WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.
The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading:

A Summer Fling

When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire…

Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiance, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she’s not sure whether she can learn to trust again?

Then there’s Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart?

At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up?

Technically I am listening to, rather than reading this but so far it is proving to be an excellent book and just as good as the other books I’ve read by Milly Johnson, even if I do end up shouting at the characters occasionally.  Good thing I listen while driving and no one can hear me!

 

Blood in the Water (Alice Rice, #1).

In this thrilling police-procedural, we are introduced to Alice Rice, Edinburgh’s latest fictional detective. Smart and capable, but battling disillusionment and loneliness, we follow her as she races against time and an implacable killer to solve a series of grisly murders amongst Edinburgh’s professional elite in the well-to-do New Town.

I’ve just started this so too soon to comment on it. It’s a new author for me chosen by my book group so hopefully it will be as good as it sounds.

 

I recently finished reading:

Death in Profile

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed Death in Profile and my review for this will be up later this week.  I’ve recently been reading the latest of the In Death series and wanted to revisit how it all began so have spent two days happily re-reading Naked In Death.

 

What I’ll be reading next:

The Wedding Date

 

A little fake relationship never hurt anyone. . .

Kate Massie has big dreams-they just haven’t worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she’s shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn’t where the surprises end . . .

James Abell needs a date to his sister’s wedding. So when Kate agrees, he’s relieved . . . until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn’t feel fake-not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real . . . but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

I’m participating in the blog tour for this on 8th April. The tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele

The Second Chance Shoe Shop

Blurb: All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.

A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.

Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.

As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet …

My Rating: 5/5

Review:  Having read and really enjoyed the previous Marcie Steele books published by Bookouture I was very interested in this one, even more so when I read the blurb.  I knew this was my type of book and being stuck at home as I had work being done so I decided what better time than this to read this book, although read is not entirely accurate as I did rather devour this in one sitting it was that good. Like I said I’ve enjoyed Marcie’s previous books, my review of Stirred With Love is here on Goodreads, as I read it before this blog existed. My review of her second book is here That’s What Friends Are For.

Although this is a stand alone novel it does make some small references to the previous two which I loved as I felt it added a little more to the sense of place of the book, though it has been done in such a way that anyone reading this book first will not feel like they are missing out on vital information.

This book tells the story of Riley, Sadie and Dan who all work in the local shoe shop and love what they do, even though they feel that shop is in danger of closing.  As well as the possible risk of losing their jobs they are also struggling with their personal lives, Riley has had bad experiences, Sadie had lost her husband and Dan is going on endless, sometimes hilarious, dates trying to meet someone after his last relationship didn’t work out.  Alongside this there are other intertwining stories and characters, some of which have more of an impact than others.  This is a brilliantly written, easy to read story which shows just how much even the smallest action can affect someone’s life and have repercussions on others as well.  It  is also an excellent demonstration of how fickle social media and people’s opinions can be given how quickly things can change nowadays. But mainly this is a story of friendship, love, and fighting for what you want and believe in against what can seem like insurmountable odds.  This was a lovely, well-told story and easily (in my opinion) Marcie’s best one yet.  I loved the characters, even the not so nice ones, and although some parts of the story didn’t quite take the path I had expected the path they did take made sense once the ending of it was revealed and what an excellent ending it was.  This is definitely a story to curl up with when you want a bit of realistic escapism or some inspiration for your own problems and I would highly recommend it. Oh, and before I forget, make sure you have some tissues handy, you’ll need them!

Many thanks to Bookouture for letting me have an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and enormous thanks to Marcie for writing such an excellent book, I can’t wait for the next one!

The Second Chance Shoe Shop is out on 8th April 2016 and is available to pre-order on Amazon UK and on Amazon US

 

BLOG TOUR: All For You by Kristina O’Grady

Tour banner all for you for JENNY

Blurb: Is it time for a second chance at love?

When Lily left her home town – and the love of her life Wade – 8 years ago to start her acting career she had big plans to make her dream a reality. However, a few dead end jobs and one dead end relationship later she is back to make a fresh start with the only good thing to come out it all – her unborn baby.

Lily soon realises however that the heart wants what the heart wants, and hers clearly still wanted Wade Copeland! Can they overcome the hurt and pain of the past to allow themselves a future?

The third novel in the sizzlingly sexy Copeland Ranch romance trilogy from Kristina O’Grady

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25371098-all-for-you?from_new_nav=true&ac=1

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Copeland-Ranch-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00W7YRB4A/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457707455&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=krstina+o%27grady

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My Rating: 4/5

Review:  I think this may be the first cowboy book I have ever read and definitely the first book by Kristina O’Grady and this was an excellent introduction to both.  Although this is book 3 in a series it doesn’t matter that I haven’t read the first two as this works well as a stand alone novel.

I really enjoyed this book, like the blurb says is is sizzlingly sexy and the sizzling grows as the story progresses.  The two main characters, Lily and Wade, are characters who clearly have a lot of history both together and individually which makes them surprisingly well-developed despite the fact that this is actually a shorter story than I expected.  The main focus of the story is on Lily and her return to her home town and her attempts to build a new life there for her and her unborn child although there are other stories intertwined with hers which only add to the depth of the story itself.  This is a nicely written book that manages to convey depth of feeling from all of the characters without any of it being confusing or overwhelming.  Although there isn’t a lot of location description the portrayal of Bassville definitely has the accuracy of a small town where some people will forgive you and others never will regardless of what you do or how long it’s been.

This is not a long, book but rather a nice, light read which grabs you and makes you want to keep reading.  This is ideal for someone wanting to try something new or for someone wanting an enjoyable read to entertain them for a few hours and leave them with a warm feeling at the end of it.  Although I’ve not read the first two books in this series, I will be adding them to my reading list for a day when I need a bit of a boost.

Many thanks to Neverland Book Tours and Carina UK for letting me having a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks also to Kristina O’Grady for writing such a lovely story.

8119512About Kristina O’Grady: Kristina O’Grady has always loved telling a good story. She took up writing at a young age and spent many hours – when she should have been doing her math homework – scribbling romance stories in a book she hid in her sock drawer.

She grew up on a cattle ranch in Western Canada and loves reminiscing by writing about cowboys and their horses.

In 2000 Kristina met her own knight in shining armour/cowboy who swept her off her feet and across the world to New Zealand, where she now lives on a sheep and beef farm with her amazingly supportive husband, three gorgeous young kids, seven working dogs and one very needy cat.

All for You is her fifth book.

Website: http://www.kristinaogrady.com/about.html

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KristinaOGrady

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8119512.Kristina_O_Grady

All For You Tour Giveaway – Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Review: Diary of a Stressed Out Mother ‘Bedlam’ by Nicola Kelsall

Diary of a Stressed Out Mother: 'Bedlam'

Blurb:  Dora Loveday is a beleaguered mother of four kids, two unruly dogs, a psychotic cat and wife to an exasperated and long-suffering husband. Clinging doggedly on to her sanity in the face of unrelenting adversity, she records the chaos and madness of her family life in this laugh-out-loud comic romp of a diary.

My Rating: 5/5

Review:   I was intrigued by the sound of this when I was asked if I wanted to review it.  Not being a mother I haven’t read many books of this type, they’ve never really appealed to me but this one was somehow different.  I have to admit it wasn’t quite what I expected, though this is a diary it only covers January, February and March (for some reason I thought it covered a full year) but don’t let that stop you reading, this is a gem of a book and I’m hoping this first of a series that will cover at least one full year in the lives of Dora Loveday and her family.

I can’t say a lot about the content without risking spoilers (which I don’t do) but this is a brilliantly written book, it’s easy to read, funny and the characters are excellently crafted and completely realistic.  In the book Dora not only has to contend with her husband and children but also pets, her mother, her in-laws, her friends and a few other people as well and her trials and tribulations with them all made me glad that my home life is a lot calmer than hers.

If you want something a little bit different but realistic and funny then I would definitely recommend this book.  I’ve also been advised that there are plans to publish a second book covering April, May and June.

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Diary of a Stressed out Mother can bought from Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

BLOG TOUR – Ordeal by Jorn Lier Horst

Ordeal

This is a bit of a departure for me as I’m not reviewing this book but posting an extract instead.  The extract is the first two chapters of the book and having read those I have to say this appears to be a gripping and intriguing novel and one I wish I had had time to review.

Ordeal was released in the UK on 17th March and can be bought from Amazon or other retailers.

EXTRACT:

1
Twice she drove past the imposing white house and on the third lap stopped in the street outside.

The stately villa with its half-hip roof was located behind a white picket fence, and a privet hedge fringed by ancient trees with sprawling branches. Lattice windows revealed nothing but interior darkness. Larger than she remembered, it was really far too big for her. Nineteen years had passed since she promised herself never to return. Now she was about to move in.

She lifted an envelope from the passenger seat and shook out the key, tagged with a small plastic fob on which the lawyer had written her grandfather’s name on one side and the address on the other: Frank Mandt. Johan Ohlsens gate, Stavern.

He had held this same key, walked about with it in his pocket, fiddled with it, clenched his fist round it. She did not like to think of him as grandfather, and didn’t use that word. Instead, she thought of him as the Old Man, which was how she remembered him, although he couldn’t have been more than fifty back then: strong and well built with dark deep-set eyes, thick grey hair and a small white moustache.

One of the last times she had seen him was during a seventeenth of May celebration, Norway’s National Day. She had passed the house in the children’s procession, and the Old Man had stood on the glass verandah with his hands on his back, scowling through tight lips. She waved, but he had turned his back and gone inside.

Letting the key fall, she peered over at the house again, radiating coldness even on a hot July day like this. Snuffling noises from the child seat made her swivel round. “Are you awake, little Maja?” she said, smiling. “We’re here now.”

The girl gurgled and smiled, blinking all the while. Fortunately, she didn’t resemble her father. She had her own dark eyes and hair. “And my dimples,” she said, tickling her daughter’s chin. They would manage. In the past, it had been her and her mother. Now it would be her and her daughter.

She put the car in gear and drove to the rear of the house. Stopping in front of the garage she picked up the key again, clambered out of the car and took Maja from the back seat.

The entrance had a distinguished appearance, with pillars and ornamentation in the style of a century ago. The key turned easily in the lock. Inside, everything smelled clean and fresh and not stuffy as she had feared.

The lawyer had done as she had asked. All the furniture, household effects and personal belongings had been removed; everything that might remind her of the past. She entered the kitchen and moved on to the living room, where sunlight spilled across the floor and her footsteps reverberated off the bare walls. We could be comfortable here, she thought, gazing at the little park across the street. This enormous house could offer an excellent new start.

The wide staircase to the first floor creaked. She eased Maja to her other hip and entered what had been her mother’s room, lingering without really feeling any emotion before glancing at her watch. Quarter to ten. The removal van would arrive soon. She hurriedly checked the other rooms and dashed downstairs to inspect the rest of the house.

Hesitating for a moment she opened the basement door, switched on the light and took a few steps down the well-worn treads. It was down here that they had found him one day in January. He must have fallen from about where she was now standing. On the grey cement floor below she could sense rather than see a darker stain on the pale surface. They reckoned he had lain for three days before one of his friends had discovered him.

She was the only surviving relative, but had not attended the funeral or helped with preparations. At that time she had not realised she was the only heir to a million-kroner villa and the money deposited in his bank account. When she learned, her first thought was that she did not want any of it, it was so dirty. She would prefer to have nothing to do with it, but then it struck her: Why not? It would be crazy to turn it down.

She carried Maja further down into the basement, aware that the air down here was more oppressive than elsewhere in the house: a stale smell, like old fruit or flowers kept too long in a vase. One of the below-stairs rooms was fitted out as a bathroom and sauna, another kitted out as a home gymnasium. One side was lined with wall bars.

In the innermost room she found the safe. The lawyer had informed her that it had been left behind because it was not only large and heavy, but apparently also bolted to the floor. The cleaners had hoped to find the key, but it was missing. She had full confidence in them, since they had handed over almost thirty thousand kroner they had found tucked inside an envelope in a kitchen cupboard. Perhaps they had found more money lying about, but she felt sure they had not found and used the safe key.

The safe stood alone in the middle of the room, taking up a great deal of space and making it difficult to furnish if that proved necessary at some point. She shivered as she ran her fingers over the cold steel. Irritated that the key was missing, she hunkered down and pushed aside the small metal plate suspended over the keyhole, trying to peep inside.

A horn tooted outside and she looked at her watch again: ten o’clock. The removal firm was bang on time. Outside, she opened the boot of her car, lifted out a box containing the doorplate she had ordered at home in Oslo, and hung it on a nail beside the front door.

Sofie and Maja Lund.

As the removal men reversed into position a woman in the house next door peered out from behind checked kitchen curtains. Sofie waved to her but she did not wave back.
2

William Wisting stood in his bedroom doorway watching the woman who lay in his bed. Narrow bands of light flooded through the venetian blinds and across her face, but did not disturb her deep sleep.

He had worked with Christine Thiis for less than two years. She was fifteen years younger than him and had two teenage children. Following a divorce, she had left a well-paid job as a defence lawyer in Oslo and moved to Larvik with her offspring. Easy to work with, she was results-orientated, energetic and resourceful, and had a talent for making the right decisions at the right time.

When they spoke it was always about work, and she was less than expansive when it came to her personal life. When they attended conferences together, she always went home or straight to her room when the professional side was over. She never showed up after work if someone suggested a beer, and had never been present at a Christmas dinner. So, Wisting had been taken aback when she had accepted an invitation to a summer party at his house.

Her expression suggested she sensed his presence in the room. Wisting quietly re-closed the door and went downstairs to the living room. She needed to sleep it off. Nils Hammer had carried her up to bed, well into her second bottle of wine. The others had stayed until first light and the earliest birds began to sing.

He folded the blanket he had used overnight and tidied the cushions, collected the glasses and took them to the kitchen, filled the dishwasher and stood at the window looking at the bend in the road and the brown-stained house where Line lived.

Although not entirely comfortable with the reason for her moving back to Stavern from Oslo, and not best pleased that she had bought that particular house, he was glad to have her in the neighbourhood. The previous owner had been called Viggo Hansen and, eight months previously, he had been found dead in a chair in the living room. He had sat for almost four months without anyone in the vicinity registering the fact. Wisting felt that death permeated its very walls.

The thought of the dead man did not worry Line, which was actually typical of her. Fearless, she had a pragmatic disposition. Besides, it was a good buy. Circumstances meant that it sold for considerably less than its valuation, and when he visited yesterday he had seen few reminders of its past. Everything unnecessary had been torn down and thrown out. The kitchen, bathroom and one of the bedrooms had already been renovated. Now it was the living room’s turn.

His mobile phone rang somewhere. He found it on the coffee table, too late to answer. It was Suzanne though, her number still stored. Even after several months, seeing her name affected him. For a while they had lived together, but she decided to move on. Losing her weighed heavily on him, though not as much as losing Ingrid, mother of Line and her twin brother Thomas. Ingrid was dead and gone forever. Suzanne, on the other hand, was not far off, running a gallery and coffee bar in Stavern and living in the flat above.

He jumped when she rang again. ‘Hello,’ he answered, his mouth suddenly dry.

‘It’s Suzanne.’

‘How are you?’

‘Are you at home?’

Wisting surveyed the room. Someone had knocked over a dish of peanuts. Espen Mortensen had placed several layers of toilet paper on the carpet in an effort to soak up beer spilled from an overturned bottle. Christine Thiis’ handbag was underneath a chair, its contents strewn across the floor. ‘Why do you ask?’

‘There’s something I need to talk to you about, and I don’t want to discuss it on the phone. It’s to do with the Hummel case.’

‘The Hummel case?’ Wisting repeated, though he knew exactly what she meant. Jens Hummel was a taxi driver. Both he and his vehicle had disappeared on the night before Friday 6 January, more than six months ago. The last person to see him had been a passenger dropped off outside the Grand Hotel in Larvik’s Storgata at 01.23. The case remained a mystery.

‘I can call in later this morning, before there are too many customers in the café.’

Wisting heard footsteps on the floor above. Christine Thiis must have wakened. ‘I’m on my way out,’ he said. ‘I can drop in on you.’

‘Before one o’clock?’

He glanced at the time, calculating how long it had been since he stopped drinking. ‘I can be there in an hour,’ he answered, and knew from the way she thanked him that there was a smile on her face.

He heard the sound of running water in the upstairs bathroom, crossed to the kitchen and took two cups from the cupboard. The coffee machine was humming faintly when Christine Thiis entered.

‘Hi,’ she said in a hoarse voice. Her chestnut brown hair was still dishevelled, but he could see that she had tried to tidy it. ‘Sorry, it …’

‘Coffee?’

‘That would be nice.’ They sat on either side of the kitchen table. ‘Sorry,’ she said again. ‘That’s never happened before … I usually make my own way home.’ She drank from the cup and cleared her throat. ‘That is to say, I don’t usually go out. I’m not used to drinking alcohol.’

‘Then you needed it,’ Wisting said. He could see how uncomfortable she felt, sitting in the same clothes that she had worn when she went to bed. ‘You probably really needed to let your hair down. Totally relax and not think for a single minute about the children or work.’

‘But I should have made my way home.’

‘There was nothing waiting for you there anyway,’ Wisting said with a smile. He curled his hand round the coffee cup and understood again how good it is to sit with someone at the kitchen table. ‘I can drive you home later.’

She shook her head. ‘I can take a taxi.’

‘I need to go out in any case,’ he said. ‘Something’s cropped up in the Hummel case.’

Her eyes changed, shifting from slight embarrassment to total alertness. ‘Jens Hummel? We went over the whole case last week and agreed to shelve it. Is there something new?’

‘I don’t know yet. I’m going to meet someone who wants to talk.’

Christine Thiis leaned across the table. ‘What they said in the newspaper was all wrong,’ she said. ‘We really have done everything we could in that enquiry.’

She was referring to a newspaper article of the previous week. The disappearance had generated headlines in January as well, but not such enormous public interest. Jens Hummel had no close family to push the police and the press. Only a grandmother left alone with her loss.

When the media grew interested again, Wisting had hoped that the publicity would lead to fresh information. The time factor did not necessarily reduce the likelihood of a successful enquiry. In fact, it could allow rumour and gossip to spread in ever-increasing circles until it reached someone willing to talk. Fresh reporting could act as a trigger.

However, it had been angled extremely negatively against the police in general, and Wisting in particular as leader of the investigation. Nothing emerged about what specifically the police could have done differently, but the article gave a picture of low interest and substandard work. The lack of results spoke for itself. They had not even managed to locate Hummel’s car, and recently published statistics on increased traffic control operations were used to support assertions of poor judgment and wrong priorities. Their sympathies in the case did not lie with the police who were faced with such a difficult task, but with the grandmother who had lost her only grandchild.

Wisting was used to criticism and normally it bounced off, but this time he felt differently. It was a reminder of their failure, and how the Hummel case had originally made him feel anxious, creating a nagging sense of inadequacy.

‘Disappeared without trace has rarely been a more appropriate expression,’ Christine Thiis said. ‘You’d think with all our telecommunications networks, toll stations, taximeters and on board computers that we would be able to find something to tell us what became of him and his vehicle.’

Wisting agreed. He thought of the time spent investigating the Hummel case as days with no content. They had assembled a packed timeline for the twenty-four hours before the man vanished, but nothing pointed to his present whereabouts. In parallel, they had tried to form an impression of Jens Hummel as a person; it was a complex picture. He was thirty-four years of age and lived alone. He had worked in a variety of casual jobs until the age of twenty-five when he had started to drive a taxi. Five years ago, he had obtained his own licence and vehicle. Spending almost ten years behind the wheel had given him a wide network of contacts with very different people, most of whom they had interviewed.

Disappearance cases were always difficult, not only because there was no crime scene to examine, but also because it was difficult to unify a sprawling investigation.

They lingered over their coffee, discussing some of the most interesting theories. One posited a confrontation over narcotics. It was rumoured that Hummel had acted as a local courier and used his taxi to transport drugs. It was also suggested that he had picked up and delivered prostitutes, which had more or less been confirmed but had not led them any further.

Wisting looked at his watch. It was time to leave. In the car, their conversation turned to other topics, about the summer and their holiday plans.

‘I’m not going anywhere,’ Christine Thiis said. ‘What about you?’

‘I’ve promised Line to help with her renovations. She thinks I’m good at wallpapering.’

Christine Thiis looked pensive. ‘My children are going to spend four weeks with their father; it’ll be strange to be on my own for such a long time.’ Wisting turned the car into the kerb outside her house. ‘Thanks for the lift,’ she said, ‘and apologies again for not making my own way home last night.’

‘No problem.’

‘You must phone me,’ she said, placing her hand on his arm.

He met her gaze. She blinked both eyes before withdrawing her hand. ‘If anything comes of it, I mean. If you get an answer to what happened to Jens Hummel.’

Ordeal Blog Tour twitter

 

 

Review: 183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

183 Times a Year

Blurb:   Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Review:   On the whole I enjoyed this book but felt it was a bit too long and a bit wordy in places. I can understand the need to establish the relationships between Lizzie, Cassie and the others and this was done really well but I felt, for me, that it took up too much of the book. The story only really started to change from about 70% onwards and then it really took off and although I can appreciate that some people will like that, for me I would have preferred if it had happened earlier in the book.  I could easily understand both Lizzie and Cassie’s points of view and got annoyed at and for both of them at various points, completely accurate portrayal of teenagers and adults.  It was refreshing to see a book that covered both points of view rather than just focusing on the adults.  I loved seeing Cassie change and mature when she needed to and her relationship with other family members change. It was also nice to see her realise what some of the characters were really like as it was obvious to me as a reader and at times frustrating that she couldn’t see it, though that is very true to life as well, sometimes we don’t see someone’s true colours until our perspectives are changed.  There were a couple of things that I found a little irritating but apart from those and the points I have already mentioned I enjoyed this book.  It’s a bit of a departure from my usual choice in books but I am trying to broaden my reading range and I have certainly done that here.

This is definitely a book to read if you have children who are teenagers or younger as it will give you an insight into their thoughts, while at the same time reminding you that you were like that once too.

Many thanks to the author for letting me have a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

BLOG TOUR: Review of The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Tour banner ANN TROUP TSG for JENNY-2

Blurb: What if everything you knew was a lie…
This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.
Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.
For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out.
Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.
An unforgettable and addictive story, perfect for fans of Lesley Thomson, Diane Chamberlain and Tracy Buchanan.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015QM8AP8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28441057-the-silent-girls?ac=1&from_search=1

The Silent Girls

My Rating: 4.5/5

 Review: If you plan to read this book make sure you have plenty of time set aside for it.  I started it one evening and would have stayed up till I finished it had I not had plans the following day.  This is not a fast-paced story but it hooks you from the beginning and draws you in so well that you don’t notice until it’s too late.  The story focuses on Edie’s clearing of her aunt’s house but in clearing the house old secrets start to come to light.  The square where the house is has changed but some of the neighbours haven’t and through them, the house and a few others the true story of the square and its past will be revealed.

This is the first book I have read by Ann  Troup but it certainly won’t be the last.  The way all of the layers of the story weave together is brilliantly done, some authors try and combine events from the past with a story in the present and manage but not many achieve the seamlessness that is evident here.  Despite the constant presence of the events from the 50s and 60s from the items in the house and people referring to them the story doesn’t get confusing or lose itself at any point.  There are a mix of characters and character ages and all were well-written and, I felt, accurately portrayed.  I found them all believable and could easily imagine Sophie in her 20s, Edie in her 40s and her family’s neighbour Lena, being older still.  Their mannerisms and way of talking fitted with the environment they had grown up and in and their ages.  The descriptions of the square and other locations, including inside people’s homes were also well-written but the stand out one there has to be Edie’s aunts home.  I could almost feel that damp, decaying and oppressive atmosphere of the house and there were some parts that were so creepy that I almost couldn’t read them, the equivalent of watching TV and hiding behind the sofa!

The story has been written in a way that the reader gets a chance to figure some of it out without it being spelled out for them.  I had some parts worked out correctly by about half way through the book and was wondering what the rest of the book was about but I was being hasty, there are so many layers to this story and they unpeel slowly and while I worked out or had fairly accurate ideas about most of it there were some excellent surprises in store, some of which I definitely did not see coming.  These reveals were artfully written and tied up the loose ends brilliantly, but again without spelling it out too much for the reader.  This is a story where you need to pay attention and think while reading otherwise the various endings to the different aspects of it would be completely confusing.  The only bit I’m not sure I liked was that while the story was tied up for the readers, for some of the characters there were loose ends that they knew nothing about.  I can’t decide if I would rather they knew or not but that is me and other people may not agree with me.

This was an excellent book and one I would highly recommend for anyone looking for a gripping and intriguing story.  Definitely an author to watch.

 

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About Ann Troup: Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.
Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.
She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.
In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TroupAnn
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anntroupauthor/
Website: https://anntroup.wordpress.com/