Archive | July 2015

*COVER REVEAL*   Julie Cohen – The Day of Second Chances…

The Day of Second Chances

The Day of Second Chances will be published on 28th January 2016.

 Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment. Is it too late for second chances?

A Proper Family Adventure – Chrissie Manby.

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Back of the book : 

Could you spend two weeks at sea with your family ? 

Thanks to a unexpected windfall, the Bensons are treating themselves to a luxury cruise. With stop-offs in Barcelona, Rome and Marseille, plus constant entertainment onboard, it’s a dream come true …. Or is it ? Last time Chelsea Benson went on holiday with this lot she nearly went crazy.

Her Mum and Sister are convinced Chelsea’s boyfriend Adam will propose on the ship. Chelsea’s sure he won’t, but she can’t help feeling butterflies as they set sail. Is Adam going to pop the question, or will the only ting to go pop be Chelsea’s ego ?

Onboard dramas, family upheavels, memories and sunshine … 

What I think : 

Its Grandad Bill’s Birthday, His eighty-seventh to be precise. All his family are at the party, Son Dave and Daughter-in-Law Jacqui, their daughters, Chelsea, Ronnie and Annabel. Ronnie is married to Mark and they have Sophie and Jack, Chelsea has been seeing Adam now for almost a year and she’s got pretty close to his daughter Lilly, and of course not forgetting Annabel with her husband Richard and their children Izzy and Humfrey. So when Bill’s Great-Grandson Jack buys him a lottery ticket for his birthday and it actually wins (well, Fifty thousand pounds) everyone is overjoyed. After much deliberating they decide to go on a family cruise. Annabell and her family won’t be joining them because Izzy, their daughter had to have a kidney transplant a few months ago. After going to a festival and taking illegal drugs she nearly died, if it hadn’t have been for anonymous donor they would have lost her. So they need to be near the hospital just in case they need medical treatment quickly. In the event it turns out that Grandad Bill can’t go because he gets a chest infection and Sophie can’t either because she gets an internship at a local newspaper, so they both go to stay with Annabel.

So off the Bensons sail on the trip of a lifetime, will it be a happy holiday for the family with a bit of magical romance for Chelsea or a bit of a wash-out … ?

I really quite liked this book, I haven’t read the other two books in the ‘Proper Family’ series featuring the Bensons, but I didn’t have any trouble getting into to this book. I liked the Bensons as a whole, I thought Jack was really quite cute and I loved the idea of ‘Ted’ the bear having adventures of her own. We also meet two other characters that weren’t from the Benson family, but still connected to them, and they are Kirsty and Jane. Jane has recently lost her fiance, Greg ( this is where the connection is – I wont say what, as I don’t want to spoil it ) in a car accident and they just so happen to be on the same cruise as the Bensons. I really liked Kirsty, Jane’s best friend, she was really lovely and caring and in my opinion, she put up with quite a bit from Jane. However I couldn’t really warm to Jane at all. I understand that she was still grieving for Greg, but she just seemed to wallow. Having said that though I didn’t dislike Jane, I just wished she could have bucked up a bit and got on with living again.

This is a really enjoyable, easy beach read, with some really fabulous laugh out loud moments. Chrissie must have really enjoyed this particular fact-finding trip ! Two weeks on a cruise ? yes please !

I’ve read most of Chrissie’s other books so I was really looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint, I give this lovely book 9/10.

Published by Hodder on 17/07/15.

The Bones of You – Debbie Howells.

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Back of the book :

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things.

Soft-petaled flowers that go to seed.

The resolute passage of the seasons.

Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.

Children who don’t die before their parents.

A COMMUNITY IN SHOCK.

When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She’d come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her – perhaps better than even Rosie’s own mother.

A FAMILY TORN APART.

Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She had come from a loving family and had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to hurt her ? And why ?

A KEEPER OF SECRETS.

Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She’s certain that someone in the village knows something more than they are letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate’s obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

What I think : 

Rosie, Jo and Neal Anderson’s Daughter has gone missing. She didn’t come home last night, they had no idea where she is.

Kate, who sometimes goes to lunch with Rosie’s mum Jo is worried too, Rosie used to come to Katie’s stable’s and help out with the horses, so she feels she knew Rosie pretty well. Kate also has a eighteen-year-old daughter Grace, who knew Rosie, although they weren’t really friends.

When Rosie’s body is found in the woods, Stabbed and with head injuries, it seems that everybody is a suspect in the investigation and everybody it appears, has secrets too.

Kate is drawn to Jo, Rosie’s mum after Rosie was murdered she spends quite a lot of time with her and gets very involved with her and her life. Even when Kate’s husband Angus asks her to step back a bit she can’t seem too. Kate needs to find out what happened to Rosie on the night she was murdered.

With secrets and lies coming out of the the woodwork is Jo and Neal’s life as perfect as it seems ? And what reason would someone have to kill a eighteen-year-old girl ?

This is an excellent first novel, Its told in two parts, The main part is told by Kate and the other part is told by Rosie herself, as she comes to terms with being ‘dead’. It tells of her life as it ‘flashes before her eyes’ as she dies and then it goes back to key points in her life as her ‘Spirit’ is making peace.

The characters were really well written and well-formed. I thought that they were very believe-able, we could really be living in the same street as the Anderson’s and their ‘perfect’ life.

It is quite sinister and dark in places and a bit twisted too I think, with quite a perfect ending. However I did guess who Rosie’s murderer was, although it did take me quite a while to work it out.

This is quite a fabulous book and I hope Debbie is writing her next one or will be very soon. I give this book a well earned 9/10 (only because i guessed who did it ! )

A big Thank you to Lauren Welch at Pan Macmillan for the review copy of the book.

Published on 16/07/15 by Pan macmillan.

Summer at Tiffany’s – Karen Swan.

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Back of the book : 

A wedding to plan. 

A wedding to stop. 

What could go wrong ? 

Cassie loves Henry. Henry loves Cassie. With a Tiffany ring on her finger, all that Cassie has to do is plan the wedding. It should be so simple but when Henry pushes for a date, Cassie pulls back.

Henry’s wild, young cousin, Gem, has no such hesitations and is racing to the aisle at a sprint, determined to marry in the Cornish church where her parents were wed. But the family is set against it, and Cassie resolves to stop the wedding going ahead.

When Henry lands an expedition sailing the Pacific for the summer, Cassie decamps to Cornwall, hoping to find the peace of mind she needs to move forwards. But in the dunes and coves of the Northern Cornish Coast, she soon discovers that the past isn’t finished with her yet.

What I think : 

Cassie and Henry are engaged. Henry is a professional explorer and Cassie is a caterer with her friend Zara. They have a happy life living in their tiny flat in the middle of London.

When best friend Archie has a heart attack it knocks them both for six, for a while they don’t know if he’s going to live or die. Luckily he does survive. However because Henry wont leave Archie’s bedside at the hospital, he misses a very important meeting, which means his next expedition cant go ahead.

When Henry’s cousin, Gem arrives after two years of travelling, she reveals that she’s met the ‘love of her life’ and she’s getting married to Laird, an Australian, as soon as possible. Nobody is really impressed with the idea, especially Henry’s sister Suzy (who is Cassie’s best friend and Archie’s wife) they all think its far too soon. Gem has always been a bit impulsive, Her parents died nine years ago and she gone off the rails a lot since then.

Meanwhile, Cassie is having a few problems of her own, she loves Henry, but she can’t seem to commit to him. He wants to set a date for the wedding, after all they have been engaged for over two years. But after a ten marriage to Gil that ended in him being unfaithful and fathering a child with her best friend she’s still feeling a little bit raw and she’s not sure she wants to open herself up to all that again. Then, by chance Henry meets an old uni friend who is leading an expedition to sail the pacific for three months. The uni friend offers him a place but before he goes he tells Cassie she needs to choose, set the date or break-up.

When Suzy decides she’s taking everyone to the family holiday home in Devon for the summer, to help Archie re-cooperate after his heart attack, Gem comes to too. well she does own half of the house and its an excellent opportunity for Suzy to try and put gem off from marrying Laird. Gem invites a couple of her friends down to stay, and by chance one of happens to be Cassie’s ex-boyfriend who broke her heart a few years ago before she met up with Henry again. What will Cassie decide, the ‘love of her life’ or her ex from the past ….. ?

Another Fabulous book from Karen, it was so nice to catch up with Cassie and Henry again too. I could really relate to Cassie, she seemed like a normal woman with all the normal worries and fears. I have only one complaint and that is, Henry, as he did in the other ‘Tiffany’ book, he seemed just a little bit too heroic for my liking, I do wish he could have been just a little less perfect. However all the other character’s were wonderfully written and very believable.

It would be really nice if there was just one more ‘Tiffany’s’ book just to round everybody’s stories off.  It would be lovely to find out about everybody’s endings.

All in all a excellent read. I give it 9/10.

Published by on 02/07/15 by Pan Mcmillan.

I purchased my copy from Tesco £3:85.

The Girls – Lisa Jewell.

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Back of the book : 

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other peoples houses.

You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.

You think your children are safe.

But are they really ?

Midsummers night : a thirteen year old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her ? And who is responsible ?

What I think : 

Claire and her daughters, Grace and Pip have just moved to a flat in the ‘gardens’. They had to move as Claire’s husband went a bit batty one night and burnt down the family home. He is currently in hospital, after being diagnosed with a mental illness.

Adele, Leo and their daughters, Willow, Fern and Catkin, have lived there all their lives. Adele home schools her girls and they live a bit of an ‘alternative’ life. Leo’s father, Gordon still owns half the flat. He lives in South Africa with his wife but returns to the Gardens to have a operation on his foot.

Then there is Cece the social worker, her daughter Tyler and Fiona and her son Dylan, who all also live in flats around the Gardens. And last but no means least there is Rhea, she has a giant pet rabbit called Fergus that she takes for walks around the gardens. She has lived there the longest and knows just about everyone and everything ….

The book begins with Pip finding Grace unconscious in the rose garden and in a state of undress. What has happened to her and who did it ? Its Midsummer night and also Grace’s thirteenth birthday. Everyone had been at the ‘Annual Summer Party’ which had been held in the gardens. So everyone it seems, is under suspicion.

The book is split into two parts, ‘Before’ and ‘after’ and also is peppered with little notes and letters from Pip to her Dad Chris whilst he is in the hospital.

The characters are expertly written, Lisa could have quite easily been writing about a little suburb just down the road from where you live, All the characters seemed very real to me, I especially liked balshy Gordon with his old-school ways.

This book is much darker and psychological than her other books, all the families that live in the gardens seem to be woven together in one way or another. There are plenty of secrets and lies that really keep you wondering what is going on till the end. And talking of ends its truly fabulous. I don’t think I would have guessed it. Its all really sewn together really beautifully. I couldn’t put it down, and when I could prize myself away from it I was thinking and wondering about what would happen next.

I have got to say that Lisa is one of my most favourite authors and I have really loved all her books and this is another excellent example of Lisa Jewell’s fabulous penmanship. I am really pleased that she has gone over to the ‘dark’ side for this one. I for one really really enjoyed this book and give it 10/10.

Published by Century on 02/07/15.

I purchased my copy from Tesco £7;00.

Summer Secrets – Jane Green.

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Back of the book : 

June, 1998. At twenty-seven, Cat Coombs is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral.

She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014. Cat’s life has come full circle. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, the gorgeous New England island where the women she once called family still live.

What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.

What I think : 

Cat has a problem with drink, but she doesn’t think she has. She really love’s alcohol that’s the problem. She had a bit of a troubled childhood, her Mum was more or less bed-bound and her Dad was a bully, so she discovered drink when she was just 13.

When Cat meets Jason, who’s alcoholic himself, she’s drunk, again. However he takes her home and looks after her. when she wakes up in his bed not knowing what happened the night before and how she got there, she decides it must be the last time – until the next time !

She pretends that she’s trying to get dry and pretending to go to meetings whilst all the time she’s still drinking behind his back. She really fancies him so she just tells him what he wants to hear. When her mother tells her that her father wasn’t actually her father after all, her real dad lives in America, Nantucket to be precise, she boards a plane and goes to America to meet the family she never knew she had. But, of course things don’t go well, she finds out that her dad likes to drink too and then she does something really bad whilst drunk and is send home under a cloud. Her new family don’t want to know her.

Fast forward 10 years or so and Cat has finally come to terms with her alcoholism, and she’s dry, but its cost her dearly, she’s lost her husband and only just got her child back. Her sponser tells her that she must make ‘Amends’ so Cat once more gets on a plane to America to see the family that disowned her. Will they finally forgive her …

This novel is split into three time lines, one with Cat in 1998, which tells of Cats spiral into drink, one with Cat’s mother Audrey, which tells her story of how she came to London from her home town Nantucket in America and how she met Cat’s biological father and lastly in 2014 with Cat now.

This is a hard-hitting book about how the demon drink can take hold of you and ruin your life. Jane has got this wonderful ability to take really difficult topic and spin them into one hell of a story.

I didn’t like Cat to start with, but then you see why she was like she was and is now and you warm to her. Her step-father wasn’t really very nice to her or her mother so its hardly surprising really. She does have quite a difficult life journey to take before she can ‘like’ herself.

I’ve always really liked Jane’s books and I’m really glad to say that this one has got shades of her older novels in it which made it more enjoyable for me. I would always recommend Jane’s books to everyone. This one has all the right ingredients for a fabulous novel.

i give this one 10/10.

Published on 02/07/15 by Pan Macmillian.

A really big Thank you to the Publishers Pan Macmillian and Netgalley for the digital copy of the book to read and review.

The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop – Abby Clements.

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Back of the book : 

Full of mouth- watering flavours, sunshine and escapist adventure …

Anna and her husband matteo are ready to embark on a delicious Italian adventure. A shared passion for ice’s means it’s easy to settle on a new business idea – they’ll open a shop in sorrento’s cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while. life is sweet; but then Matteo’s overbearing family get involved …

Anna’s younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together – She living with her boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brightonand her photography is taking off. then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri – and a man from her past prove difficult to resist.

What I think :

Anna and Matteo have a gorgeous daughter, Isabella or Bella for short. They run Anna’s grandma Vivan’s Icecream shop on the front in Brighton. Anna owns the shop with her sister Imogen, they were left it by Vivian when she died a couple of years ago.

Matteo and Anna met when Anna went on an Icecream course in Italy, they fell in love and Matteo moved to England to be with Anna. However he is now getting a bit homesick and would like to go home for a while. Anna doesn’t know what she want to do. They recently lost Grandma Vivian and her father took it pretty badly, he was pretty close to his mum, he’s just recovering and Anna is worried that if she ups and goes to Italy will it set him back ? After some thought she decides she must follow her heart and they find a beautiful shop on the Amalfi coast in Sorrento over looking the bay of Naples.

When they first get to Italy everything goes really well, however it’s when Matteo’s mum arrives that things start to go wrong.  Anna doesn’t know if she can cope with Matteo’s mum constant interfering. Will their Italian dream go wrong even before its really began …

Imogen, Anna’s sister is a photographer, her job takes her all over the world. She has the gorgeous Finn to always come home to. However when her photographic work dries up she has to take on work closer to home she’s not sure what she wants anymore. Bored with not doing her dream job, Imogen decides to visit her sister in Italy. Whilst she’s there she goes over to Capri for the night, and it’s there she meets up with an old boyfriend Luca. What does this mean for her and Finn ? and will she want to come home again …

I really loved this book right from the moment I picked it up. The descriptions of the Italian coastline where perfect, I almost felt as it was was there. I could nearly but not quite, smell the sea.

I absolutely fell in love with Anna, Matteo and little Bella right from the start, they were really just the best little family. However I really couldn’t make myself like Imogen, I felt she was really selfish and a bit stroppy at times. She only seemed to think about herself and what she wanted. She didn’t seem to realise what she’d got in Finn until he’d gone.

This really is a fabulous little gem of a book, that’s perfect to curl up with after a long day at work. It has everything you need, families, love and sizzling secrets. I really couldn’t put it down, I read it in 2 days flat !

I give this book 10/10.

Published on 02/07/15 by Simon and Schuster.

A very big Thank you to Hayley Mcmullan fron Simon and Schuster for the review copy of the book to read and review.