Format: ARC

Hide & Seek by MJ Arlidge

Posted August 18, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Hide & Seek by MJ ArlidgeHide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Published by Penguin Books (UK) on 8th September 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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I was absolutely over the moon when I received the notification from NetGalley that I had been selected to receive an ARC of Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series. Little Boy Blue finished on a cliffhanger and this book picks up from where LBB left off.

Obviously I can’t say too much about the story as the book isn’t released until next month, but what I will say is that it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! It picks up the storyline really well, and the events which unfold once again leave the reader on the edge of their seats wanting to know what will happen next.

Thankfully, Hide & Seek wraps up the story started in LBB, but the ending will still have you racing to know what happens next.

Another fantastic book from MJ Arlidge who is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors!!

The Secret by Kathryn Hughes (4/5)

Posted August 13, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Secret by Kathryn Hughes (4/5)The Secret: The #1 Bestselling Author by Kathryn Hughes
Published by Headline Review on September 8th 2016
Genres: Family Saga, Fiction
Pages: 416
Format: ARC, Paperback
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From the #1 bestselling author of The Letter comes The Secret - a heartbreaking novel of tragedy, hope and second chances. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse will love the moving human drama of Kathryn Hughes. 'A wonderful uplifting story' Lesley Pearse on The Letter
Mary has been nursing a secret. Forty years ago, she made a choice that would change her world for ever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.
Beth is searching for answers. She has never known the truth about her parentage, but finding out could be the lifeline her sick child so desperately needs. When Beth finds a faded newspaper cutting amongst her mother's things, she realises the key to her son's future lies in her own past. She must go back to where it all began to unlock...The Secret.

I have to say that this isn’t the usual kind of book I would be drawn to, but I was fortunate enough to win a copy from Headline Review on Twitter. I’m so pleased that I did as I absolutely loved this book!

The book follows Beth, who has never known who her father was. After her mother’s death, she starts to unearth secrets which will rock her family to its very core. The story is told along two timelines – modern-day with Beth, her husband Michael and their 5-year old son Jake, who has end stage liver failure; and flashbacks to 1975 when a group of people were involved in a fatal road crash. As Beth finds out more about her past, the two stories come together in a fantastic story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and can’t thank Headline Review enough for this proof copy. I wouldn’t have picked up this book normally, but I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3/5)

Posted July 23, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3/5)Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books on October 11th 2016
Pages: 480
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

I received this book as part of Hodder Books’ #readwithoutprejudice promotion where the title and author was obscured, meaning I had no idea who the author was while I was reading it. I have to say when I found out it was Picoult it wasn’t hugely surprising as the storyline is great and the characters are engaging, like so many other of Picoult’s books.

The story follows the life of Ruth, a respected midwife who is faced with the ultimate test when a white supremacist couple come to her ward expecting their first baby. When things go tragically wrong, Ruth is in the firing line. But is it because of her race? Or is it because of something she did?

This is a great criminal thriller. I must admit it took me a second attempt to get into it as it didn’t grab me straight away. If it hadn’t been for the #readwithoutprejudice promotion, I’m not sure it would be a book I would pick up from the shelves. But that said, I did enjoy it and fans of Picoult are sure to devour this latest offering when it’s released.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Posted July 15, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn IveyTo the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 480
Format: ARC, Hardback
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In the winter of 1885, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets out with his men on an expedition into the newly acquired territory of Alaska. Their objective: to travel up the ferocious Wolverine River, mapping the interior and gathering information on the region’s potentially dangerous native tribes. With a young and newly pregnant wife at home, Forrester is anxious to complete the journey with all possible speed and return to her. But once the crew passes beyond the edge of the known world, there’s no telling what awaits them.
With gorgeous descriptions of the Alaskan wilds and a vivid cast of characters — including Forrester, his wife Sophie, a mysterious Eyak guide, and a Native American woman who joins the expedition – To The Bright Edge of the World is an epic tale of one of America’s last frontiers, combining myth, history, romance, and adventure.

I received a hardback copy of this book in the post, completely out of the blue. So I have to start by saying a huge thank you to Hatchett / Tinder Press for this gorgeous book. The cover is just breathtaking, and having been a fan of Ivey’s first book – The Snow Child – I couldn’t wait to get started.

Once again this book is set in the Alaskan wilderness. This time following the story of Lt. Col. Allen Forrester as he aims to trek across the previously unmapped Alaskan territories; and his wife, Sophie, left behind to fend for herself. The book is told in a series of diary entries, letters, mementoes and photographs, switching between the present day and the time of the expedition itself. This structure works extremely well with the storyline – although I admit it took a couple of chapters for me to get my head around it.

This is a beautiful, poignant, book. Not only detailing the harsh lives of the early adventurers, but also the pioneering spirit of the women left behind and the magic of the Alaskan Indians, forging their own lives in the harsh climate.

This book is released next month, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated story. One which most definitely lends itself to print rather than eBooks!  Thank you so much to the publishers for giving me this opportunity to review an early copy.

In the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Posted April 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

In the Light of What We See by Sarah PainterIn the Light of What We See by Sarah Painter
Published by Lake Union Publishing on April 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Historical Fiction
Pages: 313
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.
Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…
Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

Finally I can share my thoughts on this book with you! I actually read this last month, but reviews were embargoed until today’s book release date.

I enjoyed this book and would like to thank the author, Sarah, and NetGalley for giving me a copy to review in advance. I thought the writing was lovely and the characters of Mina and Grace were very engaging. Of the two stories I found Grace’s to be the more interesting one. I found I was more engaged with what she was doing than with Mina. On reflection I think this is to do with the setting of the book all being in the same place – a hospital. While Grace had her work and friends, socialising and encounters with other staff and men; Mina by contrast was pretty much confined to a hospital bed. By the end I felt this setting was a little too restrictive as it greatly limited the experiences than Mina could have.

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Overall this was a good book. The similarities between Mina and Grace were very well drawn and I have to say I enjoyed the storyline too. I’ll definitely look out for other books by this author.

Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)

Posted March 15, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)Little Boy Blue (Helen Grace, #5) by M.J. Arlidge
Series: ,
Published by Michael Joseph on April 26th 2016
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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The UK's most exciting new crime-writing talent.
The death of a young man, found cocooned in plastic, looks like it was a tragic accident -- a sex game gone wrong. But when another lifeless victim is found days later, wrapped tight, DI Helen Grace knows that she's on the hunt for a serial killer.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House and MJ Arlidge for the opportunity to read this book.

Back in November last year, I read and absolutely loved Eeny Meeny, the first book in Arlidge’s Helen Grace series. However last month when I picked up Pop Goes the Weasel, the second book in the series, I couldn’t even finish it. I was so disappointed in it when compared to the brilliant first book.

So it’s fair to say I was a bit trepidatious to read and review this novel, being unsure which way it was going to fall.

I needn’t have worried. This is a brilliant book from start to finish. The cases this time bring Grace and her team into the dark world of S&M, where someone is targeting people who work as professional dominants. However, with very little evidence to go on, the investigations are slow going and full of fits and starts, until a pattern starts to emerge.

I can’t say too much more without giving the ending away, but the twists and turns in this book are fantastic! It’s fair to say I didn’t see the ending coming, and I think everyone who’s read it is now waiting with bated breath for the 6th installment in the series!

If you like dark and twisting psychological thrillers, then this is most definitely a book you should read! The only downside to the book is I now have a stonking book hangover, and have no idea what I’m going to read next in order to shift it!

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam (4/5)

Posted February 28, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam (4/5)

This is a fun read. It’s based on a “family fable” so you’re not quite sure what’s real and what isn’t – however the overall story is charming and believable, and you really end up rooting for Homer and Elsie. (I also defy anyone to read this book and not wish they had a pet alligator! … Practicalities aside, […]

Wish Upon a Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn

Posted November 29, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Wish Upon a Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn

I really enjoyed this festive read from Darcie Boleyn. It perfectly captures the feelings we all have when we look around the Christmas table and the people who are missing from the family. The book covers Katie’s first christmas following the death of her beloved Granny. Faced with being surrounded by her entire family – including an over-critical […]

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Posted November 21, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

I have to say I have a secret love of those TV programmes that follow “survivalists” or “preppers”. The kinds of people who hoard enough cans of chickpeas to feed 20 people for 10 years in the case of an apocalyptic-style disaster. Therefore I was absolutely over the moon to receive a copy of Our […]