#BlogTour ~ Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy (@VivWrites) @HQDigitalUK

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy, the new Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois mystery!

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About the book..

‘Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked danger…

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined

 

My Review.

(Although I am part of the blog tour for this book, I voluntarily read and purchased my own copy of this book)

This is the fourth instalment of the Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois mystery but I personally think it can be read as a standalone story if you haven’t read the other books. The book gives us enough knowledge of each character to not spoil too much in the previous cases they have worked on.

I really warmed to Lady Alkmene Callender and found her a feisty character, a sort of younger version of Miss Marple (another character I love!). Her relationship with Jake Dubois is written brilliantly  and I loved their interactions with each other even though they are from completely different ends of the ‘social’ scale.

Once again they are thrown into a murder mystery following a grand ball at the family home of Denise Hargrove, Lady Alkmene’s slightly snobby best friend. Herself and Jake are determined to stop an innocent person from being convicted of the crime.

I found this to be a lovely cosy crime, which I adore reading and I was kept guessing until the last pages. A really enjoyable caper and it left me wanting more! Hopefully there will be more to come from this talented writer and the characters of Alkmene and Jake.

Follow the rest of the tour below…..

Blog Tour

 

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#CoverReveal ~ Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove by @EmilyHarvale #ChristmasSecrets

Christmas Secrets In Snowflake Cove Cover Reveal

Welcome to my blog for the exclusive cover reveal of the new Christmas book by Emily Harvale.

To start, here is a little about the book…

Christmas is a time for family and friends, miracles and magic, falling snow and roaring fires, fun, laughter and festive feasts. In Snowflake Cove, it’s also a time for secrets to be revealed…

Evie Starr is hoping for more than a sprinkling of magic this Christmas. The family-run Snowflake Inn is virtually empty and the Starr’s financial future isn’t looking bright. But Evie’s gran, Jessie has a secret that might help.

Enigmatic, Zachary Thorn is every woman’s dream. He’s also ex-SAS, so his secrets are classified. The Christmas Special of his feel-good, TV show is set in Michaelmas Bay – until a phone call means he’s spending Christmas in nearby Snowflake Cove.

Evie’s best friend, Juniper thinks boyfriend Darren has a secret. Evie knows he does. And Evie’s niece, Raven is hiding feelings for Juniper’s brother – who has a secret crush of his own.

But the biggest secret in Snowflake Cove is the identity of Raven’s dad.

With snow falling thick and fast and secrets being revealed one after another, will everyone be snuggling up by the fire on Christmas Eve, or are some secrets best kept hidden…?

I have read Emily Harvale’s books previously and can confirm they are really enjoyable and just as good as her covers!

This lovely book is published on 1st November and can be pre-ordered here:  

Without further ado…..

CSiSCfor KINDLE

About Emily:

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

I can’t wait to read – hopefully you are excited about it too!

 

#Extract ~ The Secret Mother by @ShaliniBoland @Bookouture

Welcome to my blog which is one of many that is hosting an exclusive extract from The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland (this is exactly the type of book I love!)

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Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

 

Here is the exciting first chapter!

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

 

The Secret Mother is released on 9 November 2017:

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

#Review ~ This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

 

Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships . . .

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, these diaries are everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.

 

Brilliant……funny…….sad……..

This is a brilliantly written, often tongue in cheek experience of a doctor qualifying working for the NHS.

The experiences are real and you can often sense the despair that some of the staff in hospitals go through on a daily basis.  How they cope and continue going back for more is beyond me. But they do and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Adam Kay writes with blistering honesty but writes so well that it isn’t all doom and gloom, the book is incredibly funny a lot of the time, you cheer with him when he delivers a newborn baby but you also shed a tear when patients unexpectedly die and feel utterly heartbroken too. The NHS lost a good doctor when he decided to leave but completely understandable.

Really enjoyed every page and read it over a two day period – I think that says it all!

#Review ~ Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson 

“Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there’s kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…

Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.

Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.

Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?”

I really enjoyed this book and loved being reunited with familiar characters from the other Comfort Food Cafe books. It felt like seeing old friends again and finding out what they have been up to!

The Comfort Food Café once again takes centre stage in this book and brings us new characters, Zoe and 16 year old Marsha who are still grieving the loss of Marsha’s mum and Zoe’s best friend Kate.

Following a move to Dorset for a new start  they are taken under the wing of the inhabitants and residents and begin to discover the magic the community and the cafe have on them.

It’s a lovely story that is well written – you feel the grief Zoe and Marsha are going through as they attempt to simply get through each day.

This is becoming a lovely series and I can’t wait to read more. The characters genuinely feel like family and I will miss them dearly until next time!

Thank you to Netgalley for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.

#Review ~ Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by Linn B. Halton 

The countdown to Christmas is usually a time, but Elena James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.

Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?

I can’t believe I have read my second Christmas book already and what a treat this one was! I’ve read some of Linn Halton’s other books and this one didn’t disappoint.

We are introduced to Elana who sadly lost her husband Niall the previous year and their young daughter Maya. Elana and Niall’s dream was to restore their cottage to its former glory – since Niall’s death Elana just can’t summon the energy to carry on with this and is living in limbo not sure how to move forward.

Luke is the builder who comes into Elana’s life and helps her see there is life after a bereavement, whilst also helping with Elena and Maya’s dream of completing the Bay Tree Cottage in time for Christmas.

The story is split into the different perspectives of Luke and Elana which I thought was a really good idea. It wasn’t all one sided and Luke brought his own issues to the story. They were both broken and tentative about moving on.

It wasn’t a straightforward story and I think this stopped it from being your run of the mill Christmas romance.

I found this a lovely story and had a lump in my throat at the end – I would highly recommend!

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BlogTour ~ Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin by Catherine Ferguson @_cathferguson @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin!

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When Poppy’s boyfriend Harrison proposes the week before Christmas and gives her twelve days to decide, she doesn’t know what to do. With the festive season in full swing, it’s make or break time for the couple and the clock is ticking…

Meanwhile, Poppy’s best friend Erin is desperate for the pair of them to fulfil their dream of setting up a dinner party catering company – and when an opportunity arises at a luxury log fire cabin, the girls take their chance to impress. But they hadn’t bargained on the owner of the cabin being quite so attractive – or having quite such a sexy voice.

As the twelve days tick on, will Poppy realise that Harrison is the one for her? Or will it be love in the lodge when the New Year comes?

Having read some of Catherine Ferguson’s previous books, I was happy to discover that there was another book being released – better still it was a Christmas book!

I really enjoyed this book – it was a well written story of self-discovery and I genuinely cared about the characters. At the start of the story, Poppy is a bit of a push over, a bit timid and stuck in a rut with her job and her safe but reliable boyfriend Harrison. This all changes when with the help of her best friend Erin, they decide to set up a catering business. After a wrong telephone number mishap, a lot of hilarity arises and they find themselves catering for Jed and his family at a luxurious log fire cabin!

This wasn’t just your typical run of the mill chick lit story – there are deeper issues mentioned and handled well – abandonment issues with Poppy and her Italian father who was also a chef and mental health issues with Poppy’s mother are dealt with as she shuts herself away.

Frustrating as Poppy may be at the start, I think we have to experience this side of her character to see just how far she comes and blossoms.

I would love to read a follow up book as there are so many likeable characters that could have their own story written about them!

A delightful and absolute  joy to read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this beautiful book!

Thank you to Avon Book and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and to Sabah for inviting me onto the Blog Tour!

Join the rest of the tour…….

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#BlogTour ~ My Mother’s Shadow by @nikola_scott @Headlinepg @bookish_becky

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for My Mother’s Shadow!

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‘Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets… 1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever…’

My Review:

This is such a beautifully written book matched by it’s equally beautiful cover.

We are introduced to Addie and her family who are mourning the death of her mother Elizabeth who passed away unexpectedly a year ago and they are all equally feeling the loss and trying to deal with it in different ways.

Out of the blue, a stranger turns up on the doorstep and introduces herself as Elizabeth’s daughter. Rightfully the family are stunned and in disbelief about this revelation. It makes you think how you would react in the same situation….how would you feel? Would it change the way you felt about someone knowing this?

I really liked how the story was told from the point of view of Addie and also diary entries from the then 17 year old Elizabeth. They showed a completely different side to Elizabeth that her children didn’t know about, a softer side that Addie never really saw having had a slightly estranged relationship with her mother. I enjoyed reading about Addie and her tentative relationship with her newly found sister, Phoebe and the feelings as she discovered more about her mother as a young girl during the summer of 1958.

There is slight mystery side to the story, which I always love and found it added more to the story being told. It certainly made me eager to read more.

I found this a beautiful, heartwarming and at times a gut wrenching story and would highly recommend.

Thank you to Becky Hunter for my copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review and for inviting me onto the blog tour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Review ~ The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry @Sabah_k @AvonBooksUK

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane!

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I am delighted to reveal an extract from Chapter 3 for you all to read….

‘Roxanne emerged from Leicester Square tube station and made her way through the crowds towards the nerve centre of women’s magazines. She stopped to buy her coffee from her usual kiosk and quickened her pace through Soho, more through nervousness than because she was running late. Her stomach tightened as she glanced up at her publishing company’s block. It was impressive from the outside, all blue-tinted mirrored glass, the kind of place a young wannabe might gaze up at and think, Oh to work somewhere like that! Wouldn’t that be so glamorous? Imagining grandeur, visitors were often surprised at the scruffiness of Roxanne’s magazine’s office.

In she walked, greeting her colleagues, some of whom were already lounging on mats on the floor. Marsha, who was already arranged in a cross-legged position, gave her an inscrutable look, so Roxanne flashed her a tense smile. To be fair, it wasn’t the actual yoga that most of the team objected to. It was having it foisted upon them every single weekday, in an environment that was hardly suited to it. Everyone was too crammed together on the stained, ancient carpet. This was a place for work, not for ‘connecting with the breath’. The beige walls were scuffed, the tiny kitchen equipped with no more than a cheap toaster, a kettle and a rather sour-smelling fridge housing a half-empty bottle of Baileys that Roxanne suspected had been languishing there since the 90s. Six magazine teams were based in the building, ranging from the glossy YourStyle to mass-market titles in the diet and fitness markets. Roxanne regarded exercise in the same way as she viewed the kale in her fridge; in other words, she knew she should involve herself with it, but would prefer not to, if possible.

In the office loos, Roxanne changed reluctantly into her yoga kit. There were certain items of clothing she simply couldn’t ‘do’. Culottes and waterfall cardigans fell under this banner, as did the cheap leggings she’d bought, begrudgingly, for these morning classes, hence being unable to bring herself to wear them for the journey into work. Now appropriately attired, she hurried back into the main office and plonked herself down on the consistently last-to-be-taken mat next to Marsha’s.

Throughout the class, she tried, unsuccessfully, to calm herself in readiness for her meeting. With Marsha twisting her skinny body into all manner of contortions a mere three feet away, it was virtually impossible. Perhaps Marsha had requested the ‘chat’ today just to establish her authority? If so, it really wasn’t necessary; there was no doubt that she was boss now, although it never even occurred to Roxanne to pull rank with her team. Despite her senior position, she wasn’t concerned about status at all. All she cared about was creating beautiful pictures and, alongside that, trying to keep her team happy and motivated so they could all work well together. That was what mattered’

I really enjoyed reading the second instalment of the ‘Rosemary Lane’ series and have bought the first book already – The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane which focusses on Della (who is Roxanne’s sister).

This story focusses on Roxanne who grew up on Rosemary Lane and couldn’t wait to leave for the bright lights and big city of London as soon as she turned 18, where she has forged a successful career as a Fashion Editor on a glossy magazine.

All is not well though and she eventually takes a break and goes back home to Burley Bridge to see her sister Della. Expecting to find the sleepy old village she has left behind she is surprised to discover the sleepy village is no more and following the opening of the bookshop, other shops have popped up and made the village more alive!

I loved the characters in Burley Bridge, they are just the type of neighbours I would like and I became quickly hooked on the storyline and interested to see how things would turn out. There are a couple of surprises but I found this to be a lovely easy read and have already recommended to friends who like to read similar books.

I can’t want to read the other instalments in this series as I’ve become quite attached to the lovely characters.

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#Review 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

99 Red Balloons: A chillingly clever psychological thriller with a stomach-flipping twist by [Carpenter, Elisabeth]

Published by Avon on 24 August 2017

About the Book:-

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

My Review:-

I was lucky enough to win a copy of 99 Red Balloons on Twitter and couldn’t wait to delve in as I had heard good things about it.

There have been some similar books written recently with the same theme but this captivates you from the first chapter and doesn’t let go of you until you have turned the last page.

I was hooked from the first chapter which begins with a child abduction and you follow the emotions of several characters which I really enjoyed.

Considering this is the first book by Elisabeth Carpenter I thoroughly enjoyed the story she had woven and would find myself eager to read just another page at any opportunity.

It’s not an easy subject to tackle but I was gripped and desperate to find out how this story would pan out.

I found this to be a very well written and thought out story that I will recommend to others.

Thank you to Jacob Collins for my copy of this book.