3 Sep 2015

Book Review / Confess by Colleen Hoover

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…


Published:     10th March 2015
Publisher:  Atria Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Bought





So, this is one of those books that I kept seeing everywhere with such rave reviews I thought I would pick it up to see what all the fuss is about.  Colleen Hoover is a completely new author to me as well so I thought this would be interesting.  I think this book is a new adult book (but do correct me if I am wrong) and it is a genre that I have a very 'hit or miss' experience with.  I like romance in books but when there is too much 'sexy times' I tend to switch off and my interest goes from 100% to about 10%, honestly.  So, let's look at this book...

Plot/Storyline etc:  Honestly speaking, this was a very easy to read simple book, but that's a good thing.  It is exactly what I expected it to be and exactly what I wanted it to be as a beach read. The relationship between Auburn and Owen progressed as naturally as it could do and you also had a couple of sideline stories (which I won't spoil for you here) with one of those small sideline stories adding a bit of suspense and depth to the story.  For me, the best past of the plot was defiantly the romantic build up.

Character(s):   By far, my favourite character has to be Owen.  I liked the fact that there was a lot of him and a lot of his past that wasn't known straight away and was something that was slowly revealed throughout the book.  He added an element of suspense and, of course, romance!

Summary:   I was really surprised how much I loved this book.  For me, the best past of this book was definitely the romance.  I am a big sucker for romance and this just hit all the right reading spots for me.  I just could not put this down. I know one thing for sure and that is that I am going to be checking out more books written by Colleen Hoover and I can't wait!

















2 Sep 2015

Book Haul / August & Sept 2015


Some really exciting reads received very kindly from publishers for review.  More details below...



 Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.

When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .

Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .

 ................................................................................................................................................

His heart was turned off…

Until she turned him on…


Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, hes convinced everyone that hes satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, shes deluded herself into believing shes content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher's sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.


 ................................................................................................................................................

Stunningly original and wildly inventive, The Girl in the Road melds the influences of Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Erin Morgenstern for a dazzling debut.

Meena, a young woman living in a futuristic Mumbai, wakes up with five snake bites on her chest. She doesn't know how or why, but she must flee India and return to Ethiopia, the place of her birth. Having long heard about The Trail -- an energy-harvesting bridge that spans the Arabian Sea -- she embarks on foot on this forbidden bridge, with its own subculture and rules. What awaits her in Ethiopia is unclear; she's hoping the journey will illuminate it for her.

Mariama, a girl from a different time, is on a quest of her own. After witnessing her mother's rape, she joins up with a caravan of strangers heading across Saharan Africa. She meets Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. Yemaya tells Mariama of Ethiopia, where revolution is brewing and life will be better. Mariama hopes against hope that it offers much more than Yemaya ever promised.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates will entwine in ways that are profoundly moving and shocking to the core. Vividly imagined and artfully told, written with stunning clarity and deep emotion, The Girl in the Road is a true tour de force.


 ................................................................................................................................................

Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.

But what really happened that fateful afternoon?

Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?

The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?





  ................................................................................................................................................

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .


  ................................................................................................................................................


Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. 

But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss. 

Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever . . .


Waiting on Wednesday / Future Perfect by Jen Larsen






Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 6th October 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.



Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

31 Aug 2015

Blog Tour/Book Review - The Moment of Letting Go by JA Redmerski

You can follow the rules or you can follow your heart...THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO

Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she'd always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he's convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can't deny the deep connection he feels. But there's a reason Luke doesn't do long-term. He can't promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .



Published:     11th August 2015
Publisher:  Piatkus
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


Words cannot fully describe how much I enjoyed this book.  JA Redmerski is a new author to me so I was excited to find out how I would get on with her style of writing in this book and I loved it.  There were many thinks that made this book great for me.  First there is a romance between Sienna and Luke.  The fact that it was a 'happen by chance' type of meeting at the beach made it more realistic for me together with the slow nature in which they became close.  It is always a big turn off for me with romance books if the romance is quick and looks manufactured.  This story was none of those things.  Next was following Sienna and Luke as they got to know each other and help each other with their difficulties.  Lastly was the fact that this was not just a love story but something deeper.  For me this story came across as a story about, as the title says, letting go.  Although I will not spoil the story for those of you who have not read it yet but the latter part of this story really surprised me and did make me feel really emotional.  I love it when stories do that.

This story is such a great easy read that is great to take down to the beach and read.  For those of you whose summer is nearly over or is in the middle of their winter months, this is a great one to sit down in your favourite comfy chair, grab a soothing drink and let the world go by as you delve deeper and deeper into this world.
(From Goodreads)
J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and award winner who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. She has since signed three more deals with GC/Forever for titles THE EDGE OF ALWAYS, SONG OF THE FIREFLIES and THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO. Her works have so far been translated into twenty languages. THE EDGE OF NEVER made it to #2 on the New York Times bestseller eBook list, and remained on the #1 spot on Amazon for two straight weeks. THE EDGE OF ALWAYS also made the New York Times bestseller list.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. The Portuguese rights to her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, have already been picked up by one of Brazil's largest publishers.

Jessica is a lover of film, television and books that push boundaries; and she's a sucker for long, sweeping, epic love stories. Things on Jessica's wish list are to conquer her long list of ridiculous fears, find a shirt she actually likes, and travel the world with a backpack and a partner-in-crime.

What book is Jessica most proud to have written? It's a question she gets asked quite often. The answer is, hands down, DIRTY EDEN. "DIRTY EDEN was an entirely organic experience for me, as was the story from beginning to end; nothing was planned, and I didn't know the end myself until I got there. As much as I enjoy writing love stories and crime novels, a big part of my heart really does lie in the satirical and strange. I just wish more people would read it."





 

My Month in Books / August 2015

August is one of those months that is always crazy busy.  The first two weeks in August I had holiday, went to the seaside and spent lots of time with friends and family.  It was wonderful.



Bookish wise, I read some really great books and some that I were not sure of.  My favourites of of those listed below are definately The Dress, Court of Thorns & Roses and Masquerade.  I already suspected that I would like A Court of Thorn & Roses because I really loved Throne of Glass but the other two were completely new authors to me and ones that I will definately be checking out more of....










I have put this on a seperate post as I wanted to add a bit more 
description in it as there were a few.  That post will be up soon...

















30 Aug 2015

Blog Tour/Author Interview - Kate Kerrigan (The Dress)

Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes - made all the more precious because they were once owned and loved by another woman. Thousands follow her vintage fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. But this passion for the beautiful clothes of the past is about to have unforeseen consequences, when Lily stumbles upon the story of a 1950s New York beauty, who was not only everything Lily longs to be, but also shares Lily's surname.

Joy Fitzpatrick was a legend. But what was the famous dress which she once commissioned - said to be so original that nothing in couture would ever match it again? What happened to it - and why did Joy suddenly disappear from New York high society?

Kate Kerrigan's enthralling novel interweaves the dramatic story of joy, the beautiful but tortured socialite and that of Lily - determined to uncover the truth and, if possible, bring back to life the legendary dress itself.


CHECK OUT MY REVIEW HERE: Click here
Such a beautiful book - I have it 5 stars!


1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
 Can’t imagine working with another author but I do have friendships with authors that I get a great deal out of both professionally and personally. I have worked  in the past developing film and television ideas with the brilliant YA author, Helen Falconer.  I’m also lucky enough to be good friends with several great Irish writers,Claudia Carroll,  Ella Griffin, Marian Keyes and Cathy Kelly.  Cecelia Ahern is a writer I especially admire, and every now and again I take out for lunch and grill her mercilessly about how she works hoping that some of her Midas touch brilliance will wear off on me!  I worked on The Dress  with Maeve Binchy’s editor, Rosie deCourcy,  and in many ways it was the closest I came to working with another writer.  Rosie really put me through the ringer  and when I kept apologising for all the rewriting I had to do, she kept  reassuring me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong by saying, “this is exactly what we did with Maeve  on Circle of Friends!”  The process taught me  just how much work needs to go into making a  really great story.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I have three places that I work in, and I alternate between them.  the first is a really lovely little book lined office the front of my house that looks out on the sea. It’s got an old roll top desk and is cluttered and cosy, so it looks like the perfect  lady novelists den, but in actual fact it’s not that comfortable to work in.  the second place is a small cottage type  chalet in my mother’s back garden. My grandfather built its me as  his first grandchild to play in, it’s like a mini house. Mostly it’s full of my mother’s junk, but there’s a small back room with beautiful light looking out onto my mother’s laburnum tree. I always do my best creative work there.  my husband is an artist and has given me a corner of his studio, a small converted boathouse at the front of our house. I moved between these three places as it’s important for me not to get stale or bored with where I’m working.  I try to stick to a working day that ties in with my children’s school hours, but it’s not always easy. I love going away on retreats  for a few days at a time where I have the freedom to write 24-hours if I feel like. But being a mother the pesky kids have to come first – even though for a committed, passionate writer that’s not always easy.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
 The middle bit of the first draft. The beginning is always full of hope and possibility, the end is great because it’s nearly over, although it is always painful letting go -  but somewhere in the middle I  often get overwhelmed with  the sheer magnitude of being engaged in writing 100,000 consecutive words put into a coherent, entertaining form  and think I will never be able to do it. 10 books later I still doubt my ability to write one single book.

4. When and why did you first start writing? 
 As far as I can remember I have always written. My mother tells me she knew that I was going to be a writer from the age of six or seven. It first occurred to her when we were in the post office one day. She saw me staring at the man behind the counter, and she said that I was not just looking at him, but observing him with a strangely keen eye.  She thought it was odd for a child of my age and guessed that I might become an artist or writer because of my  interest in observing the world

5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I can honestly say I have never had such fun researching a novel. I used work as an editor on women’s magazines and so fashion was a big part of my life as a young woman. I thought I had forgotten everything but when I started to write about my fashion blogger Lily it all came flooding back.I was also very lucky to have a close friend who is a textile and fashion designer, Louise Brennan, who has a library of absolutely beautiful volumes of fashion history and books that I was able to refer to. When it came to the point of me designing the actual address of the books title, I began to struggle. So I phone Lou and said ‘Help! I have just described ‘the most beautiful dress ever made’ but reading the text over it sounds ugly! Can you help me get a picture of it in my head?’ Lou then came up an absolutely beautiful sketch for me to work from. That first drawing, the picture that Lou drew up immediately after reading my early description of Joy’s dress, ended up on the front cover of the book itself.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
 I find it very difficult reading fiction while I’m  actively engaged in writing it.  As a result I read a lot of non-fiction and when I do read books for pleasure, I always have a book on the go  o read in those last 10 minutes before I go to sleep at night, it tends to be  thrillers.  I am currently reading the third in the Carnivia trilogy by Jonathan Holt. Set in Venice it’s real escapism  and a proper page turner. The last women’s fiction book I read was The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin. It was so breathtakingly brilliant and moving it made me feel like never bothering to write a book ever again! 

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Write because you love it because you enjoy the process, not because you want to get published. Be methodical, find a good editor to work with – a tough one possible, then keep plugging away at it. Do your best to make your book the best it can be, then let go and move on.  

26 Aug 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 6th October 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




LO-MELKHIIN KILLED THREE HUNDRED GIRLS before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

24 Aug 2015

Author Interview / Erik Therme

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.



1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I often joke that I ‘learned to write by reading Stephen King,’ but it’s the absolute truth. It would be an amazing experience to even write in the same room as Mr. King (or pick his brain) as he’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters.
 
2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I’m fortunate enough to have an office in my house, and I tend to be most prolific during late evenings and weekends. If I’m especially inspired, I might try to sneak in some pages during lunch. I absolutely need music when I write, and—depending on the project—it can vary from metal to movie soundtracks.
 
3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
For me, the biggest challenge is often the first draft. Some authors revel in starting a story from scratch, but I relish rewrites, where I get to polish the language, flesh out my characters, and fine-tune the plot. That said, it’s easy to get caught up in endlessly tweaking the story and feeling like it’s never finished. At some point you have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on. Otherwise it can drive you insane.
 
4. When and why did you first start writing?
I was probably 15 when I churned out my first tale. My parents had purchased a new typewriter, so I thought I’d sit down and see what came out. It was a horrible story with a nonsensical twist, but my folks—God bless ‘em—said they loved it. After that I was hooked. From there came more stories—each slightly better than the last. I didn’t attempt my first novel until I was in college, and even that was pretty lousy.
 
5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I’ve always been intrigued by small towns. It has to be incredibly difficult to hide anything within a tiny population, but at the same time, small towns seem to hold the most secrets. I’ve always wanted to explore that dynamic, and from there, Mortom was born.
 
6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I usually have two books going on my Kindle, and I’ll pretty much pick up any book that catches my interest. I just finished “When We Were Animals” by the excellent Joshua Gaylord, and I’m currently reading “Ready Player One” (Ernest Cline) along with “Go Set a Watchman” (Harper Lee).
 
7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
 
Writing is 10% writing and 90% rewriting. If you’re not prepared to live with your story for years, then a life of writing probably isn’t a good fit. And if you are fortunate enough to get your work into print, be prepared to spend endless hours promoting it. I’ve done everything from hang flyers to advertise on craigslist. Being a writer is a labor of love, and you have to work hard to make your own luck.


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23 Aug 2015

Series Review / Across the Universe Series by Beth Revis (Spoiler Free)

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


Published:     2011/2012/2013
Publisher:  Razorbill
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1, 2 & 3, Across the Universe
Source:  Owned


This is one of those trilogies that has been on my shelf for ages. I read the first book, Across the Universe in May of 2011 and had subsequently bought the other two as ebooks because I enjoyed the first book so much.  I don't know what it is but I have a habit of only reading the first book and even though I enjoyed it I never continue on with a series.  One of my main reading aims for this year (and next year as well) is to get up to date with this.  This was one of the ones that I was very eager to tackle. 

What I loved about this story...
I started off by re-reading the first book as it had been over four years since I read it and I am really glad I did.  I think I actually enjoyed reading that book a lot more than the first and I was really surprised by how much of the story I had remembered.  Reading the rest of the trilogy just made me fall deeper and deeper in love with this trilogy and Beth Revis' writing.  

There was two things that made this story great for me.  The first was the character development and relationships.  You have characters who like each other, dislike each other, have alternate agendas etc.  Its a great mix and certainly interesting to see how they get on when they are stuck on Godspeed.  The other aspect that I loved was the mystery and suspense.  You have these people suck on Godspeed making their way to a new life but right from the beginning I got the funny feeling that there was a lot more than meets the eye.  Certainly, with each book it took me deeper and deeper into the story and into the characters lives I just could not stop reading.  I have to say that it took just one weekend to read this entire trilogy and I wouldn't hesitate to consider re-reading it again in the future. 

If you haven't  already, give this trilogy a go, you might be surprised by how much you love it!! I did!


Beth Revis wrote her first books as a student in classrooms, when the professors did not hold her interest and she jotted down stories instead of taking notes.

Beth writes science fiction and fantasy novels for teens. Her debut novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, will be published by Razorbill/Penguin in Spring 2011. Beth is represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House.

Beth also runs a blog on writing (http://bethrevis.blogspot.com) and is a participant of a group blog by debut dystopian authors (http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com).

 











20 Aug 2015

Book Review / The Missing Husband by Amanda Brooke


The next stunning novel from Richard and Judy pick, Amanda Brooke.

When Jo pretends to be asleep as her husband leaves for work the morning after an argument, she doesn’t realise how deeply she will come to regret the opportunity to say goodbye. By nightfall, her life has changed irrevocably.

David has disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be any trace of him. But Jo is five months pregnant and her marriage is full of secrets – not least, David’s unwillingness to start a family.

As the mystery around David’s disappearance shows no sign of being solved, Jo must choose: will she give up her baby to make the man she loves come home?

Published:     16th July 2015
Publisher:  Orchard Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here 

Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


 For me, the mark of a good book is when it can leave you spinning at the end with both joy at having read such a great book and good irritation as the book has gotten so far into your skin you can't help but stew on the story for many hours afterwards.  This was one of those books for me.  I loved it!  Amanda Brook is a new author to me and I will definitely be checking out her other work very soon!!!  There are so many things I can talk about with this story that I enjoyed.  The first being the character development.  Following Jo as she tries to pull herself through her husband going missing, trying to find out where he has got and then what happens at the end (which I won't spoil).  The relationship between Jo and her new baby is one that I found particularly hard to read but it was written really well.  As for the other characters, there are some nice ones and some not so nice ones but they all added to the drama of the story and showed that Jo had such a great support system around her to help her get through this.

I have to admit that I wasn't expecting the ending that I got with this story, it was definitely surprising.  I had all these things in my head about what could have happened and what did happen was definitely not one of those that I had thought of.  I had wished that it might have been a bit more of an explosive ending but for me it wasn't but that did not deflect the fact that this was a fantastic emotional read.
Amanda Brooke lives in Liverpool with her teenage daughter, Jessica. When her three-year-old son died from cancer, Amanda was determined that his legacy would be one of inspiration. Yesterday's Sun is inspired by her experiences of motherhood. 



19 Aug 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo






Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 29th September 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.



Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-new book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

16 Aug 2015

Book Review / The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson

Eliza Bennett has the life she's always dreamed of.
She's who she wants to be, and she's with the man she loves.

But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Meyer.
And Klaudia is on the run. She's escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.

This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia - one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from.

Psychological and suspenseful: the gripping story of one girl living a double life.

From rising star Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You.

Published:     March 2015
Publisher:  Piatkus
Author Goodreads:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source: Review copy from Publisher

What a surprising read!  I had previously read The Twins by the author and enjoyed that one so I was very intrigued to find out what this book had to offer.  If you like books that are full of suspense then definitely check this out.

What I loved about this book...
This book really surprised me.  Going into this by just reading the blurb and not reading any reviews etc I had thought that this was a story about Eliza/Klaudia and finding out what she had done so make her run away and change her name.  This story is so much more than that.  The family secrets portion of this book were really surprising.  I did have an inkling as the story went on but it was still surprising nonetheless.  It really surprised me how deep the story actually went.  It is certainly not just your run of the mill 'girl runs away from home and sets up a new life to escape the old one' type of story.  Without going into too much detail, there are references and character experiences with a historic event that is really surprising and intriguing.


This story is split into different perspectives - you have the main character in the present day (Eliza), you have the main character in the past (Klaudia) and then you have the view point of someone called Ernst in the past.  Although you have three different characters' perspectives of their stories, I had no difficulty in following each of the stories and trying to work out the relevance of each to the story. 

For me, the best aspect of this book is the suspense.  For about three quarters of this book I was in the dark, wondering what is going to happen next.  The author did a great job with feeding little bits of information as the story goes on making me want to keep reading.  I have to admit that I read this book in one sitting; I just couldn't stop reading.  I needed to find out the rest of the story!

What I was not fond of with this book...
Honestly speaking, there were parts in this story where I felt a little annoyed with the main character, Eliza/Klaudia.  She had made a new life for herself, is really happy etc etc and when something happens (although it was a big something) she just drops everything and leaves it behind.  For me, that is something I could not do and something that I do find annoying but that is just a personal opinion rather than anything wrong with the actual story.
(From Goodreads)  
 
Saskia grew up in Suffolk and now lives in London. She is the mother of four children, including identical twin girls. She has a B.A hons in English Literature from Cambridge and an M.A in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She's worked as a Health & Beauty Editor,freelance journalist, ghost-writer and script reader. As well as writing and reading, she loves tango dancing and dog walking,



15 Aug 2015

Author Interview / Jen Brewer



Learn the importance of the words you repeat each week. This inspirational book helps you better understand the Young Women theme by breaking down each section and sharing the story of how and why the theme was created. Discover your divine potential and how important you are in God’s plan! Thought provoking and uplifting, this book offers new insights for parents, leaders, and all young women.

1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 
     Oh, so many come to mind!  True story - I was reading The Great and The Terrible series by Chris Stewart, right before he came and spoke at a Time Out For Women in my area.  I finished one of the books that had a complete twist and tragedy happen to one of the main characters.  I was so mad, I could hardly stand it!  (I didn't even see it coming because it wasn't on the last page, so it totally caught me off guard!) (see answer to question 6 to help that statement make sense).  After he spoke we went to break.  I stormed the stage and almost tackled him, telling him he was in such big, fathead trouble!  I couldn't believe he had killed off one of the characters!  And yet, I was in complete awe that he was able to do so.  He said that when he had started that book, he hadn't planned on that part at all, but it just kind of came to him and morphed into the story line. Since it is so hard for me to write tragedies as twists, this would intrigue me about working with him to really see up close how him mind works while he unveils the story line in his books.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 
     Ha!  I don't think there is a typical working day for me.  As the mother of 7 small children, I focus on raising my kids, and simply make writing fill in the gaps.  For example, right now I am typing the answers to these questions while waiting for my preschooler in her swimming lesson session.  I also do much of my writing while waiting in school pick up slots.  We have a kids care at the gym where I teach, so when I am really needing to hit a writing deadline, I will do a quick workout, then slink into a corner and write as much as I can before the childcare time runs out.  I try all the time to tell myself that I am going to stay up and write after the kids get to sleep, but 9 1/2 times out of ten, I am so brain dead by then that I end up starting blankly into the computer screen until I finally just let it go and hit the light.  For the most part, carving out time in the early morning works to type, before I get to greet the smiley, messy haired kids who are ready to hit the ground running once again.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? 
By far, the hardest part for me is after the initial 'dump'... after I have just let everything fall out of my brain, and then I have to go through and do the editing and reorganizing of everything.  This is torturous and tedious for me, which is why to me a good editor is worth their weight in gold!

4. When and why did you first start writing? 
I have always had book swimming inside my head.  I am constantly making analogies and narratives about every day life.  Since getting my degree in nutrition, I have given many seminars on healthy living and found myself answering the same types of questions almost every time.  For some years I had my first nutrition book swirling inside my head.  Then my husband started telling his patients that his wife was writing a book about the topics that they would ask him.  I decided I better get that book into physical form!  One year I set it as my new years goal to have the book finished before the year was out.  That year I also got invited to speak at BYU-I Education Week and they said that I could bring any of my books to the bookstore during that week.  Boom!  I had my definite end goal of having the published book in my hands.  That was a fast and furious 6 months, and though there was no blood, there was plenty of sweat and tears that went into getting that first published copy of the book, but the feeling of holding that first published piece in my hands was beyond thrilling!  In an instant, I was hooked.

5. How did you come up with the idea for the book your book? 
The book We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father was a book that had been swirling in my head for quite some time - I just needed it to marinate for a while.   As a mother, I have become more and more sensitive to the deceptively sly ways that Satan is trying to get his hooks into the youth of the world.  I feel really strongly that he has them, especially the young women, firmly in his cross hairs.  As my oldest daughter has been growing and nearing her young women years, I have been searching for things that I could teach her to help her combat the many lies of Satan as she navigates the societal snares of what 'womanhood' is all about.  Then it hit me.  Everything she (and every other woman, for that matter!) needs to know is right there, packages so beautifully in the young women's theme.  I realized that those lines were so incredible, yet because we stand and say them every week year after year, they become just words to repeat before moving on to the rest of the lesson.  I decided to write a book that would help us stop at each and every line and really dive into the true meaning embedded in it.  
   In a nutshell, this book is everything that I want to sit and tell my daughters about what being a truly amazing daughter of God really means, and that is means so much more than what the world would have them believe.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? 
I LOVE reading.  I have been known to get so caught up in books that I will stay up into the wee hours of the morning to get to the end.  I do have one caveat, however (warning, this may completely discredit me in many peoples eyes!!) for every book that I read, I HAVE to read the last page first.  Ever. Single. Time.  I cannot handle the stress of not knowing if everything will turn out okay... or if it doesn't, at least being able to prepare myself for the tragedy that is awaiting the starring role.  Once a good friend was letting me borrow a series to read.  As she handed me one of the books, she said I could only borrow that book if I promised that I wouldn't read the last page first.  It is the first (and last!) time I had ever done this, and it was the worst book reading experience ever!  I think I got two ulcers just living through the stress of the middle conflicts!  
    I think this is why I love the gospel so much.  In it, we know the end.  We know who is going to win.  Our main issue is whose side we will be on when the end comes.  We may have to go through a bunch of muck in the middle, but the last page has already been shown to us.  If we just stay on the right side, there is no way we can't come out on top.
    I just finished reading (well, listening to... since I am neck deep in motherhood with all of the running kids from one activity to the next, I have accepted the fact that I I want my love affair with books to continue, audio needs to become my new best car-friend.  Also, it's great for working out - I can't tell you how many times I get to the end of my run and am at a good part in the book, so I keep going just to hear the next few pages!) The Boys in the Boat.  Wowza.  That was such an incredible story.  It's one I never even heard about before my mom chose it for our sibling book club.  I loved it and learned so much about perseverance, work ethic, and forgiveness.  I am also slightly obsessed with WWII, so the inferences of the war weaved into it were fascinating to me.  Loved the book!

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? 
The best a dive ever is to just jump.  Just start.  Start now.  Write it down in any haphazard way that it falls out of your brain.  Just get the words on the paper.  I have been through both Self Publishing and Publishing company ways of getting a book published, and had great experiences with both.  Don't let the whole picture seem daunting.  Just start with the words.  Get them down.  Then take it one step at a time.  Break it up into small chunks, set yourself deadlines and go for it.  Every author started with a simple thought that let to another, and then another.  Start where you are, but do something with it.  Don't let your book get buried with you.  In the end, it will be so worth it!!



13 Aug 2015

Book Review / The Secret Year by Jennifer R Hubbard

Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly. Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one,not even Julia's boyfriend, knew. 

They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. 

Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. 

When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. 

But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

Published:     23rd December 2010
Publisher:  Sphere
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Owned



What I liked about this book... 
What I liked the most was that this book was written from a Colt's perspective.  The majority of the books I have recently read are mainly written from the girl/woman's perspective.  I found it really refreshing to follow this story from the eyes of the male perspective.  I really enjoyed following his story from the beginning where he funds out Julia has died in a car accident right to the very end.  This was a very short book at 190 pages long but in that short space of time I felt that I really had gotten to know Colt and understand some of the choices he made throughout.


What I was not fond of with this  book... 
Unfortunately this book did not grab my attention as much as what I hoped.  Although I knew that the story would have mainly been about Colt's journey after the death of Julia, I had hoped that it would delve a bit more deeper into 'The Secret Year' between Colt and Julia.  Instead, this story really concentrated on Colt and his journey after her death, which was good but I felt there could have been more to the story.  The slow pace of the story also didn't help my reading motivation getting through it.  With this book there are no surprises, no twists and turns along the way.  It is meant to be a drama, a slice of every day life after the death of someone you love and I hadn't expected that.  I had thought there might be something to discover that we didn't know.  

The best thing to do with this story is to go into it with no expectations and just take the story for what it is.  It is a really great drama and I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I realised there would not be any twists or turns or secrets to uncover.



12 Aug 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Menagerie by Rachel Vincent



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 29th September 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.



From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie…

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

10 Aug 2015

Author Interview / Charity Norman


Luke Livingstone is a lucky man. He's a respected solicitor, a father and grandfather, a pillar of the community. He has a loving wife and an idyllic home in the Oxfordshire countryside. Yet Luke is struggling with an unbearable secret, and it's threatening to destroy him.

All his life, Luke has hidden the truth about himself and his identity. It's a truth so fundamental that it will shatter his family, rock his community and leave him outcast. But Luke has nowhere left to run, and to continue living, he must become the person - the woman - he knows himself to be, whatever the cost.
 



  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Bill Bryson, because he’s a brilliant man who makes me laugh so much I can’t breathe. The coffee breaks would be hilarious.

  1. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
Recently I’ve taken to writing in the local public library, which is quiet – but not too quiet – and where I have no Internet access there so can’t be distracted. I try to start early but I have a family so in practice a good day would be from about 10 am to 5.30 when the library closes. If I’m under pressure I generally work until the early hours of the morning as well. I often work seven days a week but I do take days off sometimes!

  1. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Writing a novel is a long, long haul. I love the process but the hardest part is putting one word in front of the other, day after day, week after week … it doesn’t matter how I feel, the book has to come first. There’s no time for writers’ block!

  1. When and why did you first start writing.
I can’t remember not writing; but one day when I was about seven I was sitting on the floor in York Minster, writing a poem about the Rose Window. A kind nun came and asked what I was doing. When I showed her, she had my little poem published in the Minster magazine – so I think that was my first published work! I am sure the poem was truly terrible. Luckily it is now lost.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
It was something that had been intriguing me more and more, as I spoke to people who were transgender and learned about their experiences. Sometimes once a subject gets into your head it won’t go away. That was what happened with this book.

  1. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
Reading and books have always been a part of my life; but I have to read such a lot for research, and that takes up many hours of my time. When I read fiction it’s a wide variety – I don’t stick to one genre. At the moment it’s The Bees by Laline Paull.

  1. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Write, write, write, and keep writing! It’s the only way. There are no short cuts.