Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Pool House by Tasmina Perry

A Summer To Die For

To Jem Chapman, it's the chance of a lifetime. An invitation to join a group in an exclusive Hamptons house-share, who could say no? But when she discovers what happened last summer, Jem can't help but feel a chill.

A young woman was found drowned in the house's pool. The housemates said Alice was troubled. She'd been drinking. She couldn't swim...

A Secret To Kill For

As Jem gets to know her glamorous new housemates, she realises each has something to hide. What really happened last summer? And who would go to any lengths to keep a person quiet?

Jem and her husband Nat are living the dream. They have moved from London to an apartment in New York. Nat has a good job with a magazine and has a great social life. They have just been offered a share in a holiday house in the Hamptons, so...what's not to like? 

Well the fact that the couple who house shared before them dropped out because one of them,Alice drowned in the pool at the house. Why hasn't Nat explained this to the unsuspecting Jem? 

I'm always in for a good read when I pick up a book by Tasmina Perry. Nothing is ever straightforward in her books. Her last few books were of slightly a different genres and now with this book we're back to the writing style of her first books. No matter what, I've enjoyed every book of hers I've read and I enjoyed The Poolhouse too.

As Jem decides to find out why Alice went near the pool when she couldn't swim and had been drinking she discovers that some people would rather she stopped asking questions,is Nat one of them? 
Get yourself a glass of wine and a big bar of chocolate and curl up at the fire in a comfy chair and just....ENJOY!

Out in paperback in all bookshops and supermarkets or download it for kindle for 99p! You couldn't even buy a fancy coffee for that price!

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Man I Thought You Were by Leah Mercer

One fine autumn evening, Anna returns from work and starts making dinner, eager to welcome home her husband, Mark. It’s just like any other day in their ten-year, Pinterest-perfect marriage—until he says he’s leaving her.

Discovering that the man she thought she knew better than anyone else is capable of abandoning it all sends Anna reeling. She believed the life they’d built together—and the bright future they’d imagined—counted for everything. How can he walk away?

The truth is Mark is battling secrets of his own—secrets Anna knows nothing about. A painful past and an uncertain future threaten to bring his life down around him—and he’ll do anything not to expose her to that.

But unravelling the past is lonelier than Mark could ever have imagined and, as the days turn to months, Anna worries the separation will break them forever. Can she bring him back from the brink of self-destruction before it’s too late, or will she discover that she never really knew him at all?

Anna's husband Mark tells her he's leaving her after ten years of marriage. Anna has no idea why and Mark offers no explanation,he just leaves.

When we find out why Mark has left  I felt annoyed with him. I realise there were hidden events in his life that made him act the way he did but I still found his reasoning difficult to understand.

I liked Anna's character and the journey she takes us on trying to find where her husband is and the real reason why he left. I even liked Mark's father, although he knew he had made mistakes in the past he admitted the and was ready to be a better dad.

I didn't gel with Mark throughout the book until near the end of the story, but I never quite forgave him for what he put Anna through.

Another good read from Leah Mercer who's books keep getting better and better. If you haven't read her before,give her a try.

Out in kindle or paperback. Kindle download is £1.98

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry

The 19th of January, 1996 . . . I'll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the same day I developed my first crush on a girl.
Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after our wedding day, Jemma was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma she had no memory of me,of us,of the love we shared.
That's when I started writing her letters. The stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we'd experienced together.

What can I say about this book? It grabbed my heart and squeezed every emotion it could find from it.
Jemma and Braxton have been neighbours and friends since childhood. They have been married for nineteen days when tragedy strikes and Jemna is left in a comma. Braxton is devasted and stays by her bedside until she awakes. 

When Jemma comes round from the comma she has no memory of who she is or of the life she had.
Braxton's world collapses again when Jemma orders him out of her hospital room. He has no idea how to get throught to her,then someone suggests writing his feelings down in letters to her. This becomes the first of nineteen letters he sends to Jemma, nineteen is a significant number to them.
We hear their story through the letters and what a beautiful story it is, but can Jemma ever find her way back to Braxton and the life she lived? 

The other characters in the book have good sub plots too, Jemma's parents,Braxton's father,and two of Jemma and Braxton's friends.
Set in Australia this story is so beautifully written it will break your heart and stay with you long after you have closed the book.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The House by Simon Lelic

The heart-stopping thriller about a husband and wife who are hiding something from each other, and from you...This book won't let you go until you've found out the truth. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Gillian Flynn and Fiona Barton.

Whose story do YOU believe?
Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.

I'm delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for The House by Simon Lelic.
Jack and Sidney bid for a house in London. The have tried to buy one many times before but because of the London house market have always been outbid for a property.
This time is different. Despite there being many bids for the house and despite their bid not being the highest it is sold to them.
The house is sold as seen and is full of the vendor's possessions. It seems he found love and moved to Australia to be with his girlfriend leaving everything behind..
Jack and Sidney are too happy to care but Jack does have a nagging doubt that everything is not as it seems.
They have forgotten the saying that,if something is too good to be true it probably is.

Jack and Sidney's problems all begin with the house and now the find themselves accused of murder.
They decide to write down everything that happened since they bought the house. Each telling their side of the story in alternate chapters.
This book held my interest all the way through. There is a sub plot when Sidney meets a young girl Elsie who reminds her of herself. Trying to help the girl Sidney tells her the story of her childhood and we are drawn into the lives of this woman and young girl.

So much happens in this book,it twists and turns and you don't know who is doing the twisting.
Can Jack and Sidney's relationship survive someone determined to destroy it?
This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. I thought at first it was a ghost story, which it isn't but it's full of nervous tension and keeps you on the end of your seat.

find it on Amazon here

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

What would you do if you learned the life you live is a lie? 

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

This is the first book by Amanda Prowse I have read and I throughly enjoyed it. The family in the story went from having a luxurious lifestyle to losing the father and breadwinner and then losing everything else.

 This is not what the story is about. It's about the human spirit,it's about change, but most of all it's about family and who is there for you when your life changes,who turns their back on you and who stays around.

Although I didn't cry reading this story there are parts which are very sad. I wanted to reach out to Nina's two boys,one a teenager and one only ten. Nina found out a lot of things about her marriage after her husband died. She thought she had the perfect life but didn't realise that he had isolated her from friends and family,put her in a bubble and when the bubble burst she had no one.

The only negative point I have to make about this book is that is too short with less pages than most novels I read. 

£2 for kindle download. Also out in paperback.

The Break by Marion Keyes

Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.

He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet . . . 

However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge.

For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? 

Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . . 

What would you do if your husband said he was going on a break from your relationship for six months? He was leaving you to cope with the children,the house, the bills and your job. I would certainly have more to say than Amy did. So Hugh swans off to Thailand and Amy is left,all she makes him promise is he won't post photos on social media for her friends to see. Amy also has her own agenda, a crush she had on a guy a few years ago and didn't act on it but if Hugh is free to do what he wants,is she free too.?

The best part of this book is Amy's Irish family, especially her parents and her sister. I did have a good laugh at their antics. Amy's mother is driven mad with the father's dementia and is finding solace outside of the home re- inventing herself and becoming well known on the Internet.

I didn't feel so invested in the main story of Hugh and Amy. This is mainly because we didn't get to know Hugh before he left. We don't know what his reasons were except that he wanted "a break," don't we all? He told Amy there would be no contact from him for six months, no texts or phone calls so we never got to know the story from his point of view. The ending was predictable and by that time I didn't care for either of them. The Irish family saved the book in my opinion.

At £9.99 for a kindle download,I'd wait until the paperback edition is published.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul

Two women who challenged the Crown.

Divided by time. Bound by a secret...

Rachel's romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. 

Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world.

At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal...

Gill Paul has become one of my favourite authors. I describe her books as being set in a special time in history with the added question, "What if ? " And that's where Gill Paul weaves her imagination into a true historical story.

Like many of the people who will read this book I remember the death of Diana and the controversy surrounding it very well indeed. I knew the story of Wallis Simpson from television dramas and newspaper stories. I knew nothing of Wallis's early life or who her friends were or how she managed to get herself in the position of being in the company of a future king. 

She was quite a gal and I am unsure whether she ended up with David (ex King ) by default or whether she really loved him. I found a lot more out about her husband Ernest and his life which was interesting too.

The way the author introduces a connection between Wallis and Diana is very clever. After reading this book I googled lots of facts about Wallis Simpson and was surprised to discover that most of this book is true, there is only a very small part of it didn't happen....or maybe it did and we just haven't been told. You'll have to read it for yourself to find out.

At 99p for a kindle download it's a steal!

The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.

But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.

Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

This is the second book in the Rosemary Lane series. I enjoyed the first one,The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane and I was looking forward to his one.

Roxanne has made it in life. She has managed to escape the boring village she was brought up in and is now a London fashion editor on a glossy magazine. Roxanne loves her life and shares it with her equally successful photographer boyfriend Sean.

Things suddenly change at the magazine and new brooms are brought in which shatter Roxanne's working life. Life with Sean looks like it's going down the plug hole and this prompts Roxanne to seek peace back in her home village where her sister runs the local bookshop. 

Reading this book was like putting on a nice warm,cosy jumper, familiar and safe. I was happy to be back in Rosemary Lane. I would love a job in the bookshop it sounds devine. But this book is about the bakery and although we meet the owner Michael and his family I would have liked the story to have been about them and their bakery more than it was. 

Roxanne was the centre of the story and I suspect book three might be about her too. The descriptions of the village and surrounding countryside and the people who lived there made me want to pack my case and open a shop of my own right next to the bookshop.

Friday, 25 August 2017

I Know Where She Is by S.B. Caves

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn's abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS
When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.
But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.
It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.
She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.
But will Francine get her daughter back......or is it too late.

Well that was a traumatic read. At one point I found the subject matter quite disturbing and put the book down thinking I couldn't read anymore. I picked it back up again...I was hooked and I had to find out what happened next.
I'm not going to say anymore about the story,the synopsis says enough. The book was fast paced,never a dull moment. 
Francine,the mother shows us the power of a mother's love. Her belief that her daughter Autumn is still alive after ten years and the feeling that she can feel her near is so powerful.
I found the disturbing parts a bit unbelievable but who knows what goes on in some parts of the world, there are many people with strange ideas of right and wrong.
Most of the book had me on the edge of my seat,biting my nails and unable to stop reading. Although I couldn't read it in bed as it would have kept me awake all night.
What a great debut novel but why isn't it out in paperback? I think it will be,must be soon.
I'm actually a wimp when it comes to reading thrillers or tense stories so I'm pleased I got to the end of this book. I have a question for the author if he reads this, " We know this story is not over so can we please have a sequel?" Give me another year and I will have plucked up courage to read it.
Go on it if you dare! 
 Can't believe this book is 99p for kindle.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Trouble With Words by Suzie Tullet

Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident, she’s just not ready for another relationship. 
Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.
When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both start to think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems. But things are about to get messy.
Can Dan and Annabel get what they want?
Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.

Annabel wants a baby,which is what her and her husband planned to do before he died but now Annabel wants to find a donor and do it by herself. Like any non sensible person she grabs the first decent man she sees in the pub and asks him to oblige. Luckily it turns out that Dan is a decent man.

No one else thinks this is a good idea as Annabel is still in love with her husband but can Dan change that?
I enjoyed this story, it was very bittersweet. It was the story of a widow moving on from the death of her husband. Annabel still went to her husband's grave to tell him what was happening in her life, but it's lonely when you get no answer back.
I didn't think Annabel was doing the right thing in looking for a sperm donor as it meant she was giving up on finding love again. 

I think Dan was lonely too, he still lived with his mother never finding the right woman who lived up to her expectations. She was desperate to get him together with her old friend's daughter and no one else would do.
I didn't like Dan's mother at all through most of the story I thought she interfered with her son's love life too much and I couldn't understand why he didn't get his own place to live. I liked her more towards the end of the book when she seemed to soften.
There are many funny moments with Annabel and her sister and her friend and some parts are really sad when she speaks to her deceased husband.
The question seems to be,when can you move on? When can you start to want the things that make you happy? And can you do it without the person who you thought was the love of your life?
This book makes you ask all these questions and more.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake

OUR SUMMER TOGETHER is an uplifting story about family, friendship and the happy surprise of finding love later in life.
Caro knows how to be a mother - advising her grown-up daughters on career and relationship worries. She knows how to be a grandmother - enjoying the hectic energy of her three-year-old grandson. She knows how to be a daughter - helping her aging mother retain her independence. 
She thought she knew everything about being a wife, but when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman, everything is thrown in the air. So, when a chance meeting introduces her to Damir - younger, intriguing and attentive - she realises that opening up to a man so different from everyone else in her life, might also mean getting to know who she really is...

It makes a nice change to read a book about an older woman. Caro's husband left her two years ago when she was turning sixty. If there's anything that would make a woman feel her age it must be when her ex husband finds himself a younger  woman. Caro has accepted it,her two daughters have accepted it so life just has to go on. 
Her daughter's Lauren and Amy are involving Caro more in their lives to keep her occupied but she feels she's being taken advantage of slightly as she has plenty of things she wants to do for herself now. 
She doesn't want another man, she's tried but there's never been that special feeling until Damir walks into her life. Can she trust him? He's younger,what will her daughters say or even her mother?
I loved Caro and throughout the book I just wanted what was best for her. I laughed out loud at a proposition her daughter Lauren put to her but I'm not going to tell you about it, but if you're Caro's age you will laugh too.
Damir was lovely but a bit brooding for me although he has plenty of reasons to be like that I couldn't have put up with him but he made for a good character.
This was such an easy book to read and just a lovely story of a strong woman finding the courage to tell people what she really wanted.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

I would like to make myself the heroine of this story – an innocent victim led astray. But alas sir, I would be lying…’

London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It’s a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror’s assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother’s Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must…
Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows.
She is Tully Truegood.
Orphan, whore, magician’s apprentice. 

I'm delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for this book. The author also writes children's books under the pen name of Sally Gardner.
As Tully awaits trial for murder she is writing the story of her life and how she ended up in prison. What a life she has had and she is still a young woman. Life in 18th Century London is very harsh for those born into poverty or born to ruthless fathers. Women like Tully, who is a courtesan are expendable to men who use and abuse them. Of course the women are looked down upon by other women while the men are celebrated.
 Marriages amongst the upper classes it seems are not made out of love but out of necessity for either money, property or position. Most of these men seem to marry women who will not facilitate them in the bedroom department so they pay for the services of a courtesan who dresses well, looks good and satisfies their needs.
Tully lives and works in the Fairy House, a brothel ran by the woman who was once her step mother.
He father married her off to an unknown man at the age of twelve and this marriage has came back to haunt her. Tully and Mr Crease who works at the house are special people, magical with a touch of the supernatural. 
There's such a lot going on in this book and although it's not my usual read I really did enjoy it. I must say its a bit of a bodice ripper with being set in a brothel but the language of the sex scenes are,I assume taken from 18th century speech and as such are almost poetic.
There were some horrible characters in this book,all men I might add and I wanted them to suffer for their actions. I did think the ending could have gone on for another few chapters to explain some more but I guess I am just being greedy. 
If you're bored with your usual reading genre then give An Almond For a Parrot a read, you won't be able to put it down.
The publisher has kindly sent me the first chapter for you to try. Happy reading!

Out for kindle and hardback. Paperback out on 27th July. 

An Almond for a Parrot.
Fleet Marriages
One of the most disgraceful customs observed in the Fleet Prison in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the performance of the marriage ceremony by disreputable and dissolute clergymen. These functionaries, mostly prisoners for debt, insulted the dignity of their holy profession by marrying in the precincts of the Fleet Prison at a minute’s notice, any persons who might present themselves for that purpose. No questions were asked, no stipulations made, except as to the amount of the fee for the service, or the quantity of liquor to be drunk on the occasion. It not unfrequently happened, indeed, that the clergyman, the clerk, the bridegroom and the bride were drunk at the very time the ceremony was performed.

Appendix VI, The Newgate Calendar

Chapter One

Newgate Prison, London
lie on this hard bed counting the bricks in the ceiling of this miserable cell. I have been sick every morning for a week and thought I might have jail fever. If it had killed me it would at
least have saved me the inconvenience of a trial and a public hanging. Already the best seats at Newgate Prison have been sold in anticipation of my being found guilty – and I have yet to be sent to trial. Murder, attempted murder – either way the great metropolis seems to know the verdict before the judge has placed the black square on his grey wig. This whore is gallows-bound. 
‘Is he dead?’ I asked. 
My jailer wouldn’t say.
 I pass my days remembering recipes and reciting them to the damp walls. They don’t remind me of food; they are bookmarks from this short life of mine. They remain tasteless. I prefer them that way. 
A doctor was called for. Who sent for or paid for him I don’t know, and uncharacteristically I do not care. He was very matter of fact and said the reason for my malady was simple: I was with child. I haven’t laughed for a long time but forgive me,
the thought struck me as ridiculous. In all that has happened I have never once found myself in this predicament. I can hardly believe it is true. The doctor looked relieved – he had at least found a reason for my life to be extended – pregnant women are not hanged. Even if I’m found guilty of murder, the gallows will wait until the child is born. What a comforting thought.
Hope came shortly afterwards. Dear Hope. She looked worried, thinner.
‘How is Mercy?’ I asked. 
She avoided answering me and busied herself about my cell. 
‘What does this mean?’ she asked, running her fingers over the words scratched on a small table, the only piece of furniture this stinking cell has to offer. I had spent some time etching them into its worm-eaten surface. An Almond for a Parrot.
‘It’s a title for a memoir, the unanswered love song of a soon to- be dead bird. Except I have no paper, no pen and without ink the thing won’t write at all.’
‘              Just as well, Tully.’
‘I want to tell the truth of my life.’
‘Better to leave it,’ she said.
‘It’s for Avery – not that he will ever read it.’ I felt myself on the brink of tears but I refused to give in to them. ‘I will write it for myself. Afterwards, it can be your bedtime entertainment, the novelty of my days in recipes and tittle-tattle.’
‘Oh, my sweet ninny-not. You must be brave, Tully. This is a dreadful place and…’
‘And it is not my first prison. My life has come full circle. You haven’t answered my question.’
‘Mercy is still very ill. Mofty is with her.’
‘Will she live?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘And is he alive?’
 ‘Tully, he is dead. You are to be tried for murder.’
‘My, oh my. At least my aim was true.’
I sank back on the bed, too tired to ask more. Even if Hope was in the mood for answering questions, I didn’t think I would want to know the answers.
‘You are a celebrity in London. Everyone wants to know what you do, what you wear. The papers are full of it.’
There seemed nothing to say to that. Hope sat quietly on the edge of the bed, holding my hand.
Finally, I found the courage to ask the question I’d wanted to ask since Hope arrived.
‘Is there any news of Avery?’
‘No, Tully, there’s not.’
I shook my head. Regret. I am full of it. A stone to worry one’s soul with.
‘You have done nothing wrong, Tully.’
‘Forgive me for laughing.’
‘You will have the very best solicitor.’
‘Who will pay for him?’
‘No, no. I don’t want her to. I have some jewels…’
I felt sick.
‘Concentrate on staying well,’ said Hope.

If this life was a dress rehearsal, I would now have a chance to play my part again but with a more favourable outcome. Alas, we players are unaware that the curtain goes up the minute we take our first gulps of air; the screams of rage our only hopeless comments on being born onto such a barren stage. 
So here I am with ink, pen and a box of writing paper, courtesy of a well-wisher. Still I wait to know the date of my trial. What to do until then? Write, Tully, write.
With a hey ho the wind and the rain. And words are my only escape. For the rain it raineth every day.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

From the present day . . . 
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it's the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
to the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of '59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. 
The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey's vanishing - until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?

Sybil has never recovered from her daughter Audrey's disappearance five years ago in 1954 when her sister's four daughters came to stay. They have not visited Applecote Manor for five years but since their wayward mother is leaving for Morocco the girls are staying with their aunt and Uncle once again.
This story is told from Margot's point of view as she was the cousin closest to Audrey. Sybil acts very strangely towards her as she sees the similarity between Margot and her missing daughter.

Fifty years later and Applecot Manor has lay empty for a while and fallen into disrepair. It is bought by Jessie and Will. Jessie is Will's second wife and mother to their toddler Romy. Will has a teenage daughter Bella who can't get on with her step mum or her new sister. Jessie picked a house in the country to give the girls a better upbringing and to get Bella away from the bad company she has fallen in with in London. Jessie has lots of worries, jealous of first wife Mandy, Bella not liking her and she just isn't sure Bella is kind to Romy and doesn't feel she can trust her.
I don't want to give too much of the story away but both timelines grabbed me and both are good.
Sometimes stories with two timelines make me feel a bit sad because while reading the present day part I know that the characters from the old timeline are no longer here but with this being fifty years apart there's a chance that some may still be alive.
A good family mystery.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B&B on a remote Greek island. Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is.
Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

I read this book about three friends having a few days break together on a Greek Island while I was lying on a sunbed at a pool in another Greek Island. So the scene was set for a good holiday read.
Never in their wildest dreams did Winne, Stella and Frankie guess that after their break they would be returning to the UK proud owners of the bed and breakfast villa they stayed at. All three are at various points in their lives where they wouldn't be leaving much behind and welcome a new start. Well that and copious amounts of gin made them buy it.
When they return to Skelidos and Villa Valentina to start their new life all is not as it seems and after finding out that a resident donkey comes with the villa there are also a few more surprises for them.
A gorgeous but angry, volatile Greek male neighbour, a rock band and gin figures prominently too.
This book is a great holiday read you can almost feel the heat from the sun and the sand in your shoes.
There's plenty happening in the story to hold your attention and keep you turning the pages.

Out now for paperback or 99p for kindle here

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . . 
One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.
It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom. 
The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.
When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.

I always anticipate a good read when I pick up a book written by Lesley Pearse.
Twins, Maisy and Duncan are stunned when their mother is carted off to an asylum. Their gruff and seemingly uncaring father will not explain to them what is wrong with their mother, only that they will  live with their grandmother in her home in the New Forest.
They find their grandmother to be equally as uncaring and disconnected as their father but find love and contentment with the motherly housekeeper Janice who is delighted to meet them.
When Duncan goes missing and their grandmother doesn't seem concerned Maisy decides to take things into her own hands and find her brother. Why does she need the help of the woman in the woods, Grace Deville who everyone is scared of?
Another good story from Lesley Pearse. A father and grandmother who fail to show any kind of affection or concern. A woman who because of her lifestyle is shunned and accused by her neighbours and a brother and sister wanting to know they are loved by someone.
I felt this story had a message,a few in fact. Never judge people by appearances and because people who are close to you may be unable to outwardly show their love doesn't mean they don't feel it.
This was a page turner and turned into a horrifying story that I never expected. There were moments when I breathed a sigh of relief that all was well and unexpectedly the author pulled the rug from under me and I was off on a roller coaster ride again.

The Woman in the Woods by Lesley Pearse can be found here  
A bit pricey for kindle but it will be in paperback in all bookstores and supermarkets.