Tag Archives: Women’s fiction

AMAZING GRACE BY KIM NASH @KIMTHEBOOKWORM @HERABOOKS #REVIEW

Today I’m sharing my review for Amazing Grace by Kim Nash, not my normal go to genre by any means, but I really enjoyed this book. Don’t think for one minute this book is a typical Rom Com, it’s a book that has a heart and soul. Read on for my thoughts…….

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She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks.

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

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No you aren’t seeing things I really am reviewing a book that doesn’t involve a crime being committed, copious amounts of blood and gore or a serial killer lurking in the shadows. I decided I needed to read something different, something out of my comfort zone, and I’m so glad I took a chance and picked up Kim Nash debut novel Amazing Grace. I absolutely adored this book, it’s heart lifting, emotional, funny and captivating in equal measures. Grace is devastated to find out that her husband Mark has been having an affair and now finds herself a single mum to son Archie. Determined to make a new life for her and her son she sets out on a journey of self discovery.

Grace is a character every woman up and down the country will be able to relate to on some level, she lacks confidence, her life revolves around work and being a single mum (after her failed marriage to dastardly Mark how I wanted to slap him) mum to Archie. Everyone needs a friend like Grace she has so many positive qualities that make her such an endearing character, she’s warm, bubbly, and honest. The relationship between Grace and her son Archie is such a heartwarming one, I adored Archie, he’s funny, smart and very wise, the relationship between the pair and their love for each other is clear to see. As for Vinnie, I’m sure readers are going to fall in love with him, he’s the perfect pairing for Grace I wouldn’t Be surprised if the author gets inundated with messages to see if he’s based on a real person. 

I love the way the author incorporated Grace’s mother into the story, these small bitter sweet snippets made for an emotional read. Kim Nash has created an array of characters that help Grace on the road to self discovery, each one is well drawn, that by the end of the book they feel like old friends. I thought Amazing Grace was such a fun book to read. This book has many a laugh out loud moments, the dating scenes especially, but there’s also depth to this book that I wasn’t expecting. At times I found it quite emotional, but the author manages to inject just the right of humour to balance the story. 

Amazing Grace has many themes, juggling motherhood, new beginning’s, loss, self discovery, love and the importance of family. It’s hard to believe this is Kim Nash’s debut, the writing, the characters that were superbly depicted, and although my first love will always be my crime thrillers, I would pick up the author’s next book without hesitation. This is the perfect book to read if you are looking for an uplifting book, one that’s beautifully written, If you are feeling down and need a big dose of sunshine in your life then Amazing Grace is definitely the book for you. 

**a note to the author please sign me up to Graces “fat club” it sounds perfect for me **

  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Hera Books (10 April 2019)

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Google | Apple

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The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis #BookReview @EmilyGunnis @Phoebe_Swinburn @headlinepg

Today I’m sharing my review for The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis. I  took a step away from Serial Killers, Murder and Crime before Christmas! As I wanted to read something slightly different. I read so many lovely reviews of this book I just knew it was one I had to read for myself. **Warning** this book should come with a box of tissues.

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A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

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After I finished reading The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis I was left with a heavy heart, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, in fact it was quite the opposite, it made for a highly emotional read, it’s a book that is based on disturbing historical facts and for me personally this made the read far more poignant, knowing that the terrible things that happened to unmarried mothers in the book actually occurred. It’s hard to imagine an unmarried mother being sent away by her family to give birth to her baby, a family more concerned about the stigma surrounding illegitimacy, than their own child’s well being.  A woman forced to live in the most awful conditions, abused, and then forced to hand their babies over for adoption. The Girl In The Letter certainly makes for a hard hitting and emotional  read.

Single mother journalist Sam Harper discovers  some heartbreaking letters from a girl called Ivy which are linked to a now derelict mother and baby home, St Margaret’s which was run by nuns. Sam like any good journalist realises there’s a story to be told, as she begins to investigate she doesn’t just see it as a job, she becomes emotionally involved and is determined to share Ivy’s story not only for Ivy and all the other mother condemned to St Margaret’s, but for the baby’s snatched from their mothers.

It’s the letters that make this book such an emotionally charged read,  you get a sense of the stigma surrounding unmarried mothers, you feel Ivy’s pain, fear and her love for a baby she will never be allowed to keep. It’s difficult to believe that the very nuns who were there to support unmarried mothers were beyond cruel,  punishing them for their “sins”, both physically and mentally, but as historical documents show this was very much the case, and makes Ivy’s story all the more credible and one which is unbearably sad.  

Emily Gunnis writes with such conviction and emotion that it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction, the two blend  perfectly together resulting in an emotionally charged read. The letters, the harrowing and heart breaking scenes, and the overwhelming need to find out what happened to Ivy will keep you captivated until the last page. This is Emily Gunnis debut novel which really surprised me, as it’s a very accomplished debut, not only is it beautifully written, but it’s a book that sensitively looks at a subject that’s been buried for far to long. Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Review (1 Aug. 2018)

 Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain #BookReview @D_Chamberlain

Today I’m sharing my review for the latest novel by Diane Chamberlain, The Dream Daughter. As a huge crime thriller reader, there are just a handful of authors outside this genre that I turn to when I need a “non crime fiction fix” and this author is one of them.

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When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. 

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget. 

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I have long been a fan of Diane Chamberlain I just adore her books, now if I’m honest I had reservations about reading The Dream Daughter as I read on line that the author’s latest book is part science fiction, don’t get me wrong I’m not adverse to reading this genre I just couldn’t work out how a authors whose novels normally focus on very human story’s  could possibly incorporate science fiction into one of her story’s. After finishing this novel I have to admit the author has done a fabulous job, and the mix of genres exactly made The Dream Daughter a unique read which captured my imagination.

The Dream Daughter is a novel about one mother’s quest to save her child. Carly finds out that her unborn baby has a heart defect. There’s no treatment available in 1970, and the baby will likely not survive after birth. Her enigmatic brother in law Hunter has knowledge of treatment that could help Caroline’s unborn baby, but first he needs to convince her to take a mind-bending leap of faith. This description may seem vague but I’m desperate not to give away the heart of this novel and spoil the read for others. The way Diane Chamberlain has crafted a story of a mother’s love, risking everything she knows and believes, all for the love for her daughter was incredibly moving at times. If I’m giving you the impression The Dream Daughter makes for a depressing read I apologise, this novel also has uplifting and heartwarming moments that warm the heart.  

Diane Chamberlain has a knack of creating characters that are not only multi dimensional but she also draws on the raw emotions the characters are feeling. You feel Carly’s despair, you understand her need to do everything in her power to save her daughter, you empathise when Carly has to make heart breaking choices, you feel like your alongside Carly on her journey. I’m really pleased the author decided not to give The Dream Daughter the ending  I envisaged, personally I found the authors conclusion to be a more satisfactory one (that’s why I’m not an author) it was definitely more fitting to the overall story.  Diane Chamberlain has written a multi-layered, genre crossing, complex novel that is both emotive and compelling, and a novel that I found a joy to read. 

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market edition (18 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

Unwrapping the #BookPost with the book review café

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I have received some fabulous book post lately and although I post photos of the books I receive on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram I thought they deserved their own post. I’m always eternally grateful to the publishers and authors who send me ARC’s even though I’m a book blogger it’s one thing I never take for granted or expect.

There is nothing more satisfying on hearing the sound of book post landing on my door mat, I’m like a child at Christmas wondering what delights await me.

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So I thought I would start a new feature called Unwrapping my #BookPost not highly original I know but I thought the title explains the post 😂. So here are a few of the fabulous books I’ve received over the last month or so…..

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

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Book description

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

published 15th February 2018

Dead Girls by Abigail Tarttelin

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Book description

When her best friend Billie is found murdered, eleven-year-old Thera – fearless and forthright – considers it her duty to find the killer.

Aided by a Ouija board, Billie’s ghost, and the spirits of four other dead girls, she’s determined to succeed. The trouble with Thera, though, is that she doesn’t always know when to stop – and sometimes there’s a fine line between doing the right thing and doing something very, very bad indeed.

Tense, visceral and thought-provoking, Dead Girls is the new novel from Abigail Tarttelin, the critically acclaimed author of Golden Boy.

published 3rd May 2018

The Retreat by Mark Edwards

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Book description

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

published 10th May 2018

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

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Book description

DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A DAUGHTER
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late?

published 3rd May 2018

The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic

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Book description

THE NEXT SPINE-TINGLING THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE HOUSE

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.
He knows her.
And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter.

Published 9th August 2018

Ghost by Helen Grant

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Book description

Langlands House is haunted, but not by the ghost you think.

Augusta McAndrew lives on a remote Scottish estate with her grandmother, Rose. For her own safety, she hides from outsiders, as she has done her entire life. Visitors are few and far between – everyone knows that Langlands House is haunted.

One day Rose goes out and never returns, leaving Augusta utterly alone. Then Tom McAllister arrives – good-looking and fascinating, but dangerous. What he has to tell her could tear her whole world apart.

As Tom and Augusta become ever closer, they must face the question: is love enough to overcome the ghosts of the past?

In the end, Langlands House and its inhabitants hold more secrets than they did in the beginning…

published 19th February 2018

My thanks to Joanne at Portobello Book Blog for this one which I won in a giveaway.

My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay

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Book description

Lizzie Bradshaw. A student from the Lake District, forced to work away from home, who witnesses a terrible crime. But who will ultimately pay the price?

Emma Taylor. A mother, a wife, and a woman with a dangerous secret. Can she keep her beloved family safely together?

Stella Taylor. A disaffected teenager, determined to discover what her mother is hiding. But how far will she go to uncover the truth?

And one man, powerful, manipulative and cunning, who controls all their destinies.

published 3rd May 2018

I hope you have enjoyed this post and as you can see I have a diverse selection of #BookPost the only problem I have now is deciding which one to read first. I would love to know what book post you’ve recieved, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan #BookReview @EvaJordanAuthor @urbanebooks

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Book description

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Lizzie is fast approaching 50

Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory.

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My review

Every family is unique with it’s mishmash of characters, it’s own family dynamics, there will be good times and unfortunately there will be bad times, but these are the very things that define us as a family. All The Colours In Between explores the theme of families in a highly captivating read, full of laughter, tears, and bittersweet moments. Lizzie is fast approaching 50, life should be a breeze after all her children are grown up, she has the career she’s always wanted, but then life throws an epic curveball and Lizzie finds herself facing numerous challenges that will result in heartbreak, happiness and turmoil.

This is the first book I have read by Eva Jordan and I’m very impressed with her writing style. Reading about Lizzie you feel like you’re there alongside her through the good and the bad, she breathes life into her characters as the story is told in alternating chapters from Lizzie, Cassie (the daughter) and Connor (the Son) POV, you feel like this could be a book about many families up and down the country. The author has managed to balance the more serious side of this book with humour, at times I found myself laughing out loud at some of the dialogue and events. The author doesn’t make the mistake of providing the reader with the perfect family, but she does provide a snap shot of family life in the 21st century which includes the good, bad and damn right ugly.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up All The Colours In Between but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to find myself breaking my heart over a passage in this book that bought back memories of my own beloved grandparents. There are so many themes in this story that I could relate to some of them reflect my own anxieties as I grow older and numerous times as I read a passage from this book I couldn’t help but finding myself nodding in agreement, the worries of being a parent, watching our parents grow frail, trying to protect those we love, all these themes struck a chord.

All The Colours In Between took me by surprise I don’t know why but I was expecting it to be a “rom com”, but it’s anything but, its emotive, multi layered and a story that even the most hard hearted reader will find an highly emotional read. The story is a reminder that family life is never black and white there are so many “colours in between” the problems we face, the heartbreak we suffer, not only define us but make us stronger. Considering this was such a different book to my normal read I was surprised how much I loved All The Colours In Between, and if an author can evoke such strong emotions in me (sobbing uncontrollably at more than one point) she has done her job well. A fabulous and surprising read that I would highly recommend.

Print Length: 320 pages

Publisher: Urbane Publications (19 Oct. 2017)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill #BookReview @melissahillbks @HQstories

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Book description

A mother always knows best. Doesn’t she?
What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.

For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn’t prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.
But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

A stunning and addictive new book club read from beloved bestselling Irish author Melissa Hill that explores every mother’s worst fear

My review

I decided to read Keep You Safe as I was intrigued by the book description it’s the first book I’ve read by Melissa Hill and what a book it turned out to be, it’s a thought provoking read, and it’s one that will certainly cause heated debate amongst its readers. My own son was vaccinated and there was no doubt in my mind at the time I was doing the right thing, back in the early 1990’s it wasn’t something you questioned, with the lack of internet you took everything medical experts told you as gospel. Keep You Safe certainly gave me food for thought. Although I was expecting a controversial read from the book description I wasn’t expecting to find Keep You Safe to be such an emotive and compelling read.

Keep You Safe is the story of two mum’s, Kate and Madeline, who like any parent want to keep their children safe and do the best for them. Both of mum’s decide not to vaccinate their daughters for very different reasons, and when they both contract measles one women’s decision becomes the basis for a legal battle. The story is told alternating from the point of view of each Mother, from the off I found Madeline to be a character I disliked, not because of the choices she made, but because she’s not a particularly endearing character, but that said her character fitted the storyline perfectly. As for Madeline I couldn’t help but have a great deal of empathy for her plight, in fact I became so involved in her heart breaking story I became very emotional (tears were shed). I always think if an author has managed to evoke strong emotions in me they’ve done a remarkable job.

Melissa Hill has written a well crafted book full of emotion it offers a compassionate look at both sides of a controversial topic. The author’s writing and structure of the novel reminded me very much of author Jodi Picoults books, with a moral dilemma and court room scenes, so although not highly original the author has still managed to make Keep You Safe a throughly captivating read.

Every character in this novel seems to have an opinion on the Pro and Anti Vaccination debate, Should vaccinations be mandatory or should it be down to personal choice? Are parents who don’t let their children have vaccines irresponsible? this book raises so many questions, it’s a minefield that’s for sure. Melissa Hill has obviously researched the subject in great depth, and manages to present both sides of the argument in an unbiased tale. Keep you safe is full of emotion and engrossing, it’s heart warming and heartbreaking in equal measures, it’s a story that will pull on the most hardened heartstrings and it’s definitely a book I would recommend.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQ (21 Sept. 2017)