Book Review: The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore

Living in a coastal town with her son Alfie, young widow, Sarah Grey is rebuilding her life. But following an inadvertent seance, she is plagued by horrific visions and soon, it seems she is the target of a terrifying haunting...
Convinced that the ghost is that of a 19th Century local witch with her own namesake, Sarah delves into local folklore and learns that the witch was seen as evil incarnate. When a series of old letters surface, Sarah discovers that nothing is as it seems, maybe not even the ghost of Sarah Grey...
I love a good ghost story so I was really looking forward to this one and Syd Moore did not disappoint. I loved that the author did not go for the usual cliches, Sarah does not move into a spooky old house, she does not live in a deserted area, instead she is a working mum who seemingly has had a bit of bad luck. After inviting the ghost in without even realising it, Sarah begins having some terrifying experiences. She hears voices and sees ghostly images, when her young son Alfie experiences them too, she knows she has to do something.
Sarah believes she is being haunted by her namesake, Sarah Grey, a local woman believed to be a witch in the 19th Century. Sarah has to visit local folklore to find some answers, this persistent ghost is clearly trying to tell her something and Sarah must do everything she can to reveal the truth.
The Drowning Pool is a really good read. Syd Moore has written a gripping plot and I definitely thought twice about turning the light off after reading this. As Autumn approaches, it is the perfect time of year for this type of book so look out for it, The Drowning Pool is published today.

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

Dot Scribbles Rating 4/5


Book Review: Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Come and meet Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe. Isyy Randall can bake. no, more than that- Issy can create stunning mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent.
When shes's made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment. Armed with recipes from Grampa and with her best friends and local bank manager fighting her corner, The Cupcake Cafe opens its doors. But Issy has absolutely no idea what she's let herself in for. It will take all her courage- and confectionery- to avert disaster...
The lovely people at the new Tesco Book Blog have some up with the idea of grouping books into categories according to how they make you feel;  Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was included in a group of books ‘To Turn Your Heart in Somersaults’ and they asked me to read the book and decide whether I agree with the category or not. And I very much do, Jenny Colgan has written a gorgeous book and I enjoyed every page of it.
Initially when I read ‘To Turn Your Heart in Somersaults’ I was thinking purely along the lines of romance but this book is so much more. Issy Randall goes all out to follow her dream and set up a cupcake café. She has learnt to bake from her Grampa Joe, a retired successful baker, so when she is made redundant from her boring city job she decides to risk everything on her baking dreams. It is far from plain sailing, Issy has to work harder than she ever has to achieve the success she wants. She hardly has a spare five minutes but when she does she is torn between Graeme, her ex-boss who thinks she is completely mad to start her own business and Austin, the gorgeous bank manager who has done everything he can to help Issy achieve success.
Issy’s character is simply lovely and I found her struggles with the cupcake café to be very believable. My sister runs her own very successful cupcake business so I am more than aware of how hard it can be to achieve success and turn a profit.
Jenny Colgan has her reader’s hearts turning in somersaults throughout the book. I was willing Issy to do well with the café and at the same time I wanted her to pick the right man. Jenny Colgan’s writing is warm and extremely witty and more than anything, she makes you want to bake! The book is littered with real recipes that I will definitely be trying out. I can’t recommend this book enough and I like Tesco’s idea of grouping books into these kinds of categories;  a book ‘To Turn Your Heart in Somersaults’ was spot on.


New to Dot Scribbles Shelves

I received four very good books this week, three of them are crime/thrillers which I really enjoy reading at this time of the year, let me know if you have heard anything about any of these or read them yourselves!

Covenant by Dean Crawford (Simon & Schuster, November 2011) Humanity has always believed it is the only intelligent species of life in the universe. But while excavating in Israel, an archaeologist unearths a tomb that has remained hidden for 7,000 years. Inside lies a secret of such magnitude that the story of mankind is instantly rewritten- and it's future thrown into terrible danger. Only one man can piece history back together again. Only one man will risk everything to prevent a catastrophe that could tear the world apart.
This sounds quite different to what I normally read but I shall give it a go!

Friday Night with the Girls by Shari Low (Piatkus, 13th October) Lou Cairney's life has never been dull. But through twenty years of ups, downs and really bad hairstyles, Lou has had the best friends a woman could hope for in Lizzy and Ginger. Growing up together, they shared their dreams and disasters, broken hearts and career crashes, and they survived it all thanks to love, hope and a large dollop of humour. And cocktails. Lots of cocktails. Until now. Lou needs her friends more than ever because her past has just caught up with her in the most shocking way...
I like the sound of this one, friendship and cocktails, what more could a girl want?

Already Gone by John Rector (Simon & Schuster, December 2011) Jake Reese is an ordinary guy with an ordinary job, trying to block out the memory of his violent past by planning for the future with his new wife, Diane. But the past has a habit of refusing to stay buried. When two men attack Jake in a car park and cut off his ring finger, he tries to dismiss it as an unlucky case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But when events take a more sinister turn and Diane goes missing, Jake knows he can no longer hide from the truth. As he embarks on a mission to find Diane, Jake finds himself dragged back into the life he thought he had walked away from forever and the days ahead begin to unfold in terrifying ways...
This seems to be in a similar vein to Linwood Barclay whose books I have really enjoyed so should be good!

The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker (Quercus, 3rd November) Bruno's day has not started well. The Saint Denis Chief of Police is busy.  A French-Spanish summit to be held in a local chateau is being threatened by Basque separatists, and animal rights campaigners are causing havoc attacking local foie gras farms. Up to his ears with ETA and PETA, he's not even had time for lunch. And it's about to get worse. A local archaeological team, digging for evidence of prehistoric man, unearths a well-preserved skeleton. Yet it's a lot more recent than they'd hoped- boasting a Swatch on its wrist and a bullet-hole in its skull. Bruno suspects a link between the two activist groups and the mystery corpse. With an influx of visitors making Saint Denis as crowded as the excavation's grave, the key appears to lie with one of these outsiders. Bruno must think fast, and keep his wits about him. Especially as the answer may lie a little closer to home.
Intriguing, sounds like a good mystery! 

Let me know your thoughts on any of these!


Dot Scribbles interviews Pauline Barclay

Today at Dot Scribbles we are sitting down with the lovely Pauline Barclay for a bit of a natter! I read Pauline's latest book Sometimes It Happens a few months ago and I really enjoyed it, you can read my review of it by clicking here.

You have written three books, Satchfield Hall, Magnolia House and Sometimes It Happens, how would you describe the type of books that you write?

Passionate and emotional. I like to write about events that happen and the effect they have on the lives of my characters. In Magnolia House after Jane Leonard gave half of her house to her only son, nothing prepared her for the consequences of this generous gift. In Satchfield Hall, Celia Bryant-Smythe’s indiscretion with her lover sets in motion a chain of event that will take a lifetime to unravel. And, Sometimes It Happens… winning the lottery changed Doreen Wilkinson’s life, but not in the way she had expected. I like to hope my books will make readers smile, maybe laugh out loud from time to time and maybe shed a tear or two!

2. Do you have a typical writing routine or any superstitions like a lucky pen or notebook?

No to both really. Though, I prefer to write in the late afternoon mainly because most of my commitments of the day are dealt with by then. I can’t settle to write if things are still buzzing around in my head. As for anything lucky, well our two little doggies normally curl up with me!

3. You have a blog, facebook and Twitter page, do you think that social networking has become more important to authors and what do you enjoy about it?

Today, social networking is essential to create awareness of my books and for me to get to know people and people to get to know of me. In the last couple of years I have met some amazing peeps on Twitter and Facebook and some I would even call friends. I have even sold a few books there too! Living down here on our little pebble in the ocean can feel a little cut off so it is great to talk to like minded people about books and writing.

4. You are just one of 30 authors who have been asked to join loveahappyending.com can you tell us a little about the site and what it means to you?

I am really honoured to be one of the 30 authors invited to show case my writing. Loveahappyending.com is a new and exciting web site that concentrates on two main areas: reader power and helping new authors to the market place. Readers are welcomed to join the group as Associate Readers. Being an Associate Reader means you can get involved with the authors, finding out what goes on behind the scenes and so much more. Social Media plays an important role for getting messages out there about the authors, their books and reviews. Of recent there has also been some media coverage too. Loveahappyending.com is international there are Associate Readers and authors from the UK, USA, Canada and even me from the Canary Isles! If anyone is interested in becoming an Associate Reader, please visit www.loveahappyending.com There is so much going on. In fact, I am the editor for the online chatty magazine The Fizz and also Head of Communications. Everyone in the group gets involved giving some of their time to making sure this amazing initiative is a great success for all involved.
5. Finally, what books do you like reading yourself, do you have a particular favourite?

I love murder mystery, thrillers, sagas, quite a mixed bag, but this year I have read mainly new author books on my Kindle! And I can say there are some amazing books out there, many of the books are debut novels from unknown authors. Great reads all of them.

Pauline has just told me that with her new editor, Jo Field she is re-editing and re-polishing Magnolia House and Satchfield Hall. I asked her why?

For my latest book Sometimes It Happens…I had the wonderful Helen Hollick who was my mentor and editor and she helped me make this book sparkle and I want my other two novels to have that same high polish. I will re-launch both books later this year with new covers too. These will be designed by Avalon Graphics, Cathy Helm who designed that fabby cover for Sometimes It Happens… I am also working on my book 4. It’s a busy, but an exciting time!

You can buy Pauline's books on Amazon, check out her website here and follow her on twitter! 


Book Review: The First Wife by Emily Barr

After the death of her grandparents, Lily Button is left without a home or family in the quiet corner of Cornwall where she grew up. When she's offered some cleaning work for local celebrity couple the Summers she is thrilled when the glamorous pair take her under their wing.
With her stunning house and dazzling husband Harry, Sarah Summers appears to have the perfect life. So why, on holiday in Barcelona, does she slip away from her husband and throw herself into the sea?
After Sarah's death, Lily finds herself inextricably drawn to the grieving Harry. But as she falls deeper under his spell, she realises that nothing is really as it seems...
I have looked at Emily Barr's books in the past but for some reason I have always put them back. However, after reading The First Wife, it is clear to see that I have been missing out.
The cover for The First Wife is very striking and I think that is how I would describe the book as a whole. I felt as though Emily Barr lures you into the book with the character of Lily Button and once you have got to know her then the author introduces a really gripping plot that holds your attention to the very last page.
Lily is such an innocent character, you can see why she is lured in by the Summers but I was not prepared for the devastating consequences that she has to face.
The First Wife has drawn comparisons with Daphne Du Maurier and I think it is deserved. The writing is very subtle and you find yourselves in the thick of a psychological thriller that perhaps you didn't expect.
I haven't discussed the plot too much  as it would be too easy to spoil it but I'm very excited about how much I enjoyed this book. In the future I won't think twice about buying an Emily Barr novel and I am looking forward to catching up with her first two.

Many thanks to Headline for sending me a copy of the book to review, it is out on September 15th!

Dot Scribbles Rating 5/5


Baby Update Number 2!

This post is not really book related I'm afraid but I thought that I would give you the latest baby update! I am 20 weeks so we had the second scan on Friday morning, Dr S and I had decided to find out the sex so we were very, very excited! Off we went to the hospital and the good news was that Baby Scribbles was looking very well but the bad news was that baby's legs were very firmly closed! Dr S wasn't having any of that so arranged a private scan for Saturday and off we went again! This time Baby Scribbles was a little more accommodating and we discovered that we will be expecting a baby girl in January!! We would have been happy either way to be honest but it is so exciting to know and it somehow made it all a little bit more real. We have already been shopping and many a pink item has been purchased!
I have already got a quite a few children's books ready to go on the shelves in the nursery but I thought that I would ask all you lovely people if you have any book recommendations, especially for little girls, let me know in the comments if you do!

Asa Larsson Competition Winner!!

The winner of Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson is:

Bill Rogers!!

Thank you all for entering, pop back over the next few weeks as I have some other excellent books to give away!


New to Dot Scribbles Shelves

I have yet again been incredibly spoilt by all of those lovely publishers out there! Here's what has arrived at Dot Scribbles this week:

Fallen Angels by Tara Hyland (Simon and Schuster September 2011) From the poverty of London's post-war East End to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood's golden age: an epic family drama which illustrates that the bonds between a mother and daughter can never be broken.
An unwanted child. San Francisco, 1958. On a dark December night, a baby girl is left at the Sisters of Charity Orphanage on Telegraph Hill.
A mysterious suicide. One year later, movie star Frances Fitzgerald takes her own life. Her husband, wealthy businessman Maximilian Stanhope, is rumoured to know more about her death than he's letting on, but nothing is ever proved.
A terrible secret. What is the connection between these two events? That's what France's daughter, Cara, wants to find out. Abandoned by her mother when she was just seven years old, Cara's childhood was filled with hardship and loss. As a young woman she finds professional success as a journalist, but on a personal level, she still struggles to trust those around her. Cara becomes convinced that uncovering the secret behind her mother's death is the only way to lay her demons to rest. But learning the truth may end up tearing her apart.
I loved Tara Hyland's last book Daughter's of Fortune and this looks like it is going to be just as good!

The Courtesan's Lover by Gabrielle Kimm( Sphere, 24th November 2011) Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, is now an aspiring courtesan. Astonishingly beautiful and ambitious, she revels in the power she wields over men. But when she is visited by an inexperienced young man, it becomes horribly clear to Francesca that despite her many admiring patrons, she has never truly been loved. Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes a gaudy facade. And then another unexpected encounter brings with it devastating implications that plunge Francesca and her two young daughters into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago.
I think this one sounds really interesting and I haven't ready any historical fiction for a while. 

An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson (Simon and Schuster, 29th September 2011) In the heart of the windy season, four friends are about to get swept off their feet... Newly single after a bruising divorce, Juliet miller moves into a place of her own and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that, in her mid-thirties, she'll find anyone suitable. Then, just as she's about to give up hope, along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, and the two women hit it off straight away.
When Juliet's gentle giant of a twin brother, Guy, meets Floz, he falls head over heels. But, as hard as he tries to charm her, his foot seems to be permanently in his mouth. Meanwhile, Guy's best friend Steve has always had a secret crush on Juliet- one which could not be more unrequited if it tried...
As Floz and Juliet's friendship deepens, and Floz becomes part of the Miller family, can Guy turn her affection for them into something more- into love for him? And what will happen to Steve's heart when Juliet eventually catches the eye of Piers- the man of her dreams?
I have enjoyed all of Milly Johnson's books that I have read so I'm very much looking forward to this new one. 

The Drowning Pool by Syd Moore (Avon 29th September 2011) Living in a coastal town with her son Alfie, young widow Sarah Grey is rebuilding her life. But following an inadvertent seance, she is plagued by horrific visions and soon, it seems she is the target of a terrifying haunting...
Convinced that the ghost is that of a 19th century local witch and her own namesake, Sarah delves into local folklore and learns that the witch was seen as evil incarnate. When a series of old letters surface, Sarah discovers that nothing is as it seems, maybe not even the ghost of Sarah Grey...
I love ghost stories and I haven't read one for ages! 

As usual let me know your thoughts on any of these!


Book Review: Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Nothing can break the bond between sisters...
When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister Tess is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister's life- and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. 
The police, Beatrice's fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess, but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost. 
I bought this book last year but I have only just got round to reading it. I really wish I hadn't waited so long as it was brilliant. Rosamund Lupton has written a very clever mystery but I felt that it was much more than that as she explores the special bond between sisters, in this case Beatrice and Tess.
Beatrice received a call from her mother saying that Tess is missing. Although there are five years between them plus the Atlantic ocean, they are incredibly close and Beatrice gets on the plane home. As the search begins for the truth behind Tess's disappearance, Beatrice feels as though those around her are giving up on her sister and making her out to be a completely different person. Beatrice does learn some shocking truths about her sister but she still believes that there is something more sinister to her disappearance. Beatrice feels that she owes it to her sister to reveal the truth even if it means putting herself in danger. What if someone thinks Beatrice  is asking too many questions and wants her to disappear just like Tess?
Rosamund Lupton  has an excellent writing style. she maintains tension throughout the book and I loved the many twists that the plot took towards the end. This book reminded me a little of After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell in the way in which it explored human relationships. I have an older sister and I found Beatrice and Tess's relationship entirely believable. I empathised with Beatrice's desperation, although she initially has no evidence she does not give up on Tess as she had complete faith in how well she knew her sister.
This book did not take me long to read at all, Lupton constantly leaves you wanting more and I couldn't help but start a new chapter again and again. If you are looking for a tense thriller with a little more depth then look no further, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Dot Scribbles rating 5/5


Book review: Destiny by Louise Bagshawe

Orphan Kate Fox is determined to make her mark in the world. Life hasn't been easy and when she attracts the attention of media mogul Marcus Broder- sophisticated, powerful and wealthy beyond measure- it seems as though all of Kate's dreams have come true.
But marriage to Marcus isn't everything she imagined. A closet filled with designer clothes, and nothing to do with her time but shop, lunch and be beautiful, does not bring happiness. Before long, Kate wants out of her marriage, a career of her own and a chance at love. But Marcus has other ideas, and he will stop at nothing in his attempts to destroy her. 
I am a little disappointed with myself for taking this long to read one of Louise Bagshawe's books as I thought it was really good. On the plus side I now have her whole back collection to catch up with!
Kate Fox is orphaned at a young age; her mother had always pushed her to better herself even if that meant marrying into money rather than earning it herself. So in the early part of the book, Kate is on a mission to bag a very rich man and secure her future. Marcus Broder is the ideal candidate and Kate pursues him all the way to the altar. Now she has all the money, clothes and luxury she could ever dream of but Kate is not happy. Being Mrs Broder is not as fulfilling as Kate had imagined it would be and she makes the huge decision to divorce Marcus. Marcus is usually the one doing the divorcing so he becomes hell  bent on destroying any future that his ex-wife is looking for.
Kate secures a job at her friend Emily's magazine and is enjoying earning her own money again. I really liked this side of Kate as she was so much happier and fulfilled making her own way in the world. Eventually Kate is left owning the magazine and when Marcus sets out to destroy it she doesn't know who to turn to. Help arrives in the form of business man David Abrams; he can see Kate's potential and offers her a deal. Kate wants to take his offer but she is massively attracted to this man and is aware that he feels the same way. She doesn't want to be seen as a gold-digger again but how else can she stop Marcus?
Destiny oozes glamour, power, sex and ruthlessness. Louise Bagshawe certainly knows how to inject sexual tension into a book and there is plenty with Kate and Marcus and then Kate and David. The plot is fast paced and I enjoyed the fact that we see two different sides to Kate as she learns that marrying for money will only make her unhappy.
I think that Destiny would be a perfect holiday book as it offers pure escapism. If you have read any of Louise Bagshawe's other books then let me know of any that you would recommend.

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

Dot Scribbles Rating 4/5

BLOG TOUR: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

I'm very pleased to be on the blog tour for Nicola May's latest book which is out now!   Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in Lond...