Posted in Book Review

You Let Me In- 5* Review- Lucy Clarke

Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

I’M IN YOUR HOUSE

There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

I’M IN YOUR HEAD

Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

AND NOW I KNOW YOUR SECRET

As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I’ve read so many ‘psychological thrillers this year, but this is one of the best.

What I like about it is authenticity, I believe in Elle, the situations she finds herself and the ending, while surprisingly is entirely believable.

The story moves from Elle in the present and then to a past time when her life changes irrevocably, this is where you are sure you know who her present tormentor is but are you right? The third voice in the story is the person who once let into Elle’s life won’t let go.

The novel abounds with paranoia, as Elle appears to become increasingly irrational, even to herself. There are many blind alleys, and part reveals before the dramatic conclusion. The atmosphere is key to this book’s impact, and it builds to a crescendo of menace. The setting is vivid and a character in itself, emphasising the storyline, to significant effect.

If you think you’re tired of this genre, this story may change your mind.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction – Harper Collins UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Posted in Book Review

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp -Sarra Manning- 5* Review

Posted in Book Review

Last of the Summer Moet Wendy Holden Blog Tour Extract and 3* Review

Top reporter Laura Lake has struck journalistic gold.

She’s discovered a super-exclusive English village where the rich and famous own weekend retreats. Where film stars, Turner-prize winners and Cabinet ministers park their helicopters outside the gastropub and buy £100 sourdough loaves from the deli.

Outsiders are strictly forbidden. But luckily Laura’s best friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country. The door to this enchanted rural idyll opens for Laura. Revealing a great professional opportunity.

Can Laura write an exposé before the snobbish villagers suss her true identity? And before the world’s poshest pub quiz triggers a political scandal not seen since Profumo?

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Dwz9Io

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

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2rwz7Lg

iBooks: https://apple.co/2DsC8O8

 

Extract

‘What did you think?’ She asked Harry. He had seemed rather annoyingly unmoved by the fact she had once gone out with James Bond.

‘I liked that bit when he got clubbed and shoved in the vat of baked beans,’ Harry replied. ‘Shame he came round before he got to the canning machine.’

Laura smiled. Perhaps Harry was jealous after all. The baked beans episode had reminded her of the horrible flat where Caspar had lived at his lowest ebb. The loo had lacked a seat, and the only utensil had been an unwashed spatula that the four or five residents – all male – shared to eat beans straight out of the tin. ‘Do you think that sort of thing really happens?’ she asked.

‘What – a protocol that could destroy the world with poison gas from contaminated baked beans?’ Harry gave an incredulous snort.

‘Well, all of it. The spy thing.’

Harry grinned. ‘If you’re asking me whether James Bond is an accurate reflection of the security services…’

‘Which I could be,’ Laura returned. Harry was always infuriatingly elusive about what he knew of MIs 5 and 6. But he had to know something. All Harry’s exposés involved international miscreants, and it seemed unlikely he investigated them without official help. Their first date had been at the Not Dead Yet Club, a place awash with foreign correspondents and diplomats. That Harry was a spy himself did not seem out of the question. Perhaps he, not Caspar, was the real James Bond.

‘… the answer is…’ Harry went on.

‘Yes?’

‘That I really wouldn’t know. Shall we get a chicken katsu curry?’ They were passing an Itsu. Laura, who had been brought up on a diet of French classics by her Parisian grandmother, shuddered. She found Harry’s lack of interest in food both baffling and appalling. His idea of Sunday lunch was a bag of steak ridge-cut chips followed by a packet of Skittles.

Inside the takeaway, Laura tried not to wince as she watched the server ladle the curry gloop over what had been a perfectly respectable chicken escalope. ‘I don’t know how you can eat that stuff,’ she said as they walked out, Harry’s dinner in a plastic bag.

‘Boarding school,’ he replied easily. ‘The food was horrendous. Dead Man’s Leg and Nun’s Toenails.’

‘Oh God, yes. We had this thing called Skeleton Stew…’

Only after offering up her own memories of school food did Laura realise he had steered her off the subject of spies completely, and they were now turning into her street.

Laura lived in Cod’s Head Row, Shoreditch. It was an area of London once synonymous with grinding poverty but now synonymous with grinding affluence. Quite literally, given the preponderance of artisan coffee roasters.’

My Thoughts…

‘Last of the Summer Moet’, is the second book in the Laura Lake series, I did not read the first. It reads as a standalone, but the writing style and characters are easier to understand if you read the first book. It is original in both characters and plot, it demonstrates extraordinary creativity, but the whimsical characters and elaborate storylines border on the farcical and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The quirky humour is notable in this detailed story. Settings are imaginable, characters vividly depicted and following the story does not require any visualisation on the reader’s part and for many, this will be an enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Number-one bestselling author Wendy Holden was a journalist on Tatler, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday before becoming an author. She has since written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. She lives in Derbyshire.  

Website: http://www.wendyholden.net/

Facebook: @wendyholdenauthor

Twitter: @Wendy_Holden

Posted in Book Review

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate- Inspiration behind the story – Linn B Halton- 5* Review

Linn  is one of my favourite authors,  like me she believes there is more to this life than we can see with our eyes and this always makes her romantic stories special.  I asked her to tell me what inspired her latest story ‘ A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate.

a-little-luck

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate – who doesn’t have a secret, or two, to hide from the world?

I suppose the idea for this novel was sparked by the way a celebrity’s life is often aired on TV, in magazines, and in daily newspapers, whether or not they are seeking the spotlight. There must be times even an A-lister wants to sink quietly into the background to keep a few things secret from the world. In a way it is nice to know that even the rich and famous go through the same trials and tribulations as their fans, but would you want to go through those awful moments in the public eye? After all – we’re all human and the path we travel is never an easy one.

As for secrets? Well, mine (but don’t tell anyone) is that I’m painfully shy. When I’m nervous I chat, which makes people think I’m outgoing but it really is only the nerves talking! So what’s YOUR little secret?

My latest novel is really about someone who glosses over the problems in her life because she is one hundred per cent focused on her career. But what happens when you reach those dizzying heights: you are the best at what you do? And what if one day a panic attack signals the start of a new journey?

Blurb 2016- 2

On the surface, Kristi Danielson has it all. She’s a lifestyle coach to the rich and famous, has a bestselling book to her name and is described by her fans as “the veritable Queen of how to lead a fulfilling life”.

But the harsh truth is that Kristi has never practiced what she preaches. Her home life is a mess, her relationship with artist boyfriend, Tom, not much better – and now she has to redeem herself before all is lost.

At her wit’s end, Kristi is driven to seek out the help of Patrick Blakeslee, a tarot card reader and psychic medium, in an attempt to make sense of the mounting panic she’s feeling.

But Patrick’s visits have an unexpected effect on Kristi, leaving her with more questions than answers – and a life-changing decision to make.

Buy Links 2016 -2

Amazon UK

Amazon

Links 2016-2

Website/Blog

Twitter  

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

My Review 2016-1

 A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate

Kristi, has it all, or so her fans believe. A celebrity lifestyle coach, she is famous for identifying what’s wrong in people’s life and telling them how to make it better. So, her life should be perfect, right? Unfortunately, not. Kirsti’s determined to fix it, she just doesn’t know how. She runs from her relentless lifestyle but is she taking the right path, or just inviting more problems?
A voice in her head seems to be directing her actions but she doesn’t understand it. Seeking Patrick’s help is out of character. He’s a psychic medium but she is out of her depth. Their interactions lead to more questions than answers and force them both to look at their lives more deeply.
Told in a light-hearted way, this story deals with strong emotions and tragic events. Kristi tries to follow her own life mantra’s but putting her theories into practice is not as easy as she thought and the psychic interference only makes it more difficult for her to choose the path to take.

Kristi is a likeable character full of human flaws but with a heart full of goodness. Tom, a permanent fixture in her life, is her friend/lover but is he the man of her dreams or an emotional crutch? Patrick soon becomes her mentor but he wants more.

There is a love triangle of sorts in this story which adds a little spice, in what is a journey of discovery for the main characters; Kristi, Patrick and Tom. The psychic element is intrinsic to the plot and adds an interesting dimension to this engaging romantic tale.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

Linn B. Halton

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Posted in Book Review, Guest post, Summer Impulse

What Inspired ‘The Honey Trap’? -Mary Jayne Baker

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Guest Post

What Inspired ‘The Honey Trap’? Mary Jayne Baker

Although I only started writing my debut novel The Honey Trap last October, I suppose the embryo of the story goes right back to the early noughties when I was studying English Literature at Durham University. I’d always been attracted to writing contemporary romance in the Mills & Book vein, and one day I decided what the hell: I was just going to do it. So I came up with a heroine, Angel, a feisty red-haired journalist who knew her own mind, and a hero, Sebastian, a dark and mysterious aristocrat with a troubled past. I drafted a plot, wrote about 4000 words worth of scenes – and then I decided the whole thing was dreadful and gave up.

Ten years later, I revisited the characters and plot – and gave up again. It was only last year, when someone gave me the sterling piece of advice that I should stop worrying about the quality of my writing and get on with it, then worry about editing afterwards, that I finally sat down to write what became The Honey Trap.

The characters and plot changed a lot from the original story idea I’d come up with back in my early 20s. From being a well-respected journalist, Angel became someone rather more junior, a newspaper intern just starting out in her career. Sebastian, now more usually known as Seb, changed from being an aristocrat to an acclaimed British film director, and from being dark and tortured to someone rather more fun and sweet. I populated Seb and Angel’s world with a cast of secondary characters – Angel’s love-to-hate boss Steve, Seb’s glamorous actress wife Carole and Angel’s fun, witty and supportive friends Leo and Emily.

Another thing that changed as I wrote was the genre. Although I initially intended the book to be contemporary romance, a lot of humour crept in, with cheeky banter between the characters abounding, and about a third of the way through I could see what I was really writing was romantic comedy, so I went with it.

Although I’m neither a journalist nor a film director, I mined my own interests and experiences pretty shamefully to provide material for the book. In the wake of the recent phone-hacking scandal, which I followed closely, I wanted to focus on Angel’s choices in the morally ambiguous world of the redtop paper she works for and this is one theme of the book. I also loved the idea of the main couple bonding over a shared love of vintage film, which is a passion of mine – the scenes where they watch old films such as The Apartment in Seb’s 1920s cinema, The Hippodrome, were some of my favourites to write. And finally, because he wouldn’t get off my keyboard and I thought it might appease him, I wrote my cat in! Harpo the cat becomes Groucho in The Honey Trap. He’s very proud…

Writing my first novel was an interesting experience. I tried to write 2000 words every day, which is no small commitment while also working full-time as I can only really write in the evenings, and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how much the plot and characters would take over my life and dreams. I found the experience addictive though – having once started writing, I’m now finding I can’t stop! I have another two completed manuscripts that I’m currently editing, and another first draft almost complete, plus I have recently signed with a literary agent.

Butterfly Heaven

The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

CfrVnIcWIAAMLty

Amazon UK

Amazon 

Flowers - My Review

The Honey Trap

‘The Honey Trap’ is an interesting, insightful expose of the gutter press and the fallout of their actions. Not your usual romantic comedy material but it works. The story explores the current obsession with celebrity status in a humorous way and the well thought out plot holds your interest.
Angel, a journalist intern finds out that ‘making it’ in her chosen career means compromising her moral integrity and possibly losing self respect in the process. Seb, the reclusive anti hero is instantly attractive to Angel and the heat between them is undeniable and often explosive. The sex is more explicit than usual in romantic comedy but as this forms the basis for the story that is a given. There is a good balance of romance and passion between our unlikely couple but the chance for a happy ever after for Angel and Seb is in doubt right to the end.
Angel’s objectionable boss, stereotypical, ‘old school’ editor, Steve easily manipulates her into making questionable choices. His sexist and homophobic behaviour doesn’t make pleasant reading but is essential for the plot’s authenticity and Angel’s out of character behaviour, in agreeing to be the bait in the honey trap.
A different interpretation of a popular theme, making an overall enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Author Bio

 

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.

She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.

More information can be found about MJ on her website at http://www.maryjaynebaker.co..uk You can also follow her on Twitter, @MaryJayneBaker, or like her Facebook page by going to Facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites

Posted in Book Review, Summer Impulse

The Honey Trap – Mary Jayne Baker -4* Review #SummerImpulse

cover85199-medium

Poppy - Blurb

The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

Available  to Pre- Order

Flowers - Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon 

Winter My Review

The Honey Trap

‘The Honey Trap’ is an interesting, insightful expose of the gutter press and the fallout of their actions. Not your usual romantic comedy material but it works. The story explores the current obsession with celebrity status in a humorous way and the well thought out plot holds your interest.
Angel, a journalist intern finds out that ‘making it’ in her chosen career means compromising her moral integrity and possibly losing self respect in the process. Seb, the reclusive anti hero is instantly attractive to Angel and the heat between them is undeniable and often explosive. The sex is more explicit than usual in romantic comedy but as this forms the basis for the story that is a given. There is a good balance of romance and passion between our unlikely couple but the chance for a happy ever after for Angel and Seb is in doubt right to the end.
Angel’s objectionable boss, stereotypical, ‘old school’ editor, Steve easily manipulates her into making questionable choices. His sexist and homophobic behaviour doesn’t make pleasant reading but is essential for the plot’s authenticity and Angel’s out of character behaviour, in agreeing to be the bait in the honey trap.
A different interpretation of a popular theme, making an overall enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker

Mary Jayne Baker

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Posted in Book Review, Summer Impulse

One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay – Zoe Cook – 4* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Lucy, hi. It’s Tom. How are you? It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to get in touch but it’s hard to know how to after so much time. I hear you’re doing really well up there. I knew you would be.

You should come here, you know, back to Hideaway bay. Come and see everyone, see how little it’s all changed. Feel the sand between your toes, the Cornish sea breeze on your face. When the sun hits the surf in that way it does, it’s as magical as ever.

That’s why I’m writing to you, actually. I want to get the gang back together again, one last time before…well…just one last time. You should come too. The four of us, a summer on the beach, like old times. We all want you here for it. I want you here for it. It’s been so long since I saw you.

I still think about you.

Tom.

Buy Links - Coastal

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review - Coastal

One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay: Escape to Cornwall for a summer to remember

This story gets better with every page you read. The first few chapters, authentically set in London’s celebrity and media culture, highlight Lucy’s superficial character. Lucy‘s self destruction imminent, as she seeks the ultimate career high.
There are references to drug taking, which I disliked but this are important indicators of Lucy’s deterioration and the culture she is part of. Similarly, smoking is a legacy of her teenage.
Flashback chapters in Hideaway Bay feature teenage Lucy and introduce the other three friends, who are linchpins of this story. Lucy wants to escape the seaside town, even though most people would love to live there. The phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve have until it’s gone’, comes to mind.
This story has plenty of surprises that inform Lucy’s current emotional state. The cast of characters both in Hideaway Bay and London are vivid and believable. For me, it is the last quarter of the story that tugs at the heartstrings. The twist is unexpected and poignant. You really care because the characters are like old friends by this time.
Well written women’s fiction, a lovely balance of humour, romance, sadness and secrets in a charming seaside setting.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

ne Last Summer at Hideaway Bay: Escape to Cornwall for a summer to remember by Zoe Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay Escape to Cornwall for a summer to remember by Zoe Cook

Zoe Cook

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

Claiming the Royal Innocent – Jennifer Hayward – Kingdoms and Crowns #2- 5* Review:

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Blurb 2016- 2

Found

When Aleksandra Dimitriou is revealed as the secret daughter of Akathinia’s former king, she’s torn from her comfortable existence and thrust into the royal world…under the protection of Aristos Nicolades.

Forbidden

Aristos has orders not to touch the innocent princess, but beautiful Aleksandra calls to the rebellious urges that the self-made Greek tycoon thought he overcame long ago.

Forever?

As the heat of their desire rises, the rules begin to evaporate. It’s soon clear that the person Aristos should be protecting Aleksandra from is himself!

Buy Links 2016 -2

Amazon UK

Amazon Paperback

Amazon

Winter My Review

Claiming the Royal Innocent (Kingdoms & Crowns #2)The second in the ‘Kingdoms and Crowns series, this is Aleksandra’s story. The world building in this modern day fairytale is intricate and realistic. It’s easy to imagine the royal ball, which Aleksandra gatecrashes to find out the truth about her family. Aristos is arrogant, brooding and determined to find out why Aleksandra is prepared to lie to gain entrance to the glamorous party.
Thrown together by the threat of war and royal decree Aristos is duty bound to protect Aleksandra, or risk losing a lucrative business deal. Proximity and chemistry build the sexual tension between the naive princess and the cynical, reluctant bodyguard perfectly. The inevitable flash points between them are steamy and emotional; giving this sweet, forbidden romance a delicious twist. Aleksandra and Aristos avoid becoming stereotypical by their verbal interaction. The dialogue is a clever balance of angst and wit, and moves the story along nicely, whilst illustrating their complex and developing emotional journeys.
This story is pure escapism for lovers of modern fairytale romance, with enough realism to make it work. It reads well as a standalone but I’m definitely going to read the first book in the series and look forward to book three, the final chapter of the Akathinian Royals.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review

Claiming the Royal Innocent by Jennifer Hayward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Claiming the Royal Innocent (Kingdoms & Crowns #2) by Jennifer HaywardJennifer Hayward

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