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

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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

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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 ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
(Clash of Kingdoms #1)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: 27th December 2016.

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SYNOPSIS

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.

She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.

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Book Review ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill ~ 4 Stars!

An exciting and engaging debut from author Erin Summerill, Ever the Hunted highlights this author’s talent for storytelling and world-building, and starts us on a journey that will take you across kingdoms in the fight for truth.

Ever the Hunted introduces us to Britt, a young girl left to fend for herself after her father’s murder months earlier. Britt is a strong character and I loved seeing her develop throughout the novel, especially as she becomes softer in heart, yet harder in mind. Her prior relationship with her father’s accused murderer added an exciting element to the story, and I loved seeing how she had to question what the evidence suggested, and with what her heart was telling her.

There is some gorgeous world-building in this novel, and I loved the story behind the clashes of the two kingdom’s (something I’d like to see further explored in future books in the series).

Overall this was a superbly written adventure through foreign lands in search of the truth, and I am excited to see where the series will take us next.

4 Stars!

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


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Erin Summerill

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Book Review ~ ‘After She’s Gone’ by Sheryl Browne.

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After She’s Gone by Sheryl Browne
(DI Matthew Adams #1)
Genres: Dark, Thriller, Romance
Release Date: 19th February 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?

There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.

When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.

But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.

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Book Review ~ ‘After She’s Gone’ by Sheryl Browne ~ 5 Stars!

Wow! What a thrilling ride! DI Matthew Adams is the new man in town!

I’ve read Sheryl Browne’s contemporary romance novels (which are amazing) so wasn’t sure what to expect with this first in her series of thrillers, but boy was it intense!

Sheryl Browne really gets people; how they think, what makes them tick, their loves and fears, and in After She’s Gone this was what really made the book sing. Matthew was a hero that wasn’t perfect, and we saw all the thoughts that went through his head, good and bad and his well-meaning, but sometimes badly executed plans to keep his family safe. We sit through them, and root for him throughout it all, because he was real and relatable.

Browne does similarly with this book’s villain, Patrick Sullivan. You’ll hate him, really despise him and all that he stands for. You’ll wish him dead, you’ll wish him arrested, you’ll wish he’ll fall over his own feet, or slip on a banana skin, but then he’ll show a human side. He’ll show pride and love for his daughter, he’ll miss his brother, he’ll freeze in fear at the sight of a spider, and your heart will break at what he has become, because maybe, just maybe he could have been a better person if he’d been brought up with a different family.

There is a beautiful romance throughout, and the family connections forged make this book extra-special. Amongst the police, the kidnappings, the deaths, there is the home and family life that Matthew treasures above all, and as his world begins to spiral apart, you will rush through the pages, desperate to know whether he’ll be able to have it back.

5 Stars, and bring on more DI Matthew Adams!

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


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Sheryl Browne

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Book Review ~ ‘You Were Here’ by Cori McCarthy.

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You Were Here by Cori McCarthy.
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 1st March 2016.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire.

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SYNOPSIS

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can- by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends- all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend; the heartbroken poet; the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome; and…Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panes and word art poetry. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park, You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak, and inevitable change.

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Book Review ~ ‘You Were Here’ by Cori McCarthy ~ 5+ Stars!

How do you review perfection? Likely I’ll just ramble on for a few lines about how amazing this book is, why you need to read it, and then just say wow a few times, but I hope you’ll get the hint and just grab a copy for yourself.

‘You Were Here’ is a book that you need to experience for yourself, because that is the sort of book and story it is. You don’t just read it, you experience it, feel it and come out of it a different person. You grow with Jaycee, you learn from Jake and you see things from perspectives you hadn’t thought of before. Told from five different perspectives, ‘You Were Here’ is the ultimate form of storytelling. Told through words, comics, art and thoughts we see five teens struggle as they come to the end of an era, and are leaving behind their lives as they know it for the start of adulthood.

Jaycee clings to the past as she mourns for her brother Jake who died in a tragic accident years before, Mik, a selective mute atones for his past sins, Natalie and Zach who struggle to end their long-term childhood sweethearts relationship, and Bishop who has experienced the loss of love for the first time. Together they help each other to understand and grow as they attempt to let go of Jake’s ghost, and Cori McCarthy wrote the whole story to perfection.

A beautifully written book which captured a part of me, there is suffering, romance, growing up and heart-ache as our protagonists have to learn to let go of the past to make way for the future.

5+ Stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ by Farah Oomerbhoy.

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The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy.
(The Avalonia Chronicles #1)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: August 15th 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ by Farah Oomerbhoy ~ 3.5 Stars!

I’m going to start off this review by saying to the author; Well done. Fantasy is a tough genre to write, there are so many rules and, particularly as a debut author, Farah Oomerbhoy has done a pretty good job. I enjoyed ‘The Last of the Firedrakes’ and I look forward to seeing where Aurora’s journey takes her in the next book.

This review will look mostly at some of the issues that I feel Oomerbhoy may have come up against when writing this novel, and how some of these may have slipped through into the final novel. But this is all constructive and I really do want other readers to have a look for themselves and enjoy the book for what it is; a very solid, exciting Young Adult Fantasy novel.

World building is hard in fantasy. It’s not so easy as making a land and moving from one place to another within it. There are so many things involved such as the kingdoms, the politics, the different creatures in each land and particularly the culture. Oomerbhoy brilliantly crafts a land where politics is key, and I really had a feel for the different agendas of the people we met.

There were a few parts that felt a little too out-of-reality for me. I love my fantasy for what it is; make-believe, but I always feel there needs to be an element of it that is believable, especially within the context of this world. For example, on many occassions our characters appear so quickly from one kingdom to another, almost outbeating a magical pegasus, and the explanation given is the old fae secret passages. I felt this was almost too easy, and felt let down that they didn’t have to struggle to get to each place. Imagine if Middle Earth had elven passages beneath Mordor. Frodo’s journey would have been a lot easier, and very much less enjoyable  to read.

The magical Pegasus ‘Snow’ as mentioned above, also seemed to appear at the most timely of occassions, particularly when our young heroine was in danger. It seemed to give her an out from some of the battles she no doubt would have faced without her there.

The reason for Aurora being brought into the land of Avalonia also seemed too unlikely for me. Her evil aunt Morgana feared that her neice, who knew nothing of Avalonia, magic, fae or even that she had an aunt, so had her brought through the veil to Avalonia in order to kill her and keep the throne her own? Wouldnt’ it be easier to just leave Aurora unaware in the other land where she can do no harm to Morgana anyway?

Character development, however, was what drove the story on. Rafe is a top book-boyfriend and I loved the array of characters that Aurora meets and befriends throughout the book. The author’s writing style was also so crisp and beautiful!

Overall this book was a enjoyable escape into the magical land of Avalonia. I’m looking forward to seeing where Rafe, Aurora and Kalen go next.

3.5 Stars!

*Review copy provided through Xpresso Book Tours Review Opportunities, in exchange for an honest review*


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Farah Oomerbhoy

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Book Review ~ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Laura E. James.

 

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What Doesn’t Kill You by Laura E. James
Genres: Dark Choc Lit, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Choc Lit UK

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SYNOPSIS

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath-taking shores of Dorset. It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.
Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

From Dark Choc Lit – compelling, emotional, hard-hitting novels. Not your typical romance story.

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Book Review ~ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Laura E. James ~ 5 Stars!

Wow, what a spine-tingling novel Laura E. James has delivered with ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’. Part of Choc Lit’s Dark imprint, James’ latest novel is a hard hitting story of love, family and betrayal in its many forms.

We follow this story from various characters points-of-view, all of whom we grow to love and cherish as the novel goes on. Griff, the hero of our story, is in the middle of watching his marriage crumble, yet unable to fix it. I loved seeing his perspective on his relationship with Evie, and his hopelessness in understanding why his wife is so distant. Evie has her own problems, not helped by her estrangement with Griff which she has the added guilt of having pushed him away. The dilemma she faces in trying to help Griff’s ailing father who wants her to aid him in his attempt to euthanise himself, and keeping her own family safe all wells up within her, andnd Laura James does a fantastic job at adding the pressure to Evie’s perspective and making the reader feel Evie’s stress that is constantly growing.

The perspective that I grew to love the most was of Evie’s teenage daughter Tess. Seeing the conflicting thoughts of this girl who has had a traumatic past, an uncertain future, and demons that she can’t share, was so heartbreaking that watching her develop and grow throughout the novel was something to treasure. As outside forces try to pull the only family that Tess has ever known apart, she is the one who shows the most strength and is the glue that fits the broken family together.

This story is a heartbreaking one. There are demons of the past that won’t let go, promises for the future that can’t be trusted, but most of all, a love so strong that giving up is not an option.

5 Stars!


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Laura E. James

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