Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt

3 Star

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.

Kathryn - 3 Star

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting out of this novel but I was pleasantly surprised by the relationships that came out during the telling of the story. The sisters were troubled but their past gradually came to light and they became closer as they began to appreciate each other.  The older sister, Juliet, was really hard to empathize with but obviously Lucy found her tricky too. She was a hard nut to crack and I'm certain that Lucy stayed only because they were the only family each other had and she didn’t really know where else to go. Lucy obviously also yearned for some connection to her half-sister as their mother had hurt her so deeply and publicly.

The novel had a fairly simplistic story line with a few details about the girls past that gradually unfolded but nothing about the plot was particularly intriguing for me and I found myself a tiny bit bored I'm afraid. This also might be blamed on the tiny print though of the epub I was reading. The small print forced a slower read and perhaps meant I didn’t become as involved as quickly in their tale as I might have done.

I loved the descriptions of the scenery, the weather and the nuances of village life. The different villagers and the children Lucy met at school made her come alive for me and really set a scene you could visualize.

I liked the novel but I wasn't wowed by the story-line. That's fine though, sometimes a good read is all you need.

Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Kate Hewitt:
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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Girl Without A Name by Sandra Block

4 Star

In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe's treatment is the last hope to discover the girl's identity.

When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe's family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I was initially drawn to reading this book because of an incident I recall happening in Montreal several years ago where something similar occurred. Since then, the very idea of being able to forget who you are has been something that fascinates (and terrifies) me! I cannot imagine the triggers or reasons and the brain is endlessly incredibly amazing so I couldn't help but find myself captivated from the beginning.

Zoe Goldman was an interesting and inspiring character. I know now that there are other books that feature her and I think that I would be quite interested in picking them up because I really liked how her character was developed. A strong and very intelligent woman; definitely a great role model. It isn't very often that you find a character in a book like this who is not an older man, like a police detective, so I found it refreshing that the author focused on created one like Zoe.
The story itself was extremely interesting as it had a lot more going on than just the case of Jane Doe. I know that sometimes I found it a bit difficult to focus due to the fact that the story skipped around a lot yet everything that I found Zoe getting herself involved with, whether it be other patients or her personal life seemed to have its place in the story. I suppose even some of these will be expanded on in future books.

A great mystery type almost crime novelish type book, I recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of intrigue and is fascinated by medical science.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Sandra Block:
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Friday, December 25, 2015

All I Want For Christmas by Laura Chapman, Cat Lavoie and Samantha March

4 Star

All I Want For Christmas – Four New Holiday Novellas from Marching Ink 
Making Christmas by Laura Chapman 
While settling into a new career in a new community, Ivy is determined not to let the holiday season pass her by.

Nine Ladies Dancing by Cat Lavoie 
Casey Ellis is the last person who should be planning her office’s holiday party. 

The Christmas Surprise by Samantha March 
Juliette Mabry is a happily married stay-at-home wife and mother...until there appears to be trouble brewing in her nearly ten-year marriage. 

What Happens at Midnight by Laura Chapman 
Romantic comedy junkie Natalie lives out those fantasies in real life three New Year's Eves in a row when fate throws her together with the same handsome stranger. A heartbreaking turn of events leaves her swearing off of love, forevers, and the holidays (bah humbug). 

Kathryn - 4 Star

I was excited about this short story collection which came out just in time for Christmas!  It helped put me in the spirit of the season and I was hoping for some cheerful tales of hope - I wasn’t disappointed in the least!  All three authors captured a sense of the season and brought in characters that were modern and relatable.

Making Christmas (Laura Chapman) probably gave me the most inspiration, one can sometimes get bogged down by the organisational aspect of the holidays and it was refreshing to relive the delight children feel through the eyes of adults. I really found it charming and I’ve never encountered the concept before done quite in this way.

Nine Ladies Dancing (Cat Lavoie) felt the most realistic to me I loved Casey’s fear of screwing everything up and the novella was funny with heart and a great twist of fate that always makes me smile.  I loved her attitude to keep on persevering despite always feeling she was on the edge of catastrophe.

The Christmas Surprise (Samantha March) was written from Juliette’s perspective and I related immediately to her internal dialogue. She hovered between perfectly balanced and off the wall thoughts which made me smile despite the things she was worried about- I also really liked her relationships with her son, her husband and her best friend.

All of the novellas were strong short stories and I found each one instantly relatable and the characters were all in depth and natural.   These tales of the holiday spirit will definitely make you smile!

All opinions are our own.

Connect with Laura Chapman:  

Connect with Cat Lavoie:       

Connect with Samantha March:    
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

4 Star

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary — professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter Willow only once. 

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister — a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices — Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings — The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I usually really love Marisa de los Santos' writing so I was a bit taken aback when it was a bit tedious and difficult to get into this book. Perhaps one reason why this was so was due to the fact that the characters themselves are somewhat difficult individuals and were not entirely enjoyable people. Of course it is sometimes easier to read a book when you love the characters because you feel like you are them or wish that you could be!

The story itself grew on me and I found that in the end this was a much more mature novel from the writer. A more complex story line with greater depth and twists in the story that I would not necessarily have expected based on her previous works.

In the end, I was quite happy that I pushed through and gave the book a chance despite my initial misgivings. I did quite enjoy the fact that the book alternated between Taisy and Willow's perspectives as I always find this creates a more complete story with a richer outlook.

Worth the read as long as you don't have any expectations, I would say you should make sure to clear your schedule before picking up this book as you are sure to (eventually) fall in love with it.

Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Marisa de los Santos:
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Stranded on a desert island with Heather Hill

Please welcome Heather Hill, author of The New Mrs D, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Heather:

Heather Hill - mum of five (not the band)is a comedy writer and author of the Amazon No1 Bestselling comedy novel for women, 'The New Mrs D'.

After a humble beginning tweeting random comical musings on Twitter, I realised I could make people laugh (well, at least two). So I began writing a comedy blog, which opened with an audience of one (thank you Mr Hill) and to date has over 10,000 subscribers. You can visit the blog at Or catch me on Twitter, where I am still found sharing photos of my breakfast. Follow me - and my breakfast - @hell4heather

Connect with Heather:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Heather Hill Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

A Step By Step Manual of Boat Building might be handy, so that I can go get some more books! I can’t say I have a favourite book, but there are few books that I have been happy to read again and again, which I guess I might want for a long spell on a desert island, and these books are all written for children.  So it’s just me, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and Lewis Carroll. One of the most imaginative, funny and wonderful books ever written. I heart it too much. Off with my head!

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

A bottle of Jura Prophecy scotch whisky. I have to admit I have a weakness for Islay and Speyside single malts after taking a whisky tour here in Scotland a couple of years ago. Before the tour, I thought I absolutely hated whisky but then I learned a) that they are not all the same and b) that they are to be drunk slowly and savoured, something I am not known to do with my alcohol. Now I adore many, many kinds of whisky but for the current book I’m writing I was lucky to be able to make a research trip to the stunning Isle of Jura where I discovered a new love – Jura Prophecy. I’m ashamed to admit my husband and I polished off almost an entire bottle in a week and now my liver is a strong contender for the next series of ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

A whisky tumbler. See previous response! ;-)

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I am a mum of five with one grandchild and have found the older I get, the more I love solitude. This has no reflection on my children at all, (she lied) but I can’t get enough peace and quiet. I hike in the Scottish Hills and most of my holidays these days are taken in the Western Isles of Scotland or far flung, unusual places off the beaten track. This year I was lucky enough to be able to make a trip to a place known as ‘The Island at the Edge of the World’, St Kilda, which is an island which has been almost uninhabited by humans since the 1930’s. It is 64 kilometres west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and very hard to get to. Most people would take one look at the rugged, miles from civilisation terrain and say ‘how did anyone ever survive here?’ I found myself wondering what it would be like to live there. It is a fascinating place.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

If Gerard Butler is reading this, where would you like to go next week?

What modern technology would you miss the most?

I can quite honestly say I wouldn’t miss anything.  I still dream of living somewhere outside of civilisation and am secretly hoping this desert island you speak of is available for my next trip away. Seriously, I find the most relaxing times are when we as a family decide to put away everything modern and electrical and go out into the wilds for a good old wander, or sit snug by a log or coal fire, keeping warm and reading hundreds of books.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Well, again I would have to shout, ‘whisky!’ but food wise it would be cheese. I can’t think of a life without cheese, it depresses me. I have recently suffered some digestive issues and started eliminating certain foods in order to feel better and am not convinced cheese isn’t one of the culprits, but I’m in a state of denial right now, blaming cabbage and happily omitting it from my diet instead.

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

It depends whether or not we have whisky, cheese and a book. With these it could be three to four weeks. Without, I am going to need a helicopter and fast.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Thank Gerard Butler for a fantastic few weeks… and then give him his clothes back.

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

‘Been marooned on an island with nothing but whisky, cheese, Alice in Wonderland and Gerard Butler. There is a God after all!’

The New Mrs D

When funny, feisty, forty-something Bernice plans the adventure trip of a lifetime, she doesn’t expect to be spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?
“The New Mrs D is a refreshing, sharp-witted and empowering romp that reflects real life, delves into unspoken about subjects and slaps the reader in the face with honesty.” Fleur Ferris, author
It is a story about one woman’s midlife awakening… on her honeymoon alone.

Available at:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle   

Friday, December 18, 2015

You're The Best by The Satellite Sisters

4 Star

You're the Best is a thank-you note to female friends, the women we call when the best things in our lives happen—or the worst. Written by two generations of Satellite Sisters, this beautifully packaged hardcover book explores how we rely on our friends to get us up, get us going, get us through, and, most importantly, get us laughing. It makes a superb gift for friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, and granddaughters.

From the introduction:

I owe you for that night at that dive bar on our road trip. I should not line dance under the influence, and I think we both know that now. 

I owe you for letting me borrow that really expensive evening clutch with the feathers. I had no idea puppies liked feathers.

I owe you for that really poor financial advice I gave to you. It was loud on the subway, but I thought I heard that guy in the suit say, "Buy Enron." 

I owe you for Brad. Let's not talk about him ever again. 

You're smart. You're funny. You text just the right amount. You're the one person who tells my about the thing in my teeth without sounding just a little bit superior. 

You're the best. 

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

You're The Best was an enjoyable light read that was inspiring and comforting all at once. I think that we can all use more inspiration and positivity in this world which this book provided in spades.

Divided into sections and alternating from one author (sisters) to another, it was nice to have different experiences and perspectives voiced about topics we all deal with on a daily basis. Spanning many years and different lifestyles, each author had their own unique views on things which was nice to hear.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit but some of the references from their radio show meant nothing to me as I was unfamiliar with it so I feel like it could appeal to a broader audience if these were left out or changed somewhat.

Still a wonderful read that did not take me very long to get through and also one I am looking forward to passing on to the next person!

Thank you to Prospect Park Books for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with The Satellite Sisters:

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

3.5 Star

Fairytale Beginnings: A heartwarming romantic comedy

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after? 

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I enjoyed this quirky tale of boy meets girl- it was definitely a little over the top with the Disney references but somehow that made it both unbelievable and possible at the same time. It was like a reality show for Disney lovers in book format.

From the moment Milly approaches Cameron’s castle we are treated to a fantasy like description of the place but the best part for me was that it became apparent that despite her childlike joy about the castles turrets she’s actually quite a serious academic. She’s highly educated in her field and her knowledge is extensive about history, building structure and techniques. I liked Milly’s excitement about the building and this quite took over my feelings towards the predictable plot.  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get on board with the romance but Cameron also grew on me and there were some truly silly moments inspired by the villagers’ customs that made me giggle. I was disappointed though in the repetitiveness of the bedroom encounters and felt they lacked some variety- if one is insistent on describing every connection then there needs to be a more imaginative set of scenes! Holly Martin is very good about ensuring we know there is chemistry but in this case I didn’t need to know about every one of their moments of madness.  I liked knowing about it without actually feeling like I was in the room.  Their attraction was palpable with just a few words. 
Cameron and Milly are both coming at this attraction from a place of mistrust and although they likely should have waited a bit longer I honestly loved that they didn’t- sometimes you just need to seize the day!

There were many things I liked about Fairytale Beginnings, especially once I got into the castle itself. It was a really fun read and one should not be afraid of the fairytale!

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Holly Martin:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our best reads of 2015!

Happy Holidays Everyone! 

We've had another great year here at Novel Escapes and we really hope that our reviews are still helping you to decide what to put on your own TBR list.

We are also really happy to have had great interviews posted throughout the year from fabulous authors who take the time to answer our questions. Late this year we added a third interview called "name 3 things" that hopefully will provide some good insight into author's inner most secrets in 2016 :)

Below is a short list (3 difficult!) of each of our favourite reads for 2015 so if you have a book lover on your shopping list this season maybe you will find some inspiration.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016!

The Novel Escapes Team
Lydia, Kathryn, Kaley, Sabrina-Kate and Michelle 





Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Secret Daughter by Kelly Rimmer

5 Star

As I saw my new-born baby’s face for the first time I tried desperately to capture her face in my mind—to stamp it onto my eyelids. As she was taken from me I knew I might never see my daughter again. 

38 years later… 
‘You were adopted’. Three short words and Sabina’s life fractures. There would forever be a Before those words, and an After. 

Pregnant with her own child, Sabina can’t understand how a mother could abandon her daughter, or why her parents have kept the past a secret. 

Determined to find the woman who gave her away, what she discovers will change everything, not just for Sabina, but for the women who have loved her all these years. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

When I learned that Kelly Rimmer had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to read it because I suspected that I would love it. And, of course, I was right.

The story of Sabina is one that broke my heart. There is no way to hide that fact. Adoption has always been something that fascinates me. I have often wondered about the repercussions on all those involved and also the circumstances that led to the adoption taking place so this story spoke to me deeply.

Written in her very personal style, this book alternated between heartache to heartwarming scenes. I could not fathom the tumult of emotions that Sabina was finding herself going through as she was newly pregnant and had recently found out she was adopted as well. One of these events would be emotional enough to deal with but the two of them together may be irrevocably devastating. 

The story was one that I cannot recommended highly enough and I find myself reflecting on it still, weeks later. I would not want to say too much about the detail as each scene plays its very important part in the intricately woven tale of Sabina.

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Kelly Rimmer:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Would you rather with Maggie Bolitho

Please welcome Maggie Bolitho, author of Outback Promise.

Maggie Bolitho:

A free range child, I grew up on an island In Canada’s Pacific Northwest. I spent my formative years flying under the radar, constructing alternate universes, and wishing for 20/20 vision.
I set out to see the world shortly after my 17th birthday. Eventually I met and fell in love with a wild colonial boy. After five years of futile resistance, I moved to Melbourne, Australia and married him. In 2007, my husband and I made Canada our permanent home. We now live in a leafy suburb on that island where I grew up and neither of us want to be anywhere else.
 While living Down Under, I explored the outback and started writing fiction. Some of my adult short stories appear in different anthologies in the US, Canada, and Australia. I have had poetry published in Quills Canadian Poetry magazine. My debut novel Lockdown (YA) was published in 2014 by Great Plains Fiction (Winnipeg, Canada). Outback Promise is being released by HarperCollins Australia in November 2015.

Connect with Maggie Bolitho:
Would You Rather... 
with Maggie Bolitho

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chocolate. It’s a lift when the heart is happy and a salve when it’s broken. Suitable for all occasions.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Carrie Bradshaw. I’d love to read her diaries.

Wine, beer or vodka?

Scotch? Okay wine.

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa. The best part of camping is when it’s over.

Water or mountains?

Water. Preferably by the ocean with an interesting foreshore and benign sea life. I say no! to sharks, Irukandji jellyfish, and sea snakes.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires. Much more elegant. Plus there’s the kissing thing. Okay maybe it’s more of a bite but surely it’s more pleasant than the alternative.

Dogs or cats?

Both please.

Coke or Pepsi?


Coffee or tea?

Tea. A chai latte would be lovely.

Dine out or take away?

Take away.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

In my fantasies, high heels. In R/L sneakers.

Physical Book or ebook?

All of the above plus audio book and the movie version, where available.

Paperback or Hardcover?


Pen or pencil?

Pen, preferably a Pilot G-2 07, blue ink.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Downton Abbey.

Drama or comedy?

Drama with some humor.

Twilight or Hunger Games?


Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?


Facebook or Twiter?


Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Plot vaguely and revise as the story reveals itself.

Outback Promise

Can Ros and Grady move on from the past, or will their pain drive them apart? Six years ago, the Balfours lost their son Cadel to a hit-and-run driver. Recently, Ros discovered Grady's affair. With their marriage fast disintegrating, they decide to take a three-month camping trip into the heart of Australia to try and mend deep wounds and rekindle the fire that once fused them close. This trip will decide the fate of their relationship: do they have enough strength and enough love left to accept what life has put them both through? But trust and forgiveness don't come easily, and Ros and Grady have to navigate not only the wilderness of the Outback and the challenges of other travellers, but also the chasm of grief and bitterness they have sunk into over the last six years. Their only hope for survival lies in facing the secrets they have both tried to keep buried.

Available at:

Kindle   Nook    Kobo

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

5 Star

The brilliant new summer bestseller from Lindsey Kelk, author of the I Heart series

Everyone loves a bridesmaid.
Except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.
Everyone loves a wedding.
Except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.
And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy backstage.
Except Maddie herself.
One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid?

Kathryn - 5 Star

This novel made me smile all the way through, and not just because I was lucky enough to be at a Q&A with the author in Toronto during the summer and I fell in love a little bit with her humour! Lindsey Kelk writes with ease, her novels are funny and the characters are always believable which immediately immerses you in the story.

Poor Maddie is walked all over in every aspect of her life. Most alarmingly for me her own family seems to think it acceptable to push her down. There is only one scene in the novel where we are treated to Maddie’s interactions with her family and it was so awful I could hardly believe them all! Truly, I wish we’d had some positive scenes with her sister at some point and maybe a supportive phone call from her parents during her rough periods because they seemed liked they could have been a nice group- maybe?

Lauren and Sarah, though equally guilty, actually had their own stresses clearly laid out for us so it was no wonder both were in selfish-mode and wanted Maddie to pick up the pieces. I think their attitude was mostly temporary and was really happy they both came through for her in a moment of crisis- (though this was swiftly followed by the mother of all blowouts between the three!).  Sometimes you just need to clear the air and I think their friendship really was apparent when they managed to come back together and apologise to each other for being so rotten and horrible.

It’s always a pleasure to read a novel with a happy ending and always a pleasure to read Lindsey Kelk- she is on the top of my to-read list!

Thank you to Harper Collins for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Lindsey Kelk:
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