All change here!

I have made the decision to stop doing written reviews on here for a little while. I shall keep this page open but for the time being I shall be posting my reviews on Instagram via videos and grid posts. I love sharing my love of books and I seem to be doing more of that via other social media platforms so I am going to give it a go! I am dotscribbles on Instagram if you would like to keep up with my reviews on there! 


BOOK REVIEW: How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

What do you do when you can't run, and you can't hide?
Lauren's daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara's identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.
The only choice is to disappear.
To keep Zara safe Lauren will give up everything and everyone she loves, even her husband.
There will be no goodbyes. Their pasts will be rewritten. New names, new home, new lives.
The rules are strict for a reason. They are being hunted. One mistake - a text, an Instagram like - could bring their old lives crashing into the new.
They can never assume someone isn't watching, waiting.
As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is harder…
Publisher: Michael Joseph
How to Disappear is the first book that I have read by Gillian McAllister and it was fantastic, I will definitely be catching up with all of her previous books. 
Lauren’s teenage daughter Zara witnesses a murder and decides to testify in court. Although the police promise to protect her, Zara’s identity is revealed on-line and now she is being hunted by those she spoke up against. When it becomes clear that there is a clear and direct threat to her life, Zara’s family are told that their only option is to enter the witness protection scheme. They will not say goodbye to their loved ones, they will have new identities and a new home. The problem is that Lauren’s husband Aiden is Zara’s step-dad, he has another daughter Poppy and he can’t leave her. Lauren makes the heartbreaking decision to protect her daughter so she leaves everyone and everything she loves in order to go with Zara.  At first Lauren and Zara are almost relieved to be offered this chance of safety but they soon begin to understand just how difficult living a lie is. It’s so easy to slip up, a photo posted here or a desperate message sent to someone from their old life and they are being hunted again. 
How to Disappear is quite literally thrilling, I felt as though I was holding my breath as McAliister maintains an unrelenting but perfect pace throughout. It is such a brilliant idea for a book and I loved how she added the conflict within the family so that Aiden has to stay and Lauren has to leave everything behind. I really liked Lauren and she felt so realistic, there are several points where she is brutally honest about the fact that she loves her daughter and would do anything to protect her but she is understandably angry that her daughter’s actions have destroyed the life she loved.
I was so impressed by the final few chapters, twist after twist leapt off the page, it was really well done and unexpected. Gillian McAllister has written a truly captivating story, I can highly recommend it. 
Many thanks to Michael Joseph and Netgalley for gifting me a review copy


BOOK REVIEW: Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews

Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense.
On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she's leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She'd like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she'll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill's beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny Days.
But from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it's clear she'll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn't Marilyn, who cleans for Bill and is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it's Ned, the noisy sculptor on the next-door houseboat. Ned's wood carving is hard on the ears, but it's made up for by the fact that he's rather easy on the eyes.
Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn't out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?
Publisher: Sphere
Carole Matthews has written thirty-two books yet she still has something new to offer her readers. I’m sure I say this everytime Carole has a new book out but I think this is her best yet! 
I loved everything about this book from the characters, to the setting, to the delightful cover. Jodie heads to her brother’s house boat on the Isle of Wight, she desperately needs to escape her life in London, including her husband Chris. Feeling as though she can’t face anyone, she is hoping for quiet and solitude and the island seems the perfect choice. Life has other ideas though; Marilyn bursts onto the boat, resplendent in bright leggings and jangly jewellery and then her new neighbour, Ned, strikes up his chainsaw to begin a new wooden sculpture. At first, Jodie wants to hide from these two but gradually she allows them in and surprisingly they become integral to her future. 
I will happily hold my hands up and admit to having a huge crush on Ned, don’t you love it when that happens in a book! He is kind, caring and very easy on the eye. I really enjoyed this romantic aspect of the story; he goes out of his way to look after Jodie and this is before he has any romantic intentions. 
Jodie develops greatly as a character and she is so different by the end of the book. She has suffered a great tragedy but it becomes apparent that she may have been settling in life long before then. She slowly opens herself up to actually enjoying her life, from wearing bright clothes to yoga sessions on the beach. 
Marilyn is a real breath of fresh air in the story; she is the mother figure that Jodie needs, someone to care for her with no hidden agenda. She brings a lot of humour to the story and I loved how she brought Jodie out of her shell.
Sunny Days and Sea Breezes is such a lovely read and I know it will delight many readers. Many thanks to Carole Matthews and Sphere for inviting me to review this book.


BOOK REVIEW: The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.
Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.
When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.
Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.
As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 384
The Memory Wood is Sam Lloyd’s debut novel and it is truly gripping! I have sat and thought about how to review it as I really don’t want to give the plot away so apologies if this is rather short.
Elijah lives in the Memory Wood with his Mum and Dad and brother Kyle, he knows nothing else. He finds Elissa being held captive in a cabin in the wood and she’s not the first girl he’s found but Elissa is different and Elijah wants to be her friend. Elissa realises quickly that her only way to get out of there is to befriend Elijah, she is a very intelligent girl but she has no idea who Elijah is or how he got there too. Both of them are using each other but it is difficult to see who will win. 
This book is so clever and the pace is fantastic. It very much reminded me of Belinda Bauer’s books with it’s dark, intense atmosphere, the tension does not let up from beginning to end. I lost count of the amount of twists and turns and the final one totally blew me away, Sam Lloyd knows how to shock his readers! Elijah and Elissa are both vulnerable but during the story they both have to face danger and take risks. Elissa is a chess player and Lloyd employs a chess analogy throughout the story which works so well. Elissa especially has to consider all of her moves and she is constantly striving to stay one step ahead of both Elijah and her captor.
The Memory Wood is beautifully eerie, I felt that Sam Lloyd’s descriptions were highly cinematic and this would be a fantastic film. Although you gradually become aware that this book is set in the UK, it has a slightly other-world feel. Elija’s point of reference is so narrow, this is what really played on my mind afterwards; he has been cut off from so many people and experiences, his behaviour is not normal but how could it be?
The Memory Wood will definitely be in my list of favourite books this year, I can highly recommend it. 


BLOG TOUR: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother's footsteps as a midwife; and their master's daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Publisher: 4th Estate
Pages: 416

Conjure Women is a fantastic debut from Afia Atakora. I was so impressed with her writing style, it is rich and vivid, you quickly become immersed in the story she is telling.
Three women dominate the story, Miss May Belle, her daughter Rue and their master's daughter Varina. The book follows these three before and after the Civil War, we see them during the last years of slavery and the first precarious years of freedom.
Miss May Belle is what is known as a Conjure Woman, she is known in the community for her healing and midwifery skills, when she dies, her daughter Rue takes over. Rue delivers a baby born within its caul and people are scared and superstitious. When others begin to fall ill, they blame it on the new child and start to believe that Rue may be a witch. Rue's skills that had been so valued suddenly become something that others fear.
Varina is the daughter of the plantation owner, even though her father is the master, she and Rue grew up together. They have a strange dynamic, Rue is one of the few that can understand Varina and actually gives her the attention  and companionship that she craves.
I thought that Atakora showed how vulnerable people were after being freed as slaves, although it should be a time of celebration, they are exploited and preyed upon by other groups. Religion plays a big part in this and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book.
Conjure Women does not sugar coat this time period, Atakora shows the brutality and tensions on the plantation and the way in which the world was changing. It was fascinating to see how people's attitudes changed towards Rue, mainly out of fear. She is in a very vulnerable position and all she has done is try to help others.
I can highly recommend Conjure Women, Afia Atakora has written a debut that will have many talking.

Many thanks to 4th Estate for sending me a review copy and inviting me on the blog tour. 


BLOG TOUR: The Gift of Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

All of our favourite characters from Cockleberry Bay are back in this final, heart warming story in the series. Including Hot, Rosa Smith's adorable dachshund and his new-born puppies.

Now successfully running the Cockleberry Café and wishing to start a family herself, Rosa feels the time is right to let her inherited Corner Shop go. However, her benefactor left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

Rosa is torn. How can she make such a huge decision? And will it be the right one? Once the news gets out and goes public, untrustworthy newcomers appear in the Bay . . . their motives uncertain. With the revelation of more secrets from Rosa's family heritage, a new journey of unpredictable and life-changing events begins to unfold.

The Gift of Cockleberry Bay concludes this phenomenally successful series in typically brisk and bolshy style and will delight the many thousands of Rosa's fans. 

I was so excited to be invited to take part in the blog tour for Nicola May's latest book, The Gift of Cockleberry Bay. It is the third in the series and just as delightful as the previous two. 

Rosa and Josh are now happily married and Rosa is successfully running the Cockleberry Café, she knows it is time to pass on the Corner Shop where her story first started. However, it is not as simple as putting it up for sale, she can only pass it on to somebody who truly deserves such an opportunity. Rosa is feeling the pressure plus she is starting to try for a family of her own, life in the bay is changing and the peace and security that Rosa craves may be threatened. 

Nicola May writes so warmly and I always feel as though I am visiting old friends when I read her books. Rosa is a great character, you can't help but like her and will her to be happy. She is not perfect though and that makes her more realistic as she does make mistakes as she goes along. I enjoy the dynamic between her and Josh, they are both very hard working and it is easy to see why they make such a good team.  

May conjures up such an excellent community feel within her story, I can vividly picture the bay and it's many characters and it's fantastic to see how integral Rosa has become to the small knit community. Whilst I am sad that this is the final book in the trilogy, I was also pleased with how Nicola May finished her story; there's a few surprises along the way but it was perfect. 

I can highly recommend this series of books, great story and great characters, they are a real treat.
Many thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour! 


BLOG TOUR: Running Into Trouble by Elle Spellman

With little over twelve weeks until race day, three women are trying their hardest to focus on their ultimate goal – to run 26.2 miles.
For Hannah, it seems near impossible, her first attempt leaving her pained, sweaty and full of regret. But intent on winning back her husband, Hannah is determined to at least try.
Malika signed up to the race after finding a running medal of her friend Abbie’s, who died only a few weeks before. She once promised Abbie she would run a race with her, and she plans to keep that promise.
When an accident with an unruly dog brings Hannah and Malika together, they soon realise they’re training for the same race, and experienced runner Cassie offers to help them out. But running becomes the last thing on their minds when life gets in the way…
A funny, uplifting and surprising novel about female friendship, motherhood, love and loss, and getting through a whole marathon. Publisher: Orion Pages: 352
Running into Trouble by Elle Spellman is a highly entertaining read. As a relatively new runner, I was very excited to be invited to review this one as I knew I would be able to identify with some of the characters.
Spellman has three female leads, Hannah, Malika and Cassie, they all have their own sub-plots but training for a marathon brings them together and strong bonds are formed. All three women are running for a reason, grief, heartbreak, frustration and they do all they can to spur each other on. 
I think Hannah was probably my favourite character and I felt that most of the humour came from her escapades. I could totally understand the fear she describes when stepping outside the front door to run for the first time. Just like Hannah, I felt that people would laugh at me and that I would look ridiculous. But very quickly, Hannah realises the benefits of running and how it changes how she feels physically and mentally.
Running into Trouble is a book about hope and positivity, it’s about not putting off things you have thought about doing. It’s also about friendship and how we can lift each other up in order to face challenges together.  Many thanks to Orion for inviting me to be part of this blog tour!

All change here!

I have made the decision to stop doing written reviews on here for a little while. I shall keep this page open but for the time being I sha...