Sunday, 27 January 2013

Review of The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick

The Cornish House is a beautifully written novel by debut author Liz Fenwick.

Maddie inherits an old house in Cornwall not long after the death of her husband. She decides to make a fresh start and moves from London with her step-daughter Hannah. However, as well as battling her own grief she must cope with Hannah who does not like change. She must also face up to the fact that Trevenen, the house, is in need of a huge amount of work.

There is an element of mystery surrounding Trevenen and this really kept me hooked, I had a feeling that the house might be holding secrets. Fenwick cleverly injects romance into the storyline and I was able to feel swept away with the characters as the plot unwound.

The is a gripping and emotional read that I did not want to put down. The setting of Cornwall creates a magical atmosphere where romance and mystery come to life. It is well paced and I loved the way that the plot unravelled - it made for compulsive reading!

I enjoyed every minute of this book and eagerly await the release of Liz Fenwick's next novel.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review of The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

Miracle on Regent Street was one of my favourite books of 2011, so I was really looking forward to reading Harris’ second novel ‘The First Last Kiss’.

This is the story of Molly and Ryan’s relationship, beginning in their teenage years and flitting back and forward as they grow older. I loved the structure of the book, which is set between 1994 and present day and moves backwards and forwards between the different time periods. Each chapter also begins with a different kiss scene, such as the domestic bliss kiss and the grown up kiss.

The characters are so well formed that I felt like I knew them and I think that is what makes it such an emotional read. My favourite characters were Molly and Ryan's mum Jackie, they're are very different but so likeable in their own way.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read. It is a novel that will have you laughing and crying with the characters as you share their experiences and journeys. I was so absorbed in this book and I didn't want to put it down.

Have your tissues ready, as there are some heart wrenching moments.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review of Don't Tell the Groom by Anna Bell

Don’t Tell the Groom is Anna Bell’s third novel and is published on kindle.

It opens when young couple Penny and Mark get engaged. Penny has been waiting for this moment since they first met and has put lots of thought into the perfect wedding. From a fairytale castle to a Vera Wang dress, Penny knows exactly what she wants. She also knows how much it has cost and has been playing online bingo with her wedding fund. The problem is sometimes you lose and this is what Penny find sout when she checks the wedding account statements. Somehow, she has lost £10,000 and needs to find a way to get it back...without Mark finding out.

Penny decides to tell Mark that she will plan the wedding as a surprise for him like the 'Don't Tell the Bride' reality tv show. It bides her time to find the lost money and makes for a hilarious read.

This is a really fun love story and Bell's writing pulls you in right from the beginning. I was hooked from the first page and read this in a day. The characters come to life and I found them easy to relate to, especially Penny.

I loved the cover of this book, it is stunning!

I highly recommend this book, it is perfect for fans of romantic comedy and chick lit.

Don't Tell the Groom is available to buy now:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Review of You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi MacFarlane

It is not everyday that you come across a book that you're so engrossed in you can read it in one sitting, but this is what happened when I read Mhairi MacFarlane's fantastic debut novel.

You Had Me at Hello is a hilarious book about Ben and Rachel's relationship...or lack of one.
Ben and Rachel met on the first day at University and became firm friends straights away. Rachel was in a relationship with Rhys, whilst Ben had a number of girlfriends whilst studying at Manchester. However, after graduation the two lose touch and it is not until ten years later that they meet up again. Rachel bumps into Ben in the library and finds out that he is now married, whilst she has just broken up from her long term relationship. Can they rekindle their old friendship and are their feelings for each other more than just about being friends?

I don't think I have laughed so much reading a book in a long time. MacFarlane's writing is witty and believable. Just reading this book made me feel like I was back at university again. The characters are strong and likeable, I loved Ben and Rachel, but also found that the supporting characters had strong voices too.

I really enjoyed the way that the book is interspersed with scenes from the characters' past, as it made me feel like I knew their history. I also felt that it gives the reader an advantage over some of the other characters who do not know about this past.

This is definitely an author to watch and I cannot wait to read her next book. 5 stars

Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Review of Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson

I was intrigued by this book as I have not read many of the Swedish crime authors who are becoming increasingly popular in this country. Kristina Ohlsson has a unique insight into the Swedish mores and presents them in a way which seeps into your unconscious and become your mores also. You begin to feel that Alex Recht, her prime detective is as familiar as, say, Morse or Barnaby and that the city of Stockholm is as recognisable as Oxford or Midsomer.

The book starts with an unreported rape which took place in the 1990s.The story then leaps to the present, where Alex and his special investigating unit is assigned two new and seemingly unrelated cases – a fatal traffic accident of an unknown and the shooting of a vicar and his wife in their flat. Accident, suicide or murder – that is where the investigation starts. With the help of heavily pregnant Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman, there unravels a story of illegal immigration and run by a group of people who initially had the immigrants` welfare at heart, but which later becomes the root of robbery and murder. That is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as it also involves two sisters, Johanna and Karolin Ahlbin, the daughters of the vicar and his wife. One has died of a suspected drug overdose and her body has been identified at the hospital by her sister, who immediately disappears to become the victim, in Thailand, of somebody or some people who want to erase the fact that she ever existed. Who is doing this, why? - can she return home to Sweden in safety?

There are many twists, turns and seemingly unrelated threads to this book which kept my imagination running at fever pitch throughout. The characters of the investigators Alex, Fredrika, Joar and Peder are expertly drawn and we live with them their personal anxieties, problems and jealousies alongside the desperate search for the perpetrators of the crimes. The story comes full circle, having encompassed the globe, to the solving, finally, of that unreported rape case in the 90s.

A wonderful, wild roller-coaster of a read which had me totally engrossed and which I have come to expect from Kristina Ohlsson. I hope that you will think so too!

Reviewed by Liz.

Thanks Liz and thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Review of Up Close by Henriette Gyland

Up Close is a chilling novel set in Norfolk from debut author Henriette Gyland.

Dr Lia Thompson returns to Norfolk from America after learning that her grandmother has died. Back in Norfolk, she plans to quickly sort out her Grandmother's effects, sell the house and head straight back to her fiance and successful career in Philadelphia. However, once back in her home county Lia meets up with old school friends and finds herself drawn back to the rural climate, which differs so much to her American lifestyle. Lia also starts to sense that things in her grandmoher's life were not as straight forward as they seemed.

Aidan Morrell went to school with Lia in Norfolk and secretly had a crush on her. When he meets up with Lia, he is delighted that the two become friends. However Aiden is also nursing is own issues and does not seem prepared to let Lia find out his own secrets.

I really enjoyed this book. It starts off gently and soon picks up pace pushing the reader into a story with surprises around every corner. It is quite a dark novel full of mystery and there were a number of events which I had not been expecting at all. The descriptions of Norfolk and the various settings were really evocative with effective use of the sea and weather adding to the tension and more sinister side of the plot.

I'm looking forward to reading Henriette Gyland's next book.

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.

Up Close is available to buy now as a paperback:

It is also available in kindle edition here:

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Review of Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan

Liz has revewed Dead Man's Land for us...

For those of us who adore crime stories and/or who are fans of World War 1 this is one of the best. Set the trenches of Loos and Flanders, Robert Ryan sets the scene with such vigour that you can smell the cordite, hear the gun barrages, the fear and the depression of the men and sink in the mud caused by the interminable rain is palpable. Death is merely a statistic as the terrible slaughter of the time continues and is accepted with resignation. However, a death with a different face emerges – not shot or blown to pieces – a death which manifests itself as even more cruel and shocking than the “norm” of the fatal wounds of war – these bodies are marked with Roman numerals.

Dr Watson, the worthy companion of Sherlock Holmes (with whom he has had a falling-out) has volunteered to join up and travel to France to help the wounded as much as he can, even though he is older than the rest of the Royal Army Medical Corps. He finds himself in charge of the investigation into this unexplained death and is ably assisted by his two VADs, Miss Pippery and Mrs Gregson. After many false starts and red herrings, gruesome disinterments from graveyards at night and in unmentionable danger, Watson gropes his way through the strong camaraderie of the Leigh Pals platoons, the strict hierarchy of the nursing staff and doctors, the madness of a world turned upside down where the social order has been eradicated in the fight to overcome the enemy, towards a surprising conclusion which you do not see coming. He makes friend and enemies on the way and has many serious adventures of his own, finally becoming reconciled with his old friend and mentor, Holmes, who manages, in spite of his infirmities, to aid him in his search for the perpetrator.

The book is permeated with the atmosphere of the trenches, the realities of what the lost generation suffered, as well as being a superb detective story. I found it difficult to put down until all the different threads were unravelled in the final resolution. I thoroughly recommend this book to all who enjoy a thoroughly good read.

Thanks Liz and thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.