Monday, 19 August 2019

The Girl he Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Girl he Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves. My thanks to the Publisher and the Author for the opportunity to take part on this tour via Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and TBConFB fame.

The Girl He Used to Know

From Goodreads

Annika Rose likes being alone. 
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can't read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn't seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she's not sure he'll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone. 
Except that, actually, she doesn't like being alone at all.
The Girl He Used to Know is an uplifting novel full of surprising revelations that keep you turning the page. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Gail Honeyman, Jill Santopolo and Sliding Doors.
My thoughts
I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to take part on the Blog tour for this book and thanks to NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story is told from the position of both Annika and Jonathan, with each character having their own chapter and also as a dual time frame read. I enjoyed the premise of the story and wonder what we would have done if we had been in Annika's shoes as the story developed. Annika was socially naïve in most situations, but this added to her likeability in my opinion. Jonathan obviously cared for her and understood her well, but sadly fate had the upper hand and their relationship wasn't meant to be. As fate throws them back together again, what will they be like around one another and will feelings that they once had for each other be rekindled?

This was a slow burner of a story. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Annika and Jonathan, how they learned to cope with Annika's naivety and her little foibles. The toing and froing of the chapters between the two main characters along with the years that they were set in, adds to the enjoyment of the story in my opinion. I can see this being made into a film if I am honest and I am sure that it would transfer well to the silver screen so to speak.

Friday, 16 August 2019

The Wedding Promise by Emma Hannigan


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From Goodreads
A rambling Spanish hacienda in want of love and care is just what a grieving Irish family needs in the new novel from No. 1 Irish bestseller Emma Hannigan. If you like reading Cathy Kelly and Patricia Scanlan, and enjoyed the film UNDER A TUSCAN SUN, you will love this book. 'Brimming with hope and joy' Sunday Independent

Restoring a romantic Spanish villa seems like the perfect way for Shelley to honour a wedding-day promise her husband made to her - even if the return to Spain they'd dreamed of together sees her going it alone. But as plans develop to transform the villa into a stunning wedding venue business, Shelley discovers that her grown-up children might need a change of scene more than she does …
Jake has begun to question everything he values most: his career as a pilot - even his relationship with his girlfriend Fee. Could the villa in Spain offer the new life he's desperately seeking? Shelley's daughter Leila has a new-born baby in tow, and soon finds herself getting caught up in the new business. But then Leila hears some startling news she wasn't expecting... As renovations take shape and Casa Maria takes its first booking, will it offer more than a romantic promise - perhaps a second chance at new beginnings?
My thoughts
I gave this a 4 stars or 8/10. If you like a nice gentle story about romance and family life, that's well written and a joy to read. Then this is the perfect book for you.

Shelley and Gerry appear to have it all. However, life often can and often does throw an odd spanner or two into the works, so to speak. As Shelley has to come to terms with certain events, she finds herself returning to Spain a place that meant a lot to both of them. As she takes on the task of transforming a very rundown villa, a germ of an idea forms in her head. The villa could be the perfect venue for a wedding, as her mind begins to wander plans take shape in her head.

It's not just Shelley that needs distractions in her life, her children Jake and Leila have problems of their own to and it's not long before the villa is becoming instrumental in helping them all to take their minds off life. It's a family affair in more ways than one. The villa takes on a personality of it's own and is an instrumental character to the story helping them all to deal with things.

This was a well written story that was chock full of the whole gamut of emotions. I have to admit that this is the first book that I've read by Emma Hannigan and it's sad that she won't be writing more. Her writing will be missed by many.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

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From Goodreads

VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.

YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM'S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON'T HAPPEN:YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN.

''YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST. AND YOU CERTAINLY WON'T BE THE LAST.''

My thoughts

I have heard many good things and seen some good ratings for this book. So I reserved a copy of it from my local Library and had 3 weeks to read it as others had reservations on it after me. Needless to say the book was returned well within the 3 weeks.

I gave this a 5 stars or 10/10. This is the first book that I have read by this Author and I will be looking for others to read in the future.

I found this a well written story with an interesting premise. It surely makes you think what you would do if you were in the position that the characters find themselves in. I won't go into this too much as I don't want to spoil it for others. All I can say is read it and see if you get as sucked into their lives as I did.

When a child goes missing and you're left with a telephone call from someone, telling you that in order for your child to be released that you have to take another child as that is what they've done to your child. What would you do? So begins the roller coaster of a ride that Rachel finds herself on. She has now become part of the chain and that chain must not be broken or severe consequences will follow.

This book deserves to be widely read and would make a great film as the premise is very fresh and intriguing. It will make a great reading group read and I look forward to seeing it as the subject of one of my reading group meetings in the future.




Monday, 12 August 2019

Tideline by Penny Hancock

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From Goodreads

One winter's afternoon, voice coach Sonia opens the door of her beautiful riverside home to 15-year-old Jex, the nephew of a family friend. He's come to borrow some music. Sonia invites him in and soon decides that she isn't going to let him leave.

My thoughts

This was a Library Reading Group read for  the group that I am in. I didn't get it finished in time and I can't really remember what the book got as an overall score. I gave the story a 4 stars or 8/10. 

I quite enjoyed the story and found it an easy read that had me gripped and wanting to know more about what was happening. 

Sonia is almost living two lives, the life of the here and now and the life she had as a teenager with all the angst that it entails. Told in shortish chapters this story fairly moves along mixing the past and present seamlessly. As the past is revealed we realise that what has happened recently is even more significant to Sonia, in some ways it's as though she's still  living in the past. Whether that can be used as an excuse for what she has done is another matter. I must admit that I did feel sorry for Sonia in some ways, but then at other times I wanted to shake her as if to wake her up and make her realise that she was acting completely out of character and she should never have done what she had. She did make some odd choices, but she was a woman left with few options as things began to close in around her.

This is a perfect reading group read as there is quite a lot than can be discussed among the pages of this psychological thriller.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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From Goodreads

Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs.

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

My thoughts

This was a book chosen for my WI Reading Group. I have never read it before, but have seen many different TV and film adaptations of it over the years.

I gave this a 3 stars or 6/10 based on the fact that the version I read was a shortened version at only 178 pages and I feel that it had been abridged too much and my overall enjoyment of the story was marred. I felt that too much of the original story had been lost.

I have already downloaded a longer version and will read it at some point in the future.

The love between Heathcliff and Catherine is at times almost feels incestuous and that is how Catherine is made to feel, that she should not have feelings for someone who in many ways was a brother to her as they grew up. Heathcliff is lost without her love and leaves to make something of himself, in the hope that it will make her feel differently about him.  Sadly, on his return he realises that his hopes have been well and truly dashed and so begins a chain of events that will have far reaching consequences.

The story is very bleak at times and one can only imagine what sort of a life Emily had to come up with such a story as this.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross

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From Goodreads
Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.
Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.
When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.
Because, after all, it’s her funeral…
The perfect antidote to all those books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley’s Bridesmaids, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Good Place.
My thoughts
My thanks to the Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I gave this a 3 stars or 6/10.
Nina is a female undertaker, she enjoys her job as her customers can't talk back to her. However, it would appear that someone has it in for her business and as a series of events begin to happen that look set to put a nail in the coffin for her business, she finds that she has to make some decisions about what to do for the best. Not everyone is happy that she is running her business in the area that she is in and she finds that she has some bridges to mend with the local residents.
With the help of an investor she finds herself in a position to move the business forward, but are his intentions as clear cut as she at first believes them to be. With some serious decisions and some misgivings, Nina finds herself in an unenviable position.
This was a light hearted read, despite the fact that the story centres on an undertaker. It did seem to ramble on at certain parts without too much happening, but that didn't detract away from my enjoyment of the story.
If you're looking for something a bit different then why not grab a copy and settle back in a comfy chair to immerse yourself in Nina's world for a few hours.




Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The Silent Woman (Cat Carlisle #1) by Terry Lynn Thomas

The Silent Woman (Cat Carlisle, #1)

From Goodreads

Would you sell your secrets?

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late? 

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. My thanks also to TBConFB for the opportunity too.

The Silent Woman is the first in the Cat Carlisle series set between the two World Wars this story sets the scene for the further books to follow. I gave this story a 4 stars or 8/10.

Cat (Catherine) Carlisle is trapped, her marriage is floundering. Living in a house that her husband's single sister Isobel runs isn't an ideal situation, in fact it's hell on earth.

Cat is aware that her husband is embroiled in something, but what he's actually involved in she's not completely sure. When an old family friend recruits Cat to inadvertently spy on her husband and swap some of his paperwork to out manoeuvre other people, namely the Germans.

Can Cat act in such a way, only she knows the answer to this question and armed with a plan of sorts she finds herself embroiled in situations that she hadn't accounted for. When the finger of blame is pointed at her, she finds herself in deep water that she has to fight her way out of in any way she can.

This is a well written story that deals with family secrets, espionage, love and so much more. It's a great read and setting the scene well for further books in this series, this character driven story is well worth grabbing a copy of if you've not already read it.