Sunday, 31 January 2016

Book Review - No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary - Winning Reads #4

Winning Reads #4
Welcome back to my new feature, Winning Reads. This is the fourth week of this feature, and this time I went for No Other Darkness, reading it straight after Someone Else's Skin which you the majority of you picked for me to read a few weeks ago on Rachel Reads Randomly. Thank you again, for making me read this a lot sooner than I may have otherwise. 

  As I enter a large amount of competitions for books, and have a reasonable degree of luck, over the past year or two, my paperback mountain has grown out of control mainly due to being a bit lucky, and then not remembering to pick the books up and read them. 

Now I have a blog, I find it harder to not just stick the the brand new shiny releases the whole time, but I do want to read all these other books, so while I have a stash of them, here is Winning Reads, my new weekly feature for Sundays.

Amazon UK
Title:  No Other Darkness (DI Marnie Rome Book 2)
Author: Sarah Hilary
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 23rd April 2015
Rating: 5 Stars


Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will...

Five years later, the boys' bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome's career begins.

Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.

For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this...

I can't believe it has taken me so long to discover the brilliance of Sarah Hilary and her DI Marnie Rome series. I was worried that book one may have been a fluke, but it wasn't, there is definitely a consistency in the quality of her writing, and getting inside the minds of various characters, both detective and criminal. 

This was all about a very chilling crime. Someone had left 2 young children in an underground bunker, with some supplies, and they were only found five years later. Without any ID and without them being instantly recognisable as missing people, it is a very tricky case for DI Marnie Rome. 

We get to know Marnie a lot more in this second book, as well as her partner Nathan (and his personal life), and there is also a new person on Marnie's team, but I haven't really decided how much I like her. 

Although this is a sequel it can definitely be read as a standalone book. There are a few references to the previous case, but it doesn't have any direct relevance to this one. I am not sure though that I would call these books thrillers. I think they are fabulous crime, and police procedurals, with a good some perspective as well from the villain's point of view. 

I love getting into the mindset of the bad guy, as it shows just how frightening other people's mindsets can be. 

Part 2 was definitely better than Part 1 which a pattern I'm noticing, having read the two books in this series in two days. that part 1 sets up the book, and keeps you intrigued and then the whole of part 2 is unputdownable and climaxes to a fabulous conclusion. 

No Other Darkness is a chilling tale, deals with mental illness, and takes you on a thrilling journey of London's underground secrets. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Book Review - The Birthday That Changed Everything by Debbie Johnson

Amazon UK
Title: The Birthday That Changed Everything
Author: Debbie Johnson
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source:  Publisher supplied ARC
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 28th January 2016
Rating: 5 Stars


She wanted a birthday surprise, just not the one she got…

The last thing Sally Summers expected from her husband on her special day was that he’d leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. So with her world in tatters, Sally jets off to Turkey for some sun, sea and sanctuary.

The Blue Bay resort brings new friends and the perfect balm for Sally’s broken heart in gorgeous Dubliner James. He’s just the birthday present she needs. And when the chemistry between them continues to spark as the holiday ends, Sally wonders if this is more than just a summer fling.

But James has scars of his own and Sally isn’t quite ready to turn her back on her marriage. This birthday might have changed everything, but what will the next one bring?

The Birthday That Changed Everything is easily my favourite book so far by Debbie Johnson. I was laughing from the start, and the second the action went to Turkey, and the Blue Bay Resort, I felt as though I was part of the Blue Bay gang. 

I'm sure like me you will have made friends with people when you are on holiday. Because you are free-er and more relaxed, and due to knowing you may not see these people again, you will perhaps share more with these holiday friends, and a deep friendship can occur. In the instances where you decide to go back on holiday with the same people, or perhaps just back to the same hotel as the previous year, you will be remembered, and you will pick up conversations where you left off etc... It feels like you have a home and a family away from home. 

And this is exactly what The Birthday That Changed Everything featured, as Sally and her family kept returning to the Blue Bay Resort. The story was told in parts, and with the exception of the first part, they were all based, on her annual holidays to this hotel in Turkey.  This was a great way to pass the time, and to focus on what should be the fun parts of a person's life, and how they have changed and developed each year. 

Sally's  daughter, Lucy,  is an tonic, she is loud and foul mouthed, has no respect for her mother, and after her father left them for a Latvian lap dancer, not much older than Lucy, has nothing good to say about her father either. 

Sally's son Ollie, is a sweet teenage boy, who can be extremely sensitive at times. He also  develops an unusual taste in reading material for a teenage boy, as the book proceeds. 

Sally is heartbroken from Simon leaving her, but on that first trip to The Blue Bay, she meets James, who is gorgeous and who she fights clear feelings for. She also makes a whole group of friends, including Allie, who helped rescue her on the first day of the holiday, when there was an issue with her case (very memorable scenes that were hilarious). 

I would love to say that at times Sally acted more like a teenager than Lucy, but realistically she is a middle aged woman, on holiday, with cheap booze, and I am sure you have all seen how people relish 2 weeks of freedom away from work and normal real life pressures. Sally enjoys letting off steam, and that has some fabulous consequences. 

I loved reading about the Blue Bay friends, as well as spending time in the wonderful hotel, which I would like to stay at myself. The Birthday That Changed Everything would be a perfect poolside book, or will easily brighten up a cold winters day, and whisk you away to the sun. 

Thank you so much to Felicity Denham at Harper for this review copy. This is my honest opinion. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

My Eventful January

One of the perks of book blogging, is being invited to various events, where you can meet and talk to authors that you admire, and also to meet up with your blogging friends, who you may otherwise only talk to online.

Since around September I have been lucky enough to get invites to occasional book launches and parties, all of which I have enjoyed... but if my January is any indicator of the year ahead, then 2016 is going to be an absolutely brilliant year.

I don't generally blog about the events, mainly as I don't want to spend the evening either making notes, or trying to remember everything to tell you all about, I just want to enjoy every last minute. Most of the time I don't even remember to take my own camera, or take my own photos, as I'm so caught up talking.  (On that note, the pictures I'm about to display, I really hope those lovely people that took them, of me, don't mind their usage on here).

Date: Friday 8th January 2016
Location: Avon HQ, London
Event: Afternoon Tea with Claudia Carroll


With Claudia Carroll
I was on holiday when I was invited to an exclusive afternoon tea with Claudia Carroll. I have been reading Claudia's books for many years now, so the second I had a stable enough wifi connection, I had replied saying I would be delighted to attend. What I didn't expect was when they said exclusive, it was myself, Laura (from Laura's Little Book Blog) and Heidi (Cosmochicklitan), and a large amount of the Avon team, a lot of whom I have talked to online before.


Claudia Carroll (centre), Heidi (right) and Me
They put on the most magnificent afternoon tea for us, complete with sandwiches, mini chocolate eclairs, scones (with clotted cream and jan), mini tarts etc... In fact there was far more food than we were ever going to eat.

I was sitting next to Claudia, who is incredibly down to earth, and a pleasure to talk to, and was hearing all about her holiday to Mexico over Christmas, and just had an amazing afternoon. Even left with a lovely signed copy of Meet Me in Manhattan, which I had reviewed over Christmas, and will treasure.




Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016
Location: Bacchus Bar, Birmingham
Event: Blogger / Author Meet Up


C.L Taylor (Left), Mel Sharrat (centre), Christie Barlow (right)
& Me (front centre as I'm short)
This was the second blogger/author meetup that I had attended, both in Birmingham and organised by Kim Nash. If you are an author or blogger you are more than welcome to attend these events, that Kim appears to be organising regularly, and they are a fabulous way to meet and chat with large amounts of people that clearly all have at least one love in common..of books.

Having enjoyed the one in November, I wasn't too nervous at walking into the bar myself, instantly found those that were there already, and within perhaps 30 mins the area was packed, with more people than I was ever going to have a chance to talk to.
Aimee Horton and me!

There were many people that I spent a length of time talking to either, that I had met previously or for the first time. Amongst the authors were Christie Barlow (I promise I will read your new book very soon),C.L. Taylor (author of The Lie), Sheryl Browne (who has appeared on the blog quite a few times in recent weeks), Linn B Halton (she's an angel, and gifted me a copy of Falling Angels Among Us - so thank you). Aimee Horton (easily one of the most lovely people I have ever met), Sue Moorcroft (I've been a long time admirer of her books), Phillipa Ashley (I really need to read some of Phillipa's books especially after meeting her), Alison May (fab Choc Lit author), Elaine Spires (who has written a fabulous trilogy about Singles on holidays) and Holly Martin (who its always a pleasure to meet).


With Shell Baker
I also had the great pleasure to met up with some of my blogging friends, including Noelle, Sharon, Linda Hill, Bookaholic Holly, Shell Baker.

There was food, and drink, and lots of fun and laughter and an amazing afternoon of fun was had by all. Just remind me next time not to book a train back home full of drunken noisy football fans and police presence!



Date: Thursday 28th January 2016
Location: Headline Offices
Event: Jill Mansell Launch Party


I met Jill Mansell!
The second I saw on twitter that other bloggers were mentioning that there was a Jill Mansell launch party, and to attend all you needed to do was purchase a ticket, I knew I would be going (and thankfully I was free).

I have been reading Jill Mansell's books from the second I graduated from reading mass Mills & Boon books, to full thickness, grown up books, and have read all of her books. I don't think there is a Jill Mansell book that I haven't loved, so knew I was going to be a bit on the over awed side at being in a room with one of my favourite all time authors.

What I didn't realise until I was there, was that Jill wasn't going to be the only author I was going to go all fan girly on last night.
View of London, from the huge roof top terrace

But before the main mingling, there was an entertaining interview, between Claire Frost, and Jill. From the interview we hear about Jill's love of writing her novels in long hand, for her daughter, Lydia, to type up, even for one book, Jill was taking photos on the ipad of her words, to email her daughter who was living in France for the year. Now that is either dedication, sheer genius or madness! We also hear about Jill's love of ebay, stationery and that she really doesn't like the being asked what her book is about!


I met Jenny Colgan!
After the interview, we were then invited to stay for the more party bit of the evening, so after queueing for a while to get my nice shiny new hardcover of You and Me, Always signed, I joined a huddle of bloggers that I knew. Just from listening to them, I started to realise just what a good party this was going to be, as they were recognising a lot of the other guests.

Of the authors I was aware of being there that I didn't get a chance to talk to, either through shyness, or not having a clue until later of their presence, were Jojo Moyes, Chrissie Manby, Holly Hepburn, Brigid Coady, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Robinson. 


I met Katie Fforde
However, once I got over some nerves, and I did meet some other absolutely amazing authors, including Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen, Jo Thomas, Liz Fenwick (who introduced me to Jenny), Janet Gover (who introduced me to Jo Thomas), Katie Fforde, Fanny Blake, Jane Wenham Jones, Bella Osbourne, Sue Moorcroft, Phillipa Ashley and Alison May.


Jane Wenham-Jones (Left),
Jo Thomas (Right)
The last few of those had of course also been at Birmingham just
days before. If anyone had told me that I would meet Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Katie Fforde all at one event, with them all being easily classed amongst my favourite all time authors, I would not have believed them.


Bloggers with Carole Matthews
It was also great to again meet up with a large amount of bloggers that had made the effort to come along, including Laura, Sharon, Paris , Sophie, Julie Williams, Julie Boon, Karen Cocking, Anne Williams and Gingercat.

What amazed me was how many of these fabulous women had given up their time to celebrate with Jill, and just how happy they were to talk with fans, even though it wasn't their own event.

All I can say is about 24 hours later I am still buzzing from the most amazing book launch party ever. Thank you so much to the whole of the Headline team, for putting on a such a wonderful event, and if this is the start of 2016, 

Bring on the rest of the year!

Book Review - The Art of Seduction by Lorraine Wilson

Amazon UK
Title: The Art of Seduction
Author: Lorraine Wilson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied ARC
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 7th October 2015
Rating: 5 Stars


Laura Baker has a plan. She's going to make Jack McClaren, bad boy of the art world, face up to his responsibilities. Jack has a plan, to track down his elusive creative spark. When Laura ambushes him he's found it. Now to light the fuse, sit back and enjoy the fireworks... 

Laura: 
'I live in London and work in a florists, though I do a bit of waitressing in the evenings as well, to make some extra money. With the mess my sister Sophie has got into we're going to need every penny and it's not like I can rely on Mum or Dad to help out. 
It was through the waitressing temp job I finally found a way to turn things around, to make things right for my little sister. Going through the proper channels got me nowhere so I had to get...creative. The laws of right and wrong apply to everyone, or at least they should do. I admit Jack McClaren is super hot, after all I'm not blind, but he stands for all the things I despise - he's feckless and irresponsible and it's time someone made him pay. That someone is going to be me.' 

Jack: 

'I should be in a great place right now, commissions have made me rich and critics have named me as one of the greatest portrait painters of the twenty first century. Apparently I'm the 'bad boy of the art-world', or so my publicist would have you believe. But I've got a problem, my creative spark is ominously absent, it's been AWOL for a while. I'm busy procrastinating when Laura rockets into my life, bringing the elusive spark of inspiration with her. Sounds good, yes? Right up to the point when she opens her mouth and what she says...well, let's just say her accusation leaves me reeling. It's not long though before I realise I can turn the situation to my advantage. Seduction is an art and I've been told I'm a skilled artist in more ways than one. I'm all for taking opportunities to perfect my art. With Laura my plan is simple - light the fuse and then sit back and enjoy the fireworks.' 

Wow what a book. If you like a good erotic, and tantalising romance, with a small amount of depth to it, then The Art of Seduction is definitely a book to look at. 

This book just has sex appeal and sexual tension coming out of it by the bucketful. I would whole heartedly recommend that some scenes should only be read while you are alone, so that you can fully enjoy them and the feelings that you can't help but experience as you imagine what is see them play out. 

Laura and Jack come from different worlds on the surface, but they have more in common than it first seems. And what is evident is just how much they clearly want each other. Jack has to make Laura an offer she can't really refuse before any of this can occur, and the whole book takes place over a very short space of time. 

This adds to the pace and urgency of the story. For what is a relatively short novel, although still a bit longer than the Chalet Girls books, that Lorraine Wilson is more known for, there is far more depth to the main characters than it first appears. Yes there is a lot of sex in this book, and its as brilliantly portrayed as you would hope, but there is a clear story in it too, and its because of Jack's profession as an artist that everything seems so seductive. 

I loved how the story was told in both Jack and Laura's voices, as you really get to know their true feelings about the situation, before they communicate them to each other.. 

The Art of Seduction has certainly seduced me, and I'm delighted that Loraine Wilson has still managed to write such a sexual story, despite not having the backdrop of the ski resort in Verbier as the location this time!

Thank you to Lorraine Wilson for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Guest Post - Judging Covers by Notting Hill Press

The evolution of a book cover for a different marketplace....

A month ago I was delighted to be part of the cover reveal for Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman. I had two different covers to show you the UK and the USA version and the publishers were very keen to hear your opinion over which you liked best. And yet a month later, the book is now out, and the USA cover has been re-designed.... here is why!

It’s interesting to see how the same book is marketed differently depending on where its fans are based. Michele Gorman’s Match Me If You Can is published by Avon (Harper Collins) in the UK and by Notting Hill Press in the US. Avon took the lead in designing the marketing package for Michele’s UK chick lit fans, with a pretty teal cover, fun font and firm focus on the online dating/romance storylines in the book. 

Meet best friends Catherine, Rachel and Sarah. Yet to find Mr Right, they’ve been settling for Mr Right Now. But when Catherine, London’s finest matchmaker, gets the girls to join her dating site where they can rate and recommend their ex-boyfriends, they soon realise that anything could happen… There’s someone for everyone, right? These best friends are about to find out!


To complement the UK cover, we at Notting Hill Press designed the US cover using the same fonts and heart motif. But something started to bother us. Match Me If You Can is also about strong women. It’s funny, cheeky, poignant and realistic. The women join the dating website and recycle their exes but their lives – their friendship, families and careers – are at the heart of the book. And while both British and American fans are definitely romantics, American readers are also really partial to a feisty story about friends. 

We had to admit it: our hot pink cover didn’t seem quite right for Michele’s US fans. So we had a rethink about it, and here’s the result!


Meet best friends, Catherine, Rachel and Sarah. They’re fun, smart and successful, and haven’t had a date worth booking a wax appointment for in ages. 

Catherine runs London’s most successful matchmaking business with her silent partner and ex-husband, Richard, who’s just announced that he’s marrying his twenty-three year-old girlfriend. Catherine has bras that are older than Magda, and now she’s barging in on their business with her meddlesome demands and wedding plans. 

Architect Rachel’s got problems of her own. At work she’s competing against her ex-boyfriend, James, to win their biggest project and the promotion that comes with it. So when she joins Catherine’s website, RecycLove.com, where everyone brings an ex to recycle for the chance of an upgrade, she knows just who she’s going to trade in. 

Homebody baker, Sarah, is in a rut thanks to family demands over the last few years. Reluctantly she joins RecycLove.com, where she’s convinced that some minor adjustments will improve her chances. But as minor adjustments turn into a complete overhaul and dates start falling at her newly-pedicured feet, will her popularity be worth the sacrifices she’s making? 

A warm, funny story of friendship, strong women and self-discovery. Match us if you can, guys, but if not then please step aside and we’ll get on with being fabulous.

We hope you love the new cover and blurb as much as we do!

Sincerely,

Notting Hill Press

Thank you Notting Hill Press for this interesting back story to the cover for Match Me If Can. My review can be found here or if the new cover or blurb has interested you, you can purchase the book on Amazon UK

Book Review - You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

Amazon UK
Title: You and Me, Always
Author: Jill Mansell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Reviewer
Publication Date: 28th January 2016
Rating: 5 Stars


On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again...

I have been a huge fan of Jill Mansell for far more years than I care to count, and I am so glad that I am. Pretty much every single book she releases is brilliant, and You and Me, Always is no exception,. 

As You and Me, Always started I was a slightly apprehensive that it would be a very sad book (which isn't what I was in the mood for), but it couldn't have been any further from that. It is a wonderful romantic comedy, the key elements of it come into play on Lily's 25th birthday. 

Each year on her birthday, she gets a letter from her mother, who passed away when she was only eight years old. This years letter is the last one, and with it there is a present and her mother talks about her first love. 

From this letter we get a great introduction to the main characters who feature in the book, and on the same day Lily meets a famous actor, who is hiding out in her friend's cottage. Dan however doesn't like Eddie (the star), and tries to put Lily off. 

We get to see all of Patsy's disastrous online dating efforts, watch out for a moment on a tandem bike, and also discover Coral starting to feel a bit more ready to start dating again, two years after the death of her husband.  

There are many close knit friendships that was get to observe in the village of Stanton Langley, and some of the surrounding area is stunning.  I loved seeing what was going on in the village and the way the characters clearly care about each other. 

You and Me, Always was a pleasure to read, and I loved every second of it. It is a great introduction to Jill Mansell's books if you have never read any of them before. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Happy Publication day to Jill Mansell. You and Me, Always is out today, in ebook and hardcover. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Book Review - Redemption Song by Laura Wilkinson

Amazon UK
Title: Redemption Song
Author: Laura Wilkinson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Accent Press
Publication Date: 28th January
Rating: 3 Stars


If you lost everything in one night, what would you do? 

Saffron is studying for a promising career in medicine until a horrific accident changes her life for ever. Needing to escape London, she moves to a small coastal town to live with her mother. Saffron hates the small town existence and feels trapped until she meets Joe, another outsider. Despite initial misgivings, they grow closer to each other as they realise they have a lot in common. Like Saffron, Joe has a complicated past … one that’s creeping up on his present. Can Joe escape his demons for long enough to live a normal life – and can Saffron reveal the truth about what really happened on that fateful night? Love is the one thing they need most, but will they – can they – risk it? 
Redemption Song is a captivating, insightful look at what happens when everything goes wrong – and the process of putting the pieces back together again. 

Saffron had fled to a small welsh seaside town after a terrible car accident, with her mother Rain. As the story progresses we understand the whole truth about the accident, and very slowly she starts to heal. 

However what kept me reading was my curiosity about Joe. Joe was clearly hiding something, but will he ever tell Saffron the truth about his past. The reader only gets small hints, and when by the time I eventually discovered his reasons, I found I wasn't too bothered anymore. 

The main reason I didn't fully connect with this story is probably due to Rain's profession. She is a minister and although the religious aspect wasn't in your face, I found the regular references to her faith, just made me slightly uncomfortable, as I don't really like religious or faith based books. Had I known about that aspect in advance I may been more reluctant to read the book to start with. 

Unfortunately I found that the only characters I really enjoyed were Saffron's new friend Ceri and her father. They were lovely and a real tonic to the book. I feel that Redemption Song fell flat for me, despite an intriguing blurb and a good start to the story. 

Thank you to Laura Wilkinson and Accent Press for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Book Review - One Night in Los Angeles by Katey Lovell

Amazon UK
Title: One Night in Los Angeles
Author: Katey Lovell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: 27th January 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


Abbi Devine never expected Hollywood to be like this... 

Leaving her small town in northern Maine for Hollywood was always going to be a gamble, but she's finally got her chance- a speaking part as a burlesque dancer in a movie starring A list actor Aaron Halliday. 

However, when she's thrown off her stride and ends up in a heap on the floor, Aaron's the one to come to her rescue. There's an undeniable attraction between them which comes as a surprise to Abbi, who has sworn off men following a bad experience. 

Is Aaron really the unfeeling playboy the press make him out to be? And can Abbi let go of her past to enjoy her present?

It may be slightly odd to be completely jealous of a fictional character, but I can't believe Abbi Devine managed to attract the gorgeous sex god of Aaron Halliday. Even though I wasn't in the book I wish I was, as Aaron just oozes sex appeal. 

The amount of chemistry between Abbi and Aaron is evident from their first meeting, after the funniest moment of the book. From the second they meet you can feel the sexual tension, and the intimate scenes really do get your heart racing. 

This is the second book I have read by Katey Lovell, and they are both quite different. This one is a lot racier than her Meet Cute series, but what I can tell between the two books is that she is a new and talented at creating romantic situations, and really cares about having characters have the romance they deserve in their lives. 

One Night in Los Angeles is a steamy, pleasurable short novella, that I really enjoyed. 

Thank you to Katey Lovell for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Book Review - The Edge of Sanity by Sheryl Browne - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: The Edge of Sanity
Author: Sheryl Browne
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Safkhet Publishing
Publication Date: 29th April 2014
Rating: 4.5 Stars


How far would YOU go to protect your family? 

A decent, ordinary man, a man who has already suffered the loss of one child, Daniel Conner is forced by extraordinary circumstances into being a hero. Tortured, forcibly drugged—heroin still pulsating nauseatingly through his veins—his wife and daughter degraded, Daniel knows their kidnapper is beyond reasoning with. 

But does being pushed one step beyond endurance justify doing the unthinkable? 

High on drugs, indebted to his supplier, and desperate, Charlie Roberts takes Daniel's wife and daughter hostage. Daniel does everything within his power to rescue the situation bloodlessly. Eventually though, Daniel realises that with or without violent mood swings induced by amphetamines and cocaine, Charlie Roberts is a psychopath. He wants more than Daniel's money. 

He wants him. 

The Edge of Sanity: a harrowing story of hope amid loss and betrayal.

The Edge of Sanity pushes the Conner family to the absolute limits of what a person should be able to cope with. Clearly it isn't enough that months earlier they had lost their youngest daughter, and are still clearly all grieving, but are falling apart as a family unit. 

Kayla, who is only 15, is really hurting, not just at her sisters death, which she blames herself for, but also at the arguments from her parents. She is rebelling in typical teenage fashion, and with her friend Hannah, going into nightclubs where they are clearly underage. 

However on this one fateful night, she finally catches the attention of Charlie Roberts, the hunk she has had her eye on. Little does she know that, that will be one of the biggest mistakes of her life. 

For Charlie Roberts is the local drug dealer, a psychopath that is known to the police (who have never made anything stick), and generally doesn't treat women that well. When Kayla lets slip some information, Charlie kidnaps the family, to try and get the biggest payday of his career. 

The Edge of Sanity is a gripping story, and the darkest parts of you will be wondering exactly what Charlie is going to do next, to the family. I think its this morbid curiosity that kept me turning the pages eagerly to find out what exactly happens. 

There are also revelations about Daniel's childhood that are upsetting, and we also get the perspective of the woman that Charlie had a dalliance with earlier that week. The focus shifts between the various characters which adds to the suspense as you can see how they are feeling. 

Sheryl Browne seems to have a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath, as she serves up once again a chilling and suspenseful tale. 


Shortlisted for the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery SpaSpa Book Award for books published in 2014.

BUY LINKS

About Sheryl Browne

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies


Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.



Video Links


GIVEAWAY
E-copy of either Death Sentence or Edge of Sanity.



Monday, 25 January 2016

Book Review - What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? by Katie Oliver

Amazon UK
Title: What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?
Author: Katie Oliver
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Carina
Publication Date: 15th January 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


When your name is Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy lives next door, romance is anything but simple…

Especially since a film crew has just arrived to shoot Pride and Prejudice at the Darcy estate! And when Hugh Darcy, the one who got away, arrives home after 8 years absence, Lizzy can’t help but think it’s fate. Until, that is, he introduces her to Holly – his fiancée…

What can Lizzy do but try not to feel too prejudiced against Hugh’s new woman – a city girl who knows nothing about country life, and seems more concerned with her film star ex than her current fiancé?

There’s no denying that there’s something suspicious about Holly’s interest in Hugh…and when he begins to have doubts about his high-maintenance fiancée, it seems a break up is on the cards. But is it too late for Lizzy to swallow her pride and get her Austen ending after all?

What Katie Oliver has achieved with this book is very impressive. What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? is a contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice, but the majority of the dialogue is Austen-esque (for lack of a better word). It's like reading a brand new story but with the obvious parallels to the book that inspired this.  

It's hard to explain but although I was unsure as I was reading it, by the end I was far more interested in the story, than bothered that the turn of phrase, wasn't quite what I would be expecting it to be. Having just finished reading the book, I am though already curious as to what will happen in the other two in the series, as I have become very attached to the Bennet sisters, and also the Darcy family. 

I loved seeing Holly James, from Katie Oliver's previous books back, as well as one of the more despicable bad boys too, who is the actor starring a remake of Pride and Prejudice, playing Wickham, and behaves like him in real life too. Needless to say he was interested in pursuing the youngest of the Bennet sisters, who has barely come of age. 

The location of this book is beautiful, on the English Riviera. Bathed in bright sunshine, a summer that is truly unforgettable, as we take in the annual regatta, the ball, horse riding, and various scandals. 

I really enjoyed reading What Would Lizzie Bennet Do? and thought it to be clever version of a much loved story. However due to not having read Pride and Prejudice for probably 15 years, I can't truly compare, or say how close to the story it is. There were characters in Katie Oliver's book that reminded me of ones that I believe were in Austen's book, but I'm not the right person to comment on them. 

Thank you to Carina and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Rachel Reads Randomly Vote #12



Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

2 Votes - Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him The Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison
2 Votes - Holy Island (A DCI Ryan Mystery) by LJ Ross
3 Votes - Somebody to Love by Sheryl Browne
6 Votes - Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings
12 Votes - Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary

I believe last week was the most popular among you yet. I wasn't sure what would be selected but having read and reviewed  Someone Else's Skin, I am so glad that was the winning selection. What a brilliant book, and just goes to show its always good to get other people's opinions on your book choices, as you may get to read books you have forgotten you wanted to. 

For this week's choices, you are getting a random selection from authors with first names beginning with A & B. Want to slowly try to give all parts of my TBR list a chance to pop up in these selections, and there are a few books in this section that I have been meaning to read for ages...and then become distracted by others. I just wonder if they will pop up on the randomiser!

Below is initially my theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This weeks random numbers are...

And the books these numbers correspond to are...

So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:



16 - We Could Be Heroes by Alison Bond - I believe this is a rom-com, and have a vague feeling there is a sporting element to it, but really don't recall. 
31 - French Coast a Novel by Anita Hughes - I won this last year, and have almost picked it up to read a few times, but other books then caught my eyes more. 
36 - The Truth Will Out by Anna McPartlin - I read a book by this author the other year and really enjoyed it, so bought more!
48 - Disengaged by Beth Orsoff - Bought this as part of a kindle sale, and then its been sitting on my kindle awaiting attention
55 - Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn: The Great British Holiday by Brian Viner - Who will vote for this purely to see me having to tweet a book with such a long title? Suspect this could be a good book to read to make you long for a summer holiday!

Well one of the books on my spreadsheet that I would quite like to read, is on this selection, but its down to you. Looking forward to seeing what you all think of these, and if in fact you have read any of them. 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all.

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 


How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using random.org to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet. 

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