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Watching You, by Lisa Jewell (published 12th July 2018)

I’m astounded at how many fantastic books there are out there currently. I’ve had the opportunity to read some absolute crackers prior to publication and this is yet another.

Watching You is a murder mystery / thriller set in and around Melville Heights where various well defined and intriguing characters become more central to the plot as past connections between them are revealed.

It’s so cleverly written that right from the start your perception of what is happening and to whom is tested. It’s a pacey, proper crime thriller that I absolutely did not have a chance of solving. The perpetrator could be one of many and in that respect it has a Broadchurch-esque quality to it that I loved.

The story seamlessly weaves its way back and forth from the recent past to the present and characters are revealed from altering perspectives. It’s about people and relationships and involves the recollection of a chance meeting many years earlier. The characters are believable and I found my feelings towards them change as the story unfolded.

Without giving away any spoilers, watch out for a jaw dropping ‘WHAT??’ moment. I won’t say where it comes in the book but it left me cold.

It’s a chart busting, fabulous 5 stars from me. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for this advance copy, Watching You is released TODAY 12 July 2018.

 

The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton

I’ve just got back from Thailand and Malaysia. Well sort of. What I’ve actually done is read The Backpacking Housewife in the sizzling sunshine in the comfort of my own back garden. I didn’t have to get on a plane or even leave the country and yet I feel like I’ve been on an epic adventure.

When forty something Lorraine Anderson discovers husband Charles has been cheating on her with her best friend, her response is to grab her passport and run for the hills. What she doesn’t know is that the adventure she is about to embark on will provide her with the opportunity to escape a life she doesn’t realise is holding her back.

Lori meets an eclectic mix of fellow travellers, makes lots of new friends and enjoys encounters with turtles, orangutans, whale sharks and dolphins on her travels.

As she adventures through Thailand and Malaysia she throws herself whole-heartedly into every experience possible. It’s a refreshing and delightfully descriptive story of one woman’s journey from heartache to happy.

Lori emerges like a butterfly from its chrysalis into a new, relaxed, independent and confident version of her previous self. It’s a joyous journey and like many of the best and most convincing stories originates from the authors personal experiences. It’s not self indulgent, it feels like a beautiful possibility and I absolutely loved it.

So it gets five shimmering enlightened stars from me. Here’s hoping it’s a huge success. With thanks to Harper Impulse and NetGalley for the advance copy.

Available to download from 6th July 2018, it really is the perfect summer read. Don’t forget to take a look at other reviews on the book tour and then grab it, escape and enjoy!

Happy reading,

Jules x

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While I was Sleeping, by Dani Atkins (available July 2018)

While I was Sleeping is the latest novel by author Dani Atkins who also wrote one of my favourite books, Fractured.

28 year old Maddie is excited for her upcoming wedding when the unthinkable happens. A van knocks her down in a horrific accident. She wakes up and believes it’s seven weeks later but the tell tale signs are there and she soon discovers it’s six years and seven weeks later.

Fiancé Ryan visits but something feels wrong. Has he moved on in the intervening years and what does the future hold for Maddie as she struggles through rehab and physio to return to a normal life?

It’s an emotionally charged tale with an ending you won’t see coming and is an unusual story that depicts life after a moment in time that changes everything. Written in an easy style and with likeable characters, it’s a great read, which will be available on 26th July just in time for the summer holidays.

I loved it and the good news is that if you like this one as much as I did and you’ve not read Dani’s books before there are several others you’ll be able to catch up with and enjoy, written in the same style.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advance copy. It’s four stars from me.

Fabulous Finn, by Dave Wardell with Lynne Barrett-Lee

If you’re a dog lover you might already have come across Finn, the superhero police dog who saved his handlers life and took a life threatening knife to the chest.

I had seen Finn and handler Dave Wardell’s story on the television some time ago then more recently came across them on Twitter where I discovered that their incredible story, Fabulous Finn was about to be published.

So I put in my order on Amazon and within a couple of weeks the publishing date arrived and Fabulous Finn dropped through my letterbox.

If Fabulous Finn had been a work of fiction it would have moved me just as much as it has done knowing it’s a true story because it is written so beautifully – just how I would imagine having a chat with Dave himself might be. It recounts the events of the terrible day Finn and Dave were attacked whilst crime fighting and follows Finn’s subsequent recovery. It’s not for the faint hearted and you will need tissues. I full on sobbed several times over the course of the book. It left me feeling so proud of Finn and Dave and I don’t even know them.

But this is not just a story of a policeman and his dog, nor is it just a story of the twelve year old boy who made it his mission to work with dogs. It’s not just a tale of triumph over adversity in Finn’s recovery. No. It’s so much more. It delivers a message. And the message is that the law in relation to service dogs needs to change in this country. For once you’ve read this remarkable tale of a man and his dog, you’ll discover that the assailant who attacked Finn received zero punishment for the terrifying wounds he inflicted on him. And that’s because in law Finn is regarded as ‘property’ and not as the sentient heroic being he so clearly is.

If you’ve ever loved a dog, if you’ve ever connected with a pet, you’ll know that they are far from property. Finn’s Law aims to change things and give service dogs the recognition, courtesy and respect they deserve. Finn saved Dave’s life that day. Police dogs go to work each day and they serve and protect. Finn’s story is a timely reminder when news headlines are dominated by knife crime that life is fragile and special and important whether you’re human or canine. Out of all my book reviews so far this year, this is the one that matters the most.

So if you’ve got a minute, type ‘Finns Law’ into Twitter, better still follow @davewardell, maybe even buy the brilliantly engaging book Fabulous Finn and read this incredible story. Or of course you could even engage with the campaign for Finns Law directly at finnslaw.com

 

 

One Thousand Stars And You, by Isabelle Broom

Coming soon to a book shop near you is One Thousand Stars And You, by Isabelle Broom.

I hugged my kindle when I finished this one. What a heart warming, lovely read. It’s one of those you’ll want to keep on your bookshelf. I might even buy it in paperback so I can do just that – the front cover is just gorgeous. Oh and I’d also like a sequel please Isabelle if that’s not too much trouble!

Alice, Maur and Steph celebrate their impending thirtieth birthdays with a life-changing celebratory trip to Sri Lanka. When the girls meet ex-soldier Max and his buddy Jamal they settle easily together as a cheery little band of happy travellers. Back home, Alice’s mum and Alice’s fiancé Richard are worrying themselves silly. They’re hoping she’s being sensible. What if something happens to her?

It’s a lovely gentle read for a summer’s weekend. The characters are likeable and Alice’s personal journey is one that will resonate with readers enormously.

Now that I’ve discovered her I’m looking forward to reading more from Isabelle Broom. I give this one an additional five stars to add to the one thousand in the title. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for this advance review copy.

Gracie’s Secret, by Jill Childs (available summer 2018)

This book review starts with a wow! A big huge emotional and overwhelming WOW! I’m reading two books a week at the moment and I genuinely didn’t think that at this stage, and with 600 downloaded books on my Kindle that I would come across a piece of writing that would move me the way Gracie’s Secret has.

Gracie is three. On an average day during an everyday journey Gracie is involved in a horrific car accident that leaves her fighting for her life and having to be resuscitated by paramedics. Only Auntie Ella, who was driving the car knows what really happened but as Gracie recounts details of the journey and the events immediately afterwards her Mum, Jen realises there is more to her ex husband’s new girlfriend than meets the eye.

Jen is a woman of intensity. Her precious bond with Gracie and a blossoming romance with Doctor Matt dominate the weeks and months after the accident. But something is off. Jen just can’t get past what happened to her little girl and Ella’s involvement in it. Ella is hiding something and Jen is determined to find out what it is.

It’s a heartbreaking and thought provoking tale of a mother’s overwhelming and all encompassing love for her daughter.

I honestly thought I knew where this story was going but a couple of twists had me fooled and then there’s a huge, clever reveal that I simply didn’t see coming and it absolutely floored me.

It’s a rare and beautiful thing to be moved to tears by a story that also makes you reflect long after the book is finished and Gracie’s Secret delivers on this in abundance.

Loved it. So it gets five gently twinkling stars. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the chance to review this prior to general release. I hope it’s a giant success for the author.

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)