Posted in Book Review

The Two Houses 4*Review – Fran Cooper

 

‘The Two Houses sit grey and brooding beneath a pale sky.
They cling to the hillside, cowering from the wind, because always, before everything up here, there is the wind.
The Two Houses were not always two. But if it is human to build – even up here, in this blasted northern hinterland – it is human to break, too.’

After an acclaimed career in ceramics, Jay herself has cracked. Recovering from a breakdown, she and her husband Simon move to the desolate edges of the north of England, where they find and fall in love with the Two Houses: a crumbling property whose central rooms were supposedly so haunted that a previous owner had them cut out from the building entirely.

But on uprooting their city life and moving to the sheltered grey village of Hestle, Jay and Simon discover it’s not only the Two Houses that seems to be haunted by an obscure past. It becomes increasingly clear that the villagers don’t want them there at all – and when building work to make the two houses whole again starts, a discovery is made that will unearth decades-old secrets…

But who in this village has been hiding them?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

At first glance, this appears to be a ghost story. While the writing style is atmospheric, creepy and gothic, the content is more grounded. The ghosts are emotional, bad memories and entrenched secrets kept by the living rather than the dead.

Escaping to the country seems like a rest cure for Jay and Simon, reeling from Jay’s emotional breakdown when she discovers she cannot have children. A ceramic artist Jay’s work suffers until she shies away from it and everyone attached to it. Simon loves her but doesn’t necessarily understand her. His constant presence is claustrophobic for his free-spirited wife. She doesn’t want to share her emotions just to make him feel worthwhile.

So when they find a quirky, broken down property, two houses severed in their past. Jay loves it, and Simon who wants his wife to recover agrees, although he is looking for a bolt hole and she is searching for a new life.

The villagers are suspicious of the interloper’s motives and the reasons for this gradually become clear as the story progresses. It’s not just because they want to protect the secrets of the old houses, their way of life has disintegrated with the closure of the mines and farms, young people want to leave, and only the old ones and those who cannot survive elsewhere are left. They want to protect their way of life even if it’s not what it once was.

The characters are realistic, as is their behaviour when confronted with newcomers. Jay becomes obsessed with the house’s secrets to the exclusion of all else, but maybe this is part of her healing process?

The plot reveals its clues and misinformation as it progresses, the pacing is slow because of the detailed descriptions and the internal conflict of the main characters.

Mysterious and suspenseful but not written in a commercial, contemporary style, it is all about the characters and their interaction with the setting. It resonates as you read and the two houses’ story is infinitely sadder than you first imagine.

I liked it and found the ending particularly poignant. It conveys the sense of stability and people becoming as one with the land well. It is slow and maybe too detailed in places, but it does fit with a gothic writing style and is a lovely example of this.

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

 

 

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Posted in Book Review

Beneath an Indian Sky Renita D’Silva 5 * Review

 

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and family secrets. In colonial India, a young woman finds herself faced with an impossible choice, the consequences of which will echo through the generations…

1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured, and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…

2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…

A breathtaking journey through India from British rule to Independence and beyond; a world of green hills, cardamom-scented air, and gold thread glinting in the sun, brought to life.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An evocative, emotional encounter with India from the mid-1920s to the millennium, tracing the lives of three women through their hopes, loves, lies and secrets.
Sita and Mary become friends both finding something in the other that they like and admire, but even at the beginning of their childhood friendship, lies and secrets are evident. A tragic event changes the course of both their lives but fate brings them back together as young women. One suffers the ultimate betrayal, and the other carries a guilty secret that blights her entire life. The women’s lives are full of complex relationships, and the three stories are enthralling, where they intertwine the emotion intensifies, demonstrating their ambition, independent spirit and tenacity.
A beautifully written, thought-provoking story. Set mainly in India, the setting is atmospheric and imaginable through the vividly descriptive prose. Historically the book is set in a pivotal time for India and its people, which provides an opportunity for some and takes away privilege from others, in its wake. A story of childhood dreams, and adult realities and the fine line between good and evil, a lovely way to while away a few hours.
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Little Woodford – Catherine Jones – The Secrets of a Small Town Extract and 4*Review

Trouble comes to the sleepy market town of Little Woodford – a world of allotments, pub quizzes, shopping and gossip – the heart of middle England.

Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.

In Little Woodford, no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all around queen bee. So, of course, it’s Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.

Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won’t be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse…

Links to buy

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Fe3FEx

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

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

iBooks: https://apple.co/2C8kPF2

Extract’

Heather walked up the road, under the ancient oaks and yews, across the brook and past the cemetery, the old, rather higgledy-piggledy gravestones basking in the ever-strengthening April sunshine. Above her, the rooks cawed incessantly as they wheeled over the rookery in the trees behind the Norman church, with its weathered grey stone walls and squat tower, and the only other noise was the distant hum of the ring road, the other side of the cricket pitch. The peace of the scene was deeply calming. Sometimes, in the summer, when there was a cricket match on and the bell-ringers were practising, she felt it was the kind of place that John Betjeman could have immortalised in a poem; leather on willow, an occasional spattering of applause, cries of ‘howzat’ and the slightly arrhythmic bing-bong-ding-dong of a peal of bells. Utter cliché but utter English bliss.

She strolled on knowing that she could have phoned Joan to ask about the flowers but she always liked an excuse to take this walk, and besides, she was mindful that neither Joan nor her husband Bert had been in the best of health since the winter – Joan had had a nasty virus and was only recently on the mend – and they might appreciate a visit. Plus, there was every possibility that Bert would offer some of his own flowers from his allotment for the church, and every little helped. Bert’s allotment didn’t just yield a cornucopia of vegetables every year, but dahlias, hellebores, foxgloves, hollyhocks and a dozen other types of flowers that Heather would accept gratefully for the church arrangement whilst having only the vaguest of an idea as to what they were called. And, even if it was a bit early for the best of Bert’s flowers, he would certainly have foliage which, in itself, was very useful.

Towards the top of the road, the quiet was dissipated by the bustle of the high street but Heather didn’t mind. She loved the town’s wide main street with its wiggly roofline, its big market square and pretty Georgian town hall. It mightn’t be the sort of place you moved to for the shopping – Bluewater it wasn’t – but the boutiques and delis, the cafés and the pub and the hanging baskets full of winter pansies and the tubs of daffs and tulips more than made up for the lack of major retailers. And today was market day so there was the extra bustle and activity that always brought. It was a proper small market town, she always thought. Perfect – well, perfect as long as you didn’t scratch too deep. Like everywhere they had problems with poverty, drugs and the occasional crime but there were worse places to live in the country. Far worse. She knew that – Brian had been a vicar in one or two.

She was looking in the window of the cake shop and wondering about treating herself and Brian to a custard tart each when she heard her name being called. She turned and saw the pub’s landlady. As always, Belinda had a smile on her face. She was a life-enhancer, thought Heather. Brian might deal with the town’s moral well-being but Belinda provided an equally important service on the mental health side of things by listening to their woes, being unfailingly cheerful and totally non-judgemental. Her sunny outlook radiated out of her and sparkled out of her blue eyes.

‘Belinda, hello. You well?’

‘Yes, thank you. You?’

Heather nodded.

‘I’ve just been to the hairdresser,’ said Belinda. ‘That always makes me feel better. Good for morale, don’t you think?’

Heather gazed at Belinda’s beautifully cut bob that framed her smiling face and wished she knew. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a professional hair-do. She washed her own hair and pinned it up to keep it out of the way. Not smart or fashionable but suitable for a vicar’s wife. Cheap to maintain, and when it got too long, she hacked bits off with the kitchen scissors.

‘It must be,’ she said, smiling and quenching the tiny pang of envy she felt. ‘By the way, Amy says someone is moving into The Beeches.’

‘Well, if Amy says so it must be true. Anyway, I’d better get on; not long till opening time and I mustn’t keep the punters waiting. Will you be coming to the next book club?’

‘I will. I can’t say I was thrilled by the last choice but it was an interesting read.’

‘Good. Well… Good, you found it interesting, at any rate. If everyone did, it’ll be the basis for a lively discussion.’

‘Will you be there?’

‘Should be if the new girl shows up. We’ve had so much trouble with our part-timers recently. Don’t the young want to earn extra money? And don’t they realise that letting an employer down is more than just bad manners…’ Belinda stopped. ‘Sorry, I was about to go into rant mode.’’

My Thoughts…

Living in a market town is explored in this easy to read story of country life, secrets and gossip. Everyone in the town has secrets, and the characters are complex and vivid, not all of the characters are likeable, and some do border on the stereotypical, but they do work well together in a well-paced plot with lots of opportunity for them to interact and their lives to entwine.

Olivia is the serial committee member, the pillar of the community, so busy doing good; she misses the problems in her own life. Heather is the vicar’s wife; her door is always open, her life is not easy but shares her husband’s calling. She is the community agony aunt, trustworthy, loyal and full of common sense. Bex is the newcomer, attractive, lovely but with a broken heart, children who depend on her and secrets she doesn’t want to share. Amy is a single mum who works hard in the town, she has a good heart but is a terrible gossip which leaves her open to manipulation.

Little Woodford is like a ‘Midsomer’ village without the murders, fun to read with a sense of community, lots of humour, a little romance, and a web of lies and secrets an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

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

Catherine Jones lives in Thame, where she is an independent Councillor. She is the author of eighteen novels, including the Soldiers’ Wives series, which she wrote under the pseudonym Fiona Field.

Posted in Book Review

A Place to Remember – Jenn McLeod – 5* Review

A multi-generational contemporary romantic saga set in a cattle ranch in Central Queensland, Australia.

A man loses five years of his life. Two women are desperate for him to remember.

Running away for the second time in her life, twenty-seven-year-old Ava believes the cook’s job at a country B&B is perfect until she meets the owner’s son, John Tate.

The young fifth-generation grazier is a beguiling blend of both man, boy and a terrible flirt. With their connection immediate and intense, they begin a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents.

Thirty years later, Ava returns to Candlebark Creek with her daughter, Nina, who is determined to meet her mother’s lost love for herself. While struggling to find her own place in the world, Nina discovers an urban myth about a love-struck man, a forgotten engagement ring, and a dinner reservation back in the eighties. Now she must decide if revealing the truth will hurt more than it heals…

Links to buy

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2GuGNjy

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EJp6Ag

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HyCS6U

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

A Place to Remember

Extract

Candlebark Creek, 1985–6

Chapter 1

Young Ava

The massive slab of varnished wood was the biggest tabletop twenty-seven-year-old Ava had ever seen. Still, she almost doubted it could hide the nervous jig in her legs that both hands pressing firmly on failed to stop. She hoped the folder’s contents would be enough to convince the lady of the house that she was perfect for the position.

‘I did say on the telephone that the role is a varied one and not all cookery and not only when we have guests staying. No one on a property like Ivy-May can afford to be picky or precious about their jobs.’ It was fifteen minutes into the interview, and the woman’s expression had yet to shift into anything close to a smile. ‘Your time off is your own, but we all do our share.’

Marjorie Tate paused before slowly rolling up her sleeves as if driving home the point. The action offered Ava a glimpse of hardworking hands: stubby and tanned with a simple gold wedding band and bitten-down nails. Somewhere around forty or forty-five, the B-and-B operator wasn’t old, just plain, as though all her effort went into something other than herself.

‘I do consider myself versatile, Mrs Tate, and I’m always keen to learn new things. I’d also have little need for days off in a town like Candlebark Creek. There aren’t many places to go or things to do.’

For that careless statement, Ava got a raised eyebrow and a minute of the clock ticking above the stove.

‘You seem young to have had so many jobs, although you have provided an impressive CV and an extensive portfolio of dishes.’

‘Thirteen years in the workforce.’ Ava sat straight and proud. ‘The last eleven in hospitality.’ She could see the woman mentally subtracting eleven from twenty-seven. ‘And I was never fired from a job,’ she added, sounding a little too enthusiastic. ‘Some were set contracts, some seasonal. Hospitality can be like that.’

‘Ivy-May B-and-B might be small and out of the way, but I’m aware of the industry’s many facets.’ Marjorie Tate flicked through the plastic sleeves of the folder. She stopped again on the résumé at the front. ‘You have no school certificate listed.’

‘I left school when I turned fifteen.’

‘Before exams?’ Another raised eyebrow, another flick through the folder’s many photographs.

Never before had Ava’s lack of formal qualifications been an issue. Hands-on experience was what landed you a kitchen job, and every role, from waiting tables to making desserts, had added to Ava’s expertise and skills. As confident as she was about her abilities, she still sat with her hands clasped between her knees, fingers crossed.

‘Our son finished high school a couple of years ago and did well. John’s a bit of a dreamer, although there’s no doubting his passion for the land.’ The grazier’s wife with the moon-shaped face – taut, shiny skin, rosy cheeks – reminded Ava of a wooden babushka doll, with its rotund face and multiple hidden layers. The unexpected softness in her voice when she’d spoken her son’s name revealed one. ‘Naturally, he was keen to finish studying early to work with his father. John’s very capable and quite mature for his age. Children in these parts tend to grow up quickly,’ she added. ‘No choice out here. Operating heavy machinery and working bulls requires a sensible head on robust shoulders. But as much as the property had needed more hands at the time, I insisted John stay on at school.’ She peered over the top of thick black spectacle frames. ‘The value of a proper education should not be underestimated. Dreams are more achievable with a thorough education, and it shows discipline. Smart employers insist on such qualities.’

Ava nodded, forcing a smile. Was the woman telling her she was no longer a suitable candidate? Should she try speaking to her feminine side and explain what had happened to drive her from the city to hide in an out-of-the-way country town? Marjorie Tate was more likely to find fault because Ava had allowed herself to be put in such a position in the first place. Unfortunately, Zac had not come with a warning plastered on his forehead. At least he couldn’t find her here and affect her employment chances.

Could he?

My Thoughts…

It’s rare for a story to make me cry, but this tale of lost chances and the abiding love of a mother and daughter did. An epic tale, set in Queensland, Austrailia, Ava and Nina’s story spans over thirty years. You can’t recapture the past, but Ava finds it is not the case but is she prepared to risk her heart again?

Vividly described, you get a sense of the wildness and beauty of the dramatic setting, but mostly the land is unforgiving and demands everything from those who work it. I’ve never visited Australia and probably never will, but this story lets me travel there in my imagination.

It takes a while to get into this story, but each twist and heartbreak and risk Ava takes, draws you into her world past and present until you are emotionally involved and want her to have a happy ending, even when it seems unlikely.

The characters are believable, and their life events realistic, not everything falls into place as Ava’s past collides with her present, but there is hope. She is successful in her career and more importantly her family life, even though she has never forgotten the man she loved and left.

I read the ‘Thorn Birds’ about forty years ago when I was a teenager and still remember it now, and similarly, I think the emotion and poignancy of this story will stay with me too. If you get the chance, read this.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

JENN J MCLEOD photo

After leaving the corporate working world, Jenn J. McLeod decided to travel Australia in a fifth-wheeler caravan and fulfil her lifelong ambition to write. She has since published four novels.

Website: https://www.jennjmcleod.com/

Twitter: @jennjmcleod

Facebook: JennJMcLeod.books

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Behind A Closed Door – Adele O’Neill Blog Tour: 4* Review

Behind a Closed Door blog tour banner

What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. 

DUBLIN – For the past two years, Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.

Behind A Closed Door cover

Links to buy

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EMCq7n

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HvfxD1

iBooks: https://apple.co/2EZ1Cqs

 

My Thoughts…

‘Behind A Closed Door’, is an emotionally harrowing story of domestic abuse, family loyalty and friendship. Two female characters are the focus of the story, one in Kilkenny two years previously and one in present-day Dublin. Both are loyal women, who have suffered domestic abuse. Timeslip between the two time periods and locations is seamless and moves the story along at a readable pace.
Character-driven this story centres on a small number of individuals, and their respective lives, cleverly linked. However, it is numerous plot twists later that the full picture is apparent. Sinister intent underscores this story; the antagonist is hateful and your empathy for the victim without question. While the suspense is well-written the major plot twist is not hard to solve, but this doesn’t detract from the story’s menace and the believable dilemmas and conflicts the protagonists face.

‘Behind A Closed Door’ highlights in a sensitive way the horror of domestic abuse using realistic characters and situations.

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

O'Neill_Adele

Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her hometown in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.

Twitter: @Adelesbooks

Facebook: AdeleONeillBooks

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Coming Home 5*Review Fern Britton

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When the only place you want to be is home…

When Ella’s beloved grandmother dies, she comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, and new love… But she also opens a treasure trove of secrets.

Sennen left Cornwall a young single mum but unable to cope. She left her children, her family and part of her. She’s spent the years hiding from her past, hiding from herself.
Now it’s time to come back. To Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. To hope for a future with her daughter.

 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

‘Coming Home’ is the pain and secrets of three generations of women intricately woven into a beautiful, emotional tapestry of, atonement, forgiveness, love and sacrifice.  Believable, complex, flawed characters struggle to come to terms with their past losses and mistakes. 

The story revolves around  Sennen who at seventeen leaves her two young children in her parents’ care and runs away. Years later after the death of her mother  Adela, Sennen returns, wanting to atone and receive forgiveness from the children she left behind. Ella returns to Cornwall to rebuild her life after her grandmother’s death. She was the only mother she ever knew and learning to live without her is hard, Kit her boyfriend is the rock she needs to lean on, and their deepening romance provides a thread of hope in a sad story full of lost opportunity and misunderstanding.

The cleverly layered plot reveals that Sennen’s actions are not as selfish as they first appear, having two children at such a young age, stems from her insecurity and lack of guidance from her bohemian parents, they love her, but they don’t guide her.Naive, she lacks perspective and makes impulsive decisions without considering the consequences for herself and those she loves. 

With timeslips back to the courtship of Sennen’s parents, Bill and Adela and Sennen’s life after she leaves home, the conflict she faces from her son Henry, her guilt and the reasons why she has left it so long to return to her children are easier to understand.

The pacing makes this story easy to read and the characters draw you into their lives. There is a thought-provoking twist in this gentle story that illustrates that there are always two points of view and sometimes forgiveness and making a new start is the only way to heal.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Secrets and Lies – Heirs #1 – Elleby Harper – 4*Review

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Winter Blurb

Welcome to 1985 and a glitzy, ritzy, glam-filled year in Heirs. Maixent, heir to the most glamorous throne in Europe, is as cool as stone-washed jeans and Charley, heir to one of America’s greatest political families, has big hair and is not afraid to use it. But will their hearts find love or will a deadly secret from their mothers’ past rip apart a royal dynasty and a political succession?

Winter Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Winter My Review

Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies

This is a very readable and cleverly draws on historical events and people to add authenticity to the characters and plot. This story’s secret is a long time coming. It’s not what I imagined it to be. No doubt there will be more secrets in subsequent books.
Split between the late nineteen fifties and the nineteen eighties, the story moves between two generations effortlessly. A possible attraction between the offspring of the two former best friends opens up a ‘Pandora’s box that cannot be closed and threatens the stability of two families and a country.
The eighties setting is unusual and very topical with the current preoccupation with the eighties in fashion and popular culture. The story captures the ethos of this period; the glamour, preoccupation with wealth and the shallowness of society. The characters are complex and flawed, making them interesting and in most cases, easy to empathise with.
I’m intrigued enough to want to read what happens next.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies by Elleby Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Heirs Book One Secrets & Lies by Elleby Harper

Elleby Harper

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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

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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, 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, Summer Impulse

5* Review The Girl Who Lied – Sue Fortin

 

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Winter Blurb

The truth hurts…

Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies.

Erin wants nothing to do with Roisin. She has a new life in London and no intention of going back home. Yet when her father is mysteriously and critically injured, Erin has no choice but to return and face Roisin—and her past. Erin knows if the secret of what she gave up got out, the consequences could be devastating.

When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?

Winter Buy Links

Amazon UK

 Amazon

Winter My Review

The Girl Who Lied

It’s the realistic ordinariness of this story that makes it so suspenseful.
Erin has secrets, she is not anxious to confront, until an email and a phone call make running no longer an option. Told from multi point of views, Erin’s and third person for the other players in the story, you find out some of their secrets but not all. Like a perfect murder mystery everyone looks guilty and has a motive but there still a few pieces of the puzzle annoyingly elusive.
A strong romantic thread runs through this story in Erin’s past and present. She travels a complex emotional journey when she returns home and realises that life is all about shade and light rather than being clear cut and defined. Erin emotional growth is a feature of this story and makes her a character worth rooting for.
This is a poignant tale outlining the power of family ties and the frailty of humans, when faced with life changing events. The female family bond is well written and integral to the story, which ties all the ends up nicely with a realistic and hopeful outcome.
I received a copy of this story from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin

Sue Fortin
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