Monday, 24 November 2014

The Prophecy Of Bees by R.S. Pateman.

Moving to Stagcote Manor was meant to be a fresh start for Lindy and her teenage daughter Izzy. A chance at a new life in the country after things went so wrong in London. But for Izzy it is a prison sentence.

There's something about the house that she can't quite put her finger on. Something strange and unnerving. As Izzy begins to explore the manor and the village beyond its walls, she discovers the locals have a lot of bizarre superstitions and beliefs. Many of them related to the manor . . . and those who live there.

When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the estate, her unease deepens to fear as the house's chilling past finally comes to light.

The Prophecy of Bees is a tense, gripping psychological suspense novel that explores the dark power of superstition and folklore.

I read this book in one sitting during a short stay in hospital. I didn't know what to expect as I didn't read the blurb on the back of the book and the striking book cover gave none of the story away.
It starts off innocently enough (after the short prologue) with Isabella (Izzy) and her mother Lindy moving from London to the remote Stagcote Manor. Teenager Izzy has became rebellious after the death of her father and has been expelled from her school, found drinking alcohol and is dating a guy from a rock band.
Lindy has enrolled her as a day pupil at Cheltenham Ladies' College and Izzy is distraught.
Lindy has banned her daughter from using her phone or email address as she wants her to have nothing to do with any of her friends especially her boyfriend.

After they have moved into Stagcote Manor the story gets a bit darker. The village is steeped in superstition and Izzy becomes involved with the locals as they drop hints to her about what might have gone on before.
At last it seems like Izzy has found something she is interested in, researching the history of the manor and all who lived in it before.
I loved Izzy. She was bright and bubbly underneath all the teenage angst that she showed her mother. She also seemed to get on with everyone she met except for her mother.
I wasn't too keen on Lindy. I know she thought she was doing the best thing for her daughter but all she had to do was really listen to what Izzy had to say and realise that she missed her dad so much and locking her away in the middle of nowhere wasn't going to change anything.

This book had me at the edge of my seat just like in those films where the girl goes to the basement in the dark and you shout,"No!"
Each twist had me turning the page quicker. There were so many shocks in each chapter as the story reached the climax. Who could Izzy trust? Would her mother ever believe her findings?

I should have realised that as this is a R.S. Pateman book that the ending would be a surprise, and it was.
 I don't know if I agreed with it but it added to the chilling atmosphere of the book.
I must mention the bees as they are in the book title and spoken about all through the book,they brought their own superstitions with them and the villagers lives were controlled by that superstition.

 As with Rob's first book, The Second Life of Amy Archer which I reviewed  here  this one was very different from the usual books I read but I'm so glad I came out my comfort zone to read them both. Mr Pateman is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Both his books would make great films.

The Prophecy of Bees would make a great stocking filler at Christmas time. for any avid reader.
There is only one thing left to say. If you're reading this Rob,when can we expect book number three?

The Prophecy of Bees from The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)
                                           Amazon .uk (kindle)

Follow Rob on twitter here

Here is a trailer for the book.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

With a Friend Like You by Fanny Blake

Beth is a woman in supreme control of all aspects of her life and family, with a stellar career and her house an oasis of calm. Her closest friend, Megan, is very different; somehow she swims through the chaos of her family with ease, the clutter on the stairs, the cat footprints on the kitchen work space. And while they could not be more different, Beth and Megan have a genuine friendship built on years of laughter, tears and true understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses. Because that's what friends do, isn't it?

But when Beth's daughter reveals a surprising secret, a wedge is driven between Beth and Megan. What begins as mild recrimination and misunderstanding develops into a full-blown row and then a simmering feud. As the two women square up to do battle in the London suburbs, there's everything to play for. All's fair in love and war...

Beth and Megan have been friends for over twenty years. Megan even introduced Beth to Jon who was to become Beth's husband. Their families grew up together and Megan was always around to help career driven Beth by looking after her children when needed.
All that changes when Beth's oldest daughter Ella faces a life changing situation and confides in Megan before she tells her mum. Beth finds this out eventually and can't understand why Megan kept it a secret. She cuts Megan out of her life completely but things do not always go to plan and Beth will realise that cutting Megan from her life may not be that easy.
 This is the first book I have read by Fanny Blake and I'm glad to say I enjoyed it. It explores the relationship between two best friends as well as the mother/daughter and mother /son relationship.
I understood completely why Beth felt hurt at her daughter confiding in Megan but what I found harder to understand was her lack of forgiveness and the fact that she blamed Megan who was only trying to do her best in an awkward situation.

Beth soon became an unlikeable character for me. I really wanted someone to give her a good talking to.
Megan on the other hand I liked and thought her a good friend to Beth.
 Jake, Megan's son I liked one minute and the next I wanted to slap him. When you read the book you'll know what I mean. Ella was a typical teenager who thought she knew it all and could move mountains. I wanted Beth to listen to her more instead of scoring points over Megan.

I liked the  glimpse into the working lives of Megan as a lawyer and Beth as a deputy head of a school.
 I laughed at  the meetings of the book club and how Megan and Beth tried to hide that they weren't on friendly terms.
Any book that can stir emotions in the reader as this did for me must be classed as a good read.
This is a very human story about something that lots of families may be having to deal with at this very moment. Some handle it well and some don't. As I said it's a very human story.

Amazon UK here  here

Monday, 10 November 2014

Away From You by Kate Langdale

Heartbreaking new novel from the author of CHOOSE ME, about the sacrifices parents must make and the anguish that can befall them.

When Monica is offered a three-month placement in LA, she knows that for the sake of her career she must accept it - even though it means leaving behind nine-year-old Ruby, toddler Luca and her husband Daniel.

She hires Ursula as a housekeeper and nanny during her absence, although the older woman is oddly reluctant to agree to a childcare position. What is the dark secret in Ursula's past, which has left her so closed-off and reserved? Will her growing attachment to Ruby bring it to the surface? And will Monica regret leaving the children in her care?

This is the first book by Kate Langdale I've read but it won't be my last.
We begin the story by meeting the Watson family. Father and mother, Daniel and Monica and their two children Ruby 9yrs and Luca 18mths. Daniel,a surgeon is always busy with a demanding job. Monica is not quite satisfied with life  and when she receives a phone call from and old friend offering her 3mths work as assistant producer on a film that's about to be made in L.A she is over the moon and wonders if she could make it work for the family.

Daniel agrees it can be worked out they just need a housekeeper/nanny to do everything Monica would normally do.
After numerous interviews Monica chooses Ursula who has specifically stated to the employment agency that she does not want to with children but Monica talks her into it and she takes the job.

The next part of the story is about Ursula and the children. What is her secret? She seems to have no emotions,only speaks when spoken too and rushes off every night to her own house where she survives on the bare necessities.
Oh, I don't want to tell you too much and I also want to tell you the whole story. Ruby is wonderful, She has such insight into what Ursula needs and she misses her mum so much but doesn't say for fear of upsetting everyone. You will love her.
I didn't rate Monica too highly. I failed to understand how she could leave her children for a job, but I suppose everyone is different.
 As the layers of Ursula's life are gently peeled away it broke my heart and I couldn't put the book down, I had to find out what her secret was.

Kate Langdale's writing is like a breathe of fresh air. She writes sensitively in this book about grief and finding a reason to live through it. I was annoyed when I reached the last page and had to put it on the bookshelf.

I always tell the truth when I write a review. I do think the price of £8.96 for a kindle copy is quite steep and I wouldn't pay it I'd rather wait for the paperback version to hit the shops. I would love you to tell me in your comments if you would pay that price.The hardback book has 279 pages.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in return for an honest review and for that and introducing me to a new author I thank them. 
Away From You on Amazon

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Married By Midnight - A Christmas Story by Talli Roland

Publication day has arrived  for the lovely Talli Roland's new Christmas novella.

The recipe for this book is tantalising. A Christmas wedding, a vintage wedding dress, a romantic mystery and a will she? won't she ?
The main character, Kate is planning her wedding day to Tim but are her mother's belief in the stars, fate and fortune tellers is taking over Kate's plans and maybe steering her in the wrong direction ?
Kate's sister Bea refuses to believe in anything to do with the superstitions her mother lives by and urges Kate to know her own heart.

I enjoyed this book so much and it's the perfect read after Christmas shopping when you don't have time to start a full length book. This novella is just the right size for reading with your tired feet up and a glass of wine.
I loved the perfect ending and shed a few tears. All the characters in the book are enjoyable and I cared what happened to them, well, all except Tim.
I'm not going to give away any more of the story as it is a novella and one look at the lovely chrismassy cover says it all. The romantic Talli Roland has another winner.

Talli Roland writes bittersweet and witty contemporary women's fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine).

Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's novels have been short-listed as Best Romantic Reads at the UK's Festival of Romance and chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites.

Married By Midnight Amazon for kindle 89p

The Stolen Child by Jennie Felton

Will anyone believe her baby is gone? When Stella Swift is discovered holding a shard of broken glass near her newborn baby boy, fears...