Book Review: The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …  

Published 18th May by Simon & Schuster (UK)  

This book was absolutely perfect for me as I read it. I've had a rubbish week and I just wanted something warm, something to get involved in and make me smile. With a cast of characters to fall in love with, stunning settings and a romance to melt your heart, I got everything I wished for. Definitely a seven second hug - this book hit every spot.

Thirty something travel writer Bridget has had an eventful love life up to now as she easily falls in love time and time again. When she comes up with the idea of catching up with her ex-boyfriends and asking for the pieces of her heart she gave them, while blogging about her journey, she hopes to convince her agent that this will make a great novel. What she's not expecting is to be offered a job as a ghostwriter, to finish the sequel of popular novelist Nicole Dupre. But the job comes with decisions - Nicole's grieving husband insists she must move to Cornwall to fully immerse herself in Nicole's ideas and inspiration. As Bridget finds herself living in her Dad's camper van and tiptoeing about Nicole's home and bereaved family, she's not convinced she made the right decision at first. But she's about to discover she still has a piece of her heart left to give away - and she couldn't be more surprised by the person who eventually takes it.

I LOVED Bridget. She's fun, witty, and slightly bonkers with a huge heart filled with compassion. I'd love to have a friend like Bridget - I don't think you'd ever be bored in her company and she's completely endearing without being overbearingly sweet. She doesn't take herself too seriously, and can laugh at herself and her mistakes which gives her an added charm. I was rooting for this character all the way.

I guessed where The Last Piece Of My Heart was going pretty early on, but this didn't make the journey there any less enjoyable. The developing romance and relationship in this book is beautifully observed, so that the reader feels the increasing tension as it happens. It's a building romance, which develops slowly and is entirely believable given the difficult circumstances surrounding it. Awkward and messy combined with touching and tender ensures that you can't help but get behind it. There's some difficult themes of grief, loss and moving on covered, and I felt Paige Toon did so sensitively and thoughtfully.  I also lost a little piece of my heart reading this book, courtesy of a very special little character!

 I was bowled over by the heartfelt and honest writing which drew me in and connected me to these characters, becoming as invested in their lives as if I knew them myself ... that's how real and credible they were. As for the setting, well it couldn't have been anymore perfect, and had me yearning to visit Cornwall. With Bridget's intriguingly quirky blog writing research lending lighter, laugh out loud moments, The Last Piece Of My Heart lead me on a roller-coaster of emotions, ending with one huge, soppy smile. I absolutely loved this warm, gorgeous, feel-good book and can't fault a thing.

(I read an advanced proof courtesy of the publisher)

Book Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Two people. One choice. What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

As Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

…what if this is how their story ends? 

Published 18th May by HQ (UK) 

I'd read so many amazing things about this book, with praise for its beauty and intense emotional impact. It sounded very much like my perfect type of read, but there's always that concern when you've built up your expectations that reality won't quite live up to it. So, to make it clear right away. This book completely lived up to my expectations and I absolutely adored every single word.

The beauty is in its simplicity really, the story of falling in love and developing a connection to last a life time. It happens all the time, every day the world over, unremarkable to others while being sweepingly huge and all consuming to individuals. What's special about this book is how Jill Santopolo sweeps the reader along with Lucy and Gabe's romance, intimately inviting them to share the intensity of it all. The book is narrated by Lucy, speaking in an almost confessional style to Gabe, so that all the emotion, excitement, disappointments and dreams are first hand as she spills her heart, leaving nothing unsaid.

The book spans over a decade, as the couple's lives take them in different directions yet remain connected. Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th 2001, as terror and tragedy unfold around them, and while the book isn't really about the attacks themselves, I thought the author conveyed the rawness of emotions and intensity of connections made in the face of such tragedy, and how the experience influences their future choices and direction, convincingly and honestly.

Jill Santopolo's writing is beautiful. It just flows. Reading The Light We Lost is effortless, despite the emotional journey of highs and lows. Her portrayal of relationships is exquisite, depicting strengths and flaws, generosity and selfishness, happiness and heartache. As Lucy tells her side of this story of enduring love, there's a feeling we're heading to an inevitable, without knowing what it is. When it came though, it rocked me - leaving me to pick up my broken heart and put it back together again. The Light We Lost is simply stunning, every word of that early praise I'd read is true, Romantic and emotionally intense and written with the most beautifully effortless prose, I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time to come.

(I read am advance proof copy courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

Book Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret. 
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. 

Nothing can shake her happiness - until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. 

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger… 

Published 12th May 2017 by Bookoutre (UK)  

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this book, the author being completely new to me. However, a lot of bloggers whose opinions and tastes I've grown to respect were very excited about it, and so caught up in that excitement I thought I'd give it a go. How pleased I am that I did, because not only does The Darkest Lies sit up there with some of the best psychological thrillers I've read this year, but something about this book got right under my skin.

The Darkest Lies is told in a second person narrative - I can't remember the last time I read a book in this style and it works so very, very well here. Melanie's thirteen year old daughter goes missing, and is then found battered and on the brink of death. The book is narrated by Melanie, to her daughter, and details the days following the attack and the ensuing investigation. I found this an incredibly honest, raw and emotional way to tell the story and became instantly connected to Melanie.

I hadn't been prepared to relate so strongly to Melanie, but it was like she was living my very worst fears. I'm the parent of an almost thirteen year old daughter myself, and everything about this story rang true. The relationship between Melanie and Beth was authentic and the events leading to the horrendous attack are realistic and believable - it's likely there are similar stories playing out between teenagers around the country as we speak. Melanie's reactions following her daughter's attack were also brutally honest, with Barbara Copperthwaite not shying away from depicting the real, raw and desperate side of her grief.

The Darkest Lies is set in a small community, where everyone knows one and another and each others business. Or so they believe. But this twisty, gripping tale weaves a sordid tale of a community full of secrets, small and large, and reveals just what people are willing to sacrifice to protect themselves. The finger of blame points in many directions, but I truly could not have guessed the truth. Then just when I thought the case was resolved, the author pops another twist in there which, to be quite honest, left me speechless.

This wasn't altogether an easy read for me - a lot of the themes are quite close to home, tapping into some of my biggest fears as the mother of a teenager in the twenty first century. I found it emotional, horrifying and scarily believable and it sent me running up to my daughter's room just to give her a hug at one point (yep, I got the eye-roll from her). Barbara Copperthwaite's writing is gripping and she knows exactly how to deliver a twist to make your jaw drop. Her character's are extremely well observed and believable, as is the tension and feelings of unrest and suspicion in the small community. The descriptions of the stark and wild marshes were atmospheric and eerie, providing the perfect backdrop to this fast-paced, heart-thumper of a thriller. The Darkest Lies is a book I'll be able to remember vividly for a long time to come and I really can't wait to read more from Barbara in the future.

(I read an ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

Blog Tour Book Review: The Other Us by Fiona Harper

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

Perfect for fans of One Day, The Versions of Us and Miss You. 

Published by HQ 4th May 2017 (UK) 

I'm sure we all do it, think about the "what ifs" in life. What if I'd done this instead of that? What if I'd went here instead of there? In The Other Us, Maggie gets to explore those questions and finds the what ifs may not exactly turn out to be what she wanted them to be after all.

The book starts with Forty something Maggie receiving an invitation for a school reunion. Maggie is at a point in her life where she's reevaluating her life and I suppose, purpose. Her daughter is spreading her wings and leaving her parents behind, her marriage to Dan straight from Uni has grown stale and resentful and the part-time job she has is unfulfilling. She feels frumpy, undervalued and regretful at the lost opportunities to forge a career while devoting herself to motherhood. I related with Maggie here quite a lot. I'm turning 40 soon, my kids are older and need me less and less and I've had a feeling of not knowing what to do with myself, of having to put aside one part of my life and throw myself into something else, like redefining myself almost. I understood how she felt.

When Maggie hears that her ex Jude is going to be there, she can't help wondering what if? Because the night Dan proposed to her, Jude had asked Maggie not to go through with it. To go away with him. When Maggie wakes up then and realises she's somehow slipped back in time to that pivotal moment, she realises this time she can make a different choice.  But before Maggie can get settled into her new life, she finds herself on a constant journey where she wakes to find herself in different versions of her life - with Dan and with Jude. What Maggie needs to work out is which life does she really actually want.

I loved the questions thrown up by this book. Is the grass always greener for example, and does taking a different path always lead to same point - after all you can't run from yourself and who you are. I thought it was interesting how Maggie's journey lead her to realise the influence she'd had over her own life and relationships without realising, and allowed her to start making small changes that would affect everyone.

With short chapters and Maggie flitting through time and different lives, this is a really fast read and one I felt engaged with throughout. At times it moves almost too fast, and I felt I too was hurtling along and wanted things to slow down. I really liked how the book made Maggie look at how she acted and behaved had influenced the relationship she had with Dan, small things which with subtle changes can have overwhelming consequences and results. I could also see why she'd be attracted to the life she has with Jude, successful and wealthy which allows her to forge the creative career she longed for. I did find it difficult to believe Maggie would be prepared to accept her strange, time traveling situation as easily as she did, and especially thought her daughter played a very insignificant role that didn't quite ring true and meant I lacked an emotional connection with Maggie.

I enjoyed reading The Other Us. It's quite light-hearted and would be ideal holiday reading. It poses some interesting questions without getting too deep and is something a little bit different. Fiona Harper's writing is very readable, and her character's are mostly relatable. By the end I was willing Maggie to make the right choice, whether she does or not I'll leave for you to discover. If you want something light, a little bit different and easy to get engrossed in, and if you're prepared to suspend belief a little, then I'd recommend The Other Us to you.

(I read an advanced copy courtesy of the publisher)

Book Review: The Last Night by Cesca Major

In a quiet coastal village, Irina spends her days restoring furniture, passing the time in peace and hiding away from the world. A family secret, long held and never discussed, casts a dark shadow and Irina chooses to withdraw into her work. When an antique bureau is sent to her workshop, the owner anonymous, Irina senses a history to the object that makes her uneasy. As Irina begins to investigate the origins of the piece, she unearths the secrets it holds within.

Decades earlier, another young woman kept secrets. Her name was Abigail. over the course of one summer, she fell in love, and dreamed of the future. But Abigail could not know that a catastrophe loomed, and this event would change the course of many lives for ever... 

Published May 4th 2017 (PB) by Corvus 

I loved Cesca Major's debut novel, The Silent Hours and was very much looking forward to reading The Last Night. I wasn't disappointed and found myself swept away in this beautifully written story from the first page.

The Last Night tells the story of two women in two different time periods. In the present, reclusive Irina has thrown herself into her work as a furniture restorer, but when a mysterious commission leads to unsettling events and increasing feelings of unease, Irina decides to explore further into the secrets of the unusual writing bureau and finds herself caught up in a tale of romance, secrets and tragedy. Meanwhile, she's hiding from her own past and hidden secrets, cutting herself off from those who care for her in the process.

Half a Century earlier. Abigail has big dreams to leave behind her home town of Bristol and make something of her life. But when her Mother suddenly dies, she has no choice but go and live with her sister and her husband in Cornwall. It's here she falls in love, but the romance is tinged by an ever increasing threat to Abigail from someone she should be able to trust, bringing her need to escape rising to the surface again until one night a tragedy strikes and changes everything.

This book oozes with secrets and atmosphere. The writing is so evocative, that in one chapter I was in 1950's Cornwall, while the next I'd be in the present day, feeling the same sense of unease as Irina as she uncovers the secrets of the bureau. I was intrigued by Irina, who has hidden herself away in her workshop, and wondered what had happened to make her withdraw from the world. There's obviously something she's hiding, and the anguish and guilt she feels is almost palpable. The relationship with her Mother was also intriguing, a woman who seems as lost as she is yet the two are unable to connect.

As much as I liked Irina's chapter's and the intrigue surrounding the writing bureau, I think Abigail's story was my favourite and really caught my imagination. I loved her spirit, loyalty and ambition, and hoped she could overcome the obstacles she finds in front of her. I also adored the tender, innocent romance which blossoms in the beautifully described coastal village in Cornwall. As the story moves along, there's a growing sense of foreboding overshadowing Abigail as the secret she is hiding takes its toll, leading right up to the unexpected and  tragic evening that will change everything. I was taken aback by how raw and wild and surprising this is, made all the more shocking by being based on real events.

The Last Night is my favourite type of book. A stunning setting, the secrets of past and present colliding and characters I really care about. Mix this with Cesca Major's beautifully evocative writing and you've got a book to truly get lost in. With a romantically ethereal quality, I thought it was absolutely stunning.

(I read a paperback copy supplied by the publisher)

Blog Tour Book Review: Not The Only Sky by Alyssa Warren

Big Bend, population 500. South Dakota, 1988. Eight-year-old Tiny Mite lives in a ramshackle farmhouse next to her grandfather’s crashed airplane and the pine tree where she trains as a spy. Goddamn is her favourite word. Taking pictures with a homemade camera is her new big thing. She lives with Bee, her apocalypse-obsessed grandmother and Luvie, her hard-drinking great-aunt. And then there’s her mother, Velvet – beautiful, heartbroken, desperate, impulsive. One night, Tiny Mite goes to the basement and hears a cry, but it’s not what she imagines and nothing will ever be the same. 

Six years later, Clea won’t let anyone call her Tiny Mite anymore. Luvie is sober and Bee’s health is failing. Velvet has been gone for years, and nobody except Bee will even mention her name. Alone, angry and dressed in her grandfather’s old hunting clothes, Clea mopes through ditches and fields taking photographs until she hatches a plan with another loner, a boy with an unspeakable past. 

This is a story of mothers and daughters. Of people tied by blood and home. Of moments captured and lifetimes lost. And of things never quite turning out as expected. 

Published by Black and White Publishing 27th April 2017 

I love something a bit different now then, with quirky characters and original writing styles. Not The Only Sky by Alyssa Warren definitely fits the bill here. Every single character in this book is unique, eccentric, vivid and oh so endearing too.

The book is set during two time frames. The first half of the book is set in 1988 and centres around a family made up of women - Grandmother, Daughter, Aunt and child. What's interesting about this family is is the dynamics, created through a lifetime of disappointments, with men, with the small town they live in and with each other. The three older women though are united by Tiny Mite, who is seriously the most endearingly quirky and heart capturing character you can meet.  The second part is set six years later, Tiny Mite is now known by her real name of Clea and her mother Velvet disappeared years ago. Broken bonds need to be fixed, but this means finding the missing parts and an awful lot of forgiveness.

I absolutely loved the first part of this book and felt Alyssa Warren really allows the reader to understand each of the four members of this strange family and understand what drives them, what has made them the way they are. I especially felt that Tiny Mite's mother, Velvet, was well written and her despair, loneliness, restlessness and desire for more seeped from the pages. Not The Only Sky is set in a small town and the claustrophobic, weary and neglected atmosphere of the place was vivid. If I'm honest, I didn't enjoy the second part quite as much, I'm not sure exactly why, perhaps because it was the dynamics of the character's together I'd loved so much in the first part.

Alyssa Warren's writing is, like her characters, unique and quirky, with the most wonderful descriptions that bring her words bouncing to life. This isn't a quick read, often I had to go back and read something several times to fully appreciate what was being said. This is writing to savour, linger over and allow to soak itself into you. There's a bit of a mystery, which adds a sense of intrigue, but mainly this is a character driven story about the relationships between mothers and daughters, the pull of loyalty to those who share blood and bonds that bind us to a place and make it a home. It's unusual, it's raw and it won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I liked it and if you feel like something new, fresh and completely unlike what you've read recently, then this book is a good option for you.

Book Review: The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and The Ice Twins.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia's book is based. She has now become Olivia's unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation? 

Published May 4th 2017 by Quercus (UK)  

Believe me, I'm the biggest wimp going where anything insect like is concerned. I'm the person running around screaming at a picnic when anything with wings comes near me. I have shut the door on the living room and not gone in for two days when I've had an eight legged guest, until my Dad could come round and check for me. So it surprised me how attracted I was to this book when I first caught sight of it floating about social media. It has massive, BIG bugs on it! But, they are gorgeous  and mysterious looking bugs. I thought this book looked stunning, and I wanted to find out more. 

Luckily then for me, that bugs isn't really what this book is about. At all. I mean they do feature, but not in a creepy crawly way. The bug, or actually Dung Beetle (which I now have quite a fondness a distance) is more the vehicle to connect the two main character's in this book and provides a fascinating metaphor for this story of ambition, betrayal and revenge.  

The book is told from both Olivia and Vivian's perspectives in alternating chapters, a style which works so well in this book as you could feel the distinct tone between the two character's voices. While the reader hears both women's insecurities, desperation and deceptions, Vivian was without doubt the most intense and creepy protagonist, with her sections being told in an almost blunt, detached first person narrative. Olivia's chapters come in a third person narrative and the feeling is more panicked, frenzied and fearful. Yet for most of this book I didn't know who to trust at all. 

The Night Visitor is a complex story of long held resentments and a tense and elaborate revenge. There are so many fascinating threads running throughout - of professional misogyny - both historical and current, ambition and betrayal. Both Olivia and Vivian are experts in their fields of academia, both have struggled with their identity and credibility in a male dominated environment. However, when you are top of your field, reputation is everything, and one of theirs is at risk of crashing down around them. And one of them needs to learn not to underestimate those they think below them, like our friend the Dung Beetle. 

I raced through this book. When I say I couldn't put it down, I fell asleep holding it in bed (despite desperate attempts to stay awake and read just a little bit more) and immediately turned back to it when I woke up. The Night Visitor isn't gory or action packed. It's pure psychological suspense, with an unsettling, eerie atmosphere of mistrust and intrigue which completely held me captive. I'm amazed by just how much I really liked this book, and how engrossing, original and interesting I found it. The Night Visitor is up there with the very best of psychological thrillers and I strongly recommend it.

Looking Back At April and Forward to May

I can't believe it's May already? Where is this year going? I'm seriously wanted to put some brakes on it, this is the last month for me in my 30's as in June I turn 40! It seems surreal, I don't even feel like a grown up yet! 

April was a month of rest really for me. I was off work for most of it after suffering some anxiety and panic attacks. I'm generally an anxious person, but now and then it gets a bit out of control. I went back to work last week, and to be honest I was dreading it, and yes - it was tough, but got a bit easier every day and I made it through the week, albeit fairly exhausted! 

Book Of The Month

Anyway, it did mean I had plenty of time for reading and in April I read 15 books. I'm very happy with that! It was an excellent month for books, and it was a hard choice between two for book of the month, but April has to go to Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton  

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. 

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. 

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . . 

Published April 20th by Transworld (UK) 

I also interviewed Sharon Bolton as part of her blog tour (Squeee!!) See HERE 

However, my other book of the month isn't out until June, but definitely needs a mention. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig is absolutely STUNNING and I urge everyone to get it on their wishlist. I'll be reviewing it nearer publication. 

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…

‘Brilliant’ – Graeme Simison, author of The Rosie Project

Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….

After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.

Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.

Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

A fiercely poignant and inspirational story a lost girl searching for a place to call home. Ginny Moon will change everyone who spends time with her. Published by HQ 1st June 2017 

Coming Up In May

Tomorrow I'm off to Manchester for a four day work training course, so I'm planning lots of reading time in my hotel on an evening! Here's some of the books I'm most excited about coming out this month: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 

A stunning debut about a girl who has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is fine. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except sometimes, everything.

No-one’s ever told Eleanor life should be better than fine. But with a simple act of kindness she’s about to realise exactly how much better than fine life can be. 

Published May 18th by Harper (UK) 

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.  Published May 18th by HQ 

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins  

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. 

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. 

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins 

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia's book is based. She has now become Olivia's unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?  Published May 4th by Quercus (I've read this already - It's BRILLIANT - Review tomorrow)

The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon 

When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it’s the small pieces that make up the bigger picture ... Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change. 

Published May 18th by Simon & Schuster UK 

Upcoming Blog Tours  

Hope everyone has a lovely May with lots of sunshine and amazing books!!!

Blog Tour Book Review: We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings

It's 1984, and summer is scorching the ordinary village of Heathcote.

What's more, a mysterious figure is slipping into homes through back doors and open windows. Dubbed 'the Fox', he knows everything about everyone - leaving curious objects in their homes, or taking things from them.

When beloved Anna goes missing, the whole community believes the Fox is responsible.

For the worried residents, finding Anna will be difficult - but stopping the Fox from exposing their darkest secrets might just be impossible... 

Published April 20th by Orion (UK) 

First of all before I get to my review, I must apologise. This post should've appeared yesterday as part of the blog tour but I got mixed up with dates. I've just gone back to work after a period of sickness and to be honest, it's been exhausting and I lost the thread of what I was up to. For some reason I had today in my head, and only realised my mistake this morning when it was too late to fix as I've been at work all day. So, here comes my belated review!  

We All Begin As Strangers caught my eye initially with its cover. I do love that cover! However when I read the synopsis I was intrigued. I grew up in the eighties, and liked the sound of a mystery set then. I also thought the idea behind the Fox was fascinating, especially as it was inspired by some real life events remembered from the authors own childhood.  

The book itself is unlike anything else I've read recently. There's a mystery to solve, yes, in the shape of missing Anna and the creepy, sinister Fox, who is in all likelihood a villager themselves. However, this book isn't thrilling or fast paced, and is more about the relationships, secrets and desires of the villagers themselves. It's also told from four different perspectives, with each perspective forming part of a four part book. So part one is completely told from one characters point of view, then part two switches to another and so on. Even more unusual is that while the narrative changes, the story carries on in a linear fashion. At the moment, I can't think of any other book that uses this technique. It has it's pro's and con's. each chapter feels fresh, there's a new identity, new secrets, new intrigue to learn. On the other hand it meant I didn't connect with any of them in the way I usually like to. This had a distancing effect, the little windows into these peoples personal lives felt almost voyeuristic, which is of course what The Fox was doing too.  

While I did wonder what had happened to Anna, I found this was back-burnered by my intrigue into the individual character's stories. I'm not going to go into them, as that would be giving away to much plot. However, each story is interesting in that it conveys people who are putting on a front - to their neighbours, their families and the world, yet all long to be something they are not. Each feels trapped, either by their past or their circumstances and the mystery of missing Anna, who they all have what they think to be a close relationship with, is what connects them. 

There's also an atmospheric and claustraphobic small village feeling running through the narrative of this book. This is a community who live almost on top of each other, watch and judge - yet actually know very little about the people who live closest to them. The fear of the Fox and Anna's story both divides and brings them together. I also felt the mood of the era was captured well with a mix of an old fashioned attitude clashing with a new one. I don't know quite how to put my finger on it but it's almost as if people are aware of new possibilities but don't know how to go about taking them, so find themselves stuck and resentful in this village that isn't moving as fast as the rest of the world.  

We All Begin As Strangers is one of those books where you don't realise how clever and good it is until you've got to the end and thought about it. I found some of it slow going, especially at the beginning, before I became used to the style of the book. I also felt the disconnection from the characters impacted how engaged I was, until I considered that maybe this was how I was meant to feel - an outsider looking in where they weren't really supposed to. I think perhaps the pace will put off some thrill seeking readers, but for those who enjoy something a bit different, like secrets and exploring different relationship dynamics and a book that actually does give you lots to quietly ponder as you read, then you'll enjoy this one.  

Dead Woman Walking Blog Tour: Q & A with Sharon Bolton

I'm more than a tad excited to be hosting the Dead Woman Walking Blog Tour today with a Q&A with Sharon Bolton herself! I read Dead Woman Walking myself a few weeks ago and was absolutely blown away by this gripping, clever, shocking and twisty thriller, and am delighted to ask Sharon some questions on her latest novel!

Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

Hello Sharon, and welcome to Cosy Books. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

 I’m an accomplished tap dancer, I’ve white-water rafted the Zambezi, been chased by an elephant
on horseback, am scared of butterflies and my favourite film is Terminator 2. 

Dead Woman Walking is your latest novel, could you tell us what it's about in your own

Twelve passengers and a pilot, drifting in a hot air balloon over the Northumberland
National Park one morning, see a murder being committed on the ground. Determined to
allow no witnesses to live, the killer causes the balloon to crash, killing everyone on board,
apart from one woman who immediately goes on the run. And then things really go

The book is set in Northumbria – (a place close to me and one of the most stunning places in
my opinion!) what appealed about this setting?

Dead Woman Walking is essentially a chase story, a run and hide story, and for that to work I needed the most remote, least populated region of England. That could only be Northumberland. 

There are some difficult and controversial themes covered in the book. Can you tell us about
some of the research you undertook when writing Dead Woman Walking.

 I got lost in the Northumberland National Park, was almost stranded on Holy Island by a rapidly returning tide and had to wade through flood waters in York, but you didn’t mean that did you? Most
of my books involve my reading real life horror stories at some point, and this one was no
exception. It also threw up a pretty crucial question that we could all usefully ask ourselves :
how far would we go to save the life of someone we loved? (Difficult to say more without
giving away too much of the plot.) 

Dead Woman Walking is filled with unexpected twists … how on earth do you keep up with
them all when you are writing? 

Well, some of them take me by surprise! I just thank heaven for word processing and the ability to write as many drafts as I need to make sure the twist works perfectly and that all the clues are laid in the right places. Twists are very popular at the moment, but I don’t think thrillers necessarily need them. What crime readers love, in my experience, are the surprises. These are smaller than twists, more subtle, but immensely satisfying. 

 Most writers are readers this the case for yourself? Which authors and novels would
you recommend as must reads? 

My two great literary influences growing up were Charlotte Bronte and Stephen King, so they’d always be my first recommendations. After that, for crime writers, I’d say The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, the most completely perfect thriller ever written, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, a crime novel from the pen of a genius, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a masterclass in nastiness. 

As a non-writer, I'm always fascinated by the writing process...can you tell us about where
you write and any rituals or routines you have to aid the creative process?

 My house has a hanging gallery, a mezzanine floor that is neither entirely up nor downstairs. It feels like the heart of the house to me and it is here that I work. There are no windows, which is a good
thing, because I’d find a view endlessly distracting. I have no real rituals, but if I’m stuck, I
find movement, such as walking the dog, or driving to do a school pick up, will often get the
ideas flowing.  

Finally, what are you working on next? 

I hope my next novel will be the start of a loosely linked trilogy, running over split time lines, in the 1960s and 1990s, and set in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire where I grew up. The first book, out in April 2018, is called The Craftsman.  

Thank you, Sharon, for taking the time to answer my questions.

Author Links: Website Twitter @AuthorSJBolton 

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton Published April 20th April 2017 by Transworld  

A cold nugget in her heart told her that she hadn’t escaped after all, that five, ten, twenty years weren’t enough, that there was no escape and that the day would come when he would find her.

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a young woman is brutally murdered. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – and he’s seen hers. Now he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she goes on the run. But the biggest danger of all could be where she least expects to find it.

Blog Tour Book Review: My Sister by Michelle Adams

MY SISTER by Michelle Adams is an addictive, twisty, shocking debut thriller - an intimate tale of family secrets that will grip readers who devoured Clare Mackintosh's I LET YOU GO and S.K. Tremayne's THE ICE TWINS.

My name is Irini. I was given away.

My name is Elle. I was kept.

All her life Irini thought she was given away because her family didn't want her. What if the truth is something worse?

Two sisters. Two separate lives.

One family bound by a harrowing secret. 

Published 20th April by Headline (UK) 

Michelle Adams' debut novel, My Sister, is probably number one contender right now for most creepy, unsettling, and deliciously sinister book of the year. This book got under my skin right from the very first page and kept me hooked from beginning to end. 

It starts when Irini gets a late night phone call from her sister Elle to tell her their mother has passed away. Immediately there's an intriguing tension between the two sisters and it's clear that this is a family with a lot of skeletons in the cupboard. Irene doesn't know her parents, having been sent to live with an aunt when she was very small and she wants to know why was she sent away and not her sister. What did she do to make her parents abandon their relationship with her in favour of Elle. So she goes back home for the first time since she was a child hoping for answers. But no-one seems to be able to tell the straight truth, least of all her increasingly erratic sister. 

God, this was such an intense read. The relationship between the two sisters was fascinating and I thought Elle in particular was written very well. She was terrifying, clearly damaged and dangerous, yet also compelling and addictive. I could see why Irene both idolised and feared her.  As far as characters go, she's one of the most chilling and intriguing I've come across in a while. In contrast, Irini is delicate, easily manipulated and at times weak. I found her frustrating now and then, wishing she'd get a back bone and stop skirting around issues with her family. Some of decisions she makes seem a little foolish and contrived, considering what she knows about her sister. Other times I felt only sorry for her, as it seems everyone around her manipulates and mistreats her. 

Despite being very much a modern story, set firmly in the present day, there's a feel of the gothic novel to this story. The huge, eerie house, the pained and silent father and the devoted staff who help to keep the hideous secrets of the family firmly kept all serve to create a wonderful atmosphere of sinister suspense. I wanted to know  as much as Irini did why she'd been sent away, what had caused Elle to be so disturbed and what the secrets of this toxic relationship were. There's some real shocking moments which had me on the edge of my seat, and a very clever twist at the end which I would never have guessed in a million years.  

My Sister is a gripping story, and Michelle Adams' writing is filled with tension and atmosphere, meaning that I devoured this book in two sittings. It's pretty twisted at times and probably not for the fainthearted, but I loved this sinister and chilling book and I'd happily recommend it to anyone who loves a story of tangled, twisted and toxic relationships and sinister settings.  

(I read an advance ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and netgalley) 

Blog Tour Guest Post: Sardinian Sunday: How We Can All Be A Bit More Sardinian For The Week Ahead by Sara Alexander

Today I am delighted to be the final stop on the Under A Sardinian Sky blog tour and welcoming author Sara Alexander with a fantasticly delicious guest post.... Over to Sara

Sardinian Sunday: How can we be a bit more Sardinian for the week ahead?  

The Sardinian way of life is epitomized by a lack of urgency. For anything. Other than perhaps, convincing another that your mamma’s pasta sauce recipe is the definitive version. To illustrate let me recall our wedding celebration. The invitations stated that the ceremony would begin at 4.30pm. My family didn’t turn up till almost 6. Our British guests were stood in the mid afternoon sun from 3.30pm, with hats, of course.

The same goes for their food. Once you have mastered the art of allowing a dish to infuse and rest
before devouring you will have glimpsed a slice of Sardinian sagacity. Unless it’s pasta of course, which should be eaten immediately. Resist the temptation to cook the perfect amount. You are no Sardinian host if you don’t have several extra portions to go around. The simplest, and my personal favourite is gnochetti. Do not confuse with the Roman potato gnocchi. Gnochetti are like little pellets, indented along the edges. These little beauties take me right to my grandma’s kitchen every time.
Tip a couple of fists full of dried gnochetti per person or, if you can find them, malloreddus (similar but a bit longer), into plenty of salted simmering water. Whilst they’re cooking heat a smushed clove of garlic gently until it begins to soften in two tablespoons of olive oil. Add a bottle of passata, season well, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Stir in plenty of seasoning, a little sugar or nub of dark chocolate and, when it’s cooked through, tip in several fresh basil leaves, immediately turning off the heat. Allow to infuse. Resist the temptation to hurry. When the little gnochetti are cooked, drain and stir them into the sauce pan, coating every little nub with the sweet tomato. Be generous with some more grated pecorino.

I love aperitif time of day. Summon the spirit of Sardinia by pouring yourself a crisp glass of vermentino. Fill a platter with pecorino Sardo, a delicious hard cheese from sheep’s milk, cracked green marinated olives, thin slices of prosciutto and salami – as close to farm fresh as you can find and preferably one you can slice yourself for authenticity. Add sliced fresh crudités, radishes, carrots, chicory and you’re set for a lazy catch up with friends and family – both at the very heart of Sardinian life. Devote an entire afternoon to eating, arguing, and sipping espressos after your feast together. Take turns to tell stories, children too. They are very much to be seen and heard, and, expected to listen carefully to others. They are never fed earlier and sent away from the grown ups table. There is no such divide around a Sardinian table. I love witnessing this democracy trickle through an afternoon of feasting. If you can see a sliver of turquoise sea in your periphery and are lucky to capture a ray or two as well, you’re pretty much on the island already!

Under a Sardinian Sky by actress and author Sara Alexander is out 20th April (HQ, £7.99)   

Sometimes a family’s deepest silences hide the most important secrets.
Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago and is mentioned only in fragments and whispers. Mina has resisted prying, respectful of her family’s Sardinian reserve. But now, with her mother battling cancer, it’s time to learn the truth.

In 1952, Simius is a busy Sardinian town surrounded by fertile farms and orchards. Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer’s daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area’s wealthiest family. Everyone agrees it’s a good match. But Carmela’s growing doubts about Franco’s possessiveness are magnified when she meets Captain Joe Kavanagh.

Joe, an American officer stationed at a local army base, is charismatic, intelligent, and married. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together must bring upheaval and heartache to both families.

As Mina follows the threads of Carmela’s life to uncover her fate, she will discover a past still deeply alive in the present, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice, and extraordinary love. 

My Thoughts: 

Sara's guest post today gives an indication of what the experience of reading Under A Sardinian Sky is like. This isn't a gulp down, page turning race of a read. Rather a lovely, leisurely meander which will transport you to another place. It requires you to slow right down, take a deep breath and relax into it. It took me a little while to settle into at first, after reading some edgy, fast paced thrillers, but once I had and allowed myself a good couple of hours of uninterrupted, unhurried reading I became immersed. Sara's writing is incredibly descriptive and evocative, the beauty of Sardinia and the delicious descriptions of foods will make you yearn to be there. With a rich cast of vivacious and vivid characters and an illicit romance, Under A Sardinian Sky is incredibly evocative and atmospheric. This book is ideal for holidays or lazy Sunday afternoon reading. If you enjoy being transported to another place and evocative, descriptive prose then I think you'll like this.

About The Author 

Sara Alexander has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles
in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Doctor Who, and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow.

Growing up in North West London, Sara attended Hampstead Comprehensive School, before going on to graduate the University of Bristol with a BA honours in Theatre, Film & Television, and Drama Studio London with a postgraduate diploma in acting.

She now returns to her Sardinian routes through the pages of her debut novel Under a Sardinian Sky.

Book Review: The Choice by Samantha King

What if you had to choose between your children? 


Madeleine lived for her children. She'd always believed she'd die for them, too. But on the morning of her twins' tenth birthday her love was put to the test when a killer knocked on their door and forced her to make a devastating choice: which child should live, and which should die - her son, or her daughter?


Madeleine stands silent on the periphery of her now fractured family, trying desperately to unravel why her world was so suddenly blown apart. But while everyday life continues around her, memories of everything leading up to that tragic day return in agonising flashes.

And that's when she realises her family's life still hangs terrifyingly in the balance...  

Published 20th April 2017 by Piatkus (UK) 

As a mother, I really can't think of anything more terrifying than being made to make a choice between which of my children should live or die. I mean, how do you even do that? It's easy to say I wouldn't do this or that, but really, in such a situation who the hell knows what we would do? It's beyond my own imagination.

The Choice tackles this dilemma, when on the day of her twins tenth birthday, a masked gunman forces their way into Maddie's home and demands she choose which of her twins should be spared. It's a shocking and brutal opening, leaving the reader in utter, heart-stopping, horror before switching to three months later, when a grieving, disorientated and mentally broken Maddie is trying to piece together what happened that day.

It quickly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems, as through a series of flashbacks and dream like states, the reader becomes as disorientated and confused as the fragile Maddie. I thought the way Samantha King portrayed her seemingly tenuous grip on reality was superb. And then when the massive shocker of a twist came, it made it only more impressive. I seriously had not been expecting it at all. I had no bloody idea where this book was going. It was so crazily twisty and gripping, I got thumb ache from pressing the next page button on my kindle so quickly.

Samantha King's writing is extremely engaging and convincing, with the whole book written from Maddie's perspective. I could feel her confusion, fear and consuming guilt. Yet there's a niggling feeling of is it real? Who do we trust? trickling through this story and is maintained right until the end. The Choice is fascinating as it explores parental favouritism between siblings and the effect of resentment and envy into adulthood. But there are many other themes running throughout, covering some uncomfortable topics, all of which interconnect and build to result in a catastrophic result.  

If I had one tiny complaint, then I felt the ending seemed a bit rushed and maybe an epilogue chapter would have just rounded it off. That's just me though, I like closure! Other than that small niggle, I thought The Choice was excellent. It had me gripped from beginning to end and with twists at every turn, it was an adrenaline-fueled, heart-pumping roller coaster of a ride. If you're a fan of great psychological thrillers, then you won't be disappointed by this one.

(I read an advance ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

Book Review: He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something - and someone - is always in the dark... 

Published April 20th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton  

There is so much I want to say about this book - the themes it raises and the twists it takes make it perfect for long discussion. However, I also don't want to give anything away - because this book completely took a turn I wasn't expecting, coming like a bolt from the blue and leaving me slack jawed in disbelief and  how-the-hell-did-I not-see-that-coming astonishment. I wouldn't want to spoil that for anyone.

He Said / She Said begins with Laura and Kit, as in the blossoming stages of a new romance, they go to Cornwall to watch the Eclipse. Immediately Erin Kelly creates a feeling of intensity, enhanced by the atmospheric, heady environment and the phenomenon itself. I remember both Eclipses (1999 and 2015) which provide the back drop for this story, and while something that was only mildly interesting to me at the time, found it a fascinating and original driver for this book, being both beautiful and menacing, peaceful and dangerous in equal measures, with a different perspective depending on the place or angle you see it from.

This book tackles the extremely sensitive subject of sexual assault and both the attack itself and the following court case are traumatic, uncomfortable and shocking. It switches between what happened during the trial and its aftermath, and the present where Kit and Laura are in hiding, clearly traumatised and terrified. But what led them to this position? Erin Kelly cleverly leads the reader on a merry dance, subtlety planting seeds of doubt into your subconscious before landing that lightening bolt twist to throw it all back up in the air.

I'm not sure I'd say this was a pacey and fast read, it's far more subtle and clever than that. It is gripping though, especially from around half way through when I found myself completely drawn into this eerie, twisted story of half-truths, obsession, power and fear and the resulting catastrophic consequences. If I had to be nit picky, then I'd say I was less interested in Kit's present day chapters earlier on as they went into a bit more detail and science behind the Eclipse chaser aspect. Overall though, I'd say He Said / She Said is a sophisticated, thought provoking psychological thriller, which drips with atmospheric tension and bowls a twist to knock you over.

( I read an advanced ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

Book Review: Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road. 

Published by Bonnier Zaffre 20th April 2017 (UK) 

The second I spotted this book, I was in love and snapped it up at the first opportunity. I mean, the cover is just gorgeous for a start. But set in a book shop? A quirky character with an emotional story to tell? Yes Please! This book couldn't sound more up my street if it tried.

And oh, how I absolutely loved it. I haven't read anything by Stephanie Butland before, so her beautifully encompassing writing was new to me. I was completely drawn in from the beginning, loosing track of what was going on around me and completely involved in Loveday's story. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I cared for a fictional character as much as I did this one.

Loveday is prickly, introverted and prefers books to people. I related quite a bit with her if I'm honest. However, there's a darker side to this story which is revealed in one of three timelines alternating throughout (and each one cleverly distinguished with book genres) that allows the reader to understand why Loveday is the way she is now. The whole story, both present and past, is written so sincerely, it was impossible not to form an attachment to Loveday. By the end I felt I knew her inside out, she truly did get under my skin.

Lost For Words is Loveday's story, but it's supported by a cast of equally quirky and endearing characters. Archie, bookshop owner and boss is fantastic with his larger than life personality and outrageous stories. Yet you know that beneath the pompousness and grandeur, he has a kind, wise heart with a hidden perceptiveness. Nathan provides a romantic interest, yet this burgeoning relationship is tastefully written, sweet and tender. It's integral to the story without overshadowing it, and again something I completely got behind as a reader.

The bookshop setting is an absolutely perfect refuge for Loveday and book lovers the world over will love the quotes and nods to literature that litter the pages effortlessly. I love the way books are used by Loveday for protection, as she hides away and isolates herself but also the vehicle to her moving on and reconnecting with people again. Lost For Words is a journey, as Loveday faces her past and begins to look to the future. It's about a lost and lonely soul recognising that family and belonging can come in different forms and learning to like and accept herself again. Because Loveday is likable - she's real, she's flawed and she completely deserves a happy ending. Will she get it? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out. Lost For words is a gorgeous book. It made me laugh and cry, it's both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and it's sad yet filled with hope. And I guarantee you will fall in love with Loveday Cardew too.

(I read a proof copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)

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