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Friday, 31 August 2018

#Mother @hannahbegbie @HarperFiction

About Mother

Her love for her daughter is everything

Her love for him is deadly

Cath had twenty-five perfect days with her newborn daughter before Mia's deadly illness was diagnosed.

As her life implodes, Cath’s despair drives her to a parental support group where she meets a father in a similar situation, the dangerously attractive Richard – charming, handsome and adamant that a cure for their children lies just over the horizon: everything Cath wants to believe.

Their affair – and the chance to escape reality – is unavoidable, but carries catastrophic consequences: the nature of Mia’s illness means that Cath’s betrayal endangers not just her marriage but the life of her baby.

Can she stop herself before it’s too late?

My review of Mother

This book is so raw and full of heartache, that I felt every single word, every single emotion. It's a beautiful book and one that made me question my role as mother, as nurturer, as provider. Cath's story is raw, is real and is grounded in humanity. It's a remarkable book.

This book is exquisitely written, and it was fairly obvious to me from the very beginning that this author was writing from a real life perspective. This was why the writing felt so authentic, as it was rooted in reality. The writing flows, allowing us to follow Cath's story, as her life takes a completely different path to the one she had mapped out before her.

"Cath had twenty-five perfect days with her newborn daughter before Mia's deadly illness was diagnosed." The lines stayed with me throughout the book as they sum up perfectly the essence of this  story, that deals with Cath coming to terms with, and then accepting and adapting to her daughters disability. Her approach is to fiercely protect her daughter, to become that Mana bear, but at what cost to herself and, her daughter and her marriage?

This then leads onto Cath's infidelity. Her affair with Richard made absolute sense to me, although I wanted to scream at her to stop what she was doing, as it was so self-destructive. The intensity of this relationship and her need for Richard to make everything ok was seeped into every page. Coupled with this were the references to Cath's previous  mental health, and I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for this woman, and wishing that her life would get back on track.

It's just so difficult to explain just how powerful  Mother is, and the impact it will have on those caring for a seriously ill or disabled child. It's stark, at times harsh, but ultimately it is very real and full of hope. Highly recommended.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Review Copy.

Mother was published on 26 July by Harper Collins.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

#Him @ClareEmpson2 @orionbooks

About Him


Catherine has become mute. She has witnessed something so disturbing that she simply can't speak - not to her husband, her children, or her friends. The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past. Catherine needs to start with Him. Lucian. Catherine met the love of her life at university and was drawn into his elite circle of privileged, hedonistic friends. But one night it all falls apart and she leaves him, shattering his life forever. Still, fifteen years later, Lucian haunts every one of Catherine's quiet moments, and when they are unexpectedly reunited, their love reignites with explosive force. But they can't move on from what happened all those years ago. In fact, uncovering the truth will cause their lives to implode once again. This time, with disastrous consequences.

My review of Him

This book meant so many things to me. It's quite a remarkable book, sold as a psychological thriller, but, to me, this book was so much more. From the very beginning I was drawn into the web that was Catherine's story. Her silence intrigued ne. What had happened to her? What trauma had caused her silence? I wanted to be a part of this family, to unearth their secrets and to find out what really happened to Catherine.

This book is told from two points of view and in different time zones; the present day and fifteen years previously. We read Catherine's point of view, and those of 'Him' Lucian. Her first real love who she has never forgotten. Although distant, he remains a huge part of her life. First love, attraction and obsession are huge themes in the book and each is beautifully explored.

We have the relationship between Catherine and Lucian, both in the past and in the present, which is interwoven with Catherine's relationship with her husband, Sam. We read about issues of fidelity, of a different kind of love and that sometimes the heart rules the head.

This story revolves around a huge secret that is revealed towards the end of the book. And it is the reason for everything. The realisation of what had happened took my breath away, as I was so invested in all of these characters. I felt an instant connection with Catherine, that something in her past had changed her and that silence was her only way to cope with the world. I connected with Lucian, her first love, a likeable guy who never really stopped loving her. 

This is a dark, compelling and addictive love story that seeped into my bones. It really is a thought provoking read, and one that I'll return to again and again.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Him was published by Orion on 23 August.

Friday, 24 August 2018

#TheAdults @CarolineHulse1 @orionbooks


About The Adults


Claire and Matt are divorced but decide what's best for their daughter Scarlett is to have a 'normal' family Christmas. They can't agree on whose idea it was, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did - and it's too late to pull the plug.

Claire brings her new boyfriend Patrick, a seemingly eligible Iron-Man-in-Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, their daughter, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He's a rabbit.

Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Organized Fun activities, drinking a little too much after bed-time, oversharing classified secrets about their pasts and, before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends - where this story starts - with a tearful, frightened, call to the police...

But what happened? They said they'd all be adults about this...

My review of The Adults

The Adults begins dramatically with a real page turner. A woman makes a frantic 999 call to the police. Who is she? What has happened? From that moment on I was hooked. I HAD to know what had happened and why. The Adults really is a memorable and very  enjoyable read, don't let the beginning  fool you. It is a very funny book.

The Adults takes four adults, a child and her imaginary friend and throws them all together for a magical, wonderful and family friendly Christmas. What could go wrong? Well, lots of things, but I won't spoil anything. Ex husband and wife, Claire and Matt, organise to spend the festive season together, with their respective partners,  believing it is the best course of action for their daughter, but is this such a good idea? I couldn't wait to find out.

The author writes so very well about modern family life, and the politics of modern family life. Can we really ever get over our exes? Can we really pretend that the past has no bearing on our future? Can we really be okay in the same room as our husband/wife's new lover? Can we be mature about all of this? These are the questions that this novel explores so well, and with great humour.

This well observed novel is delivered with lashings of wit, great one liners and so much heart. I cared about all four of these adults, and I really did want the absolute best for them, as they found themselves thrown together, all for the love of a little girl.

The Adults is a real page turner, it's funny and a kind of who done it and why. It's a book for the modern family, which I feel everyone can relate to and enjoy. A cracking read. 

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Adults is published on 23 August by Orion.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

#TheLightBetweenUs @katie_khan @TransworldBooks

About The Light Between Us

Thea and Isaac first met at University. Theirs was an instant connection but it never went further than friendship.

Because, then and now, Thea only has eyes for her work. Not just her course, but also a private project - Thea is determined to prove that time travel is not just the stuff of science fiction. And she has never told anyone the reason why.

When one of their friends goes missing in an experiment, Isaac and Thea must work together to find her - forcing them to re-examine their own friendship.

Is it really as platonic as they used to think?

The Light Between Us is a story of unrequited love and second chances. It begs the dangerous question that we all ask ourselves - what could have been?

My review of The Light Between Us

I loved this book! I just wanted to start by stating that this has to be my favourite book of the year. I loved every word. It's magical, whimsical, heart-breaking and a love story as old as time. I didn't want to put this book down, and was so sad when it ended. In fact, I picked it up and started to read the first chapter again, and  I very rarely do that. That's how much I loved this book.

This book is rooted in science and time travel and unrequited love. It's about friendship, about doing the right thing and that a bunch of strong and educated women are a force to be reckoned wuwi. It's a breath of delightful fresh air.

At the heart of this breath-taking story are Thea and Isaac, who meet while they are undergraduates at Oxford. My heart skipped a beat while reading their first meeting. I knew that I was reading something special and couldn't wait to go on my journey with them. This book is ultimately about them. About how their friendship grows and shapes them over the following years. It's a love story based upon friendship and unlike any other I have read before.

It's also one hell of a time travel story. This is based upon the physics of light and using glass houses and prisms (which to be honest I didn't really undersrand) but to be honest I didn't need to, as I understood the story behind the science. I read dual storylines that examined the relationship between Thea and Isaac that completely took my breath away. It's when her experiment goes horribly wrong and a friend goes missing that Thea and Isaac join forces to find her.

The Light Between Us is a beautiful and entertaining read that features powerful female scientists who could change the world. Thea's life revolves around her time travel studies, it's her life's work and once you reach the end of the story you understand why this work is so important to her.

I loved every page, I loved Thea and Isaac and I know I'll return to this story again and again. It's magical, heart-breaking and such a joyous read. It also couldn't have ended any other way.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Light Between Us was published on 9th August by Transworld.

Monday, 20 August 2018

#OneThousandStarsAndYou @Isabelle_Broom

About One Thousand Stars and You

One spark will light up both their lives

Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy - her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother - even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.

Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.

A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice's last hurrah - her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.

It's also the moment she meets Max.

Alice doesn't know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.

Max doesn't know it yet, but he's the one who's going to change it.

My review of One Thousand Stars and You

One Thousand Stars and You is a beautiful, romantic and life affirming read that I fell in love with from the very first page. It's a gorgeous book. If you need a little pick me up, and want to read about all that is good in life, then you can't go far wrong with this book.

The book is told from two perspectives. We have Alice, a young woman approaching her thirtieth birthday who lives with her boyfriend, Freddie. They have been together for many years and until she went on the trip of a lifetime with best frends, Maureen and Steph, she thought she had her whole life mapped out. She thought she knew who she really was, but being in another country, away from her overbearing mother and the safe stability of Freddie, makes her question her life.

We then have Max. I loved Max. He's the type of guy you could form a great friendship with. He's just so likeable and honest in how he lives his life, in living with his disability. He will let nothing, nor no one, stop him from achieving his goals. I admired him greatly.

The great joy for me in reading this book was reading the dialogue and interactions between Max and Alice. Both have their own struggles and need to open up about themselves, and they both help each other. It's a beautiful thing to read.

I really felt as if I was on a holiday in Sri Lanka with friends. The smells, people, landscape and food were all so real to me. I've never been to Sri Lanka, but I now want to go.

One Thousand Stars and You is a book about hope and the absolute best of human nature. It's about taking chances in life and believing in yourself. It's about friendship and living life to the fullest. It's an absolute gem of a book.

With thanks to NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy

One Thousand Stars and You is published on 23 August by Michael Joseph.

Monday, 6 August 2018

#WhiskyTangoFoxtrot @GinaGeeJay @urbanebooks

About Whisky Tango Foxtrot

The laughter continues to flow in Gina Kirkham's brilliant sequel to the wonderful Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.

Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike. Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.

Revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

My review of Whisky Tango Foxtrot

I'll just start by saying that I am a huge fan of Gina Kirkham's writing, after having read Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong last year. Whisky Tango Foxtrot,  picks up where the previous book finished. I loved this book. Mavis is like an old friend who you haven't seen in years, but after a few minutes the years just roll away. Mavis is such a likeable character, I really wish that I could sit and have a good old chat with her over a brew and a barrel of biscuits. But not, garibaldis. 

This book is full of scouse charm and warmth, it oozes out of every page. The scrapes that Mavis finds herself in are hilarious. But, there are a few more sombre scenes, that tell the reader clearly what the nitty gritty realities of the police are really like. I think this is why I love this book, and the previous book, so much. It is Ms Kirkham's ability to write with warmth, humour and compassion, all rolled into one.

We read about a flasher on a pushbike who rather likes donuts. We meet a diva drag queen and, the situations that Mavis finds herself in regarding her infamous thongs, are all laugh out loud. This is such clever writing. But, for me, the true joy of this book is in the more laid back moments, when we get to see the 'real' Mavis. The scenes when Mavis is talking to her dad who has Alzheimer's are particularly touching, and really helps to shed  light on how adult children care for their parent who has this disease, and the challenges they face. That's not to say that there isn't humour involving Mavis and her dad, because there is a lot of humour. As Mavis says, if you didnt laugh, you'd cry This book makes you feel every single emotion, but at the heart of this book is the love and devotion hat Mavis has for her family, her husband, dad and daughter, and her colleagues.

There are a wealth of colourful characters in this book. Percy in particular is a firm favourite. The not so clued up police officer, who you just can't help but like. Mavis though, is at the heart of the story. Mavis who finds herself in all of those tricky situations, who wears her heart on her sleeve and who you'd want to help you if you found yourself in trouble.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot was a sheer delight to read. It has everything, all delivered with great wit, humour and compassion. All the stars.

I purchased the Kindle version.

Whisky Tango Foxtriot was published bb Urbane Publications on 19 July. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

#GirlMeetsBoy by Ali Smith @canongatebooks

About Girl Meets Boy

Girl meets boy. It's a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances? Ali Smith's re-mix of Ovid's most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can't be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, here is a tale of change for the modern world.

My review of Girl Meets Boy

I am fairly new to the world of Ali Smith. I quickly devoured both Autumn and Winter, and loved them both. Her writing style is engaging, beautiful and unlike anything I have ever read. I need to go back and read her previous work. So, when I learned that Girl Meets Boy was being reprinted as part of the Cannons series  by Canongate I just knew that I had to read it. And, I loved it.

Girl Meets Boy as the blurb states takes inspiration from Ovid's metamorphosis, of which I have read a few of the poems. This novella takes inspiration from the mythical characters of Iphis and Ianthe. Iphis was born a girl, but her father wanted a boy. So, she is raised as a boy. She falls in love with Ianthe, a beautiful girl, but of course she knows that she won't be able to keep her secret, and so asks the gods for help. They turn her into a boy and they marry. Although the book is based on this myth, you could quite happily read the story not know anything about this myth, but it does help to shed light  on the writing.

Set in Scotland, we are introduced to two sisters, Imogen and Anthea. Imogen is the sensible sister who works for a water company in the advertising department. Anthea is the younger and troubled sister who is carefree and outspoken and such a breath of fresh  air. Throughout the story we follow their relationship and how it changes. 

This book is about sisters and the importance of family. It's also about  gender fluidity, and Ali Smith does this so well, that I didn't question once what I was reading. In the fact that their grandfather used to tell them tales of when he was a girl. 

There  of course is the iphis and Ianthe love story, that is between Anthea and a young woman who is a campaigner for women's rights and equality. She gets her message across through the form of graffiti. I loved this character so much.

This book is about women, it's about boys. It's about girls who want to be boys, girls who love girls and boys who ridicule those men who are different to them. It's a book which is richly relevant to this modern world, when we all need to accept difference and that love really is all that matters. 

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley forthe digital copy. 

Girl Meets Boy (The cannons) was published by Canongate on 2nd August.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

#ANormalFamily by Henry Normal and Angela Pell

About A Normal Family 

Johnny is nineteen. He likes music, art and going to the beach. He is also autistic - in his case that means he will probably never get a job, never have a girlfriend, never leave home. And over the last nineteen years this is what his father, TV producer and comedy writer Henry Normal and his wife Angela have been trying to come to terms with.

This is a book for anyone whose life has been touched by autism - it's about the hope, the despair, and the messy, honest sometimes comical day-to-day world of autism, as well as a wonderful, warm book about the unconditional, unconventional love between a father, a mother and a son.

My review of A Normal Family 

This was such a special read for me. I loved reading about Johnny, about his love of painting and sheer joy for life. I enjoyed reading the viewpoints of his parents' Henry and Angela, their honesty, humour and love for their son shinning through on every page. It was a joy to read. And as a parent to an autistic child, I found this book so uplifting, yet grounding, in its absolute honesty.

I am sick to the back teeth of books trying to promote cures. What I need as a parent is simple everyday advice, and to read books such as this that echo very much how we are as a family. I found myself thinking, yes, my son does that, and, I tried that. I really do think that this book will be a complete eye opener to someone who is perhaps new to the world of autism.

The book is written with such love and humour. There are also poems at the end of each chapter. What I particularly liked was the two viewpoints. The 'Dad' and 'Mum' viewpoint, which helped to create a fully rounded image of family life. This book is honest, and tells it how it is, while cleary stating that this book is only about Johnny, about Henry's and Angela's experience of raising Johnny. It is not about Autism in general. It is a spectrum condition and effects the individual in many ways.

Johnny  Is 19, my son is 10, and I worry about his future as he gets older. These concerns were echoed in the book and I felt like weeping, in that someone had also expressed these concerns. As I said, this book is incredibly honest.

One section of the book touched upon feelings and that Johnny is incredibly empathetic. I think I punched the air at this point as the common misconception is that autistic individuals do not have feelings. My son has feelings and is very caring. Sometimes, I think he feels too much. I also liked the fact that the book mentioned 'refrigerator mothers, and that it was widely believed that autistic children were a result of unfeeling and 'cold' mothers who did not bond with their child. This is so very hurtful and offensive, but  thankfully is very much in the past.

I feel that people will view this  book in different ways, depending on their experiences of autism. But, I do feel that everyone would benefit from reading this book. It's not a heavy read with jargon and scientific facts. But rather, it is a family's story, and I feel that this is both beautiful and informative. It really is a must read for everyone.

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for the hardback copy for review purposes.

A Normal Family was published by Two Roads on 22 March.

Friday, 3 August 2018

#TheGirlIUsedToBe @MaryTorjussen @headlinepg

About The Girl I Used to Be

How can you hide your mistakes when you don't know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can't control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past - and the truth about the girl she used to be.

My review of The Girl I Used to Be

The Girl I Used to Be is a clever and claustrophobic psychological thriller of a read. What starts out as an innocent meeting with a client, sets in motion a living nightmare that sent chills down my spine. I found it so very difficult to put this book down.

The book opens with a scene from the past, when Gemma was a teenager and at a friend's party, celebrating the end of A levels. Something happened to Gemma that night, something unimaginable and unmentioned happens, and the scene is set. I was instantly on my guard, feeling that creeping sense of unease that never let go. 

We are then propelled into the future, meeting Gemma as a successful professional with her own estate agency. She is happily married and has a  young son. Her life is seemingly perfect, but that is all about to change when she meets a client one evening for dinner.

What unravels really is a nightmare . I read with horror at what was happening to Gemma. It was made even more frightening as it COULD happen. Gemma is also very much alone in trying to work out what happened and why. This book also works because I believed in Gemma, she is likeable, a normal working mum. I could feel her emotions when she woke up after that evening meal, realising she couldn't remember a thing. I too, was scared. I too felt as if the world was slowing collapsing around me. 

This book is a gripping read full of twists and turns and I held my breath wondering what on earth was going to happen to Gemma and her family. This is an unnerving book that is very unsettling at times to read. It made me question the characters, their  true intentions and who Gemma could really trust

If you love a psychological thriller that is incredibly realistic with a protagonist that you deeply  care for, and want the absolute best for  them, then you'll love this book. It's one hell of a cracking read.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital copy. 

The Girl I Used to Be is published by Headline in paperback on 9th August. It is available now in ebook. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

#ThePsychologyofTimeTravel @KateMascarenhas

About The Psychology of Time Travel

: Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril...

: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady...

: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, that strong reek of sulpher. But when the inquest fails to find any answers, she is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

My review of The Psychology of Time Travel

Every so often I'll pick up a book, and within the first few pages I'll just know that what I am reading is something very special. The Psychology of Time Travel is such a book. I can't express in words just how much I loved this book, its characters, its themes of strong and independent women and its tackling of the sensitive mental health issue lying at its very core. This is such a special book.

The Psychology of Time Travel is a book that has everything. It is a time travel story, a love story, a story about mothers and daughters, and granddaughters and friends. It's a story about the past and the future, and that in the end, not much is different. It's a story about how we, as a human race, survive on this small planet. It's a wonderful story.

At the very heart of of this book is the tale of four women who invented time travel. Together, they changed the future of the world. But the real question is, was this really for the better? Is the world a better place because we are able to time travel? This is the question I kept asking myself while reading this book. Sometimes, the answer was yes, at other times it was no. I could see both the positives and negatives.

I loved this book because it focussed on women and the strength of women. On the whole it was about how women support and nurture each other. But, I also liked the storyline that focused upon how women can crave power, at the expense of their female friends.

The story also heavily focused upon mental health issues, as Bee, one of the four women, has a breakdown just before the launch of their new invention. We follow this storyline right through the book, and I felt that this  was dealt with honestly and sensitively. I loved Bee.

I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I don't want to give anything away. I'll just finish by saying that it is a truly  remarkable  book with an addictive plot, fascinating characters and heaps of time travel. Just perfect for that summer holiday.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Psychology of Time Travel is published by Head of Zeus on 9 August.