Friday, 23 November 2018

Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick

Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel's childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science - and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs. 

Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel's side as he's dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career. 

As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals 

My first thoughts on reading this book is, what a brain this man must have. His capacity for learning is huge. 

My heart went out to the young boy growing up on his family's family in rural Ballyfin,Ireland. At the age of eight years old Noel was out in the fields late at night helping find lost sheep and helping them give birth. Looking after animals is in the bones of the man. His best friend was a sheepdog, Pirate who he would go to and tell all his troubles to him and cry on his fur.

Noel was bullied relentlessly at secondary school and the only one he had to turn to was his dog. He never told his parents as he thought they were busy enough and would tell him to get on with it which is more or less what a teacher at the school told him. Noel decided to put all his efforts into studying to make something of himself as he always wanted to be a vet.

The book contains many funny stories about life as a student vet and the scrapes he got himself into.

His journey to become a specialist in his field of veterinary surgery was a long one and not an easy one.

Noel has fought hard for what he has achieved today and I hope these bullies from his schooldays are all hanging their heads in shame.

This was a really interesting read. It reveals many surprising things about the man we watch on television. I'll leave you to find them out for yourself.

Needless to say Noel comes across as intelligent, compassionate and an all round nice guy.

The book finishes just as he is realising his dream in setting up his vet centre where he is now.

I predict a second book as I'm sure Noel has a lot more stories to tell.

My links are not working but it is for sale on Amazon for kindle and in paperback and probably every bookshop and supermarket just in time for Christmas. 

Friday, 19 October 2018

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul

With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia's imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father's side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: 'I didn't want to kill her.' As she unravels the secrets behind her mother's disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world's greatest mysteries.

Gill Paul is one of my favourite writers. Her books sweep you off your feet and transport you to a time in history you are glad you didn't have lived through.
This is the second book where the subject is one of the lost daughters of the Russian Royal Family who were executed in 1918. I have always been fascinated by the story that one of the daughters,  Anastacia may have escaped, many women have claimed to be her , a film was made, but none have been proven.
In her last book, The Secret Wife, Gill Paul wrote about Titania and what if she had escaped, what happened to her?

In this book she explores the question what if Maria escaped? She was a very friendly girl especially with the guards and a few of them liked her very much.
These two books although fiction are not without the realms of possibility. As we know how difficult it was for the guards to think about killing the young woman and children they had grown fond of .
 It is said that the remains of the bodies of the royal family were covered in acid so nothing was left. The only body identified was that of Tsar Nicholas 11.
I believe that if any of the family had survived they would have stayed in hiding as they would surely have been made to disappear if discovered by the authorities.

This story tugged at my heartstrings. I never realised how much the Russian people suffered during the rule of Stalin. Neighbours telling tales on each other and children being forced to spy on their parents. Countless arrests were made in the middle of the night and no one felt safe in bed.
The Second World War brought more hardship and thousands of people died. Maria had such a hard life especially after the privileged life she led before. I admired everything about her. 
This part of the story was quite a tense and harrowing read. Danger was around every corner and people became insular as no one could be trusted.

The second part of the story is set in Australia in the 1970’s. Val’s boorish Russian father dies leaving behind stories untold, especially about what happened to Val’s Chinese mother all those years ago. Val has to handle her brutal husband first before she can get to her father's possessions. The law and her husband’s old friend’s network is against her but Val gets strength from her young daughter, friends  and the thought of maybe finding her own mother again.

This book is just brilliant. It provoked every emotion in me and kept me glued until the end...and what an ending ! 
At the end of the book is a historical afterward by Gill Paul. I really appreciated this as I was uninterested in history at school probably down to the way it was taught. Gill makes it all so interesting. I know her stories are fiction built around true events but there's always a part of me that thinks….this just might be true!

Out in paperback and kindle is only 99p
( sorry blogger won't do links) 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

A Village Affair by Julie Houston

I'm so happy to be part of the blog tour for this book. If you haven't read and of Julie's book then you are really missing something from your life.

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being 'outed' at a village charity auction - he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends. 

As if that weren't enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape. 

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet... 

Everything happens at once for Cassie. Finding out about her husband's affair with her best friend and starting a new job at the local primary school. Just when Cassie wants to climb into bed and pull the duvet over her head she finds out she has to step in as acting head teacher.  Her head is all over the place but thankfully she has lovely friends in Fi and Clare to support her.

It's lovely to be back again in the village of Midhope which is where Julie Houston's novels are set.
There were even guest appearances from Grace,Harriet and Celemintine from previous books.
What I loved about this story is through Julie's writing I felt I got to know the characters really well. I loved Cassie and her bolshy daughter. 
Just when Cassie thinks she's found some happiness from the wreckage of her marriage things start to get more complicated
I laughed at the antics of the schoolchildren and applauded at how Cassie dealt with each one. 
The lollipop lady was hilarious and the scenes between her and Cassie were some of the best in the book.
 And now an extract from A Village Affair with thanks to Julie and her publisher.

She’s Right Off My Christmas Card List…

At 1 a.m. on the Monday morning – the morning when I was apparently supposed to breeze into Little Acorns and take over at the helm, steering both staff and pupils in the direction demanded by the local authority, the governors and, more pertinently, bloody Ofsted, my husband slunk back home. I say ‘slunk’ but to be honest I didn’t have a clue as to the speed or mode of his arrival, being dead to the world as a result of a couple of Fiona’s little helpers.

Totally shattered from lack of sleep and the shock, as well as the bombshell of my sudden promotion, I was in a pretty catatonic state by the time Fiona and Clare left, late in the afternoon, to sort out their weeks ahead.

Clare, who was in the process of expanding her rather successful stag do business, Last Stagger, to incorporate hen dos, had been given a lift by Fiona to get her own car and laptop and, on her return, set herself up at my breakfast bar dealing with emails and the many enquiries for new business. Fiona, who believed any problem could be solved through food, and lots of it, found my pinny, ingredients in the fridge and freezer and set to rustling up a meal in order to have some semblance of normality for the kids. At least when Freya and Tom finally got around to realising this particular Sunday was shaping up to be rather different from the usual Sunday in the Beresford household, I had the excuse of being in shock and terror at suddenly finding myself head teacher instead of deputy. Having said that, while there might be a shepherd’s pie in the oven, I still didn’t know how I was going to explain Mark’s absence.

Before Fiona left to feed her own brood, she’d nipped down to Sainsbury’s, returning with an enormous chocolate cake, concealer and a pack of Nytol.

‘The cake’s for pud to stop your two talking,’ she announced drily. ‘If their mouths are full, they can’t be asking too many questions. You’ll need the concealer to cover up those red eyes in the morning and the Nytol…’

‘I’m not taking sleeping tablets,’ I protested. ‘I don’t believe in them…’

‘They’re just antihistamine,’ Fiona said calmly. ‘Far better that you actually get some sleep to face tomorrow than have another night like last night. You probably won’t need them, you’ll be so exhausted. I usually drop a couple when Matthew is snoring horrendously and doesn’t respond to my clapping.’

‘Clapping?’ Clare looked up from her laptop, bemused. ‘You applaud him for bloody snoring. God, I’d be kicking him, not encouraging him. Clapping?’

Fiona laughed. ‘Honestly, it works. Try it next time one of your men happens to be a snorer. You just gently clap two or three times and they turn over and sleep without another sound. It doesn’t always work.’ Fiona started giggling. ‘The other night I was so fed up with him I clapped really angrily – staccato – in his left ear, and he shot out of bed shouting, “What is it, what is it, wassamatter…?” fell over his bloody great size-fifteen boots – that I’m always telling him to shift from the bedroom – and landed in a naked heap on the carpet.’ Fiona carried on chortling. ‘Great entertainment,’ she added.

‘I think you need to get out more,’ Clare said. ‘Why don’t you go into the spare room when the snorer from hell kicks off?’

‘Haven’t got one any more. Now that the girls are horrible adolescents and can’t stand sharing a bedroom – or each other, come to that – Bea has purloined the spare room for herself. Moved all her stuff in there a couple of months ago and refuses to move.’

‘I’d smack her bottom,’ Clare said.

‘Not when she’s almost six foot and her hockey stick’s a constant accessory, you wouldn’t,’ Fiona said mildly. ‘Anyway, enough of my lot. How are you feeling now, Cassie?’

‘Like I’m in a dream,’ I shrugged. ‘Totally not with it.Even if Mark hadn’t done what he’d done, if he was here now with me instead of you two, I’d still be in a state about tomorrow.’

‘But why?’ Clare looked up again. ‘I thought you wanted to be in charge?’

I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself as terrifying thoughts of the next day replaced incredulous thoughts of Mark’s recalcitrant behaviour. ‘I know you two – particularly you, Clare, not having any kids in the system – don’t know much about what’s going on in education at the moment, but being a deputy head in a primary school is totally different from being the head. I have a class of my own to teach, albeit on a slightly, and I emphasise the word slightly, reduced timetable. I’m given two afternoons off to perform my deputy’s role.’

‘Sounds much better now then,’ Clare said, draining her cup of coffee. ‘As head, you won’t have a class to teach and you can shut yourself away in your office and swivel round on your chair, pressing those red and green lights that say, “Come In” or “Bugger Off”.’

I actually laughed at that. ‘You don’t know the half. I’m still going to have to deal with my new class tomorrow; someone will have to teach them and I can’t see David Henderson having sorted out any supply.’

‘David Henderson.’ Fiona whistled. ‘I’m still amazed that the man they call “the Richard Branson of the North” is actually your Chair of Governors. What’s he like? Rather attractive, isn’t he?’

Rather?’ Clare snorted. ‘Very, you mean. He’s gorgeous…’

‘With a very attractive wife,’ I smiled.

‘Since when’s that stopped Clare?’ Fiona sniffed, giving me an anxious look. ‘Look, Cassie, you can’t do everything. You can’t be expected to teach a class of thirty ten-year-olds and be deputy head and now head as well. What did David Henderson say? What’s likely to happen?’

‘Well, in cases like this, where the head is suddenly no more, if the deputy has been in situ for years then theywill be acting head and another member of staff will be acting deputy until the post of head is advertised and filled. In my case, where I’m brand new, a new acting head is usually brought in from the authority. You know, someone who’s been a deputy for years in their own school and is actively looking for a headship. They’ll ship them in to take over temporarily.’

Clare looked disappointed. ‘Oh, so you’re not going to be head after all? Well, that’s all your problems halved in one fell swoop. You just need to sort Mark out and you’ll be back to square one, job done.’

‘Clare!’ Fiona frowned as she saw my face. ‘I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. You get back to sorting your rampant stags and don’t be so damned flippant.’

I smiled at Fiona but realised my stomach was churning and I wanted to throw up. ‘I’m sure they willbring someone in to take over as head but, according to David Henderson, it won’t be tomorrow. He said he’d be on hand in the morning to help me. Shit,’ I said, suddenly realising. ‘I’m going to have to do a new-term, new-year, new-beginning assembly and I’ll have to explain to the children that Mrs Theobold is dead. Or do I say she’s with Jesus? No, I can’t; what about the Muslim children? OK, Mrs Theobold is with Jesus or Mohammed – take your pick, kids.’

‘Calm down,’ Clare said as she realised panic was mounting in every fibre of my being once more. ‘Sit yourself down, pen and paper in front of you, and we’ll help you compose your very first assembly as head. How hard can it be?’


Monday, 10 September 2018

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

What must Estella sacrifice to make her mark?

1940: Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015: Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.

Estella is forced to flee Paris as the Germans invade. Her mother Jeane stays behind but gives her daughter her blessing to leave. Estella promises to return as soon as it's safe.
Working as a seamstress Estella finds a job in the garment district,she also copies patterns for high couture dresses for other companies. 
In 2015 Estella's granddaughter Fabienne is called to her bedside just before she passes away. As Fabienne goes through her grandmother's possessions we learn what a heartbreaking life Estella had and how ordinary people like her and those connected to her helped the war effort.
There are many surprises in this story and I shed a few tears. I liked the duel storyline and the way the story of Estella was revealed. 
Another author I've just found and I need to read more of her books. 
No links(sorry) . Kindle download is out now £1.99 and paperback will be published on Oct 4th.

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy. 

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

Emily,who is still recovering from rejection and obsessive behaviour witnesses a fatal accident. The victim, Rose becomes the focus of Emily's attention and as she becomes more obsessed she finds it easy to slip into the space Rose left behind.

Of course all is not as it seems and as Emily steps into Roses's shoes at work and at home she may just be wishing she had stayed in her own shoes.

I really enjoyed this book,wondering where it would go and how far Emily would push things before someone found out what she was doing. Emily is a flawed character looking for love and acceptance,she just goes about it the wrong way.

This is the first book I have read by this author but her other books sound good too. 

My links are not working but this book is out in paperback and kindle download is 99p. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott

August 1939
At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives...
Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband's devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she's drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything...

A duel storyline linked by the character of Maddy. In 1939 two young sisters orphaned by the death of their father are sent to live in Summerlea estate with their aunt. When older sister Georgina returns from Europe bringing her party going upper-class friends with her, Maddy is not impressed as she wanted Georgina to herself.
I found it took me a while to get into this part of the story. Georgina's friends didn't interest me and nor did Victor who I thought from the beginning was obnoxious. I did eventually get hooked on the story when Maddy started telling it to Chloe.
I immediately loved the present day story and every fibre of my being hoped for Chloe to stand up to her husband Aiden. Chloe was a strong woman who was being torn down by him. 
Chloe is a photographer and although Aiden has told her to take no more jobs on she can't resist t when she's asked to take photos of Madeleine who with her sister wrote and illustrated children's books. 
As revelations from 1939 become clear Maddy and Chloe become closer and Chloe tries to escape from the nightmare she is trapped in.
I loved this story once I got into the 1939 part and I felt sad when it ended.
This is the author's second book and this would definitely make me want to read her first one.

Out for kindle £1.99 or paperback HERE

The House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse

Twenty-three year old Katy Speed is fascinated by the house across the street. The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, other times they have children.
Hilda, Katy's mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders if these mysterious visitors have just been released from prison. Is Gloria secretly bringing criminals, or worse, into the heart of the community?
Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained visitors must be responsible until her father is arrested and charged with murder. Have the police arrested the correct person? Are the rest of the street safe? Can Katy find the truth before it's too late?

Katy is devastated when her father is arrested, accused of starting a fire in the house across the street which killed the mysterious Gloria and her daughter who was visiting her. Worst of all Katy's mother seems to believe the police and is not standing by her husband. 

Katy decides to go ahead with her plans to move to London with her friend Jilly as she can't stand the thought of staying at home with her cold, unloving mother now that her father is in prison and her brother at university. The girls stay with Jilly's aunt and uncle until they can find a flat and Katy finds a new job. 

Katy starts to investigate the life of Gloria hoping to find something to clear her father's name. 
This was when Katy started to annoy me and also get herself into trouble as she starts to think she knows best and goes against everyone's advice.

There is a good back story to this as we find out what Gloria was really doing in the house across the street.

A fast-paced book that you won't be able to put down until the last page has been read.

Out for kindle, paperback and hardback HERE although I do think the kindle edition is pricey. Maybe go for the paperback in a suipermarket.

Monday, 3 September 2018

One Day in December by Josie Silver,plus a guest post by the author.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it?
But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. 
Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.
Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?
Following Laurie, Sarah and Jack through ten years of love, heartbreak and friendship, One Day in December is a joyous, heart-warming and immensely moving love story that you'll want to escape into forever, for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond and Nicholas Sparks.

Be still my beating heart! Love at first sight! 
When Laurie sees the boy at the bus stop while she's a passenger on the top deck of the bus she falls in love. Unfortunately the bus moves off before he can get on it and the moment passes. 
Laurie tells her best friend and flat mate Sarah all about him and they spend weeks trying to find him.
A year later Sarah introduces the love of her life " the one" to Laurie and she is broken hearted to discover he is the boy from the bus.
The course of true love never runs smooth and Laurie has to forget Jack as Sarah is in love with him so she has to get on with her life just having him as a friend no matter how much it hurts.
I loved this story. Laurie was such a lovely character but then so was Sarah. So while I wanted Laurie to find Jack again I also wanted Sarah to be happy. 
Laurie and Sarah have such a strong bond they are like sisters. A bond that only loving the same man could break.
There's such a lot of twists and turns in this story and I often thought there was no way for Jack and Sarah to ever be together. We never know what fate has in store for us next and where it will take us.
I could see this as a Christmas film.
And that's all I'm giving away. A lovely heartwarming story of love and friendship ......and fate! 

I'm so pleased to be today's stop on the blog tour for Josie Silver's debut novel. I hope to hear a lot more of this author.
Out for kindle 99p HERE and published in paperback in October.

And now a guest post by the author.

Where I write - Josie Silver

We've recently moved house, so my office is best described as a work in progress. It's not exactly a room; it's more of a big square landing outside my bedroom, probably the world's shortest commute! I've lots of lovely plans for it in the long-term, but for now I have a pretty desk my sister painted for me, and a retro leather chair my brother gave me a few birthday's ago. You can usually find me there with a coffee on the go, surrounded by post it notes and to-do lists.
There's a window to one side looking out over the garden - I like to have a view for variety. 
I don't always write at my desk, though, I tend to move around the house depending on what I'm working on, and also on the weather. If it's a sunny day I like to work outside, and in the winter it's not unusual for me to take my laptop back to bed and work from there! 
I have a comfortable chair and footstool that used to be in my office in the old house; it's now next to an open fireplace in one of the downstairs rooms, hopefully a warm spot for the cold days ahead.
We have two cats - Theo, a Russian blue and Elsa who's Bengal. Most days they'll make an appearance wherever I am, especially if there is a fire or a warm blanket around too. 
My husband has grand plans to build me a writing shed at the bottom of the garden. It's been something we've talked about idly for some years now, and the new place does have the perfect spot for it in one corner. It's become a shed of mythical proportions over the years - a cross between the Weasley's burrow from Harry Potter and a tiny fairytale house with stained windows and an upstairs sleeping platform! My husband is pretty handy so I have to say I have high expectations. For now though, my landing office will do me nicely - working from home is a privilege I don't take for granted, I really love it. 

Thank you Josie sounds like a lovely place to write but get your hubby onto that writing shed!

Josie had sent me photos of her writing space but unfortunatly both my ipad and computer don't want to copy them. Sorry Josie.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

One Thousand Stars and You by Isabelle Broom

One spark will illuminate 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.

Alice and her two friends are celebrating their 30 th birthdays with a trip to Sri Lanka which they always said they would do. For Alice, it's her last taste of freedom before settling down with her boyfriend. 
An accident when she was young left Alice with a facial scar and stopped her tomboy and adventurous ways. Her mother became so overprotective after that and made Alice scared to do anything. Richard, her boyfriend is every bit as bad and they don't seem suited.
Max is an amputee after an incident while in the army in Afghanistan. He wants to prove he can do as much as anyone else to the point where he hides his pain. 
Yes, it's a love story, but it's a beautiful one. It's the story of a young woman finally loving life and believing in herself for the for the first time since her accident. And the story of a young man accepting who he is.
Travelling around Sri Lanka, staying in huts, going on safari, all provided a background of excitement to the story.
And....a lovely ending.
Published today! 
Find it here!

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

Could your dream home be your worst nightmare?

After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family.
And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.
But then their first guest arrives.
Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see.
It's seventeen years since she tore everything apart.
Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty's life?
Is Selena running from something too?
Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?
Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it . . .

The opening scenes in the book are of a body lying at the foot of the stairs and someone with blood on their hands.
We then move to two months before this incident and Kirsty, her husband, two daughters and her mother have moved from London to Wales to open a B&B which is Kirsty's dream. They are also trying to forget a traumatic event that happened in London.
One of the first guests turns out to be Kirsty's estranged cousin Selena, a person Kirsty has not seen for 17 yrs and the last person she wants to welcome. This has been orchestrated by Kirsty's mother who has obviously kept in touch with Selena. 
Strange things happen in the house and the neighbours don't seem too friendly. One guest even warns Kirsty that the house isn't a safe place to be.
Everyone seems to have secrets and as another unwelcome guest appears will Kirsty wonders if she has done the right thing by leaving London? 

I expected this book to be a bit ghostly and a bit of suspense and a bit of crime. It didn't quite live up to keeping me awake at night or having me on the edge of my seat. I guessed part of the story quite quickly but did get a few surprises along the way.
After saying all that I did enjoy the read. I liked the character of Kirsty. She was a strong woman fighting for her family even putting up with going into business with her mother to enable this to happen.
I didn't like her husband Adrian. I know he had problems but I felt like he wasn't trying and this is what made me dislike him.
Selena was.... Well, I can't even describe her you'll have to read the book to find out what she was...I wonder if like me you will guess. 
Out in paperback or kindle

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Adults by Caroline Hulse

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...

Before you start reading you just know that a blended family holiday like this is a recipe for disaster...and you'd be right.
Let's begin with Matt. Extremely juvenile, never opens letters, never tells Alex of his plans and keeps blowing his hair out of his eyes...get it cut! His good points are he is on the same level as his seven-year-old daughter so she thinks he's great.

Claire, Matt's ex-wife, and Scarlett's mother. She seems to lay down the law and expect everyone to follow. Apart from that, she is as nice as pie but I expect that's because as the ex and mother of the child she has the upper hand over Alex, Matt's girlfriend. 

Patrick is a strange man, he has so many hang-ups and is pushing his body too far in training for "Iron Man" presumably to look more macho to Claire.

Alex seems very normal but she has a drink problem. She suspects Matt of lying to her and hates the thought of spending Christmas altogether in a cabin.

Scarlet has been damaged by her parents getting divorced and expresses her feelings through her imaginary rabbit friend, Posey. This gave us some very funny moments in the book which I won't spoil for you.

A good read, very funny in parts and some great one-liners. It was like a glimpse through the keyhole at how other families live, and how sometimes what seems like a good idea at the time can turn out to be the exact opposite. 

As much as Claire was lovely I was team Alex all the way and wanted her to dump Matt and go and have a good Christmas elsewhere. 
Does she? You'll have to read it to find out.

The Adults will be published on Aug 23rd.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Liar's Room by Simon Lelic

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. 
But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She's never met this young man before - so why does she feel like she knows him?
Then Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt
And Susanna realises she was wrong. She doesn't know him. BUT HE KNOWS HER.

Goodness! This was a tense book and a page-turner. Susanna has a secret past we know nothing about but she now has a new life with her teenage daughter Emily and a job as a counselor.
When Adam walks in as her new client Susanna knows something is not quite right with him. She feels she should know him but from where? She also knows he is telling lies.
Adam eventually gets to the real reason he is here,he wants answers to questions about Susanna's son, Jake.

We then hear in flashbacks why Susananna started a new life and why she has never told her daughter she had a brother. Adam wants to know more about Jake and why he did what he did and why Susanna didn't stop him. If he doesn't get the answers he wants Emily will die and so will Susanna because Adam has her daughter hidden somewhere and he has a knife.

Once again too many spoilers on Amazon and I'm not going to join them.
I couldn't put this book down as I had no idea where it was going. There was only one bit that I found a bit disappointing and that was actually the climax of the story, I think it could have been handled better, but it didn't stop me wanting to know what came next and how the book would end.
I enjoyed Simon Lelic's book, The House, and this one was equally as gripping. I didn't realize he had written so many books so I'm off to have a look at them. 

Paperback or kindle (99p) HERE

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Key by Kathryn Hughes

It's Ellen Crosby's first day as a student nurse at Ambergate hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives forever.

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

A duel timeline story set in 1956 and 2006.

 Sarah is writing a book about the now derelict Ambergate Hospital which was once described as a lunatic asylum. She manages to gain entry to the building and as she explores the rooms Sarah finds a door to a large cupboard full of suitcases. With the help of a friend she documents the contents of each suitcase. This makes her even more determined to write their story.

We then return to 1956 when nurse Ellen Crosby starts her first day working in the asylum. Through her eyes we find out the stories of the patients and follow one in particular. 

Sarah's father is connected to the asylum and he could give her the answers to her questions but he refuses to speak about how he is connected or about anyone who belongs to the suitcases that his daughter found.

Kathryn Hughes has did it again,she has made me cry. I love the way this author writes she draws you right into a story and makes you not want to leave.
This book is heartbreaking and more so because the cruelty of these asylums as well as the silly reasons that young women were admitted is well documented, and we know this story could belong to anyone of the people admitted or forced into these places. 
I read this book about a month ago and I still think about it. I found this to be a real page turner and didn't want to it it down, neither will you.

The kindle edition is out now with the paperback to be published on 6th sept.

Dark Deception by Amanda James

Kerensa and Leo are a happily married young couple who live in Cornwall. Leo works part-time in London as an investment advisor to weal...