Posted in Book Review

Review: Vox, by Christina Dalcher (available Aug 2018)

Imagine. You’re a top neurolinguist in a near present dystopian US where men matter most. You have 100 words per day in which to be heard. Reverend Carl’s devastating Pure Movement has all but silenced women. However now they need YOU to deliver a cure for aphasia. Something is amiss. You fear for your life and the lives of loved ones. How far will you go to protect them? Can anyone bring Pure to its knees and in doing so will they have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

It’s superb. I give it five chartbusting stars. It will leave you feeling outraged and alarmed. You’ll want to ….. (DANGER 100-word limit exceeded)

Posted in Book Review

Review: The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan

I’ve been reading some fantastic but quite dark, harrowing and complex stories just lately so The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan was the perfect antidote and an absolute breath of summery fresh air.

A double whammy of heartbreak and tragedy hits radiographer Juno for six and she takes time out in Spain to heal. Pretty soon her troubled soul is calmed by Villa Naranja, a cat called Banquo, and the local Beniflor community. With her heart on the mend, (in no small part due to a little romance with pool guy Pep) a phone call out of the blue threatens to disturb the fragile new balance in Juno’s world. How will she react and will she return happily to life back home or stay on in sunny Spain?

This is a sit out in the sunshine with a Pimms read. Just make sure you have a few hours to enjoy it, as you won’t want to put it down. You can’t fail to love central character Juno or the atmosphere of Villa Naranja and it’s a lovely read that will make you smile.

Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for the advance copy. I thoroughly recommend The Hideaway and give it five sangria laced shimmering stars. Why not add it to your bookshelf when it’s published in a couple of weeks on 17 May 2018.

Posted in Book Review

Review: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Cross Her Heart is the new psychological thriller by best selling author of Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough. It’s due for release in May 2018 and let me just start by saying that it completely delivers.

It’s Lisa’s story. Lisa is the polite, friendly, unassuming and slightly over protective Mum of Ava. Ava is sixteen, thinks she knows everything and is at a time in her life when the world holds opportunity and the potential for love and excitement.

Although the mother / teenager relationship initially appears pretty standard there’s much hidden. Multiple narrators in Lisa, Ava and Lisa’s friend Marilyn tell the story. Lisa’s story is also divided into three timelines, Before, After and Now. It sounds complicated but it’s honestly not and the story weaves seamlessly from one timeline to the next.

In the here and now, keen swimmer Ava heroically rescues a child in a near drowning incident and secrets hidden deep in the past are upended, revealing a tragedy that ripped friendships apart and completely changed lives.

The three main characters are completely credible. They are both vulnerable and strong, feisty and at the same time helpless and each carries their own burden. Intriguingly, the male characters in this story are mostly abusive or untrustworthy which brings into question the motivation of the only one who isn’t.

It’s a gripping story of women and struggle, of love and friendship, of secrets, betrayal and lies.

The story questions stereotypes of poverty and extreme abuse versus stability, normality and relative prosperity.

I give it five stars because it’s original, disturbing, harrowing, twisty and complex. Don’t miss it!

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, HarperFiction for the opportunity to preview this book prior to publishing date.

Posted in Book Review

Review: The Songs Of Us, by Emma Cooper

Rarely does a book come along that is as unique and mesmerising as The Songs Of Us. It’s reminiscent of (and in my humble opinion right up there with) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Cecilia Aherne’s PS I Love You.

The story is about the aptly named Melody and her propensity to involuntarily sing completely appropriate songs at entirely inappropriate moments. It’s about coping with loss, wading through the treacle of heartache and moving on with life. It’s a story about the wonderful sibling bond between Melody’s two angsty and troubled teenage children Flynn and Rose that proves the love of family conquers all.

The Songs Of Us is a completely unique and skillfully written tale. The book is littered with references to and lyrics of popular songs that most readers will recognise and with that in mind is a ready made soundtrack to what would undoubtedly make an unusual and touching film. The songs are cleverly written into the fabric of the story and never feel as if they’ve been shoehorned in.

What makes this book so special is Emma Cooper’s ability to make you laugh out loud in one upbeat and hilarious chapter and then have you crying silent, desperate tears in the next.

If it had been a hardback I’d have hugged it at the end. It was however a digital review copy so hugging was tricky. Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for the opportunity to review such a terrific book prior to general release.

The Songs Of Us is out in September 2018. Make a note and buy this one. I’m giving it five gently glittering and slightly tearful stars.