Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review - The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

It may only be October but that's not stopped me from getting started with the Christmas books and what better way to start than with The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft. Not only was this my first Christmas book of the year but it was also the first book of Sue's books that I've ever read. Having seen so much praise about Sue's previous books, I had a feeling that The Christmas Promise would be very special and it absolutely was. 

In The Christmas Promise we meet Ava Blissingham who is a milliner, which for those that don't already know is a person who makes or sells hats. Ava's single, has lived with her best friend Izz for several years and has found it very hard to get excited about Christmas ever since her Gran passed away. One day, at a time when she's really not feeling too great she decides to accept Izz's invitation to a party with her colleagues. Here she meets the lovely Sam who she quite quickly develops feelings for, but with Sam's mother and her irritating, horrible ex who seems determined to make her life as miserable as possible will Ava be able to have a happy Christmas?

The characters in this book, particularly Ava who I wanted nothing but the best for were all perfect. Sue's created characters who you can really feel something for, whether a positive or negative emotion and Sue has simply done a brilliant job at portraying incredibly realistic and believable relationships which help to make this book so wonderful.  

Something I love about reading is being able to learn something new and thanks to the amount of detail and research that has gone into this novel I certainly did learn something whilst reading it. I particularly enjoyed learning about the life of a Milliner and finding out so much about the art of making a hat - there's really a lot more to it than you could possibly imagine. 

This is a story that completely astounded me, one that I was absolutely not expecting but that was so totally perfect in every possible way. Unlike many festive reads this book was not just about the sparkly tinsel and the pretty fairy lights but was a book that had many twists and turns a long the way. What's more it was most definitely a book that had a lot of depth and meaning to it and most definitely touched on some pretty heavy issues in an incredible manner. You might think that heavy issues would make for difficult reading but that is definitely not the case thanks to the wonderful way in which it was written, with Sue injecting appropriate humour and hope along the way. It all just seemed very real, inspirational and certainly unforgettable!

Just in case it isn't clear enough I LOVED this book so much and definitely promise that this most certainly won't be the last book of Sue's that I read. This is a book you don't want to miss and I highly recommend it! 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Review - Losing It by Emma Rathbone

After reading quite a few psychological thrillers in a row I thought that it was time for something a little bit different so decided to pick up Losing It by Emma Rathbone. Despite the fact that I'd seen a few mixed reviews about the book I approached it with a completely open mind and am pleased to say that I enjoyed it quite a lot more than I thought I would. I'd recommend it to anyone who may be looking for a relatively quick, light and entertaining read that also isn't too serious or dark in theme. 

In Losing It we meet Julia Greenfield who at the age of 26 is still a virgin despite having been to college and despite having had several boyfriends. With the majority of her friends no longer virgins, Julia seems absolutely obsessed with the idea of losing her virginity and sets out on a mission to do so. One summer Julia decides to leave her hometown behind and sets off to visit her Aunt Vivienne in North Carolina. Not long after she arrives there Julia is shocked to discover that at the age of 58 Vivienne is also still a virgin which only makes Julia even more determined to do something about her situation...

I've got to say that Julia was a character who I really struggled to understand, mainly due to her rather unhealthy obsession with losing her virginity. It almost seemed like it was all she ever thought about and that nothing else in her life was as important and I don't think this is a healthy way for anyone to live their life - something will either happen or it won't, what will be will be. That said I do feel that what Emma portrayed through Losing It was something that sadly most women would be able to relate to. This is the idea of wanting to be in a relationship and also constantly comparing themselves to others and thinking they're not good enough. 

I have to be honest and say that for me the second half of the novel was much stronger than the first. I particularly loved reading about Vivienne's background and seeing the relationship between Vivienne and her niece develop and grow. I really appreciated Emma's writing style throughout the novel and thought that it worked really well for the type of novel it was. It was very easy to get into and was also full of humour and just enough description to set the scene for the reader. 

This is a book which for me was quite different to anything I've ever read before and is one which I feel does stand out from the crowd with a main theme that is normally only ever briefly mentioned in literature today if at all. Although there were a few moments throughout the novel that did make me cringe and I didn't particularly gel with the lead character and her outlook on life, I feel that Emma's done a nice job with the book. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to read more by Emma in the future! 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cover reveal - Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

Thanks to the lovely publishers that are Avon, I have great pleasure in being able to share with you not just one but two covers that have been designed for Perfect Remains by Helen Fields. This is reported to be Avon's biggest debut fiction release to date which will be hitting the shelves in January 2017.

I personally think that both of these covers are absolutely wonderful - I genuinely can't decide which cover I prefer most. If you like what you've seen so far about this book, read on to find out more about exactly what it's all about...


On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Fans of
Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

Are you looking forward to reading this? I know I am!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Review - Strangers by Paul Finch

Throwing the reader straight into the action, Strangers by Paul Finch was a book that most definitely kept me awake until the early hours of the morning. It was a great crime/thriller novel that featured a strong police constable and a storyline that is a little different from the norm. Written in a way that would make it a perfect book to adapt for a TV series, this was the first book of Paul’s that I’ve ever read and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. 

PC Lucy Clayburn’s career in the police force has been rocky to say the least, particularly when a convicted murderer managed to escape whilst he was handcuffed to her. Not only was she nearly killed in the process but the police operation fell flat on its face, all of which didn’t lead to her getting the promotion of her dreams. Now several years later a man has been killed and before long his death is linked to that of several others making it clear that they are looking for a serial killer. Keen to prove her worthiness and still dreaming of a promotion, Lucy throws herself into the investigation and goes undercover to discover things about a world that she was previously quite unfamiliar with. 

Two things made this book really stand out for me with these being the setting and Paul’s writing style. The book is set in the darker side of Manchester where gangs and crime are an all too familiar sight. Not only did this open my eyes to a way of living which I’m sure that sadly is not just purely fictional but it also added enormously to the overall atmosphere of this novel. It was dark, gritty, tense and dramatic from beginning to end in a way that most certainly got the old adrenaline racing. It’s quite clear that Paul knows exactly what he’s doing and his knowledge of the police force really shone through, with abbreviations thrown in along the way that I previously hadn’t heard of. 

I have to say that at the start of the novel, Lucy was a character who I couldn’t quite get my head around and I wasn’t sure whether I’d end up liking her or not. Whilst it was true that she started off as a bit negative and constantly dwelling on what had previously gone wrong for her by the end of the novel she had completely changed and I could see the person she really was. Yes she sometimes acted recklessly but she always looked after others and always stayed true to herself and stood up for what she believed in which I feel is something to be admired. 

I’m immensely happy to have just discovered Paul Finch’s writing at this time particularly as it seems that this is the first novel he’s written featuring Lucy. I for one would not only like to read more written by Paul but more written about Lucy and am hopeful that I will soon be able to. The only thing left for me to say is that I now totally understand why there has been so much excited chatter and anticipation about this book, his latest release to date.