Dot Scribbles

24.8.16

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

What if you realised the terrifying book you were reading was all about you?
When a mysterious novel appears at Catherine Ravenscroft's bedside, she is curious. She has no idea who may have sent her The Perfect Stranger or how it ended up on her nightstand. At first, she is intrigued by the suspenseful story that unfolds .
And then she realises.
This isn't fiction.
The Perfect Stranger re-creates in vivid, unmistakable detail the day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew, and that person is dead.
Now that the past that Catherine so desperately wants to forget is catching up with her, her world is falling apart. Plunged into a living nightmare, her only hope is to confront what really happened on that terrible day... even if the shocking truth might destroy her. 

Publisher: Black Swan
Pages: 368

This book is brilliant! What a fantastic idea for a story and an excellent debut from Renne Knight.
Catherine Ravenscroft, a successful director has just moved house. She finds a book on her bedside table entitled The Perfect Stranger; she is intrigued and begins reading one night. As she gets further into the book, she realises that the main character is actually her; the secrets that she has been hiding for many years are laid bare in the book. Who has written the book and how did it get into her house? Dare she read to the end?
I really did struggle to put this book down, the chapters are the perfect size and each one leaves you wanting more. It's such a beautifully creepy idea. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when Catherine realised the book was about her. The whole book is based on lies, secrets and deception, you are constantly wondering what the truth is.
There were so many twists at the end. Renee Knight plotted them expertly and I did not see the main one coming. It almost felt like a treat as I was already so impressed.
I highly recommend that you read this book, I was so pleased to read that the author has already started working on her second book, I can't wait to see what she does next.

15.8.16

BLOG TOUR: Found by Elle Field

I'm so pleased to be part of the Found blog tour! I am a huge fan of the Arielle Lockley series by Elle Field so I was very excited to get my hands on the latest but also a little sad as it is the last. If you have missed out on this series then I seriously recommend them; Elle Field has created fantastic characters that you will be sad to leave behind. Here's the idea behind Found:

Who knew one flight could change everything? When Arielle Lockley stepped on the plane at Heathrow, she never realised how different her life would be when she touched down in New York City. Now she's dealing with that aftermath, as well as trying to find common ground with Etta, her new and unexpected business partner.
But, trying to sort out business in London whilst her fiancé, Piers, recovers from surgery in New York, is starting to take its toll on their relationship. Can Arielle and Etta work together to continue Felicity's legacy without destroying it, and will Arielle and Piers even make it down the aisle to say "I do"?
Find out what happens this summer in the final part of the warm and wonderful Arielle Lockley series.

I've been wondering what was going to happen to Arielle as everything was left on a bit of a cliff hanger in the last book so I  couldn't wait to start reading Found when it landed in my mail box. Elle Field goes straight into the action, Arielle is on her way to New York as her fiance Piers has been taken ill; when she arrives she discovers that he has undergone a huge operation and will be unable to fly home for over a month. Everything in her life is in disarray, she has just lost a dear friend, discovered that she has a new and not so friendly business partner in Etta and now the man she is due to marry is hooked up to all kinds of machines in a hospital in New York. How is she going to juggle everything; she can't leave Piers in New York but she must also get her career back on track whilst grieving for one of the few people who ever believed in her. Oh and she still has a wedding to plan! 
Found was a brilliant read and I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to this series of books so that I have been able to follow Arielle's journey from the very beginning. Elle Field writes with such warmth and her books never fail to entertain. I love the fashion backdrop of the whole series,  it is so easy for Arielle to be sucked into the pretentious world that she makes a living from yet we see her battling with that and I think in Found you see a character who has grown and learnt such a lot about herself. She is a little less high maintenance in this book and you can see that she has come to recognise what's really important in life and it is not a designer handbag. 
The majority of the book takes place in New York and this gave it a slightly different feel. Arielle stays with Piers whilst he recovers and whilst it is awful that he has been so ill, it also gives them the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together without the distractions of work for both of them.
I am still gutted that the series has come to an end (but secretly hoping that Elle might write just one more) however Found was the perfect conclusion for me. Elle Field ties up any loose ends and brings everything to a close without it being too twee or perfect. I know that this is a series that I will re-read in the future and if you haven't encountered Arielle Lockley yet then I recommend that you start at the beginning and enjoy each one. 

Many thanks to Elle for sending me a review copy and asking me to take part in her book tour! 

26.7.16

BLOG TOUR: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

I am very pleased to be the final stop on the blog tour for Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent today, first let me give you the synopsis:

Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons, a respected judge and his reclusive wife, find themselves in a most unfortunate situation- they have had to murder a young woman and bury her in their exquisite garden.
While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to fall apart.
But Laurence is not as naive as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl's family may be the undoing of his own. 

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 303

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent is so good! I very much enjoyed Unravelling Oliver but in my opinion, this is even better.
Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons are a highly respectable couple. He is a high court judge and they have a young son Laurence who they share a sprawling family home with. But then this illustrious couple murder a young woman and bury her in their garden in order to cover it up. Lydia is the strongest in the couple and she will do everything she can to protect her young son. Andrew falls apart under the pressure and it becomes clear that Laurence may know more than they originally thought.
Lying in Wait is a dark, compelling read. Lydia is one of the most twisted characters I have ever encountered. She's highly addictive, I couldn't put the book down as I wanted to know what she was capable of next.
Liz Nugent has the pace just right in this book, there are some terrific twists and it felt expertly plotted. Each chapter is told from on of the main character's point of view which was extremely clever as it feels very intimate and at certain points you are privy to certain things that others aren't.
Lying in Wait will have you turning the pages, constantly wanting more. Liz Nugent is a fantastic author and deserves all the praise she is getting.

Liz Nugent has very kindly answered some questions for this blog tour:

1.      Lying in Wait is fantastically dark, as was Unravelling Oliver, where did the inspiration come from?

A man once told me that he strongly suspected his father had murdered a prostitute in the 1960s. He had no evidence or no way of proving it. He never had the courage to challenge his father and went to his grave wondering. He told me this story about 25 years ago and he is long dead now. I always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a house where you suspect your father is a murderer.

2.      I loved the character of Lydia Fitzsimons; she seemed to get even more twisted as the story developed, did you start off with a clear picture of how she would be by the end of the book or were you shocked at what she was capable of?

Lydia developed as I went along. When I began to write the novel, she was merely the accomplice in her husband’s murder of Annie Doyle, but as I wrote, I realised it would be far more interesting if she was the driving force within the family, so I gave her some neuroses and a back story that might explain it. It all developed organically. I surprised myself by how monstrous she turned out to be in the end! I must have a very warped mind.

3.      Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, did you enjoy writing from one perspective more than another?

I think I enjoyed writing Laurence more than any other character, because he is constantly struggling with the dilemma of whether to betray his family or not. It is a very difficult thing to do when they are all you have. And then when he meets the woman of his dreams, his dilemma is reinforced. He just wants to keep everyone happy and it almost destroys him.  He lacks courage and I can empathise with that.

4. I am always intrigued as to what authors like to read when they have some spare time, what was the last book that you read?

I read my last book over two days. Fat Chance by Louise McSharry is an autobiographical account of a young woman who grew up in a very dysfunctional home and her problems with betrayal, body image, cancer, love and marriage. It sounds like a grim read, but in fact, it is very funny, heart warming and life affirming.  I think it would be a wonderful gift for any young woman with issues of self-esteem.


5. What would be your typical writing day?

Write in the library from 10am until 2.30pm. In the afternoon, I research and attend to other admin tasks, like publicity, website updates etc. Hopefully, finish up by 6.






19.7.16

BOOK REVIEW: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Inseparable throughout university, four friends graduate into an exhilarating world on the brink of a shiny new millennium. Eva, keen to shrug off the gruff socialist politics of her childhood, gets a job at a city investment bank, while Sylvie plans to become an artist. Physicist Benedict, meanwhile is devoting his life to chasing elusive particles. Things are less changing for Sylvie's mercurial brother Lucien, he simply intends to continue going to parties and sleeping around.
Invincible Summer follows them as they navigate two decades of furtive sex and thwarted dreams, lost jobs and broken hearts, buffeted all the while by forces of economics and history that shape our lives.



Publisher: Picador
Pages: 308


This  book is delightful and I could not put it down. I read it in just over a day and  I was so sad to say goodbye to the fantastic characters created by Alice Adams.
Eva is the main character and she meets Sylvie, Lucien and Benedict while at university. This story follows the four friends each summer after they have graduated. It is fascinating to see the different directions they all take yet they have a strong tie that inevitably brings them back together.
Invincible Summer deals with so much; growing up, getting a job, love, friendship, loyalty and so much more. Alice Adams makes you truly care for these characters; they all have their flaws but they feel extremely real and you quickly want the best for them.
Benedict was my favourite character; he is definitely the most gentle and unassuming which in turn leads him to miss out on several things. The other friends can easily overlook him at times and there were moments where I felt frustrated that they had this lovely man as their friend but they did not appreciate him.
By showing the characters year by year, it was easy to see who had changed and who had got stuck or a bit lost. I remember feeling so daunted when I left university; I had no idea what I wanted to do or how I wanted to move forward and I think that Alice Adams captures these feelings brilliantly.
For some reason the book felt very British and comforting. If a film was made of it then I think it would be in a very similar vein to Four Weddings and a Funeral or Notting Hill. Alice Adams' writing is extremely witty but she does not shy away from emotive subjects and difficult situations.
I really, really loved this book, I don't keep that many (as my husband would divorce me!) but I will be finding this one a place on the shelf so that I can enjoy it again in the future.

Many thanks to Helen Mockridge for sending me a review copy of this book, it is out now! 

BOOK REVIEW: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Inseparable throughout university, four friends graduate into an exhilarating world on the brink of a shiny new millennium. Eva, keen to shrug off the gruff socialist politics of her childhood, gets a job at a city investment bank, while Sylvie plans to become an artist. Physicist Benedict, meanwhile is devoting his life to chasing elusive particles. Things are less changing for Sylvie's mercurial brother Lucien, he simply intends to continue going to parties and sleeping around.
Invincible Summer follows them as they navigate two decades of furtive sex and thwarted dreams, lost jobs and broken hearts, buffeted all the while by forces of economics and history that shape our lives.



Publisher: Picador
Pages: 308


This  book is delightful and I could not put it down. I read it in just over a day and  I was so sad to say goodbye to the fantastic characters created by Alice Adams.
Eva is the main character and she meets Sylvie, Lucien and Benedict while at university. This story follows the four friends each summer after they have graduated. It is fascinating to see the different directions they all take yet they have a strong tie that inevitably brings them back together.
Invincible Summer deals with so much; growing up, getting a job, love, friendship, loyalty and so much more. Alice Adams makes you truly care for these characters; they all have their flaws but they feel extremely real and you quickly want the best for them.
Benedict was my favourite character; he is definitely the most gentle and unassuming which in turn leads him to miss out on several things. The other friends can easily overlook him at times and there were moments where I felt frustrated that they had this lovely man as their friend but they did not appreciate him.
By showing the characters year by year, it was easy to see who had changed and who had got stuck or a bit lost. I remember feeling so daunted when I left university; I had no idea what I wanted to do or how I wanted to move forward and I think that Alice Adams captures these feelings brilliantly.
For some reason the book felt very British and comforting. If a film was made of it then I think it would be in a very similar vein to Four Weddings and a Funeral or Notting Hill. Alice Adams' writing is extremely witty but she does not shy away from emotive subjects and difficult situations.
I really, really loved this book, I don't keep that many (as my husband would divorce me!) but I will be finding this one a place on the shelf so that I can enjoy it again in the future.

Many thanks to Helen Mockridge for sending me a review copy of this book, it is out now! 

7.7.16

BOOK REVIEW: My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

It's the perfect love story.
Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes.
She's a lawyer, he's an up-and-coming artist. They own a beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.
But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too.
The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.
'Till death us do part...'


Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 520


My Husband's Wife is Jane Corry's debut thriller and it is fantastic. It is dark, gripping and twisted. I felt like there were so many layers to this story and they were all expertly dealt with.
Lily and Ed met at a party, they both have skeletons in their closet but they are inexplicably drawn to each other. Ed proposes on their second date and they set up home together. Lily is a lawyer and Ed works in advertising whilst pursuing his dream of being an artist. Both of their pasts are going to catch up with them at some point but how will it effect their future?
Lily's world is turned upside down when she is asked to represent a convicted murderer who is appealing his sentence. Lily's subsequent relationship with Jo Thomas has consequences for all those around her.
Jane Corry's writing is precise and so well crafted. I loved the way in which she built up each character gradually. She lures you into feeling like you know them really well and then she will do something that throws you entirely off course.
I enjoyed the legal aspect of the book and how the author shows that it is not always evidence alone that wins the case but instead the way in which it is presented. At the start of the book, Lily seems to have a very strong sense of right and wrong; she sees things in a very black and white manner. But her involvement with Joe Thomas leads her to look at the world differently; suddenly there are lots of grey areas and her behaviour reflects this.
My Husband's Wife is a gripping read. I felt that I wanted to be part of Lily and Ed's world but once I was in it I could see it for the nightmare that it truly is. There is so much tension in this book; tension between characters; between the past and the present and between outward appearances and reality.
Jane Corry's debut is not one to be missed and I highly recommend it.

Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy of this book, it is published on 25th August! 

4.7.16

BOOK REVIEW: Early One Morning by Virginia Baily

A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other lock eyes for a single moment.
And in that moment, two lives change forever.

Publisher: Fleet
Pages: 389

This wonderful book begins in Rome in 1943: Chiara Ravello has already lost her mother and her fiance to the war and now lives alone with her sister Cecilia. One morning she observes that the ghetto is being cleared, she sees a family huddling together and she locks eyes with the mother. Without any words being spoken, she claims one of the young boys as her nephew and ultimately saves him from the concentration camp. It's not a well thought out decision and Chiara finds herself hurrying home, clutching the hand of Daniele Levi; she is now all he has left in the world and she must do all she can to protect him.
The book follows Chiara and Daniele Levi to the present day as the author explores the many consequences of Chiara's decision.
Rome is my favourite city and in the book it is like an extra character. I fell in love all over again with Virginia Baily's descriptions bringing it to life. The author went to visit her aunt in Rome when she was sixteen and her love and passion for this beautiful city shines through.
Chiara is a particularly interesting character. She has already been through so much when we first meet her, you would almost forgive her for turning a blind eye to Daniele Levi's mother. But she doesn't, instead she takes on this young boy even though she has an ill sister to care for. She also knows that if found out, she would surely be put to death too for hiding the Jewish boy.
It was so refreshing that Virginia Baily did not paint a romantic ideal in this book. Woman saves life of boy and they both go skipping off into the sunset. Instead Baily highlights how Chiara's decision has left both her and Daniele Levi with many demons whilst also effecting the lives of many others around them.
Early One Morning is a beautiful book, the language used by the author is rich and captivating and the story she tells is so moving, this is one of my favourite books of the year so far.

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