Because of YOU by Dawn French

Thank you to Sophie Shaw at Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for granting my wish for a sneak preview of this new book, being published later this week.

Synopsis:

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.

The old millennium turns into the new.

In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.

Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.

Anna leaves with empty arms.

Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.

The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.

Perhaps beyond . . .

Because Of You is Dawn French’s stunning new novel, told with her signature humour, warmth and so much love.

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Dawn French (although I do have a couple of her previous books on my shelves waiting to be read). I was intrigued to see how this would compare to her comedy writing.

I must admit that I enjoyed reading this story – there is a mixture of tragedy and humour, and the female characters are very strong, especially Hope, Minnie and Anna. We do have to suspend belief slightly with the story – this is a piece of fiction, and not based on a true story. I must admit that I struggled a little with the ending, but that was due to the nature of one of the events, rather than the writing of the actual story.

Anna’s husband, Julius and DI Thripshaw, are both portrayed as having character defects, one narcissistic and one mixing his metaphors. Thankfully, Lee is revealed to be a kind and caring male, as is Isaac.

A solid four star rating from me for this. Thank you again to Michael Joseph for the chance to read this before publication, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Author Bio:

Dawn Roma French is a British actress, writer and comedian. In her career spanning three decades, she has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards and also won a Fellowship BAFTA along with her best friend Jennifer Saunders. She is best-known for starring in and writing her comedy sketch show, French and Saunders, alongside her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, and for playing the lead role of Geraldine Granger in the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for this impressive debut novel by Alex Pavesi. Thank you to Michael Joseph at Penguin UK for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories: an author, hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.

But as she reads, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are things in the stories that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder, one that’s remained unsolved for thirty years.

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .

My thoughts:

As I’ve already stated above, this is a very impressive debut novel. full of lies, secrets and murder mysteries. I’ve enjoyed reading murder mystery books over the years, starting with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, then onto PD James and Agatha Christie.

However this book takes this genre to the next level. Julia is hoping to solve a mystery, as she reads the thirty year old stories back to the author, hiding on a secluded island. This book takes so many twists and turns, that I think I need to read it again, now I know how it ended. At no stage did I see the ending (or endings) coming.

This is a set of books within a book which should be enjoyed as a book and also be made into a film. Apologies for the brief review – I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

Waterstones order link : bit.ly/EightDetectives_HB

Queen Bee by Jane Fallon


I’m pleased to share my review of the latest book by Jane Fallon today. Thank you to Penguin UK -Michael Joseph for a digital review copy via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. The book was published in the UK on 9th July 2020.

Synopsis:

Welcome to The Close – a beautiful street of mansions, where gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee . . .

It is here that Laura, seeking peace and privacy after her marriage falls apart, rents a tiny studio. Unfortunately, her arrival upsets suspicious Stella – who fears Laura has designs on her fiancĂ©, Al.

When Laura stumbles on the big secret Al is hiding, suddenly Stella’s perfectly controlled world, not to mention Laura’s future, are threatened.

Taking a chance on beating Al at his own twisted game, these two former strangers are fast becoming best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge never comes without a sting in the tail?

My thoughts:


I’ve read a few Jane Fallon novels over the years and enjoyed them, so I was pleased to receive a digital review copy back in January 2020. As lockdown hit the UK in March, the publication date was moved to July 2020 and I only read the book in June. Sadly, this was my loss as this is an enjoyable book.

This is a no spoiler review so I will be careful not to spoil any of the surprises in store for the characters. Laura has moved into The Close, a ‘posh’ area after splitting up with her husband and needing somewhere to rent – she is in the ‘servants flat’ owned by Gail and Ben. Laura is an entrepreneur – running her own cleaning company and employing a number of staff. The people she meets in The Close lead very different lifestyles and probably wouldn’t know what a vacuum cleaner was.

One of the residents is Stella, who with her two mini me daughters, aren’t nice to Laura and her daughter. However due to a series of events, Laura and Stella suddenly find that they have more in common than they ever expected.

I really enjoyed the book and likened it to a modern day Downton Abbey – where the ‘rich’ people have no idea how the majority of people live – everything is done for them. I laughed out loud at the ‘pizza in the oven’ story.

The Close is full of secrets and I enjoyed how Jane Fallon shared them one by one, changing your opinion about some of the characters as the story unfolded. There is so much more that I would love to share about the book but I don’t want to give any spoilers. I recommend this for your staycation 2020 summer read.

Jane Fallon:

Jane Fallon is an English producer and novelist, most famous for her work on popular series Teachers, 20 Things To Do Before You’re 30, Eastenders and This Life. She has also written many successful novels.

Fallon has been in a relationship with popular comedian Ricky Gervais since 1982, after they met while studying together at the University College London. The couple has lived together since 1984 and are based in North London.


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How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

I’m thrilled to share my review for this page turner of a book by a new author to me, Gillian McAllister. Thank you to Penguin Books – Micheal Joseph for a digital review copy via Net Galley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

You can run, you can hide, but can you disappear for good?

Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.

The only choice is to disappear.

From their family, their friends, even from Lauren’s husband.

No goodbyes. Just new names, new home, new lives.

One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new.

As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy.

Staying hidden is much harder . . .

My thoughts:

Over the years, I’ve watched many TV shows and films where people disappear into witness protection without really thinking about the implications of how this works. This book made me sit back and think about what the reality would be like.

The story starts with the death of a young homeless man and one witness. As the story develops, we discover that Zara hadn’t been totally honest about what she witnessed and now a gang are out to silence her for ruining the life of a young and talented footballer.

The story looks at Zara’s relationship with her mum, her step dad and step sister, and how all four of them will deal with the life changes and dangers they face.

This is a no spoiler review so I will say no more about the story except to say it is excellent. This was a book I didn’t want to put down (always the sign of a good thriller) and wanted to discuss with my family. This is well written, full of tension and intrigue, where no one actually appears to know the full truth. One of my favourite thrillers of 2020 (a 5 star read) and I will be busy recommending this book (and looking to read Gillian’s previous books).

Gillian McAllister:

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You. 

How To Disappear is her latest release, a witness protection thriller. 

All of her novels are standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, released by Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Choice is her second American release which is the US title for Anything You Do Say. 

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.

The Glass House by Eve Chase #bookreview

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

My thoughts:

Thank you to Gaby Young at Micheal Joseph, Penguin Random House for a digital review copy of this book – my thoughts are my own. I’m looking forward to joining the blog tour – thank you for inviting me.

Initially I was drawn to the cover design – which fits the book title perfectly. This is a book with a dual timeline – a feature of many historical fiction books at the moment, and this is an excellent example of it being used well.

The 1971 timeline looks at the Harrington family as they leave London to stay at Foxcote Manor in the Forest of Dean. The detailed descriptions of the darkness of the forest by Ruth, leave the reader in no doubt that this not going to be a light hearted and happy summer. Ruth has had a tragic past but had been enjoying her job looking after the Harrington children. However after a tragedy, the family are spending the summer away from home, a summer full of secrets, lies, a foundling and a sudden death.
This is told by Ruth and the elder Harrington sibling.

Running alongside, we have the current day story of Sylvie, her mum who is rushed into hospital and her daughter Annie, all of whom have secrets from each other, some of which link back to the summer of 1971.

This is a book to curl up with and enjoy the magic of the storytelling. The darkness of events in 1971 is interspersed with the love Ruth feels for the young children in her care. Ruth has taken her own glass house, a terrarium to Foxcote Manor and this follows through both timelines.

I don’t want to spoil the story by giving any of the details away – this is a story that needs to be read and enjoyed in the order it is written in. As each new secret is revealed, a new mystery is created.

The author, Eve Chase:

Website http://www.evechase.com/


Twitter EvePollyChase

Eve Chase is the author of Black Rabbit Hall and The Wildling Sisters, and the pseudonym of journalist and novelist Polly Williams. She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.

#BookReview The Heatwave by Kate Riordan

Under the scorching French sun, a tense homecoming unearths a long-buried family secret in this deliciously propulsive beach read of a mother’s greatest fear brought to life. 

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was manipulative. Elodie is dead. 

When Sylvie Durand receives a letter calling her back to her crumbling family home in the South of France, she knows she has to go. In the middle of a sweltering 1990’s summer marked by unusual fires across the countryside, she returns to La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma in tow, ignoring the deep sense of dread she feels for this place she’s long tried to forget.

As memories of the events that shattered their family a decade earlier threaten to come to the surface, Sylvie struggles to shield Emma from the truth of what really happened all those years ago. In every corner of the house, Sylvie can’t escape the specter of Elodie, her first child. Elodie, born amid the ’68 Paris riots with one blue eye and one brown, and mysteriously dead by fourteen. Elodie, who reminded the small village of one those Manson girls. Elodie who knew exactly how to get what she wanted. As the fires creep towards the villa, it’s clear to Sylvie that something isn’t quite right at La Reverie… And there is a much greater threat closer to home.

My thoughts:


Thank you to Michael Joseph and Penguin UK for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

This is my second visit to Provence, France via a book in the past 6 weeks. My last visit involved fields of lavender and new friendships in Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman. Kate Riordan transported me to a very different Provence, full of secrets, mother/daughter relationships, heat and forest fires.

This was a book I didn’t want to put down. So many secrets slowly being fed to the reader about Sylvie, her dead daughter Elodie and why the younger daughter Emma hadn’t been told the full story about her older sister.

Sylvie and her family have stayed away from the house for 10 years since there was an incident. Now Sylvie and Emma return, and slowly the story is fed to the reader, with lots of twists and turns along the way. The story moves backwards and forwards in time throughout the book and we start to see how the past impacts the actions and events happening now.

The end of the book is fast and tense – I’m sure I was holding my breath whilst reading. It is difficult to say much more without giving spoilers. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and didn’t want it to end.

Being published in ebook 23rd April 2020.



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The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel


Publisher comments:-

Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.

She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .

Turns out her mum, Patty, is a really good liar.

After five years in prison Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with her daughter – and care for her new infant grandson. When Rose Gold agrees to have Patty move in, it seems their relationship is truly on the mend.

But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty won’t rest until she has her daughter back under her thumb. Which is inconvenient because Rose Gold wants to be free of Patty. Forever.

Only one Watts will get what she wants. 

Will it be Patty or Rose Gold? 

Mother, or daughter?

My thoughts:-

Thank you Michael Joseph, Penguin Books and Stephanie Wrobel for my digital ARC – my thoughts are my own.

I don’t read many thrillers but this one caught my attention. Such an intriguing idea – could a daughter who had been convinced she was seriously ill really reconcile with the mother who had fed her this lie and deprived her of her childhood.

Patty and Rose take it in turns to tell their version of the story. The stories differ but who should we believe? This is so dark and twisted that it was uncomfortable to read in parts but I needed to find out what happened and couldn’t put this book down.

A great debut novel – I will be recommending this book to friends and family. Being published in March 2020.



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Grown Ups by Marian Keyes – 5* review – Publication day 6/2/20

Grown-Ups

Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb:

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

My thoughts:

Wow, just wow – this book was one of my favourite reads of 2019. It was meant to be read at the start of 2020 because I had other books to read and review first – however once I had read the opening chapters, I couldn’t put this down.

It is a long book, with lots of great characters from the Casey family, which goes backwards and forwards in time and it definitely isn’t a light and fluffy read, covering topics such as eating disorders, death of a spouse, teenage angst. However I found myself struggling to put this down, I was so eager to know what was going to happen next.

The main female characters, Jessie, Cara and Nell faced numerous challenges and I would like to thank Marian Keyes for such wonderful storytelling. I will be recommending this book to friends and family.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for my digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

The author:

Marian Keyes (born 10 September 1963) is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is an Irish Book Awards winner. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for WatermelonLucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man, with themes including domestic violence and alcoholism.

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