Friday, November 16, 2018

Day Of The Accident - Nuala Ellwood

Blurb

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart.
The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.
When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter's funeral.
What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie's husband?
And why can't she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

Review
Maggie's life as she knew it is over. She wakes up from a coma to find there has been an accident, daughter is dead and her husband has disappeared. She has no memory of the accident or the events leading up to it. Disorientated and grief-stricken she must find out what happened - was it her fault? can her daughter really be dead? where is her husband?

As Maggie begins to remember snip its and starts to investigate her life before the accident we learn that she has a complex past and things aren't as idyllic as they seemed. Adding to the intrigue are the mysterious letters from a young child certain to pull on your heart-strings scattered throughout this novel. It's not Elspeth is it? She is dead isn't she? Maggie is understandably not the most reliable narrator scared, vulnerable and grieving but soon you'll be willing her to work out what happened and take you along for all the twists and turns along the way. This complex psychological thriller will have you turning pages long after you should have turned the lights out. 

Thanks to NetGalley & Penguin Books UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Mother of All Christmases - Milly Johnson

Blurb
Eve Glace - co-owner of the theme park Winterworld - is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them … 

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable. 

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

Review
Eve isn't sure whether to laugh-or-cry when she learns of her pregnancy, Annie is ecstatic she is going to be a mum to a child she thought she would never be able to conceive and Palma finds herself carrying a baby her never planned to keep when the couple split up who she was acting as a surrogate for. The three mums-to-be join the 'Christmas Pudding Club', a group for sharing the highs and lows of pregnancy and they soon become firm friends helping and supporting each other though their life changing journeys.

This novel is brimming with romance, humour and heart! You'll find soon yourself rooting for the characters and becoming engrossed in their respective stories and giggling at the cracker jokes and daily trumpet articles sprinkled throughout. The appearance of characters from Johnson's previous books are brilliant I love to get a glimpse of what they are up to now. Though if you are a new Milly Johnson reader don't let that dissuade you, it really is a stand-alone story. So get cosy and absorb yourself in this heart-warming and at times heart-breaking read perfect for chasing those winter blues away! 


Thanks to EDPR for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Bagging Alice - Laura Barnard

Blurb

Alice is used to taking photographs for a living – not having intimate pictures of herself posted for all the world to see, thanks to a disgruntled ex-boyfriend. Now her clients are cancelling appointments, and she’s almost out of cash. What else could go wrong? Oh yeah, her room mate has scarpered leaving Alice completely out of luck.

Enter Tom ‘man whore’ Maddens. Having disappointed his father one time too many, he moves to Brighton, ready for a new start. And where better to begin it than in Alice’s newly-vacant spare room? And if he tries to seduce her at the same time? Well he’s just living up to his reputation isn’t he?

But then he didn’t bank on actually falling for her. Will his reputation as a commitment phobe put a stop to any sparks between the pair? Or can Alice put aside her trust issues and take a leap of faith for Tom?

Review

Alice has had a lot of bad luck and after a series of unfortunate events she ends up having to welcome Tom "man-whore" Maddens into her home as her flatmate. In true man-whore style Tom has bet his friends he can bag Alice before he moves out. Sparks soon start flying between the pair who love to hate each other. Then Tom brings an adorable but trouble-making puppy to the mix..... is it a recipe of disaster or Alice fall for Tom's charms?

This is novel had me laughing out loud from page one! Written from both Alice and Tom's viewpoints you get well rounded perspectives of both characters. The antics Alice and Tom get into with the puppy are hilarious. Overall it is a fun, feisty & fabulous read, with a few touching moments. A perfect pick me up for these gloomy autumn days.

Thanks to Laura Barnard for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Halfway - B. E. Jones

Blurb

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?
The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter's night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.
But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?
At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run - but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she's stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas ...
Review
The hitchhiker is running away from something and just wants to find a safe place, the law wants to make a name for herself and not be stuck uselessly behind her desk forever and the old man knows something is very wrong but his deteriorated mind won't allow him to form the right connections and express his fears. Seeking refugee from the blizzard they all end up at the Halfway Inn together where is soon becomes clear your chances of survival might have been higher outside in the storm!

The prologue gives you a glimpse of how the day ends for the three characters, its intriguing and you certainly want to find out what happens and what events lead to this point. Chapter one takes you back to the beginning of that day and the chapters are shared been the hitchhiker, the law and the old man. It's a slow burner from then on until its explosive climax, whereas I personally prefer to have twists spread throughout the book rather than all crammed into the end. 

I know that it is necessary to lay all the different threads throughout so they can get tangled up in order to deliver that ending but I found the build up a bit tedious. I also didn't like any of the characters I wasn't rooting for any of them, they are all untrustworthy and I had a feeling of unease constantly, but maybe that was the point? I won't go into detail about the ending (I don't want to ruin it) but I will say it is not for the faint-hearted. For me it was a classic case of the perils judging a book by its cover but the blurb sounded irresistible!  

Thanks to NetGalley and the Little Brown Book Group UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐


Saturday, October 13, 2018

One New York Christmas - Mandy Baggot

Blurb
Lara Weeks is heading to New York with best friend Susie for the Christmas trip of a lifetime.

festive break in the snowy Big Apple visiting the tourist hotspots, not to mention the shopping, seems like the perfect way for Lara to get over her ex-boyfriend. Or maybe make him so jealous he begs for a second chance.

Enlisting the help of gorgeous actor, Seth Hunt, doesn't quite go to plan, but there's something about him that has Lara wishing for a different kind of happy ever after...

Review
Lara has got on a plane for the first time ever with her best friend Susie to get some much-needed space from her 'we-need-a-break' boyfriend. What better place than New York at Christmastime! Maybe with the help of Seth, a gorgeous actor she will even be able to make him realize what he is missing.

This book is a love story to New York, falling in love, to stepping out of your comfort zone and learning to let new people and experiences in; for Lara, it's not to be content with 'visiting' the world from Twitter but to actually go and do it! Join Lara as Seth shows her the sights of New York and to have the courage to trust, to try new things and open herself up to a whole other world. In turn, Lara encourages Seth to see the silver linings in life not just think the worst. 

Filled with laugh-out-loud moments and a few more poignant ones too, this fabulous cast of characters are easily investable and you'll soon be hooked, turning the pages long after you should have turned the light out to find out exactly how it ends. After all, Lara and Seth seem to bring out the best in each other but is this just a game to make her ex-boyfriend jealous and a good PR stunt for him or have they really fallen for each other? 

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK & Ebury Publishing for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Immortalists - Chloe Benjamin

Blurb
It's 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York's Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they're about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.
Such prophecies could be dismissed as trickery and nonsense, yet the Golds bury theirs deep. Over the years that follow they attempt to ignore, embrace, cheat and defy the 'knowledge' given to them that day - but it will shape the course of their lives forever.

Review
Set around four siblings who as children visit a fortune teller, she discloses to each child individually the date they will die. The novel is split into four parts (one for each sibling) focusing on how they choose to live their lives based on their death date, how it affects them both as individuals and the wider impact it has on the family.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, the premise is really interesting and unique. Benjamin's writing is entertaining and the book is incredibly well researched. It spans 50 years and gives insight into topical events - AIDS, females legitimacy in male-dominated professions, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, animal testing/rights and the exploration of anti-aging science. 

Each sibling reacts and is affected by the psychic's claims differently, some go adventure and live life to the fullest chasing their dreams, others choose to play it safe to protect themselves. Who does the right thing? - what would you do if you were in their shoes? This read is complex, believable and thought-provoking; well worth reading if you are after something entrenched in modern family life with an edge.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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The Little Christmas Teashop of Second Chances - Donna Ashcroft

Blurb
Twenty-five-year-old Lily King is wondering when her life is going to start. She adores working at the much-loved Castle Teashop, surrounded by familiar faces and delicious cakes. But she’s stuck in a rut. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend and her dream job seems to be slipping through her fingers.

When her best friend Emily Campbell needs urgent help to organise her enchanting Christmas wedding, Lily realises it’s finally her moment to shine and reach for the opportunities she’s been wishing for. Can she pull off the biggest celebration Castle Cove has ever seen or will something - or someone - make things more complicated than she imagined?

Rebellious and handsome photographer Josh Havellin-Scott has always felt like an outsider, especially next to his perfect older brother, who is about to get married. At the last minute, Josh finds himself roped into plans for the Big Day, the very last thing he wants to do until he meets creative and quirky Lily King…

When Lily and Josh are thrown together, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different. But they begin to realise that opposites can attract – and sometimes when you’re not looking for love, it comes and finds you when you least expect it. With some festive magic, will they manage to work together and save the day?

And could they discover a winter romance of their very own along the way?

Review
Lily has been tasked with planning the wedding of her best friend alongside the groom's brother, whom she hasn't met before... It's not plan sailing he is always unapologetically late, not afraid to stand up for what he believes in and he is hot. Can he bring out Lily's wild side and stop her trying to please everyone else all the time?


This novel is delightfully filled with hope, happiness, and humour. It's perfectly set in the idyllic Castle Cove in the run-up to Christmas, (if only I was curled up in the Castle Teashop with a hot chocolate and a slice of that infamous chocolate cake!). I was hooked laughing at the antics Lily and Josh find themselves in as they disagree, compromise and sometimes (surprisingly!) agree on the perfect cake, flowers, car and shoes for Paul and Emily's wedding! The chemistry between the two characters is perfectly steamy but nothing is plain sailing -  can they ever learn to stop running, let go of their hang-ups and give each other a second chance? 
Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
    
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Day Of The Accident - Nuala Ellwood

Blurb Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart. The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth...