Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Blood-tied - Wendy Percival

Blood-TiedBlood-Tied by Wendy Percival
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a lovely surprise, a very well written debut, which keeps you turning the pages wanting to find out a little more about a mystery with its roots hidden in the past.

Elizabeth lies in hospital beaten and unconscious after being attacked for no apparent reason. Her sister Esme, a genealogical researcher believes there is more to the attack than a random mugging and despite Elizabeths daughter Gemma's reluctance decides to put her analytical research skills to good use and begins her own investigation, uncovering some unpleasant and puzzling truths and secrets about her sisters past and placing her own self at risk in the process.

This will hold great appeal for anyone interested in genealogy and anyone who likes a family drama or cosy mystery a super quick read I can highly recommend.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Before We Met - Lucie Whitehouse

Before We MetBefore We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a cracking thriller!

Hannah is a lucky young woman, she has a rich, handsome, successful, loving husband Mark and lives in a fabulous luxury home in London. Although she had to give up her own career in New York when they moved back to the UK where Marks' company's based and has been unsuccessful in getting herself a new job everything else in the garden is rosy for her ... but not for long.

We meet her when she is at the airport awaiting Marks return from yet another business trip back to the USA, as the hours pass and he doesn't turn up we begin to worry with her, especially when details about his trip don't seem to add up. She can't contact him, his work colleagues seem to have been told a different story about his destination and a mysterious woman is mentioned whom Hannah has never heard of. Naturally, she tries to find out what's going on but the deeper she digs the more she uncovers that can't be easily explained.

As the mystery deepens I began to jump to similar conclusions as Hannah but what unfurls seems even worse than expected and her privileged, happy, married life starts to unravel. To say a book is full of twists and turns seems very trite, but there really is no other way of describing this absolutely enthralling thriller, expect the unexpected and you won't be disappointed. I kept reading far later into the night than I usually do as I just needed to find out a little more and every time I thought I had it sussed, something else came along to make me gasp.

I found the ending genuinely quite terrifying too!

I've read Lucie Whitehouses' previous novel The Bed I Made and hugely enjoyed that as its also tense and exciting, but this surpassed my expectations - what a great writer! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for future work by her and I extend my gratitude to Netgalley for my advance review copy.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Book giveaway - Mrs Sinclairs suitcase - Louise Walters

I am offering an advance reading copy of the book Mrs Sinclairs suitcase by Louise Walters. It is my own pre-loved copy and looks like new.

Its  large format paperback and the book is due to be first published in hardback in February so it's a chance to read it before everyone else.

You can read my review here


This draw is open to UK readers only

You need to comment on this post why you'd like to win it and give me a way of contacting you - your blog/ email or website.

Also make a comment on any other post on this blog.

You also need to follow my blog with Google friend connect which you'll find by scrolling down the right hand side.

That's all you need to do however it would be nice if you'd also share this giveaway too.

EDIT - The winner has been picked and its Jane - congratulations Jane I hope you enjoy your book,

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Spice merchant's wife - Charlotte Betts

The Spice Merchant's WifeThe Spice Merchant's Wife by Charlotte Betts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This author is back on tip top form with this stunning historical romance. I adored The Apothecary's Daughter but was a touch disappointed by the follow up to it The Painter's Apprentice which didn't captivate me quite so much as its predecessor.

This latest book blew me away, it was just sheer escapism and so evocative of the period I felt I was there in London experiencing the horrors of the great fire of London and the subsequent rebuilding of the houses and businesses turned to ash by the conflagration. I could visualise the miles of devastation and destruction and the helpless fold trying to flee to safety amidst chaos and panic and I could smell the choking smoke drowning out all the other ripe odours of this time.

It is a purely romantic novel but so well written it’s head and shoulders above the usual restoration romance in this genre. It tells the story of Kate, the eponymous Spice merchants’ wife, recently married to Robert, son of a wealthy spice merchant with the imminent inheritance of his fathers’ business to look forward to. Although not a love match - Kate married him mainly to escape from a life of misery and drudgery with a cruel aunt, as was often the case for young women with few choices available to them. She finds herself married to a man she barely knows, however she aims to be a good wife and is looking forward to creating their first home together and is already longing for children of her own to love, when disaster strikes and fire ruins thousands of lives. As the spice warehouse goes up in smoke, together with their new home so do their plans for a well heeled future together.

Here begins a struggle to survive which tests Kates fortitude to its limit, reduced to living hand to mouth in an overcrowded slum, when Robert throws in his lot with an affluent and influential builder involved heavily in the restoration of London, Kate nevertheless instinctively mistrusts her husbands’ new boss. I don’t blame her!

When even more tragedy leaves her in an increasingly desperate situation, fleeing a would be murderer, she seeks help from her new friends the Hartes, blind perfumier Gabriel Harte and his kind but plain wife Jane. Kate soon begins to find herself having to resist her feelings towards Gabriel. Its’ hardly surprising that a book featuring a spice merchant and a perfumier relies heavily on odorific descriptions – but my nose was in overdrive all the way through!

I found this to be very descriptive without resorting to the flowery speech of the day which can make historical fiction irksome to read. I must admit I found a couple of glaring errors which though annoying weren’t enough to put me off the wonderful story – (Kate mentions a boy in church making vampire teeth from orange peel) I’m pretty darned certain vampire wasn’t a term used in the 1600s and the phrase “he was fit to be tied” didn’t ring true either.
However I loved the storytelling, the descriptions and the overall feel of the book I haven’t deducted any points for these small mistakes.

With several very emotional tragedies and sad and happy events which had me in floods of tears this is one not to be missed if you like your historical romance to transport you into someone elses shoes to experience a historical diorama with all its accompanying sights and smells – sensational.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Cheesemakers House - Jane Cable

The Cheesemaker's HouseThe Cheesemaker's House by Jane Cable
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow what a really terrific spooky romance. I won a signed copy of this book and was thrilled as it's set in Northallerton, North Yorkshire - which is about 12 miles from my home and a place I regularly visit. I love to read books in settings with which I'm familiar.

However it's such a beautifully written, easy to read story with memorable characters that I'm sure I'd have loved it just as much wherever it was set.

The main protagonist is Alice, 30 something, recently divorced and busy settling into her new life as a newly single woman in an old cottage in North Yorkshire which she aims to renovate. She rapidly makes new friends in Owen, gentle kindly, local cafe owner with a reputation as a "charmer" which doesn't mean he's a flirt and Richard, good looking builder working on her cottage renovation. Margaret keen gardener, a vicar's wife Jane and cafe cook Adam all find places in her new life.

But all is not going quite as swimmingly as it would appear, she is frequently disturbed in the night by loud crying which she is unable to pinpoint, she begins to see Owen in places he can't possibly be, then an unsettling discovery is made during the renovation work and Alice begins to fear for her own and Owens sanity.

I found I rattled through this book in a couple of days, I was charmed by Owen, no pun intended and captivated by the gentle ghost story.

Reminiscent of books by Susanna Kearsley and Rachel Hore this is a delightful romantic read.

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour Hello blog readers and book lovers. Today I am joining in t...