Friday, 25 January 2019

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All Is Not ForgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everything seems picture-perfect in the town of Fairview, Connecticut, until one night the unthinkable happens: a young woman, Jenny Kramer, is brutally attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately thereafter, Jenny is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, she wrestles with her raging emotional memory.

Jenny's father, Tom, becomes obsessed in his quest for justice though her mother, Charlotte, struggles to pretend this horrific event did not touch her carefully-constructed world. Soon the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows, where they have been hidden for years. Meanwhile, Jenny remains haunted by what she can and cannot remember. . .and her attacker is still on the loose.

Dark and thought provoking thriller that explores experimental treatment that will erase memories of an horrific rape that a girl suffers when she is attacked at a party.

Believing that she is doing the right thing, Jennys' mother makes the decision to let her daughter who was attacked have the drug (previously used on trauma patients) to erase her memory of the attack. Jenny's father is conflicted, he wants the attacker found and if her memory is wiped all hope of that happening is gone. He is also wracked with guilt that he couldn't have protected her and feels it is his duty to find this man. Because treatment must be given within hours of the attack for it to be effective it leaves very little time for her parents to think things over or speak to any other professional. Believing it is the best course of action, Jenny's mother pushes for it to be done.

However, the treatment does not completely rid Jenny of the experience and her emotional and physiological memory of the incident are still living on in her body which causes her to have extreme anxiety and depression. She does have additional counselling through a support group where a psychiatrist works with victims. While she is being counselled her father is unravelling and crazed with finding her attacker. Her mother is coping the best way she can by convincing herself they can put this behind them.

It is a deep and dark psychological novel highlighting the effects of decisions made and consequences that propel people down specific paths in life. It is brutal in its honesty and frighteningly real in its portrayal.

The narrators identity is not revealed until late in the book and although not entirely surprising it was not immediately obvious.

It kind of has the 'be careful what you wish for' warning - sometimes its' not good to tamper with events but the appeal of having all the trauma taken away from you must be tempting. Its worth remembering that the brain is complex and 'quick fix' experimental solutions may have long term unpredictable consequences.

Lots of curve balls to send you down blind alleys in this book with good pace and plenty of suspense. Although the writer takes pains to tell us that the drug does not exist it makes you wonder how close we are to developing something similar and what the consequences would be should it ever be used.

Have to give this one 5 stars for its originality and spellbinding story telling.

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

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling

A Winter Kiss on Rochester MewsA Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

But on Rochester Mews, two unlikely lovebirds are struggling to find their festive cheer.

Star baker Mattie has hated Christmas ever since she had her heart broken on Christmas Eve. The only thing she hates more is the insufferable Tom, who has rubbed her up the wrong way since she started running the tearoom next door to his bookshop. So when Mattie and Tom are left in charge in the frantic festive days before Christmas, it might be cold outside but things are sure to heat up.

Can a bookshop full of romantic novels, a life-sized reindeer and a mistletoe kissing booth persuade two scrooges to fall in love with Christmas… and each other?

Romantic heart-warming rom-coms don't come a lot better than this one. Funny, poignant, good likeable characters and a real feel good factor at the end. Mattie Smith a successful patisserie chef has been running the café in London since she left Paris when her heart was broken at Christmas. She hates Christmas and the endless season of good will, she has no time for men in her life and always wears depressing black outfits. Next comes Tom, and academic who has worked in the bookshop part of the business called 'Happy Ever After'. Tom appears to be as dull as dishwater, dresses much to old for his age and is aloof and stand offish.

When the flat above the premises becomes vacant Mattie and Tom find themselves flatmates. The novel expands the personalities of both these characters and the sub characters who are just as interesting but all together they work well in this story. Through various trials and tribulations we get our happy every after ending.

It's all you could want from a romantic rom-com and is well written although at times a little frustrating as is always the case with these novels. If you want to have a romantic escapist afternoon or two this is just the medicine you need. Perfect festive reading with plenty of comic moments and a satisfying conclusion. 4 stars

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

Monday, 21 January 2019

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

The Winter WeddingThe Winter Wedding by Abby Clements
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads.

But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'?

​Having taken on planning her sisters wedding when the original wedding planner cancelled, Hazel finds herself with a success on her hands. Many guests at the wedding congratulate her on an excellent job and through this she manages to get a couple more bookings.

Hazels full time job is a set designer but she is constantly passed over and her ideas stolen by others for their own gain. She is nervous about organising her sister Lila's wedding but approaches it like set design and soon finds she has a flair for it. Tasked to organise a Scottish Highlands wedding complete with a snow covered castle and a Caribbean beach wedding Hazel at times thinks she has taken on more than she can handle. Add bridezillas and unpredictable weather along with a confusing love life and you have a recipe for a pleasant chic lit novel.

Good balanced rounded characters if somewhat flawed gave this a realistic feel and a little dose of humour kept it going. Perfect for holiday reading or round the fire at Christmas - feel good factor novel. 4 stars

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

Friday, 18 January 2019

Looking for Captain Poldark by Rowan Coleman

Looking for Captain PoldarkLooking for Captain Poldark by Rowan Coleman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How far would you go to find the perfect hero?

Four strangers, united by their shared love of POLDARK, come together on a trip to Cornwall in search of their hero...

Lisa has sworn off love and relationships after a really bad experience, but lately she’s been tempted to take a chance on a more exciting life. First she meets other fans of the TV show Poldark online. Then she proposes a very special road trip to Cornwall, in search of where their favourite show is being filmed.

But can four strangers find friendship, as well as a certain sexy hunk on their trip south?

Neatly packed little novella follows the road trip of 4 Poldark fans to Cornwall where they all hope to meet Aiden Turner (Captain Poldark) on location filming the popular series.

These 4 people are all strangers who meet through an appreciation Poldark site and decide to make this road trip together. All of these people have their own demons to lay and the trip takes on different meaning for each of them.

Amusing little tale, it does what it says on the tin, perfect for a quick plane ride read or by the pool entertainment. It could easily have been fleshed out to make a better novel but ok never the less. 3 stars for this one.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Wink Murder by Ali Knight

Wink MurderWink Murder by Ali Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Late one night, Kate is woken by her husband Paul, drunk, covered in blood, and mumbling that he's killed something - or someone.

Afterwards, Paul denies he ever said what he did. But when an attractive young woman who works for him is found murdered, Kate's terrible suspicions about what her husband has really done send her on a desperate search for the truth.

Although as the lies multiply, and Kate's carefully constructed life comes under threat, doing the right thing is not as straightforward as it seems . . .

Another psychological thriller that explores more secrets and lies and how well you know and can trust those around you.

This one is about Kate and Paul who seem to have a perfect marriage and family albeit that they socialise in the world of TV and celebrities. Kate has always been mystified at why the handsome and charismatic Paul ever married her given he could have had any one of the beautiful women in his media world and she is never far from self-doubt and worry that he will one day tire of her.

One night Paul comes home seemingly drunk collapses on the floor in tears and is incoherently gabbling that he has killed someone, he also has blood on his hands. Unable to find out what he is talking about she is forced to leave the conversation until the morning. The following day Paul is calm and insists he hit a dog that is all.

Later a woman who works for Paul is found murdered and Kate becomes increasingly worried and suspicious of her husband and embarks on a journey to find the truth. Having been the 'mistress' in her husbands first marriage, Kate becomes concerned that he might have been having an affair with this woman and perhaps things went wrong and he killed her.

Kate uncovers lies and deceit and a spiral that threatens her carefully constructed life - she is torn between doing the right thing or living a lie.

Even at the end there were questions left unanswered - a good read and an ending left to the readers interpretation. 4 stars

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Lies by T.M. Logan

LiesLies by T.M. Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe Lynch is just an ordinary happily-married man - until one split-second decision throws his life into crisis.

When Joe sees his wife having a confrontation with family friend Ben, it's the first hint that she's been lying to him - about everything. And when he steps in to protect her, a harmless shove knocks Ben to the ground. And he's not moving...

Well put together psychological thriller that explores what happens when you discover your life is based on lies. Joe is just an ordinary guy, happily married with a lovely little boy Wills and teaches at the local school. On their way home one afternoon Wills (who is a car enthusiast) sees a car that looks like Mummy's car. Joe only half looks then realises it is Mel's car and in a sudden spur of the moment decision he turns his car round and goes back to the hotel car park to 'surprise' her so Wills can show her his superstar certificate from school.

This one little innocent act changes the course of his life and blows away all that he knows about Mel and their lives together. I don't want to say anymore as it will spoil the read.

Joe is then on a journey of discovery about his wife, uncovering lies and deception he could not even imagine. He is caught up in suspected murder and fears for his life.

Good pace in this novel, lots of 'red herrings' along the way and a finale that I didn't guess so for me a really good piece of writing. Has to have 4 stars.

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

Monday, 7 January 2019

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanThe Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it. 

Nicely written, feel good factor chic lit which moves along at a steady pace. Some of the decisions made were not relatable but if you're happy to go along with it and not over analyse then it's a fun story that has a happy ending.

Perfect for taking on holiday or for round the fire reading in winter. Loved the little village and its history and the quirky village characters who all added to this charming story. Cheesecake does dominate but it's also about chances, love and rivalry. Nicely put together and easily worthy of 4 stars.

Friday, 4 January 2019

The Cleaner by Paul Cleave

The Cleaner (Cleaner, #1)The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe is in control of everything in his simple life - both his day job as a janitor for the police department and his "night work." He isn't bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, has murdered seven women. Joe knows, though, that the Carver killed only six. He knows that for a fact, and he's determined to find the copycat. He'll punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It's the perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police.
All he needs now is to take care of all the women who keep getting in his way, including his odd, overprotective mother and Sally, the maintenance worker who sees him as a replacement for her dead brother. Then there's the mysterious Melissa, the only woman to have ever understood him, but whose fantasies of blackmail and torture don't have a place in Joe's investigation.

Disturbingly dark account of a serial killer on the loose in Christchurch, New Zealand. Having raped and killed several women and being called the Christchurch Cleaver the protagonist Joe lives a double life and we are witness to this double life existence as Joe recounts his crimes and his life as a mentally challenged janitor working at the police station investigating these murders that allows him to be one step ahead of the lead investigation officer Detective Schroeder.

A copycat killer appears and Joe is not happy that this murder should be tagged on to his killing spree. He decides that he will uncover this copy cat killer, kill him and frame him for the other murders.

Joe however has an admirer in the police station, Sally who works in maintenance. She had a brother who died and was very much like Joe in that he was mentally challenged and she see's parallels in Joe. She always felt guilty about how her brother died and to recompense she decides to try and make Joe's life a bit easier. She starts off by bringing him sandwiches and then follows him - just to keep any eye on him to keep him safe.

Joe meets a woman in a bar, Melissa and from this point on his life gets rather more complicated. Melissa is not all she seems either and Joe gets himself into some serious trouble.

This is a dark and intriguing psychological thriller, graphic in some parts but Clever manages to make the protagonist a rather 'likeable' character due to his excellent use of humour and Joes' batty mother which is unusual in this type of novel.

Well written, good compelling storyline and a good twist at the end easy to recommend it and easy to give 4 stars from me.