Sunday 26 April 2015

My review of The Memory Book and the day I met Rowan Coleman...........

I was recommended to read this book by a Blogger friend of mine and also, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this book so I thought it was time I found out what all the fuss was about!

Obviously by the title, I could tell it was going to be a weepy, but it wasn't all sad. The author added some humour in the midst of sadness and included it beautifully and sensitively throughout the book.

The book is about Claire, a Mum of 2 who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease and the effects the disease has on her nearest and dearest. There are chapters dedicated to each person in Claire's life and describes how the disease is also affecting them. 

This review is the hardest one I have had to write yet, as I loved this book, but don't want people to think it is predictable, because it isn't. It made me cry many times (once when I was on the bus!), but it also made me laugh as well as think how frustrating it must be to have a disease like Alzheimer's.

This book is written so beautifully that all I can say is that you must read it as it is so thought provoking. The characters are all described wonderfully and even when you think one or two of them are acting horribly, you can understand why they behave like that as the disease is destroying them as well as Claire.

As I was on the last 50 pages of the book I took it with me to another book launch as I wanted to read it on the way there. I was talking to my Blogger friend when Rowan turned up to say hello!! To say I was shocked is an understatement!! Once I got over my fan girl moment, I asked Rowan to sign the book for me, which she did!! I still can't get over it and became quite emotional!! What a lovely lady and when I got home I ordered The Runaway Wife (another recommendation by my friend!). 

Thank you Rowan for writing a truly inspiring book and it was an absolute joy to meet you!!

Read more about Rowan Coleman
Rowan Coleman lives with her husband, and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in the opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.
Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public. Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel, which was chosen as a Richard and Judy bookclub selection in 2014. Others include The Accidental MotherLessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity.

Friday 24 April 2015

It's my turn to host the Blog Tour for The Lie by C L Taylor PLUS SIGNED CL TAYLOR BOOK GIVEAWAY UK ONLY

Don't forget to enter my first ever book giveaway at the bottom of this post The lucky winner will receive a signed copy of 'The Lie' by CL Taylor. Competition closes 1st May 2015 UK only.

Thank you to Avon Books Uk for asking me to host the blog tour today for Cally Taylor's second thriller The Lie.

The Author
CL Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work in medical publishing. After two years she moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She currently works as a Distance Learning Design and Development manager for a London university. She credits Roald Dahl's 'Tales of the Unexpected' for her love of a dark, twisted tale.

The Lie by C L Taylor 

The Review ** NO SPOILERS**

I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of this book to read and then asked to become a host on the blog tour. I loved Cally's first thriller The Accident (which was one of my favourite books of 2014). I am also very pleased to say that I was invited to the book launch which was in the new Harper Collins building by London Bridge on 13th April. I had a fabulous evening meeting people from Avon Book UK, some lovely Bloggers' who I finally got to meet in person and the lovely Cally Taylor herself!

This is the story of 4 friends who decide to go on an adventure to Nepal after one of the friends Al's relationship breaks down. The four main characters all have stories of their own to tell and these materialise as the story unfolds. The main character "Jane" is leading a very different life to 5 years ago when the reason starts to unfold why, the story just grips you.

If you think this book is anything like The Accident you will be very much mistaken. The whole story, location and characters are totally different to her first book, which is great as I don't like it when authors write books and you can see similarities.

Cally describes the places in Nepal in great detail and again, she kept me on the edge of my seat and I spent most nights reading into the small hours as I just wanted to read "one more chapter"!! I must admit though, she described Isaac so well that I instantly disliked him and thought he was creepy to say the least! This makes Cally a superb author, because if you can instantly like or dislike a character just by their description, then you have done your job as a writer.

It was an excellent story and a fantastic ending, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely recommend The Lie and it looks like my husband and son will be reading it too and as Cally gave us a sneaky teaser of book 3 at the launch, I am already looking forward to reviewing her next book!!

Well done Cally!! 


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Thursday 23 April 2015

Today I finally got to meet Carole Matthews!!!

The Cake Shop in the Garden is published in paperback today and so I went along to Russell Square in London as Carole Matthews was holding a launch party there........with cake!! I have always wanted to meet Carole since I first read It's A Kind of Magic in 2008 and so cheekily I took my copy along (which is very faded at the edges now!) and she very kindly signed it for me. As soon as Carole saw me she knew who I was from my many comments on Facebook and Twitter over the years and called out to me! 

There was a table full of lovely home made cakes and although I brought some cupcakes, alas I didn't make them as I can't bake for toffee!!

There was a wonderful garden made of "Cake" and this gorgeous flowerpot was made of chocolate and the wall was made of fruit bread and nutella!! very clever.........

And there was even a couple of extra special guests....................

Her Majesty proved to be a very popular guest!!

And then as if the day couldn't get any better.............

Rowan Coleman popped by! and as I am currently reading The Memory Book (I am on the last few pages and wanted to finish it on the way home!) I obviously had it in my bag and so she very kindly signed it for me and by that time I had got a serious case of Fan Girl and became quite emotional!!!

What a wonderful day and certainly one I won't forget in a hurry!!

The Cake Shop in the Garden is available in paperback from today. Go and get your copy NOW!!!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

The Lie by C L Taylor Book Launch Party

Last night I went to the wonderful new Harper Collins buildings in London Bridge for my very first "Official" book launch as a Book Blogger! It was to launch C L Taylor's 2nd thriller The Lie and I will be reviewing it on my blog on Friday 24th April 2015.

I was really excited (but also nervous) as I was going to meet several fellow bloggers for the first time even though I have had numerous conversations with them on Twitter! I needn't have worried though, as they were all really lovely and a couple in particular have been very helpful in giving me advice whilst getting my blog up and running and for that I am truly grateful.

The author, Cally Taylor, is absolutely delightful and I was captivated when she read an excerpt from The Lie. I absolutely loved her first thriller The Accident, so this one had a lot to live up to and it certainly didn't disappoint (I won't say any more, you will just have to read my review!!).

The new Harper Collins building is fab, with gorgeous views over London, but as someone who suffers from Vertigo, I couldn't go near the edge of the windows, but the views were magnificent all the same!!

Thank you to Avon Books and Cally Taylor for inviting me to the book launch. All I can say is you must read this book.......................and roll on thriller number 3!!!

Friday 10 April 2015

All the Dark Secrets by Jennie Felton 

I begged the author and her publisher constantly for a copy of this book and boy am I glad I did!! The author also writes under the name of Amelia Carr and I have read most of her books and loved them so I knew I would feel the same about this one. 

All the Dark Secrets is the first novel in a series, mostly about the Donovan family who live in a mining community in a row of houses where the majority of the men in the family work down the pit. Maggie Donovan is the only daughter of Patrick and Rose and she has 3 brothers. Billy is her youngest brother and I really fell in love with his character, as he was so gentle and sensitive, but always getting picked on by the other boys in the street.

Sometimes with family sagas you can get confused as there seem to be a lot of characters, but the author expertly explains who each character is and I totally admired Maggie and could just imagine what she looked like with her dark hair and “Irish eyes”!

Sometimes with books if there is a dark, nasty character, it makes me really anxious (but I think that is extremely good as it means the author has done a good job in describing what the character is like!!) and this book was no exception! Reuben is a spoilt, selfish, nasty, manipulative (need I go on!!!) excuse of a man and it made my heart race whenever I was reading about what he was getting up to, but I loved the suspense of it all!

This book has everything a family saga should have – happiness, extreme sadness, love, death, births etc but above all it was a real page turner and even though I am not a particularly fast reader, I read it in a couple of days. The only thing now is that I will have to wait until September for the next instalment which will be called The Miner’s Daughter. Thank you Jennie for writing such a wonderful book. The only down side now is that I am having a serious book hangover!! 


Sunday 5 April 2015

How to be an Older Woman by Susan McPhail ****

The author kindly asked me to read and review this book and finally I got to read it this weekend. She told me there were some funny bits in it and boy were they funny! Let's just say I won't be able to have a bikini wax again without literally laughing out loud!! In between the funny bits there were some serious issues as the main character, Susan was downtrodden, lacking in confidence and on her way to hitting the big 5-0 (aren't we all!!). I did get a bit cross with Susan though, as she let her own Mother wear her down, but even her character was funny. The author described the other characters well and made them believable. Therefore I disliked her sister, brother in law and as for Creepy Colin!!!  

I liked the last paragraph as the author explained what happened to each character in the end and I hope I don't give too much away by saying Susan grew some balls!!! 


Friday 3 April 2015

Welcome to my very first Blog Tour...........

The Author
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester, aptly within sight of the dreaming spires of Strangeways prison. Able to speak five different languages, she gained a Master’s degree in Modern & Medieval Dutch and German from Cambridge University. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. In her spare time, she likes to run, mainly to offset the wine and fine food she consumes with great enthusiasm. Having authored the first six books of HarperCollins Children’s Time-Hunters series, she now writes crime thrillers for adults and contemporary women’s fiction. The first book in her gripping George McKenzie Series, “The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die” releases in digital format on 2 April 2015

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die ****


I was very excited to be asked to host this review on my blog as this is my very first Blog Tour! I wasn't sure if this book was my kind of genre but I do like psychological thrillers so thought I would give it a go! I must admit that there were a lot of characters (some of them with Dutch/German names) and with the places in Holland as well, I did find there were a lot of words I couldn't pronounce and ended up calling them my own version of names! But I soon got to know who the main characters were. I wondered if I was going to get confused with George and Ella and what the link between them was, but was pleasantly surprised with the link between the two and thought it was a very clever twist! I come from South East London originally and where Ella "lived" wasn't a million miles from where I used to live so I could sympathise about her being street wise and the language she used!

Marnie describes places and people brilliantly and in great detail and even I, who likes to think I have a strong stomach, had to wince now and again when she described injuries to victims!

I did sometimes get confused with the names of particular cults/religious groups, but if you stick with it, it is a great story. Apart from the thriller aspect, it tells the story about family and friendships and impending relationships and who you can and cannot trust.

This is the first book in a series about George McKenzie and I must admit, I would really like to read the next instalment to see what happens to George! Let's hope I am lucky enough to be able to review book 2!!