Blog Tour: I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler.  I received a free copy of I’ll Find You to review.

I’ll find you is a psychological thriller. It was released in ebook earlier this week and will be out in paperback in May. Here is the blurb:

Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .

When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret. 
What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?

But what if she’s right? 

What else could they be capable of?

I’ll Find You is a book I nearly gave up on it before I really got started with it. There’s one scene in the first chapter that really, really freaked me out and made me not want to read it. But I decided to read chapter two as well before deciding that and it made me want to keep reading. That scene was actually the worst one in the whole book for me, the rest was suspenseful and kept me guessing but not freaked out.  I would say if you want a book that is truly terrifying all the way through this isn’t for you, but if you want one that keeps you on the edge of your seat with an undercurrent of fear it could be.

Emily was a really interesting main character whose story highlights both how easily other’s can manipulate opinions and that we can be completely alone while surrounded by people.  I wished we saw more of her relationships with other people, particularly the police inspector, Geraldine Sutton. I also thought Emily’s backstory would have made a good novel that I’d be keen to read.

The hospital setting is an interesting one. I thought some of what happened was unrealistic (but I don’t have the medical knowledge, particularly of private hospitals, to know for sure). But using somewhere we are often at our most vulnerable but are told we are safe as a setting for a psychological thriller was a brilliant idea.

I liked I’ll Find You and think it could make the perfect introduction to the psychological thriller genre.

To read more of the posts from the blog tour for I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler see below:

 

List of dates, blog names and twitter handles for the blog tour.

The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison

I received a free review copy of The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison and am taking part in the blog tour today.

In love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence …

Scottsville, Arizona, 1989

In small-town America, Joy Sheldon loves the plants that bloom in the desert but longs too for the sea’s elemental wildness. It’s a dream never realised – and now, facing the brutal truth that her husband is a cheat, Joy learns of unimaginable secrets in her early life. Riven by betrayal and loss, a chance encounter with the enigmatic Lewis, Joy embarks on a journey to seek her true identity – and to discover why the sea pulls so strongly at her heart.

Soho, London, 1967

Lewis Bell, abandoned by his mother and responsible for his wayward sister, is now living the dream. An ambitious young graphic designer, he’s aiming for the big time – if only he can keep his creative spark. His talented girlfriend Marnie adds pressures of her own and, as Lewis’s troubles intensify, sixties London fast shows its darker side.

Ballycastle, Ireland, Easter, 1989

Unexpectedly drawn together, Joy and Lewis fly across the Atlantic to the Irish coast. She’s in search of a lost mother; he’s looking for a lost love. They need to make peace with the past, with themselves and others. But the truths they encounter and connections they create will transform everyone’s lives forever.

Bold, intimate and joyful, this glorious novel deftly interweaves decades, continents and lives to tell a story of the irresistible gravity of love.

The Gravity of Love was a really nice read that I enjoyed a lot.  There was enough to the plot to keep me guessing and wondering what would happen next.  I had wondered if I would find the two different time periods made it hard to follow but that wasn’t the case at all.  In fact it was the perfect book for a tired day – it kept my attention and I enjoyed it so much I kept reading after I planned to stop but it wasn’t so complex it took more concentration than I had (I have been struggling with more complex reads for the last week or two).

 

The different settings were very well drawn.  I’ve never been to Arizona and I’ve only been on a blink and you’ll miss it trip to Ireland (one night) but I could picture them very well.  I knew a couple of the places mentioned in London so it was nice to see somewhere familiar.  But then I realised that it’s not familiar because those sections are set in 1967, many years before I was born let alone visited.

Joy was a character who I really felt for.  She’s spent most of her life doing for other people and not doing what she wants.  This has left her feeling stuck and influences most of her journey in the book. To me she came across as someone well into their 50s and I was shocked to realise several chapters in that she’s only  two or three years older than I am now in the 1987 sections so isn’t even 40.  It felt like a good example of what life has done to her and who she is when the book starts.

Currently The Gravity of Love is available for 99p on Kindle. There are far worse things you could spend that money on than this book.

The Manhattan Project by Paul McNeive

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Manhattan Project by Paul McNeive. This thriller is being published today and Black and White Publishing kindly sent me an advance copy for review.

Blog tour banner for The Manhattan Project by Paul McNeive featuring the cover and a list of blogs taking part.

Here is the blurb:
New York City is under attack. Millions may die. But the enemy’s weapons are invisible, undetectable and creating terror at lightning speed. Now, there’s nothing to stand in their way …

A Hiroshima survivor turned criminal mastermind

Pharma industry fat cats corrupted by big money

A Libyan fast food entrepreneur coerced by threats to his family

A New York cop falling fast for an elusive beauty

Visitors to Tokyo from the desolate villages of southern Afghanistan

One terrible desire connects them all – one man’s burning need to finally avenge those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a brilliantly audacious and devastating plot to bring America to its knees, can anyone save New York from disaster?

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. It sounded like my sort of book but whilst I love a thriller I hate horror and I wasn’t sure if it would be too close to horror for me. In fact it was basically the perfect thriller. It had a creepy feel that I loved and kept me guessing the whole time I was reading.

Paul McNeive has taken an event most people have heard of, a cast of interesting characters and a very real threat that in the real world is known but perhaps not taken as seriously as it should be and created an amazing tale. It’s completely plausible that some variant of what happens in the book could actually happen and that just added to the tension I felt as I read it because that’s a scary idea.

This was genuinely a book that was hard to put down and of all the books I’ve blogged abut so far this year is probably the one I’d recommend the most. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Manhattan Project and more specifically the issues raised by it since I finished it.

Random Acts of Kindness Part 1 by Victoria Walters

I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of Random Acts of Kindness Part 1 by Victoria Walters in exchange for this review.

This book is being serialised in 4 parts coming out roughly every two months. Part 1 came out in December, Part 2 has just been released (never let it be said I do things in a timely manner), part 3 will be out in April and part 4 in June.  I enjoyed part 1 and am looking forward to reading part 2 tomorrow. I’m disappointed to have such a long wait for the final two parts because I can’t wait to read them!

Welcome to Littlewood, a small town community with a big heart. Abbie has fled London and the humiliation of not being able to make rent after being made redundant. Louise, seriously unlucky in love, has thrown herself into her career at the local hospital. And Eszter, who has travelled from Hungary with her daughter, Zoe, hopes to reach out to the mother-in-law she never met while her husband was still alive…

Can a little bit of kindness really change your life? Three very different women are about to find out…

This book had pretty much everything that I love in a book in it. A fresh start, a secret or two, friendships, family, a challenge and even cake. The characters were brilliant and within a few pages it was already becoming clear that I was really going to like them and enjoy this book. It made me laugh and smile and left me with a happy feeling when I finished it. It also surprised me in several places and I’m very keen to read part 2 and see what happens next – I’m not sure I want to guess because I’m pretty sure I’d get it wrong.

One thing that Random Acts of Kindness had was a big sense of community spirit and I loved the way everyone reached out and helped those who need it, even if they didn’t know them. Life would probably be a lot better for many people if the real world worked like that.  I read most of it sitting in my favourite coffee shop with a piece of shortbread (one of the staff commented that I’m a bit addicted to their shortbread. She’s not wrong.) but I did kinda wish it was some of the cake from Brew, the coffee shop in the book because that sounded yummy.  It was a cosy and warm read and the perfect way to fill this gray, damp February day.

I can’t think of a better book to be my first review of 2018 and I’ll be reading the remaining parts of publication day and looking out for more from Victoria Walters.

Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christiansen

I received a free copy of Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christiansen from Netgalley to review. Reading other reviews, it seems a lot of people only received a sampler.  I was lucky enough to get the whole book.

 

Bo, 26, has always been careful, cautious. However, she’s just been made redundant and her life plan is beginning to unravel. Before she starts immediately applying for other jobs in a panic, her friend Kirsten persuades her to take a holiday, to visit Kirsten’s mother’s house in Aalborg, North Jutland, a part of Denmark Bo is ashamed to admit she has never heard of.

 

‘What’s the weather going to be like?’ she asks Kirsten hopefully, scrolling her cursor over the budget airlines webpage. ‘Terrible,’ Kirsten replies, ‘London is positively Mediterranean by comparison, and of course it’s November so it’ll be dark seventeen hours a day. But no one goes to Denmark to get a tan. You need a change of scene and to blow away the cobwebs, and trust me, Skagen will do that. Besides, the summerhouse is cosy whatever the weather, and you never know who else will be around.’

 

A few clicks later and there is no going back.  Ug .   Bo’s life plan is about to be entirely rewritten.

 

I started reading Hygge and Kisses on the train and knew within just a few pages that I was going to enjoy it.  It just had a lovely feeling and grabbed my interest straight away.  When it was time to get off the train I was torn between wanting to keep reading and excitement about my plans for the day.  I ended up reading the whole book in three sittings.

 

The section in Denmark left me remembering my own trip there as a child and thinking about going back.  Unlike Bo we went in the summer so my experience is very different to hers.  I am undecided if I’d like to go in winter like she does.  (Nobody ask where in Denmark we went as I was 8 at the time and can’t remember).

 

Goodreads says this is about 400 pages long.  I am surprised by that because I genuinely thought it  was shorter (the kindle edition I have has no page numbers).  But that might just be because I read it so quickly. Certainly I would have liked it to be longer because some plot elements were brushed over and just got mentioned in passing where I would have preferred to see them properly.  And although I thought the ending was good it was abrupt and I was left regretting the fact there was no “six months later”epilogue as I wanted to know what happened next for the characters.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot since I finished the book and I have a theory but as it would spoil the book I won’t share.

 

I would recommend Hygge and Kisses for anyone wanting a relaxing read with a feel good vibe.  In the spirit of Hygge, it should probably be read on a winter evening while curled under a blanket.

Mini Book Reviews

I have written several times this year about struggling with my mental health.  I described it a while ago as being somewhat functionally depressed. If I have to go somewhere or someone is expecting me it happens. If there isn’t a set plan things have varied this year between “it’s not going to happen” and “after a fashion”

 

Reading has been perhaps the hardest thing in that because for quite a while I just wasn’t managing to finish books. Lately that’s improved but despite reading several fabulous books and wanting to review them I haven’t managed that part.  I have been wondering if I should give up reviewing books but when I’m well I really enjoy it.  So i decided that instead what I need is a clean slate.  I’ve been going backwards and forwards on whether that means a new blog just for reviews and still haven’t come to a conclusion.   But I did decide that I would post several mini reviews all together.  And as a sign of how things are I wrote these and then had problems posting to my blog so there’s been a gap of several weeks. But, at last, here goes.

 

Goodbye Vitamin. By Rachel Khong.

 

It’s much too early in the year to declare best book of 2017 but I think this is a real contender for the title.  Goodbye Vitamin really surprised me.  It had a lovely almost feel good style that was a bit unusual. And it managed to take a very difficult subject (a parent with Alzheimer’s) the focus of a lovely enjoyable book with humour and good times.  It felt very real and I am keen to read more by Rachel Khong.

 

Forever Geek by Holly Smale.

 

I feel bad that I’m not writing a full review for this but I have reviewed most of the others in this series and I think my love for Harriet Manners and the other characters in the Geek Girl series is well recorded.  As always I loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough.  It had moments that made me smile and laugh and others that made me cringe – typical Harriet. And lots of random facts.

 

Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes

 

I think Penny Parkes is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I started reading this on the train to meet a friend for the afternoon and once I got home kept going until I finished it.  I love reading a whole book in a day but very rarely find a book that makes me do that anymore.  Returning to the adventures of the Doctors of Larkford this has everything I love in a book.  If I had to pick one of the books in this entry as one I’d recommend to anyone and everyone it would be this one. I read this before publication day and for the first time ever was really jealous of those tweeting their excitement to read it on that day because I just enjoyed it that much.

 

Annie’s Holiday by the Sea by Liz Eeles

 

Sunshine and unexpected happenings in the seaside made this the perfect summer read.  I particularly liked the moments with the choir as although I really can’t sing I love music.  It was just fun and enjoyable with enough substance to fulfil my lazy day wishes but keep me guessing and wanting to read it.  There’s a Christmas sequel and I will definitely be reading it.

 

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

 

I’ve read and enjoyed all of Heidi Swain’s Wynbridge books and this was no exception.  They are well written and always fun with characters I can relate to.  I enjoy the way each book brings new characters and tells their story but allows us updates and glimpses of the ones we loved from previous books,  Oh and having been felling one of my friends that she would love these books since the first one was published she finally picked one up and then blew through all three others in a short time. If that doesn’t tell you how good they are, nothing will.

 

The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley

 

I am never sure whether i want to read Cathy Bramley’s books in their instalments or wait for the whole book. I want to read them instalments because I love her books and don’t want to wait but then I enjoy being able to get stuck in to the whole thing.  I read this as the whole book over two days.  In fact I sat in the garden one day and read well over half of it.  This might be my favourite of Cathy Bramley’s books since Ivy Lane.  I really liked the main character, Rosie, and I loved her Nonna.  This was full of unexpected humour, a return visit from a character from a previous book, a twist I didn’t see coming and a visit to Italy that made me want to go there myself.

 

One Summer In Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa

Today I am kickstarting my return to book blogging by taking part in the blog tour for One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa. And I don’t think I could have picked a better book!

Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.

Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.

I think this is probably going to be a short review because I really enjoyed it and don’t want to spoil it for anyone. In fact you should all just ignore the rest of this review and go buy yourself a copy to read instead.

I will start with two things. The descriptions of the food in this book were amazing and left me really hankering for some Italian food, specifically a big bowl of pasta with a glass of wine on the side. If you can, those would be the perfect things to have whilst reading One Summer In Tuscany.

And as much as I really found the creative writing tutor to be a bit of a “love to hate him” character some of the things he said about writing in the book made me think and made me want to pick up my own long neglected novel attempts.

One Summer In Tuscany was the perfect book to lose track of time with on a warm summer day in the garden. If, like me, you aren’t getting away this summer it’s the next best thing to an actual trip to Italy and I highly recommend it.

The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy

Today I am taking part in the blog tour for The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy.  I received a free copy of the book from the publisher to review but this is my honest opinion.

Nestled among cherry trees in a picturesque country garden, the Gingerbread House resembles an illustration from an old-world storybook. But beware! For in the fairy-tale, that s where the witch lives…

Away from the city, with no distractions, the Gingerbread House seems like the perfect place to start work on a novel. That’s what former advertising copywriter Tess thinks when she goes there to live with Eleanor, her aged mother-in-law. But Eleanor is suffering from dementia, and caring for her proves tougher than Tess could ever have imagined: feeling increasingly isolated, her only comfort is wine o’clock and weekend visits from her husband. Meanwhile her teenage daughter Katia is helpless to intercede; in the end she can only watch as things fall apart and a tragedy even closer to home surfaces.

The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving novel: a compassionate and occasionally wickedly funny tale of a family’s agonising struggle with dementia.

If I could start this review with a slightly personal note it would be that I’m currently struggling with depression. I have lots of books that I want to read but when it comes to actually reading them it’s been difficult to stick to them.  I had no such problems with The Gingerbread House. Reading the synopsis I knew this would be my sort of book.  As soon as I started reading it I knew it was going to be even better than I had expected and was hooked.  In fact I found it to be one of those books that I read cover to cover in one day – something that even before my current bout of depression had been getting rarer.

The use of Katia as narrator was a genius move -I really loved her character and perspective which was unexpected in places.  She kept me guessing a lot and I had to keep reading because I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen.  Even when I began to suspect that there was going to be a twist in the tale and think I knew what it would be I didn’t want to stop reading.

In places I could emphasise with Tess and in others she annoyed me, especially at the start of the book. I think some of that may have been deliberate on the author’s part and the rest was influenced by my own expectations of how caring works.

There was a great attention to detail in this book and some of the details of the Gingerbread House reminded me of my own grandparents bungalow when I was growing up. That added to my enjoyment as I’d actually forgotten about one or two of them before reading this.

I can’t say how much I enjoyed reading this book.

The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James.  I’d like to thank the publishers for my copy of the book.

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.

That is until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts, while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.

 

The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake was a lot of fun to read.  I really enjoyed it and can’t remember the last time a book left me with such a good feeling when I finished it. Perfect for a very cold and miserable evening.  In fact I picked this up intending to read the first two chapters and then make something some dinner. I started reading and the next think I knew it was  7pm, I was 50+ pages in and really wishing there was someone who could make me dinner so I didn’t need to put it down.

I can’t decide who my favourite character is.  I should probably say Daisy and I did really like her.  But I must admit to having a soft spot for her group of friends because they were just brilliant and the sort of friends every girl wants. I would tell you who my least favourite character was but that would be a massive spoiler.  I will admit to changing my mind a few times!

One thing I didn’t expect when reading this was how much it inspired me.  I thought it might make me crave sweet treats and it did. But reading the sections where Daisy is writing and trying to get published really made me want to get my writing out and get going with it again.  Just as soon as I finished reading the book.

Pippa James is to be congratulated for producing such a brilliant book with The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake. It made me laugh and left me with a good feeling, a smile on my face and lots of inspiration.

Check out the other posts on the blog tour to find out more

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees

I received a copy of Florence Grace by Tracy Rees to review as a part of Quercus Summer.

Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It’s a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fifteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie’s life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.

Florence Grace is, for me, one of the books that makes book blogging great.  It’s on the face of it a very me book and I really enjoyed it.  But I don’t think I’d have discovered it if I hadn’t been sent it.  Although I like historical fiction a lot my tastes tend to run a little later (post 1900 usually). So I could easily have missed this and I’d have missed a brilliant read that I found hard to put down.  Seriously I spent an entire Saturday morning  in bed finishing this. I got up a couple of times for the loo or a drink and each time I was like “I’ll get dressed and go do my shopping and finish this later.” and each time I ended up back in bed reading more.

One of the best things about this book was it’s twists and turns.  At least twice I was absolutely convinced I knew what was going to happen.  And I was wrong each time.  But it still ended in a way that I loved and thought worked really well.  If you read one historical fiction book this year you wouldn’t go wrong with Florence Grace.

At the moment I’m really trying to make a big dent in my TBR pile of ridiculousness.  It’s mostly going well.  I think reading Florence Grace will cause a bit of a slip up though – Tracy Rees has written another book and I’m a little bit tempted.