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BOOK REVIEW: The Family Man by TJ Lebbon

You take one risk.
Now those you love must pay...
Emma Turner thought she could trust her husband, Dom. She thought that he would always look after and and her daughter Daisy.
Then one reckless act ends in two innocent deaths- and Dom's family becomes the target of a terrifying enemy.
There's nowhere to hide. They're on the run for their lives. And if Dom makes one more wrong move, he won't have a family left to protect.

Publisher: Avon
Pages: 372

T. J. Lebbon has written over 30 novels but he is a new author to me and I was very impressed. 
I found the dialogue in the first few chapters a little disjointed but I'm glad that I stuck with it as I was soon completely engrossed in this action-packed, fast paced story.
Dom is a pillar of the community, he runs his own electrical business and is a governor at the local school. Yet he takes a stupid risk with his cycling mate Andy that puts his life and those of his wife and Daughter Daisy at risk. All of a sudden Dom is having to run in order to survive; the people chasing him and his family are dangerous and twisted. They have a reputation for enjoying causing suffering and pain and now they have Dom and his family on their list. 
The Family Man is so well done; once I had got on board with the huge risk that Dom takes, I enjoyed the story and could not put the book down. 
There are some very graphic descriptions of extreme violence so probably not the best book if you are a little squeamish. T. J. Lebbon sets out to shock and succeeds on more than one occasion in order to fully show the danger that Dom is in. 
The pace of the book is relentless; the last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat as Dom becomes closer and closer to losing everything. It was interesting to see the shift in Dom's behaviour once his family are threatened. His life is quite dull at the beginning of the book but that soon changes and I think he shocks himself by what he will do in order to protect Emma and Daisy.
The Family Man is fast-paced, gritty and hard-hitting, I would highly recommend it. Let me know if you have read any of this author's other books as I would love to try more. 

Many thanks to Avon for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


BOOK TOUR: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri

I really struggled with festive reading last year but I am on a roll this year and The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri has been one of my favourites so far! 

Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends, and most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the crazy interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex...but he's nothing she can't handle.
Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it's going really well. So well, in fact, that this year Emily wants to take him home for Christmas. Finally she won't be subject to endless pitying looks from her parents and younger married siblings. But when she and Robert break up a week before Christmas, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party-boy Evan, Emily is determined to take Robert home for Christmas come hell or high water, even if it isn't the real Robert...

Publisher: Quercus
Pages: 416

I really did love this book! I liked Emily from the very beginning and her family was simply brilliant. Emily had been looking forward to taking her boyfriend home for Christmas but they unexpectedly break up the week before. Emily does not want to lose face so she ends up asking  Evan, her next door neighbour to come with her and pretend to be Robert. One of the many problems is that Emily can't stand Evan. He has kept her awake many nights, entertaining a constant stream of women in his bedroom which happens to be on the other side of Emily's bedroom wall. But she can't go home on her own so Evan is her only choice.
They set off to Scotland, luckily it's a long car journey from London as Emily needs to make sure Evan has all the information he needs to pretend to be Robert plus they need to appear that they have been together for over 8 months.
So ensues four days of Emily and Evan pretending to be madly in love in front of her parents. However, their feelings start to develop when they are behind closed doors. Emily is so confused as to what is happening. She can't stand Evan so why does he give her butterflies  and now her family think he's Robert, she really has dug herself a hole.
Joanna Bolouri has written an excellent book, I totally fell for Evan (think Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love) and the chemistry between him and Emily is perfect. The author provided me with so many laugh out loud moments; Emily's family were hilarious but still entirely believable.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year has the perfect balance of romance and humour. It's lovely that the book is set at Christmas but for me it was all about Evan and Emily- they are now on my list of top fictional couples. I highly recommend this book, I may give it another read before Father Christmas comes!

Many thanks to Alainna at Quercus for inviting me to be part of this lovely book tour! 


BOOK REVIEW: Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse

They said it was a tragic accident. She knows better...
The brilliant young painter Marianne Glass is found dead in her snow-covered garden, Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, knows it wasn't a mistake.
Marianne had vertigo, paralysing vertigo. She never would have gone that close to the edge...

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 361

I have read an enjoyed all of Lucie Whitehouse's previous books. She is a superb storyteller and so, so good at creating tension and suspense within her books.
Rowan has not spoken to Marianne Glass for more than ten years, when she is informed of her tragic death. It would appear that she committed suicide by jumping from her studio window at the top of her house. Rowan is devastated but also suspicious. Marianne suffered from paralysing vertigo, there is no way she would have gone out on to the roof so what really happened?
Marianne becomes entangled in the Glass family again as she offers to house sit until Marianne's belongings are cleared out. She becomes very aware that she is being watched and she is sure that whoever it is must be connected to her friend's death.
Keep You Close is so well written; the tension is there from the very beginning but Lucie Whitehouse has plenty of tricks up her sleeve to keep the pace going. I was seriously shocked when reading the final few chapters; there were some things I had worked out but there was still plenty of surprises.
I thought that Lucie Whitehouse's characterisation was fantastic. Marianne is dead from the very beginning of the book but we still become very familiar with her. Her whole family are integral to the book as is Marianne's childhood home where she still lived and died. Lucie Whitehouse paints beautifully vivid images through her descriptions and I felt that the characters and the history they shared were entirely believable.
I highly recommend Keep You Close  but also this author's other books too. Her writing style and storytelling put Lucie Whitehouse above many other authors in this genre.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


BLOG TOUR: Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

It's my birthday today!! What better way to celebrate than hosting a stop on the blog tour for Miranda Dickinson's latest book, Searching for a Silver Lining. Here's the idea behind the book:

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .
When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you'll never forget.

Miranda's books are simply brilliant and she is so enthusiastic about interacting with her readers, today she has kindly written a piece about what her hopes are for Searching for a Silver Lining:

Every author hopes the stories they write will resonate with readers. I’m no exception! I want my readers to have an absolute blast of a ride while reading Searching for a Silver Lining. I would love to make them laugh, cry, gasp and fall in love with the characters I’ve created. I think the hardest part of writing a book – apart from the actual physically demanding job of getting the story from my head to the paper – is letting it go when it’s finished. Trusting that this story will find its readers and that other people (most of whom I’ve never met) will take it to their hearts is the biggest challenge to me as a writer. I have no control over anyone else’s opinion, so the only thing I can do is to work hard to make my books the best they can be. I hope the story touches people who read it. Searching for a Silver Lining is about second chances and the power of forgiveness – even after a lifetime of hurt. It’s about the amazing places life can take you, if you’re willing to take the risk. I hope my book will make people laugh. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been much to laugh about in recent months. I think my readers deserve something warm and funny, touching and life-affirming to help combat the gloom we seem to be surrounded by right now. People often dismiss comedy as flippant and unimportant, but I think it’s essential to help us make sense of the world we live in. Lastly, I hope readers feel like I wrote this story just for them. Because I did. Thanks so much for reading this blog exclusive! For more, follow my Searching for a Silver Lining blog tour. I really hope you enjoy Mattie’s story!

Thank you to Miranda for writing this lovely piece, make sure you buy the book!!! I'm off to eat Birthday cake now! 


BOOK REVIEW: The Trouble with Henry and Zoe by Andy Jones

Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they'd rather leave behind.
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding, Henry makes a break for London. He has no friends, no job, no home, no plan.
Zoe has great friends, two jobs, a new house, and a big scary plan. After a traumatic, life-changing event, she plans to leave London and spend a year travelling. Alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, things might have worked out differently. But that's not the way life works. They meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 452

I have to admit that I may have done a little squeal when I received an email asking if I wanted to review Andy Jones' new book, The Trouble with Henry and Zoe. I was a huge fan of his highly successful first book, The Two of Us, so I was excited to see what he'd done next. I've said this before but for one reason or another, I do not read a lot of books by male authors so I'm always so pleased to find a male author whose work I really enjoy.
The Trouble with Henry and Zoe begins with Henry jilting his childhood sweetheart, April at the altar. Henry comes from a small town so when he runs out on April it becomes clear that he won't be able to return home for a while. He decamps to London where he works part time as a dentist. He knows it was the right thing not to marry April but he has no idea what he's going to do next.
Zoe's world has just been turned upside down. She too is in London, two jobs and a new house on which to pay the mortgage. But she has a plan; she would like to get as far away as possible. She is saving everything she can to go away travelling and nothing will change her mind.
When Henry and Zoe's worlds collide, neither of them are expecting it. So many questions arise, what if they had met earlier? What will happen when Zoe leaves? Can you love someone enough to let them go?
Again, Andy Jones has created two fantastic main characters. I very quickly cared deeply for Henry and Zoe but Henry was definitely my favourite. What he did to April was terrible but I felt sorry for him too. His parents made me a bit angry as it was difficult for them as they own a pub in the small town but I did feel that they could have stuck up for him a little more.
Zoe is a fab character too; she has suffered a terrible tragedy and her own emotions are so complex. Andy Jones' portrayal of her was incredibly honest, she could easily have been seen as a victim but she was far from that.
There is so much humour in the book too, I laughed out loud at several points and I think the author had the balance just right. I enjoyed the chapters being told from either Henry or Zoe's perspective; it allows the reader to get to know them very well but also, more importantly, what they think of each other.
The Trouble with Henry and Zoe is an emotive and touching read. As with Andy Jones' first book, I was impressed by his writing style and the characters he presents. If you've not read anything by this author yet then what are you waiting for?

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


BOOK REVIEW: Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

 A teenage girl is missing. Is you daughter involved, or is she next?
Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?
When Karen Finch's seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got in such a state.
Twelve hours later, Sophie's friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.
Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.
As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties  to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another- Sophie. 

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 300

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington is a gripping psychological thriller. Karen's daughter Sophie is brought home by police just after 10pm on a night out. Appearing drunk, she is very disorientated and has no recollection of how she became separated from her friends. The next day, Sophie still has no memory of the night before and now her friend Amy has not returned home. Karen knows there is more to the situation and deep down she knows that Sophie is in danger.
This book is very clever; the author plays on so many of your fears; your child being harmed; losing your memory; being followed, the list goes on. Added into this is the fact that Sophie's mum Karen suffers from Agoraphobia, she is completely terrified of leaving her own home. Her family have come to tolerate her problem but how can Karen help Sophie if she can't even get out of her own front door?
I felt that the book was well plotted and the author maintains a good pace. I read it in just over one day and the chapters are the perfect length for you to think 'I'll read just one more!'. There were a few plot lines that left me with questions almost as though there were some loose ends when the book finished.
Adding in Karen's condition gave the book a different feel to others in the genre. Normally a character will do some investigating on their own and then run off and save the victim but it was clear from the beginning that it wouldn't be so easy for Karen.
Saving Sophie will capture you from the first page. I highly recommend it plus it's only 99p to download on Kindle at the moment so you can't go wrong!

Many thanks to Helena from Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


BOOK REVIEW: Wildflower Bay by Rachel Lucas

Isla's got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she's been so single-minded in her career, that she's forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by- until disaster strikes. Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.
A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla...

Publisher: Pan
Pages: 352

Rachel Lucas is a new author for me, I loved the cover for Wildflower Bay when it arrived and I couldn't wait to read it. It was only once I'd finished that I read that Rachel's two previous novels are set on the same island but don't worry if you've not read them either as this is very much a stand-alone book.
Isla is working as head stylist in one of Edinburgh's top salons when she suddenly has the day from hell. Finding herself with two months free time on her hands, Isla is feeling a little lost. Luckily, her Aunt Jessie asks her for help; she needs to go and stay with her daughter and Isla would be the perfect person to look after her hair salon while she's away. Isla is very much used to city life so the tiny island of Auchenmor is quite a shock and she is immediately counting down the days until she can return home.
Finn McArthur, a native of the island is also a little lost. Those closest to him seem to have everything sorted and are settling down but she just seems to be floundering. Then he bumps into Isls and starts to see the world a little differently.
Rachel Lucas has written a truly lovely book. Her writing is witty, inviting and comforting. The more I got to know Isla, the more I liked her. Her interactions with Finn are great and add a lovely, romantic element to the book. The setting was perfect, Rachel Lucas provides vivid descriptions of Auchenmor and it is an integral part of the story.
Wildflower Bay by Rachel Lucas does not disappoint, make sure you read it.

Many thanks to Pan for sending me a copy of the book to review.


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