Book Review ~ ‘Greatest Hits’ by Laura Barnett.

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Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Music
Release Date: June 15th 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

The new novel from the author of the number one bestseller The Versions of Us.

One day. Sixteen songs. The soundtrack of a lifetime…

Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album.

In the course of this one day, both ordinary and extraordinary, the story of Cass’s life emerges – a story of highs and lows, of music, friendship and ambition, of great love and great loss. But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago, and is there a way for her to make peace with her past?

Daughter. Mother. Singer. Lover. What are the memories that mean the most?

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Book Review ~ ‘Greatest Hits’ by Laura Barnett ~ 5 Stars!

Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us was one of my favourite books of 2015; so much so I have a copy in both Hardback and Paperback. So it was with much excitement and a little trepidation that I entered into Barnett’s second novel Greatest Hits. How will she create such a heartfelt story, one with as many twists and turns as she did before? But I needn’t have feared. Greatest Hits is a completely different story, but in it’s own way, just as fantastic as The Versions of Us.

Greatest Hits is an immersive reading experience, which takes us through the life of fictional singer Cassie Wheeler. A famed star, whose music and personal life had been at the forefront of the media for years before she disappeared from view, everyone is wanting to know when her next album will be released. As a middle-aged Cassie returns to her studio for the first time in years, she listens to and chooses the songs that best chronicle her life’s road as she takes herself and the reader down memory lane.

Laura Barnett writes with such an understanding of human emotion that in the space of 400+ pages, as a reader you feel as though you too have experienced all that Cassie has. She no longer becomes a character that you are reading about, but another part of you that you never knew you had. Throughout Cassie’s life, through her loves, losses, successes and failures, all are expressed through Barnett’s powerful prose, and the meaningful lyrics of the songs that Cassie chooses as those that have shaped the person she is.

Greatest Hits  is a reading experience that melds music and literature in a way that few people have achieved before. With lyrics by both Barnett and singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams, readers can also hear the sixteen of Cassie’s records in song on Williams’ album Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits.

5 Stars!


 

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Greatest Hits

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Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits

~ Kathryn Williams ~

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Laura Barnett

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Kathryn Williams 

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Book Review ~ ‘Summer in San Remo’ by Evonne Wareham.

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Summer in San Remo by Evonne Wareham
(Riviera #1)
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: 16th July 2017
Publisher: Choc Lit

35696702


 

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SYNOPSIS

Anything could happen when you spend summer in San Remo.
Running her busy concierge service usually keeps Cassie Travers fully occupied. But when a new client offers her the strangest commission she’s ever handled she suddenly finds herself on the cusp of an Italian adventure, with a man she thought she would never see again.
Jake McQuire has returned from the States to his family-run detective agency. When old flame Cassie appears in need of help with her mysterious client, who better than Jake to step in?
Events take the pair across Europe to a luxurious villa on the Italian Riviera. There, Cassie finds that the mystery she pursues pales into insignificance, when compared to another discovery made along the way.

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Book Review ~ ‘Summer in San Remo’ by Evonne Wareham ~ 5 Stars!

Summer in San Remo is the perfect summer read! If you are feeling stuck in a slump in rainy Britain, then this is the perfect book to transport you to sunny Italy! Romantic, fun but with hints of mystery throughout, this is the a book you devour!

We’ve all had strange requests in our jobs, but our heroine Cassie takes the cake. Having to find a husband in a day would be something she’d laugh at before, but as her ex-boyfriend has left her penniless, she’ll take any job she can. Cassie was a real laugh, and I loved following her story. She was a strong character, but felt all the more real to me by her willingness to scrape low. She didn’t just wait for something easy to come along, and she knew that to get her and her business out of the black, she’d need to do some not so great things.

Enter Jake. Oh what a gem. I adored his relationship with Cassie. The sparks flew and they had the best scenes together. Flirty, fun and warm, it was heartwarming to read. Both have problems in their lives, but together they put aside their past differences and get to heart of their mysterious job in San Remo – because there are mysteries to solve, and it’s these two who have to do it.

Escape to San Remo this summer with Evonne Wareham’s fantastic warm novel of love and mystery. You won’t be disappointed.

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


 

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Evonne Wareham

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Book Review ~ ‘The Girl on the Beach’ by Morton S. Gray.

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The Girl on the Beach by Morton S. Gray
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: 24th January 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

33297899


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SYNOPSIS

Who is Harry Dixon?

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says.

But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Girl on the Beach’ by Morton S. Gray ~ 5 Stars!

Morton S. Gray’s debut novel will blow you away! The perfect mix of romance, suspense and drama, I was at the edge of my seat throughout Ellie and Harry’s story, desperate to uncover the truths that were hidden, and see my favourite characters safe in their new life.

‘The Girl on the Beach’ tells the story of Ellie, single mum to teenager Tom, who after an abusive marriage has uprooted her life to a new town in the hope to keep her and her son safe when her ex-husband is released from prison. But her newly created life is threatened with the arrival of the new headmaster at her son’s school, a man who she knew and loved in another life as Ben, but who doesn’t remember her, nor goes by that name.

I loved the will-they/won’t-they storyline of Ellie and Harry, especially as we begin to see cracks in the life that Harry has created for himself, and Ellie starts to worry that she is clinging to the past. They were both strong characters who still had their flaws, which made me really connect to them. Ellie’s determination to keep her son safe above all else made for some brilliant Mother/Son scenes, which were some of my favourites in the book. As well as seeing both Ellie and Harry grow as characters, it was Tom’s development that I adored witnessing the most.

With some fantastic secondary characters, and a thrilling plot which will have you racing to the end, ‘The Girl on the Beach’ is a great mystery that you will still be thinking of long after you’ve turned the last page.

5 stars!


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Morton S. Gray

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Book Review ~ ‘Tell Me No Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey.

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Tell Me No Secrets by Lynda Stacey
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: 9th April 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

34837416


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SYNOPSIS

Can a secret be worse than a lie?

Every time Kate Duggan looks in a mirror she is confronted by her guilt; a long, red scar reminding her that she was ‘the one to walk away’ from the car accident. Not everyone was so lucky.

On the surface her fiancé Rob is supportive – but the reality is different. He’s controlling, manipulative and, if the phone call Kate overhears is anything to go by, he has a secret. But just how dangerous is that secret?

When Kate begins work at a firm of private investigators, she meets Ben Parker. His strong and silent persona is intriguing but it’s also a cover – because something devastating happened to Ben, something he can’t get over.

As Kate and Ben begin their first assignment, they become close. But, what they don’t realise is how close to home the investigation will bring them, or who will be hurt in the process.

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Book Review ~ ‘Tell Me No Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey ~ 5 Stars!

What a brilliant second novel from Lynda Stacey. I say this many a time, but Choc Lit has done it again!

Kate’s story is one that will resonate with many; how long can you allow yourself to be in the dark when someone you love has secrets that are damaging your life? I adored Kate, she was hard-working, had sound morals, and above all cared about those in her life. Her history was tragic, and in taking care of her twin sister Eve, paralysed from a car accident that killed their brother James and left only Kate walking away without serious injury, you can feel her survivor’s guilt seep off the page, and makes you root for her.

In walks Ben; (oh Ben, what a guy!) the Son of the ‘Parker & Son’ where Kate begins her new job in the world of Private Investigating, she begins to really accept how out-of-control her relationship with her fiance Rob has turned. Suspicious of his secrecy, and lack of warmth, their current investigation turns personal, and Ben is there to hold her up, and make her understand how badly she is being treated. Ben was a superb hero for our story, and I loved seeing how their individual healing processes developed after they met each other.

With twists and turns, mystery turning into a dangerous game of life and death, Tell Me No Secrets had me racing to the finish line, desperate to see how my new friends would fare in the war against drugs. Lynda Stacey made the situation feel so real by including a number of brilliantly created secondary characters, who you could relate to, or at least recognise from day-to-day life. Eric and Eve’s story was one that had me grinning from ear to ear, and I really enjoyed seeing the inner turmoil of Isobel, who even if you don’t like, you’ll see as a real human being with true emotions and fears.

A brilliant 5 Star read from Lynda Stacey!


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Lynda Stacey

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New Release + Book Review ~ ‘Little Teashop of Horrors’ by Jane Lovering.

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Little Teashop of Horrors by Jane Lovering
(Yorkshire Romances #7)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 28th March 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

34707765


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SYNOPSIS

Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex!

Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!

There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.
Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …

Another wonderful quirky, fun novel from this award-winning author. Sit back, grab the chocolate, you’re in for a real treat!

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Teashop of Horrors’ by Jane Lovering ~ 5 Stars!

Jane Lovering’s novels are always guaranteed to bring you joy, and Little Teashop of Horrors is no exception! With a heroine you’ll love because she’s just so genuinely, well, nice, and a hero who’ll creep up on you and steal your heart without you noticing, this is a tale that will have you laughing one minute, then sniffling into a tissue the next.

Amy was a joy as our heroine. We all know someone like Amy, who is too nice for their own good (and often wish we were like her when our tempers get the better of us), and one of the many joys of this book was seeing the transformation that Amy made from the beginning to a strong, young woman who stood up for herself, and realised her worth. It beautifully mirrored Josh’s own transformation whose story will have you near to tears. Lovering beautifully creates a tentative friendship between the two that you will root for from the beginning.

Filled to the brim with a quirky humour that Jane Lovering never fails to bring to her novels, you will laugh out loud throughout; Sam and his artichokes, Gran and her spoons – all are so relatable that you feel as though you too are a part of the Monkpark family. There were many moments that I wished I was sitting in the Monkpark cafe, sipping tea and eating cakes and plotting ways to get rid of the snotty manager Edmund.

A delight from start to finish, Little Teashop of Horrors is the perfect book to dive into this spring! 5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Only 99p for a limited time!

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Jane Lovering

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover.

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Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover
Coorah Creek #4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 2nd August 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

30619003


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SYNOPSIS

When a little girl goes missing, an entire town comes together to find her …

When Tia Walsh rides into the small town of Coorah Creek on a Harley-Davidson, Sergeant Max Delaney senses that everything about her spells trouble. But Tia’s trouble is not all of her own making, and the dangerous past she tried to leave behind is hot on her heels.

Sarah Travers has returned home after three years of college to find that her parents have been keeping a devastating secret. Her childhood crush, Pete Rankin, is facing his own struggle with a harsh reality that will take him away from the girl and the life that he loves.

Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete are all trying to find their future, but when a little girl goes missing in the harsh outback, nothing else matters except finding her safe.

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover ~ 5 Stars!

Oh how I loved, loved, loved this book! Janet Gover never fails to deliver with her heart-wrenching and beautifully delivered tales of Coorah Creek, and Little Girl Lost is no exception.

First off, I read this in about five hours one evening. I knew if I started it I wouldn’t put it down until I had finished, and I was fine with that, so I chose an evening where I didn’t have work the next day. A Coorah Creek novel always means an evening locked away reading. Second off, I finished this and then couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about the characters, the place, the story. I was obsessed.

Little Girl Lost is told from the view of four different characters. Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete all have one thing in common, Coorah Creek is a town that is hard to shake from your blood. Only Sarah is native to the town, so it was great to see her perspective after returning after years at college, and to see how it differed from Tia, who at first can’t take to the friendliness of the close-knit community without fear. A delivery driver Pete who always loves when one of his deliveries calls for a trip to Coorah Creek, and Max who has happily made the place his home, despite having had different plans for his future. I connected to each character on such a deep level, and loved seeing Tia and Max, and Sarah and Pete grow closer in their own ways, and how they had to overcome personal issues of all kinds to find happiness.

Seeing the town members band together to help find a missing girl was one of my favourite sections of the book. You could see through the masks that all the characters usually wear, as they let down their own defences all to help an outsider family. To see this family grow closer because of the ordeal was equally heartwarming!

I also adored the undertone throughout the novel of the main character being the town. Janet Gover beautifully portrays the town as the mother of all who shelter there, and it is this that makes me want to revisit it time and time again through these books.

With a host of great secondary characters who fellow series lovers will recognise, reading Little Girl Lost really is like coming home again.

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Janet Gover

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Book Review ~ ‘You’re the One That I Want’ by Angela Britnell.

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You’re the One That I Want by Angela Britnell
(Nashville Connections #4)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: 17th September 2016.
Publisher: Choc Lit

31508319


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SYNOPSIS

What if you didn’t want to fake it any more?
When Sarah, a teacher from Cornwall, and Matt, a businessman from Nashville, meet on a European coach tour, they soon find themselves in a relationship …

Except it’s a fake relationship. Because Matt is too busy for romance, and Sarah is only trying to make her cheating ex-husband jealous … isn’t she?

As Matt and Sarah complete their tour of Europe, they do all the things real couples are supposed to do – from visiting fairy-tale castles in Germany to recreating the scene from Romeo and Juliet in Verona. And, of course, for every picturesque destination there’s a loved-up selfie and Facebook post to match.

But as their holiday comes to an end, Sarah and Matt realise that they’re not happy with their pretend relationship. They want the real thing.

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Book Review ~ ‘You’re the One That I Want’ by Angela Britnell ~ 4 Stars!

A gorgeous little story, perfect for a cozy evening in, You’re the One That I Want is a lovely addition to the Nashville Connections series that will leave you with that feel-good vibe.

A shorter read, but no less impactful than a full-length novel, Angela Britnell creates a beautiful relationship between Matt and Sarah as they find themselves on the same coach trip on a tour around Europe with their mothers. The only two people under the age of 50, Matt and Sarah quickly get to know each other, but it’s safe to say that neither give the best first impression.

Britnell timed this story to perfection. Despite the short length, I believed the pace of the book, and could feel the claustrophobia that was getting to Matt from the hours on a coach away from his work, and how him and Sarah connected over the little snippets of information they gained of the other in the hours they had to spend together. Sarah’s annoyance at Matt’s attitude greatly echoed the annoyance she felt at herself for how childishly she was using Matt to make her ex-husband jealous.

You’ll love Matt and Sarah from the get-go, and will root for them to make it, through meddling mothers, nosy tour-guides and a distance of Cornwall to Nashville.

The only thing I hoped for was a little more closure. I had that moment of turning the last page, thinking another chapter could have seen Matt and Sarah talk through the problems of long-distance relationships and discuss a final solution to give the characters and readers some closure. Fingers crossed we’ll see a snippet of these great characters in future Nashville Connections stories to see how they fare!

4 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


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Angela Britnell

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