Friday, 31 March 2017

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

The Chateau on the LakeThe Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1792. As a teacher at her parents' Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine's safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d'Aubery offers her protection at his home, Chateau Mirabelle.

Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance of future happiness.

Set during the time of the French Revolution this historical novel is full of rich atmospheric settings as it flits from London to Paris during these turbulent times. Having lead a somewhat sheltered life at her parents Academy for Young Ladies in London in 1792 Madeleine Moreau finds herself alone in the world after tragedy strikes on the night of a Masquerade party. Desperate to find out what happened to her family she naively travels to Paris to try and find them but Paris is not a safe place with a war imminent and fearing for her safety the Comte Etienne d'Aubrey offers her safety at his home Chateau Mirabelle. The Chateau is not all it seems and Madeleine is forced to take control of her destiny.

Skillful writing created a facsimile of what life must have been like during this very frightening period in history, colourful descriptive passages and clever use of real events helped to bring this novel to life. Likable characters and believable conflicts added to the enjoyment of this book. There were a couple of twists that helped the story along and even if a little predictable it was never boring.

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

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

After Isabella by Rosie Fiore

After IsabellaAfter Isabella by Rosie Fiore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When Esther's childhood best friend Isabella dies of cancer, she is devastated. Years later, she is brought together with Isabella's sister Sally, who cared for Isabella in her last days, and who subsequently nursed their mother through years of dementia.

English professor Esther sees shy, innocent Sally emerge from a life of isolation and loneliness. But as Esther herself suffers blow after blow, and sees her carefully ordered life collapse around her, she is forced to contemplate the notion of friendship and trust. Do the ones we hold dearest always have our best interests at heart?

This was a bit depressing for me - when Esthers' childhood friend Isabella dies of cancer she is broken. Years later she meets Isabella's sister Sally who cared for Isabella before she died and also her mother as she battled dementia.

Its' really about how these characters coped after these events that the book is all about but although well written and thought out it was just a bit depressing for me. I think it was a difficult read and you really need to persevere with it to get to the end and it wasn't helped that the character of Esther was a bit dull and boring.

Its' not easy writing a novel about death and its' even more difficult to read about it - not a novel I would choose to read and not one I particularly enjoyed therefore I can only give this one a 2 star rating.

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

Monday, 27 March 2017

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-in-a-Million BoyThe One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, he doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father Quinn arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again.

Bit of a weepy one this - as the blub suggests its a story about the unlikely friendship of a records obsessed 11 year old boy who is tasked to do odd jobs for a 104 year old woman at her decaying property so he can earn his scouting badge.

The old lady Ona and the young boy develop a strong friendship and she looks forward to him coming round to help her more than she thought she would. One week he doesn't come and she is left wondering what has happened to him we then discover that he has died quite suddenly and his father Quinn goes round the Ona's to finish what his son has started.

Through Ona Quinn discovers the wonderful son he never really knew and he and his wife Belle learn to release the love they had for their son and understand why he was so happy coming to Ona every week. They learn a lot about themselves, grief and friendship.

It is a lovely journey sad and happy and a good read but be prepared to cry and make sure you have some tissues at the ready.

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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Turning into Your Mother: The Perfect Mother's Day gift for mums who have it all by Ada Adverse

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Turning into Your Mother: The Perfect Mother's Day gift for mums who have it all (Mills & Boon A-Zs, Book 5)The Mills & Boon Modern Girl's Guide to Turning into Your Mother: The Perfect Mother's Day gift for mums who have it all by Ada Adverse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever…?

A) Opened your mouth and heard your mother come out?

B) Wondered whether a bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed once a year really makes up for the 37 hours your mum spent in St Agnes’ Maternity Ward?

C) Voiced a heartfelt opinion on the weather?

If so, the Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning Into Your Mother is for you: a guide to the joys of motherhood – with a feminist twist

This is such a good book as a gift. This has quotes A-Z about Motherhood, although I am not a mother I did find these quotes very humourous and loved the photography that went with each one, it is black and white and had a real 'vintage' feel.

This is a great book to share with others and browse time and time again. Although this is book 5 in the series that wouldn't matter at all. I haven't read any of the others, however I would be interested in reading them now.

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

Here are some images and quotes from the book:



Saturday, 25 March 2017

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane by Caroline Baxter

Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with 'lean, mean flying machine' Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this
action-packed rhyming story celebrates 'Girl Power' and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!

Title: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

Author: Caroline Baxter

Illustrator: Izabela Ciesinska

Release Date: 8th March 2017

Genre: Picture Book

Publisher: Big Sunshine Books

Format: Paperback Goodreads Link: 

Amazon Link:


This book is a lovely colourful illustrated one, which highlights the importance that it doesn't matter if you are a girl you can have a career that is traditionally male dominated.

This has rhyme in that children love to identify as well as an issue with Mitch another plane, with the them having to work together Pilot Jane solves an issue. (Very hard not to drop spoilers!)

Although this was a very enjoyable book my one negative and it has come from a teaching professional is that this book is great for the girls but it may not interest boys a lot, which I feel is an important aspect for picture books. It is important that books try to capture their interests to try and hook them into reading and I am not sure this book does that for boys. Like I said this is just a educational observation.

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

Guest Post:

My Favourite Picture Books: Caroline Baxter

I LOVE picture books. The look of them, the sound of them, the feel of them. In just a few minutes you can enjoy a good story, complemented by often beautiful illustrations. They can be funny, silly, outrageous, moving, laugh-out loud, exciting, inspiring . . . and magical. Perhaps most importantly, since most are read by parents to their children, they offer an opportunity at the end of a busy day to cuddle up and have some precious family time together (though I happily read them on my own too).

So in the days after the publication of my own second picture book, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, I thought I’d write about some of the many picture books that have inspired me along the way. It was a tricky ask (after all, I could only pick 10!) but here goes . . .

1. The Snail and the Whale: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Not surprisingly, I’m a big fan of Julia Donaldson and her amazing collection of picture books. But The Snail and the Whale is my all-time favourite for two reasons. Firstly, I think it’s a brilliant way of helping children to develop an understanding that there’s a big wide world out there to explore and enjoy. Rather than sticking “tight to the smooth black rock” the intrepid snail hitches a lift around the world and, together, the snail and the whale see “towering icebergs and far-off lands, fiery mountains and golden sands”, all brought to life by Axel Scheffler’s gorgeous illustrations. Secondly, the book is a total pleasure to read aloud. I love the alliteration, the catchy rhyme and the evocative descriptions. Even my children, aged five and three, know big chunks of it by heart (it’s been read quite a few times in our house!). Oh, and for some reason, they also love the sharks…

2. Baby Brains: Simon James

From our first reading of Baby Brains, it was an instant hit. The story, like its star, is super-clever and follows the early days of Baby Brains as he reads the morning paper, helps mend the car, visits the local school and helps out with a space mission! Even preschoolers can understand that these activities are ridiculous for a tiny baby to do and we regularly laugh out loud at the fantastic illustrations, particularly on the page where he begins working at the local hospital! In a dig to ‘tiger mums’ and pushy dads everywhere, however, ultimately Baby Brains just decides he wants his mummy and to do “the things that most babies do”. This really is a classic – a story with a great concept, well-written and perfectly illustrated. It’s no surprise it won the Red House Children’s Book Award.

3. Oi Frog!: Kes Gray and Jim Field

Continuing the silly/ outrageous theme, Oi Frog! is another hilarious story guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face. The rhyme is genius and makes for

some really silly images – cows sitting on ploughs and lions sitting on irons being my personal favourites! The bright, vibrant colours also appeal to even the youngest of readers. Overall I think this is a stand-out book simply because it’s brilliant fun. And surely that’s what picture books are for.

4. Five Minutes’ Peace: Jill Murphy

We always enjoy the Large Family books and Five Minutes’ Peace is my personal favourite. It really captures perfectly family life with young children and the mess, chaos and hustle and bustle it brings. Mothers everywhere can relate to Mrs Large and young children love seeing parts of themselves and their activities reflected in the boisterous Large children. The best bit, for my own children, is when “the little one” jumps into the bath in such a hurry that he forgets to take off his pyjamas – a moment always greeted by snorts of laughter! Jill Murphy’s language is also so carefully chosen that just one or two words convey volumes. From the opening page “The children were having breakfast/ This was not a pleasant sight” to Mrs Large “plonking” on her bath hat and replying “weakly”, we understand exactly how she feels and how the morning will pan out. A great, feel-good book perfect for bedtime.

5. Dogger: Shirley Hughes

This was the first Shirley Hughes book I read and it’s a real joy. Although it’s much longer than many picture books these days, its length was never a problem – even when my children were very young. The story of Dave losing his favourite toy, Dogger, and the heartbreak he feels, is one that so many children (and parents) can relate to. Dave’s mum looks everywhere for his beloved Dogger – under the bed, behind the cupboard, underneath the stairs – but Dogger is nowhere to be found. By chance, however, the old toy is discovered again the following day at the School Fair and returned to Dave through an act of kindness on the part of his sister Bella. This is a lovely book to read aloud with a touching message about sibling love and amazingly detailed, beautiful illustrations that stand the test of time.

6. The Pirates Next Door: Jonny Duddle

For a while pirates were a big theme in our house, and I can’t think of better pirate books than those by Jonny Duddle. The rhymes are catchy and clever, the stories hugely entertaining and the illustrations bold, yet intricate. We all love reading about the adventures of the Jolley-Rogers and how they shake up “gloomy seaside town” Dull-on Sea with its stuffy, narrow-minded inhabitants. The characters are also brilliantly drawn, from eager Matilda and her anxious parents to “Mrs Bevan from eighty-seven” and the overworked clerk in the Town Hall. My daughter is also a big fan of the “urchin called Nugget” – though thankfully they don’t look or act alike!

7. Beegu: Alexis Deacon

We first got this book out of the library and it made my favourites list because it’s so different and memorable. Although a simple story with very few words, it’s an incredibly moving picture book. Beegu is a little alien who is lost on planet Earth, but no-one seems to want to help her. Only the young children at school try to befriend her; all the grown-ups cast her out. When she eventually returns to her mother, she tells her how “Earth creatures were mostly big and unfriendly, but there were some

small ones who seemed hopeful”. The character of Beegu draws you in immediately, with her long ears and sad face, and one, almost child-like, drawing somehow manages to convey the full range of human emotions. These days, in particular, perhaps we should pay even more heed to the book’s gentle message about acceptance and welcoming those who are different.

8. Bear’s Big Bottom: Steve Smallman and Emma Yarlett

How could you not love Bear’s Big Bottom? With its witty rhyme and brilliant illustrations, this is a book you could read repeatedly to children – and one which, mine at least, ask for repeatedly. Everyone joins in with the refrain ‘BEAR’S BIG BOTTOM’ and the bit where his bottom smashes all the presents makes us all giggle! We’ve read quite a few books by Steve Smallman recently and they are always a total treat.

9. The Bear and the Piano: David Litchfield

From a bear with a big bottom to a bear with a big gift – the gift of music. One of the main reasons I chose this book about the power of friendship was because of its gorgeous artwork. Some of the scenes David Litchfield creates are visually stunning, from the forest scenes awash with morning light to the “sold-out concerts in giant theatres”. The story, which is about belonging and unconditional love, is also perfect for young children. At the end the bear “realised that no matter where he went, or what he did, (his friends) would always be there, watching from afar”. This is a beautiful book in every sense of the word – a true ‘picture book’.

10. Zog: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

My final choice is another book by Julia Donaldson: Zog, the much-loved tale of a very enthusiastic dragon. The story of his antics at Dragon School is highly entertaining and the rhyme skips along at the usual fast pace, but for me the true star here is Princess Pearl. When I first read the book, I found it hugely refreshing to see a female character stand up for herself and talk about choosing a career, rather than prancing around the palace “in a silly frilly dress”! Even better, she will be the one to train up the brave knight Gadabout the Great. It’s fair to say that the fabulous, capable Pearl was one inspiration for my own advocate of girl power, Pilot Jane. And, at the end, happily both characters fly off into the sunset, destined for even greater things.

So these are my ten favourite picture books. I hope you enjoy them and can only apologise for the many other amazing ones I’ve left out.

Next time I’d have to make it my top 20 . . .

Many thanks for hosting me on Sam’s Book Corner!

Caroline Baxter lives in Oxford with her husband and two young children. From an early age she always had her nose in a book – and now does so for a living! Caroline grew up in South Wales and, after graduating with a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University, held a variety of management roles at UK universities including, most recently, at the University of Oxford. The Bear Cub Bakers, her first book, was written while on maternity leave with her daughter. Her second book,Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, was published recently on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). Caroline loves travelling, yoga, baking (and eating) cake, dogs, days out and snuggling up with a good story.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Beekeeper's Secret by Josephine Moon

The Beekeeper's SecretThe Beekeeper's Secret by Josephine Moon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maria knew about guilt. It was a stubborn, pervasive and toxic emotion, and incredibly difficult to shake. Especially if really, deep down, you didn't think you deserved to let it go.

Maria spends her days tending to the bees of Honeybee Haven and creating wonderful honey products to fund children in need. A former nun, Maria's life has long been shaped by a shadowy secret and her own self-imposed penance for events in her past. The arrival of two letters, one pink, from nearby Noosa Heads, and one marked with a government crest, herald the shattering of Maria's peaceful existence.

Before they were married, Tansy made a very serious deal with her husband, Dougall. With their elegant apartment and beachside lifestyle in Noosa, they have everything they agreed they wanted in life, so Tansy is going to ignore the feelings that might suggest she has changed her mind. On top of those not-really-there feelings, Dougall wants to move to Canada!

Surprising and intriguing, The Beekeeper's Secret is an exploration of family in all its facets, and the astounding secrets we keep from those we love.

I didn't really connect with this book and I think the reason for this was that the author was constantly 'telling' rather than 'showing' which tends to assume the reader can't make an opinion of their own. It had all the usual elements, protagonist with secrets, family conflicts, hidden skeletons, etc. but it was quite predictable and not really anything 'new' to tell.

I was disappointed in this novel, maybe I have ready too many in this genre lately and for that reason it really wasn't anything different, its' an OK read but I wouldn't have rushed out to buy it. Only 3 stars from me I'm afraid.

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

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

The Comfort of OthersThe Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minnie and her sister Clara, spinsters both, live in a dilapidated country house in the middle of a housing estate, built when their father sold off the family's land. Now in their seventies, their days follow a well-established routine: long gone are the garden parties, the tennis lessons and their suffocatingly strict mother. Gone, too, is any mention of what happened when Minnie was sixteen, and the secret the family buried in the grounds of their estate.

Directly opposite them lives Max, an 11-year-old whose life with his mum has changed beyond recognition since her new boyfriend arrived. Cast aside, he takes solace in Minnie's careful routine, observed through his bedroom window.

Over the course of the summer, both begin to tell their stories: Max through a Dictaphone, Minnie through a diary. As their tales intertwine, ghosts are put to rest and challenges faced, in a story that is as dark as it is uplifting.

An unlikely friendship develops between Millie a 70 year old woman and Max an 11 year old boy one summer that helps each one to come to terms with events that have shaped their lives. Max is given a dictaphone for his birthday and starts to record everything that happens to him that summer. It coincides with his mother is asked out on a date bu the boiler man and from that point he becomes something of a fixture in Max's life and not one he is happy about. No longer the focus of his mothers' attention and having to put up with this new man in her life who is less than kind to him he finds solace in sharing his thoughts and feelings on his dictaphone and eventually the old lady across the street.

Millie lives in the house opposite on the same estate and when she was a young girl her family once owned all the land the estate is built on. Living with her sister Clara all she has is her memories and routines hardly ever venturing outside. Millie notices Max from her window recording his days events and she decides to do the same in a diary. The journey for her is both cathartic and painful and eventually when Max and Millie meet they share confidences which make them both stronger.

It is sometimes a difficult read in that it has incredibly sad and poignant events but a feel good factor in their friendship keeps the book moving along nicely. It was nice to see how the author managed to make a connection with the young and old to develop a friendship that developed into a strong bond between the two.

Not my usual read but it was well thought out and executed and although a bit sad it was nicely done if the ending was a bit flat. I would give this a 4 star rating for its' subject matter and managing to bridge the gap between generations so well.

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine blog tour with guest post

Image result for where the wild cherries grow

It is 1919 and the war is over, but for Emeline Vane, the cold Norfolk fens are haunted by memories of those she has lost. In a moment of grief, she recklessly boards a trains and runs away from it all. Her journey leads her far away, to a tiny seaside town in the South of France. Taken in by cafe owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs and the raw, rich tastes of her surroundings. But when a love affair develops, as passionate as the flavours of the village, secrets from home begin blowing in from the sea. Fifty years later, a young solicitor on his first case finds Emeline’s diary, and begins to trace a story of betrayal, love and bittersweet secrets that will send him on a journey to discover the truth...

Guest Post: 

Where I Write…

Laura Madeleine

Even though the image of a writer working feverishly in a cold garret is probably one of literature’s biggest clichés, that’s pretty much how I’ve written my last four novels. I work in the attic, my desk under a skylight, at the top of a tall, thin, Victorian terraced house. If you’ve ever seen pictures of Bristol, with its colourful houses on the hill, you’ll know what I mean. Writing in the attic does have its downsides. For one thing, there’s no heating up here, so it gets very cold in the winter. Also, being four flights of stairs away from the bathroom, it’s never a good idea to wait until things get too desperate…

But for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I’ve always loved attics, the feeling of being high up, the slanted ceilings, the beams. I also love the light: good light is important to me. The first flat I lived in when I first moved to the city was undeniably dingy, and I was never happy there. But here, if I look up, all I can see is the sky and the edges of chimneystacks.

There’s also a railway track close to the house. It’s not a big one, and is mostly used by ponderous, never-ending freight trains. At first, I thought the noise was going to be a problem; the two-toned honk honk of train horns and the strange, syncopated clacking of wheels in the middle of the night. But I’ve come to enjoy those sounds too. They’re sounds of movement, of life, a reminder that outside my bubble of make-believe, the world is always turning.

At my desk I’m surrounded by piles of paper that I have yet to sort out, but can’t throw away for whatever vague reason. There are empty cups of coffee (I’m terrible for hoarding them: again, three flights of stairs to the kitchen), open notebooks and ratty pieces of paper, that have taken on the status of IMPORTANT because of some idea scrawled on them. I have maps and pages of notes pinned to the wooden beam in front of me. At the moment, those notes consist of timelines, quotes by Maya Angelou and Primo Levi, a reminder about the Musée des Arts Forains in Paris (?) and words METAL POTFIRE. Hopefully I’ll remember why that’s significant at some point.

There are also a lot of plants up here. I love having them about, and often find myself staring at them, thinking. It’s a running joke in the house that I don’t know

where to stop when it comes to plants, and it’s true, I’m running out of flat surfaces to put pots on.

To my right, I have shelves of books that are being slowly bleached by the sun (sorry books), and a print that my friend Arthur once made for me in exchange for cake. To my left, there are shelves of records, the steep, steep stairs down the floor below and a trapdoor I can close, to keep the rest of the world at bay, while I write.

Laura Madeleine 

After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine chose instead to focus on studying English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction, under three different psuedonyms. Laura lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Housom. Laura can be found on Twitter @esthercrumpet.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking is the stunning first installment in a tale of love, betrayal and the need to belong, the Kanin Chronicles.

Will she give up her dream to follow her heart?

Bryn Aven is determined to gain status amongst the Kanin, the most powerful of the hidden tribes. But as a half-blood, winning respect is a huge challenge. Bryn's almost-human community distrusts people, and those from other tribes are almost as suspect.

She has just one goal to get ahead: to join the elite guard protecting the Kanin royal family. And Bryn's vowed that nothing will stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss, Ridley Dresden.

But her plans are put on hold when fallen hero Konstantin starts acting dangerously. Bryn loved him once, but now he's kidnapping Kanin children - stealing them from hidden placements within human families. She's sent to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

I am not a fantasy fan so this was a hard read for me. Having said that I do love Game of Thrones but perhaps this genre comes over better on the screen than in print - at least it seems to for me. I found this a heavy read, difficult to get into and when I put it down it was difficult to remember what I had previously read so picking it up was a strain.

I am sure that Amanda Hocking is a gifted writer and though she does try to convey atmosphere I just found it really hard to connect with this novel. It's a shame as I'm sure if you love fantasy reads this is a pretty passable novel but just not for me. Don't be put off reading it for yourself just because it didn't do it for me but on the basis that I have to review on my own enjoyment I can only give this a 3 star rating - I'm sure fans would disagree!

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

Friday, 17 March 2017

Forest Life and Woodland Creatures by DK Publishing

Forest Life and Woodland CreaturesForest Life and Woodland Creatures by DK Publishing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Practical Facts Forest Life and Friendly Woodland Creatures introduces children to life in the forest through fun, educational activities.

Meet cheeping birds, winter wonders, brave bears and all their other forest friends in this fact-filled pre-school activity book. Children can learn how to make a bird feeder and create bear masks, all while learning about forest friends.

Perfect for supporting your little ones' development, Practical Facts Forest Life and Friendly Woodland Creatures engages young, curious minds with fun projects and facts.

This is a beautifully presented non- fiction book, it has been made with thick good quality pages, which have high ink and a protective hardback cover.

This is full of interesting facts about the forest and different creature found there. I particularly love the life cycle of the seed to tree page. This is an excellent educational resource and I love the 5 activities in the book. These are all beautifully presented and have instructions for children to read. These all do come with an advisory that an adult needs to be present when completing the activity.

The book is clear and easy to follow, which allow more confident readers to discover the facts for themselves. The book is made up of a mixture of illustrations and high quality photographs.

This is a great resource for schools or personal use if you have a small child. They would be able to learn a lot and having the added benefit of the activities may encourage those more reluctant readers to want to read this.

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke GirlsThe Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

When Lane Roanoak's mother commits suicide Lane finds herself back in Kansas where her mother came from and in the Roanoake family home to live with her grandparents. At 15 Lane has no other relatives to care for her and being too young to take care of herself she has little choice. She has never met her grandparents or any of her relatives as her mother left the family home when she was 16 and pregnant with Lane. Over the course of the summer she becomes very close to her cousin Allegra who also lives in Roanoake and little by little she pieces together her family's past and uncovers secrets she is both ashamed and fascinated by.

We learn early on in the novel what is going on and although this should have made the novel lack luster it actually seemed to add to it. The twist at the end was not entirely unpredictable but again this did not detract from what ended up as a really good read.

The characters were well thought out and shaped not just their personalities but also the theme of the novel. Vulnerable and innocent children manipulated and 'groomed' into the playthings they became, those that ran could not outrun their past and those that stayed died young. Lane's mother ran but also died young as for her she could not put the past behind her and could not live with the shame and guilt.

The author did not try and steer the reader into one direction in terms of opinions or try and manipulate with a 'tell' philosophy but allowed the reader to come to their own conclusions as the story unfolds. All the characters in this novel had flaws or were scarred by things that happened in their lives and strong parallels are shown on how some were able to use these to shape their lives for the better and those who were too weak or controlled to be able to escape their fate. When Lane finds out the awful secrets she runs away from Roanoak after that first summer vowing never to return but she does return 11 years later when she finds out her cousin Allegra is missing and she stays until she discovers what happened to her.

I don't ever give spoilers so you will have to read it yourself suffice it to say that it covers some disturbing and real issues written mainly from Lane's point of view but also those of all the Roanoke girls which gave it a more rounded and complete view of the family over the course of many years.

Because of this clever writing the reader could have sympathy with the characters and understand in a way why they felt they couldn't unmask what was going on in this dysfunctional family unit. It laid bare the effects of neglect, the need to be loved,the guilt and shame of the abused and the consequences for those bound up in the secrets and lies.

Very clever writing and although I felt the ending was a bit predictable it did not detract from what was otherwise a well crafted novel. A well deserved 4 stars for this one.

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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

Eyes Like MineEyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It begins with a phone call. Fifteen years ago Nora Watts gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Now Bonnie has vanished and when the police don't seem to care, her desperate parents turn to Nora as a last resort.

Nora knows only too well what happens to missing girls, especially when they aren't blonde or white enough. Despite herself, she sets out to find the daughter she's never known protected only by her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.

As she plunges into her own dark past, Nora uncovers a violent conspiracy on a grand scale that will take her from the rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy mountains of the Canadian wilderness, and ultimately to a remote island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.

The opening of this novel was quite promising; an out of the blue phone call from the adoptive father of the girl Bonnie who Nora Watts gave up for adoption 15 years ago was asking for her help to find her. The reason Nora gave up her child becomes clear as we travel forward through the book and it seems history is about to repeat itself with her daughter.

Bonnie's disappearance is linked to Nora and her abduction 15 years previously and Sheena Kamal takes us on the journey to find her. Although the story was OK it wasn't the best psychological thriller I've read and I just didn't feel any emotional attachment to Nora. For me Nora's character was devoid of any warmth and although I appreciate that what she went through must have shaped her character she didn't show any human natural response for me. Because I couldn't emotionally connect with her (although I was curious about where Bonnie was and the story behind the abduction) I didn't really 'buy' into the story. I also felt that in places the pace was laboured and sometimes slow which is not what I expect from this genre.

I did guess the reason why Nora's daughter was abducted but felt the ending was a bit flat. Nora was quite a cold character and pushed everyone away from her (including me as a reader) so that in the end I didn't really care about her at all. I did care about her dog Whisper and was glad she eventually went to people who would give her a a decent home but overall the book was too long and too cold for me. Can only give this one 3 stars.

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

Sunday, 12 March 2017

An Unsuitable Marriage By Colette Dartford with guest post

Could your marriage survive the ultimate betrayal? A sharp and emotional novel of a family under pressure, perfect for fans of Joanna Trollope and Hilary Boyd.

Olivia had everything - a loving husband in Geoffrey, a thoughtful and intelligent son in Edward and a beautiful home in the Somerset countryside.

But all that changed when Geoffrey's business went under. Now penniless and homeless, Geoffrey is living with his recently widowed mother, whilst Olivia has been forced to work as a housemistress at her son's elite boarding school.

With their marriage under intolerable strain, Geoffrey makes a mistake - one that has devastating consequences for the guilty and innocent alike . .

Guest Post by Colette Dartford

Character Profile:

I write about relationships in crisis and in my new novel, An Unsuitable Marriage, the relationship in question is the thirteen year marriage of Geoffrey and Olivia Parry.

Geoffrey is a vicar’s son, the only child of older parents. He grew up in a Somerset village, loved but lonely, and settled there after university, with a pregnant Olivia. This isn’t how he imagined his life but Geoffrey Parry knows the right thing to do and most of the time, he does it.

I find it much easier to write a bad man than a good woman. Not that Geoffrey is deliberately bad, but when bad things happen to him he responds in kind.

Faced with bankruptcy after losing his factory and his house, Geoffrey has no choice but to move back into his childhood home with his widowed mother. Ostracized by friends and villagers, many of whom lost their jobs when the factory closed, Geoffrey finds his life spinning out of control.

Neutered by stress and shame, he makes a devastating mistake—one that has consequences for the guilty and innocent alike.

Olivia Parry is a city girl, raised in a loving, working class home, and never imagined an affluent, rural existence. It takes time but eventually she comes to love life with her handsome husband, their cherished son and her circle of loyal friends.

But faced with the prospect of moving in with her stern, judgemental mother-in-law, Olivia is horrified and instead, takes a job as Houseparent at her son’s prep school. Here she stumbles across a sordid secret, and Olivia makes a powerful enemy that threatens not only her own future, by her son’s as well.

When tragedy strikes, Olivia discovers a terrible betrayal and realizes that life can never be the same again.

Colette Dartford

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Let the dead speak by Jane Casey extract

Let the Dead Speak: A Maeve Kerrigan crime thriller (Maeve Kerrigan, Book 7) by [Casey, Jane]

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Jane Casey, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth…

A murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.

A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?

A detective with everything to prove
As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…

Extract from the book:

‘We’re here.’

The car had stopped outside her house, she realised, the engine still running.

‘You can get out here. I won’t make you run across the road in this weather.’

‘OK. Thanks.’ She reached down to push the seatbelt’s release button but he got there first. ‘Thanks,’ she said again.

‘No problem.’ He was frowning at her. ‘Chloe, love, are you all right? You look a bit—’

‘I’m fine.’ She pulled on the door handle and it didn’t open and her heart rate went spiralling up like a bird spinning through clear air but he reached across her and gave it a swift shove and it came open. His arm brushed against her chest as he drew it back, but that was just an accident, the contact brief.

‘Needs a firm hand.’

‘Oh,’ Chloe whispered. Her ears were hot, her pulse thudding so hard that she could barely hear him, but he was still talking. She got out of the car without waiting for him to stop, slamming the door on him. She turned to scurry up the path, glancing up at the house to see Misty in the window of the front bedroom, her paws braced on the glass, miaowing with all her might. The horn blared behind Chloe twice, very loud. It made her jump but she didn’t look back, her whole being focused on her need to go inside without saying anything else, or crying, one two three four five six seven at the front door eight nine ten eleven keys out twelve thirteen the right key in the lock and the door was opening and she almost fell through it into the narrow, long hallway but she got it shut behind her in the same moment and that was it, she was alone except for Misty, and she could collapse or scream or crawl into a corner and shake or chew her nails until they bled again or any of the things she’d been holding back for days now.

Misty hadn’t come down the stairs yet, she registered, and as if in response a thunder of scratching – sharp-clawed paws on wood – echoed through the still, silent house. The cat was shut in, then. Mum had shut her in. Chloe put her keys on the hall table. She should let the cat out.

Unless the cat wasn’t supposed to be out.

Chloe started towards the stairs.


She stopped.

There was a mark on the wall. A big one. A smear, with four lines running through it like tracks. Chloe’s eyes tracked from the smear to the ground, to the droplets that ran down the wall and trickled over the skirting board and puddled on the ground. It was dark, whatever it was. Dirty.



Something that would make her mother furious.

Maybe that was why the cat was shut in, Chloe thought.

Maybe that was it. Misty had made a mess. She started up the stairs, one hand resting lightly on the banisters, and it felt wrong, it was rough, as if something had dried on it, some more of the same dirt. Chloe looked down at it, at the stairs, and then at the hall below, and her legs were still carrying her up but her brain was working, trying to make sense of what she saw and what she felt and what she smelled and the carpet, the carpet was ruined in the hall upstairs, it was dirty and soaked and smeared and the pictures were all crooked.

Behind the closed door Misty set to work, digging her claws under the wood, splintering it as she scraped.

Let her out.

What had happened? The bathroom door was open but it was too dark in there, darker than it should have been. The whole house was dark. There was no reason to look, Chloe told herself.

She didn’t want to look.

. . . scratch scratch scratch . . .

Let her out.

Because if not, she’d damage the door.


Let her out.

What . . .

Let her out, or there’d be trouble.

Chloe reached the door, and hesitated. She put out her hand to the handle, touching it with her fingertips. Behind the door the cat howled, outraged. She scratched again and the vibrations hummed across Chloe’s skin.

Let her out.

She turned the handle and pushed the door, and a grey paw slid through the gap, dragging at it to get it open, and Misty’s face, distorted as she pushed it through, her ears flat, her eyes pulled back like an oriental dragon’s as she forced her way to freedom. And then the door was open enough for her to rush through it to the hallway, and for the air inside the room to rush out along with her, dense with the smell of cat shit or something worse.

Before Chloe could investigate, the doorbell shrilled. It was loud, peremptory, and there was no question of ignoring it or hiding: she had to answer it. She hurried back down, narrowly avoiding the dark shape that was Misty crouching at the top of the stairs. There was a big smear up the door, she saw now, as she reached out to open it, a big brownish smudge that ended near the latch.

The bell rang again. Through the rippled glass she could see a shape, a man, his outline blurred and distorted. With a shudder, Chloe opened the door.

‘You forgot your bag, love.’ Mr Norris, with rain spangling his jacket, his tan very brown, his teeth very white. He held the bag out to her but she didn’t take it. She didn’t have time before his eyes tracked over her shoulder and took in the scene behind her and the genial smile faded. ‘Jesus. Jesus Christ. Christ almighty. What the—’

Chloe turned to see what he was looking at, and she could see a lot more when the door was open. A lot more. At the top of the stairs, Misty was still squatting, her eyes glazed and wild, her mouth open. Even as Chloe watched, she bent her head and gently, tentatively, began to lick the floor.

Behind Chloe, Mr Norris retched.

‘I don’t understand,’ Chloe said, and the panic spiralled again but she kept it down, held it back. ‘I don’t understand what’s happened. Please, what’s happened?’

Mr Norris was bent over, the back of his hand to his mouth. He shook his head and it could have been I don’t know or it could have been not now or it could have been something else.

‘Mr Norris?’

He had his eyes closed.

‘Mr Norris,’ Chloe said, very calmly, because the alternative was screaming. ‘Where’s Mum?’

Friday, 10 March 2017

Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson blog tour

If you love Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley, you will love this perfect beach read.

Can you escape your past in paradise?

'The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .'

All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother's secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.

Angie's estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms - it's time to unburden herself, and tell the story she'll otherwise take to her grave.

It's the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it's the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.

This wonderful novel will transport you to the shores of Crete and stay in your heart long after you turn the last page.

Patricia Wilson has stopped by with a guest post! 

 ‘the books that inspired Island of Secrets’ 

Patricia Wilson, Island of Secrets,,

The first book that inspired me to write, was an unpublished manuscript I read after my mother had passed away. Her memoir. The love story of a sixteen-year-old girl living in occupied Holland in World War Two. How she fell in love with a young English soldier from Liverpool (my father). I found the story in a bag, under a pile of bed sheets in the airing cupboard. Her struggle to marry the man she loved was a complete surprise to me. The story made me realise how little we know about our parents, and what a determined young woman my mother had been. One day I will write her story of quiet courage and adventure.

Quite soon after my mother’s death, I read Wild Swans by Jung Chang, 1991. The novel covered three generations of women, and I found their differences quite fascinating. Again, I realised how little we know about the lives of our mothers and grandmothers.

More recently, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin inspired me. A love story almost spanning a lifetime. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was released in 1994 by British writer, Louis de Berniéres. The story is set on the Greek island of Cephalonia in 1943. Berniéres story is based on senseless slaughter, during the island’s German occupation during WW2. However, in Berniéres novel, Italian soldiers are rounded up and murdered, not innocent village people.

Island of Secrets, is also set on a Greek island (Crete), also starting in 1943, but there the similarity ends.

When I unearthed a rusted machine gun, in my cottage garden in Crete, the local men began to tell me what had happened in that remote village of Amiras. Shocking! It took a while before the women came forward with their personal stories. Some spoke of the horrible local holocaust for the first time. So horrific were their tales, the old grandmothers did not want to burden their families with the terrible cruelty and suffering, which they ultimately managed to rise above. I researched. I do love research. Eventually, I discovered a document on the web recounting individual stories from that period and locality. Although I did not want to delve into the politics behind the story, I felt a need to confirm the facts for my own peace of mind.

When I found the last living member of the resident band of freedom fighters, his story confirmed there had been a political cover-up behind the tragedy. All was not as it seemed.

At the time, I was having Greek lessons in a local secondary school. When I arrived early, one day, the plump and jovial ‘dinner lady’ invited me to wait in her snacks room. After hearing about my interested in WW2, she brought her mother’s war medal and certificate of honour to show me. She told me stories of courageousness that, once again, had not been told outside the area of Viannos. This made me determined write about these brave and modest women.

And so, Island of Secrets was born.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sharks and Other Sea Creatures by DK Publishing

Sharks and Other Sea CreaturesSharks and Other Sea Creatures by DK Publishing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Packed with fun activities, crafts, reading games, and amazing facts, kids can take a dive under the waves and meet all the colorful creatures beneath--from clown fish to starfish to jellyfish--in this educational project book.

In Sharks and Other Sea Creatures, each page has engaging photographs with clear text and simple step-by-step instructions for young readers to follow as they complete each project. Kids can learn how to create an egg carton ocean, make pretty paper plate clown fish, and make their way through an octopus maze. Perfect for kids who love the enchanting creatures of the deep, this book will improve their dexterity, memory, and brain development with each activity.

This is a colourful non - fiction book designed for children. The presentation of this book is easy to follow and children can find out lots of interesting facts about different creatures that live in the sea. What is really lovely about this book and makes it different is that after each section there is a craft activity for the children to do. I think this is what makes this non- fiction book different to others on the market at the moment and would be a good way of getting children interested in these type of books.

Although the book is designed for slightly older children to read independently, the activities are advised the child completes these with an adult. However the instructions are given for a child to read and follow independently.

This is a very good quality book with thick pages, a hard cover and has a high level of colour used on the pages. There is a mixture of illustrations and high quality images in the book.

I would recommend this as a book for personal use or for a club or school. It is very interesting and has kept the children who have read this entertained for some time. I particularly love the projects and may use this for an after school club in the summer term.

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

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Escape by C.L. Taylor

The EscapeThe Escape by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.

The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

I picked this one up, thinking it would take a while to finish due to it's size. I was wrong, I was hooked from the very first page, the story grabbed me and I was intrigued to find out who this woman was that jumped in the car with Jo and what was going to happen.

This is quite a deep book with quite a lot of characters to get to know, they all have a purpose and are linked in some way even though it may not be obvious to begin with but does become clear.

Personally I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than the second half. Towards the end I also thought it was rushed a little and didn't hold the punch the first part of the book did. It was good but I felt a little let down by the ending.

Overall if you like thrillers or mystery's this is one book you should read this year. I give this book 3.5* mainly due to being a little let down by then ending, if felt rushed and I thought it could have been delivered better. It could be just that I have high standards of this genre of book, as I have read so many and know what I like.

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

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt blog tour with extract

It's my stop on The Good Daughter tour and I am bring your an extract from the book. This looks like it is going to be a big thriller this year and I can't wait to get started on it.

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

An extract from the book:


My body obeys. Ten steps and I lose my footing and stumble, hit the ground, left shoulder first. I roll down a hill and sharp branches nip at my skin. I tumble farther and farther, a steady and painful descent that I’m unable to stop. I come to a halt and I feel a sharp pain hit me right between my eyes. Then my world goes dark.

When I come to, everything is quiet but for the thumping sound of my heart. I swallow water. I’m drowning. My head throbs but I manage to push my body off the ground. I’m in a creek, facedown. The vision of the hand has carved itself into my brain. I must be mistaken, I tell myself.

I catch my breath and return to the very spot. I kneel down and a burning sensation moves up my arm, to my face, then to my neck. There is an anticipation, a nervous kind of energy tingling through me, as if electrical sparks are traveling all the way to my toes. A scent hits my nostrils, an olfactory hint of something … unpleasant … out of place within the otherwise fresh forest. The scent is sickly sweet, a mere hint one moment, then a good stench. Something is dripping onto my lap—warm moisture spreads onto my bare thighs—and I realize my nose is bleeding profusely. My shaking hands are covered in blood.

A buried body, I think, as if I have finally solved a riddle I’ve been pondering for a while. My mind tumbles, spills into itself. My sense of smell is heightened and the soil and decomposing leaves make the atmosphere thick. I feel a sense of paranoia, I imagine someone watching me, no, I don’t imagine, I know there’s someone watching me.

I scan the trees around me. I know what I am; prey. A small sob works its way up and out of my throat.

There’s no visual clue, just knowledge and intuition, and my eyes find a narrow path with knotted roots. Run, I repeat to myself, and again my body obeys.

I reach the road and wave down a truck filled with men in overalls. There’s a large ladder covered in paint splatters extending beyond the truck bed. I scream and point at the tree line and they rush in that direction.

One man stays behind and says words in Spanish I don’t understand.

I feel as if I have traveled through a time machine: I remember the clinic well—Metroplex, a three-story building, aged and tacky, from the industrial carpet to the disassembled pay phones left deserted on linen fabric–covered walls.

I recall the emergency room—every strep throat, every fever that wouldn’t go away, every sprained ankle, every cut that required stitches resulted in arguments with nurses and administration. My mother refused to sign paperwork, wouldn’t give them any information but our names.

There’s this rage inside of me that I feel toward my mother and I wish my memory was a sieve, yet it maintains a detailed account of her transgressions, all fresh, all defined, neat and organized. They sit in waiting and many have come back to me lately, so many memories have returned, yet not a single one of them pleasant. Lately, all it takes is an image, a smell, a faint recall, and the dam of restraint breaks. It sloshes over everything, unforgiving in its clarity.

They say—I’ve done the research—humans are hardwired to retain negative memories as a matter of survival.

Survival; the act of surviving, especially under adverse or unusual circumstances.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

The Fifth LetterThe Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life - husbands, children, work - has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

After reading the blurb of this one I really thought this would be up my street, I haven't read a women's contemporary for a while and really wanted to get back into it. I choose to begin this today, I had a long trip at the hairdressers planned and wanted something good to read. Wow is all I can say, when I left I only had about 70 pages left to read. This was certainly one quick read and one that hooked me in from the start. The writing style is so easy to get into and you won't believe how much you have read in a short period of time, you just get swept along with all the drama in the story to notice.

Set in Australia we follow four friends, Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden. They have been friends since high school and every year since they were 21 they have taken an annual holiday. As the years have gone on, this has not always been easy for them to commit to a date with families and life getting in the way.

We are taken through the story through different points of view and discover their past and their relationships. I really loved that the story was broken up with the confession to the priest, this made it really enjoyable for me as I don't think I have ever read a story like this before. It made it different and interesting.

This year something about their annual holiday is different, yes Joni seemed to mess up when booking their holiday home but they have decided they have grown apart over the years and perhaps its time to rekindle their letter love. (They used to write notes to each other when they were at school.) After a few glasses of wine they all decide this is a good idea. However the night they are writing their letters one woman writes an extra letter, determine to destroy the original and put this in its place. What she doesn't do though is destroy the fifth letter immediately.

This book is full of twists and turns, to be honest I thought I had guessed who had written it half way though and it wasn't until I was about 30 pages from the end that I realised that I had been wrong. I did however guess a few of the smaller 'secrets' to spill.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend this to others, I would also be keen to read other novels by this author. Overall I give this book 4.5* (rounded up to 5 for Goodreads and Amazon.) The only reason this is not a 5* book is down to the fact I had guessed some elements of this. Saying that, it did not affect my enjoyment of the book.

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