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.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Review - The Intruder by P.S. Hogan

The Intruder by P.S. Hogan
Publisher: Random House UK
Release date: 31 May 2018
Back cover blurb: He has the key to hundreds of houses. Maybe even to yours. A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming... William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught? What will he do next?

I’m not going to lie, I found parts of this novel unnerving and perhaps a little unnecessarily so. But that could just be me...

William Heming is an Estate Agent. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say.

But William is different, he has always been different. He collects “things” from other people, things like letters, pens, small ornamental trinkets, things he knows they are unlikely to miss.

He also collects copies of keys for every house he has ever sold or worked on.

Not so usual after all.

William is a complex character, unlikeable one minute and charming the next. Readers will no doubt feel sympathy and revulsion for him in equal measure.

Following a troubled upbringing William’s private school education is cut short and his future takes a dramatic change after a particularly nasty incident.

This leads him to being taken on as a junior estate agent and seals his future well before he realises that he will never want to do anything else.

To say anything else would give too much away, and I don’t want to do that so I’ll just finish up by saying;

The Intruder is definitely different and I look forward (with some trepidation) to seeing what’s next up this authors sleeve!

The Intruder is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

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

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Review - Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Release date: 7 June 2018
Back cover blurb: Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable. But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah's diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming. With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both. A tale about growing up, the beauty of a special bond between father and daughter, and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you'll read all year.

Days of Wonder is a well, let’s just say, a wonder of a novel, and one I think will stay with me for a very long time.

I must admit I was a little apprehensive when I started this novel as “A Boy made of blocks” was so damn good, and I wasn't sure what to expect from the authors next, but I actually think it was even better.

Hannah Rose is Fifteen and has a chronic illness, a life limiting heart condition. She knows that her life will end earlier than she wants it to and she isn’t afraid of dying. She also knows that her Father isn’t prepared for this at all.

Tom Rose, Hannah’s Father, is a single parent and a theatre manager. His life is devoted to those two things since Hannah’s Mother left when she was small. His life, despite its challenges has been filled with joy with Hannah growing up and his amazing theatre friends putting on some memorable productions.

We first meet the pair of them in Hannah’s first performing role at the Willow Tree Theatre. Although she has always been involved in productions, her dead Dad has naturally been worried about her treading the boards, but as she approaches her Sixteenth Birthday she puts her foot down insists on a role in the latest production.

It is here that we learn of her illness for the first time, and how things can change within a blink of eye. Without giving too much away, I can only reveal that Hannah’s condition takes a sudden turn for the worse and the theatre is threatened with closure by the local council.

Everything that seemed perfect in life is suddenly thrown into uncertainty and Hannah and Tom must rally around each other as well as their friends to plan for the future. I don’t know if it’s because I also live with a Chronic illness (not life threatening) but I really identified with Hannah and her struggles. She is an amazing young woman and Tom a rightfully proud parent.

Days of Wonder is beautifully written novel and one I highly recommend. I can’t wait to see what Keith Stuart has up his sleeve next.

Days of Wonder is available from 7 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.