Thursday, 4 August 2022

[Blog tour] Review - Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar

Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar
Publisher: HQ
Release date: 21 July 2022
Back cover blurb: Rose O’Connell aspires to be the perfect mother. And when she receives an unexpected invitation into The Circle, an elite clique of beautiful, wealthy and connected mums at her son’s exclusive school, it seems her dreams are about to come true. Every mother would kill for an invitation, and once she joins, Rose’s social status soars. But what is each woman hiding beneath her immaculate exterior? Why did a previous member take their own life? And why have they singled out unassuming Rose to take her place? Rose is about to find out that darkness lies at the heart of The Circle. And it’s far too late to run… From the author of That Woman comes a razor-sharp, dark and nail-bitingly gripping new thriller. Dare you enter The Circle?

Well! This was a rollercoaster of a ride that I wasn't expecting. I deliberately chose not to read any reviews of this book before I dived in, and I only skimmed over the back cover blurb. I'd like to say that was because I enjoy the element of surprise - which to a point, I do.

But in truth, I didn't have the time. I digress...

Such a Good Mother is the very definition of a 'page turner', once you've started reading, you won't be able to put it down. I suffered several late nights whilst desperate to find out what happened next. And that (apparently) much discussed ending? Let's just say it doesn't disappoint.

Rose O'Connell aspires to be the perfect Mother. To give her son Charlie the best possible start in life, and the education that she never had. She hopes that by enrolling him to the over subscribed, elite local primary school that she is doing just that.

Rose knows that her family doesn't fit in with the School's 'ideal', but she is prepared to do anything to help Charlie fit in amongst the more affluent pupils. When she is invited to join 'the Circle' an elite group of beautiful, wealthy and connected parents, she can't believe her luck.

Soon her life and that of her family is on the up, they are seeming unstoppable. But there is something about the other members of the Circle, and their leader, the school's principal that doesn't quite sit right with Rose.

At first she thinks its because she doesn't fit in.. but she doesn't care, her social status is climbing, Charlie is settling in at School, and her self-employed husband has work suddenly pouring in. They say that things that seem to be too good to be true usually are.

By the time Rose realises that all is certainly not as it seems, its too late. They are all in too deep....

Such a Good Mother is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and spot on the blog tour!

The blog tour runs from 4 - 8 August, don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour!

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Blog tour - Review - One Last Secret by Adele Parks

One Last Secret by Adele Parks
Publisher: HQ
Release date: 7 July 2022
Back cover blurb: One last client. A week at a beautiful chateau in the south of France – it should be a straightforward final job for Dora. She’s a smart, stunning and discreet escort and Daniel has paid for her services before. This time, all she has to do is convince the assembled guests that she is his girlfriend. Dora is used to playing roles and being whatever men want her to be. It’s all about putting on a front. One last chance. It will be a last, luxurious look at how the other half lives, before Dora turns her back on the escort world and all its dangers. She has found someone she loves and trusts. With him, she can escape the life she’s trapped in. But when Dora arrives at the chateau, it quickly becomes obvious that nothing is what it seems… One last secret. Dora finds herself face to face with a man she has never forgotten, the one man who really knows her. And as old secrets surface, it becomes terrifyingly apparent that one last secret could cost Dora her life…

I know I probably say this every time I read an Adele Parks novel, but this one IS definitely her best yet.

Dora is a high class escort, used to giving clients want they want. She is straight talking, brutally honest, and acknowledges that although not the career path she originally had in mind of herself, she is good at her job. 

As a consequence, she is a woman very much in demand, she has a few regular wealthy clients and makes good money. Money so good, that she can’t see herself giving it up. What on earth would she do instead? She understands her job is not acceptable to some, but she doesn’t hide behind embarrassment.

But then something happens that turns her world upside down, and leaves her questioning all of her life choices. Could she give it? Should she give up?

Deep down she knows the answer is yes. When she gets a call from offering her one last job, she says no, but then she hears of the obscene amount of money being offered, and she says yes. 

Surely it won’t hurt? One last job. A holiday if you will, to the South of France, with no sex guaranteed. The Client ( a regular) just wants to make believe that she is his girlfriend. It will be easy money, and then it will all be over.

The transaction is smooth, and then they are on their way. When they arrive she finds that the heat is oppressive, and so is the atmosphere. His friends are not at all what they seem, and her first instinct is to get a cab straight back to the airport. But they are in a remote area, so fleeing unplanned is not an option.

Dora decides to stick it out. What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s a question she wishes she hadn’t asked herself, as the days become more and more surreal. Her fellow chateau guests more and more hostile towards her. She begins to fear for her life. Surely she’s being over dramatic? Her mother always said she was too dramatic…

From here on, Dora’s story gets split and we go back in time a little, interspersed with a few other characters. This could get confusing, but it is so well written that there is no danger of that. There are some very clever twists in this novel, the plot meticulously planned to keep readers on their toes and wanting more.

And I do want more … I really want to know what happens next. Though the novel did have a great ending, I can’t but feel this may not be the last we’ve heard of Dora.

One Last Secret is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops. 

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and spot on the blog tour!

The blog tour runs from 4 - 7 July, don't forget to check out the other hosts!

Monday, 4 July 2022

Review - First Born by Will Dean

First Born by Will Dean
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 14 April 2022
Back cover blurb: Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same. Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail. But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin's last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her. Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.

Molly lives a quiet life in London. She is extremely risk adverse and the total opposite of her twin sister Katie who lives in New York.

When Katie (or KT as she is known to Molly) is found dead in her apartment, Molly must face one of her worst fears and board an airplane to fly to New York.

There is no question about her journey, despite her fears. She MUST know what happened to her sister, and will stop at nothing to find out.

When she arrives in New York, some of KT's friends are understandably unnerved by Molly's appearance. For them it's like seeing a ghost. Molly needs to get to know each and every one of KT's friends, lecturers and causal acquaintances, as she tries to find out the truth.

The Police seem to be doing a lousy job, so Molly turns detective on her own.

New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Molly soon becomes like a native New Yorker, something that leaves her parents desperately worried about her, they just want Molly to leave the police to do their job.

But for Molly that just won't do, even if she is putting her own life in danger. I can't say too much more, but even the most prolific reader may find a few surprises in this novel!

First Born is a real page turner of a novel, and I'm intrigued to read Will Dean's next.

First Born is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Blog tour - Review - The Safe House by Louise Mumford

The Safe House by Louise Mumford
HQ Digital
Release date:12 May 2022
Back cover blurb: Esther is safe in the house. For sixteen years, she and her mother have lived off the grid, protected from the dangers of the outside world. For sixteen years, Esther has never seen another single soul. Until today. Today there’s a man outside the house. A man who knows Esther’s name, and who proves that her mother’s claims about the outside world are false. A man who is telling Esther that she’s been living a lie. Is her mother keeping Esther safe – or keeping her prisoner?

Esther has been kept in a safe house for sixteen years. She barely remembers life before, so knows only that the house keeps them safe, from 'out there'.

Esther has asthma, ever since she was diagnosed, her Mother has feared for her life. Her need to keep Esther safe from the germs and grime of the outside world forced her to purchase a well hidden underground bunker.

Esther mostly doesn't question this, but as she reaches a significant birthday, she asks her Mother if she can join her on her annual trip outside for supplies. Her request is denied, and Esther's interest now piqued. 

What is out there that her Mother doesn't want her to know/see/hear?

She finds out sooner than she could imagine. 

A man outside the 'house'. Who is he and how did he get there? Dare she open the hatch and talk to him?

Whatever decision Esther makes must be timely, her Mother won't be long, and she can't be seen to be breaking any rules. The truth comes quicker than she imagined, and changes everything Esther thought she knew about the world outside.

The Safe House is a well written, interesting take on the lengths that some people will go to protect those that they love. I've seen some describe the story as a little far fetched, but I believe that we are capable of anything, and I think it's a great story! 

The Safe House is available from 12 May 2022 via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request in exchange for an honest review.

The Blog tour runs until 13th May - Don't forget to check out the other bloggers!

Friday, 6 May 2022

Review - the Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Release date: 31 March 2022
Back cover blurb: The brand-new historical novel based on a true story from the bestselling author of The Rose Code and The Alice Network. She’s the war’s most lethal sniper. And the one they least expect… In the snowbound city of Kiev, aspiring historian Mila Pavlichenko’s life revolves around her young son – until Hitler’s invasion of Russia changes everything. Suddenly, she and her friends must take up arms to save their country from the Fuhrer’s destruction. Handed a rifle, Mila discovers a gift – and months of blood, sweat and tears turn the young woman into a deadly sniper: the most lethal hunter of Nazis. Yet success is bittersweet. Mila is torn from the battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America while the war still rages. There, she finds an unexpected ally in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and an unexpected promise of a different future. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a terrifying new foe, she finds herself in the deadliest duel of her life. The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.

Based on a true story, the Diamond Eye focuses on WW2's most lethal sniper, Mila Pavlichenko.

Mila's life revolves around her young son, until Hitler invades Russia and everything changes. Her friends are suddenly forced to seperate, and in to roles they thought they would never have. Mila must take up arms to save her country from the Fuhrer's destruction.

A novice at handling a rifle, Mila soon discovers that she has a rare gift, and through months of blood, sweat and tears, and the untimely death of some of her comrades, Mila becomes a deadly sniper. Soon her name is notorious and a casual topic of conversation becomes 'how many have you killed now?'

Success comes at a price, not only the loss of some of her dear friends, but also her personality, she is known only as a deadly killer, then thrust into a limelight that she doesn't need or want, sent on a campaign trail to the States. Suddenly she is being transported to America and meeting Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

The luxury of her surroundings is a world away from the front line, but all she wants to do is fight. She should feel safe in a country that isn't infiltrated by the enemy, but she can't help but feel uneasy. It must just be the unwanted attention ...

The Diamond Eye is an excellent historical novel, told from a really interesting angle. I have now read all of Kate Quinn's books and I think they get better each time. I can't wait until the next!

The Diamond Eye is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Review - The Fake-Up by Justin Myers

The Fake Up by Justin Myers
Publisher: Sphere
Release date: 7 April 2022
Back cover blurb: TWO EXES. ONE BIG SECRET. LET THE GAMES BEGIN... Dylan and Flo are in love. The only trouble is, they broke up months ago and everyone was delighted for them. At first, it's exciting sneaking around, hiding from disapproving friends, climbing through bedroom windows to avoid family, and concocting hilarious disguises. It's like Romeo and Juliet. With more sex and less poison. But soon it becomes harder to separate truth from lies. Dylan and Flo are in way over their heads, and the games have only just begun . . .

The Fake Up is a bit of a departure from the thriller and historical fiction novels that I've had my nose in of late. A distraction some may say, and a great one at that.

The Fake Up concerns Dylan, a struggling actor, and Flo, a struggling musician. 

Though ask either of them and they will say that they are moderately successful.

Ask their families, and they will tell you a different story. 

Ask their friends and they will tell you another.

As for their relationship, well everyone will tell you that they're not suited to each other, and list a plethora of reasons why. So when they break up, with the exception of Dylan and Flo themselves, no one is surprised or upset.

Heartbreak leads them to throw themselves in to their day jobs with renewed vigour, and astonishing consequences. They are suddenly in the right places, at the right times, being noticed by the right people.

But they miss each other desperately. Realising it was a huge mistake to break up, they being seeing each other again in secret, with some hilarious consequences, as they both now in the public domain, and everyone wants a piece of them.

The Fake Up is a brilliantly funny novel, with some big characters and will keep you entertained til the end.

The Fake Up is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publisher who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.