Dot Scribbles

27.9.16

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. 

19.9.16

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.

11.9.16

BOOK REVIEW: The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

April is on life-support and the only murder suspect. Noah is a reclusive ex-lawyer attempting to ignore his sadness and write crime novels. April is also the love of Noah's life, and though he has never recovered from her rejection, he returns to their hometown to prove April's innocence.
Meanwhile, Ella has her own secrets, but no one will listen to her. She is the same age that April was when Noah met her, and what Ella knows is key to finding the murderer.
Following the story of April and Noah's tragic and flawed relationship and Ella's determination to uncover the truth. Howells expertly knits together a web of secrets that has the reader guessing until the final chapter.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Beauty of the End was fantastic from start to finish.
Noah gets a call to say that his ex has tried to commit suicide and is now in hospital on life support. As if that isn't bad enough, their mutual friend informs him that April is also the main suspect in a murder case. Noah is now a writer but he trained as a lawyer . He does not believe April capable of hurting anyone let alone murder so he cannot sit back and do nothing. Noah has been obsessed and in love with April since school but she effectively rejected him. He has never recovered from the hurt yet he is still willing to do all he can to help her. Noah has to uncover what really happened; did April truly mean to take her own life and what has been happening in her life to lead her to becoming a convicted murderer?
Inbetween the chapters about April and Noah we meet Ella, she is clearly very troubled and we slowly discover how she comes into the story and the part she has to play. 
I was so impressed by Debbie Howells last book The Bones of You but I would say that The Beauty of the End is even better. It felt slightly darker and more complex. I had a very uneasy feeling throughout and didn't feel as though I could fully trust any of the characters.
Noah and April's past is so tangled and complicated. As we learn about their relationship you begin to understand why Noah is so troubled. Can he really help April though when he doesn't know everything about her?
The Beauty of the End is a fantastic psychological thriller; dark, complex and thought provoking. 

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

3.9.16

BOOK REVIEW: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It's just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
Sam and Clementine have wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there's anything they can count on, it's each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other's oldest friends. A single look between then can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbours, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don't hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid's larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won't stop raining and Clementine and Sam can't stop asking themselves the question: what if we hadn't gone?

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 432

I was so excited when I logged on to Netgalley and saw that the new Liane Moriarty novel was available to review. I think you always feel safe with this author as you know how good she is and Truly, Madly, Guilty did not disappoint.
We know at the start of the book that three couples, Erika and Oliver, Sam and Clementine and Tiffany and Vid attended a long summer barbecue with their children and whilst there something truly awful happened. There were times when I found it a  little annoying when 'what happened at the barbeque' was constantly alluded to but it was worth it when the big reveal happened.
The barbecue is the pivotal event that ties the three couples together but the book is about much more than that. Marriage, relationships, friendship, responsibility, loyalty, love, jealousy, parenting, ambition, and deceit are just a few of the topics covered in the book. As with all Liane Moriarty books, I was amazed by just how much she packs into the story. Each story line felt like it could have been a whole book itself yet it did not feel like they were not covered well.
I think this author is brilliant at exploring the ugly side of relationships. Most of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by people we love and who love us but it doesn't mean that it is all hearts and flowers. Moriarty shows the layers and complexities involved in most relationships and the way they influence our decisions in life.
Truly, Madly, Guilty is another great offering from this talented author and I highly recommend that you add this to your reading pile.

Many thanks to Penguin for allowing me to review this book via Netgalley.

26.8.16

BOOK REVIEW: Hungry for Love by Lucy Beresford

Jax is about to cancel her wedding to Jonty. On the day. By text. A scrumptious celebration of survival for anyone who's longed for love or felt unworthy of it. Hungry for Love will show you the importance of self-respect and that love can be found where you least expect it.

Publisher: Quartet Books
Pages: 242

Hungry for Love is a charming and funny read. It only took me a couple of days to finish and I think it would be a great book to pack in your suitcase if you have a holiday planned over the summer.
The opening chapter sees Jax cancelling her wedding by text, on the actual day. I loved that the author went straight into the thick of it as you are left wanting to know what has led Jax to make such a huge decision. Plus you have had no time to get to know the character before something very big happens so all of these leads you to want to read on in order to find out more.
The book follows Jax as she tries to get her life back on track. She is now free of her domineering ex but she still has her over-bearing mother to deal with. Jax's mother is Majella; a famous celebrity chef who Jax has a very difficult relationship with. Jax decides to teach herself to cook. With her mother's fame and notoriety she has a lot to live up to but the process shows her what she is really made of. With some love interests thrown in and many mouth-watering descriptions of food, you can't help but enjoy this story of one woman's quest to find out exactly who she wants to be.
This is the first book I have read by Lucy Beresford but I enjoyed her witty and entertaining writing style.
Hungry for Love is a feel good read that will leave you with a big smile on your face and a rumbling tummy!

Many thanks to Emma Daley for sending me a copy of this book to review, it is available to buy now. 

25.8.16

BOOK REVIEW: The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood

Supermodel Polly Carter was famed for her looks and party-girl lifestyle. Now she's dead, lying at the foot of a cliff, but those who knew her say Polly would never have killed herself. DI Richard Poole is inclined to agree there is more to Polly's death than meets the eye.
Already fighting  a losing battle against the intense Caribbean heat, Richard now faces fresh adversaries: a stream of alibis; a host of conflicting motives; and, worst of all, a visit from his mother.
As his team closes in on Polly's household, Richard is certain that the model's death was an inside job  and the murderer is still on Saint Marie. He is determined to prove who planned the killing of Polly Carter and why...

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 333

The Killing of Polly Carter is a Death in Paradise mystery, I haven't actually watched any of the popular TV show but I think I will have to catch up with it as I really enjoyed this book from Robert Thorogood.
DI Richard Poole is still on the Caribbean Island of Saint Marie, his day has not started well and his mother is arriving on the island that very afternoon. He could do with a nice, quiet day but then one of his colleagues arrives to tell him that a body has been found at the bottom of some cliffs. The body turns out to be supermodel, Polly Carter. Her wheel-chair bound twin sister, Claire says that Polly threatened to kill herself and then proceeded to jump from the cliff. At first it appears like a straightforward suicide but closer inspection of the body shows that Polly did not kill herself, she was murdered.
So the whodunnit begins and there are plenty of people who had reason to murder Polly. Richard and his team must discover the truth and find out exactly how Polly ended up at the bottom of the cliffs.
Richard Poole is a well created character; he is quite eccentric with a few insecurities but his heart is in the right place. It is very entertaining and amusing watching him look for clues, At times he seems out of his depth but at others he seems the only one in control.
The arrival of Richard's mother Jennifer is also causing him extra stress, He has no idea why she has chosen to be away from his father for two weeks and why did she come to Saint Marie when she doesn't seem too bothered about spending any time with him?
The Killing of Polly Carter is well-written and highly entertaining. I loved the mystery at the heart of the book but there is so much to enjoy surrounding that too. I highly recommend this book, even if you haven't watched the show.

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.

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