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Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village @Jo_nell_writer

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

It's never too late to grow old disgracefully...

The life of 79-year-old pensioner Peggy Smart is as beige as the d├ęcor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. The highlight of Peggy's day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim.

Peggy dreams of inviting the handsome widower - treasurer of the Residents' Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village - to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties.

But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn't seen in five decades - the glamorous fashionista Angie Valentine - sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Can she channel her 'inner Helen Mirren' and find love and friendship in her twilight years?

My review of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

This book is a gorgeous read. It focusses on ladies of a certain age and it does so beautifully with warmth, wisdom and humour. It made me laugh out loud, while breaking my heart in the very next sentence. 

We read about seventy-nine year old Peggy, a woman who I would so love to sit and have a cup of tea with. She's a fabulous character. Full of life, opinions, warmth and oodles of humour. She fascinated me. A woman who still has a thirst for life and love. But underpinning all of this is a story about Peggy's past and her relationship with her mother. We also have the topic of incontinence and an overactive bladder,  which I thought was tackled with great understanding and empathy, as well as humour.

This book is full of fabulous characters. We have Angie, the long lost friend who shakes up Peggy's life. We have Brian, the man who Peggy has her eye on, and we then have Dr Stephen, her GP, who reminded me of many a kind and caring junior doctor that I had worked with during my time on the wards as a nurse. I loved their conversations.

This book is a real joy to read. It's refreshing to read a book that highlights the issues surrounding older people with such honesty and which made me think and laugh at the same time.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable light read that tackles some serious issues. It's a beautiful book.

With thanks to the publisher and Jeannelle Brew for the hardback copy.

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is available to buy in hardback now.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

#Twisted @SSCav @orionbooks

About Twisted


1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you've found me. I'm coming for you next.

After you've read this book, you'll know: the truth is far more twisted...

My review of Twisted

Oh my word! This book! My head! Absolutely fantastic and a book that lives up to its title. There are so many twists and turns in this book that I genuinely didn't know what was about to happen next. It kept me guessing until the very end and, even then there was an added twist.

I could not put this book down as it hooked me in from the opening prologue, which left me wondering what had happened to lead up to that dramatic point in time, as the first chapter is set four months before the prologue.

What we read is a twisted thriller, stroke murder mystery that took me completely by surprise. Nothing is as it seems but everything that happens makes perfect sense. 

It's a fast paced narrative that tells the story of three individuals, Paul, his wife, Maria and her lover Daryl. It's a  dark, and twisted tale of love, betrayal, loyalty and the pitfalls of fame.

All three of these characters have flaws, and to be honest I didn't like any of them. But, I think this is why I enjoyed the book so much. The character that I was rooting for was Sheriff Dole. I had a real soft spot for him.

If you've read the Eddie Flynn series then you'll love this stand alone thriller. It's one of those books that you'll just dive into and then won't emerge until a few hours later. A real treat of a book.

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

Twisted is available to read now in digital format and will be published in paperback on April 4th.

Friday, 25 January 2019

#TheTakingOfAnnieThorne @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

About The Taking of Annie Thorne 

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn't, or wouldn't, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can't explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn't the same. She wasn't my Annie.

I didn't want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

My review of The Taking of Annie Thorne 

The Taking of Annie Thorne is dark and unsettling from the very beginning. The horrific and shocking opening chapter sets the tone for the entire book. That sense of foreboding,  that is both chilling and utterly compelling.

The book is a delicious dark mixture of part psychological thriller, horror and a dash of the supernatural. What you get is a story that gets under your skin, and it's one that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

The book revolves around Joe Thorne, who returns to his old school and neighbourhood  to work as a teacher. The school and surrounding area hold many memories for him, most of which are not good and involve what happened to his sister. We read passages from the past which seem to echo what is happening in the present day. Is history repeating itself? What exactly did happen to Annie Thorne?

The novel deals with many issues involving childhood and adolescence. None of which can mentioned without spoiling the plot. But it does make you think about how our teenage years are so impressionable and shapes our futures. 

The Taking of Annie Thorne  is an unsettling read that chilled me. It certainly has the undertones of a Stephen King novel, in the sane way that The Chalk Man did. It's an absorbing read and one that instantly hooked  me in and made me want to find out what had happened to Joe's sister. I enjoyed this deeply gothic and twisted creepy tale. A compelling read.

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

The Taking of Annie Thorne is published by Penguin on 21 Feb.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

#AmongTheRuins @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress

About Among the Ruins (Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mysteries Book 3 

Esa Khattak wanted justice. Now he just needs to stay alive.

The murder of renowned political filmmaker, Zahra Sobhani, brings Esa Khattak’s cultural holiday in Iran to a sudden halt.

Dissidents are being silenced and Khattak’s mere presence in Iran is a risk. Yet when asked to unofficially investigate the activist’s death, he cannot resist. Soon, he finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the government.

When the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls upon his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help. As Khattak gets caught up in the fate of Iran's political prisoners, Rachel sees through to the heart of the matter: Zahra's murder may not have been quite what it seemed.

Steeped in suspense, Among the Ruins is a powerful, provocative mystery exploring the interplay of politics and religion, and the intensely personal ripple effects of one woman’s murder.

My review of Among the Ruins 

Among the Ruins is the third book in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series, and oh my, what a read. This book really does have it all. It's a book steeped in political  history, a murder mystery and a book about how religion can both divide and unite us.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is a book about the political prisoners of Iran and the murder of documentary filmmaker and activist, Zahra Sobhani. We read the story of a woman who went to Iran and who never left as she was found murdered. It is while on a cultural retreat in Iran that Esa is approached and asked to work undercover to solve the murder. Esa is a character who I greatly admire, and he knows his limitations. He calls in the support of his detective friend back home in Canada  to help him join the clues together, and this is what makes the book so very special and unique. There is such a magical bond between these two. A mutual respect for each other that shines from the page. It is their teamwork that helps Esa investigate the murder of this woman, who was not only a political documentary maker, and activist, but also a mother.

This book is about Iran's political injustices, but it is also about humanity, compassion and the seeking of justice. it's also a fantastic murder mystery, as we are with Esa and Rachel every step of the way in tracking down who killed Zahra. I needed to know who was responsible and why they committed such a horrific and unforgivable act of violence.

As we make our way through the book the chapters are interspersed with personal stories of Iran's political past and its political prisoners. Often horrific, disturbing and unsettling to read, I found them to be very much necessary.  I know very little about this country's history and, so for me, this really helped to add depth and meaning to what was happening in real time to Esa.

Among the Ruins is a slow burning read that picks up quickly in pace to a race for justice. It's an emotional and thought provoking read about religion and culture that is extremely relevant in today's political climate. A fantastic addition to this gripping series.

With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and to the publisher for providing a paper copy of the book.

Published by No Exit Press, Among the Ruins is available to buy now.

About the author

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to cater to young Muslim women. Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. She is along time community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Follow the blog tour 

Thursday, 17 January 2019

#TheManIFellInLoveWith @katehaswords

About The Man I Fell in Love With 

After twenty years of contented marriage, no one is more surprised than Mary Black when her husband announces he’s leaving her… for another man.

For the sake of the children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that include Leo and his new partner. She copes with the kids wanting to spend less time with her and more time with their ‘fun’ dads. But one thing she can’t quite ignore is Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has just come back to town…

After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?

A wonderfully uplifting novel full of wisdom, spirit and charm. This is a love story with a difference, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Heidi Swain.

My review of The Man I Fell in Love With

The Man i Fell in Love With is a very beautiful, emotional and uplifting read. This book managed to break my heart and then slowly and gently placed it back together again.

Once I began to read I became fully immersed in Mary's story. I couldn't help but empathise with her. I too have been married for twenty years and I couldn't imagine what she must be going through. The fact that her husband, Leo, left  her for another man could have been her undoing. It could have destroyed her family. But what we find here is an unbelievably strong and stoic woman who will do anything for her family. Luckily, she has a good support network in the form of her mother-in-law (Audrey) who lives next doordoor, her own mother who lives in an extension in the garden and her best friend Daisy. I admired Mary and her strength. I admired that she realised her marriage was over and that Leo deserved to be happy.

But what about Mary? Mary is a wonderful mother, friend, daughter and daughter-in-law. But, what about Mary as a woman? I wanted Mary to be able to see that she too was deserving of love and that she too could have a meaningful and happy relationship. This is what is at the core of this book. One woman's search for her own identity as she begins her life again, and it is both breathtaking and beautiful to read this change that takes place.  

This is a love story with a difference, and it's one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's uplifting, it's thought provoking and it made me smile. 

The Man I Fell in Love With is a  delightful and heartwarming story about love and belonging and that there is someone out there for everyone. It's a gorgeous, romantic read and I loved Mary and everything that she stood for. What this book shares is that sometimes love just finds a way, even in the most difficult of circumstances. It's a story about second chances. A feel good book that I could not put down. Loved it!

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

The Man I Fell in Love With is published on 7 Feb by Avon. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

#TheFlightOfCorneliaBlackwood @sewelliot

About The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood

What has happened to Cornelia Blackwood?
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends.
Everyone knows her name. But no one will speak to her now.
Cornelia Blackwood has unravelled once before. Can she stop it from happening again?

From a supremely talented storyteller, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is a powerful novel of motherhood, loss and loneliness and how we can make damaging choices when pushed to our emotional edge. A paperback bestseller with her debut novel, The Things We Never Said, and nominated for an RNA Award in 2014, Susan Elliot Wright has written a truly important novel that explores the dark depths of psychosis with honesty and sensitivity.

My review of The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is a story about motherhood. One that is not often told. The darker side. From the moment I met Leah (Cornelia) I instantly connected to her character and her story. I found myself fully immersed in what had happened to her and what was yet to come.

This is a beautifully written story. We  move backwards and forwards in time with ease. We learn about how Leah meets her husband and the path that then leads to now. We read her unravelling, and although uncomfortable reading, it is beautifully told. 

This is a tale about motherhood and about postpartum psychosis. A mental
health illness that I knew very little about. It was only after reading this book that I read more about this on the NHS website. Leah's  story highlights this mental health illness and this I feel can only be a good thing. This is what lies at the core of the story, a woman who was at risk and a woman who was ultimately let down by everyone.

This is a beautifully dark and consuming read. It's powerful, it's moving,  it made my heart heave.  It is also such a very brave book in tackling such a sensitive subject. I also feel that this is a book for women and for mothers, no matter what their past  experience of motherhood or birth. Sometimes their stories are not heard and this book gives them a voice. 

The last few lines will haunt me forever, as will this beautifully sad and poignant story about motherhood and loss. Written with sensitivity and warmth and compassion. 

With thanks to the publisher and Becky McCarthy for the Advanced Reader Copy 

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is published by Simon & Schuster UK as a  Paperback Original on 21 Feb.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

#DirtyLittleSecrets @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

About Dirty Little Secrets

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people's lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege - the residents have it all. Life is good.

There's just one problem.

Olive Collins' dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they're shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive's neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

The new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Confession, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

My review of Dirty Little Secrets

Oh my! When you pick up a book by Jo Spain you just know that you're in for a treat and Dirty Little Secrets is no exception. This psychological thriller kept me riveted from the opening pages with its disturbing, dark and sinister goings on.

Olive has been dead in her home for three months. That's the shocking truth at the heart of this story. In a gated community, where the neighbours all know each other, this is completely shocking. How was her death unnoticed for so long? This sets the tone for the entire story, that of feeling desperately sorry for this woman who lived and died alone. 

We are then introduced to the neighbours in turn, all of whom have their own stories and secrets to share, as does Olive.

Emma and Frank are the two detectives who have been drafted in to solve the case, and I loved these two characters, especially Frank. I had a soft spot for him. They are the people asking the difficult questions. Was Olive's death a tragic accident or was she murdered? It's a psychological tiller and a murder mystery all rolled into one as you don't find out until the final pages what actually happened.

Along the way I had my potential suspects named, but my thoughts kept shifting as more secrets were unearthed. All of the neighbours had their own reasons for disliking Olive and therefore all  were  potential suspects.

Olive is a victim. But, although a victim and I knew I should have felt empathy towards her, I didn't particularly like her. The neighbours are also a colourful bunch with flaws and likeability, just like us all. I enjoyed reading about their secrets and what they really thought about their lonely neighbour.

Dirty Little Secrets is a hugely enjoyable book that  tells the truths about human nature and what it means to live in such close proximity to others. It explores the need for privacy, how we communicate and interact with our neighbours and that nobody, no matter what the circumstances, should have to die alone.

Jo Spain has simply gone and done it again. This was a book that I simply could not put down. Then once I had finished reading I found myself thinking  about Olive. Such an amazing book and a highly addictive read.

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

Dirty Little Secrets is published by Quercus on 7 Feb.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

#RedSnow @willrdean @PtBlankBks

About Red Snow 

Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV's Zoe Ball Book Club


One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?


Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man's eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.


Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

My review of Red Snow

Red Snow is Scandi-noir at its absolute best. I could not put this book down. I  devoured Dark Pines and its claustrophobic community of Gavrik. Reading Red Snow was like being reunited with friends. This is one addictive, dark and all consuming read. It's brilliant.

Once again we are introduced to Tuva Moodyson who is serving her last two weeks on the local paper before relocating to Malmo in the south. I adore Tuva and everything that she stands for. Independent, career minded and likeable, I instantly warmed to her. She is at the centre of this story investigating the sinister goings on at Grimberg liquorice factory. All I can say is that I am so glad that I don't like liquorice. 

Gavrik is a small, isolated town and it's difficult to keep secrets buried for long, and this town has lots. Tuva is determined to solve the mysteries that lie within the factory and the Grimberg family before she leaves.

This is a dark and disturbing read, even more so than Dark Pines, and I loved it. The liquorice is dark, the days are dark and the people who inhabit Gavrik seen to carry their own burdens and emotional baggage. Tuva included, and we learn so much more about this young woman's past and her relationship with her mother. 

Red Snow is a dark murder mysery,  with a twisty plot and an end that I honestly didn't see coming. It's an extraordinary book and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'll admit that I'm now a huge Will Dean fan and can't wait for book three in the series. 

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

 Red Snow is published on 
10 Jan Oneworld Publication

Monday, 7 January 2019

#TheHopesandDreamsofLucyBaker @JenniKeer

About The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.
Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.

My review of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is a gorgeous read that I devoured in a few short sittings. It's full of romance, hope, love and friendship. I loved it!

The story revolves around Lucy Baker, a young woman who lives alone. She knits, works for a toy PR company, and although happy with her lot, she knows that she could achieve so much more if she was brave enough to take a chance on life. Lucy is hugely likeable and I wanted her to take that chance. 

Her neighbour, Brenda, also knows this truth and so much more. She wants Lucy to find her true love and gives her a locket, the one that helped her in the past. Now, I adored Brenda. An elderly woman with so much to give. I also thought that the dementia storyline was written with sensitivity and understanding. I found this an emotional read.

Then we have the romantic element in the form of George, the blunt and standoffish next door neighbour who just happens to be incredibly handsome. I warmed to him instantly and wanted to learn more about him and why he had moved to the street.

This is a gorgeous romantic read with so much heart. It's a warm hug of a book that can't help but make you feel better. I fell in love with all three of these characters and the story that entangled them. A lovely read. 

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

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is published by Avon on 10th Jan.