Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Mother like Mine by Kate Hewitt

4 Star

Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiance's unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town's beach cafe. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future--and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past. 

Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother's life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.

Kathryn - 4 Star

This book took me through so many emotions from empathy to frustration but ultimately I felt joy.  The bond between Laura and Abby was tragically broken at the start and though I mostly bonded with Abby I was also surprised that I liked Laura's voice and wanted to know how they had ended up in this situation.  

I wasn't too sure about the grandmother's voice (the only mother Abby had known). While I applauded her raising of her grandchild there was also something tough about her that I felt needed some softening. Throughout the story we find out why she's a bit guarded but I still didn't get the typical "grandma" persona others have felt.

Their story is complicated and it takes a long while to unravel their shared past but I admired Laura's persistence in trying to forge a new relationship with her daughter.  Her attempts, though sometimes clumsy, appeared to be sincere.  It certainly made me ponder how else she could have tried to reach Abby and also made me wonder how she stayed away so long.  Abby's son is actually the force that really seals mother and daughter.  I enjoyed the village life throughout the book too, the villagers, friends and acquaintances rounded out the novel well and I was entirely absorbed throughout- a great tale of family and tragedy.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Kate Hewitt:
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

5 Star

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive. 

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be... 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have usually not been a big fan of futuristic, dystopian novels but lately the offerings of this type have been amazing and this book is one of the reasons I can say that. It seemed like it was a story that was more accessible to the masses; what I mean by that is that it was not focused on a sci-fi theme (although fans of that genre would most likely enjoy this book as well).

The story is about Jamie, a survivor of a virus that killed most of the universe's population and her search for home. Having left earth ages ago to start over, she must now decide if she will return there to find others and a way to survive.

This story seemed quite realistic to me. I have often wondered what would happen if something serious started wiping out humanity, whether it be illness or something else. This book made the idea more realistic which was something scary but it also provided hope.

I loved the cover and I loved the content. Thought provoking and emotionally charged, The Space Between Us is a book I won't soon forget.

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

Connect with Anne Corlett:
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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5 Star

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Kathryn - 5 Star

A completely absorbing read that kept me on my toes from start to finish. I actually kept checking to see how many more pages were left to make sure I wasn't almost finished!  I am really a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid and as her novels become more and more diverse she'll amass an even larger fan base as you never quite know what she'll tackle next.

Firstly I couldn't believe this woman could indeed have seven husbands but as we followed her life from teenager to senior citizen it made a lot more sense! An exuberant character, Evelyn is exactly what you'd want from an actress whose popularity spanned decades. What made the novel though were the relationships she formed with friends and lovers throughout her life.  She respected others and in turn earned the respect and loyalty of some very special people.  It's also interesting that we were given a taste into the process of becoming an actor, the hoops to jump through, the horrific pitfalls of sexuality and it's "expectations".  It's a timely novel. I wonder if it will reinforce the voice of women?  I hope so, with all my heart. 

The plot and development are fast paced and Evelyn moves around a lot and changes her life frequently so the reader is always kept on their toes. I liked that the author covered so many types of love and that each was explored with respect.  I hope this book makes into many hands and others enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Taylor Jenkins Reid:


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Name 3 Things with Alison Brodie

Please welcome Alison Brodie, author of Zenka, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!

About Alison:

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. 

Alison Brodie is an international best-selling author.  Her books having been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland).

Alison has now gone “indie”. 

Connect with Alison:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Alison Brodie on Name 3 things:

Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

In your fridge

A half drunk Guinness (the Guinness isn’t drunk.  I mean, I drank half of the bottle)

An over-ripe pear (that’s the genteel way of saying a pear that is so bruised it looks as if it’s been flung around the room in a game of dodge-ball).

A cheap, roasted pork slab which has been bought for doggo but I’ve been stealing bits off it (I have no lunch!) and doggo has been watching me balefully with a “That’s mine” look.

In your purse

You don’t want to know!  But I’ll tell you:  

A brocade-covered diary with slim gold pencil.  

An invitation to Her Majesty’s Garden Party.  

A tracking device issued by MI5.  

(Ha!  You will never know what’s inside my handbag!)

In/On your bedside table



And more books

In your car


Writing pad.  

Maps.  (I have a boring car)
On your desk/writing spot

Hand spinner.  

Cup of Lapsong Souchong tea.  

A Noddy pencil sharpener.

In the "junk drawer"

Keys!  Hundreds of them.  I never knew I had so many.  I think they are breeding.

A Girl Guide whistle (??)

A compass.

In your closet/garage/storage room

A red feather boa – never worn

Gold stiletto shoes with v. high heels – never worn

Grey, baggy knickers – worn all the time

In your music or movie collection

Fats Domino, His Greatest Hits

Max Bygraves, SingaLongaWarYears!  (??)  (That must be my mother-in-laws)

Maria Muldaur  (that must be Hubby’s)

On your bookshelf

You are not going to believe this but it is true.  A glass bottle in the most beautiful shade of blue with the words TASCHENFLASCHE FUR HUSTENDE.  I bought this for one euro in a house sale, got home and checked it up on the internet.  It was used in tuberculosis sanitoriums in the 1930s for ladies to spit into.

A line of tiny wind-up toys.  I get them out at dinner parties when everyone is drunk.  There’s a prize for the one whose toy gets to the finish line first.  Everyone becomes alarmingly competitive!  What my guests don’t know is … the rabbit only does somersaults, the seal-lion keeps falling on his face, the penguin waddles and the fireman goes round in circle.  I’ll tell you the secret if you ever come to dinner:  it’s the elephant that always wins. 

“Dining With The Duchess” by Sarah, The Duchess of York and Weight Watchers.  This is a signed edition (I used to know someone who was friends with her).  And there are recipes for “Supper After a Horseback Ride”, “A Working Mother’s Lunch” (working mother?) and Apres-Ski Lunch.


Ruthless, devious, and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will turn Nicholas into the son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is? 

Available at:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Indian Summer by Marcia Willett

4 Star

For renowned actor Sir Mungo, his quiet home village in Devon provides the perfect retreat. Close by are his brother and his wife, and the rural location makes his home the ideal getaway for his old friends in London.

Among those is Kit, who comes to stay for the summer, bringing with her a letter from her first and only love, Jake, and a heart in turmoil. Years have passed since they last saw each other, and now he has written to Kit asking to meet again.

As the summer unfolds, secrets are uncovered that will shatter the sleepy community, and even tear a family apart. But those involved soon realize that the only way to move forward might be to confront the past... 

Kathryn - 4 Star

Indian Summer is my first novel by this author and I’m sure it won’t be my last.   Set in the countryside of Devon the scenery plays a big part in the story- as we delve into the past for the backstory it’s a key factor that the setting for the plot of the novel remains the same, despite the passage of time.  I even found that it was a parallel for some of the characters’ plot lines.

Admittedly I found the first few pages difficult- I didn’t immediately warm to Sir Mungo and though I tried, I didn’t relate to him at first.  I’m glad I persevered though because Mungo’s warmth did come across and I was invested in his history and his future so much.  As a young actor he seemed to have frequently returned to the family home on holiday, bringing friends and treating them to the country life, a rural escape etc. However, now retired, he appeared to be staying longer and placing more emphasis on this natural escape to being his more permanent home. 
Though initially focussed on Mungo, the author brought in old friends and new friends so that the plot kept expanding for Mungo, his brother and sister-in-law. Each persona had an intricate story of their own and sometimes I wasn’t sure how they would all match up.  I liked the different generations that Willett explored - typical of a village in the countryside, you find all sorts of people amongst the ever changing fields, sky and wildlife.  I was fascinated by the mystery of the past that was hinted at throughout (and mercifully is explained in the end) but I almost found it distracted from the newer relationships and found its conclusion a smidge anti-climactic- hopefully that’s just me.

Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Marcia Willett:
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Need You Dead by Peter James

5 Star

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have long been a Roy Grace fan so was thrilled to read another one of the books in this series. Compulsively readable, this book was as good as the others with a fast-paced murder mystery that kept me guessing.

Roy Grace is a lovable character who is unparalleled when it comes to solving crimes, no matter how difficult they may be. This story being no exception, touching such topics as murder, infidelity and abuse until it all comes to the final denouement.

The regular supporting characters like Roy Grace's boss, Cassian Pewe, and Cleo making reappearances and the introduction of new characters like Roy's son, Bruno, every detail has been well thought out and executed in the continuing saga of the detective's life.

Peter James is somewhat of a genius in this genre and I wish I knew what his secret was in creating such gripping tales!

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

Connect with Peter James: 
Website     Facebook     Twitter      Goodreads

Friday, November 3, 2017

Dreaming of Venice by T.A.Williams

4 Star

Find love, friendship and prosecco – in the magical city of Venice
Life is tough for Penny. A dead end job in a London café, a boyfriend in Australia (what could go wrong?) and an art career going nowhere. But then Penny is approached with an extraordinary proposition.

It isn’t going to be easy but, if she can pull it off, she will turn her life around and at long last see the fulfilment of her dream – to visit Venice. And, just maybe, find true happiness with the handsome man of her dreams.

But can dreams come true?

Kathryn - 4 Star

A fantastic tale of rags to riches this novel will swoop you away in a story of romance and friendship.  I zipped through this book and was enchanted by the characters, as I have come to expect from T.A.Williams.

Penny is a realistically drawn character for her profession- it’s not an easy life being an undiscovered artist and she’s just putting one step in front of the other until she’s “discovered” by Caroline when she rescues a baby on a train platform and ends up in the news.  Caroline approaches her to play her employer’s double (for reasons unknown at first) which seems a bit peculiar but the perks are hard to turn down!  Penny gradually makes some headway in her career and her financial situation as she plays the double more and more often.  And then she gets to chance to go to Venice ….which upped the charm and romance factor considerably for me.  I don’t want to give anything  away so I shall restrain myself on the details. 

Typical of Williams, the characters are realistic and possess enough charisma to be engaging but aren’t bogged in so much “development” that the plot lags.  He moves quickly and naturally through the action and his novels are humorous and heart-felt and always include a loveable dog.

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

Connect with T.A.Williams:
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