One Step Behind by Lauren North

I’m thrilled to share my review for the new book by Lauren North. The Perfect Betrayal was one of my favourite books last year, so I was pleased to have chance to read and review her second novel, after taking part in the social media cover reveal a few months ago. Thank you to Transworld for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.

Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?

My thoughts:

I devoured this story very quickly, wanting to find out who was stalking Jenna. As a mum of two, the thought of having someone watching my family was at the back of my mind as this story unfolded.

The suspense kept building as the main characters were introduced, until I was suspicious of almost everyone. This is very dark in places, as Jenna struggles to cope with the presents being left for her and the emails accusing her of being a bad mother and an incompetent doctor.

Another tense thriller from Lauren North that I will be recommending to family and friends, this book keeps you guessing until the very end.

Lauren North:

Lauren writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation. 

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

Expectation by Anna Hope

I’m happy to be sharing my review for Expectation by Anna Hope today on my blog. Thank you to Alison Barrow of Penguin Random House UK for a copy of the paperback book. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

EXPECTATION is a novel of the highs and lows of friendship – how it can dip, dive and rise again. It is also about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. Most of all, it explores that liminal space between expectation and reality, the place – full of dreams, desires and pain – in which we all live our lives. 

My thoughts:

As a woman, a mother, a daughter and a wife this book certainly did resonate with me. The dreams and aspirations we have as we finish our school exams, leave University, start our first jobs, fall in love, agree to marry someone, and/or conceive a child all change over time – sometimes we achieve our original dream but often we take subtle diversions, which may or may not lead back to the original dream.

In this day of social media, we often see the high points in other peoples lives – we don’t see that the singleton out partying is actually lonely, that the new mother is struggling with sleep deprivation and that the career woman would give it up at the drop of a hat to be a mother. As the saying goes “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” but still so many of us dream of changing something without realising how lucky we are to have what we already have.

Anna Hope has captured the modern life of many women in the UK perfectly. Her writing brings the characters of Hannah, Cate and Lissa to life. All three have flaws and face challenges, especially as their friendship is challenged by some major challenges and betrayals.

At times the book made me feel uncomfortable, would friends really betray each other in this way. However, the writing made it all too believable. My daughter is almost 15 and developing into a young woman. I will be putting my copy of the book aside for her to read when she becomes a woman and heads out into the world, full of her own hopes and dreams.

Anna Hope:

ANNA HOPE studied at Oxford University and RADA. She is the internationally prizewinning and bestselling author of Wake and The Ballroom. Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation. She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

This morning I’m sharing my review for this gorgeous book again. I originally shared my review at the start of April 2020, two weeks into lockdown in the UK – not a good time for a debut novel to be published. So I’m sharing this again as the bookshops in the UK are starting to reopen this week.

Synopsis:

Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Transworld Publishers and Random House UK for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

After seeing great reviews for this book, I enjoyed reading my review copy. I read about half one evening and then used our enforced staying at home time to finish the book during the morning. I was desperate to find out what happened but I also didn’t want the story to finish.

I loved the story telling in this book, the way the lives of the strangers become entwined as they each embark on their journeys of self discovery, how they face up to what happened in their past and how they move forward, all aided by The Authenticity Project book.

I would love to be able to go a visit Monica’s cafe, to sit with a hot chocolate in the Library area. The sense of community spirit, helping strangers who then become friends, shines out from this story.

As other reviewers have commented, this would make a good film or TV series. One of my favourite books of 2020 – uplifting and enjoyable. One to look out for when the bookshops reopen.

Clare Pooley:

Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising. 

When Clare realised that she was drinking way too much, she quit, and started a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which became a memoir – The Sober Diaries. 

The Authenticity Project, Clare’s first novel, was inspired by her experience of telling the truth about her life.



View all my reviews

Life and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor


If your life was going to end tomorrow, what would you do today?


When she learns she has just three months to live Jennifer Cole decides to write 3 letters: one to her overbearing, selfish sister, another to her jelly-spined, cheating ex-husband, and the third to her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend, each one saying everything she’s always wanted to say. Fearing the worst, Jennifer finds this unburdening feels great. But then as she’ll soon discover, the truth has a way of surprising you …

My thoughts:

Thank you to Ruth Richardson at Transworld Publishers for inviting me to read a digital proof copy of this book – my thoughts are my own and are not influenced by the gift.

Since receiving the digital review copy in February 2020, the title has changed from Death and Other Happy Endings to Life and Other Happy Endings. The paperback is being published on 28th May 2020 in the UK.

This book was a great summer 2020 read, following the life of Jennifer, who has been told that her extreme tiredness is in fact a terminal illness with only 3 months left to live. Whilst that may not sound like a cheerful book to read, a series of events happen which include lots of funny moments when Jennifer starts about setting her affairs in order, sending letters out to people she believes have wronged her and acting in ways she wouldn’t normally have done so.

It is difficult to comment further, without giving away spoilers, but please believe me when I say that this is a great book with plenty of twists and laugh out loud moments.


View all my reviews

#BookReview The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Publisher comments:

Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

Being published April 2020.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Transworld Publishers and Random House UK for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

After seeing great reviews for this book, I finally started reading my review copy last night. I read about half last night and then used our enforced staying at home time to finish the book this morning. I was desperate to find out what happened but also didn’t want the story to finish.

I loved the story telling in this book, the way the lives of the strangers become entwined as they each embark on their journeys of self discovery, how they face up to what happened in their pasts and how they move forward, all aided by The Authenticity Project book.

I would love to be able to go a visit Monica’s cafe, to sit with a hot chocolate in the Library area.

As other reviewers have commented, this would make a good film or TV series. One of my favourite books of 2020 – uplifting and enjoyable.



View all my reviews