as heavy as some others I have read lately. Throughout the book we get to see an insight into the women and who they really are, there are times you question why they are friends. The book was well paced but at times I felt it lacked 'something' I am not sure what that something is but if felt it could have been better in places.

It was beautifully written and the description of the setting really drew me in as a reader. It make me not want to put the book down due to the suspense present in it. I felt myself racing to the end of the book. Although this is not my favourite thriller it was certainly a great one to read and I would recommend it to others.

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

Monday, 9 January 2017

How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake

How to Get a (Love) LifeHow to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nicola Brown doesn't like to lose control. Her flat is always meticulously tidy and her weekly meals carefully planned; Nicola keeps her life in order. When her carefree colleague Caroline challenges Nicola to find a date for Valentine's Day, it's a surprise to them both when Nicola agrees.

As Nicola's search for a man begins, she is thrown in at the deep end - sometimes quite literally - of the dating scene. From men more likely to sell their mother than open their wallet, to those who are determined to find a girlfriend who shares their passion for extreme sports, Nicola has to run the full gamut of dodgy dates. But as the deadline looms closer, Nicola realises it isn't so bad to lose control. It turns out that trying to get a love life can be rather a lot of fun...

Not one of the best chic lits I have read but also not one of the worst. It did have its humorous moments but I felt that it lacked order.
The story was about Nicola Brown a girl who is orderly, organised and enjoys her work but because of a previous failed relationship she has decided she is not interested in men. Her colleague at work Caroline has become a good friend and she is worried that Nicola is only living half a life which is boring so she dares her to get a date for Valentines day and eventually after much pressure Nicola agrees.

In order to do this they both start looking for suitable men and Nicola even joins a carpentry class in the hope that since it will be predominately male she might find a suitable partner. There follows some disastrous dates and some funny parts to this book but there didn't seem to be any time frame and I was constantly wondering how long she had to go before the deadline date. It was also a bit predictable in places especially who she does end up with so that there was just no surprises for me. No real chemistry between Nicola and the man she gets but I did like her brother Mark and her friend Caroline whose characters were much more realistic. I didn't really connect with Nicola, she lacked warmth and her character was not developed enough to make me care about whether she managed to get a man or not.

Can only give this book a 3 star rating I'm afraid, not up there with the greats but an OK holiday read to pass the time on a plane.

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

Friday, 6 January 2017

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

Lying About Last SummerLying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it's time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?

I have seen this book around for a while now and it is one that I have wanted to pick up. I had the perfect opportunity when I was at the airport waiting to go away. I almost finished this on the flight, it is a quick and easy read but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations.

There are so many thrillers out there at the moment and it is a genre I enjoy a lot. I particularly like YA thrillers and I feel there are quite a few out there right now. Some are better than others and those that are written well are excellent.

Skye has been sent to a bereavement camp for teens, throughout the book we jump back into the past and find out why she is there and what happened. I really love books that return to the past or show 'flashbacks' I think you can get so much through character development. These chapters are really important in the story and help to understand what has happen with Skye. While at the camp we get to know some of the other teens staying there and some are more secretive than others with why they are there.

Skye begins to receive texts from her dead sister, which begins her to question who it could be, the story takes on a mystery 'who dun it' there are a few other twists in the story, however the main one I had guessed. For me this was an O.K debut not one to write home about, however if you are looking for a quick and easy read, give this a go.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 Reading Challenge

Reading challenge banner

I have been joining in with the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last 3 years and have really enjoyed them. They encourage me to read more but also keep a detailed record of all the books I have read, which is brilliant.

Most years by goal has been 60, the main reason for this is that I work full time and it is hard to fit in reading after work and spend most of my weekends reading. I do tend to read more than this, which makes me feel excellent. I am a person who works better with a smaller target and perhaps exceed it than not being able to meet the target. Every year, except 2013 I have managed over 100 books which I think is a brilliant achievement. Due to this I have decided to up my target but only to 80, this way I can up it if I need to. 

I am also looking for other reading challenges to follow this year, so far I have found the  POPSUGAR challenge, which I have linked below. 

I have also found the reading challenge below that has come form pinterest 

Yapalim mi? @mervesaltik:

Let me know if you are doing a reading challenge this year and what it is as I am struggling to choose from these two. 

Good luck to all of you with your reading this year and Happy New Year. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Reading Group: December by Della Parker

The Reading Group: DecemberThe Reading Group: December by Della Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Brims with laughs, love, family and friendship. You will love this heartwarming read!' Trisha Ashley. Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don't forget the glass of red!

Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year. No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree . . . how on earth is she going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively cancelled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace's life might have turned upside down but there's no problem they can't solve.

This is the beginning of a series, at around 17 pages I was a little apprehensive that I would be able to get into it before it was over. I shouldn't have been worried. It begins with a reading group, Grace is on her way there, but the reader quickly learns that she is struggling in more ways that one and didn't want to attend the group in case she ruined her friends evening. After spilling all at the group, her friends offer to help her out.

This is such an easy read, I couldn't believe that the story was over so soon, I can't wait however for the others in the series, although short and sweet I feel this is going to be a series I devour quickly. This installment is currently free so make sure you download it in time for Christmas.