Search This Blog

**Announcement**

I've moved ... you can now find this blog at CosyBooks.Blog ...same content, different place!

On My Wishlist ...

Like any book addict, my wishlist is huge and constantly being added to. I don't always get to buy the books on it straightaway, or sometimes I'm waiting for them to be released. This week, I've added these two books thanks to wonderful reviews from fellow bloggers.

Kicking The Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

The stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money… 

Published by Harper 9 March 2017 


Why I'm Wishing For It... 
This one's down to Kaisha @ The Writing Garnet's fantastic and enthusiastic review. It completely sold it to me...emotional AND funny. Sounds great!  I've only read Cathy's Young Adult novels before (reviewed HERE), So I'm looking forward to read an adult fiction by her , as I know how well she can mix humour and more serious subjects.

What She Lost by Susan Elliot Wright  

Eleanor and her mother Marjorie have always had a difficult relationship and although they’ve tried, they have somehow just failed to connect.
    Now Marjorie has Alzheimer’s, and as her memory fades, her grip on what she has kept hidden begins to loosen. When she calls her daughter to say, ‘There’s something I have to tell you’, Eleanor hopes this will be the moment she learns the truth about the terrible secret that has cast a shadow over both their lives.
    But Marjorie’s memory is failing fast and she can’t recall what she wanted to say. Eleanor knows time is running out, and as she tries to gently uncover the truth before it becomes lost inside her mother’s mind forever, she begins to discover what really happened when she was a child – and why…
    A story of family and secrets, perfect for fans of Maggie O'Farrell. 

Published by Simon and Schuster UK 9th March 2017  

Why I'm Wishing For It... 
Anne @ Random Things Through My Letterbox wrote a beautiful review of this book. Alzheimer's Disease and its affect on individuals and families is something that is close to my heart after loosing my beloved Grandmother to it in 2015 and I'm currently making a list of books that deal with the subject in some way.


And this one, which isn't yet released, also found it's way onto my ever growing wishlist...

Together by Julie Cohen 


This is not a great love story. 
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.


Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes's Me Before You, David Nicholls's One Day and M L Stedman's The Light Between Oceans.

Published by Orion in July 2017 


Why I'm Wishing For It... 
Seriously...just look at it! Why wouldn't I want to own it? This is one of those books that I'm going to just take from my shelves and just stare at (Everyone has those...right?) It sounds fantastic, emotional and beautiful...just my cup of teas. Roll on July when I can buy this absolute beauty!


On My Wishlist was a regular weekly feature I hosted here at Cosy Books in 2012. While I'm not intending to start up as a meme again, I'm more than happy for others to join in if they like.   







Blog Tour: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney - Guest Post and Review

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting the latest stop on the Sometimes I Lie blog tour and welcoming Alice Feeney with a guest post discussing the inspiration behind her love of writing, followed by a review - which I warn you now is GUSHY because I LOVED this book! But for now, over to Alice....
 ***************

I’ve been trying to write books for a very long time. When I was a little girl, I used to sit in the small room at the back of my parents’ shop, while they worked I would read as well as make up my own stories. I used to write them on folded up pieces of A4 photocopy paper, and I think my Dad still has one I made when I was six or seven. It was a bit like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I can still remember how proud I was of it now - I thought it was brilliant! 
Things got a bit more serious when I turned thirty. I had a great job working for the BBC, but deep down I knew that all I really wanted to do was write that book, like I’d imagined myself doing as a little girl. It feels like I’ve been scribbling in my spare time ever since. I’ve tried and failed a few times. I have my fair share of rejection letters, but each time, I just picked myself up and tried again – it’s just what you have to do.  
 
It took me six months to write the first draft of Sometimes I Lie. This time last year, I was still busy writing it. I wrote this novel while working full time as a producer on the BBC’s One O’clock News, so some parts were written in my garden shed at home, but others were written on the train to work or in my lunch breaks. It was like an obsession and it took over everything. If you told me back then that it would be a real book less than a year later, I wouldn’t have believed you!   
The last few months, being approached by agents and publishers, has been the most wonderful whirlwind! An amazing agent called Jonny Geller took a chance on me and my novel, and has since sold it around the world. I’m now able to write full time, which has always been my dream and I feel incredibly lucky - it is quite simply the best job in the world! 

                                     *************** 
Review

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow. 

Published by HQ 23rd March 2017 (UK)
O.M.G - pretty much sums up my reaction to this book, from the first page to last. I wasn't just gripped - I was transfixed, unable to take my eyes from the words as twist after twist was revealed and chapter after chapter sped by.   

Sometimes I Lie is mind blowingly clever and complex. In short, because I don't want to give away too much detail of the plot, it tells the story of Amber Reynolds, a woman who has found herself in hospital in a coma. What's really fascinating first of all, is that it's told from Amber's perspective as she lies there, presumed to be unaware of what's going on around her by her family, but able to hear everything. Alice Feeney completely convinced me here, everything from the descriptions of sounds and smells in the hospital, to feelings of panic, fear, confusion and frustration experienced by Amber. This alone makes the book stand out for it's originality and intrigue. 

The chapters alternate between her time in a coma and the days leading up to the event that causes her to be there. There's also another story woven in between the chapters, causing the reader to wonder how exactly it all ties together. The plotting is intricate and brilliant, as pieces of the puzzle are put together, then reshuffled and put back together again. Honestly, the twists and turns that are pulled out during this book come like bolts of lightening one after the other, making Sometimes I Lie an exhilarating, heart pumping, thrill of a read.  Alice Feeney plays mind games with the reader, leading you down one path, then dropping a bombshell to make you shout out loud. Every time I thought I knew exactly what was going on, bam! - that certainty is shattered. Right through to the very last page. 

It took me two sittings to read this book, and it was only because I had to take a break (mother duties) that I did. I could not stop reading. I had to know what happened. It is completely compelling, original and twisty and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Sometimes I Lie is my book of 2017 so far, and it's going to take a lot to beat it. Alice Feeney is without doubt an author to watch out for...I think we'll be hearing a lot more from her in the future! 

(I read an advance Ebook edition courtesy of the publisher)  


Blog Tour Book Review: Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was like tasting for the first time. Like discovering colour . . .

It is 1919 and the war is over, but for Emeline Vane the cold Norfolk fens only are haunted by memories of those she has lost. In a moment of grief, she recklessly boards a train and runs from it all.

Her journey leads her far away, to a tiny seaside village in the South of France. Taken in by cafe owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs, the raw, rich tastes of the land.

But when a love affair develops, as passionate as the flavours of the village, secrets from home begin blowing in on the sea wides. Fifty years later, a young solictor on his first case finds Emeline's diary, and begins to trace a story of betrayal, love and bittersweet secrets that will send him on a journey to discover the truth... (From Goodreads.com)

Published 23rd March 2017 (Ebook)/ 15th June (paperback) by Transworld UK

Dual time narratives are one of my favourite plot devices going. I love the alternating chapters, skipping between one era to the other and tying both times together. So when I read the synopsis for Where The Wild Cherries Grow, I knew this was going to be a book for me.

In 1919 Emmeline faces an uncertain future, following the successive loss of her brothers to war and her Mother to heartbreak. Alone in the imposing family mansion, she's vulnerable to her unscrupulous uncle and his vision for the ancestral home. When faced with an alarming and terrifying realisation, she makes a spontaneous bid for freedom across France. Fifty years later and solicitor, Bill Perch, embarks on his first case. Young and eager to please, his first case seems straightforward enough. But when he comes across a diary, written fifty years ago, he becomes more and more intrigued and connected, until he must confront a moral dilemma, leading him on a journey of his own.

What I loved about this book was how both Emmeline and Bill's chapters captivated me and complimented each other. They both begin in situations of suffocating formality, baring the pressure of the expectations of others and being stifled. Emmeline is trapped by her position as a young lady in 1919 and society's expectations which are imposed on her. Without any family left, she can't support herself or make choices about the future of her family home. Bill may initially seem to have the world at his feet, but he's also stifled by life and the expectations of his parents, his girlfriend and the monotony of his professional life in a claustrophobic city. As the chapters alternated, I could see the journey both character went on to individual freedom, and feel the development of both as they surged towards new beginnings. Usually, in this type of narrative, I favour one perspective or era more than the other. In Where The Wild Cherries Grow I found both voices equally as enjoyable, making this book flow beautifully, intertwining both Emmeline and Bill's stories effortlessly.

Laura Madeleine has a beautiful descriptive prose, which transports the reader to the times and places of this book. The smells, the sounds, the sights...all brought alive in wonderful, multi-coloured vividness. And the food....oh the food! My mouth watered as I read about the sumptuous recipes. I could almost taste them. I wanted nothing more than to be in a beautiful coastal village in the Mediterranean, eating fresh and  delicious food once I'd finished reading. But Laura's stunningly descriptive prose extends to the unsaid and unseen too. The love affair between Emmeline and Aaro was intense and breathtaking. Impressive as Aaro is deaf and has no speech, and so conveying his feelings relies on the author's poetic turn of phrase and tender and intricate detailing of a look or a touch.

I adored this book, and was fully immersed in it as I read. Not only did the intrigue of Emmeline's secrets keep me glued, but the feeling of truly being transported to another place had me transfixed and I felt almost to sad to have ended it. For quite a short book, there's a lot packed in and I found myself turning the pages effortlessly and enjoying every single mouthwatering word. This is the first book I've read by Laura Madeleine, but it won't be the last and I highly recommend this book for those times when you have a few hours to spare and just want to be carried away on a beautiful story.

(I read an advanced readers copy supplied by the publisher)







On My Wishlist...

Like any book addict, my wishlist is huge and constantly being added to. I don't always get to buy the books on it straightaway, or sometimes I'm waiting for them to be released. This week, two books which I've added to my wishlist stand out, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly  


A doting mother or a pushy parent?

Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.

Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel. 

But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point. 


Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she? 
(Published by Corgi January 2017) 

Why I'm wishing for it... 
I've read some fantastic reviews recently about this book, but this one by Cleo Loves Books clinched it. Also, a couple of years ago my daughter got into playing tennis competitively for a while, an environment way out of my comfort zone, and I definitely came across one or two pushy mums there! Taking this to the extreme sounds like a fascinating premise for a thriller.

And Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell 

 THEN
She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? 
Who still has secrets to hide? 
Published July 2017 by Cornerstone 

Why I'm wishing for it...
I'm a MASSIVE Lisa Jewell fan. She's probably my favourite author and I've read and loved all of her books up until the most recent two (which I own and need to get on with!). And she's now writing psychological thriller style books? Well, putting two favourite things together like that, why wouldn't I be wishing for it?



 On My Wishlist was a regular weekly feature I hosted here at Cosy Books in 2012 (see HERE). While I'm not intending to start up as a meme again, I'm more than happy for others to join in if they like. 




Book Review: The People At Number 9 by Felicity Everett

Meet the new neighbours. Whose side are you on?

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.

When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them…

Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing and betrayal in the suburbs… (From Goodreads.com)

Published 6th April 2017 by HQ UK  

Sometimes your expectation of what a book is going to be about can skew your experience of reading it. I think this is probably the case with The People At Number 9, being not at all what I was expecting and leaving me a little confused regarding my feelings towards it.

The People At Number 9 tells the story of two couples living in middle class suburbia. When Lou and Gav move in next door to Sara and Neil, Sara is dazzled. Creative, charismatic and cultured, they're everything she wants to be herself. When a friendship between the set of couples is established, they quickly start spending more and more time together, becoming increasingly intertwined with each others lives. But familiarity breeds contempt - right? And when the friendship begins to feel one-sided, jealousy and resentment starts to creep in.

I'll be honest, I was expecting more of a heart thumping, twisty psychological thriller style read when I started this. It is neither of those things. The darkness in this book is more subtle, it won't chill you or jump out at you, but rather cast a slow, uncomfortable realization of the less attractive qualities we all can be susceptible to now and then and like to keep hidden - envy, dissatisfaction, longing and insecurity. In Sara, those feeling are intensified, simmering resentments escalating to almost obsession. I didn't like her - she's a social climber, tries too hard to impress those she deems intelligent and admirable, making her unattractive to all around her. She's constantly trying to mold herself and her family into what she thinks they should be. Yet, I think if we're completely honest with ourselves, we can all recognise some of the thoughts and feelings she has, even if only fleeting. That's where the darkness lies in this book.

I didn't like Lou or Gav either, pretentious and manipulating that they are. Yet they were fascinatingly intriguing - in fact all of the characters were. There isn't one who I could say I liked (even the children if I'm allowed to say that!) yet they were realistic. Each one is so well observed, you'll be recognising people you know personally in them. The plot isn't far fetched or out of the ordinary, it's a believable story of domestic life and could be playing out between neighbours across the road as we speak. Yet it is at times utterly compelling. Felicity Everett's ability to capture human nature and traits and make the mundane fascinating is outstanding, and while I struggled to begin with due to taking a deep dislike to the characters, from around halfway through I couldn't stop reading.

Wrongly again, I expected a climatic or dramatic ending, waiting for it to happen and realising with only a couple of pages left that this wasn't going to happen. It's taken me a few days to write my review, as I needed time to process how I felt about this book. On reflection, having put aside any preconceptions I had about what this book was going to be, I can appreciate how well written and brilliantly observed it is. The People At Number 9 is probably going to divide opinion between readers, I know I'm not the only reviewer to find it completely different to expectations. Despite feeling a little disappointed that it wasn't the pacey thriller I wanted, I did find it compelling, intense and uncomfortably believable. A few days on I'm still thinking about it and recalling it vividly - it certainly made an impression on me despite my mixed feelings.

(I read an advanced copy courtesy of the publisher)


Book Review: The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all? (From goodreads.com

Published March 21st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing 


I hadn't read anything by Amanda Prowse before reading this. I'm not sure why, I had a couple of her books on my Amazon wish list and had already identified that she sounded like an author I'd really enjoy. Since returning to blogging earlier this year, it was one author I saw a lot of praise for over on twitter, and her latest book, The Idea Of You created quite a bit of excitement among bloggers and I had it marked as a must read. So when I got a surprise email from netgalley with an invitation to read it, I accepted straight away. That was yesterday, and after downloading, taking a quick look and then finding myself finishing the whole book in a few hours, I can definitely say I will be reading more of Amanda's work very soon!  

The Idea Of You is a touching and thoughtful book, telling the story of Lucy; almost forty and desperate for a child. Having married later than those around her, she's aware that time is running out, so when she finds out she is pregnant, she and her husband Jonah are delighted. But sadly, it's not to be, as Lucy faces miscarriage in early pregnancy. Only a few chapters into this book and already I felt connected and that this story would resonate with me. I have two children, but before my first child was born I too suffered a miscarriage and Amanda Prowse captures in startling honesty the feelings I remember having back then - of  panic and fear to begin with, the indignity of the hospital cubical, the overwhelming feelings of loss, emptiness and guilt afterwards, with sensitivity and care.  

What surprised me about this book was the development of Lucy throughout, as more 'roles' for this character were introduced or revealed. I think there's an aspect of Lucy that a lot of us can relate to, and again, I found myself nodding in agreement or having a memory evoked just by a turn of phrase or expression. I particularly thought the fraught and emotional relationship between Lucy and her step daughter was well written, convincing and honest.  Each chapter ends with a letter written by Lucy, and it isn't clear until almost to the end who she is writing too. I wasn't expecting the turn the story took with regards to this, and it added an even extra layer of depth and back story to the main character.

This is an emotional book, and I had a lump in my throat several times throughout. Amanda Prowse's writing is heartfelt, intimate and sincere - an author's note explains why the subject of this book is close to her own heart and her honesty, experience and understanding is palpable. Lucy's journey isn't smooth or predictable, it is human. Yet among the ups and downs lies a tender and heart-warming tale of family and acceptance. I won't be leaving it long before I do read some more of Amanda's books and will look out eagerly for future releases.  

(I read an advanced ebook copy courtesy of  Netgalley)
 





Upcoming Blog Tours

I'm really excited to be part of two fantastic blog tours which start next week. 

The first which will be stopping by is the Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine tour which will stop here on the 27th March. Here's the book description and the full tour line up. 

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was like tasting for the first time. Like discovering colour . . .

It is 1919 and the war is over, but for Emeline Vane the cold Norfolk fens only are haunted by memories of those she has lost. In a moment of grief, she recklessly boards a train and runs from it all.

Her journey leads her far away, to a tiny seaside village in the South of France. Taken in by cafe owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs, the raw, rich tastes of the land.

But when a love affair develops, as passionate as the flavours of the village, secrets from home begin blowing in on the sea wides. Fifty years later, a young solictor on his first case finds Emeline's diary, and begins to trace a story of betrayal, love and bittersweet secrets that will send him on a journey to discover the truth...   (Published 23rd March 2017  (ebook) and 21st June 2017 (paperback) by Transworld)


 

 Next up is the Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney tour, which calls at Cosy books on the 30th March 


My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow. 

Published 23rd March by HQ Stories  




 




Book Review: This Love by Dani Atkins

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon - she's a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.
            One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered - what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event? (From Goodreads.com)

Published 23rd March 2017 by Simon and Schuster UK   

Wow. If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be emotional. But one word is not enough, so here follows what is likely to be a slightly (very) gushing review.

Sophie Winter keeps herself to herself. She works at home and spends most of her evenings at home. She really didn't want to go to the Halloween party in the flat below her, but when best friend Julia convinces her that she should at least try to socialise, she gives it a go. For half an hour. Then she's back in her flat, in her comfy PJ's and dozing on the sofa with her beloved cat, Fred. Sophie is already my kind of person. I'd related to and connected with her within the first few pages. There's a sense of vulnerability, insecurity, grief and loneliness combined with hints of a hidden strength and kind heart that make her endearing, interesting and gets the reader onside immediately.

When she's woken that same night by the fire raging in the flat below, I was transfixed. I felt her panic, smelt the smoke and saw the terrifying scene unfold in breathtaking clarity. I was then swept away on the developing relationship between Sophie and Ben- a complex, tentative, and extremely romantic journey with some unexpected twists and turns, which both binds and complicates things for them. I'm not a huge believer in fate, but there's a tangible feeling that this was meant to be. Both Sophie and Ben are carrying the weight of guilt and the effects of grief and trauma. Finding each other becomes the key to letting go, righting wrongs and moving forward.

There's something very real and personal about Dani Atkin's writing and it is utterly compelling. I was immersed in these characters lives as I read this book, almost as if I knew them. I remained hooked throughout this absorbing story of coming to terms with grief and loss, facing your fears and being able to open your heart again, even if you know that means your heart will eventually be broken. I cried. I smiled. The end of this book absolutely broke me. But it was beautiful and heartwarming too. I can't recommend it enough.

(I read a proof copy supplied by the publisher)  






Book Review: The Escape by CL Taylor

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.

The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.
(from Goodreads.com

Published by Avon UK 23rd March 2017 


This is the fourth book by CL Taylor I've read, and I've always found her books very, very readable. The Escape is no different - immediately I was drawn in, hooked to the pacey flow and intrigued by the evolving situation the main character Jo has found herself in. 

The book begins when Jo is approached by a stranger and asked for a lift - only once in the car it turns out that the stranger, Paula, isn't so random. She's looking for something that she claims Jo's husband Max took from her, and she's determined to get it back. Within the first couple of chapters, the image of both Jo and Paula is firmly and expertly set, with Jo cast as weak, nervy and anxiety ridden in contrast to Paula's tough, brash and bullying attitude. Taylor uses perfect dialogue and descriptions of mannerisms, particularly in the case of  Paula, so that these characters are vividly realistic. I could see Paula -her stance, her facial expressions - so clearly in my mind. This continues throughout the book with the entire cast of characters, who each have their unique and distinctive voice and style, making The Escape feel almost like watching a TV drama. 

The book is also interspersed with short italicized chapters conveying one of the character's thoughts and intentions. These sections are filled with malice and threat and are pretty creepy. The author also cleverly leads the reader down one path, before throwing a huge twist I didn't see coming and had me scrolling back through the ebook to see if I had missed something.  

Jo is an interesting main character, I was torn between sympathy at the terrifying situation she found herself in and frustration at some of her reactions. I thought CL Taylor executed her seemingly irrational and declining grip on reality well, and kept me guessing whether she was to be trusted or not for a large portion of the book. I felt Max on the other hand, lacked a little something. I don't quite understand his actions and why he did what he did. I won't go into it further as to do so would give away the plot, but it affected the tension of the book slightly as I read it in my opinion. I did enjoy part two of The Escape, set in Ireland and introducing another well written character, Mary. I wondered how the two parts connected to begin with, seemingly two separate plots going on at once, and loved the way they eventually tied together. 

The Escape is a gripping and accessible read with broad appeal. It's a once you start, you won't stop kind of read and you'll find you've covered a massive chunk of book without even realising it. With vivid and well drawn character's, it's a book which will play out in your head when you read and has enough twists to keep the reader surprised and intrigued. My kindle broke half way through reading this book, and I was so keen to carry on reading that I couldn't wait the two days that Amazon would take to deliver a new one, that I found a second hand one for sale on a local selling group and had a replacement in my hand within half an hour.  CL Taylor is an author who knows how to hold her audience, and The Escape is no different. If you're a fan, then you won't be disappointed!

(I read an ebook copy supplied by the publisher via Netgalley)

Sunday Wrap UP - 12th March 2017

 

It's been a good week this week. The sun was out for a lot of it, there was a bit of warmth in the sun and the increasingly lighter nights have really lifted my spirits and helped me be way more productive than usual at home! 

 I did have minor panic on Tuesday night, when I got home from work eager to pick up my kindle and continue reading The Escape by CL Taylor, only to find it was BROKEN. No idea what happened, but half the screen saver just wouldn't go and blocked half of the words on the page. I've had it around five years, so it has served me well, but I was distraught! Luckily, I logged onto the local facebook selling page and someone was selling a similar one. I had a replacement in half an hour...I don't think I could've waited until  one from Amazon arrived. Anyway, I got to read The Escape...it was gripping. I'll review it this week.



 I finished Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land (Review HERE) This was such an engrossing and creepy read, with a narrator whose voice stayed in my head way after I'd turned the last page. 

 

I also caught up with some mini reviews from earlier on the year. I really have to write reviews very soon after I read a book, otherwise I struggle - so a mini review round up seemed the perfect solution. You can see what I thought of The Stranger in My Home by Adele Parks, While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green, The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist and Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris HERE 




Some fantastic book post this week. I've already read This Love...it was amazing! So beautifully written, and heartbreaking and warm. I'll be reviewing it this week.  Thanks to Simon Schuster for sending it to me, along with The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson and Quicksand by MALIN PERSSON GIOLITO. The Fire Child by S K Tremayne and The One by John Marrs were competition wins. Thank you Bilbliomaniac UK and Jess Hearts Books


I'm reading The People At Number 9 by Felicity Everett at the minute, then up next will be Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine 


 


How's your week been and what are you reading this week? 

Have a wonderful week.





Mini Book Reviews: Short & Not All Sweet But Definitely Worth a Mention.

I didn't begin posting on the blog again until mid-January, but over the New Year I had my first major book binge for a while and flew through these in a few days before going back to work. Unfortunately, I'm one of those reviewers who HAS to write a review pretty much immediately after finishing a book and moving onto the next one, so while these four books didn't get a full review, they are most definitely worth a mention.


What would YOU do if your child wasn't yours?

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine - the absolute centre of Alison's world. Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison's baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.

The daughter she brought home doesn't belong to her.

When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose.
(From Goodreads.com)
Published by Headline in ebook Septemeber 2016 /paperback February 2017

There's something fascinating about swapped at birth stories...I can't even begin to imagine the horror. Adele Parks' The Stranger In My Home tackles this subject in a compelling and unputdownable style with a twist I didn't see coming AT ALL.  


--------------------- 


Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever? (From Goodreads.com)

Published by Quercus May 2016

I don't think there's a mother or father among us who hasn't been terrified at the thought of our children disappearing in the blink of eye. Linda Green captures Lisa's panic, terror and guilt perfectly and realistically conveys the heartbreaking and devasting affect on the whole family. Yet, the villain in this book isn't as straight forward as you might expect, and the book drives home that sometimes good people do bad things when they're pushed to their own mental limits.

                                                                     ---------------------


On her fiftieth birthday, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material: a state-of-the-art facility in Sweden where she will make new friends, enjoy generous recreational activities and live out her remaining days in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over the age of sixty who are single and childless are saved from a life devoid of value and converted into productive members of society. The price? Their bodies, harvested piece by piece for the ‘necessary’ ones (those on whom children depend) and sometimes their minds, as they take part in social and psychological experiments, until the day comes when they make their Final Donation and complete their purpose in life. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others. Resigned to her fate as a ‘dispensable’, Dorrit finds her days there to be peaceful and consoling. For the first time in her life she no longer feels like an outsider – a single woman in a world of married couples with children. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, everything changes… (From Amazon)

Published 2009 by One World Publications  

I've owned this book since early 2010, after reading an amazing review by a fellow blogger (who no longer blogs and sadly can't be linked to) and rushing straight over to Amazon to buy it. Seven years later, I picked it up. And Damn, why I didn't sooner ... it was gripping and I read it in one sitting.  Haunting, plausible and spirited, this was a thought provoking read of a future that isn't altogether unimaginable.  


                                                                         --------------------- 

Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city. For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London. Her neighbours think she’s just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie’s manager at work can’t remember her name. But all that is about to change …this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town. Evie works in the stockroom of an old-fashioned, family-run, London fashion department store. Hardy’s is a beautiful, wood-panelled jewellery box of a building, but it’s in dire need of a makeover. One day Evie overhears that if the entire store’s takings don’t turn round by Dec 26th – 3 weeks’ time – the family who own it will be forced to sell to one of the big chains. Hardy’s is in need of a Christmas miracle. Determined to save her beloved store, Evie hatches a plan to secretly transform it into a magical place to shop again. But has the time come for her to be noticed too? When an accidental romantic encounter with handsome, enigmatic Joel gives her the chance of a whole new identity, she takes it. (From Goodreads.com

Published by Simon & Schuster 2011 

This year I got pretty ill over Christmas, a cold virus that lead to severe sinusitis and chest infection. Lovely. Anyway, I missed the last week of work and all the pre-Christmas fun of panto's, meals out, parties. My youngest child also started secondary school this year so there were no angelic carol services to go to or visits to Santa. Seriously, it was so unfestive and depressing. So, I picked up this book which I'd had on the shelf since 2011 and for a few hours it relieved me of my misery. Heartwarming, fun, shopping = A great Christmas pick me up indeed.  

                                                                      --------------------- 

Have you read any of these books? Writing this actually makes me more determined to read some of the books I've had for years and never got around to, how many other hidden gems lurk on my shelves? 

Book Review: Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

'NEW N A M E .
NEW F A M I L Y.
S H I N Y.
NEW.
ME . '

Annie's mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother's daughter... (from Goodreads.com)

Published 12th January 2017 by Michael Joseph, Penguin UK   

Woah, this was an intense read! I picked it up on Saturday night, immediately finding myself pulled in and consumed by this tragic, chilling and fascinating tale.

Good Me, Bad Me tells the story of fifteen year old Milly as she adjusts to a new life, new family and new identity. Daughter of a serial killer, it was she who turned her Mother into the police after years of abuse herself and now she must prepare to give evidence at her trial. It's told completely in the first person from Milly, and Ali Land uses an unusual, but extremely effective style to get over her unique voice. Short, clipped, sometimes one word sentences give a flitting, intimate and authentic feel to the narrative, making me feel I was absolutely in Milly's head as I read this book. So much so, that even an hour after I'd finished reading, I could still hear her voice running through my mind. It was completely consuming and brilliant.

Milly's foster family add an extra layer of darkness to what is already a very dark and disturbing story. Mike's job is to guide and prepare Milly for the upcoming trial, yet such a delicate and traumatic case seems misguided considering the dysfunctional and mental frailty of his own family. I didn't understand him fully or his motives. It made me think perhaps the quest to help is more about the giver and what they get out of it: prestige, respect, admiration perhaps?  Mike's own family are themselves deeply troubled, with his daughter Phoebe's jealous, neglected and resentful personality creating an explosive environment for the traumatised and troubled Milly.

Ali Land writes Milly's voice with astonishing authenticity as she struggles between hatred and love for her mother. Her confusion, fear and guilt create a roller coaster of heightened emotion which takes the reader swiftly alongside with chilling anticipation. As a reader, it provokes internal debate and doubt - Is Milly to be pitied or feared? Can she be accountable, or is she an innocent victim of her unfortunate circumstances? This isn't a comfortable read, it prompts exploration of grey areas and left me mulling over things long after I'd finished. Milly's voice was so distinctive, even now I can recall it vividly, making Good Me, Bad Me an unforgettable and compelling story. Intense, chilling and completely engrossing, this is definitely a book and author to watch out for.






Book Review: The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity, about the line between innocence and culpability, about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control (from Goodreads.com


Published 9th March 2017 by Quercus (UK)   

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia wasn't a book or author I'd heard of when I first came across it, but with such an intriguing title and synopsis, I thought I'd give it a go. I am so glad I did, this book is one of those wich grip you from the very first page and keep you reading right the way through. 

The story centers on the shocking murder of a eighteen year old Hattie, in a small mid-western town in America. Local sheriff, Del, investigates the crime, but he's also got an emotional attachment to the case. He's a good friend of the family and has known Hattie since she was born. The book tells the story from his point of view as he investigates the murder, and also from Hattie's teacher, Peter, all in the present. A third narrator from the past is from Hattie herself, in the months leading up to the murder, and the alternating chapters and perspectives each have a distinct style and voice, making for an intriguing and absorbing read. 

I really liked Del and thought he was the main strength behind this book. Yes, he's the typical workaholic, coffee drinking, single and lonely, tough detective character, but there's a real empathetic and understanding side to him. The emotional connection he feels to the family is clear, yet I loved how his character dealt with facing conflicting feelings of personal bereavement and loyalty to Hattie and her family and professionalism to the case. Del is a fair man. He isn't perfect, he has his flaws, but he's the type of person you'd want to have your back. It's not just with the family who he has close ties to that we see this side of him, but in his interactions with other characters throughout the book. 

I also thought it was a clever idea to add in the voice of Hattie herself, and this meant we really got to know her. Hattie is complex, in that she presents herself as one thing to the community she lives in, while concealing her real dreams and feelings to the rest of the world. I felt conflicted about her character. On the one hand, it's easy to dislike her...she comes across as calculating and cold, but I think that's because it's easy to forget that she is only Eighteen years old. Despite her apparent maturity, she's actually pretty naive and easily influenced. I ended up feeling quite sorry for her, a girl who is dissatisfied with her life, feels out of place and dreams for more, she thinks she's found it and this makes her quite vulnerable. The third narration comes from her English teacher, Peter Lund. He's the character I struggled with most, finding him pretentious, weak and self pitying.  I think it's credit to the author's excellent writing that I felt this way, as that's exactly the response I presume I was supposed to have. 

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is a whodunnit murder investigation, and the prime suspects are flagged up pretty obviously. Yet despite knowing it was going to be one of these people, the author had my accusations switching from one to the other throughout. But this book is also an exploration of personal responsibility, a theme found in several of the small sub-plots and background stories. It had me questioning who was taking advantage of who at times, who was actually in control here and who was to blame. It also made me consider how being the person on the pedestal can actually make you the most vulnerable of all. The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman throws up every human flaw found in dysfunctional relationships: jealousy, weakness, selfishness, desire, need, revenge and control. I read this in two days, was gripped and absorbed throughout and even the ending left me with something to think about. 

(I read a proof copy from the Amazon Vine program)

Guest Post: So I Say Thank You For The Books... by Annabelle Thorpe

Today I'm thrilled to be welcoming Annabelle Thorpe, author of The People We Were Before to Cosy Books to talk about the people who inspired her love of books

Over to you Annabelle ....


This could only ever be a post about my Mum. She loved books. One of my earliest memories is sitting under the blankets in my small bedroom, the light glowing on the bedside table, reading Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner; both small, battered hardbacks, one red, one green, that she had owned as a child. I learnt to read on Winnie the Pooh. Mum said it had everything; taught the values of friendship, of love, of loyalty. It even dealt with the pain of separation, although I didn't understand that at the time.

Like most things, my Mum had strong opinions on books. Those who hadn't read Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows, had - according to her - clearly had a deprived childhood. Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass were two more of her favourites, although I could never really get on with either. She bristled with annoyance at Enid Blyton books not being considered suitable for school reading, and I devoured Malory Towers, St Claires and the Five Go...books. I also adored the Chalet School stories; a set of books about very posh girls, in a very posh school in Switzerland. Perhaps it appealed to an early love of travel (I later became a travel writer).

She loved poetry too; introducing me to T S Eliot's Old Possums Book of Cats at an early age, and trying to get me to love Keats and Byron when I studied them for A level English. Betjeman was one of her favourites. But poetry and I never really got on

I remember my parents house being full of books; shelves filled with a diverse mix of classics and

contemporary fiction. Mum loved a spy novel; SS-GB being on the television at the moment has reminded me of the Len Deighton novels that were often beside her bed. My mid-to-late teens were filled with diverse worlds, from wartime Berlin to 19th century New York. The Moonstone by WIlkie Collins was another of our joint favourites, along with anything by Henry James. Mum bought me up to believe that being well-read was important, that books mattered.

Even now, many years after I lost her, I only have to hear a quote from Winnie the Pooh, or catch a glimpse of the Wind in the Willows on TV, to remember how much she loved those books, and the joy reading them with her gave me. In this way, I think books are like music; they can transport us back to the time we first read them, or to people we shared them with. One of my greatest sorrows is that she never got to read mine. I hope she would have enjoyed them.  




Thank you Annabelle for a wonderful guest post. I love and relate your comparison to music, there's certain books that just the sight of take me back to sitting on the floor beside my Gran on a cosy Saturday afternoon.  

The People We Were Before was published in hardback last year, and in paperback on 23rd February 2017. Look out for my review coming soon. 

If war is madness, how can love survive?

Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget.

The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.

War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.

There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.       


Are you an author or blogger who would like to take part in So I Say Thank You For The Books...? You can read other guest posts and find out more HERE
. 

Looking Back at February and Forward to March 2017

I love saying goodbye to February. It hasn't been a bad Month, in fact book wise it has been great. I've read some fantastic books this month, with the bonus on having the half term break to spend doing lots and lots of reading. But March is when you can feel change is in the air. The spring flowers are well on their way to pushing their way up in the world, the nights are getting lighter. I really struggle with dark nights, so when March comes round, I feel like I'm waking up and find energy that had disappeared over the dark winter months.  

At Work This morning...lovely!

Book of The Month

I read nine books in February...and enjoyed them all. However, my book of the month was Sealskin by Su Bristow

  

Coming Up In March  

Here's some of the books I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing in March  


I've read The last Act of Hattie Hoffman since taking this photo...watch out for a review coming soon. 

Are any of these on your list? What are you looking forward to reading in March? 





**Announcement**

I've moved ... you can now find this blog at CosyBooks.Blog ...same content, different place!

Popular Posts

Follow by Email