Blog – First Steps

A Week to be Wild – J.C. Harroway- 4 * Review

 

 

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Libby Noble is done with men who live on the edge, but sexy British billionaire Alex coaxes her out of her comfort zone—professionally and very personally! She’ll agree to play his game…but only by her rules!

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My Thoughts… 

A refreshing new take on the ‘battle of the sexes’.

English billionaire Alex, who likes risks and getting what he wants, engineers a face to face meeting with a successful New Yorker Libby. There is an instant sizzle, but can they work together? Or will the barely held in check passion make keeping it professional impossible?

The plot is simple. Physical attraction and gratification dominate the story but accompanied by growing emotional attachment and a lowering of barriers between Alex and Libby. Physical closeness makes sharing their past tragedy and guilt possible and helps them both believe that love may be worth the potential for pain if it all ends badly again.

The characters are likeable if a little unrealistic. The conflict is primarily internal, but Libby’s emotional battle keeps the reader wondering whether she is capable of letting love into her life again.

Fast-paced, the characters aren’t memorable, but I don’t think this is the role of this type of book. The perfect story for escapism, passion and a happy ever after.

I received a copy of this book from Mills & Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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A Part of Me and You – Emma Heatherington 5* Review

 

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You always think you have more time…

Juliette always thought she’d have more time. But as her fortieth birthday approaches she is dealt the deadliest of blows – she has just weeks to live. As the terrible news sinks in, Juliette’s only concern is for her fifteen-year-old daughter, Rosie. Who will take care of her precious child? Who will love her daughter with the same fierce love? The answer lies in a secret Juliette hoped never to reveal…

Devastated at the loss of her own baby daughter, Shelley is barely managing to survive. Consumed by her grief, she has pushed everyone away – including the man who loves her the most. With her once happy marriage now in tatters, Shelley has nothing left to live for.

But as the lives of these two women collide, could Juliette’s secret be the key to solving Shelley’s heartache? And could Juliette’s death give Shelley one final chance to live again…

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My Thoughts…

Most mothers have two greatest fears when it comes to their children and ‘A Part of  Me and You’ tackles them both in an amazingly poignant story about Juliette and Shelley. Juliette is terminally ill and her greatest fear is what will become of her fifteen year old daughter Rosie when she dies. Shelley’s three year old daughter Lily died in a tragic accident, which she blames herself for. She is emotionally dead and  has merely existed for three years since Lily’s death.

Juliette is a strong, vibrant character, her support network is failing because they can’t see their way forward without her but she remains determined to enjoy her remaining days and make sure her daughter has lots of positive memories to draw on when her mother is no longer around. 

A serendipitous meeting between Shelley and Rosie changes all their lives and tentative threads of hope draw them together as they support Juliette’s last plan. The characters in the coastal town bring the story alive. Coupled with the charismatic setting you can’t help but empathise with Juliette’s choice for her last holiday. This is a character driven story but the plot is interesting and varied and amidst all the angst and love there is a mystery to solve.

The ending is tasteful and beautifully sad. The reader is left with tear filled eyes but a strong belief that love will prevail.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

The Legacy of Lucy Harte – Emma Heatherington – 5* Review

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‘Sometimes time is all we have with the people we love the most. I ask you to slow down in life. To take your time, but don’t waste it….’

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My Thoughts…

Reading this book is an emotional experience but so worth it. 

Maggie has a second chance at life when she receives a donor’s heart. She feels a unique connection with her donor and longs to connect with her family to thank them.  Seventeen years after her transplant Maggie’s emotional well-being is threatened she feels she is on borrowed time but seems set on hastening her demise.

Maggie is a strong character with a supportive network of family and friends, but she pushes them away, as she battles with the ever-present survivor guilt and her tumbling self – worth issues. I like the serendipity of the letter arriving just when Maggie is teetering on the edge of self-destruction. Lucy’s legacy forces Maggie to focus on the gift of life she has been given, and the story takes on a hopeful theme from this point. There are many slip-ups and misunderstandings, but  Maggie realises her life’s purpose.

A well-paced plot full of vivid characters and unexpected adventures is both poignant with many lighter humorous scenes. The importance of love and living life to the limit, whatever this may be for you, is reaffirmed.  Reading it is like riding an emotional roller-coaster, but the overall feeling that remains is of hope and love and the importance of giving the gift of life.

 I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Sweet Home Summer – Michelle Vernal – 5* Review

 My Thoughts…

What I like about this author is her originality. I preferred this story to ‘The Traveller’s Daughter’, possibly because the author of the historical element in the story was still alive and you could see the possibility of a happy ending for her. The story is well paced. The present interspersed with short flashbacks to an earlier time.

I also enjoyed the mystical element of ‘the matchmaker’.

An unusual, heartwarming romance, which illustrates what’s essential in life and emphasises that the path to true love is often convoluted and painful.

The characters are well-developed and give the reader a flavour of small-town life in New Zealand. An engaging plot, often poignant with interesting twists.

The perfect story, if you enjoy family, small-town romantic fiction with a unique setting and original plot.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Traveller’s Daughter Michelle Vernal – 4* Review

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Her mother’s secret…

For fifty years Rosa kept the secrets of her past hidden from her beloved daughter, Kitty. The hurt and pain, the guilt over what she’d done, was something she could never face. But now the time has come to share the truth of Kitty’s heritage…

Her daughter’s discovery…

Kitty never knew anything about her mother’s early life. But after her death, the discovery of Rosa’s journal opens Kitty’s eyes to a whole new world—a family she’s never known and a love she’s never dreamed of…

The fate of a family…

Now Kitty must travel to her mother’s homeland, but after fifty years, can the sins of the past be forgiven? Or will history repeat itself? With a decades-old family feud threatening her future, can Kitty put right what once went so wrong?

Join Kitty on her journey as she follows in her mother’s footsteps from the south of France to Ireland, discovering who she is along the way in this beautiful tale of forbidden love and fancy cupcakes!

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My Thoughts… 

I loved the originality of this story and the echoes between the past and the present and different generations. The travellers’ way of life isn’t overly romanticised, which often happens and there are lots of interesting characters.
There were elements of this story that detracted from it. The pacing of the story was problematic at times. The step back in time with Kitty’s mother was very slow. Conversely, the relationship between Jonny and Kitty lacked depth for me. I appreciate the love at first sight idea, but it seemed rushed for its outcome.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, with well-described settings and vivid characters.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Life of Crime – Kimberley Chambers 5* Review

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Sometimes crime does pay, but at what price?

Some people are made for a life of crime

Dragged up on a council estate, Jason Rampling was determined to change his lot. Jason’s a chancer, shameless with his good looks and his gift for earning a few quid. Life is easy when the money rolls in.

Some people are ruined by it

Melissa thought she’d struck gold marrying Jason. Being on his arm meant she was finally a someone. But there’s no glamour in waiting for your husband to come home or waiting for a knock on the door. Melissa made her bed the day she made her vows – will she lie in it without a fight?

Some would kill for it

After a stretch inside Jason wants to pull off just one last job, the biggest of all, it could solve all of their problems. But this is a game that could cost them everything . . .

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My Thoughts…

The first book I’ve read by this author and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an easy to read, well-written, gripping tale of organised crime, family and money.
The plot is clever, with suspense and twists and a satisfying ending but it’s the characters that enthralled me and kept me turning the pages. I wanted to know what happened to them, even those I didn’t like, and there were quite a few of those.
A story about families embroiled in and affected by crime. Jason is a chancer, always looking for a quick way to make money, whatever side of the law it takes him on. Melissa is the daughter of a gangster father, whose respectable front hides organised criminal activity. Jason sees her as a meal ticket; she sees him as her knight in shining armour, their story is complex, outrageous and poignant as they both live out their ‘life of crime’.
Starting in the 1990’s this story is fast-paced and action-packed, often violent and foul-mouthed. It is a believable tale, with vivid imagery and characters that make it more like watching a film than reading a book. 
A hard-edged, gritty story, which stands out in this popular genre.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Endless Beach – Jenny Colgan – Two Chapter Sampler – 5* Review

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My Thoughts…

The first two chapters of ‘ The Endless Beach’ give the reader a taste of the island of Mure and its inhabitants, through the eyes of Flora, an Islander, who has returned to Mure after working in London. Despite the allure of the bright lights, the island called her home, and she sees it with new eyes, delighting in its natural beauty and people.

For most people, seeing a whale would be a memorable experience, and Lorna agrees but knows the island’s people are superstitious, and see a whale sighting as bad news.

This story has an air of mystery and intriguing characters.

Will Flora and Joel take the next step in their relationship? What happens on Flora’s visit to London? Does the whale signify bad luck? Is their romance on the island for Lorna?

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book to find out.

I received a two chapter sampler of this book from The Little Brown Book Company UK Sphere via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Springtime At The Cider Kitchen – Fay Keenan 3* Review

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Caroline Hemingway can’t help but feel a little strange watching her ex-sister-in-law marrying the owner of Carter’s Cider Farm, but she’s delighted Anna’s found happiness after the death of her late husband, and Caroline’s brother, James. If only Caroline could find her own love story…

Desperate to escape the rat race, Caroline decides to take the plunge and move to the idyllic village of Little Somerby, where she is given the task of opening and running a restaurant in one of the forgotten barns on the Cider Farm.

Opening and running The Cider Kitchen is no easy task, and there are many challenges on the way, but slowly Caroline feels she’s being accepted into the local community and starts to believe she may have found her forever home. But secrets from her past seem destined to haunt her, and not even the attentions of the very dishy Jonathan Carter can distract her from all she’s left behind…

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My Thoughts…

Don’t be fooled by the cute cover, this story is not a feel-good romantic romp in the countryside or a heartwarming romance. The main characters are edgy and self-indulgent. Realistic but not easy to empathise with.

This was my first excursion into Little Somerby, and I didn’t need to read the first book in the series to understand the setting and characters of this one. Although, Anna and Matthew are easier to like than Caroline and Jonathan.

The first couple of chapters peaked my interest, and I found I wanted to see what happened to Caroline and Jonathan after their initial encounter. However, they are both such self-absorbed, spiky characters that I can’t honestly say I cared whether they got their happy ever or not.

 Even though I didn’t like the main characters, I still found the story interesting, it was for the most part well-paced, and the plot held my interest.  

An original take on village life and new beginnings with a good cast of supporting characters.

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

‘That Girl’ Blog Tour – Kate Kerrigan Extract – 5* Review

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 Extract From ‘That Girl’ Kate Kerrigan

Chapter one

HANNA

Sligo, Ireland, 1961

‘It was her first visit to Dr Dorian Black’s surgery, and Hanna liked him straight away.

She had only been living in Killa for a few weeks at the time. After her father died suddenly, two years before, her mother Margaret decided they needed a new start and rented a small cottage in Killa, a fishing village on the north-west coast of county Sligo. Margaret hoped proximity to the sea would help heal their ongoing grief. Indeed, Margaret’s spirits lifted as she began a new life among people who knew little or nothing about her, fitting easily into the friendly new parish. Hanna, just thirteen, had settled well into the local convent school. Their home was at the end of the pier, and Hanna developed an appetite for the fresh, salty air, spending hours sitting on the front wall reading and watching the sea. However, this time spent in the chilly air had also resulted in a nasty cough. Margaret, overly protective of her only child, had brought her straight up to the local surgery where she had been greeted by this kind, handsome Dr Black.

‘Now, we’re going to have to take a little look in your mouth, Hanna. Can you open wide for me?’

Hanna opened her mouth widely and he peered in. He smelt of soap and she felt strangely pleased to be in the company of a nice man, even if he was only their doctor. Most of the men they knew from home were farmers, rough and ready, smelling of manure or beer. This man was clean and gentle, like her father. She missed him. It had been two years now and Hanna had started to find it hard to call his face to mind.

‘Now, that doesn’t look too bad.’ Dorian leaned back and took his stethoscope from around his neck. Hanna smiled at him. His accent was refined, barely detectable as Irish. She reminded him of a Jane Austen hero, handsome and dapper like Darcy, but friendly and open too, like Bingley.

‘Well, young lady,’ he said, ‘I think you’ll live.’ Hanna laughed.

Then he turned his attention to Margaret. ‘But, I am writing you a prescription for some antibiotics to clear this nasty cough.’

‘Thank you, Doctor,’ Margaret said.

‘Please,’ he said, smiling, ‘call me Dorian.’

‘Thank you, Dorian.’

Hanna noticed her mother blushing. Margaret was taken with him and, for a moment, Hanna felt pricked with possessive irritation. She reminded herself that her father was dead and it was nice, after all, to see her mother smiling.

As they were leaving, Dorian signalled Margaret to stay back for a private word. For a split second she had a dreadful feeling that there was something wrong with Hanna. After losing Liam, she knew she had become unnaturally attached to her daughter. There was just the two of them now. She couldn’t face it if Hanna were sick.

‘I was wondering,’ Dr Black said, his eyes downcast in shyness, ‘if you would do me the honour of allowing me to take you and Hanna out to dinner this evening.’

*

Over the coming weeks, Dorian courted Margaret. It was like a dream. This charming, erudite man had come into their lives after all the pain, hurt and shock of the last two years. She could hardly believe her luck in finding love again and, although she was as head over heels as a schoolgirl, it was Dorian’s kindness towards Hanna that truly won Margaret’s heart. Most men would have baulked at taking on another man’s daughter, but every time they went out for a drive, to a nice hotel for dinner or to a movie theatre, he always made sure to invite Hanna. Even when they went to Dublin for a weekend, Dorian insisted she and Hanna shared their own room in the Shelbourne rather than have Hanna enduring the upset of her mother being with another man.

That, he said, was the reason for his marriage proposal just two months after their initial meeting.’

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You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.

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Amazon

My Thoughts…

This is a well- written character driven story, set against the background of the ‘swinging sixties’ in London. There’s crime, fashion and sex but this all takes second place to the stories of the three Irish girls Hanna, Lara and Noreen. Their courage, humour and tragedies keep the reader enthralled, empathic and shocked in this page-turning read.

The  girls share a common heritage and their lives become increasingly interlinked as the story progresses with devasting consequences for one of them, The setting of a gangland club in Chelsea, captures the vibe of the sixties and the unique mix of fashionable and sordid which made this time in London iconic and a honey trap for naive  girls.

The story doesn’t shy away from abuse and violence because this is integral to the plot but it is sensitively written and ensures the reader empathises with the heroines instantly.  The ending is suspenseful, as you begin to wonder if everything the girls have achieved will be lost.

This is a memorable story, punctuated with vivid imagery and believable characters, not to be missed.

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

Kerrigan_KateBio Kate Kerrigan

Kate Kerrigan lives in County Mayo, Eire, with her husband and children. Her novels include Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, shortlisted for the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award and Ellis Island, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read.

Kate Kerrigan Contact:

Twitter: @katekerrigan

Facebook: @KateKerriganAuthor

Website: www.katekerrigan.org

Links to Buy:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kJHqN3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kg4gwo

iBooks: http://apple.co/2Bvc9FJ

 

 

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