Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

I would like to thank the publishers,  Harper Collins,  for sending my a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Watching Edie tells the story of two friends,  Edie and Heather,  although Edie would much rather keep that friendship in the past where it belongs.  Since she was a teenager,  Edie  has been dreading the day that she would see Heather again,  but now Heather has turned up on her doorstep and Edie find herself digging up memories of past events that she has tried to forget for so long.  Pregnant and alone,  Edie has to turn to Heather for help,  but deep down she knows that the past can't stay buried forever.  After all,  someone has to pay for what has happened in the past, the only question is: Who is going to be?

There are so many psychological thrillers  on the market at the moment,  it would be easy to think that Watching Edie would be just any of the others, but you would be wrong. The minute I started reading this book,  I found it very hard to put down,  finding myself saying: Just one more chapter.  Watching Edie is the most unsettling book that I have read this year.  I loved how the story is told in two different time frames and by both of the friends,  Edie telling the story from present day and Heather telling the story from back when the girls were teenagers.

Both the characters of Edie and Heather are brilliantly developed from the very first page there was something about Heather's character that I found especially unsettling.  As the story progresses,  we get to see glimpses into Heather's past and the more we find out the more unstable the character becomes.  I started off liking the character of Edie a lot,  but as the book goes on and I found out that there is more to her character than meets the eye,  I started to develop a deep disliking for the character.  I think this is what adds to the appeal of the book.  We learn that the two girls are from very different backgrounds,  Edie being from a single parent family,  where her mother doesn't really care about her or anything she does and Heather coming from an over protective family due to the tragedy they have suffered in the past.  The contrast of the characters lives made it next to impossible to guess what had happened,  meaning that the end was a huge surprise.

Watching Edie is a brilliantly,  cleverly written psychological thriller that will get into your head and under your skin.  I never could have guessed the ending and being perfectly honest,  the ending made my blood run cold.  Watching Edie is unlike any thriller o have ever read before.  It is stunningly written and will make you keep turning the pages until you've closed the book for the final time.

I can't recommend this book enough.

4 stars

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Reunion by Roisin Meaney

Caroline and Eleanor Plunkett are sisters.  Born a year apart, they couldn't be more different.  Caroline was always the studious one, setting herself up for a great career, while Eleanor was just getting by at school.  The consequences of one night mean that Caroline finds herself separated from her family and living in England with a distant relative.  Eleanor much rathered spending time with her boyfriend and had no time for school work.  Things haven't gone smoothly for the sisters and each has had tough times in their life for various reasons.  What they don't realise is that they have more in common than they think.  When a school reunion invitation makes it's way into their respective letterboxes, both women find excuses as to why they can't and won't, but what they don't realise is that the invitation is going to open old wounds and bring back memories that they would rather forget.

Once again, Roisin Meaney has written a real cracker of a story.  Roisin is a very talented story teller and one of the best Irish authors that I have come across, and in my opinion, she does not get the recognition that she deserves.  The Reunion is full of emotion, making me cry both tears of joy and tears of sadness.  I loved that it focused on relationships within a family, showing that no matter how perfect a family looks on the outside, everyone has their own battles to fight.  Once I started this book, I just couldn't put it down, even having a very late night in order to finish it.  

I loved the characters in this book, especially Caroline.  I loved her from the very first page and my heart broke into a million pieces for her.  The characters of both the sisters are so well developed and I loved the back story that came with each of them.  I adored how the book jumped through time, going back to when the girls were at school and then jumping to the present day.  I love it when a story is told like this, because I feel that it is a real window into the lives of the characters, that you wouldn't get if the characters were just looking back on the past.

The reunion deals with so many issues, many of which are very sensitive and are dealt with beautifully.  Even though the book takes in quite a serious tone, it is still fairly light hearted and left me feeling warm.  What each of the sisters have been through is tough to read, but makes the characters so much more relatable.  

The Reunion shows how two people from the same family can live very different lives, how events can change the person that you become and that all families have their problems.  I adored this book from beginning to end.  I wasn't expecting it to take on such a serious tone, but loved how the story turned out.  You can see Roisin Meaney's heart and soul on every page.  The Reunion is full of compassion and is beautifully written.  I adored every last page.

4 stars

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me an arc copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Blurb:
It's Zoe's wedding day. She's about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help? Zoe hasn't seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she's been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she's very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory. As she struggles to cope with Gina's illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

Everyone who knows me, knows just how much I loved Katie's first novel, My Everything. Since I read My Everything last summer I have been eagerly awaiting A Life Without You. I was so excited when it came through the letterbox, that I dropped everything and started reading it straight away. I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

My Everything had such a lasting effect on me that I didn't know how A Life Without You could ever live up to it, but it did all of that and more. A Life Without You tells the story of Zoe, a high powered business woman who hasn't spoken to her mother in over a decade. Zoe is shocked when she gets a phone call minutes before she is due to walk down the aisle.

As the book progressed, so did the characters and what I loved the most about this book is the way that the relationship between Zoe and her mother, Gina, grows and develops throughout the book. Zoe is the perfect leading character in this book and I loved that she was strong enough to put the past behind her and move on, even though that was not an easy thing for her to do. Even though the story is told through Zoe's eyes, at the end of each chapter, there is a letter written to Zoe on each of her birthdays by Gina, which not only gives us an insight into Zoe's past, but also lets us see some of the story from
Gina's point of view and gives us a insight into what Gina's life was like throughout the years. If it wasn't for these letters being included in the book, I think that it would have taken a long time to like the character of Gina, but being able to see some things from her point of view made it easy to like Gina from the very beginning. I loved the character of Jamie, Zoe's fiance, enormously. Even though Zoe left him standing the alter and broke his heart, he stood by her when the going got tough and she needed him.

Katie Marsh has touched my heart, not because she has focused on a horrible degenerative disease, but because she has shown that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there is joy and laughter to be had, if you can find it in your heart to let the badness out and some light in. A Life Without You is a novel that will stay with me for a very long time. Yes, this book is about an illness, but it also about so much more. It is about the relationship between a mother and daughter, about putting the past behind you and forgiveness.

Katie's second book shows just what a talented author she is. Not many books can make me laugh and cry in the space of a paragraph. This novel is not only filled with Katie's words, it is filled with her heart and soul and shows that blood sweat and tears went into writing such a beautiful and touching novel. Without going into too much detail and ruining the story line, I just want to applaud Katie for dealing with such a sensitive subject so beautifully.

My Everything was my favourite book of 2015, and I fail to see another book that can come along this year and take the title of my favourite book of 2016 away from A Life Without You. I love everything about this book, from the striking cover to the beautiful tale that lies within it's pages. Katie Marsh is a hidden gem within the world of fiction and I cannot recommend her books enough. I will be shouting about this book to everyone who will listen. A Life Without You is not to missed.

5 stars

Because I loved this book so much I have decided to give a copy to one lucky winner.  You can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Fallout by Margaret Scott

The Fallout is set in the fiction DKB Bank in the Dublin's International Financial Services Centre.  It's 2011 and the country is still reeling from the banking crisis, when two letters arrive in the bank that will change the lives of the people who work there.  Kate O Brien is just getting back to work after an extended Maternity Leave, leaving her two small children at home.  Kate doesn't want any stress or drama, having enough of that at home with two children under the age of four, all she wants to do is go to work and do her job as best and as quietly as she can.  Mary Lawlor has been working at DKB for longer than she cares to remember. Mary is sick of having to do everyone else's job while they are at home looking after sick children.  She has had enough and she won't stand for the past repeating itself again.  Leona Blake has had to take on a huge work load after her husband lost his job.  Now her husband is at home all day with their seven year old daughter, while Leona has to work all the hours God sends in order to get them by.  Olivia Sharpe walked out of her job the Friday before Kate started.  After attending counselling, Olivia is starting to write things down, in an effort to take back control of her life.  What happened to Olivia was wrong, but is anyone going to pay for what was done to her?

The Fallout is told through the point of views of the many staff of DKB and their family members.  Even though there are many books out there that are told from two or three different point of views, I have never read a book like this one before.  I loved every page of it, Margaret Scott is a very talented story teller.  The pages seemed to turn themselves.  Each chapter was short and to the point and left me wanting more.  I could easily have read this book cover to cover in a few short hours, but I am glad that I didn't and instead chose to savour the story.

The characters in The Fallout were so well written, with some that I loved and others that I loved to hate.  Each character was so well developed and had a back story that was discovered the further into the book I got.  I loved that no one character had it all and that instead each character had their own cross to bear.  It made them seem so much more real and it made it a lot easier to relate to each character.  What I loved the most about this book is that it focused on ordinary people and how the recession affected them personally.  As there is not one person in the country that hasn't been affected in some way by the recession, everyone will be able to relate to The Fallout.

The Fallout also highlights the troubles that working women face in the modern day.  This book is for every woman who tried to work while being a wife and mother.  It shows how hard it can be to find the balance between working life and home life.  The Fallout also hinted at issues such as post natal depression and dealt with the issue of reflux.  Both of these are issues that many new mothers face and The Fallout shows how women are expected to leave their personal life at the door when they start work each morning, despite that fact that they may have been up all night with a screaming baby or that they don't feel themselves.  I don't have any children of my own yet, but I did work in childcare for four years and I have seen first hand how hard parents feel leaving their children in a creche all day while they go out to work.  I have seen the guilt that they feel at leaving their baby in someone else's care, while they miss out on huge milestones such as first words or first steps.  This is why I was able to relate to these women so much.

The Fallout is a real cracker of a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more until you turn the very last page.  It's a very different story to anything that I have ever read before and I loved that it showed what the recession was like from a bank's point of view.  Margaret Scott is a very talented lady and I can't recommend this book enough.

5 stars

Friday, 8 July 2016

My six favourite books of far

As June is now a not so distant memory and that means that we are already more than half way through 2016, I have decided to share my favourite 5 books of 2016 so far. However, I couldn't whittle it down to just 5, so I've actually named 6 instead.  2016 seems to be the year of unputdownable books, with so many already fighting for a place as my book of the year (I don't think that I'll be able to pick just one, though).  Even picking 6 from the list of brilliant books that I have read so far was hard, but here they are, in no particular order I might add:


The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

There are not enough words in the world that will describe how much I loved this book.  Hazel Gaynor is one talented lady and is in a class of her own when it comes to writing historical fiction.  The Girl From The Savoy has changed the way that I look at historical fiction and has stolen a little piece of my heart. 

The Blurb:

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but the outbreak of war takes everything from her: Teddy, the man she loves – and her hopes of a better life.
When she secures employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly’s proximity to the dazzling guests makes her yearn for a life beyond the grey drudgery she was born into. Her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to an unusual newspaper advert and finds herself thrust into the heady atmosphere of London’s glittering theatre scene and into the sphere of the celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry.
All three are searching for something, yet the aftermath of war has cast a dark shadow over them all. A brighter future is tantalisingly close – but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

You can buy The Girl From the Savoy here.


A Life Without You by Katie Marsh

Katie Marsh has quickly become one of my favourite authors.  I adored Katie's first book, My Everything, when it came out last year, so much so that it was my book of the year for 2016, and A Life Without You may very well be following in it's footsteps this year.  I know that technically, the book isn't out in paperback until next week, but the kindle version came out on June 16th and I read this book back in April, so I'm adding it in.  A Life Without You is a very touching read, that will both warm and break your heart.  I can't recommend this book enough and I sincerely hope that it gets all of the praise and recognition that it so rightly deserves.

The Blurb:

Can you ever outrun the past?
It's Zoe's wedding day. She's about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?
Zoe hasn't seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she's been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she's very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.
As she struggles to cope with Gina's illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?
A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past - and the possibilities of the future.

You can buy A Life Without You here.


These Days Of Ours by Juliet Ashton

2016 is the year that I discovered Juliet Ashton, technically speaking, I had discovered her other books, written under different names, but These Days Of Ours and The Valentines Card were discovered in 2016, so I'm going with it.  I didn't know what to expect when I picked this book up, but I didn't expect to spend a very long night making my way through a box of mansize tissues.  But that is what happened.  These Days Of Ours is a weepy one, full of happy tears and sad tears.  I just loved this book.  Everything about it was just perfect and it is so beautifully written.  Juliet Ashton is definitely my best find in the book world of 2016.

The Blurb:

Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
Kate has always loved Charlie - they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn't always follow the journey it should.
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won't it…?

You can buy These Days Of Ours here.


The Judge's Wife by Ann O'Loughlin

The Judge's Wife is another book that I didn't know what to expect from and yet another one that swept me off my feet.  Set in Dublin in the 1950's and 1980's, telling the story of a Judge's wife and her daughter.  Spanning over three decades this book is so beautifully written and tells such a beautiful story. I adored each and every page of this book.  It has such heart and yet again left me a weeping mess, but it was so worth all the heartbreak to get to that gorgeous bittersweet ending.  I can't find the words to describe just how much I love this book.  It is a book that I will be recommending to just about everyone.

The blurb:

When Emma returns to Dublin to put her estranged father’s affairs in order, she begins to piece together the story of his life and that of Grace, the mother she never knew. She knows her father as the judge – as stern and distant at home as he was in the courtroom. But as she goes through his personal effects, Emma begins to find clues about her mother that shock her profoundly.
A tale of enduring love and scandal that begins in 1950s Dublin and unravels across decades and continents, digging up long-buried family secrets along the way, The Judge’s Wife asks whether love really can last forever.

You can but The Judge's Wife here.


The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney

If you follow me on twitter you may have heard that I love this book!!! I absolutely loved You, Me and Other People last year, so I was jumping for joy when this hit the shelves.  I didn't know how she was going to beat  the first novel, but this was miles ahead of it.  If this book was a rollercoaster, I would have been very very sick coming off of it, the amount of twists and turns in this book is unbelievable and just when I thought that I had it all figured out, another twist would pop up out of nowhere and lead me down a completely different path.  I read this book in one sitting, not going to sleep until 5 a.m. because I couldn't put it down. (It wasn't a school night, don't worry!).  

The blurb:

When Jess’s daughter, Anna, is reported lost in an avalanche, everything changes.
Jess’s first instinct is to protect Rose, Anna’s five-year-old daughter. But then she starts to uncover Anna’s other life - unearthing a secret that alters their whole world irrevocably . . .

You can buy The Day I Lost You here.


Fix You by Carrie Elks

Fix You is one of the first books I read in 2016 and it has stayed with me since.  I'm not sure what it is exactly that has drawn me to this story, but there is something extremely special about it.  I adored how this story moved through time, starting in 1999 and finishing in 2021.  Each and every character is beautifully developed and written.  There isn't one thing that I disliked about this book.  When I read Fix You, I had five assignments on the go, as well as 2 exams to study for.  Fix You was the perfect distraction to take me out of my own world, and into Hannah and Richards.  Without a doubt one of the best books that I will read this year.

The Blurb:

On New Year's Eve, 1999, Hanna and Richard meet. She is a born and bred Londoner with plans for a career in journalism. He is the son of a wealthy New Yorker and destined for Wall Street. As Hanna and Richard go back to their own worlds they keep in touch, and when Hanna has her heart broken it's Richard she turns to. They reunite and fall deeply, madly in love.
But they can't possibly imagine the ways their love will be tested. Fifteen years after they first meet, neither can bear to hear the other's name spoken. Then one day Hanna walks into Richard's office and reveals a shocking secret. Richard must decide if he can forgive her. And both need to choose whether to take a second chance on happiness, or if their love is beyond repair?

You can buy Fix You here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Judge's Wife by Ann O Loughlin

It's 1954 in Dublin and only days after giving birth to a daughter, Grace is taken to Our Lady's Asylum by her husband and aunt to help to recuperate.  Grace finds herself embarrassed with nobody to turn to, not even her elite status as a Judge's wife will help her here.  

Fast forward to April 1984, 30 years after the death of her mother, Emma, the Judge's daughter returns from Australia to attend the Judge's funeral.  Meanwhile, in India, Vikram, the man that Grace fell in love with all those years ago, is planning on returning to Ireland to visit his beloved Grace's grave.  But before he can do that, Vikram has to try to put the awful memories he has of his last few weeks in Ireland all that time ago behind him.

To my dismay, I managed to completely miss The Ballroom Cafe when it came out last year, but after reading The Judge's Wife, I am counting down the days until I can get to a book shop to buy it.  To say that I loved The Judge's Wife would be an understatement.  I couldn't believe the amount of emotion I felt whilst reading this story.  I was utterly blown away by Ann's attention to detail.  She wrote both the 1950's and the 1980's beautifully, and there was a stark difference between the two eras.  Without going into too much detail on each of the decades, she was able to create a feel for both decades, which is probably what I loved the most about this book.

The characters in this book are so well written and are developed beautifully.  I have never loved a character as much as I loved Grace.  My heart broke into a million pieces every time a chapter was told from her point of view.  She really is the most loveable character and I adored her from the very first page until the very end.  Even though, the character of the Judge is a hard character to like and I really disliked him at the beginning of the book, by the end, his letters to his loved one's had me in tears and the villain of the story, very nearly turns into the hero.  Emma, Vikram, Mandy and Rosa, all added something very special to the story and I adored the chemistry between all of the characters.

The Judge's wife, for me, was a very hard book to read, because I cared so much for the characters, that it became hard to see them go through a hard time.  The Judge's Wife is without a doubt the heart warming and heart breaking story I have ever read.  Within the space of one paragraph I was crying tears of utter sadness and then tears of pure happiness.  It's a end that I didn't see coming in a million years and there are plenty of little twist and turns thrown in to keep you interested throughout.  

Ann O Loughlin could not have written a better book.  It is full to the brim with emotions and is just as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.  I am so happy that I got the opportunity to read this amazing book.  The Judge's wife is simply stunning and had me spellbound from beginning to end.  It tells a very real story, that lots of women had to go through back in the 1950's, it really shows us how lucky we are to be living in a time where this is no longer the norm.  It makes you appreciate all that you have.  Please, please, please, read The Judge's Wife.  I could never do it enough justice in a review and I hope the Ann and the Judge's Wife have all the success that they deserve with this amazing story.

5 stars  

You can buy The Judge's Wife on kindle and in paperback here.


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