Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review of Megan's Game by Tony Drury

Megan is a sports and Outward Bound teacher living in Abergynolwyn, a small town in Wales, who is still coming to terms with the death of her soldier husband, Rhys, in Basra. She has somewhat lost her way in life until she is invited to play at the annual tennis tournament held by the owners of the mansion in Aberdovey on Cardigan Bay. Here she partners new arrival David Rensburg to win the doubles tournament – thus starting a new chapter of her life. David works in the City and owns a cottage in Aberdovey. They have a passionate affair and Megan begins to move forward at long last.

However, the path of true love never did run smooth, as the saying goes, and back in London David becomes embroiled in the unethical financial dealings of Martin van Dijl on behalf of his brokerage firm, culminating in being imprisoned for a high-profile murder. Megan, by now loved by David`s two sons Matthew and Josh, has to do her utmost to prove that David is innocent, no mean task for a small-town lady in the imposing and raw city of London. Will she succeed, and will David ever be able to fulfil his ambition to explain the intricacies of high finance to the public by means of a simply-written book? Read on……!

Tony Drury himself was a financier in the City with a love of Wales and this is his first work of fiction. His written style is easy to read and he builds the tension very well – I couldn`t wait to turn the page to find out what happened next! I would thoroughly recommend this book and look forward to Tony`s next offering.
Reviewed by Liz.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review of Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette as part of my reading group and it is, without doubt, one of the funniest books that I have read. I absolutely loved it.

At first glance, Bernadette Fox is wife to senior Microsoft employee Elgie Branch and loving mother to Bea. However, to the other mothers at Bea's school, Bernadette is glamorous but unfriendly and even slightly crazy. When one of the mother decides to google Bernadette, the only thing that she can find online is an entry about a trailblazing architect who hasn't been seen for over twenty years. Surely that is not the same Bernadette, is it?

Everything seemed as normal as could be in Bea's household until she asks to go to Antartica after getting straight As at school. Much to everyone's surprise (even her own), Bernadette throws herself into preparing for this trip. However, all is not as it seems and when the illusive Bernadette goes missing, her daughter Bea tries every to track her down. Told through a series of emails, letters and messages, finding Bernadette also becomes a story about finding who she is and what she is really afraid of. I loved Bernadette's character with her outlandish theories and names for people. I also found the character of Majula, the online assistant, to be a brilliant if somewhat frightening addition.

I sat down to start reading this book on a Saturday morning and literally did not move until I finished it. It is a real feel good book with lots of laugh out loud moments with my particular favourite being a hilariously timed landslide. I could imagine this being made into a film.

Highly recommended and one of my favourite books of the year.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review of Cruel Crossing by Edward Stourton

Cruel Crossing is a fascinating book full of the horror and tragedy that occurred during World War Two. In France, the pyrenees were used as a daring and extremely dangerous escape route into France. As Stourton takes part in the Chemain de la liberte, a walk commemorating the route used by so many to escape the Nazi, he pieces together the stories from people who were actually involved.

The horrors that befell both ordinary people and the armed forces are all too apparent in this book, but what really stands out is the unwavering selflessness and bravery shown by those who helped the escapees. Cruel Crossing is thorough and brilliantly researched and has made me want to visit this area of France that I knew little about.

It is a heart-wrenching, but utterly compelling collection of accounts of people involved in the daring escapes across the Pyrenees during the Second World War.

I highly recommend this book and would rate it as a 5 star read.

I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Review of Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway

Well, what can I say?  A detective novel with no plot, no suspects but plenty of crimes. There is no story – it is about two detectives: Hawthorn, the introspective one and Child, the extrovert. Beyond that, this novel delightfully disconcerts the reader, who is naturally looking for a developing story with a beginning, a middle and a (hopefully ) satisfying conclusion. This does not happen. Instead one is presented with a series of intense insights into what any one of the characters may be thinking about any subject  at any one time, with the added confusion of who `s thoughts they are and what time-scale they are in. It reminds me of Samuel Beckett`s “Waiting for Godot” and would, indeed, make a superb theatrical production.

It is very thought-provoking book, keeping the reader avid to know more and gratifying nothing. I was beguiled by the style and the perceptions express by the author. It is a book that needs to be read at least twice, as there is a new twist each time you read it. I will look forward to reading it again and experience the pathos and the humour. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Liz.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review of Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams

As soon as I saw the beautiful cover on Midsummer Magic, I knew that it was a book I wanted to read.

Recently engaged Josie has jumped into wedding planning and left her fiance Harry feeling a little left out. When she invites Harry, her bridesmaid Diane and Harry's best man Ant to Cornwall for the weekend she imagines a relaxing couple of days talking about the wedding. However, what she doesn't realise is that Diane and Ant already know each other and are not the best of friends. To make matters worse, when Harry and Ant meet famous magician Freddie Puck in the local pub they drunkenly agree to take part in a hypnosis stunt on Mid summer's Eve for his new show. As Midsummer Night comes round, the four realise that the tv show could be a mistake and before they know it long buried secrets and feelings start coming to the surface.

The use of local mythology is a strong part of the storyline and the beautiful setting in Cornwall really emphasises this. There is something about the caves and rugged coastline that makes myths seem like possibilities.

This is a fun, magical story that I really enjoyed reading. I thought that the references to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream were a very clever addition and I am looking forward to reading Williams' next book.

Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman

On September 10th Rowan is publishing her novella Woman Walks into a Bar as an ebook for the first time. And 100% of her proceeds will be donated to Refuge. 
Her goal is to raise £10,000 and you can help. All you have to do is buy a book, or two, and get your friends to buy one too. You’ll get a funny, romantic and touching summer read and you’ll be helping women you’ve never even met at the same time and all for the price of £1.59!
The story behind the story
Every book Rowan have ever written has meant a lot to her, but with her latest book ‘Dearest Rose,’ something really special happened when the real world and the fiction she loves to write collided.  It changed her as a person and a writer, forever.
She was getting ready to research her tenth novel, which with the help of her Facebook readers she decided should pivot around the theme of domestic abuse. It was a subject she’d touched on briefly once before, when she wrote a short novella as one of the first Quick Reads called Woman Walks into a Bar, which to this day remains one of the pieces of work of which she is most proud.
 So she posted on her Facebook page asking if anyone had any personal experiences of domestic abuse, and any stories they might share with her in confidence.
She was shocked and amazed by the response; there were more than 200 emails waiting in her inbox the next day. Each story she read was horrific and frightening in its own way, giving her an insight into the secret lives of many women; lives that all too often remain hidden. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone - well educated wealthy women are just as likely to suffer as women from a working class background - but the one thing all those women had in common was that they were survivors. After years of being mentally and physically beaten down, they had managed to find the emotional strength, somehow, to break free and start again. 
Now Rowan wants to do something that will help other women find that inner courage, and change their lives.£1.59 Amazon Kindle
So, come on and join Rowan, and help to #supportafriend on September 10th. Every time you buy or pre-order ‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ you’ll be entered into a prize draw for fabulous prizes every week, while the #supportafriend #womanwalks campaign is running. On 10th September, tweet Rowan photos of you and your friends, tell her your ideas to support a friend, and why your friends mean so much to you.
You can be a best friend to someone you have never even met. You can help someone out there find the support they need to change their lives. 
If you are a blogger or tweeter, spread the word using #supportafriend #womawalks. If you are a company who could offer a prize to drive book sales and thereby money for Refuge, please get in touch. If you are a woman in an abusive relationship, or if you have a friend about whom you are worried, please get in touch with Refuge and ask for help today. 
About Rowan
Rowan Coleman grew up in Hertfordshire secretly longing to be a writer despite battling with dyslexia.  After graduating from university she worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the Year in 2001.  Her first novel ‘Growing Up Twice’ was published in 2002.
Rowan has gone on to write eight novels for women including the bestseller ‘The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group’ and ‘The Accidental Wife‘ and eight novels for children and teens including the paranormal adventure novels Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains under the name Rook Hasting. Her books are published around the world. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review of Sophie's Encore by Nicky Wells


Her rock star is waiting in the wings, but will he get a second chance?
It’s all change for Sophie Jones—only this time, there is more at stake than just her happiness.
Rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, has been her patient and caring friend through the highs and lows since her wedding day, but now he figures it is time for her to start over. By stealth, the rock singer draws Sophie into the behind-the-scenes work for his band’s latest album. Through the days and weeks spent together at the mixing desk, Sophie discovers whole new horizons for her life, yet before she can even begin to explore them, she faces the very real threat of losing her rock star for good.
Join Sophie and Dan in Sophie’s Encore to find out how their journey will end…
I have been eagerly awaiting the final instalment in the Rock Star Romance trilogy and I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

Sophie has had a difficult couple of years and Dan had stood by her through thick and thin. When Dan offers Sophie the chance to work behind the scenes she jumps at the opportunity and loves the idea of working as a sound engineer. Things between Sophie and Dan seem to be amicable and Dan  even helps look after Sophie’s two children who are his godchildren. However, when Dan becomes ill the tables are turned and it is Sophie who has to look out for Dan.

This is a fast paced book that I found addictive to read. I found the parts about the music industry to be fascinating and I loved the hearing about Dan's tour - it all sounded so glamorous.

I’m so pleased with the way that the book ended and will miss reading about Dan and Sophie now that the trilogy has ended.

Sophie’s Encore is available to buy now.

Party Time — The ENCORE PARTY!!


Join in the release day fun!! Come on and party with Nicky —

On Twitter — #SophiesEncore

Moreover! In honor of the launch, the first two books in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy are available on Kindle for only $0.99/£0.77 for a limited time only!

If you haven’t already got them, go get them here: 



If you’ve already read them, share the joy and spread the word!


Party Time — The GIVEAWAY!!!


1 x signed Sophie’s Encore Poster
2 x Sophie’s Encore Mugs
1 x Sophie’s Run Mug
1 x $10 Amazon Gift Voucher (or equivalent currency)
2 x Sophie’s Encore Key Ring
1 x Sophie’s Run Key Ring
2 x “Swag Pack” featuring 2 postcards (1 signed) each
for all three Rock Star Romance books, and 2 bookmarks each for Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run

Enter the giveaway here:
The giveaway closes 30 September at 12 midnight BST.
Entrants must be 18 or over. Giveaway is open internationally.
Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door.
Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill!
Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C. Like her leading lady, Sophie, Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review of The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland

I really enjoyed reading Henriette Gyland's debut novel Up Close and have been looking forward to reading The Elephant Girl.

Five year old Helen Stephens witnesses the shocking murder of her mother in London. Twenty years later after a terrible childhood, she is summoned by her step-grandmother who abandoned her. When she arrives back in London, she finds out that the woman convicted of her mother's murder has just been released from prison. Determined to avenge her mother, Helen goes looking for the convicted killer Fay Cooper in London. However, finding her unleashes emotions and memories that Helen thought were long buried. After twenty years could there still be new information to uncover?

Helen is a strong, likeable heroine who comes across as a very determined person. I thought that all of the characters were well formed and had a strong presence on the page.

This is a gripping and fast paced read and I enjoyed every minute of it. There are lots of surprises in store for the reader as Helen tries to narrow down the events surrounding the murder. The mysterious circumstances intertwine with a strong romantic element. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.