Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

 

drivingontheleft

Length: 262 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: 

A trip of a lifetime and a love that changes everything…

Becca Colby was not expecting to fall in love while vacationing in Ireland with her mother, yet she falls hard for sexy tour guide Sean Donovan. He’s everything she never knew she wanted, but a summer fling is a complication that she really doesn’t need right now. Becca’s got a life waiting for her back home, but Sean may be just too good to resist.

Her mom Jackie knows all too well how a seductive stranger can change the entire course of your life, so how can she advise her daughter to resist Sean’s charms? And besides, Jackie has a problem of her own. She needs to decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the man she loves.

Driving on the Left celebrates the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter: two women with only one week to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives as they travel through the beautiful Irish countryside.

The Review: I actually read this a long while ago, in an early iteration and promptly put it on my list to review as soon as it was released. Needless to say it languished in my ‘tbr’ (to be reviewed) pile and today it’s up  along with the greatest of apologies to the author for letting it slip through the net.

From the blurb this is the story of Becca, a young girl on a trip to Ireland with her mother, but actually I’d put this more as Jackie’s story, as she muses over her own past love life, and watches her daughter grow up. I loved both characters, but was thrilled to have an older character to follow, as for a while there all I seemed to see were twenty and thirty somethings and I began to wonder what I’D read in the future (approaching thirty eight now and am starting to see many more light reads with older characters /mothers).

This is an Irishy road trip, with light humour and interesting characters as the pair follow a trail, taking in Irish countryside and meeting people as they go. The people on the bus are easy to warm to and provide a lot of entertainment. I’ll be honest, Sean wasn’t totally my cup of tea but I liked what his presence led to. Actually, it was a book I thought of a few times after I finished, picturing the bus of characters chatting and laughing as they wound around scenic roads. This was a very easy read, that rambles along with many enjoyable moments. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

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#CoverReveal The Picture by Roger Bray

Today I’m very excited to be part of the cover reveal for Robert Bray’s ‘The Picture!’

thumbnail_The Picture - Cover Reveal

Here’s the blurb

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

Ready for it …

thumbnail_The Picture

How mesmerizing is that photo? Just to tell you a little about the author ( I have to admit, I love this bio!)

thumbnail_Author photo

I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops. My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider. Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing. Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school. So here we are, two books published and another on track. Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Find him on Social Media

Twitter  @rogerbray22

Facebook

Website

Buy his book ‘Psychosis’ on Smashwords here

Or on Amazon here

As always thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for allowing me to be part of this great cover reveal!

 

 

Force Of Nature by Jane Harper

force

 

Length: 400 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

The Review: From one set of women navigating a wilderness to this … erm, another group of women navigating the wilderness … (coughs).

So, to start, what a blurb, tells you everything needed to pull you in, and means I can tell you all about the book without worrying about spoilers, including the fact that it’s Alice that disappears, and it’s very much a case of did she leave or did something happen to her. The one thing I picked out of the book that still stays with me is that to start with one person called the name of Alice when they all found out she was missing, find that person and you find an innocent. Or are they all innocent? Or are none of them? (These ponderings are in no particular order, they’re just what I thought to myself, so don’t try to read into them!)

This was a book I’d left aside, firstly as I hadn’t read ‘The Dry’ which contains policeman Aaron Falk, and secondly because I’ve read so many crime/ thrillers set in vast wilderness that didn’t have the dialogue or storytelling to live up to the beauty the author could capture with their pen (well, computer, but I’m trying to soften this all a bit!). Actually I may as well start with Aarom Falk, because I’m afraid he was the only thing that didn’t work for me. I didn’t feel much for him or his past and wanted to get back to what was happening with the women every time he appeared. This is a pity as obviously there’s times the investigator reels you in as much as the story, but here it wasn’t the case. That being said the rest of the book was so good it just washed over me and I moved on.

The story is excellent because the group of girls work together as opposed to being real friends, so you get that politeness to start off with, because they don’t know each other that well, then the griping and little jibes as things go wrong, followed by all out fighting when everything falls apart and they struggle to find their way to camp.

There are some genius moments in this book including some excellent falsities that sent you totally on the wrong trail! I adored this book and gobbled it up, drinking in the different characters, their predicament and the amazing beauty of the wilderness they stumbled through . There are many people who are saying this is their book of the year to date and I can totally see why! Very much recommended and I’ll definitely get back to The Dry, which is on my Kindle. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Little Brown for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

thebirthday

Length: 417 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises
the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for.
Who will survive?

 

The Review: I had seen this book EVERYWHERE in bloggersville (a lovely place to visit!), and everyone there was gushing away and yet, I kept leaving it to the side. For whatever reason, I kept skipping over it. How much was I missing out?! (It’s okay, you don’t have to answer this question, the answer is loads!)

This is the story of a group of friends who aren’t really friends anymore, something has happened to separate them from Joanne, whose birthday it is. When they receive an invitation to her birthday, they’re a bit wary about going, but go anyway and it’s only when they get there that they realise it’s not exactly a spa weekend that they’re going on! With their phones taken to add to the adventure, we soon realise that someone has something planned for them, but with twists and turns that suddenly turn you from obvious culprits and lead you all over the place, including back to the obvious! This book never let up. When I realised that not only were they in a secluded location with no access to transport or communication, but also they had an expanse of wilderness to traverse, I was fully in! Excellent settings, brilliant characters that bounced off each other, creepy game playing … I loved this book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Woman In The Window by A. J. Finn

thewoman

Length: 453 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

THE NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

 

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

 

The Review: This is probably the book I’ve heard about the most this year. The author is an industry insider and so everyone seems to want to add their tuppence about whether they adore or hate (hate hate) it. In every book group I’m in there’s threads saying not to bother and others gushing about it. I’m going to go to gushers cavern and rejoice that there is an atmospheric book out there that transported me to another time, and could have belonged to a different era.

So, we have Anna, a great character that leapt off the screen (I know, screen doesn’t have the same ring, does it?) for me. Anna’s issues were brilliantly done, she cannot step outside the safety of her own home, and page after page passed as I thought about how paralysing conditions such as this are. Anna’s escape is in old movies and this is where Mr Finn’s writing truly blew me away, I could see the screen, hear the classy, drama laden voices and they all added to a stunning build up.

People describe this as too much of a slow burner, but I thought it did an excellent job in making you edgy and unnerved, as you wonder what was in store for Anna, and whether you believe her. This build continued to an mesmerizing ending that featured atmospherics that both weather wise and literacy wise blew me away! As an aside I was disappointed with the ending in terms of it’s explanation, the ‘whodunnit’, but most people who loved the book gushed about it so it’s probably just me. Definitely recommended (obviously unless you love everything to happen all guns a blazing!)! Thanks so much to Harpercollins and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Friend by Teresa Driscoll

thefriend

Length: 293 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

The chilling new psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of I Am Watching You.

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

 

The review: Following my  gush about I am Watching You , I quickly turned to this ‘The Friend,’ which was again being lauded all over the place. Unfortunately it didn’t make the same impression, although I most definitely will look out the author again. This is the story of Sophie, who has moved to Tedbury with her husband and her son. Sophie has befriended Emma and her son and Emma’s son are close in age. We meet Sophie on a train, inconsolable after hearing that the two boys are in hospital, with one in a very serious condition, except they can’t tell Sophie which is hers and which is Emma’s. From the start I was excited and thrilled. We were brought back to how Sophie and Emma met and walked through their friendship, with some mysteries appearing that made us see that maybe Emma wasn’t the trustworthy friend Sophie thought she was. While I enjoyed the narration of the story, I’m afraid  the I found the ‘aha’ moments to be slightly over dramatic and not quite as worthy of mistrust as the reader was told to believe. There were a few parts where I thought we were being led to something and then not enough materialised. All in all it was enjoyable but didn’t quite live up to either the description or the previous book. Saying that as I said before I would look out the author’s next offering. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the book in return for an honest review

Rating: Unfortunatley a 3/5

#BlogTour #BookReview #GIVEAWAY Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green

Cover

Length: 127 pages

Purchase from Amazon UK

Purchase from Amazon.com

What they say: Fleeing from a romance gone wrong, Ellie Farmer arrives in the pretty little village of Sunnybrook, hoping for a brand new start that most definitely does not include love! Following an unscheduled soak in the village duck pond, she meets Sylvia, who runs the nearby Duck Pond Café. Renting the little flat above the café seems like the answer to Ellie’s prayers. It’s only for six months, which will give her time to sort out her life, far away from cheating boyfriend Richard. But is running away from your past ever really the answer? Clashing with the mysterious and brooding Zack Chamberlain, an author with a bad case of writer’s block, is definitely not what Ellie needs right now. And then there’s Sylvia, who’s clinging so hard to her past, she’s in danger of losing the quaint but run-down Duck Pond Café altogether. Can Ellie find the answers she desperately needs in Sunnybrook? And will she be able to help save Sylvia’s little Duck Pond Café from closure?

Review: This is the story of the Ellie Farmer  who is visiting the village of Sunnybrook for personal reasons and realises that she has fallen in love with the place. And I have to say, I fell in love with it too!

From the quirky cafe (renovation alert-you know I love big renovation projects!), to the ‘artisan’ bakery, to the gorgeous little duck pond itself, to the great cast of characters, I was so taken with this book and thrilled to  a) be part of the blog tour that promotes it and b) see it was part of a series and so I’d get to visit again!! The instant we met Ellie, I was in. In, in, in! With sparkliness and comedy from the off, it was totally up my street.

As well as all of that I’m always a fan of cliches done well and there’s a few in this book that made me nod along and smile. Ellie has a romantic history that has made her decide that men are off the cards, and I welcomed the unexpected romance, which I thought was both well done and nicely explained! I was a bit worried about her mum, and to be honest I’m not the biggest fan of such serious issues (dementia) being introduced to light-hearted books, but that’s just because I’d rather a book like this to have pure escapism form serious issues. Saying that it was well done and added to the general warmth of the book.

A lovely, lovely book that has made me decide to go back to my roots for Chick Lit May so many thanks to both the author and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review. Roll on the next book!

Rating: 4.5/5

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Win wooden Duck ornament and chocolates (Open to UK Only). 

During each day of this blog tour, each clues will be revealed to the true identity of Rosie Green.
Today’s Clue is:

‘Among the Treetops’ is the place to find love in my latest book!

In order to enter, you need to follow Rosie Green on Twitter, RT this tweet (here) and then take a guess using the hashtag #WhoisRosieGreen 

You may guess more than once.
All entries using the hash tag will be entered, and the giveaway closes 23:00 BST 12th April
The identity of Rosie Green will be revealed on twitter after 12th April as will the giveaway winner.
Good luck and don’t forget to look at posts on other days of this tour, for more clues.

About the author

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

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