Monday, 23 November 2015

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin
Published: 16th October 2015
Publisher: Carina UK
Available on Kindle

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris? Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Picturing days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and people-watching on the Champs-Elysees Sarah boards the plane. But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

Once again Rebecca Raisin has manged to charm and enchant us with another brilliant story. The Little Book Shop on the Seine is Rebecca’s first novel which has partly being set away from her lovely town of Ashford. In this book Sarah, owner of The Bookshop on the Corner agrees to a six month book swap with her online friend Sophie who runs Once Upon a Time in Paris.
Sarah heads off believing that Paris will be just as romantic as it is in her books and is hoping to spend some much needed quality time with boyfriend Ridge. However things don’t turn out quite the way she expected and she finds things fairly tough going.
The Little Bookshop on the Seine seems to be a more serious and realistic novel from Rebecca, the characters in this novel aren’t all warm and cosy like the residents of Ashford and I enjoyed this new direction Rebecca has taken. Some of the characters in this book are snappy and rude such as Beatrice and I really enjoyed wondering what exactly her problem was.
Life in Once Upon a Time is busy, disorderly and at times too much for Sarah to deal with after the peace and quiet of her own shop. In this book we see her character develop as she gains more confidence, stands up for herself and takes control of the Parisian shop for Sophie.
As with her previous novels Rebecca has done a fantastic job of creating beautiful scenes from her wonderful descriptions of places in Paris. I loved visiting Anouk in her antique shop and all the quaint hidden little places Oceane introduced Sarah too. One of my favourite scenes was when Oceane took Sarah out for lunch and ordered her steak tartare, I think I would have acted exactly as Sarah did!
I did find that this wasn’t quite as Christmassy as I expected and for that reason I’m glad I’ve read it as one of my first Christmas reads this year. Christmas is only really featured in the last few chapters of the book. However it does do a wonderful have a lovely wintery glow about it, making it perfect to read in front of log fires with hot chocolate and start your Christmas dreams.
As with all previous Rebecca Raisin novels I loved everything about this book. I loved that Rebecca has given us a little bit more depth and mystery to her story but still kept that warm and cosy feeling at the heart of her writing. Although this follows on from previous novels it can be read completely as a stand-alone and make total sense. Definitely a book to add to your winter reading this year, I rate it 5 out 5!
Thank you to Carina UK and Netgalley for my review copy.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

The Winter Wedding

Published: 5th November 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 305
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads.

But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?

Despite having a number of Abby Clements books on my bookshelf, The Winter Wedding is the first one I’ve read. I’ve been waiting for this to be released for months since I spied it on a trawl through Amazon, for me it has one of my favourite things to read about weddings!
In The Winter Wedding we meet Hazel and her twin sister Lila. For years they have done everything together but as they’ve grown up Lila’s been spending more and more time with boyfriend Ollie until the inevitable happens and they become engaged. Dissatisfied with her work life Hazel steps in to help out as wedding planner and after the wedding turns out to be a huge success Hazel finds herself with a few more clients and a new direction in life.
Hazel was such a lovely character, she’s always looking out for her sister Lila, helping her boss Emma more than she should and seems to have everyone’s best interests at heart. I loved that her creativity was admired through the weddings she had planned as I felt it gave her a confidence boost to go after what she really wanted.
All the characters in this book are lovely but I think my favourite had to be Amber, she just seemed to be the perfect flat-mate for Hazel and I’m glad that events in the book didn’t come between them as they possibly could have. I’d love to be a taster for her cakes!
This was a lovely gentle read which flowed at good pace making for a quick easy read.  Although it’s not the most in depth book but I really enjoyed it. I think it’s the perfect book this winter and I’m looking forward to reading more books by Abby Clements.
Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a review copy. I’d like to rate The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements 5/5.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Love Dectective by Alexandra Potter

The Love Detective

Published: 2nd January 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 359
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

"People always ask me what kind of books I write and I guess you'd call them love stories, but I also think of them as mysteries. After all, what makes two people fall in love? I've written three novels on the topic and I'm still looking for the answers.

In a way, I'm a bit of a love detective. Because what's a greater mystery than love?"

Ruby Miller has lost her faith in love. In an effort to forget her cheating ex and clear her writer's block, she joins her sister for a week's holiday in India... and embarks on an extraordinary adventure.

Swept up on a magical mystery tour, amid silks and spices, palaces and weddings, Ruby investigates different stories of love lost and found.

But will a romance of her own remain always out of reach? Or can she find her happy ever after?

Alexandra Potter is an author whose previous books I have loved, they are full of romance and quirky female characters that you just can’t help but fall for and they all seem to have that added bit of sparkle which makes them special. The Love Detective is the first book in a new series, but it can be read completely as a stand-alone novel.
Ruby Miller a romance writer who puts sparkle and romance into her novels. Until now, she’s just found out her fiancé has been cheating on her and Ruby’s faith in love has been lost. So when little sister Amy invites Ruby to join her out in Goa Ruby packs her bags and heads to India. All is perfect at the blissful beachside yoga resort until Amy goes missing, on the day they are both due home. Ruby being the protective sensible older sister embarks on a journey across India to find Amy and bring her home. What starts as a journey to find Amy turns into a journey for Ruby to find herself again among the magic of India.
I have to confess I did nearly give up on reading this book after a few chapters, I just wasn’t engaging in the story for some reason. It wasn’t until after around page 100 that I became hooked. I think initially the story seemed a little flat as Ruby was predominantly by herself and the dialogue with other characters was very minimal. However when Ruby meets Jack on the train something caught my interest and I couldn’t put his down.
I loved Ruby as a character, she’s full of romance ideals, more than a little clumsy and is fiercely loyal to her sister Amy, who I actually found quite self-absorbed.
I loved the chemistry between Ruby and Jack, initially they don’t hit it off and their conversations are mostly bickering it was easy to see the spark between them, they made for an enjoyable and funny read.
India has never really been a country which I’ve longed to visit, but through the writing I can sense it must be a really special place. Every place visited Ruby’s visit has been brought to life perfectly and I really felt a sense of the colours and aromas of the county, well done Ms Potter for capturing the essence of India so completely.
After a wonderful journey with many twists and turns Ms. Potter’s signature magical element helps to bring this story to the perfect, if not predictable ending. Fans of Alexandra’s previous books will adore this book as it has her same magical, romantic style. If your pick this up and struggle a bit with the beginning, please don’t put this book down as you will miss out on a wonderful story. I give this book 4/5.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Liar's Chair by Rebecca Whitney

The Liar's Chair

Published: 15th January 2015 (Hardback)
Publisher: Mantle
Pages: 305
Available in Hardback, Paperback and Kindle
Order now from Amazon

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business . . . They have everything.

However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.

Destroying all evidence of the accident, David insists they continue as normal. Rachel though is racked with guilt and as her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive she not only inflames David's darker side, but also uncovers her own long-suppressed memories of shame. Can Rachel confront her past and atone for her terrible crime? Not if her husband has anything to do with it . . .

A startling, dark and audacious novel set in and around the Brighton streets, The Liar's Chair will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final page has been turned. A stunning psychological portrait of a woman in a toxic marriage, Rebecca Whitney's debut will show that sometimes the darkest shadow holds the truth you have been hiding from.

The Liars Chair by Rebecca Whitney tells the story of Rachel and David Teller. On the outside it appears these two have everything, a big house filled with top of the range furniture, expensive cars and a successful business. However both are hiding things from each other and when Rachel is involved with a hit and run that kills a man the cracks in their marriage begin to appear as they both struggle to keep control.

Rachel and David were both horrible characters. Rachel seems to be void of any emotions towards others. Although she showed a little remorse towards the man she ran over it was purely because it affected her own life. She also shows no real affection towards Will, the man she has been having an affair with for over two years, it just came across that she’s use him whenever she wanted a distraction from her controlling marriage. David was just a vile, some of the things he does to Rachel just because of a little mistake are just horrendous. I almost felt sorry for Rachel being married to David, but not quite.

I found that the writing style of this book was very descriptive but didn’t actually seem to explain what was going on, honestly I was quite bored reading it and almost gave up a couple of times. I kept reading purely waiting for the moment something thrilling and intense would happen, sadly this never came.

I did enjoy the first three chapters, the description of the accident and Rachel’s feelings towards were good and I was expecting this to continue throughout the book, sadly it seemed to go downhill from there. I didn’t like the ending, I felt it was just too easy to write it that way and there didn’t seem to be any conclusion as to why anything had happened and what the chapters relating to Rachel’s childhood were really all about. 

I was really disappointed after reading this as I was expecting a really intense and gripping look at the marriage relationship and the fall-out from the accident, however for me it was just lacking. If you like horrible rich people acting horribly to each other with no real redemption then you may enjoy this.

I’m giving this book 2/5 stars, one star for the beginning and one star for Will who seemed to have some feelings towards others.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this to review, sadly it’s not for me.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons'

Lost Girls (D.I. Kim Stone, #3)

Published: 6th November 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 359
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

Lost Girls is Angela Marsons’ third instalment in the D.I. Stone series and I think it might just be my favourite so far. Just like her previous two novels Silent Scream and Evil Games Angela has written a fast-paced and gripping story which will have you on the edge of your seat, your nerves in tatters and physically unable to put that book down!

This time the case involves two young girls who have been kidnapped and a bidding war is instigated between the two families, the incentive being whichever family pays the most will see their little girl again, the other won’t. The case mirrors an earlier case where only one of the girls was returned safely. As Kim is put in charge of this high profile case she promises to deliver both girls home…alive.

As Kim and her team set up home in one of the families’ homes they are joined by two additional members, profiler Alison and negotiator Matt. In true Kim style she doesn’t let them settle in easily and there is a lot of verbal sparring between them as Kim struggles with the pressure to deliver a result as time slowly runs out. Being located in the home of one of the families also gave an insight into the way the two couples reacted to each other as time when on, the emotions and dialogue between them was just fascinating to read and very believable.

Aside from the main case we begin to learn more about D.S. Kevin Dawson as Kim sends him off on his own to tie up an old case. I really enjoyed getting to know more about Dawson and his background as it made Kim’s team feel even more real. I hope in the next novel we can learn more about Stacey and what makes her tick.

As the story unfolded I began to have a feeling for who I thought was the perpetrator and… wrong I was! The last few chapters of this novel built up into an utterly amazing and nail-biting conclusion, one which I totally didn’t see coming and completely threw me as I thought, aww Angela has done it again! Her plots just get better and better and the realism of it all has me in awe as everything always comes together in such a clever way.

I think 2015 has been a fantastic year for Angela Marsons’ she has delivered three outstanding crime novels and seems to have become a firm favourite with many crime readers. She has definitely become my favourite crime writer and one which I know will produce some must-read novels of 2016. Well done Angela, I am a huge fan of your utterly brilliant addictive writing and please, please don’t stop writing!!
Finally I’d like to say I give Lost Girls 5/5….it really deserves many more! I’d also like to thank Bookouture and Netgalley for the review copy, it has been a pleasure to read and review

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Evil Games by Angela Marsons

Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone, #2)

Evil Games ( D.I. Stone #2) by Angela Marsons
Published: 29th May 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 384
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…
When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time - it’s personal.

After reading and been totally blown away by Angela Marsons’ first DI Stone novel Silent Scream I was eager to read her second novel Evil Games and it didn’t disappoint, it’s another highly addictive and fast paced read which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
In Evil Games DI Stone and her team are investigating an ongoing child abuse case alongside the recent brutal stabbing of a rapist. As other crimes are committed Kim feels there is a connection between them, her colleagues disagree but as the name Dr Alexandra Thorne keeps cropping up Kim can’t let that niggle in her gut go. As she investigates on her own Kim comes face to face with a dangerous sociopath and as Kim faces her deepest fears…can she outwit her strongest adversary yet?
Wow, just like Angela’s first crime thriller this was addictive from the very first page and had me hooked until the end. There were so many plot twists and turns that kept me totally absorbed, making for a fairly quick read. The short chapters and Angela’s excellent action packed writing style helped this book to flow brilliantly. One thing I really loved was that the last sentence of each chapter seemed to add more clues to the case and was like a mini cliff-hanger urging me to keep reading.
In Alexandra Thorne Angela has created a truly despicable and unsettling character, reading about her was so intriguing. Just like Kim I felt that niggle that she wasn’t quite as charming as she first appeared and as we learnt more about her and her mind games she just made me shudder. Well done to Angela for creating such a brilliant character.
Another thing I loved about Evil Games was that we learnt a lot more about Kim’s background which really made like her more as a character. Although we learn more about why she is so harsh and closed off to emotions it was nice that with the introduction of Barney the dog there is hope for Kim to form relationships in the future, something to look forward too maybe?
Evil Games was a brilliant read, written in the same addictive style as Silent Scream and as a follow it’s just as good as the first one. So looking forward to reading the next book Lost Girls and really hoping Angela will continue to write this wonderful series.
Thank you so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the review copy, I give Evil Games a massive 5 out 5 and urge anyone who hasn’t read this to do so now, you won’t regret it.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Rescue

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
Published: 22nd October 2015
Publisher: Bantam Press (Transworld)
Pages: 320
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

To Las Vegas . . . and beyond!

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...).

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most?

Shopaholic to the Rescue is the much anticipated next book from Sophie Kinsella, a direct follow on from Shopaholic to the Stars ( I believe, I have to confess I have not read this one yet…its somewhere in my book pile) which sees Becky and the gang head off to Vegas in search of Becky’s missing dad, Tarquin and Bryce. Can Becky save the day and find her missing dad as well as patching things up with best friend Suze?

As this book follows on from a cliff-hanger ending from the last book it took me a few chapters to work out exactly what had gone on in the previous book, although it didn’t take long to feel the familiarity of the main characters once again. I loved been back in amongst one of Becky’s madcap plans and this one is probably one of the more extreme, chasing round America looking for her dad’s old friends in order to find her dad and gain justice for Brent (one of the old friends).

As with previous Shopaholic books there are some extremely funny moments, my favourite from this book was Minnie riding round the rodeo ring on a sheep, I loved it!

 I did feel however that this doesn’t have that Becky magic from earlier books. Becky seems to have grown a little in maturity in her thinking and actions, especially towards shopping, which was good for her but took her away from the Becky I know and love.

Shopaholic to the Rescue has tied up all the loose ends from the previous book and for me it feels like a natural place for the Shopaholic series to come to an end. I will treasure the Shopaholic books for a long time but I would love to see Sophie Kinsella write more stand-alone novels as The Un-domestic Goddess and I’ve Got Your Number? are a couple of my all-time favourite books and I’d love more like them.

I don’t think this is the best Shopaholic book and if you’re new to the series I don’t think it’s the easiest one to start with as there are a lot of characters to get your head round, once you do however you will love them. It’s an enjoyable book which made me laugh all the way through and it’s the prefect light hearted read.

I like to give Shopaholic to the Rescue 4 out of 5 stars and would like to thank the team at Transworld for sending me a copy to review.