Saturday 28 November 2015

Sweet Little Lies - Bianca Sloane

Sweet Little Lies is another fabulous roller coaster of a read from Bianca Sloane.

What would you do if you found out your husband had been unfaithful?

Divorce him? Take him back?

Kill him?

Kelly chose option three for her husband Mark and it's on the day that she kills him that we first meet her. Kelly is a former supermodel who now has her own cosmetics company, her husband Mark  is a highly successful sports lawyer and they are besotted with each other, so why would Mark be unfaithful?

After killing Mark, Kelly flees the scene but it's not long until the police are on her tail and we follow Kelly as she tries to unravel Mark's secrets while at the same time playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Detective Bill Hanson.

Bianca Sloane is one hell of a story teller. I know that everytime I pick up one of her novels I'm going to be rendered useless until I've got to the end and this one is no exception. Ms Sloane has perfectly portrayed Kelly as a woman scorned and the lengths she will go to to protect herself as well as friends and family until she finds out the truth. This is another fast paced thriller that will have you racing to reach the end and I can't wait for the next novel.

 With kind thanks to author Bianca Sloane for the review copy.

Thursday 26 November 2015

The Secret By The Lake - Louise Douglas

The Secret By The Lake is a mesmerising, dual-time novel taking place over thirty years, that will send chills down your spine.

Amy has been living in France working as a nanny for the Laurent's and has become part of the family. When she gets news that her father is in hospital she reluctantly returns home to take care of him. Then when tragedy strikes the Laurent family Amy rushes to be with them. She finds Julia and Viviane living in Julia's now dilapidated childhood home and the situation she finds herself in isn't a good one.

Recently widowed Julia has very little money due to her husband's assets being frozen and she is inattentive to little Viviane, just wanting to stay in bed with thoughts only for her husband. Amy is worried about them both but her concerns start to grow for Viviane when she finds out that her new imaginary friend is called Caroline, which happens to be Julia's sister's name but she died years ago aged only seventeen.

Amy tries to find out more about Caroline but no-one wants to talk about her but Caroline and the run-down cottage want her to reveal their secrets so Amy takes it upon herself to try and discover the truth.

The atmosphere throughout this novel crept up on me almost like the mist across the lake. I could feel the dampness and gloom of the cottage, I could feel Amy's fear when things started to go bump and cleverly interwoven into the creepy atmosphere and mystery is a touching love story.

I've read other novel's by Louise Douglas and for me they are all wonderful so if you haven't read any yet this would be a good one to start with.

With kind thanks to NetGalley and publishers Black Swan for the review copy.

About the author:
Louise was born in Sheffield, but has lived in Somerset since she was 18.  She has three grown up sons and lives with her husband Kevin.  The Secret By The Lake is Louise’s sixth novel and she currently writes around her full time job. 
In her spare time, Louise loves walking with her two dogs in the Mendip Hills, meeting up with her friends and she’s also an avid reader. 

Author Links:

Sunday 22 November 2015

The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb - David John Griffin

The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a dark and atmospheric novel of two halves unlike anything I've ever read before.

We first meet the Stubbs as William is going to The Grinding Sanatorium for the Delusional to collect his wife Eleanor, who has spent the last twelve months there recovering from the death of her beloved son Alastair. Eleanor is delusional and believes herself to be a queen who communicates with insects who will inform her when her baby son returns to the land of the living. Having recently lost his job as a coffin maker William decides they should move in with his widowed father, Theodore, who is an avid collector of insects as well as being a hypnotist who takes great delight in throwing parties so that he can take advantage of women with the aid of his trusty pocket watch.

William's relationship with his father is a strained one, partly due to the fact that he has always felt overlooked because of his father's fascination with his insects. So when he finds out that Theodore has another interest which involves his wife and his dependable pocket watch, plans are soon being hatched which culminate on one fateful evening which ends with the Stubbs having to leave.

We pick up the second part of the story thirteen years later when Eleanor's second child Alastair is living with his alcoholic father, unaware of the family secrets which have been kept from him. When he starts to show signs of mental instability everyone just assumes that because his mother spent time in an institution madness must be in his genes, but just what is going on in the young boys mind?

I loved the vivid descriptions that turn everyday places and things into something much more dark and sinister. Even the characters themselves are duplicitous. 

It's been a long time since I've indulged myself in a gothic novel and after reading this beautiful, descriptive novel, I've got the bug to search out another one.

With kind thanks to Urbane Publishers for the review copy.

Friday 20 November 2015

Cover reveal! Another Love - Amanda Prowse

 I have a first on my blog for you all today - a cover reveal of the new Amanda Prowse novel, Another Love which is published on January 16th 2016.

Any regular visitors here will know that I love Amanda's books and it's a real honour for me to be taking part in this cover reveal. This is a completely new redesign and as a result the cover of Perfect Daughter has been revised to fit in with the new style for the series. It has been in the Top 20 of the Amazon Kindle for six months and was No.1 for ten days in October 2015.

I'm looking forward to reading what I'm sure will be another fabulous novel from one of my all time favourite authors and watch this space for my review.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Center of Gravity - Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity is one of those novels that has you literally holding your breath as you read.

Ava Carson is married to Mitchell, they have a son Sam together and Ava has just adopted Mitchell's son Jack. She should be happy that she has everything that she's ever wanted but her perfect life is about to start crumbling all around her.

Her perfect husband isn't as perfect as he seems and despite Ava's initial thoughts that Mitchell is just under a lot of stress at work and things will improve, it soon becomes obvious that this isn't the case. Mitchell has issues and they're big ones!

This is a debut novel and Laura McNeill has left a big impression on me with this book. I can honestly say I have never despised a fictional character as much as I did Mitchell. The more I read, the more I couldn't wait for his twisted mind games to backfire on him. I really felt for Ava, she's a strong women who only wants what's best for her family, especially her two young boys but the odds are really stacked against her.

Each chapter is written from a different character's perspective and this includes eight year old Jack. Seeing the story unfold through his eyes was heartbreaking. All he wants is for everyone he loves to be happy but of course that's not how thing are in a dysfunctional family.

I was genuinely impressed by this dark and disturbing debut novel. It's a compelling and sometimes difficult read and you can almost feel the tension leaping off the page towards you as you read. Add to that the short, sharp chapters, which to me just heightened the urgency within the story and you've got yourself an enthralling read.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Three-and-a-Half-Heartbeats - Amanda Prowse

Three-and-a-Half-Heartbeats is yet another fantastic read from the very talented Amanda Prowse. Not only is it a great story but it's helping to raise awareness of the disease sepsis with ALL proceeds going to the UK Sepsis Trust.

Grace and Tom Penderford are a happy couple, living in Hertfordshire with their three-year-old daughter Chloe and a close family but when Chloe goes into hospital for a routine operation their world is torn apart.

Having lost their daughter under such tragic circumstances their marriage is pushed to the limits. Tom was a stay at home dad while Grace went out to work everyday and following them through their grieving process and the roller coaster of emotions  is heart-wrenching. We also see the effects on other family members including Graces' sister who is desperate for a child of her own.

Amanda Prowse is one hell of a story teller and this is a book that will touch even the hardest of hearts. Never one to shy away from dealing with raw emotions and tackling subjects that a lot of people would shy away from, this is a beautifully written, poignant read which will have you smiling one minute and then reaching for the tissues the next. Each chapter has a small piece of information about sepsis at the top, giving the reader an insight into signs to look out for and statistics on this terrible disease, for example, chapter 7, "Sepsis claims 37,000 lives every year in the UK. 37,000. . ." that's a frightening statistic, but a clever and unobtrusive way of making the reader aware whilst still being absorbed in the story.

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time and is currently only £1.20 (correct at the time of posting) so please consider buying a copy knowing that ALL proceeds are going to a good cause.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Out of the Darkness: A tale of love, loss and life after death - Katy Hogan

Out of the darkness is the story of three seemingly unconnected women, Jessica, Hannah and Alex but after a chance meeting they become close friends and discover they have much more in common than they realise.

Jessica has lost her mother and is finding day to day life a struggle and the last thing she wants after her shift at the hospital one New Year's Eve, is to be dragged into a party by an old school friend. After meeting Finn and Mark she manages to escape but Finn follows her and things start to look brighter for Jessica.

One evening, after leaving a grief counselling session Jessica faints and is helped by Hannah and Alex and their friendships are formed. All three of these women have their own secrets and troubles but none of them are ready to share.

Stories about life after death aren't for everyone but this is such a beautiful and thought provoking novel you shouldn't be put off as it's such an uplifting story of friendship, redemption and love as well. Each character is written in such a way that you feel like you are a part of their group and you know them all personally. Katy Hogan has written a stunning debut novel which, after I'd finished reading it, made me think of the Chinese (Red) String Theory based on the following proverb:

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

I absolutely loved this book and I will be telling everyone and anyone who will listen to me about it for a good few weeks to come but at the same time I'm sad I've read it as I'd love to read it again without knowing what was to come. I believe that there is a second novel in progress and I can't wait.

With kind thanks to author Katy Hogan for the review copy.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Holy Island: A DCI Ryan Mystery - LJ Ross

Holy Island is the debut novel from LJ Ross and the first outing for DCI Ryan.

The novel starts with the discovery of the body of Lucy Mathieson and the re-instatement of DCI Ryan who has been living on Lindisfarne following a leave of absence. Being that the island is cut off from the mainland due the the tides at the time of the murder this should be an easy case to solve but then two more bodies are discovered.

Due to the potential pagan links of Lucy's murder Dr Anna Taylor, a university professor specialising in pagan rituals, is called in to help Ryan solve the crime. Anna is a former resident of the island but after a falling out with her sister eight years previously this is her first time back.

Ryan is dubious about the doctors arrival as he's expecting a middle-aged man so he's pleasantly surprised when he meets the young and attractive Anna and it's not long before the sparks are flying between them.

There are some brilliant twists in this book and I found myself questioning the motives of several of the characters, only to read on and find out that it couldn't possibly be them.

Ross has written an impressive debut novel packed full of intriguing and believable characters. Along with this the descriptions and history of the area were so wonderfully written I want to visit it for myself. Without giving too much away the ending is a good one which sets it up nicely for the next novel in the series, Sycamore Gap which is available now and I for one, can't wait to catch up with DCI Ryan again.

With kind thanks to author LJ Ross for the review copy.