BLOG TOUR: Mad by Chloe Esposito

Thanks for joining me on the blog tour today for Chloe Esposito's exciting new book, Mad! It is hotly tipped to be THE book of the Summer so here's the synopsis:

Beth has always been the golden girl, leaving her identical twin, Alvie, in her shadow. She has everything Alvie ever wanted- the money, the hot husband, the cute baby, the fast car. So when she invites Alvie for seven sin-drenched days at her luxury villa in Sicily, Alvie accepts. Just because Alvie can't stand Beth doesn't mean she can't enjoy a slice of her decadent lifestyle.
But her usually goody-two-shoes twin has a hidden agenda. And when the sisters swap identities for the day, it ends badly for Beth. Very badly.
It's Alvie's chance to steal the life that she deserves. If she can get away with it.

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 387

Mad by Chloe Esposito is being billed as the must-have beach read of the Summer and it is easy to see why. Espositio crams so much into this book- lies, murder, sex, glamour and deceit- it is the perfect book to take on holiday.
Alvie and Beth are twins, they are identical in appearance but could not be more different in their life choices and personalities. Beth invites Alvie on holiday to stay with her and her husband in their beautiful villa in Sicily. Alvie hasn't seen her sister for a few years and hasn't even met her nephew yet plus she's not got anything better to do in the UK so she agrees to go. She steps into Beth's glamorous world, the beautiful home, the handsome husband and extreme wealth. Yet something is off, Beth is not her usual perfect self and then she asks Alvie to swap places with her for a few hours but refuses to tell her why. Alvie agrees to the plan but she has no idea what she is letting herself in for, being Beth may not be as perfect as it seems.
Mad is a fantastic debut from Chloe Esposito. I was so impressed with the pace that she kept up throughout the book. The story and it's characters are very exciting, you can easily picture the glamorous world that Beth inhabits and how alluring it all is to Alvie.
Mad is full of mystery from the moment Beth asks Alvie to swap with her. The reader is constantly chasing the next thread as we discover the truth behind Beth's life in Sicily . This is fantastic as it makes you want to keep turning the pages to discover more.
The book does have several sex scenes, very much in keeping with this genre. Mad reminded me a little of some of Jackie Collins' books, it is fast, sexy and a little dangerous.
Chloe Esposito has written a trilogy and Bad, the next in the series is out in July, I will definitely be taking that one on holiday!

Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of the book and inviting me to take part in the tour! 


BOOK REVIEW: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

When a troubled model falls to her death from a Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts and calls in private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate.
Stike is a war veteran- wounded both physically and psychologically- and his private life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial life line but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s world, the darker things become and the closer he gets to terrible danger…
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 550

After binge-watching the TV adaptation, I have been meaning to read the books and I’m so glad that I did as I loved The Cuckoo’s Calling. Writing under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling introduces us to the character of Cormoran Strike. Ex-military police, Strike is now working as a private detective. But he is not having much luck in his private or professional life. His highly toxic relationship seems to have come to an end and he is sleeping in his office, an office that he will no longer be able to use if he doesn’t pay his overdue bills. Strike’s luck may well be about to change; firstly his new temp Robin Ellacott arrives and she is not like the others. Bright, assertive and genuinely interested in the job, Strike finds her presence refreshing. Secondly, a new client comes knocking; John Bristow wants Strike to investigate the death of his supermodel sister Lula Landry. A verdict of suicide has been recorded but Bristow is convinced she was murdered. Strike is not so sure but Bristow is willing to pay handsomely for his services  and Strike is no position to refuse. As Strike and Robin begin investigating Lula’s death, they discover a dark web of deceit that puts Strike in great danger yet he is determined to get to the truth.
Robert Galbraith is a fantastic storyteller and I know that this is a series I will enjoy and re-read many times. The characters are fantastic and the plot is well paced. I have a total crush on both Strike and Robin and I mostly enjoyed their interactions as they work each other out.
Even though I knew the outcome due to watching the TV programme, I still could  not put the book down. I would highly recommend The Cuckoo’s Calling, I can’t wait to read book two!


BOOK REVIEW: The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, you young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden-  one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party- can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And someone’s determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.

Publisher: Raven

Wow, this book is so different to anything I have ever read! I’ve had to take a few days to try and get my head around it all and I’m still not 100% sure that I have! This is going to be one of those annoying reviews that appears quite vague as I don’t want to include any spoilers so I apologise right now!
The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a bit like an Agatha Christie  novel crossed with Groundhog Day with a handful of steroids thrown into the mix.
We follow Aiden Bishop as he wakes up at Blackheath, a crumbling mansion in God knows where. However, he has woken up in another person’s body and will continue do so (constantly changing bodies) until he solves the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle who will be murdered at a ball that evening. The only way to escape this repeating nightmare is to provide the identity
of Evelyn’s killer. Just to make things more interesting, there is also a sinister footman picking off the guests one by one. Each guest means an extra day for Aiden to find more clues so he needs to stay a step ahead.
Stuart Turton has written a marvellous book, it is dark, creepy, clever and addictive. There were points where I felt so overwhelmed by everything going on but I could not stop reading. The characters are full bodied and fantastic and Stuart Turton is like a master puppeteer as he manoeuvres them around then stage of Blackheath.
The ending of the book took my breath away; maybe I didn’t follow the plot closely enough  but the final twist was a total surprise to me.
I highly recommend The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, it’s a fantastic read.

Many thanks to Raven books for allowing me to read this book via Netgalley.


BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

The year is 1831.
Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city’s vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.
Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.
When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the friendly intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.
Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they’ve ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved  than either of them could ever imagine is lurking…

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 352

I have to hold my hands up to the fact that the reason I bought this book was the beautiful cover design! I’m pleased to report that I was also impressed with its contents.
The Wicked Cometh is set in 1831 and follows Hester White; she is an orphan in desperate circumstances who seizes on an opportunity to escape the slums of London. Hester finds herself in the Brock family household where she is under the charge of Rebekah. Her new mistress is rather mysterious and Hester is desperate to impress her and secure a better future. However, Hester’s past situation is about to catch up with her and she finds herself and Rebekah in a very dark and dangerous tangled web.
The Wicked Cometh has a very Charles Dickens feel to it. Laura Carlin goes out of her way to present the squalor and danger in London’s slums at the time. Some of the descriptions are beautiful and I enjoyed her use of language and the vivid images it conjured up.
As a protagonist, Hester is very likeable, and I wanted her to do well as her past has been filled with much tragedy and misfortune. Her relationship with Rebekah dominates the book and it wasn’t what I expected. Although the two women have had very different life experiences, they have a powerful connection and bond. Both are willing to put themselves in danger for each other and do so on several occasions.

I did feel that the book had a small lull in the middle in terms of pace but I was so glad that I stuck with it as the author has several surprises up her sleeve in the final part of the book.
The Wicked Cometh is a very interesting read. If you are a fan of historical fictions and like your books with a bit of a darker edge then I would highly recommend this one.


BLOG TOUR: Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

I am so pleased to be on the blog tour today for Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland. Louise is a huge YouTube star and this is her first fictional book and it is brilliant. I think Wilde Like Me has the right balance of humour, reality and feel-good vibes, it is sure to be a big hit this year! 

'Does anyone else out there feel like me?'
Robin Wilde is an awesome sing

le mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.
But Robin has a secret.
Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel...grey. And lonely. After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days) of single-mum-dum, Robin realises it's time to get out there and Change. Her. Life!
A little courage and creativity go a long way, and exciting new opportunities are soon on the horizon- maybe a man, maybe the chance of a lifetime.
Robin Wilde is about to embark on quite an adventure...

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Pages: 391

Louise Pentland has created a fantastic character in Robin Wilde and I defy you not to love her! I think this book has the potential to be the start of a series but I am not sure if this is the plan. Robin is a single mum to Lyla and she is still getting used to this demanding role. On the outside she presents a calm, happy, in control persona but every now and again things get a little too much and she can feel like she's sinking. I think parents of young children will identify with Robin, that feeling we all have now and again of not doing a good enough job or the demands of trying to juggle too many things at once. Robin is offered a great work opportunity which involves travelling to New York, initially she is terrified but she soon realises that this is her chance to further her career and provide a better future for her and Lyla.
Wilde Like Me is very well paced and I loved the interlude where Robin goes to New York, it was a turning point in the book and the change of location kept it exciting. There is a lot of humour in the book that again is very easy to empathise with. I enjoyed Robin's interactions with the other parents at her daughter's school and these are situations that will be familiar and laughable to many readers.
Louise Pentland has written a fantastic fictional debut, I'd love to follow Robin on more adventures as there is so much more you could do with this fantastic character. Wilde Like Me would be a great book to take on holiday or one to read in the sunshine with a few glasses of wine!

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, Wilde Like Me is out now! 


BOOK REVIEW: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

On a windswept English beach in the early 19th Century, two women make discoveries that change the world. And in so doing find friendship, pride and trouble.
From the moment she’s struck by lightning as a baby,  it is clear that Mary Anning is different. Her discovery of strange fossilised creatures in the cliffs of Lyme Regis sets the world alight. But Mary must face powerful prejudice from a male scientific establishment, not to mention vicious  gossip and the heartbreak of forbidden love. Then- in prickly clever Elizabeth Philpot, a fossil-obsessed middle-class spinster- she finds a champion, and a rival. Despite their differences in class and age, Mary and Elizabeth’s loyalty and passion for the truth must win out…
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 343

My six-year-old daughter is obsessed with fossils so I was so excited to learn about Mary Anning recently. I was even more excited when a friend got in touch to tell me about Tracy Chevalier’s book which is focused on this marvellous woman. Chevalier often takes a historical truth and weaves her wonderful stories around them. In this case, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot are real, as is the setting of Lyme Regis where they made several of their discoveries.
This book was fascinating and so many people have told me how much they loved it too. Mary Anning in particular, was so courageous for a woman with her lowly social position. Yet she was passionate and driven. Mary was confident in her knowledge and skills; her discoveries were so important to understanding evolution and the natural world.
Tracy Chevalier uses both Elizabeth and Mary to explore the limitations faced by women at the time. It took a long time for Mary and Elizabeth to gain any recognition for their tireless work and in part, Elizabeth had to fight for Mary which she was only able to do because she was middle-class rather than working-class.
I loved how Chevalier described Mary’s passion and wonderment at what she found, especially as I witness the same awe in my own child.
Remarkable Creatures is so well written, Chevalier’s descriptions are beautiful and I could easily picture the fossils that Mary discovers. The author always leaves you wanting more; she seems to have a knack of leaving the reader with a need for more knowledge. I will definitely be following up with more reading about Mary and Elizabeth, both remarkable creatures in their own right.


BOOK REVIEW: How to be Happy by Eva Woods

It’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference…
Annie has been sad for so long that she’s forgotten how to be any other way. She’s trudging miserably through every day, sheer determination keeping her going. Until she meets Polly. Polly is everything that Annie is not. She’s colourful, joyful, happy. And Polly is facing the greatest challenge of her life: how to die well.
Polly has one hundred days to help Annie find happiness. Annie’s convinced it is impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey, Annie begins to realise that maybe, just maybe, there’s still colour to be found in the world.
But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever… and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk  worth taking.
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 376

How to be Happy is an incredibly uplifting read. Annie has been sad for such a long time that it has just become normal; that is until she meets Polly. Polly is dying from cancer and she’s determined to make the most of the little time she has left. Their paths cross and Polly decides that she has the next 100 days to help Annie find happiness. It is an unlikely basis for a friendship but maybe they are just what each other needs.
I very much enjoyed Eva Wood’s writing style, the characters, Annie and Polly in particular, are vivid and believable. Both women are dealing with their fair share of tragedy in entirely different ways. Polly knows that she must make Annie see the beauty in life again; the small things that can bring true happiness and joy.
Cancer is never an easy subject to deal with in a book and I felt that Eva Wood’s portrayal was very honest and believable. It was clear to see that she had researched Polly’s illness and she showed the many stages that Polly has to endure.
How to be Happy is a lovely book, it is sad at times but it is also uplifting. It made me take stock and appreciate what I have in life and it’s always good to do that isn’t it?

BLOG TOUR: Mad by Chloe Esposito

Thanks for joining me on the blog tour today for Chloe Esposito's exciting new book, Mad! It is hotly tipped to be THE book of the Sum...