The Memory by Lucy Dawson #Bookouture #Netgalley #Bookreview

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Length: 340 pages

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

What they say: I look down at her, lying fast asleep – always my little girl, and so beautiful. She gives a low moan as her head turns restlessly on the pillow. It reminds me of the soft growl of a cornered animal. Where is my poor child? What is she dreaming?

People always notice my daughter, Isobel. How could they not? Incredibly beautiful… until she speaks.
An unsettling, little-girl voice, exactly like a child’s, but from the mouth of a full-grown woman.
Izzie might look grown-up, but inside she’s trapped. Caught in the day it happened – the day that broke her from within.
I know why my daughter is the way she is. There’s nothing I could have done to save her… is there?

An unputdownable psychological thriller about families and secrets, perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Shalini Boland and Lisa Jewell.

The Review: The story started with a bang-a young widow and mother of seven year old Isobel,  being asked out by a sports teacher we know straight off is horrendous, telling her she should be grateful for the request and that her husband is gone and she needs to move on. Her obviously refusal angers him and things begin to get out of hand. Fast forward nearly thirty years and what happened that day has caused a ripple effect, Eve, now older (obviously, sorry!) has lived in the shadow of that day, not fully sure she’s not to blame for what went down which has caused her now grown daughter to retreat into herself.

From the start we realise that there is something different about Isobel, but for me she was the true chill factor of this book, alongside the house they live in, which was something from the past and creepy as heck! But I’m totally digressing here!

Eve has the house for sale and we soon meet the next people to be dragged into Eve and Isobel’s lonely existence, a lady and her family who come for a viewing which had me inwardly screaming ‘don’t buy the house!’ The interconnection between the two families ensues.

Funnily enough, while this is a supernatural kind of tale (one that I don’t really read usually so excuse the review) the bit that made me a bit ‘come on’ was more the decisions that led them to the house and them staying in the house at all, really. Also it slowed for me a little in the middle but then built again to a good ending.

A creep out book which I note is on audible so actually in a way I’d love to go back and listen to it for added atmosphere as for me it really was such an atmospheric read! Thanks so much to Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

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A Summer of New Beginnings by Lisa Hobman

Thanks to Aria for allowing me to be part of this blog tour and apologies for the lateness of this post-to say it has been one of those days is an extreme understatement but I am very very sorry.

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Buy links

Kobo

Amazon

Google Play

iBooks

What they say: The stunning new story from the bestselling author of

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin.

Meet Zara Bailey, a travel writer paid to cover some of the globe’s most luxurious locations. Jetting from wooden huts on stilts in turquoise seas to boutique hotels with roaring fires to 7* penthouse suites with panoramic views of the world’s most glamorous cities…

Zara knows hers is the definition of a dream job! So she is seriously shocked to receive her next assignment; Scotland’s Northcoast 500 route. By bicycle. Sleeping in a tent so basic it can’t remotely be dressed up glamping! But this could bejust the distraction the recently heartbroken, Zara needs. No men, no romance, just the breathtakingly rugged Highland scenery.

Until she meets croft owner Lachlan Grant, and his black and white Border Collie Bess, that is….

The Review: You’ll remember that I bawled (and fell in love with) A Seaside Escape by this author and this time, from the off, fell back in love with descriptions that put me right there in London as Zara Bailey, travel writer extraordinaire, returned from a job to her flat.

I loved getting to her office and seeing all the madness as they face severe pressure on the exit of a key member of staff. I’ll admit I was ready to jump straight into ‘fish out of water’ scenarios in Scotland, but first we had issues with her boyfriend and as you see in the blurb above, they broke up. If I’m honest, I could have done with this finishing earlier and getting to Scotland where we face an extremely entertaining struggle with the workload (I cannot even fathom people attempting that sort of a cycle!!), beautiful scenery and a host of characters. I loved meeting Lachlan but was a bit shocked we left so early (hence making me wish we’d gotten there sooner!) The story was extremely enjoyable and the romance excellent (although the love scenes weren’t always my thing but that’s just me!) All in all a very enjoyable read. Thanks so much to Aria for the book in return for an honest review.

About the author

lisahobman

Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet

down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with.

She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.

Follow Lisa

Website: http://www.lisajhobman.com/

Twitter: @LisaJHobmanAuth 

 

Follow Aria 

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

And now, how about you follow the tour?

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A Version of The Truth by B P Walter WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT

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What they say:

We all see what we want to see…

2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.

A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?

The Review:

I have to admit I had seen some reviews by bloggers on this and had noted that there was a trigger warning on it. From the start I enjoyed the author’s writing and kept thinking I had come up against content that required the trigger warning but I was so so wrong!

While the opening content of the computer read as quite tough I thought I was done and settled into the story, a dual timeline with two narrators. It was the tale of a very privileged mother finding out her husband was harbouring something ugly on his iPad. This is where I hit the first lot of content which I found to be horrible, but we were cast back to the privileged land of Oxford, and a new student finding her feet who came up against people of extreme wealth who seemed to be all about the literature but who we secretly realise don’t hold much worth for people they feel ‘lesser’ than them and I read on.

In the book we went on to more sexually explicit content, a gang rape, followed by even more harrowing images. A simple ‘contains tough sexually explicit material’ or the like would have done the job and to be honest it really, really irked me and after looking through a few reviews (okay I read all of them) on Amazon I was ready to quit but decided to go on. I will say I liked the author’s style of writing and ability to create tension and settings, but obviously the explicit thing and lack of a warning really put my hackles up. Thanks to Avon and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review. Rating: 3/5

Absolutely Smashing It by Kathryn Wallace #BookReview

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Length: 320 pages

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

What they say:

“SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”

Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.

But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…

It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.

The review: You all  know by now rom coms/ chick lit/ mom lit are totally my bag, and so I jumped for this, the story of Gemma who is very much trying to juggle work life with parenting, aghast that she is floundering at the latter, only finding out about projects and school trips the night before and having to deal with inappropriate words coming out of her kids’ mouths.

I suppose I’ll jump straight in. Gemma, and her new neighbour Becky, whose child has just started the same school, are in a world of privilege, and one where they need to be keeping up with everyone or else they’ll be talked about by a group of mum’s that are always ready to talk! I really enjoyed all the day to day interactions, Gemma realising at the end of Christmas holidays that her and her child were supposed to be reading every day, finding out the night before a school tour that a) it was on and b) that waterproof trousers were necessary.

I liked all of this aspect to it, the one place it headed a bit south for me was the language. Basically every single word for every part of the anatomy out there being used by the kids or them suddenly mentioning sexual things, which is fine and even funny at times but it was very regular and got a bit old. Bad language was a given and I don’t mind that either but it was practically on every single page, a child saying something or Becky’s constant cursing … and I found myself sighing and willing the book to speed up.

The story was a nice idea, Gemma’s workplace having issues while Becky searched for a job that would fit in around her daughter and also a point of view from a new male teacher who was trying to cope with pushy mums. I wanted to see how they all got on, and didn’t consider not finishing, but at the same time this wasn’t for me. Thanks to Little Brown and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

What Happens in France by Carol Wyer #BookReview @carolwyer @Canelo_co

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Please note the cover image leads to an Amazon buy link for the book

Length: Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…

This heartwarming romantic comedy of friendship, family and laugh-out-loud adventures is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

The Review: I’ll admit the premise of this had me early on (the gameshow!) and with all the gushing that was coming off the screen at me from other bloggers I was excited to read this. Coincidentally it came at the same time as I started to read The Birthday by the same author which is a thriller. I had cut my Kindle Unlimited connection just a few days before and so lost this and was beyond bereft (I honestly mean this and it reminds me to go buy it now!) as I was only a little into the book and was hooked beyond belief!

Anyhoo back to this, with Bryony Masters deciding she has absolutely explored all other avenues of finding her long lost sister and so she heads off to France to take part in a game show she hopes her sister will see. I enjoyed the game show and the characters that came with it but for me the star of the show was really the diary extracts that gave us pieces of the puzzle.

All in all I enjoyed although I wasn’t sure of my agreement of the reason of Hannah’s disappearance but every person is different so what fits one won’t fit the other. Funnily enough, with the epic descriptiveness throughout that puts you right there and somehow has the slightest tinge of darkness to them, this is a book that will send me running back to get to all of Ms. Wyer’s thrillers, which I can only assume will continue to be epic!! Thanks so much to Canelo and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

The Cornish Village School-Second Chances by Kitty Wilson

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

What they say: Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the nearest town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

The second book in the feel-good and rib-tickling Cornish Village School series. Perfect for fans of Tilly Tennant, Holly Martin and Cathy Bramley.

The Review: You know something, you all know already that this is going to be a bit of a rave-I adored book one (review here) of this series, and chances were pretty slim that I wasn’t once more going to get all excited by the fact that I now have a new steadfast addition to my ‘must read’ romance authors (yay!).

Anyhoo, on to the story, where we are once again back in Penmenna, not with Rosy Winters (although she has a big part in the book -yessss!!!!). No, this is the story of Alex, an ex foreign correspondent (done expertly, I loved hearing of his time abroad and equally was horrified at both his and daughter Ellie’s story). Alex is just one of the most swoon worthy, lovely characters out there. Then add to this the red haired force of nature that is Sylvie, the one time dancer turned dance teacher and totally dedicated mum to the very cute Sam, and you have nicely subtle but always beautiful fireworks mixed in with nod-along banter and smile all the time fun (I know, I’ll stop soon, I promise!)

There was an overall great mix of Ms. Wilson’s charming settings and swoonerific romance, nicely dotted with heartbreaking drama and absolutely tragic circumstances that were lightened by lovely kiddie moments and great characters that you felt for one minute and wanted to throttle the next. (Exhales, totally spent with lovely charming gushing!;))

Thanks so (so so!) much to Canelo and Netgalley for this wonderful book in return for an honest (and hopefully wonderful) review.

Rating: 5/5

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr #BookExtract

I’m so excited to have an extract from Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi which is out today!!!

JG cover jpeg

Book Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Waterstones


What they say:

The Extract: Bruntfield, New Jersey, just another banal town in a part of the country that nobody thinks about, was about to become famous; or rather, more aptly put, infamous. People sauntered past lackluster shops unaware that in a few days, the lackadaisical streets would bear the rabid frustrations that divided the nation; a pus-like bitterness that was held in check by the demands of everyday survival and the distractions offered by obsessive consumerism and brazen media.

Some would inevitably blame the cascade of events on the weather, since the origins could be found on a hot summer day in 2006. Sure, just about all summer days are hot, but this one was close to the record, and humid to boot. By the end of July, the Northeast coast was suffering under a sweltering heat wave. Despite the humidity, no one could remember the last time it had rained. A hundred-year drought was predicted, they’d said.

Bruntfield, among the many places under this curse, had its water supply so severely depressed that the city authorities were forced to impose water rationing. As if that wasn’t enough, the excessive load on air conditioners led to incessant brownouts. With the weather nothing less than insufferable, suffocating, oppressive, even provoking, tempers flared along with the temperature. But the local situation, as bad as it was, was about to get worse.

In the heart of this small town, just a block up from the bus depot, sat Sliders, a rather successful drinking establishment catering to young adults, and noted for its ecstasy-fueled rave parties. At four in the afternoon, the owner, Joe Poppet, a burly man with a thick red beard and a well-developed beer belly, was staring out the large glass facade of his bar.

“Screw this heat, man.”

Joe was sweating because he didn’t want to turn on the air-conditioning; as a rule, he didn’t put it on until a half hour before opening. He possessed a rather cynical personality, considering himself continually persecuted by life’s little aggravations. Now it was the heat ramping up his electricity bill; soon it would be the freezing temperatures inflating his heating bill…always something. His worries constantly exceeded his hopes. He was sort of a “glass-half-empty” man.

Rudy Glum, the shaven-headed bartender, was an easygoing optimist, a “glass-half-full” kind of guy. He was whistling as he washed the glasses in the sink behind the bar. “Tell me about it,” he chuckled. “I hear ya, buddy.”

But Rudy’s sanguinity did not rub off on Joe. “There’s that guy again.”
“What guy?”
“That fucking guy we saw yesterday.”
“Oh, yeah, he’s probably from the bus depot. Lotta homeless hang out there.”
Joe continued to stare out the glass facade, feeling helpless. “For Chrissakes, why can’t the city

do something and get rid of those bastards. They’re a fucking eyesore…it’s bad for business. Probably got diseases too.”

Rudy finished drying the glass in his hand and hung it up on the beer mug rack. “Yeah, it’s a goddamn shame,” he said noncommittally, trying to get these glasses done before the evening crowd surged in.

“He doesn’t have a shirt on.”
“Yeah, well it’s hot, ain’t it? Wish I could take mine off.”
“And we’re opening in an hour. Ladies Night tonight.”
Rudy said nothing while reaching for another glass from the sink behind the bar.

“Call the cops.”
The bartender froze with the glass still in his hand. “And tell them what?”
“I don’t know, tell ‘em there’s someone suspicious hangin out on the corner…trying to break

into cars or something. That way they’ll come fast.”
Reluctantly, Rudy put down his dishrag, picked up the phone, and dialed 911, not feeling

good about it at all.

About the author

author pic N Lombardi

N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.

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