Thursday, 12 December 2019

Review: The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriaty

The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Release date: 31 October 2019
Back cover blurb: SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.Finally, Georgia has found the one. Luke is kind, handsome, and makes her feel safe - which is what she needs after everything she's been through. The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence just can't accept the breakup, and that explains the texts, the emails, the notes... But then things start to go very wrong - will Cadence really do whatever it takes to get what she wants?

As a single woman thoroughly fed up of online dating, the opening of this novel really struck a cord with me. Women gets stood up on tinder date (by the way I hate tinder!!!) then meets complete gentleman at the bar - they hit it off, start dating ... you get the picture.

Georgia believes that Luke is too good to be true at first. Not only is he handsome and kind, but he seems to utterly adore her, and cannot believe that someone was stupid enough to stand her up. One thing keeps Georgia grounded, Luke's ex-girlfriend Cadence.

Not only does she appear to be a complete psycho, but Luke is still living with her.

Alarm bells start ringing in Georgia's head, but Luke assures her that their relationship is well and truly over, and Cadence is slightly mentally unstable and cannot accept that they have broken up. He promises that he will speak with her and Georgia trusts him.

Everything is great until Cadence begins to threaten Georgia. 

It's nothing serious at first, just the usual 'he'll soon get bored of you and come back to me' type of note. But then Georgia begins to suspect that she is being followed, and that's when things start to get really out of hand.

This is a very cleverly written book, with a major and very important twist. I will say that I did see the twist coming. But that didn't impact on my enjoyment of the novel, as even then, I felt like there was still more surprises to come (I wasn't wrong).

The Ex-Girlfriend is a lesson to us all - not just those who partake in online dating. If someone appears too good to be true. The chances are they probably are!! As for meeting people down the pub - perhaps I'll just stay single for now!!

The Ex-Girlfriend 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 December 2019

Review - A View Across The Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman

A View Across The Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman
Publisher: Bookouture
Release date: 25 October 2019
Back cover blurb: Would you risk your life to save just one person? An incredible story of love, hope and friendship, and a testament to humanity and courage in history’s darkest days. 1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, where every equation has a solution. Every day he walks the same route home, past his neighbour Mrs Epstein’s, to a home inhabited only by him and a cat he refuses to even name. But then the Nazis come for the Jews – and Mrs Epstein is killed. And Josef, in an impulsive act of courage, offers his student Michael Blum a place to hide. Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl called Elke strictly is forbidden by the Nazis – for he is Jewish, and she is not. Desperate to give Michael and Elke’s love a chance to survive, Josef gives Michael refuge in his attic: an act of bravery and resistance that will change both of their lives. But as the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted, and no one is safe. If Michael is going to get back to the woman he loves, it is down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. 

Regular readers of my blog will know that historical novels, particularly those set in the WW2 era are my favourite. A View certainly no different. Set in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, it offers a different perspective from the usual German/British set novels of the time.

Professor Josef Held is the most unlikely person to break the law, or be an unwitting part of the resistance. But he is a good man, and understands that those occupying his beloved country are the ones in the wrong.

Consequently when a former student of his almost literally lands on his doorstep, Josef cannot help but take him in. He understands that by hiding him he is placing them both in extreme danger, but after the Nazi's captured and murdered his neighbour, he cannot stand by and let them win.

Meanwhile Josef's niece is ignorant to the terror that the Nazi's are causing and believes that the occupation is a good thing. She is in love with a Nazi officer, and this alone puts Josef in danger. Of course, she knows nothing of his deception, but Josef cannot afford to find out whether family loyalty comes before loyalty to a cause.

As the war rages on, our characters become more vulnerable and we wonder if any of them will survive the war. A View.. is a beautifully written novel about friendship, courage, loyalty, love and loss, and I can't wait to read another by this author.

A View Across The Rooftops is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

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

Saturday, 16 November 2019

[Blog tour] Review - The Name Beneath the Stone by Robert Newcome

The Name Beneath the Stone by Robert Newcome
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing
Release date: 23 September 2019
Back cover blurb: Three generations, one family, connected by an historic secret. 1917 – Private Daniel Dawkins fights at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele. He writes home to his true-love Joyce, but reveals little of his extreme bravery, his kindness, his loyalty to his comrades and the horrors they experience on the Western Front. 1920 – Captain Peter Harding is tasked with a secret mission to assist in the selection of a body dug up from the battlefields of Flanders to be buried in Westminster Abbey as the 'Unknown Warrior'. Events take place on that expedition that come to haunt him for the rest of his life. 2011 – Sarah Harding discovers Daniel’s letters and Peter’s diaries. Together with historian James Marchant she pieces together the hidden truth behind the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and must decide what to do with it. Values are challenged and characters are tested in this gripping novel which asks ‘what if the identity of the Unknown Soldier was discovered - and should that secret ever be revealed?

The Name Beneath the Stone is a novel that focuses on three periods in time; 1917, 1920 and 2011.

1920 - The novel opens with the ceremony to intern the 'Unknown Warrior' to Westminster Abbey. It's significance as the first 'tomb of the unknown soldier' is not yet realised, and those involved, although aware they are doing something important, do not realise just how important it will become.

2011 - Sarah Harding is going through her dying Father's things when she comes across some letters addressed to her late Grandmother Joyce from a man named Daniel. But Daniel is not the name of her late Grandfather.

Sarah has known for some time that Peter Harding is not her paternal Grandfather, but her Father has never mentioned the name Daniel to her, until he is on his death bed and can barely speak. He refers to the 'Unknown Soldier' and this raises many more questions for Sarah than just simply 'who is Daniel?'.

1917 - Daniel Dawkins is on the front line, trying to keep his comrades going in their darkest times with his brilliant wit and sparkling personality. But in truth he is desperately missing home and his beloved school sweetheart Joyce.

Three different times periods, three very different characters, each of them dealing with their own battles in difficult times. I don’t want to say too much more and give anything away, so I’ll leave it there. 

The Name Beneath the Stone is an incredibly well research and beautifully written novel. It holds important historical significance and is highly recommended.

The Name Beneath the Stone is available now via Amazon online and all good retailers.
Thank You to Bookollective who sent me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour:

Friday, 1 November 2019

Review - Seven Days by Alex Lake

Seven Days by Alex Lake
Harper Collins UK
Release date: 10 October 2019
Back cover blurb: SEVEN DAYS UNTIL HER CHILD IS TAKEN. SEVEN DAYS TO SAVE HIM. In seven days, Maggie’s son, Max, turns three. But she’s not planning a party or buying presents or updating his baby book. She’s dreading it. Because in her world, third birthdays are the days on which the unthinkable happens… she loses her child. For the last twelve years Maggie has been imprisoned in a basement. Abducted aged fifteen, she gave birth to two sons before Max, and on their third birthdays her captor came and took them from her. She cannot let it happen again. But she has no idea how to stop it. And the clock is ticking…

Seven Days is another gripping novel from Alex Lake.

Maggie is a prisoner trapped in a stranger's basement. Captured as a teenager, and now in her twenties, Maggie longs for the world she hasn't seen for so long, but she knows that nothing will ever be the same for her again.

Life has changed beyond recognition for Maggie.

Not only has she been held against her will, but she has also been raped against her will, many times.

She is now counting down the days to her son Max's third birthday, but not so that they can celebrate (Maggie has nothing to give her son, even if she wanted to), but so she can ensure his safety.

Maggie has had children in captivity before, but when they have reached their third birthday they have been taken away from her, and Maggie has never seen them again.

She is determined that Max will not suffer the same fate.

We also see events from Maggie's family's perspective, from the harrowing days when she first went missing, to them trying to get on with their lives years later. Their struggles are as real and as painful as Maggie's.

Seven Days is a novel that will stay with you after it's final chapters, and I think the author's best so far!

Seven Days is available now Amazon online and all good book shops.

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

Review - The Lying Room by Nicci French

The Lying Room by Nicci French
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Release date: 3 October 2019
Back cover blurb: Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man. She doesn't call the police. ‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’ A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust? A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things. Could she be a murderer?

The Lying Room promised to be another amazing Nicci French novel, sadly this one fell a little short of expectations for me. But maybe I have them set too high!

Neve Connolly is going to meet her lover for an unexpected early morning tryst, when she discovers his body. She doesn't call the Police immediately as she was there the night before, and her DNA is bound to be all over the place.

As shocked as she is by his murder, she doesn't want their illicit affair to be uncovered, and so she destroys all the evidence she can before alerting the authorities of his death.

Such behaviour is totally out of character for Neve.

Neve is someone that everyone turns to. Everyone trusts her, wants to confide in her, be her friend. But Neve doesn't feel like that woman anymore, and isn't sure that she ever will be again.

Neve's conscious decision to try and cover up her affair, unwittingly leads her into making a series of further ill judged decisions that could change her life forever.

I can't say too much more, as I don't want to give anything away. This is a well written novel, in places I just felt it was a little unbelievable. But maybe that was part of the point. Neve, after all is an ordinary woman, in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

The Lying Room 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.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Review - the Understudy by Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, B.A. Paris and Holly Brown

The Understudy by Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, B.A. Paris and Holly Brown
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 3 October 2019
Back cover blurb: HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PROTECT YOUR DAUGHTER? Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise, and Kendall are bound together by one thing - their four daughters are best friends at the highly competitive Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts. Imogen Curwood is a new girl at the Academy and her behaviour is odd from the start. On the day she arrives, bad things start to happen. As one threatening incident follows another, the four mothers begin to ask themselves: are their girls in danger? When an attempted murder rocks the school, Imogen is pleased to report that she has an alibi. If she isn't the guilty party, someone else must be. Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise and Kendall are determined to uncover the truth and protect their daughters. But are they prepared to risk their own secrets being exposed?

The Understudy is the first collaborative novel that I've read in a long time. Written by four amazing authors, I had been looking forward to it's release for a while, and I wasn't disappointed.

Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise and Kendall are four very different women, with only one thing in common; each of their daughters attends the Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts, and wants to be a star.

Unfortunately is it impossible for all four girls to get the female lead role in the academy's productions and this causes natural rivalry and jealousy amongst the girls (and the parents). 

In the opening chapters of 'the Understudy', we learn that the previous academic year was difficult for two of the girls, one's natural talent far outshone the others limited ability and caused some rather nasty bullying.

In the present day, things seem to be ironed out between them, the error of their ways learnt, and reluctant apologies accepted. But then a new student arrives, and old insecurities and jealousies arise once more.

One Mother calls for the exclusion of one of the students, but she is adamant that it wasn't her. The finger points to the new girl, but what could she possibly have to gain, when she doesn't know the other girl's history. As incidents escalate and no-one is found guilty, the girl's mothers must all pull together.

The majority of the characters in this novel are not particularly likeable, but I think that is intentional on the authors' behalf. They do not want, or need our sympathy, they just need to figure out what the hell is going on!

The Understudy 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.