Book Review: The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson

I have been a fan of Dorothy Koomson ever since I read My Best Friend’s Girl so I was excited to receive an ARC from NetGalley and in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

The Brighton Mermaid book cover

The Brighton Mermaid

 

Title: The Brighton Mermaid

Author: Dorothy Koomson

Release Date: 17th May 2018

Publisher: Random House UK

 

Blurb

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…

Fast-paced and thrilling, The Brighton Mermaid explores the deadly secrets of those closest to you.

My Thoughts

Dorothy Koomson’s books have become darker, deeper and more emotional books than her earlier ones The Chocolate Run and Best Friend’s Girl.  I love her style, ability to weave a story and her capability of making you feel the character’s emotions. With the location of Brighton, her books have always guaranteed a good read. The Brighton’s Mermaid does not disappoint.

I have only read one book that has touched me as deeply as this one. It is a story of secrets, fear and the complex relationships between sisters. The unexpected conclusion slammed my emotions and left me sobbing.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Throughout it was a strong 5-star rating but the depth of emotion and drama as it raced to the end will leave me reeling for days.

A physical copy will definitely be on my bookshelf to revisit.

 

Happy Reading!

Advertisements

Book review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland.

Duvet days are continuing so I was appreciative to receive a copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland to read. I loved her previous book Lost for Words so I settled down with a cuppa, jelly beans — my new favourite thing thanks to Sunflowers in February,  and Nigel snuggled next to me hoping to be equally impressed.

Book review for The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

 

Title The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Author Stephanie Butland

Publisher Bonnier Zaffre

Release date 19th April 2018

Blurb

Loveday Cardew won everyone’s heart in Lost for Words, now it’s time for Ailsa Rae to live, love and be loved . . .

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.

Have her friends left her behind?

And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her.

She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts

As a duvet dweller AKA Spoonie or someone with a chronic illness I  relate much to Ailsa thoughts and the emotions she expresses in her blog before her transplant and after as her health improves. She uses her blog to connect with people outside hospital bed as many do, raise awareness of the ability of transplants to change someone’s life and help make decisions with her life. I enjoyed the pleasant mixture of blog posts, email, and narration.

It follows Ailsa as she ventures into the new world of wellness, which means negotiating her close relationship with her mum and discover her well self. The book comes across as well researched and makes you connect with Ailsa. It is uplifting and made me want to get my dancing shoes on and dance. Or at least put the music on loud and sway imagining I was on strictly come dancing. As with her previous book Lost for Words Stephanie Butland has given me another character to love and remember.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for its humour, insight into the life of someone dealing with chronic illness and beyond as well as its delightful characters. This is one of those books I want a physical copy of for my bookshelf so I can indulge again in the future.

Thank you Netgalley and for sending me an advanced copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae in exchange for an honest review.

 

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry #Bookreview #Giveaway

The weather has been miserable this spring so I was happy to be invited by Rachel’s Random Resources to escape to The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay Cover

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay 

 

 

Title: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

Author: Nicola May

Publisher: Nowell Publishing

Release date: 9th April 2018

 

Blurb

Praise for Nicola May’s books

‘This book will twang your funny bone & your heartstrings’ – Milly Johnson

‘A fun and flighty read’ the Sun

‘A funny and fast-paced romp – thoroughly enjoyable!’  WOMAN Magazine

 

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy.  While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

     Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

     There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

My Thoughts

This is women’s fiction with a touch of realism to the main character, Rosa. It starts in a common way for chick lit with Rosa gaining an inheritance that could be life changing but from the first page,  I found she was different to many protagonists of these stories. Yes she is naive in how real life works when it comes to living alone and running a business but beyond that, she is straight talking, rude at times and broken; she is very real. She remains true to that throughout and her personality carries the story forward as she tackles the locals and digs into the shop’s secrets with Hot, her adorable dachshund at her side.
This book is an enjoyable, refreshing, light-hearted read for sunny days and dreaming of warmer weather.

 

Purchase from –

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B8KML35/

 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B8KML35/

 

Amazon CA – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07B8KML35/

 

Amazon AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07B8KML35/

 

About Nicola May

 

 

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay - nicola may portrait

Nicola May

 

Award-winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

Follow Nicola May

Website – www.nicolamay.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

 

Giveaway – Win x 3 Paperback copies of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay (Open Internationally)

For a chance to win – click here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Happy reading and good luck!

 

 

The Joy of Robert Dinsdale's The Toymakers

Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale caught my eye before it was published because the blurb instantly reminding me of my favourite film,  Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
I had high expectations as I placed a reservation on it at the library and that was before my friends who were lucky to receive an ARC raved about it including Mai Musings. A copy is now in my hands and the last page has been turned — blimely what a book!
The Toymakers

The Toymakers

 

Title: The Toymakers

Author: Robert Dinsdale

Publisher: Del Ray

Release date: 8th Feb 2018

Blurb:

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! 

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

My thoughts

This book was magical, stunning, and beyond my high expectations. The premise of a magical toyshop where toys are brought to life is one of childhood stories and movies but Robert Dinsdale with his superb imagination, writing style and the backdrop of the first World War has turned it into an amazing work of adult fantasy fiction.

From the moment I entered the shop with Cathy Wray, I was enchanted and captivated by the store, toys, and the relationship that evolves between herself and the two brothers, Kaspar and Emil. It is hard to say anything about the book without giving any of the magic away because discovering it for yourself part of the joy of this book but it takes you on a journey of emotions from childish delight and wonder to heartbreaking sobs. The main characters and toys will stay with me forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is a book that I could get passionate about, demanding all my friends read so I can talk about it for hours. It is on my Kindle and will soon be on my forever shelf so I can dip into it at any time. Buy it (no excuse as this month it is 99p on Kindle Monthly), borrow it and delve into its magic then let me know what you think.

Kindle version available now: https://amzn.to/2GJBzoG

Happy reading!

 

Book review: The Unquiet Mist by Mark McGahan

Sometimes while hiding under the duvet, I  need to read something spooky to make the back of my neck tingle. I had heard good things about this book so quickly downloaded it.

The Unquiet Mist

The Unquiet Mist by Mark McGahan

Title: The Unquiet Mist

Author: Mark McGahan

Blurb

1991, Sedgley, UK. The Lawsons move into their new house.
What starts off as a perfect beginning for them, slowly descends into a darkness beyond their wildest fears.
Matty, their four-year-old, starts interacting with someone that isn’t there, while Emily, their eleven-year-old encounters a darkness that stays with her throughout the house.
What starts as strange, escalates to an evil so horrific, it threatens to tear the family apart.
“There are times when the dead want to be heard.”

My Thoughts

For me, the sign of a good ghost story is the ability to make you think twice about getting up in the middle of the night and this debut definitely made me wary of venturing into a dark hallway.

The Unquiet Mist takes you back to 1991 and has all the elements you want of a classic ghost story which you don’t see often anymore. It’s spine-tinglingly creepy and made me want to keep the light on all night. Its ability to give me more than a few nightmares means I can not wait to read more from this author.

Would I recommend?

If you are a fan of ghost stories give it ago. In hindsight, I would read it during the day but that may not have been as much fun. It would be perfect for a Halloween read.

Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts below.

Happy reading!

Book Review: The Coven by Lissy

For those who know me and read my other blog, it is no surprise I was excited to receive this in my NetGalley shelf. I love books about witches and the blurb for this first installment sounded ideal.

 

The Coven book cover

The Coven book cover

 

Title: The Coven

Author: Chrissy Lessey

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Release date: 27th June 2017

Blurb

The future queen awakens…

Newly single mother Stevie Lewis divides her time between raising Charlie, running a store with her best friend, and avoiding the meetings of her mother’s Beaufort Historic Society. Although her life has its challenges, it’s altogether average. Just the way she likes it.

When Vanessa, a ruthless dark witch, launches an attack against young Charlie, Stevie’s simple life derails, and her long-dormant powers awaken. A 300-year-old secret is exposed, revealing her destiny to one day rule the clandestine community of witches who hide in plain sight.

Now she must master her own magical powers before it’s too late. Because Vanessa’s on the warpath, and only Stevie can stop her.

My Thoughts

This was an enjoyable, easy read which delivered a sprinkle of magic on a dreary day. I love the illustration on the cover which would attract me instantly if I saw it on a shelf.

The town of Beaufort is full of magical secrets, known only to a select few.  When a stranger arrives Stevie’s life is turned upside down. She is a likable protagonist and I instantly felt a connection as she struggled to bring up son with autism. The book is littered with quirky characters with imaginative gifts that I loved.  It is part of a trilogy but it could easily become a bigger series by delving into the other older members of the coven. They must all have their own tales to tell. I am looking forward to reading the second installment of The Crystal Coast Series.

Would I recommend?

Yes. it is perfect for light, magical escapism.

 

Happy reading!

Publication Day: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part 2 by Audrey Davis

Hattie Hastings along with her ghost husband, Gary are back in part two of this series. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting back to review this book and congratulations to Audrey Davis on the publication of this new release.

 

HHPt2image

Book cover for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part two.

 

 

Title:  The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part two

Author:  Audrey Davis

Release date: 21st March 2018

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunting-Hattie-Hastings-Part-Two-ebook/dp/B079WN5F5G

Blurb

The story continues … Hattie is used to her deceased husband Gary dropping in and out of her life. His timing might not always be great, but at least he’s still around. Although – when Hattie tentatively tries a spot of dating – his interference isn’t entirely welcome.
Best friend Cat is lapping up her new relationship with teacher Jamie, but ex-husband Stewart isn’t prepared to fade into the background.
Hattie’s mother Rachel faces a daunting battle, one she doesn’t want to burden family and friends with. But there’s someone waiting in the wings who might be more than a shoulder to cry on.
Gary still doesn’t know what his mission on earth is, and spirit guide Clarence isn’t offering any clues? Will an encounter with another provide him with answers, or put Hattie in an impossible situation?
Prepare for more laughs and tears in the second installment of a trilogy which takes a darkly comic look at life … and the afterlife.
Warning: Cliffhanger ending

My Thoughts

This book continues immediately from Part One so if you haven’t already it is wise to start there. The review of The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One can be found here.

The story follows Hattie, Gary, and Cat and the plot becomes more complicated with the arrival of another ghost as well Hattie starting the dating game. This is a quick, enjoyable, light-hearted read with the gentle humour from Part One threaded throughout. With the last page ending as it did, I am eager to learn what happens next in part three.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is ideal to curl up under the duvet or on a beach for a light, humourous read. When part three is released I will reread them in a Hattie Hastings binge.

About Audrey Davis

 

2017-04-13 19.43.40

Author Audrey Davis

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.
Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’
After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.
Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …
Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in May/June. After which she might have a wee lie down …

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks

Twitter- https://twitter.com/audbyname

 

Happy reading!

HH2 Full Banner

Book review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Health has made the call of the duvet irresistible so luckily I had Sophie Kinsella’s new book Surprise Me keep me company. Thank you to the mobile library service for getting it to me so quick!

 

Title: Surprise Me

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Publisher: Bantam Press

Release date: 8th Feb 2018

Blurb

NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR Sophie Kinsella’s emotionally charged, witty new standalone novel about love and long-term relationship survival – and how those we think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most . . .

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years… and panic sets in.

They quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me – anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots – mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results.

Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…

My thoughts

This book did surprise me but not in the way I hoped. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books for their humour, relatable characters and her ability to make absurd situations believable; some of her books especially Remember Me and Twenties Girl are on my go-to shelf when I need a lift and visit an old friend. This book, however, will not be.

It is an enjoyable read and I love that Sylvie is a married woman instead of singles looking for love. The premise is very relatable and the emotions as they are hit with realisation they are together for another 68 years hit home. Some of the surprises are pure Sophie Kinsella magic and made me chuckle but Sylvie annoyed me with the utter idolization of her dad and I found myself drifting off wanting to read something else that wasn’t about her. Dan, her husband is lovely though.

I am left wondering as I finished it,  how much of my disappointment is just me as I know many fans love her Shopaholic series while I found Rebecca annoying to the point I could not read them,  rather than the book. It feels more a personality clash and having too high expectations than anything so I would hate to put people off trying it.

Would I recommend?

It is an ok book and many will love it but I prefer her previous one A Not So Perfect Life and older standalone novels.

Please let me know your opinions below and I  hope I am the only one with this personality clash.

Happy reading!

Book Review: Hangman by Daniel Cole

After reading Ragdoll by Daniel Cole earlier this year, I was excited to receive an ARC of the next book in the crime series, Hangman. Thank you to NetGalley and Orion for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review.

Hangman by Daniel Cole cover

Title: Hangman

Author: Daniel Cole

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group

Release date: 22nd March 2018

 

Blurb

The new thriller from the bestselling author of Ragdoll

A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose

18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.

In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.

Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?

My Thoughts

What a thrill! This book grabbed me from the beginning,  once I had got my head around the plethora of characters introduced there and it did not let me go until the last page. By the middle, I was tempted to read it behind a cushion and was grateful I was reading not watching the scenes on a screen. If you are put off by powerful gruesome murders I would give this book a miss –  it isn’t for the squeamish or faint-hearted.

All the characters have depth and backstory adding to the plot which is full of complicated, intricate twists.  Investigations in UK and America with the involvement of FBI and CIA are not my usual read but the relationships between the three units held my attention. This is not a book to skim read but one to immerse yourself in without giving yourself nightmares.

The introduction says you do not have to have read the first book of the series, Ragdoll but personally, I think it is an advantage because it introduces you to main characters, Emily Baxter and Wolf and their complex relations and motivations.

I loved the intensity of this book but now need to catch up on all the things I postponed so I could keep reading.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes! Daniel Cole is someone to read if you love crime thrillers, complex characters and don’t mind gory imagery. It is reminiscent of the books by Mo Hayder.

Book Review: The Sandman by Lars Kepler

It is a long time since I have visited the Scandinavian Noir books by Lars Kepler so I excited to have the opportunity to read an ARC for their latest thriller featuring Joona Linna. Thank you for Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Sandman cover

Title: The Sandman

Author: Lars Kepler

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Release date:  6th March 2018

Blurb

The #1 internationally best-selling thriller from the author of The Hypnotist tells the chilling story of a manipulative serial killer and the two brilliant police agents who must try to beat him at his own game.

Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman. Years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna made an excruciating personal sacrifice to ensure Jurek’s capture. He is keenly aware of what this killer is capable of, and now he is certain that Jurek has an accomplice. He knows that any chance of rescuing Mikael’s sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and that the only agent capable of this is Inspector Saga Bauer, a twenty-seven-year-old prodigy. She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and she will have to find a way to get to the psychopath before it’s too late–and before he gets inside her head

My thoughts

The action starts on the first page and the thrill does not stop until you reach the end. It took me a while to adapt to the use of present tense but along with the short chapters, I found it added to the urgency of the plot as the detectives race against the clock to find Mikael’s sister. The tension increases further with the dark, twisted world of the psychiatric ward Saga finds herself in. The villain of The Sandman is creepy, terrifying and taps into the fear I had of the Sandman legend I was told about as a child. It made me want to hide under the duvet more than once. Lars Kepler are at the top of their game in producing fast-paced novels with unpredictable twists and unforgettable, complex characters.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes but keep the lights on after dark!

Happy reading!