Thursday, 21 June 2018

Review - Mine by JL Butler

Mine by JL Butler
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: 28 June 2018
Back cover blurb: Fatal Attraction meets Apple Tree Yard. This debut novel is compulsive and will be your new obsession. My CLIENT. My LOVER. Francine Day is a high flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline grabbing client to seal her place as queen's counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive. They embark on a secret affair and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin's wife goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect. Francine is now his lawyer, lover and the last person to see Donna Joy alive. As the case unravels so does Francine. Her HUSBAND. My OBSESSION.

So this novel keeps being described as “the next girl on the train”, which to some would be a major reason not to read it. Luckily I read the aforementioned novel before the hype and loved it. However, this one, I’m still a bit on the fence about...

Francine Day is quite something... there are moments in this novel where I felt sympathy for her, and moments when she had me frustrated beyond belief. Also, her behaviour isn’t exactly what you’d expect from someone in her position.

But then I suppose that’s the whole point of this novel. How love and/or lust (and obsession) can make us do some really crazy things!

Francine is a successful high flying divorce lawyer when she is appointed as Martin Joy’s divorce solicitor. Martin has everything, wealth, success, and is extremely attractive. Francine is immediately obsessed with him.

She knows that the attraction is wrong, but she can’t stop thinking about him. Circumstances lead them to meet away from the case and they embark upon a passionate and secret affair. And then Donna Joy goes missing. Presumed dead.

Martin is immediately suspected of her murder, despite there being little evidence against him. Deep down I knew he wasn’t responsible and there were several times where I thought I’d guessed the culprits identity, and what had actually happened to Donna, but each time I was proven wrong. By something unbelievable usually.

The final chapters of this novel saved it for me, from being totally ridiculous to just about believable. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it because I was still thinking about it days later. Let’s just say this novel is going to divide opinion and leave it there!

Mine is available from June 2018.
You can pre-order it now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Review - First to Die by Alex Caan

First to Die by Alex Caan
Publisher: Zaffre
Release date: 14 June 2018
Back cover blurb:  SOMEWHERE IN THE CROWD IS A KILLER. Bonfire Night and St James's Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner's office are called in. The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead? THEY WILL STRIKE AGAIN. As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members. AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT... With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

First to Die is the first Alex Caan novel that I’ve read, and I’m already looking forward to the next. Biological terrorism is a topical subject, particularly with recent events in Salisbury, here it is handled sensitively but chillingly.

The plot is plausible, not outside the realms of reasonable possibility and that’s what makes it so terrifying.

Westminster, Bonfire Night and thousands of anonymous faces with guy fawkes masks and are gathered. Plain clothes detectives are hidden amongst the revellers when an explosive device goes off injuring Zain Harris.

Thankfully Zain isn’t badly injured. Just as well when he and his colleague Kate Riley from the Police Crime Commissioner's office are called to a park the following morning where a masked body is found.

The body has been there a matter of hours but has already started to show signs of decay. Tests reveal that this is from a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus and the body must be quarantined before any further testing.

When the victim is revealed to be a senior civil servant, the likelihood of biological terrorism seems the likely crime. But before the team can get any more answers a key witness in the case goes missing.

Without giving too much away, First to Die is a complex novel that does require a certain level of concentration, but trust me, it’s worth it...

First to Die is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Review - Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
Release date: 14 June 2018
Back cover blurb: What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world? It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade. Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for. Old Baggage is a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman who has never, never given up the fight.

As we mark one hundred years since women were given the ability to vote, this novel seems particularly pertinent.

When Mattie Simpkin is mugged she inadvertently finds herself in a spot of bother. 

Known to the police through her involvement of the women’s suffrage campaign, they are quick to come knocking on her door after an accidental incident leaves a young woman injured at Mattie’s hands.

Mattie is quick to explain that she was actually being mugged and threw something in order to try and stop the culprit. Her throw just slightly off. The police are disbelieving, wondering why she hadn’t reported the crime to them.

Mattie is quick to point out that her relationship with them in the past hasn’t exactly been the best.

No matter, to cut a long story short, Mattie is given a new purpose in life when she tracks down the poor unfortunate girl whom she injured on that fateful day. 

Ida Pearse is quickly taken under her and her house mate Florrie Lee’s (also known as the Flea) wing.

This is a beautifully written novel that touches upon sexuality, political reform and the difficulties of young women growing up in the late 1929s. Yet another brilliant novel from Lissa Evans.

Old Baggage is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Review - I Never Lie by Jody Sabral

I Never Lie by Jody Sabral
Publisher: Canelo
Release date: 11 June 2018
Back cover blurb:  Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…? Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic, teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. But when a series of murders occurs within a couple of miles of her East London home, she's given another chance to prove herself. Alex thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others? This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh.

Alex South is 39, a functioning alcoholic working a successful career as a television news journalist.

Her job is high profile, her position precarious after a drunken on air rant. She has tried her very best to keep her head down after that fateful day and has largely succeeded.

When a young woman is brutally murdered (almost literally) on her doorstep, Alex seizes her opportunity to get back into the limelight. The woman is the third to be murdered in similar circumstances in a short time, the press have enough to believe a serial killer is on the loose.

Alex is quickly thrust back into the limelight.

She copes with this by drinking wine with or sometimes instead of her morning coffee, and sipping vodka from a water bottle throughout the day. Her daily goal is to detox, but as part of such a high profile media campaign she finds herself unable to relax enough to do so most days.

The days where little is happening and Alex is allowed time of work though are the scariest. Each time she tries to detox she does practically the opposite. She finds small bottles of vodka and wine in her bag that she can’t remember buying, and worst still she experiences episodes of black outs where she wakes not being able to remember anything.

I Never Lie is a gripping account of how very ordinary people can slide from a seemingly perfect life into something not so perfect and how we can so easily push away those we love, and draw close to those we think we know, but infact know nothing about.

I Never Lie is available now via Amazon online and all good shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Review - How to keep a secret by Sarah Morgan

How to keep a secret by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: HQ
Release date: 14 June 2018
Back cover blurb: When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise. Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant. Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face. Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why? Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite…

In London, Lauren has the perfect life, a loving husband about to turn Forty and a stroppy teenager on the brink of something brilliant. Lauren chooses to ignore her husband’s odd behaviour and her daughter’s sullenness whilst she plans the perfect birthday party for her husband.

Across the pond in Martha’s Vineyard, Lauren’s sister Jenna also has a seemingly perfect life. She has the perfect husband, her dream job and thinks she might be pregnant. Jenna and her husband are desperate to have a child, but unfortunately it’s not happening for them.

Could that be about to change?

Nancy, their Mother hasn’t been the same since the death of her husband and their Father, Tom. But to hear that she wants to sell the family home is a shock to the sisters. But not as much of a shock as the event that turns their life’s upside down and sees them back together in Martha’s Vineyard for the first time in years.

Lauren’s reasons for not staying longer on her annual summer visits to Martha’s have been vague. But Mackenzie (Mack) her daughter is certain she knows the real reason they’ve never stayed particularly long.

This is where things become complicated.

I don’t want to say too much more as I’d give too much away, but this is a beautifully written novel. I’d never read a Sarah Morgan novel before this one, so I’m off now to discover some of her back catalogue!

How to keep a secret is available from 14 June 2018.
You can pre-order it now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to and the publishers who sent me advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Review - Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon
Publisher: Corvus
Release date: 7 June 2018
Back cover blurb: Bestselling author, Holly Seddon, has delivered another page-turning and utterly enthralling novel about family relationships and a marriage in crisis. Love Will Tear Us Apart is utterly enthralling, deeply moving and completely gripping. Fearing eternal singledom, childhood friends Kate and Paul make the age-old vow that if they don't find love by thirty, they will marry each other. Years later, with the deadline of their 30th birthdays approaching, the unlikely couple decide to keep their teenage promise. After all, they are such good friends. Surely that's enough to make a marriage? Now, on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary, they will discover that love between men and women is more complex, and more precarious, than they could ever have imagined. As Kate struggles with a secret that reaches far into their past, will the couple's vow become the very thing that threatens their future? Love Will Tear Us Apart is a moving and heart-breaking exploration of modern love and friendship, from the bestselling author of Try Not to Breathe.

If you made a pact as a teenager with your best friend, would you follow through with it years later?

Let’s face it, most of us have either been there, or know someone else who has. Making a pact with your best childhood/teenage friend of the opposite sex, that if you don’t find the “one” by a certain age, then you’ll say “I do” to each other.

It’s part of growing up isn’t it. Even if you don’t mean a word if it.

Meet Kate and Paul.

They have been best friends since they were eight years old. Although from very different backgrounds, they friendship is an unbreakable bond...

One drunken teenage night they make a pact. If neither is married by the time they turn thirty, then they should marry each other. And they do mean it.

Fast forward to the couple’s 10th Wedding Anniversary and you’ll see how serious they are about each other. And how serious life is for grown ups. Love is complex, precarious and precious.

Do they have enough for another 10 years?

Love Will Tear Us Apart is a beautifully written novel about love, loss, betrayal, heartbreak and how suffocating it can be to hide the truth from the one you love.

Love Will Tear Us Apart is available via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.