Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Drowning Child by Alex Barclay

I would like to thank the publishers, Harper Collins, for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The town of Tate, Oregon is a town in mourning.  Special Agent Ren Bryce has been called in to investigate the disappearance of twelve year old Caleb Vier.  Already having lost two young boys in the months previous, in two very different circumstances, the town and it's residents are finding it hard to come to terms with the death of the children and now the disappearance of another.  Three boys have suffered in three very different ways, but as Ren digs deeper she finds that maybe, just maybe, the three incidents could be related.  But in order to get the truth, Ren has to dig deep into the town's secrets and the secrets of those living there. Will she be able to solve the mystery before any more victims are claimed?

This is the first book that I have read by Alex Barclay but it won't be the last.  Upon finishing this book, I wanted to head straight the nearest book shop and stock up on Alex's other books.  To say that I loved this book is an understatement.  I was sucked into the story from the very first page and found that the pages seemed to be turning themselves.  I couldn't get enough of this story and the characters it contains.  I kept finding myself saying 'one more chapter', but I could never just leave it at that, I had to keep reading and one very very late night later, I had finished the book and I was absolutely blown away by it.

If you asked me this time last year, I would have said that I'm not into Crime Fiction, but when I read books like this one and I discover brilliant authors like Alex Barclay it's very hard not to become a fan of the genre.  The Drowning Child is a fast paced book that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, with a few nail biting senarios thrown in.  Unpredictable until the very end, with lots of twists and turns thrown in along the way. 

As this is the first book that I have read by Alex, I have not met Ren's character before, but by the end of the book I wanted to be her friend.  I loved her character and I am really looking forward to picking up some more books in this series and getting stuck in.

The story itself flows beautifully. It was straight and to the point and I loved it for that.  With so many books in this genre being slow starters, I loved that The Drowning Child got straight into the story.  This the most unpredictable story that I have read in this genre to date and I wouldn't have seen the ending coming in a million years.  The story is very cleverly executed and I loved how it changed from character to character.  The thing I loved most about it is that we were able to see Ren's thoughts.  I'm not sure if this is the way the other books in this series are written, but I thought it was a brilliant touch and really added to the story, especially as it allowed us to see what was happening at times without the author having to spell it out to the reader.  Because of this we learned how a character reacted to what was happening through Ren's thoughts.

Even though this is the sixth book with Ren in it, it can be read as a standalone also.  It is very easy to follow and will be highly enjoyable whether you have read the series or you are just picking up on the story here like I did.

The Drowning Child is a fast paced book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Brilliantly written, equally chilling and stunning and has the ability to make your blood run cold at times.  I can't recommend it enough.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Review: My Husband's Wife by Amanda Prowse

To Rosie, being a wife and mother is a dream come true.  Rosie never met her own mother, as she disappeared out of her life when Rosie was only a few hours old.  Now, she is married to the love of her life and she has two gorgeous little girls, her life is pretty much perfect.  But Rosie soon learns how quickly a perfect life can fall apart, when she returns home one night and her husband tells her that he is leaving her for another, much richer, much more glamorous woman.  Rosie is distraught, her whole life is falling apart, but she knows that she has to keep going for the sake of her two daughters.  But when Phil, Rosie's husband, wants to spend more and more time with the girls, Rosie realises that she is very close to losing her children as well as her husband.  Rosie doesn't know it yet, but the worst is yet to come for her, as she fights her husband and his new girlfriend for custody of her children and her friends, her world as she knows it shatters and Rosie is left with some very tough choices to make.

It's not often that a book with so much heart and emotion comes along and leaves me absolutely speechless, but My Husband's Wife did.  From start to finish, I went through so many emotions with these characters.  I cried with them, I laughed with them and I got very very angry for them.  I am such a huge fan of Amanda's books and I have read all of them and each one is better than the last, but for me, hands down, this is her best book to date.  I actually found that it was quite different from her other books and I can't really put my finger on why.  If there is one author that will make you stop and make you be thankful for all that you have it's Amanda Prowse.  She shows how ordinary lives can be turned around by exrtaordinary circumstances.

To me, everything about Rosie was real.  I felt that I wasn't reading a book, I was sitting there with Rosie going through the ups and downs with her.  Every character in this book was so well written and developed beautifully.  I adored how Rosie's daughters, Naomi and Leona, were written.  They had such an innocent air about them, that every child has at their age.  The relationships in this book were so excellently penned, that the chemistry and the friendships between the characters seemed to just ooze off the page.

It's not very often that a storyteller as talented as Amanda Prowse comes along and it is easy to see why she is favourite author of so many people, myself included.  She just keeps on getting better and better.  I adored My Husband's Wife from start to finish, it's so real and heartfelt and filled to the brim with raw emotions.  I can't recommend this book enough.

5 stars

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review: The House on Sunset Lake by Tasmina Perry

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me an arc copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Blurb:

Casa D'Or, the mysterious plantation house on Sunset Lake, has been home to the Wyatt family for over fifty years. Jennifer Wyatt returns there from university full of hope, as summer by the lake stretches ahead of her. Yet by the time it is over her heart will be broken, her family in tatters, her dreams long gone.
Twenty years later, Casa D'Or stands neglected, a victim of tragic events. Jennifer has closed the door on her past. Then Jim, the man she met and fell in love with that magical summer, comes back into her life, with a plan to return Casa D'Or to its former glory. Their reunion will stir up old ghosts for both of them, and reveal the dark secrets the house still holds close...

For me, this book got off to a very slow start and I found it to be a very slow burner.  I struggled through the first one hundred pages and if I'm being totally honest, I very nearly gave up on this book, which is something that I absolutely hate doing.  In the end though, I decided to stick with it and once I had gotten past the halfway mark, I really started to enjoy this book.  I found that this went from a book that I found hard to pick up to a book that I couldn't put down for a minute as the twists and turns came thick and fast towards the end.

Tasmina Perry is a fantastic author and I am a huge fan of her books.  That being said, one of my favourite things about her writing is how well she is able to describe the setting and the lives of the characters and that really rang through in this book.  She set the scene so perfectly that it became very easy to see the setting and the character in my minds eye whilst reading this book.  The characters are all very well developed and are very likeable from the word go.  Each character added a special sparkle to the story.  The story, although slow to start, flowed beautifully and adored how the story switched between time frames, starting in 2015 and taking us back to 1994 in some parts of the book.

I really like how The House on Sunset Lake ended and with all the twists and turns thrown in along the way, it was an ending that I definitely didn't see coming.  I am very glad that I decided to stick with this book and read it until the end because if I hadn't I would have missed out a great story.  I did think that some of the twists came out of the blue and without warning, but all in all this is a great read.  The House on Sunset Lake will keep you on the edge on your seat until you reach the nail biting finish. 

3 stars

Monday, 15 August 2016

Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

I would like to thank the publishers for an arc copy of this book in return for an honest review via Bookbridgr.

Emmy is stunned when she returns home from work on afternoon to find that the house that she hares with her elderly father is being robbed, and to make matters worse her father is sitting by and allowing it to happen.  But soon, Emmy finds herself to be more shocked when she realises that they are not being robbed and that the strange man looking around her home is a Bailiff who has come to see what he can get from the house due to the mortgage not being paid over the last few months.  However, Emmy is lucky and manages to buy herself some time to come up with the money, but it costs her the office collection for a present for two co-workers who have gotten engaged.  When her boss finds out what has happened to the money, coupled with the fact that Emmy's sales are below dismal, Emmy knows that not only will she lose her home, she's about to lose her job as well! But, Emmy finds that she is saved by the bell when her boss has no other option than to send Emmy on a twelve week working holiday to a vineyard in France.  Could this be the answer to Emmy's prayers, and with romance in the air, Emmy goes on the adventure of a lifetime to save her job, her home and maybe find herself in the process.

Late Summer in the Vineyard is just the perfect summer read.  There wasn't a thing about this book that I didn't like.  It contains just the right amount of humour, as well as touching on some more serious elements also.  All in all, Late Summer in the Vineyard is a bright, summery, feel good book, that has the ability to make the sun shine on a dull cloudy day.

I adored the characters in this book. Each one of them brought something special to the story, especially Emmy and Isaac.  I loved how each character came with a very well thought out back story, that not only gives the readers a great insight into the lives of the characters, but also gives the reader the chance to really get to know each character very well.

To my dismay, this is the first book that I have read by Jo Thomas.  I own both The Olive Branch and The Oyster Catcher, but I haven't gotten around to reading either so far.  All that has changed after reading this gem of a book, as both books have now been moved to the top of my to-be-read pile and I can't wait to  lose myself in both.

On top of Late Summer in the Vineyard being a cracking story, it also has one of the most beautifully eye-catching summery covers, which will no doubt catch the attention of many readers, with the beautiful colours that just jump straight off the shelf.

To say that I this book is my cup of tea is a huge understatement.  I loved everything about this book and I more than enjoyed the time that I spent with Emmy and the gang.  Jo Thomas has the power to transport you to a French Vineyard and take you on the adventure of a lifetime.  Late Summer in the Vineyard is beautifully written, full of surprises and utterly heartwarming.  I can't recommend it enough.

4 stars


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