Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Blog Tour Review: My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
Published: 26th May 2016 (eBook)
Publisher: Penguin, Random House
Pages: 534
Available on Kindle

When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she's determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind.
But then she meets Joe. A convicted murderer who reminds Lily of someone she once knew, and who she becomes obsessed with freeing.
But is he really innocent?
And who is she to judge?


My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry is a novel which intrigued me as soon as I read the tagline: “First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes murder” What on earth must happen in this book for love to end in murder?

Right from the start we know it is Ed who has been murdered but we have no clue as to who did it or why. They main story is split into two parts, the first being fifteen years earlier when Lily and Ed are newly married and young Carla enters their lives. Told in alternating chapters between Lily and Carla we begin to build up a picture of these two characters who both have aspects of good and bad in them.

Lily and Ed have recently married after a whirlwind romance. Really they are still getting to know each other and soon it is obvious that they are both hiding things from the other.  Lily has just been made a criminal defence lawyer and her first case is defend convicted murderer Joe Thomas in his appeal case. Instantly Lily is drawn to this man who reminds her of her brother Daniel and she goes out of her way to ensure that he walks free, whether he was guilty or not. As the case develops Lily and Ed’s argue more and more and their marriage begins to hit the rocks, can they find a way to start again?

Carla lives in the same building as Ed and Lily with her mother Francesca who is having an affair with a married man named “Larry”. Carla is being bullied at school for being different but receives very little comfort from her mother who seems more concerned with pleasing Larry than her own daughter. When Carla is sent home one day from school after an incident Lily steps in to look after her, as her mother is nowhere to be found. This sees the start of Carla spending more and more of her weekends with Lily and Ed acting as a buffer for their marriage until an chance encounter blows everything apart.

Fast forward twelve years later and a grown up Carla makes her way back in the lives of Lily and Ed, she’s looking for revenge for the unhappiness of her childhood and the consequences for Lily and Ed are devastating.

Right from the start I found this a very intense read, it’s one of those books which you know is building up to something and it makes you feel unsettled. I found that most of the characters seemed to be hiding something and were always very tense with each other trying not to let all the secrets come pouring out and I didn’t really like any of them.

I found Francesca and Ed to be both selfish characters who only seemed to be focused on making themselves happy, which did at times make me feel sorry for Lily and little Carla. But as the story progressed it’s obvious that Carla is quite a manipulative child and will get want she wants even if she goes about it in the wrong way and as she gets older what she wants becomes bigger and bigger. Lily was the character I was most unsure about, I really wanted to like her but I just couldn’t. She’s hiding something from her past and it unsettled me that she wasn’t honest with Ed. As the story progresses Lily begins to hide more and more little things so you never really know when she’s being completely honest.

My Husband’s Wife is an intense novel full of blackmail, hidden secrets and watching the consequences when those little white lies all come tumbling out. It’s a novel which has been very cleverly written so you’re not sure who is good, who is bad and who is telling the truth. It’s a novel which will make you question the morality of every decision you’ve ever made, will make you wonder if even the very best people have a little bit of bad in them and it will make you wonder how far people will go to get what they want. In the end, the question at the centre of this book is who do you believe more Lily or Carla?

Despite not liking the characters I did really enjoy reading this book, I think perhaps not liking the characters has left me thinking about the book more as I’m not entirely sure which characters story I believe, if I’d had a favourite then maybe I would have an answer.

 My Husband’s Wife is a book which had me hooked from the start and has left we with many things to think about, which for once I rather like. I’d like to rate this book 5 out 5 and would recommend it to anyone who loves an intense read full of mind games and moral questions.

Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me a copy to review and also for inviting me to be part of the My Husband’s Wife blog tour.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Play Dead (D.I. Stone book #4) by Angela Marsons

Play Dead (D.I. Kim Stone #4)

Play Dead (D.I. Stone Book #4) by Angela Marsons
Published: 20th May 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 390
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen. The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when
Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?

Play Dead is Angela Marsons fourth novel, yes fourth! Which is shocking when you think a little over a year ago no one had heard of DI Kim Stone and now she has built up a massive loyal following, which just goes to show what a talented writer Angela Marsons’ is. I was a little nervous when starting Play Dead as what if this one wasn’t as good as the others, well never fear, once again Angela Marsons’ has written a novel which sucks you in from the very first paragraph and hooks you until the very end.
This time a body is discovered quite by chance when Kim and her team are visiting a “body farm” which is researching various forms of decomposition. When a second victim is left for dead in a horrific state just days later, it’s up to the team to find this gruesome killer before they strike again.
Once again I have been blown away by  just how detailed these novels are, Angela Marsons really seems to know criminals and police procedure perfectly which makes for gripping and sometimes horrifying reading.  My favourite thing about these novels is how she gives both the killer and the victim a convincing voice, giving the reader a fuller understanding of motives and feelings.
This is this first novel by Angela Marsons where I have had suspicions about who the killer might be, I was right but not in the way I thought. This didn’t ruin the book for me at all as once again I wasn’t prepared for the number of twists and shocks which were given before the motive and killer are revealed.  I adored reading this adrenaline fuelled rollercoaster of a book and am sad it’s over and I have to wait months for the next ride.
I love how with each new novel we are learning more about Kim, her team and people who are becoming “regulars” in the D.I. Stone novels. In this novel Tracey Frost a news-reporter from the previous novel Lost Girls is brought back and Kim learns they have more in common than she would like to admit.  Another character who returns is Daniel Bate and there is a spark of chemistry between him and Kim but will she finally left someone in?
After reading this Angela Marsons has secured the top spot of my favourite crime writer and I know it will take something special to replace her. So please, please go and read Play Dead, it’s a fantastic novel and you won’t be disappointed.
Play Dead from Angela Marsons received 5 out 5 for me and is one of my favourite books of the year.  Thank you so much to the publishers Bookouture and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell

This Must Be the Place

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell
Published: 17th May 2016
Publisher: Tinder Press
Pages: 483
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

This Must Be The Place is Maggie O’Farrell seventh book but is actually my first. I know, where have I been! What drew me to this book initially was that at its core it’s a book about a marriage, simple right, but oh no it’s so much more than that.
Daniel Sullivan is a linguistics professor born in New York, who has been living in Ireland with his current wife Claudette, a reclusive ex-film star and their two children Marithe and Calvin. He also has two other children he hasn’t seen in ten years Niall and Phoebe who live in California with their mother.
At the beginning of the book Daniel is about to return to Brooklyn for his father’s 90th birthday when he catches the end of a radio show playing an interview from a woman he knew twenty years ago. Filled with confusion and remorse Daniel embarks on a journey to find out what happened to the woman he once knew so well and in doing so he sets off a chain of events which will cause him to self-destruct and shatter his marriage with Claudette. Can Daniel pull himself back from the brink and fix everything that is broken.
The first thing that struck me about this novel is it has a very simple plotline but with Maggie O’Farrell’s marvellous writing skill it has becomes a complex and enthralling look at human character and how split decisions and misunderstandings can take us on a completely different course. Most of the novel is told from Daniels perspective in the first person as he takes us back in time to when he first met Claudette, when he knew his mystery woman through to the present where he rekindles his relationship with the children from his former marriage. Throughout the novel Daniels chapters are mixed with those from other characters which all vary in writing style and give more information about Daniels character and those around him. My favourite of these chapters was actually the extract from the auction house catalogue showing Claudette’s possessions, I thought this was a genius way of telling the story of Claudette’s film years.
This Must be The Place is a novel which skips around in both time frame and location. We are taken from 1986 up to 2016 but not in that order. As for location we are taken all over the world: London, New York, California, India, China, Bolivia, Paris and of course Ireland, where Danial and Claudette live in remotest Donegal. This does take some following and initially it did feel like a number a different short stories but eventually you can work out how they all fit together and why they’ve been included. If you’re not a fan of novels that do this then this book may not be for you, but I simply adored it for its genius.
Daniel was a tricky character for me to like or dislike. Some things he did I thought he was downright selfish and should think more of others, especially his children. But other times he seemed really caring as he just wanted to make everything alright.
Claudette was definitely my favourite character, I just adored her over the top quirkiness. My favourite scene with her had to at the beginning where she is walking round the perimeter of her garden wearing an oversized raincoat and pointing a gun at any passers-by. If this doesn’t make you think what on earth is going on with her and desperate to find out more I’m not sure what will. I loved her strong character and if she decided she wasn’t doing something then she could not be persuaded otherwise.
This Must Be The Place was a fantastic read and all I can really say is go and read this book for yourself and enjoy the superb writing of Maggie O’Farrell.
Thank you so much for the publishers for sending me a copy to review, you have found a new fan of Maggie O’Farrell . I give This Must Be The Place 5 out of 5 stars and think it’s definitely one of the must reads of 2016.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Bind Blog Tour: Review & "Hey Bestie! The Secret to Creating Heroines You Want as a Best Friend" by Sierra Cartwright


Bind by Sierra Cartwright
Published: 5th May 2016 (paperback)
Publisher: Totally Bond
Pages: 320
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Only one man can help her. Is she willing to pay his price?
Faced with the potentially overwhelming loss of her family's fortune, Lara Bertrand turns to the one man who can help her, the gorgeous and powerful Connor Donovan.
She knows he's dangerous to her on every level. Only desperation would drive her to make such a risky proposition. After all, she knows all about his ruthless nature and relentless determination to succeed.
When the classy, elegant Lara walks into his office with an outrageous proposal, Connor is stunned and more than a little intrigued. Ever since he first met her, he's been attracted to the cool beauty, but she's more than kept her distance.
Connor is absolutely willing to help her out. For a price. He not only wants her hand in marriage, but also her total submissive surrender...

Bind by Sierra Cartwright is the first novel in her new trilogy The Donovan Dynasty. This first book focuses on Conner Donovan, the CEO of Donavan Worldwide and his relationship with Lara Bertrand CFO of Bertrand Holdings Inc.

Lara is a woman who knows exactly what she wants and usually how to get it. In order to save her family business from financial ruin as her father’s business practices become more and more lack lustre Lara knows she needs a like-minded soul on the board of directors. Enter Conner Donovan, someone who has already shown an interest in parts of the business and Lara decides the man to help save her business.

As Lara makes her proposal to Conner, that they be married, in name only so he can join the board and help her out vote her father’s decisions she doesn’t expect the answer she gets. Yes he’ll marry her but in return Lara must surrender herself to him completely and in doing so she will experience things she’s never even dreamed of. Will Lara put her heart on the line and surrender to Conner to save the business or will she find another way?

As someone who doesn’t tend to read too many BDSM novels I wasn’t sure what to expect with Bind. I like my novels to have a believable plotline and relatable characters and not just sex scenes, something I’ve found lacking in other novels of this genre. In Bind I think Sierra Cartwright has balanced these two factors perfectly. I found the plotline convincing, the characters relatable and the chemistry between them sizzling which made for some scorching sex scenes.

I loved the dynamic between Conner and Lara, they’re both very intelligent, work well as a team and as a couple they are hot, hot, hot! I loved how connected they seemed to be. Conner had wanted a completely submissive partner in the bedroom but in the boardroom he seemed just as happy to let Lara take the lead.

I also loved their relationships with other people which I felt were very genuine. My favourite relationship was between Lara and Erin, Conner’s sister. These two savvy business women have known each other a long time and bounce business ideas off each other as well as relationship advice, so it was good when Erin didn’t instantly side with her brother when Lara mentions quarrels the two have and I just loved her phrase “chicks before dicks”.

I really enjoyed reading Bind, it had everything I wanted in an erotic fiction novel and has left me eager to continue on with this trilogy and find out what brothers Cade and Nathan have in store for us. I’d give Bind five out of five.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review and for asking me to be part of the blog tour.

And now over to Sierra

Thanks for hosting me on your blog. I love your clean, inviting layout. 

Hey, Bestie! The Secret to Creating Heroines You Want as Your Best Friend
by Sierra Cartwright

There has never been a time in my life that I didn’t write. I penned my first book when I was nine, and my mum was my first editor. She corrected “babby” to baby and “haven” to heaven. I don’t know if my spelling improved, but from there, I moved onto longer works and handwrote a Star Trek fanfic at age thirteen. I also drank my first-ever pot of coffee on the night I stayed up until three a.m. to finish the first draft. Both are habits I’ve yet to break.
I wrote nine full-length novels before I eventually sold a book to Harlequin/Silhouette. Back then, there was massive competition for each slot, something like a thousand or two thousand
submissions for each that was accepted.

 The good thing about the years of rejection was the fact I honed my craft. I went to seminar after seminar, including one from Robert McKee and another from Donald Mass. I entered competitions, participated in critique groups that actually used red Sharpies to mark-up manuscripts, attended monthly writers’ meetings. I devoured all the books on writing that I could get my hands on. And I studied characterization.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was from my agent at the time, Irene Goodman. She was talking to me about heroines, and she said, “Think about the friend you’d like to have.The sassy one. The one who says outrageous things. The one who isn’t afraid to say the F- word.” (Irene, however, used the real word. It was unexpected and shocking.)

I came away from that conversation feeling as if I’d been gifted with The Secret about how to create my heroines, and I changed my approach. Rather than just looking at pictures for my character board, I began to consider the traits I want in my bestie.
I want her to be courageous, in a way I wished I was, confident, in a way I aspire to. And she needs to be flawed. No one wants to be friends with someone who is absolutely perfect—how boring and intimidating. We want to hang-out with someone who is real, who makes us laugh, who we can share our secrets with. We want them to eat ice cream with us when we go through a breakup, sneak a latte into the hospital ward after surgery, or drink a little too much on girls’ night out. I endeavor to create heroines who are admirable as well as fun, interesting and have a huge heart. And by seeing her interact with her friends, we see what type of person she is. So, it’s a good bet that my heroines will all have some they can call, “Bestie.”

 On the surface, Lara Bertrand, the heroine of Bind, my latest mass-market release, has it all. She’s the daughter of a successful businessman, educated, intelligent, beautiful.
But she’s hiding a secret. Her family’s business is teetering on failure. And no matter what she suggests, her father won’t listen to her. Connor Donovan, the devastatingly handsome CEO of Donovan Worldwide, has made a play for part of her family’s business, and the businesswoman in her thinks they should agree.

Lara takes drastic measures. She approaches Connor and proposes. To her, the arrangement is logical. He’ll get a seat on the board, meaning he’ll be able to bypass her father and takeover certain divisions. The problem is, this means she will be betraying her beloved father.

Lara is speechless when Connor says he’ll help her, but only if it’s a real marriage. And he will expect her to be his sexual submissive.

Of course, it’s a post-Fifty Shades of Grey world, so Lara has an idea of what that might mean.But she has no idea what it means to her, especially when he obliterates all her expectations and gives her shattering orgasms. She’d assumed it meant one thing, and it turns out that his oh-so sexy attention feeds a hunger she hadn’t known existed.
She changes, evolves, becomes a different person because of her experiences with Connor. One thing doesn’t change, though. I would still like to go out for dinner and a glass of wine with Lara and her friend, Erin.
Oh, hey. Would you like to join us? I’m buying the first round.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan

The Last Days of Summer

The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan
Published: 5th May 2016
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
Pages: 373
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

She can forgive. They can't forget.

After ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary, Jasper Curtis returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters. Lizzie does not know who she's letting into her home: the brother she grew up loving or the monster he became.

Teenage Katie distrusts this strange man in their home but eleven-year-old Joanne is just intrigued by her new uncle.

Jasper says he's all done with trouble, but in a forgotten prairie town that knows no forgiveness, it does not take long for trouble to arrive at their door.

The Last Days of Summer tells the tale of Jasper Curtis as he returns home to the prairie outback of western Texas after spending ten years in the Huntsville State Penitentiary. His sister Lizzie has agreed he can come home to live with her and her two daughters Katie and Joanne, but she is unsure who will walk through the door the brother she once loved or the monster he became. The rest of the town are unsettled by his return and it’s not long before Jasper has found himself in the middle of trouble once more.

I found the writing in The Last Days of Summer to be very descriptive and Vanessa Ronan has done an excellent job of building the scene for us and giving us an understanding of each of the characters. I did feel this added to the suspense and feeling of unease throughout the book as we are drip fed littles snippets of Jasper’s life before prison but are not initially told what he did. While reading this book I felt the certain uneasiness that something really bad was going to happen and this is conveyed beautifully in the writing style. I did feel that all the action happened a little too late in the book. It’s not until three quarters of the way through that we find what Jasper did and the consequences of his return to town. By this time I was a little bored with the story and didn’t enjoy as much as if it had perhaps been a little shorter or a little less character driven.

I did find this quite a hard book to follow as it’s told from four different perspectives. Jasper, his sister Lizzie’s and each of her daughters Katie and Joanne have their own voice. The majority of the story is told in one main chapter “July” with no distinctive separation when the author changes voices, so you didn’t instantly know which character you’re focusing on and at times this was confusing.

I didn’t like the two older main characters. I found Jasper someone who just gave me the creeps, Lizzie might believe he’s changed but it’s obvious from his thoughts and actions that he hasn’t and it’s only a matter of time before he evil thoughts lead him to cause trouble again. I felt Lizzie was too weak. I could understand that living out on the prairie alone with her husband gone she wants some adult company and someone to help carry the burden. I felt she should have not allowed Jasper back and thought more about protecting her daughters from danger but also from town gossip and hurtful rumours instead of hoping her childhood brother and friend had returned. The only character I liked was little Joanne, she seemed so sweet, innocent and far too trusting to just accept her Uncle Jasper as her friend. The scene with the play fort in the living room was one of my favourite in the book.

The Last Days of Summer is a novel which perfectly captures the uneasiness of being around a simmering pot of evil and waiting for it to boil over. It’s a novel about family, forgiveness and about revenge.  It’s a book which falls in the middle for me, some parts I enjoyed but overall it didn’t wow me.  I enjoyed the writing style and would be interested to see what Vanessa Ronan writes next.  I’d like to rate three out of five.

I would like to thank the publishers for this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Monthly Wrap Up April 2016

As you can tell from the lack of posts in April I have found reviewing very hard this month. I just don't seem to be able to do justice to the books I've read. Which has left me with about ten reviews which are all half written, I really need to find some mojo and finish so I can share my thoughts.

Anyway here's what I've managed to read this month:

29480364 The Second Chance Shoe Shop When I Lost You: A gripping, heart breaking novel of lost love. An Autumn Affair The Summer I Met You The Second Love of My Life The Last Days of Summer  Daughters of the Silk Road

I'm glad to say this month I haven't been sent too my physical books by publishers as I really want to try and clear some off my tbr pile. Here's what I've received:

The Last Days of Summer Eden Gardens Eight Ways To Ecstasy: Art of Passion 2 Stark After Dark: A Stark Ever After Anthology (Take Me, Have Me, Play Me Game, Seduce Me) Reunion Pass: Eternity Springs 11 All Things Cease to Appear Bind (The Donovan Dynasty #1)

Again this month Netgalley has been my downfall, I just love that site and wish so much I could read faster! Here's what I've been lucky enough to add to my kindle:

A summer of secrets An Autumn Affair One Moment at Sunrise It’s In His Kiss So Now You're Back
Saving Phoebe Murrow: Have you ever tried to be the perfect mother? Life Without You Summer at Rose Island (White Cliff Bay #3) Play Dead
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sister-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01E3YGP66?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20sister&qid=1462353995&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1A Year of Being Single

This month I would probably have finished more books except I've been dipping in and out of a number of different books, here's what I'm currently reading:

Song of the Sea Maid My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge, #2)  The One-in-a-Million Boy All Things Cease to Appear Bind (The Donovan Dynasty #1) Life Swap

Quite a selection don't you think but I'm finding some are best read at night and some are not as they're a little creepy.

So finally my book of the month for April has to be

The Second Love of My Life

I adored this book but I'm really struggling with writing the review as I just can't seem to do it justice. All I can say is go and buy this wonderful book  and lose yourself in the village of Talting and Rose's world and I'll try finish my review this month!