Thursday, 23 March 2017

Our Little Secret by Claudia Carrol

I would like to thank the team at HarperCollins in Ireland and Avon for an advanced reader copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Claudia Carroll has long been one of my favourite author, with her books being one of the most anticipated releases of the year for me every year.  You can't even imagine the squeals of delight that came out of my mouth when I saw this coming in through the letterbox.  Naturally, I dropped everything and dived into Out Little Secret and as always, I loved every page.

Our Little Secret is the story of divorcee, Sarah, who has the perfect life.  She's a high flying solicitor and has a beautiful daughter and a lovely home in a great part of Dublin.  She's even friends with her ex husband.  Sarah has it all.  During one of her lunch breaks, Sarah decides to treat herself to manicure, which turns out to cost Sarah much more that €20.00 prince tag, as this is where Sarah meets Lauren.  Lauren is a down on her luck, newly qualified solicitor, who no matter how hard she tries, cannot get a career in the legal industry and so she has to work in a beauty salon to pay her rent.  When Lauren hears that Sarah works for one of the most established legal firms in Dublin, she can't help but ask if she can pick her brains, to which Sarah agrees.  Sarah's sixteen year old daughter Darcy has found it tough since her mother and father divorced and has started acting out, even leading her to commit petty crimes. When Sarah introduced Lauren into Darcy's life, she has a influence on her, similar to what a big sister might have.  Sarah can't believe her luck, that she has found such a gem of a human being. Meanwhile, Sarah's best friend, Liz, can see right through Lauren and she doesn't trust her, not one little bit.

My jaw was permanently on the floor while reading Our Little Secret.  I couldn't believe some of the things that Lauren was doing to Sarah and her family, but the sad reality is that this does actually happen to people.  Our Little Secret shows you how quickly your kindness can be turned against you and how you can be advantage of.  Lauren completely takes over every aspect of Sarah's life in this book and Sarah didn't even notice it happening.

Claudia Carroll managed to capture me and pull me straight into the story, as always. Time after time, she writes a brilliant novel that has such an easy way about it, no matter what topic is being discussed.  I never know how she is going to top her last novel and she manages to do it every single time, with each book being better than the last.  

I have read so many books already this year and none of them have stood out to me until this one came along.  Our Little Secret really is unputdownable and I can see myself reading this one again, which is not something that I generally do.  With stories like this, it is so easy to see why Claudia's books are loved the world over.  I really cannot recommend this book enough and I will be raving about it to anyone who will listen to me.  Claudia Carroll continues her reign as one of the best female authors and judging by this book, she doesn't have to worry about giving up that crown in the near future.

You can buy Our Little Secret here.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

I would like to thank that author for an advanced review copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have often cried at books, because many books have a sad ending.  I can't remember crying at the beginning of a book before, until now.  The Idea of you has the most emotional, heart wrenching opening chapters that I have ever read in my life and they will stay with me always.  I always go into an Amanda Prowse book knowing that I will come out the other end of it a bit of a blabbering emotional wreck, but The Idea of You is a whole other ballgame, because there is something in this story, and I can't out my finger on exactly what it is, that touched my heart in a way that no other book has.

The Idea of You follows Lucy's story.  Lucy is on the brink of turning forty and for the first time in her life, she feels as though her life is working out the way she planned.  She has a great job and a wonderful husband on Jonah.  Add to that the fact that they have a baby on the way and Lucy's life is like something out a romantic Hollywood movie.  But Lucy's dreams are cut short much too soon as she suffers from a tragic and heartbreaking early miscarriage and loses the baby that she wanted so much. Lucy wants more than anything to be a mother, but her dream seems to be moving further and further away from her grasp and soon Lucy feels like she is losing everything close to her, even her husband.  Lucy knows that she has to make the right decisions in order to hold on to her family, but is she prepared to make them?

Amanda Prowse is an incredibly talented author, creating masterpiece after masterpiece and The Idea of You is no different.  The story is so beautifully written and flows brilliantly.  You can tell that blood, sweat and tears went into writing this novel, because there is such raw emotion hidden in the covers.  This novel has highlighted the hard road some women have to travel in order to become mothers and it is heartbreaking to think about.  Unfortunately, so many people will be able to identify with Lucy's pain and suffering or will know someone who has gone through it.  Even though I don't have any children myself, I was still able to feel everyone of Lucy's ecstatic ups and heart wrenching downs and I cried every tear with her.

Amanda Prowse is hands down the most talented author out there at the moment and she never fails to blow me away with her writing.  She has touched the hearts of so many and it is so easy to see why she is loved by so many readers the world over.  I adored everything about this book and the good news being a fan of Amanda's brings is that there is always a new book and a new reason to have my heart broken all over again is only around the corner.

If I could give this book six stars I would, but the rating only goes as far as five, so that will have to do even though it is in no way doing the book justice. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Angel by LJ Ross

I would like to thank the author for an advanced review copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have been such a huge fan of the previous three books in the DCI Ryan series, Holy Island, Sycamore Gap and Heavenfield, but LJ Ross has really out done herself with Angel, which is by far the best book in the series so far. 

Angel brings us back to DCI Ryan, this time on Good Friday morning, when Ryan and the rest of his team get a call to say that a red headed woman has been buried in a shallow grave, arrranged as an Angel in one of Newcastle's biggest graveyards.  But nothing ever runs smoothly for DCI Ryan and team and soon they have more bodies fitting the description being found dead and being reported missing in equal measure.  With the women being buried under the cover of darkness and no sign of forced entry to the graveyards in question, the team make links between the murders and the Catholic Church.  Once again the question is can Ryan and the rest of the team bring these women to justice and catch the killer before he can take more lives.

Angel can be read as a standalone novel, but I highly suggest that you read the rest of the series, so you can properly acquaint yourself with DCI Ryan.  

LJ Ross has a writing style like no other author that I know.  She has the ability to throw in twists and turns without you even realising that she has done so.  So much happens in such a short space of time, but unlike other books I have read where the same happens, I am able to follow what happens in the DCI Ryan series perfectly.  In fact, I get so caught up in the books in this series that I hardly blink while I am reading them in case I miss something important.  No matter how many times you try to guess what is going to happen, the book takes a completely different direction, which takes your thoughts back to the drawing board once more.

I cannot praise this series, but especially this book enough.  I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end and I didn't want to put the book down even for a second.  The ending was a huge surprise to me and I am glad that I have High Force, the next book in the series sitting on my bookshelf, so I don't have to wait too long to find out what happens next. 

This is the kind of series where even if there was 80 DCI Ryan novels, it would never be enough.  I adore this series and I love all the characters.  I cannot get enough of this author and her amazing writing style.  I have become so invested in this series that I am always waiting for my next fix.  I cannot express enough how amazing this series is and I can't find the words to recommend it enough. 

5 stars

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

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

Shamefully, I have to admit that despite there being three Jane Fallon books sitting on my bookshelf, My Sweet Revenge is the first Jane Fallon book that I have actually read and I am pleased to say that I loved it.

Paula feels her life is incomplete in a way.  She has a famous actor for a husband, who gets recognised by old ladies everywhere he goes and a daughter who is about to leave home to study medicine at college.  On paper, Paula's family is perfect.  But Paula feels that she's let herself go, she doesn't know how or why she has put on so much weight and she is at the point where she is nearly afraid to look in the mirror.  The one thing she did get right though was her family, or so she thought until a text message comes through to her husband, Robert's, phone, signally that he is having an affair with one of his co-stars. But Paula has decided that she won't go down without a fight and pledges to make her husband fall back in love with her, so she can leave him and break his heart.

As the book went on, I started to admire Paula more and more.  That doesn't means that I necessarily agree with what she was doing, but Paula proved herself to be strong and independent where other women would have fallen down in a crying wreck.  The way that Paula took control of her life and started making changes for herself, was what I admired the most about her, because she was letting nothing come in the way of her goal.

Paula, Robert, Robert's mistress and on screen wife Saskia, and her husband Josh are the main characters in My Sweet Revenge.  The lies and scandal that goes on with these characters throughout the book make My Sweet Revenge the funny, quirky novel that it is. I laughed and cried along with these characters and I sometimes even cried laughing at them.  

I have not read a book as funny and charming as My Sweet Revenge in a very long time and I really needed the laughter that it provided me with.  I instantly fell in love with Jane Fallon's easy way of writing and the story just flowed. I loved that she has thrown the odd twist and turn in there too, that really kept me on my toes when reading this book.

My Sweet Revenge has exceeded my expectations and I am so looking forward to discovering the author's previous books.  This book is laugh out loud funny and I can't recommend it enough.  You will not regret reading it! 

4 stars

You can buy My Sweet Revenge here.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

Thank you to the author, LJ Ross, for providing me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Heavenfield is the third book in the DCI Ryan series, that I have grown to love so much.  Set in Newcastle, Heavenfield brings us back all of the character that we know and love from the previous two installments.  The book starts with a man being found dead by DCI Ryan in a remote church, known as Heavenfield.  As DCI Ryan is  the only person for miles around, he soon finds himself arrested in suspicion of murder.  Add this to the trouble Ryan in already in from a previous investigation, which led to him being suspended from his job, and things are not looking good for the police officer.  Not only does Ryan have to fight to clear his name, but also to try to bring whoever is committing the crimes around him to justice.  But when the person who is committing all of the murders that have been happening in the area, sets their sights on Ryan being the next victim, Ryan and his team have to work fast to try to uncover just who is executing all of the murders and if they can be stopped before they take another victim.

I fell in love with this series when I read the first two books, so I'm not sure what kept me from reading this book for so long.  Heavenfield is every bit as good as Holy Island and Sycamore Gap, with twists and turns thrown in along the way to keep you guessing.  The minute I opened this book, it's like a hand popped out the page, grabbed me and pulled me into the book!  I lived every bit of this book, and what a rollercoaster of a journey it is.  Just when I thought I had all of the pieces of the puzzle put together something happened in the book that proved me wrong.  My brain was working overtime trying to guess what was going to happen, and no matter how many guesses I made, I never came anywhere near close to the truth.

While Heavenfield can be read as stand alone, I highly suggest that you read Holy Island and Sycamore Gap first so that you can really the series.  After reading this book in less than twenty four hours, it is easy to see why this series is doing so well and is getting such great reviews.  LJ Ross is one of the most talented crime writers that I have come across, with her ability to keep you on the edge of your seat and always coming up with a nail biting final chapter.

Everything about this novel was a winner, the pace was perfectly set and the tone of story is dark and mysterious, even though there are some moments when I couldn't help but smile.  What hits me the most about these novels though, is how the author can pick a location and describe it so very well in her writing.  A simple google took me to images of the church and the area and they are just what I imagined them to be.  The fact that these novels are set in such remote places really sets the scene for the story and this along with the characters, make this novel and the series a true winner.

Not only this instalment, but the whole series is full of mystery, wonder and suspense and is truly one of the best series that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  I can't to sink my teeth into the next two instalments of the DCI Ryan series to see what twists and turns await me.

Heavenfield is a fast paced, crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning to the nail biting end.  I really cannot recommend this series enough.

You can but the book here.

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